Picked to Click 2012

After hundreds of ballots and votes, the best of the best new bands have been chosen

Salyer speaks of these steps forward in serendipitous terms — an attitude that gives the wunderkind less credit than is due in the wake of such resilience. In her words, the band was born from purchasing a shell-pink Jazzmaster more so than Total Babe's dissolution. "Howard has a good way of saying, 'That guitar's got a couple more songs in it,' where guitars do a service to you," Salyer says. "I almost credit buying that guitar with starting Prissy Clerks."

There's also the girl's knack for seeking out backing players, which include rock historian Hamilton, Teenage Strangler guitarist Dylan Ritchie, and Total Babe drummer Tim Leick Jr. Salyer sought out accordionist Emily Lazear during a performance with another indie up-and-comer, Wolf Mountain.

"Clara was talking up this girl, saying, 'This is the girl we're gonna get for Prissy Clerks, and we're going to the State Fair on this day to check her out,'" Hamilton says. "Wolf Mountain played to like 10 people right next to the skateboard demo, and that was enough." Adding to that thread of adaptability, Salyer and co. work around Lazear's out-of-state schooling. Their expatriate's role — one that doesn't rely on anachronistic wheezes of accordion but rather melodic inhales — is still wholly felt on their new record, Bruise or Be Bruised, which is due in November.

The group spent spring and summer recording in Pachyderm Studio veteran Brent Sigmeth's home studio and Hollow Boys frontman Ali Jaafar's dingier Minneapolis space. While Sigmeth's Cannon Falls abode offered rural zen and pettable dogs, Jaafar stirred crustier aesthetics, which Salyer was forced to work around. "He left a message for her saying, 'Don't come over. An animal has died in the roof, and it smells so bad that I can't even find it,'" Hamilton recalls.

Listening to Bruise or Be Bruised, there are sonic schisms between the riff-driven aggression assumingly laid down beneath Jaafar's rot-laden rafters and the listless, open strums more appropriate for Cannon Falls. But with Salyer's ability to see her vision through a domino-line of compromises, perhaps their most tranquil moments rose from their more hellish surroundings.

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10 // Audio Perm

By Jack Spencer

"We haven't done one photo shoot where every member has been in it," says Audio Perm rapper 80H20 with a laugh. That's because the AP crew, which has risen to prominence putting in work and a fresh approach to the Twin Cities rap sound, is more than 10 members deep.

Each Audio Perm show features material stemming from a number of side projects and group efforts. A rotating cast of young rappers — including Chantz Erolin, 80H20, Bobby Raps, Ramiro X, Yakub, Big Dylan, and Unfuh Qwittable — spit over beats provided by Taylor Madrigal, Cory Grindberg, and Julian Fairbanks. At shows, including the last Soundset, opening slots for big names like Kendrick Lamar, and AP's very own block party, these performances have slowly grown into melees putting forth the team of rappers as one entity.

"It used to be like a medley, just sharing dope shit over Audio Perm beats," says Madrigal, who formed an initial trio with Grindberg and Fairbanks as a producer crew. "It's pretty much just some stuntin' shit, like look at all these dope songs we made with all these dope rappers, and they're our fucking homies."

Beyond the manic energy the large group of young scoundrels creates, the guys have drawn attention from fans and older-generation rap veterans thanks to their thought-provoking content and distinct instrumental style. The newcomers have gotten a lot of support from the old heads — many members of Audio Perm met through I Self Devine's hip-hop classes at Hope Community Center — which isn't surprising considering they've been around in the scene as fans, students, and budding artists for years.

"A lot of us do a really good job of dressing up our own personal ideas, styles, and values in this way that's fun and enjoyable," says Chantz Erolin of his work with Audio Perm. "Everybody kind of shines through that in their own way. It's given depth to this hype and it's made me feel in friendly competition with the rappers that I'm working with."

A compilation of scattered tracks previously released, We Out Chea, came out over the summer, but an official crew record is slated for the coming year. Audio Perm represent the new face of local hip hop, one that pays homage to predecessors but is striking out in bold new directions. "We got Slug hollering at Julian beats," Erolin continues. "We got P.O.S. and them bigging up Cory. If I'm not careful, I could get left in the dust. I feel like I have to match up to them."

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