Picked to Click XII

Hail the Conquering Heroes: Polls and Praise for This Year's Best New Artists

--Bill Snyder, freelance writer and editor



The Soviettes
The Soviettes

Jeers to all of the yahoos who stand in the middle of a crowded show and talk loudly about their annoyingly mundane lives during quiet songs. Why do you people waste the money on a ticket to a show that you don't actually watch? Do us all a favor: Go to a bar where there is no live performer that you will insult, and no people whose shows you will wreck with your big yaps. You know who you are!

--David Campbell, sales/consignment assistant, the Electric Fetus One-Stop; co-host/producer, KQ Homegrown, KQRS-FM (92.5)


What we're missing is a strong local label with national distribution. Without Twin/Tone or Am Rep on the scene, we're preaching to the choir. But the bidding wars for Rhyme Sayers, and Low's Chair Kickers label picking up acts, and national touring by Fog and Happy Apple could change all that.

--Ben Durrant, musician; owner/engineer, Crazy Beast Studio


I love the fact that more "unknown" local bands seem to be getting signed than ever before. Of course, it would be nice if any of them could stay signed for an extended period of time.

--Chris Strouth, label owner, UltraModern;
director of A&P, Innova Recordings;
producer/director, Future Perfect


A line on a J-Live CD stuck with me--it was on "The Best Part," during an interview interlude with a friend of his. His friend said, "Performance is important. If I see you at a show and you wack, you gonna sound wack on tape." Some local artists are very passionate about their performance, especially local rappers. When I see an Atmosphere or a Heiruspecs show, the raw energy of the lead compared with the controlling vibe of the music created by the DJ/band can alter the amount of energy spread throughout the venue. And the audience is the main component that can make or break the performance itself.

--Ali Elabbady (a.k.a. Egypto Knuckles), host/producer, Radio K's The Beat Box, KUOM-AM (770)


Jeez, am I angry or what? If one were to judge by the band names I picked for this year's list--the Midnight Evils, Kingdom of Ghosts, etc.--that would certainly seem the case. But naw, 'taint so, kiddies. While I appreciate the raw power and amplifier towers of those artists, it's the HUMANITY FACTOR emanating from each of their albums that draws me hither and brings their varied styles together: loud, brash, hard-livin' tough guys who aren't afraid to scream in pain, rage, frustration, heartbreak, and, yes, even anger. Frankly, I'm sick to death of feeling like I have to take off my shoes and hang my jacket on a hook before I play a new local album. I think it's time to track some dirt into this house, man--crank up albums from kids whose moms are never home, drink all the old man's beer, and trash the joint! Aroooo!!!

--Tom Hallett, Pulse columnist;
freelance music writer


Rock 'n' roll is reborn, and goddamn, it hurts! Not White Stripes or Strokes--overhyped and well-funded rehash is for your little sister, and even she's not satisfied. The new, pure, and godless interpretation of form: straight novelty and REAL creativity, freaking the fuck out, pissing people off for all the right reasons, and demanding actual audience involvement (gasp!). Active entertainment at mutilating speeds. Wolf Eyes, No Doctors, Lightning Bolt, Sightings, Black Dice, Mammal, Total Shutdown, Hair Police, the Lowdown, 25 Suaves, Arab On Radar, Neon Hunk, Pink + Brown, Numbers, Orthrelm, Crack: We Are Rock, Deerhoof, et cetera--all doing it and doing it and doing it WELL. Music hasn't been this good since the release of Pearl Jam's Ten. But where are Minneapolis bands going?

--Matthew St-Germain, label owner,
Freedom From



Someday in the not-so-distant future, clusters of cultural-studies students will be reading about a man who changed the face of popular music. A man who "reinvigorated the downtrodden white male psyche" with performances that showed the virility and the soul of an average-looking Joe from Minnesota, who just happened to wear Hanes briefs with his assless chaps. Yes, they will be reading about our very own Sean Tillman in his masquerade as Har Mar Superstar.

--Mark Baumgarten, Lost Cause

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