By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
My props go out the local young jazz talent and their fans. Today's younger music fans are supporting more freestyle jazz acts and venues that book such bands. It's refreshing to see upstart acts and new fans creating a solid scene at newer clubs and old and ones alike. Their crowds are smarter and more respectful then most of us crusty old umber fans, and the bands seem to know no musical borders.
--James "Taco" Martin
FORGET THE "DAVID CROSBY FOR PRESIDENT" CAMPAIGN! WE CAST OUR BALLOTS FOR...
Big Quarters: I have no illusions that Doomtree will in the top five, but I think Big Quarters is the local rap story of the year. Eighty-five percent of local rap acts are the same dime-a-dozen, quasi-emo, bad-piano loops, marble-mouthed college age pranksters who don't seem to be trying very hard. Zach and Brandon from Big Quarters have really put themselves a head above--they dig for their beats, they have great stage presence, and they seem to really embody the best aspects of rap from the last 10 or 15 years. They're smart but not nerdy, fun but not superficial. Best of all, they aren't robbing the established acts in town for their style. I love these guys.
Traditional Methods: Tough choice on my top two--sincere uplift (Traditional Methods) vs. inspired goof (Olympic Hopefuls). Normally, I'd go for the goof, but for one thing, and that isn't the (mostly obvious) politics of these nu-Fugees, or the chewy backing tracks by Heiruspecs past and present. It's the matter-of-fact earthbound grace of Sarah White. When she says in "Spark" that she believes in God, faith, trust, love, and miracles, I wanna believe in her too--mainly because she also just told us, "I keep my hands between my legs to keep myself out of trouble."
Traditional Methods: Sarah White is singing now and welcoming a new life into this world. Mamma is on top of her game. This is such a rich and diverse album that it has to rank among the best of the Twin Cities. This group is only getting better with time.
Heiruspecs:A Tiger Dancing was so good, and Heiruspecs are some of the hardest-working guys in the business. I saw them at Pizza Lucé's Block party this year and their show was amazing! Now if I can just get Muad'dib to say a complete sentence next time I interview them...
Eyedea and Abilities: Murs said Eyedea kisses his dog open-mouthed! Nevertheless, I will not let that detract from my opinion of his and Abilities' work. Hot shit, fellas!
DJ Aaron Money: He is now one of the hottest bachelors in the Twin Cities! His music mixes are so damn incredible. He spins some '80s music at the Caterpillar Lounge in south Minneapolis, and if you want to get in the mood, make sure to bring a date.
Cheap Cologne: His Jay-Z/Metallica remix was genius. He had the RIAA on his back threatening to hem him up for copyright infringement. He is laughing now. I keep my eye on this man's next move: He understands the business, he has talent, and he is working with some of the best MCs in this city.
Zebulon Pike: Everything about music that I loved as a kid. Everything about music that my "hip" friends have been telling me is not cool for the last 20 years. Am I finally vindicated?
Zebulon Pike: The best band in this town right now. They have the best disc I've heard in years. And the best metal-meets-Catholic-iconography logo. And the most invigorating live show. And the ultimate compliment: I will skip TV to go see them.
Paul Metzger: His solo banjo shows in the last couple of years have been stunning. Issuing forth these great, climbing raga-like lines, he uses the banjo in every possible way, melodically and percussively. It's exciting to see this guy continually reinvent himself with almost complete indifference to the musical trends swirling around him. Mutant Music just put out a solo LP of his, and hopefully that Roaratorio split EP with Six Organs of Admittance will see the light of day soon.
Terry Eason: I've been too enamored of metal lately to be wowed by Eason's low-key regular-guy stage show. But the studio records are another story: smart, well-crafted pop that actually sticks with you, and isn't too ashamed to move around and get sweaty.
Jack Knife and the Sharps: Now I sound like a hypocrite because I love the Sharps' no-bullshit, almost anti-audience approach. But then again, I'm a nut for the kind of clean, sprightly picking that's the backbone of rockabilly and surf, and too much flash would detract from that (take note, Stockcar Named Desire). When a little feedback creeps into something like their cover of "Strychnine," you get an inkling of the feeling your parents or uncles or mentors had when they heard "Rumble" or "You Really Got Me" for the first time. I always plan my birthday around Mayslack's Memorial Day music festival. With a plate of Mini-Mezes, a 20-ounce beer, and the Sharps playing, another year passing is much less traumatic.