Twin Cities Year in Music 2012

From P.O.S. to Prince to Polica, 2012 was a golden year in Minnesota music

Twin Cities Year in Music 2012
B FRESH Photography

This is our Year in Music. A golden year. A year of festivals. An election year. A year of personnel changes. A year of P.O.S., come to think of it.

Not to say that his Doomtree crew is any less prevalent, but Stefon Alexander asserts his dominance as a solo artist with We Don't Even Live Here, a masterstroke featuring him and his weird friends smashing windows into our minds with bangers like "Get Down" and "Fuck Your Stuff." Work with Marijuana Deathsquads, bandmate Mike Mictlan, and his protege Lydia Hoglund of Bomba De Luz also occupies P.O.S. in 2012. "This is up there with the most artistic years I've had," he tells City Pages.

As we find out, it's a year of focusing daily on his kidneys. "I'm either full of dialysis solution or I'm in some sort of pain, or I'm super tired," he says. This nagging struggle keeps him from going on the road, and he's "pretty destroyed" after a release show at First Avenue back in October. "I could definitely go on," he asserts. "Some people have been worrying about me, but I'm not going to push myself harder than I can go."

B FRESH Photography
Poliça at First Avenue
Stacy Schwartz
Poliça at First Avenue

Sometime in January 2013, Stef is scheduled to get a kidney transplant, but he won't get to know where his new organ is coming from until the whole thing is done. Plenty of people are in his corner. Evidence aplenty is the $37k and counting donated to help defray his medical costs. The last few weeks of 2012 are a chance to focus on getting better and some new creation, but not hip hop. "I've been working on heavy metal and thrash music," he says. "I'm playing my guitar and stepping away from rap right now."

While Stef's off strumming, or performing at the eighth Doomtree Blowout, or whatever, let's page through the rest of a 12-month onslaught of musical activity.


Daniel Levy, the 21-year-old son of the Honeydogs' frontman Adam Levy, takes his own life after a battle with mental illness. A memorial service at McNally Smith College of Music featuring tributes and performances by John Munson, Aby Wolf, and Crescent Moon follows in February. The Honeydogs' first album in three years, What Comes After, is released.

Music editor Andrea Swensson says a tearful goodbye to City Pages, and starts at the Current as their music reporter. Northfield-born Reed Fischer, who was working as a music editor at City Pages' sister paper in Fort Lauderdale, pulls on some Smart Wool and takes the helm.

January bits: First Avenue completes the first round of renovations for the year by removing a stairway leading up to the bathrooms and a small bar on the main floor. An upgrade to a booming new sound system comes later in the year. Only a year and a half after switching from B96 to the less rap-heavy top 40 pop station 96.3 NOW, the station becomes K-TWIN. Violence erupts yet again at the TC Hip Hop Awards.


Poliça drop their debut album, Give You the Ghost, via Totally Gross National Product, and after a sold-out First Avenue release show, they basically hit the road for the rest of the year. Stops at SXSW, Lollapalooza, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon follow, and the album is reissued on slightly larger boutique indie label Mom + Pop with the Dark Star EP in August. They are also the subjects of a Dan Huiting-filmed documentary titled Hold You Just a Little While.

Former Replacements guitarist Bob "Slim" Dunlap suffers a serious stroke, and recuperates throughout the year. Jim Walsh organizes a "Hoot for Slim" on St. Patrick's Day at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Later in the year, Replacements Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson team with Kevin Bowe and Peter Anderson to record a four-song vinyl EP to benefit Dunlap's recovery.

After declining to perform at the ceremony, Bon Iver win Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver at the 2012 Grammys. Confusion ensues on Twitter, and many wonder "Who's Bonny Bear?" Also that night, while picking up the Best Pop Solo Performance Grammy for "Someone Like You," Adele personally thanks co-writer Dan Wilson from the stage.

February highlights: Former Prince drummer Bobby Z recovers from a heart attack and stages a Revolution reunion with Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Brown Mark, and Dr. Fink. It's the first time they've played a full show together since 1986. The Cactus Blossoms, featured in a new mural on the side of the Turf Club, begin a year-long residency at the venue.


New venue the Brick, AEG Live's addition to downtown Minneapolis, opens with a hyped Jane's Addiction concert. Nearly everything that could possibly could go wrong that night does — too few sight lines, bathroom inaccessibility, and general crowding — and the club is tagged with a negative rep. Future bookings, including Fun., the Shins, and Marilyn Manson, shift to other venues, and the club's future is in question. Months later, after lowering the capacity and making renovations, it re-emerges as Mill City Nights and breathes a sigh of relief when public outcry wanes.

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