Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Museum

    Walker Art Center

    The Walker Art Center is always up to something. In addition to its excellent permanent collection — which features work from Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Frank Gaard — each year the museum hosts a variety of amazing exhibitions. Recent offerings have included a mid-career retrospective of Jim Hodges's work, whimsical giant sculptures by Claes Oldenburg, and pieces by notable Mexican… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties

    You might not know his name, but his Spoonbridge and Cherry is one of the most iconic landmarks in the Twin Cities. The works featured in "Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties" were equally fanciful renderings of everyday items: squishy ice-cream cones, deflating toilets, and huggable French fries. The exhibition, which focused on pieces and projects from the 1960s and '70s, was… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Public Functionary

    Since opening in April 2013, Public Functionary has hosted a delightful variety of art shows, parties, and social gatherings. The northeast Minneapolis space opened with a show from Dzine, an exhibition loaded with sparkling chandeliers, golden roosters, and sports trophies. Shows since then have included the neon food photography of Patrick Martinez, the calmly beautiful paper-and-light installations of Sougwen Chung,… More >>
  • Best Local Cartoonist

    Brittney Sabo

    Brittney Sabo's work has the uncanny effect of being strikingly familiar yet difficult to break down into its component parts. You might be able to pinpoint an influence or two — Disney characters gone jagged-edged, or the wispy lines of shoujo manga given an eerie weight — but there's also a gut-level feel to her comics and illustration work that… More >>
  • Best Local Designer

    Lindsey Hopkins

    There are plenty of local designers who bring their talent and hard work to the runway every season, but this year there was a standout at the fall iteration of MNfashion's the Shows. The Spring/Summer 2014 Lindsey Hopkins Collection simultaneously felt like the most high fashion and yet ready-to-wear (confidence, ladies!) line of the year. Working with the brightest white… More >>
  • Best Fashion Show

    The Shows

    Forget New York Fashion Week — we've got our own sartorial gem right here in Minnesota. After spending the early years putting on the Shows at the old Grain Belt Bottling House, MNfashion kicked things into gear in 2013 by bringing the two-night event to Aria in the North Loop. The juxtaposition of Aria's exposed brick and shimmering chandeliers created… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    The Riverview

    The Riverview is the kind of place where conversion experiences happen. Those who know the theater are evangelical about it. Those who don't — let this be your excuse to get to Longfellow. Heading south into the neighborhood, you'll pass by the Blue Door Pub (hint: a Blucy makes for good pre-movie eating) and the excellent Riverview Wine Bar (pre-movie… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Children's Theatre Company

    Since the 1960s, the Children's Theatre Company has built its reputation on a winning formula: Make high-quality entertainment that can be enjoyed by the youngest and the oldest theatergoers alike. The delights came fast and furious through the past year, as the company finally shook itself completely free of a financial crisis from a few years back to produce a… More >>
  • Best Actor

    John Catron

    A one-person show is a challenging, frightening, and — at its best — rewarding experience for an actor. In Misterman, John Catron played Thomas, an outcast and loner in the Irish village of Inishfree. Enda Walsh's script gives us a glimpse into the man's life and obsessions, the latter involving numerous audiotapes scattered around the dusty and dirty warehouse he… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Sally Wingert

    Sally Wingert's name in a program is always a thrill to see. Even if the whole show isn't up to snuff, you can rest assured there will at least be one ray of light. Wingert's past year features tremendous performances from beginning to end, sometimes in shows that had troubles (Other Desert Cities, Tribes) or were otherwise disastrous (The Primrose… More >>
  • Best Play

    Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde

    Over its relatively short history, Walking Shadow Theatre Company has built a reputation of presenting well-crafted, engaging, and, above all, honest work. Buoyed by a terrific and Ivey Award-winning performance by Craig Johnson as Oscar Wilde, Gross Indecency explored the nature of art and the role of the outsider in culture. Like a modern-day pop star, Wilde was set up… More >>
  • Best Musical

    Urinetown: The Musical

    This unexpected Broadway hit with a terrible name has been on other Twin Cities' stages in the past, but it found a triumphant home at the Jungle Theater this year. A musical about a dystopian society where a long-term water shortage means that everyone has to pay to use the toilet doesn't sound like a success, but the material has… More >>
  • Best Director

    Amy Rummenie

    Along with John Heimbuch, Amy Rummenie makes up half of the wife-and-husband team behind Walking Shadow Theatre Company, which has built a reputation for thoughtful and insightful productions — many directed by Rummenie. Her theatrical enthusiasm is infectious, bringing life and layers to every production, including a number of intriguing shows from the past year. She helmed one of 2013's… More >>
  • Best Emerging Actor

    David Darrow

    When David Darrow appeared in Skiing on Broken Glass last fall at the Guthrie Theater, he proved the power one performer can have over an entire production. Though the show was far from a total success — the story of an unlikely love affair between a lonely author and the trick he brought home one night felt like a relic… More >>
  • Best Emerging Actress

    Traci Allen

    Traci Allen has built her burgeoning career on several years of solid work at the Children's Theatre Company — enough work, in fact, that she is now a company member at the venerable institution. Her performance in the CTC's production of Cinderella positioned her squarely at the top of this troupe's talent pool. In this raucous fairy tale adaptation, an… More >>
  • Best Ensemble

    To the Moon!

    Reinterpreting The Honeymooners as a 20th-century Greek myth is the kind of idea that balances on a knife's edge. Mind you, that's the sort of treacherous territory Open Eye Figure Theatre and Bedlam Theatre occupy all the time. The collaboration in To the Moon! worked remarkably, almost movingly, and plenty of the credit goes to the quartet of talented actors.… More >>
  • Best Literary Events


    When Revolver had its big coming-out party, it did so with a flourish. Or maybe it was a sucker punch. The team behind the upstart publication hosted a too-surreal-to-be-believed boxing event at the Uppercut Gym in Northeast, where they pitted some of their friends (!) against each other for a night of hilarious, and slightly cringe-worthy, bouts in the squared… More >>
  • Best Local Author

    Andy Sturdevant

    You may have seen him in the art supply store at MCAD, or running his hands along the spines of books at Boneshaker, or walking up the bluffs along the Mississippi: Andy Sturdevant, glasses on, his distinctive red beard overflowing, we can only imagine, with creative ideas and goodwill for his adopted hometown. Since moving to the Twin Cities in… More >>
  • Best Author We Like to Claim as Our Own

    Neil Gaiman

    Neil Gaiman. His name has been tossed around a lot this past year, and for good reason. The British writer had one of his busiest years yet in 2013 with the publication of several books, including a couple of children's books and his first adult novel in eight years (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) as well as… More >>
  • Best Standup (Local)

    Chris Maddock

    Chris Maddock might be the hardest working comedian in the Twin Cities. As one of the founding fathers of the infamous Death Comedy Jam open mic at Grumpy's, Maddock has hosted the event every Wednesday for the past decade. In December, he hosted a 15-hour comedy marathon to commemorate the Jam's 10-year anniversary. When he's not leading up-and-coming open micers… More >>
  • Best Standup (National)

    Cy Amundson

    It's tough to say when a homegrown Twin Cities comedian has reached the point in his career where he's considered "national." If it means touring the country, appearing on talk shows, headlining (and selling out) your homecoming shows in Minnesota, and selling a TV pilot to a major cable network, then it's safe to say Cy Amundson is as national… More >>
  • Best Comedy Club

    Acme Comedy Co.

    Listen to any podcast involving a touring comedian and at some point they'll mention a stop in Minneapolis — which will inevitably be followed by a remark about how much they love doing gigs here. And while there's a traditionally strong comedy fandom in the Cities that manifests whether the standup show is at the Varsity or the Pantages or… More >>
  • Best Open Mic

    Tap the Mic at Harriet Brewing

    If you happen upon Harriet Brewing's tap room on the second Wednesday of the month, you'll find the colorful garage space crowded with guitars and notebooks. Welcome to Tap the Mic. Started by one of Harriet's longtime employees, who also emcees, this is an open mic of the loose-and-friendly, sharing-creativity-over-a-beer-or-three variety. The night's sign-up sheet opens at 7 p.m., and… More >>
  • Best Bar Game

    The Match Game at the 331 Club

    Ian Rans is the Twin Cities' own Mr. Showbiz, at least in the sense that his famed public access show Drinking With Ian and his gig hosting the now-dormant $50 Pyramid gave him the opportunity to play an irreverent, wiseass modernization of TV figures from years gone by. His DIY update of that goofball '70s-celeb fill-in-the-blank panel game show The… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    King of Diamonds

    When it comes to strip clubs, most guys are looking for the combination of two things: fully nude women and alcohol. Unfortunately, thanks to the antiquated cabaret law, clubs in downtown Minneapolis must choose either/or: They can serve alcohol and have topless dancers, or they can have full nudity but only serve juice. Luckily for bachelor parties, Inver Grove Heights… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Vegas Lounge

    Located in northeast Minneapolis right on the bus line, the Vegas Lounge is a great place to get sloppy and do a little karaoke. Here you'll find a song book that includes classics spanning decades, top 40 hits, and even quite a few obscure gems. As with any good karaoke night, the crowd is unpredictable and a bit odd, and… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Clubhouse Jäger

    Clubhouse Jäger has been a dance lovers' haven in Minneapolis's Warehouse District for years. The intimate corner bar and restaurant's rotating cast of DJs make every night special. Jäger is home to Jake Rudh's genre- and decades-spanning Transmission, which forms the heart of Jäger's mid-week dance-night roster every Wednesday night. Jäger's variable weekly schedules feature packed nights incorporating hip-hop to… More >>
  • Best Dance Night


    Jake Rudh's weekly Wednesday-night dance party, Transmission, celebrated its 13th anniversary in March. Transmission focuses on vintage and emergent Brit Pop, new wave, synth-pop, post-punk, and indie rock, while also highlighting the unifying traits binding all these genres together. Transmission proved so popular that the Current brought Rudh into their weekly radio mix, and he also recently brought Transmission to… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    DJ Shannon Blowtorch

    Shannon Blowtorch is a self-taught Minneapolis-based DJ who has risen through the ranks of the Twin Cities scene since her time dancing with All the Pretty Horses. Now she can control any room where she spins music to the point that it's downright impossible to hold the wall. Blowtorch is currently the DJ in the breakout hip-hop crew, GRRRL PRTY,… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    CC Club

    For decades, the CC Club's jukebox was legendary. Back in the mid-'70s, employees from the record store across the street would load it up with new releases, and bands like the 'Mats would stock it with their latest singles. When a local group's record showed up in rotation, it was a sure sign they had made it. But then, in… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    89.3 the Current

    As radio claws for any sort of relevance, 89.3 the Current has done a lot to position itself outside the dial's limiting confines. Yes, the DJs are knowledgable and some of the best on-air companions around, and the ties to the local community feel organic. A mix of emergent and critically acclaimed artists is not enough to stay afloat for… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Triple Rock Social Club

    The Triple Rock Social Club is owned by musicians and designed for music lovers. The relatively no-frills club puts the focus of the room squarely on the musicians on stage, with few distractions — other than a welcoming bar — to pull you away from the show. After willing Lifter Puller to reunite for the first show in the club's… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dakota Jazz Club

    The loss of St. Paul's long-running Artists' Quarter last year has left the Twin Cities live jazz diaspora scattered, so this year's winner feels almost like a reminder to be thankful for what we've still got. While venues like the Icehouse, the Black Dog, and Barbette have thankfully picked up the slack in hosting smaller-scale jazz events of note, the… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    First Avenue

    The First Avenue name — just "First Ave" to most — is far more than just a reminder of which Minneapolis street sign corresponds to its location. Over the past 40-plus years, this rock club has been the site of more musical "firsts" than practically anywhere in Minnesota. The silver stars on First Ave's black exterior walls speak to the… More >>
  • Best Venue Name

    Fuck Mountain

    Need underground cred? Head to Fuck Mountain. Somewhere in the vicinity of south Minneapolis's Wedge neighborhood, the tiny basement venue has hosted some loud live music events recently. (It would be supremely uncool to print the address.) The name is not a literal description of the space, so don't bother showing up for the wrong reasons, sickos. If biking from… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    The Cedar Cultural Center

    Every show at the Cedar Cultural Center is open to all, no matter your age. The West Bank staple not only brings in top-notch local, national, and world music talents, but an inviting nature permeates every aspect of the club. From the friendly volunteers who take your tickets and serve you drinks (the 21-plus crowd can still grab a beer… More >>
  • Best Venue to Watch Musicians Watching Other Musicians


    Walk into the rustic, sparingly decorated Icehouse nearly any night of the week and you're liable to find more musicians in the audience than on stage. Since the Eat Street destination opened in 2012, it has built a reputation as the place where the city's best and brightest come to watch the city's best and brightest. Some nights, it feels… More >>
  • Best Sound Team

    First Avenue

    In 2012, First Avenue made a tremendous improvement to its decade-old sound system. Burnsville's Electro-Voice installed a state-of-the-art XLC line-array system that provides the club with more powerful, wider-ranging sound coverage and is substantially more efficient. This is good news to everyone who frequents the downtown club on a regular basis, as well as to the club's longtime sound engineers,… More >>
  • Best Residency

    GRRRL PRTY at Icehouse

    The ladies of GRRRL PRTY used their Icehouse residency late last year to capture their rapid growth as a formidable live rap act, but also to showcase the talents of their friends. While Lizzo's profile rose on both a national and worldwide level, she still seemed most excited when she had the opportunity to perform with her homegirls, Sophia Eris… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local)

    Totally Gross National Party at Icehouse

    Over the past couple of years, Totally Gross National Product has built an eclectic lineup of rappers, rockers, and noisemakers who sound very little alike but still all fit together. After the Minneapolis label's 2012 showcase party at the opulent Icehouse proved a night to behold, a lot more folks were ready for last fall's return. The high-energy cool of… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring)

    D'Angelo & Questlove at First Avenue

    It's clichéd to describe a concert as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but in the case of D'Angelo's visit to the Mainroom last summer, such lofty rhetoric couldn't be more appropriate. This was the stuff of legend. The troubled R&B star had seemed all but lost to the ravages of drug abuse and personal demons in the decade-plus since his last appearance… More >>
  • Best Rock Festival

    Twin Cities Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues Music Festival

    Of course we love our outdoor music fests in Minnesota. We'll even put up with long beer lines, crappy food, filler bands, and poor sound — as long as they aren't all present — for some fun in the sun. But we didn't have a single quibble with this past summer's Twin Cities Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues Music Festival… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Festival


    Soundset 2013 wasn't a success just because Snoop Dogg was on the lineup, but he sure didn't hurt matters. Pulling a record 28,000 fans out to Canterbury Park, the sixth running of the Rhymesayers Entertainment music festival showed that it still has room to grow. Minnesota rap fans are so dedicated that a late-May grab bag of extreme heat, frigid… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Show

    Kräftskiva at the Bachelor Farmer

    After a long winter, the Twin Cities regularly reward patient fans with a plethora of top-notch festival shows. The Bachelor Farmer's Kräftskiva festival led in 2013. In addition to the copious amounts of crayfish, fine beer, and aquavit, the music lineup was as perfect as the weather. Justin Vernon's bluesy side-project the Shouting Matches were the surprise headliner, along with… More >>
  • Best "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" Performance at Target Field

    Four Fists

    Oh say can you see... two rappers let loose inside Target Field during a Twins game? That's right, combustible mic-toters P.O.S. and Astronautalis were somehow allowed to sing from a balcony during the seventh-inning stretch of the July 3 contest against the New York Yankees. Earlier in the game, P.O.S. performed tracks from his hit 2012 album We Don't Even… More >>
  • Best Tweet from Prince's Official Twitter Account

    Prince's first tweet

    Prince just joined Twitter. Hilarious, right? His foray into social media began with a mic check (naturally): "PRINCE'S 1ST TWEET... Testing 1, 2..." He followed up a minute later with a little throat-clearing, tweeting simply: "PRINCE'S 2ND TWEET." And then he laid this gem of a culinary query on his followers (along with a pic of a liberally spiced dish):… More >>
  • Best Concert Controversy

    Low's "Drone Not Drones" Rock the Garden performance

    There's nothing wrong with being opinionated at a concert, but there's no guarantee that the views of a performer and an audience will be in harmony. This friction was made abundantly clear as a rain-soaked Rock the Garden audience expecting to hear Duluth trio Low serenade them with "Plastic Cup" or another of the dozens of slow, penetrating rock songs… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Frankie Lee

    Every good songwriter must be honest with themselves — or be a master of complete self-deception. Whether Frankie Lee writes his world-weary alt-country songs because he knows how to sing 'em, or the other way around, he's found a calling. On Middle West, Lee fills his mouth with the perfect words to fill out portraits of sorrow, loneliness, blurry memories,… More >>
  • Best Acoustic Performer

    Ashley Gold

    Ashley Gold's talents as a singer steer clear of easy categorization. Whether she's singing a hip-hop hook, leaning into some R&B, or just wailing with her guitar, it's all good. Her voice applies just the right amount of coloring to her detailed lines without smearing all over the page, and that magic really takes off when paired with a six-string… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Dave King Trucking Company

    There's really nothing that Dave King Trucking Company can't turn into jazz. With 2013's Adopted Highway, King on drums, guitarist Erik Fratzke, bassist Adam Linz, and saxophonists Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak take a fun and whimsical journey down the road in a technicolor semi. Listeners are given carte blanche when it comes to how they want to plug into… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    José James

    The R&B and soul part of Twin Cities-bred José James's brain jolted awake for No Beginning No End. After years of jazz, he slid fully into a different lane and began experimenting with the smoky textures that made Questlove and D'Angelo's partnership so strong in the early 2000s. "Trouble" combines organ, teases of horns, and a popping snare that can… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Allan Kingdom

    We like to imagine our musicians toiling away in private, immersing themselves in their art while isolated from the outside world. The reality is often not nearly so romantic, but every once in a while someone like Allan Kingdom comes along to make you think twice. Kingdom has recorded several EPs and mixtapes over the past few years, and yet… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Ashley DuBose

    Ashley DuBose was just on the NBC singing competition show The Voice for good reason. Never prone to too many flourishes when she can trust herself to hit her notes, DuBose has a pure voice. Her 2012 album Somethin' More recently got an acoustic makeover, and it feels like a test of the folkiness of her material. There's really no… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Charlie Parr

    Charlie Parr's as modest as they come, and his self-deprecating humor fills out his stage banter and interviews. But when the bearded Duluthian who dresses like he's been fixing his truck all afternoon — and he might've been — starts singing, he's not backing down. "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down" is an 80-year-old song that he recorded… More >>
  • Best Live Artist


    Prof's live acumen is summed up by his unplanned performance at Soundset 2013. Not long after an invasive knee surgery, the dirty-mouthed south Minneapolis rapper had to hobble onstage with a cane to fill in when multi-platinum star Busta Rhymes was a no-show. The crowd didn't blink and got buck to "Gampo," a song that'll never hit KDWB, but is… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up in the Past Year

    The Goondas

    Hindsight is always a bit of a cheat, but it only ever took a little foresight to imagine that the Goondas wouldn't stick around for very long. No band in recent memory has brought the utter commitment to putting on a show as much as these four from the sticks of Chanhassen, nor has anyone burned the candle at both… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Frankie Teardrop

    One of the more harrowing moments to be set to recorded music comes midway through "Frankie Teardrop," the stark, murderous epic from '70s electronic pioneers Suicide. It's then that the titular character kills his wife and newborn child before turning the gun on himself, and singer Alan Vega unleashes a feral scream of utter pain and devastation. The music that… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Tree Blood

    Squeezing blood from a stone is one thing, but blood from a tree? Minneapolis noise rockers Tree Blood live up to the trunk-splitting intensity of their moniker and then some. With jagged guitars spilling everywhere with layers of fuzz and scuzz on top, Colin Wilkinson (vocals/guitars/samples), Simon Brooks (vocals/baritone guitar), and Walker Neudorff (drums) have a self-titled 2013 EP as… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    France Camp

    There are any number of ways to skin the cat known as rock music, but it's often best when done fast, loose, and full of claws. In Minnesota circles, the gnarliest, most shit-kicking good time can be had with the boys in France Camp, led by their own howler of a frontman, Jay Simonson. This south Minneapolis quartet — long… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Night Phoenix

    Night Phoenix is not your uncle's jam band. Formerly known as Roster McCabe, the Minneapolis quartet is one of the most out-there groups in a Twin Cities scene churning out a lot of music that baby boomers and gen-xers can agree on lately. On-point Inner Circle cover aside, here's something unapologetically for millennials. Led by the pristine-voiced Alex Steele, the… More >>
  • Best Cover Band


    Arguing about the legacy of the Beatles is a mostly moot point these days, but the case for the Fab Four's solo careers remains far more contentious. That's where Wangs come in. As their name suggests, this is one cover band that approaches their earnest Paul McCartney fandom with tongues firmly in cheek, about eight or nine dudes ready to… More >>
  • Best Family Band

    The Hanson Brothers

    While Jake and Jeremy Hanson aren't technically a band themselves, these brothers play in enough groups around town together to more than stake claim to top family honors. Jake has been adding his inventive guitar work to local bands since joining 12 Rods when he was still a teenager, while Jeremy got his big break as the drummer for Tapes… More >>
  • Best Reunion

    The Replacements

    It's a tad bittersweet to give the Replacements the nod for best reunion, not only because they contend they never broke up before a 22-year break in live performances, but since the hometown heroes have yet to play a local show. Accounts of live performances featuring the current lineup of Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson (along with guitarist Dave Minehan… More >>
  • Best Reissue

    Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound

    Prince, Jimmy Jam Harris, and Terry Lewis are frequently credited with creating and defining the funk-driven Minneapolis Sound. But Chicago-based Numero Group's lavish Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound celebrates a host of less heralded musicians who shaped that innovative era. These tracks, presented here with painstakingly researched liner notes, helped lay the groundwork for the scene that Prince eventually… More >>
  • Best EP

    Fury Things, EP 2

    Fury Things embrace a raw urgency within the garage-rock sound permeating EP 2. The Dinosaur Jr.-loving Minneapolis trio recorded these six potent, guitar-fueled tracks themselves in their practice space. Singer/guitarist Kyle Werstein delivers his hazy, Dave Grohl-like vocals over a wall of discord, driven along by bassist Devon Bryant and drummer Andy Carson. The EP launches with one of last… More >>
  • Best Single

    "Lady, You Shot Me," Har Mar Superstar

    When Har Mar Superstar announced a soulful stylistic shift on his new album, Bye Bye 17, some local skeptics wondered if the notorious musical prankster had the heart to play it straight for an entire record. But "Lady, You Shot Me" assuaged all those worries immediately. The track draws inspiration from the last words that Sam Cooke reportedly spoke, shortly… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past Year

    Lizzo, Lizzobangers

    Sometimes it takes someone with an outsider's perspective to shake up the rules of the game. In the case of Lizzo and her debut solo album, Lizzobangers, the game was Minnesota hip-hop, and she didn't so much shake it up as obliterate the whole thing and recreate it in her own image. The buzzed-about image is one of chalice-sipping and… More >>
  • Best Mixtape


    Reframing the aggressive maximalism of P.O.S.'s 2012 stunner We Don't Even Live Here into a more spare electronic soundscape, Marijuana Deathsquads' free remixed version of the album is a brilliant interchange of sonic ideas. Deathsquads' trademark soundtrack-to-the-apocolypse chaos maintains the stark feel P.O.S. crafted, but takes it in strange new directions with new guest appearances by Lizzo, Greg Grease, Sims,… More >>
  • Best Local Music Compilation

    Piñata Records' Hit Parade Sampler

    Southside Desire started Piñata Records on a whim, when the rock and soul act looked to get their record pressed in Nashville and the plant asked them what label they were on. From there, the band have not only shared their own music on their upstart label, including their buoyant full-length debut, Songs to Love and Die To, but they… More >>
  • Best Song About Minnesota

    Jeremy Messersmith, "You'll Only Break His Heart"

    When winter arrives, Minnesotans succumb to a great many distractions. Booze, football, routine complaining, and all sorts of far tawdrier pleasures keep our minds away from the inevitable pit that is seasonal affective disorder. Sex is a popular choice. A song called "You'll Only Break His Heart" from Jeremy Messersmith's 2014 album, Heart Murmurs, explores the moments right before a… More >>
  • Best Cover Song

    The Cactus Blossoms, "This Boy"

    Leave it to the Cactus Blossoms to take a Beatles song back in time to before it was even written. Originally a John Lennon-led attempt at a Smokey Robinson-esque tear-jerker, "This Boy" was the 1963 b-side of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and eventually ended up on Meet the Beatles! In the capable hands of Blossoms Page Berkum and… More >>
  • Best Local Record Label

    Totally Gross National Product

    The folks at Totally Gross National Product have been putting out some of the best, er, product in the Twin Cities for years now, but in the course of the past 12 months or so they've taken their game to a whole other level. Hardly a week goes by that the Minneapolis label isn't sponsoring a local showcase, or that… More >>
  • Best Album Cover

    Prince, The Breakfast Experience

    The best album covers are iconic — David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, the Velvet Underground & Nico's eponymous album, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and countless others. This year, we can add another one to the list. Prince's The Breakfast Experience EP shows that Prince not only has good taste (score one for Dave Chappelle!), but he's got… More >>
  • Best Specialty Record Store

    Fifth Element

    You can't say enough about Rhymesayers' impact on independent hip-hop. And it's not just for the art — it's also for their ability to keep the business side of it alive in a digital-minded era where .zips and .rars have replaced car trunks and backpacks for DIY music distribution. Fifth Element is far more than just the merch arm of… More >>
  • Best Record Store Day Location

    Hymie's Vintage Records

    Record Store Day isn't a competition, it's a moment to celebrate all of the independent record stores in the community. That said, there are some stores that warrant more attention for how they mark the occasion, namely the family-owned Hymie's. The vinyl institution has held East Lake real estate since the 1980s, and they make a show of that community… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Acme Tattoo

    It's not every day that you have the chance to get inked by a genuine living legend. But that's exactly what you can do if you visit Don Nolan at Acme Tattoo in St. Paul. Born in Connecticut, Nolan began his tattooing career in 1955, and is one of several people credited with helping to jumpstart the tattoo renaissance of… More >>

Best of Award Graphics