BEST LOCAL POP GROUP (1999)
It almost seems redundant to give the Hang Ups this award again, but Minneapolis hasn't produced a better band in years and it isn't likely to produce one anytime soon. In fact, the Hang Ups even register nationally as one of the better purveyors of wistful high pop. They avoid glibness or cheeky retro gestures while reworking the Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, and (recently) the Kinks in songs that approach sentiment with sincerity. 1997's scene hit So We Go was a gorgeous reminiscence on youth and love that filled its creamy confections with a harsh center of alienation and doubt. This year's 2nd Story (due out this summer) moves away from the band's often fey sound to try out a refreshingly dirty guitar rock and a Kinks-like lyricism that recasts We Are the Village Green Society for twentysomething temp jobbers. Don't miss it.