Best Live Artist - 2012
It says something when a performer can blast an audience's eardrums out one minute and hold them close in a silent, still reverie the next. Which is precisely what happened when Holly Newsom, the songwriter and sole steady member behind Zoo Animal, released her latest EP, Departure, to a sold-out Entry this winter. Whether tormenting her guitar during the dynamic tracks from her earlier albums or quieting her instrument to a mere murmur for her newer, sparser songs, Newsom is the kind of live musician that demands unwavering attention and shallow breaths. The Twin Cities is home to plenty of raucous bar bands, but Newsom stands out as one of the area's finest conjurers of all that is still holy in rock 'n' roll — an artist, through and through.