Scene Not Heard

Daniel Corrigan

First a confession from your host: It was all new to me, folks. In the 12 months since the 1998 edition of this poll (to which I contributed exactly nothing), I've taken something of a crash course in local music.

When I began covering the beat last May, I hoped that when our annual New Music Poll rolled around again, I would have something to say about that most vital life force in any creative community: new blood. Instead, I keep thinking about those not-so-new faces and rooms that crossed my radar just this year. Like the traditional folk sessions in the back of Kieran's Irish Pub. Or the many homebound noisemakers who emerged from years of self-imposed basement exile to occupy the public's eye at two regularly held electronica cabarets, New Atlantis and Future Perfect. Or the amateur soul singers showcasing their gospel pipes for the swanky set at the Riverview Supper Club. These little scenes have existed for years, but were previously as "hidden" to me as the thriving local basement-punk underground, the tent-rave subculture, or the blooming swing thing--all of which dented the mainstream club consciousness this year.

In this light, I can see why previous Best New Band pollsters have left the definition of "new" to the discernment and listening habits of each year's voters. People inevitably choose music that's new to them. Often, considering the scene affiliations of many of our pollsters, one fan's brand new bag is another's old hat. Take this year's fifth place winners, Abstract Pack, an ensemble of veteran St. Paul hip hoppers who placed 28th in the 1995 Picked to Click poll. It took their energetic 1998 debut disc Bousta Set It (For the Record), and four years of scene-building by the Rhyme Sayers, their web of rap-activist affiliates and competitors, before the Pack registered with rock fans and critics.

But if our voters--most of whom are white, and often decidedly rock-centered--seemed ready to redress a certain obliviousness to local black pop, this impulse wasn't quite strong enough to make room for Billboard chart-toppers Next, the Pack's onetime peers in the local community-center circuit. Next garnered no votes at all among this year's Picked-to clique, suggesting either a lack of interest in mainstream pop, or a sense that the group didn't need our poll's meager assistance.

Still, while the rock crowd didn't seem ready to embrace R&B, our balloters did select an act that challenges traditional conceptions of what Minnesotan alt-rock can mean--in the process handing this year's winner the biggest landslide since 12 Rods scored nearly twice as many votes as Semisonic three years ago. Which brings us to the Mason Jennings Band, whose packed, post-folkie shows would seem to represent a trend unto itself. But behind Mason Jennings's impact with many voters lurks the waning influence of a 'Mats fixation. Countrified bands such as Tangletown and Bellwether (who placed ninth and sixth) might have placed higher if they possessed half of Jennings's charisma.

Yet if the Mason Jennings Band's success typifies a certain desire to renovate the Twin Cities club world without smashing its foundations, there's also a desire for sweeping change suggested by the fourth-place finish of Jake Mandell--even if the constituency for his brilliant armchair techno primarily consists of boosters of the burgeoning noise-electro scene (this writer included). "You can have your heart-rending lyrics," these voters seem to say. "We'll take the visceral pleasures of computer-generated abstraction." Or, as in the case of Pavementesque teens the Plastic Constellations (third place), voters opted to keep their rock leanings but forgo intelligible songs altogether, falling instead for the band's raw stage energy. With the second place finishers Selby Tigers, balloters seem to ask for the best of both worlds.

Of course, spotting trends in a poll like this can have a sizable margin of error. It might make sense that the arch-ironic Rocky Horror piano-pounding of Mark Mallman did roughly as well as the catchy, though traditionally ironic, state-of-the-Entry rock by ÜberScenester. But I was plainly baffled that the constantly performing South Dakota blues wunderkinds Indigenous didn't fare a bit better, though I'm convinced it's only because the blues people we got in touch with responded in lesser numbers than their local indie-rock peers.

Still, the fact that this year's Picked to Click is among the most musically diverse in the poll's nine-year history might have less to do with methodology than with an increasing recognition of discrete subscenes. As voters wrote us again and again, it's the smaller scenes within the local scene, as much as the bands they produced, that are this year's news.


How it works: We asked 60 fans of local music--critics, radio folks, musicians, label mavens, boosters--to send in their top five favorite new artists of 1998. Each number one ranking received five points, each number two received four points, and so on. The acts that collected more than five points are listed below. We collected three times more comments than we could possibly publish, and so special thanks go out to everyone who voted and contributed. A full list of balloters appears at the end of the Picked to Click section on p. 17. In helping us compile our unscientific report on the state of Twin Cities music, these sundry critics and music professionals have shown themselves to be those most noble creatures--local music fans.  

by Peter S. Scholtes


Readers can hear many of the bands mentioned in Pick to Click IX at the music showcases for this year's Minnesota Music Awards.



1.The Mason Jennings Band (57)

2.Selby Tigers (33)

3.Plastic Constellations (29)

4.Jake Mandell (27)

5.Abstract Pack (23)

6.Bellwether, ÜberScenester (21)

7.Mark Mallman (and the Heat) (20)

8.Sixth Sense (181/3)

9.Tangletown (18)

10.Indigenous (16)

11.Hawaii (151/2)

12.Moveable Feast, Ouija Radio (14)

13.Walter Kong and the Dangermakers, American Head Charge (12)

14.Radar Threat, The Misfires (11)

15.The Hot (101/2)

16.The Dames, Escape Mechanism (10)

17.Landing Gear (91/3)

18.Lunar 9 (81/2)

19.Arkology, Fizzy Lifter, Truth Maze (8)

20.Bobby Llama, Prosthetica, Debi 7, Sliver, Dixie and the Cannibals, Salamander (7)

21.DJ Ts, Ninian Hawick, Drunk Drivers (6)

22.Olo (51/2)


Votes tabulated by Bridgette Reinsmoen

For every scenester, a scene:
Unpacking the Picked to Click ballot box

Peter S. Scholtes, City Pages

1. Hawaii

2. Selby Tigers

3. Abstract Pack

4. Mark Mallman

5. Radar Threat

Mason Jennings applies a nice not-from-round-here accent to some poignant lyrics, but I can't help wondering how the tunes would go over if they spilled from the mouth of a nonbabe. Face it: Charisma is as elemental to folk heroism as it is to rock-star posturing and performance-art pranks. This fact is not lost on Hawaii, a singer who embodies all three elements. Operating under an alias that reminds me of Elvis and countless state/city-named bands (e.g., Boston and Kansas), Lifter Puller bassist-keyboardist Steve Barone lip-synchs not only his prerecorded, Bay City Rollers-style anthems but even the mindless stage patter between them. He obliterates any pretense to spontaneity or audience interaction, and manages to put the ploy over on nerve alone. His "band," Hawaii Rocks, plays air-everything and comes complete with a phony entourage of fans to fill the front rows, hold up signs ("Hawaii Rocks"), and cheer like teenagers. It's a closed circle, this little cabal--and, perhaps, the ultimate defense mechanism against a bored rock scene. All they need now is canned applause and a self-published fanzine to give the show a rave review. That is, if this blurb doesn't count. With much less ado, all four of my other choices show the same kind of faith-restoring audacity. Hip hoppers Abstract Pack and scruff-poppers Selby Tigers are two bolts of sonic confidence from St. Paul, both clearly aimed at a wider underground. Retro-electro noise sculptor Radar Threat burrows a bit more, letting his aural uniqueness speak to the growing local avant-garde music scene. As for Mark Mallman: The oddest ex-Odd member is too weird for Jennings regulars and too painfully true to himself onstage to feign pomo detachment. But without a "genre" to tap into or a "scene" to incubate Mallman, his brilliance may be lost between the cracks.


Kate Sullivan, St. Paul Pioneer Press

1. Arkology

2. Bellwether

3. Indigenous

4. The Mason Jennings Band

5. Selby Tigers

A generalized rant directed at no one in particular: The local scene is sophisticated, mature, and perennially poised to generate one or two breakout artists a year for the major labels to sign and the radio conglomerates to push. We've got a safety-first aesthetic, producing safe music for safe machinery. No one good is going out of his head, and I'm getting bored out of my skull. In terms of crucial contributions to the evolution of rock, the Twin Cities don't matter anymore. Prove me wrong. I dare you. That said, the five groups listed above each offer intelligent twists on their genres and, most important, share a commitment to simplicity and clarity of vision--be that the elegant authority of Mason Jennings, the poetic abstraction of the spoken-word/jazz collective Arkology, or the unironic teen-rebellion anthems of Selby Tigers.


Laura Sinagra, freelance writer

1. Jake Mandell  

2. Landing Gear

3. The David Hill Punk Rock Trio

4. Abstract Pack

5. Empire

Mandell's pleasing sonic ginkgo--a laptop-generated mix of bloops, washes, and beats--calms the jitters without blurring the focus. As far as egregious pop fame is concerned, why Matchbox 20? Why Third Eye Blind? Why not Landing Gear, the snappy new band assembled by a former Hovercraftsman, the sensitive-yet-shatterproof Jay Hurley? With spazzitude and smarts, bassist David Hill (joined by two members of the pure punk Mother's Day) shakes it up nice and tight, with the verve of a thousand 15-year-olds at a Model U.N. hotel party. Local hip hop went pro with Abstract's radio-ready tracks and the rump-shakin' live show of the huggable Empire crew. Allow me an honorable mention: John Crozier, mayor of the edge city of Postpopolis, whose matrix of "side" projects--most notably Ninian Hawick--keeps him perpetually new.


Randy Hawkins, 7th Street Entry

1. Ouija Radio

2. Happy Apple

3. The Dames

4. Flim Flam Man

5. Dropnickel

Ouija Radio is my favorite local power trio since T.V.B.C. They combine that band's sound, Hüsker Dü, and hard grrrl rock. Covering songs like "Boris the Spider" and "She Bop," they create unique arrangements loosely wrapped around songs that are often about ten minutes long: three minutes of verses and choruses plus seven minutes of etc. To some people Happy Apple is just a bunch of guys playing as many notes and beats as possible. To others they are skilled artists creating a "cascading soundscape." But recently Happy Apple has leavened its serious music with a tongue-in-cheek style. The Dames are a rock 'n' roll trio from Duluth who are influenced heavily by old Minneapolis punk rock and Seattle grunge; they combine avant-garde metal and sensible, melodic songwriting. Dropnickel plays pop-punk that doesn't make me think of Green Day or Limp Bizkit--a pleasant change from the paint-by-numbers bands that have made whole careers out of formulas and imitation. I'd also like to throw in two honorable mentions: Landing Gear's Jay Hurley (formerly of Hovercraft/Shatterproof) who did it again, proving his talent as a pop songwriter in his best band to date; and Sixth Sense (Rhyme Sayers) the newest, youngest addition to the Rhyme Sayers collective, and a crew that might give that Eminem kid a run for his money.


Simon Peter Groebner, City Pages contributor

1. The Mason Jennings Band

2. Mark Mallman and the Heat

3. Lunar 9

4. Landing Gear

5. DJ Ts

Last year I facetiously (though correctly) predicted the breakup of Picked to Click poll-toppers the Odd, only to pay the karmic price by seeing the demise of my personal pick for number one, the Minx. (The Odd later regrouped with new members, while the Minx soldier on without Jessika Minx, under the name Ronin.) Anyway, I'll hold off on predictions about the Mason Jennings Band, whose four-month stand at the 400 Bar pretty much made this winter worth it. The singer has garnered the only genuine local bar buzz of the late '90s, and I like the way his personal self-awareness exists alongside an utter lack of artistic arrogance. Lunar 9 and Landing Gear are recycled pop bands featuring familiar faces from Shatterproof, and both offer an improvement on their previous incarnation. For new faces, I enjoyed DJ Ts and his hyperfragmented cut-up sessions just as much as I did brilliant computer composers Jake Mandell and Escape Mechanism. Ts provided an instantly engaging deviation from DJ music's fairly predictable expressionism. Oh, and my demos of the year: Rebuttal, a two-guy Minneapolis-Seattle collaboration with shimmering acoustic guitars; and Blank, who plays rhythmically potent, fin de siècle power pop.


Slug, Atmosphere

1. Sixth Sense

2. Moveable Feast

3. The Plastic Constellations

4. Prosthetica

5. Fresh Squeez (Bonus Juice)

DJ Abilities of Sixth Sense is one of the best turntablists in the Midwest. I've watched him amaze people all over the nation. His MC partner Eyedea, the 17-year-old grammar magician, is easily the most profound rapper St. Paul has ever produced, with a soul-searching, cynical, minimalist emo-rap. Anything Truth Maze touches turns into soul, and Moveable Feast is no exception. We played a show with the Plastic Constellations once at Hopkins High, and by the time they stopped working the crowd, I was scared to play. This city is not big enough to hold their energy. Someone sign them while they're still innocent enough to exploit. Prosthetica's stoned, sonic tongue-bath makes me wanna give my girlfriend a back rub. It isn't cheating to pick the all-star pickup band, Fresh Squeez, even though every time they play they're a new band.  


Jon Dolan, City Pages

1. Jake Mandell

2. Ninian Hawick

3. Abstract Pack

4. Radar Threat

5. Empire

In the middle of what seemed like Sahara conditions, the Minneapolis music scene produced its best crop of young talent in years. Not with itty-bitty pretty petty pep-pop or achy-breaky alt country. No, 1998 finally saw the fringes mount an attack upon a stultifying, self-satisfied local rock scene. A new school--the progeny of Rod Smith and Woody McBride, the new masters of home electronics, the Mac daddies, and the champions of that exotic African-American form of expression, hip hop--created a number of vibrant subcultures. I could list DJs alone--I-XL, Abilities, Ts, Omni, Tyrone--and have the makings of an excellent top five right there. But that would be to deny the joys of Empire's fresh-faced R&B, Radar Threat's dystopian drones, and Abstract Pack's nationally acknowledged arty-party jams, not to mention the ingenious home-studio experiments of one John Crozier, sound-sculpting under the name Ninian Hawick. It would also leave out Jake Mandell, the best mind for music to emerge from these parts in a long time. The arrogantly intelligent, gorgeously baroque, post-techno jigsaw puzzles on Mandell's Parallel Processes have the grace of classic-pop lyricism, the narrative integrity of fine songwriting, and the undeniable drive of great rock 'n' roll.


Earl Root, Root of All Evil Records

1. Lorde of All Desires

2. Opaque

3. Ripsnorter

4. 21st Century Sin

5. Pentagoria

There's a lot of metal underground hardcore bands that are failing for lack of support from the scene, despite some great all-ages metal shows at the Turf Club and the Armory. Lorde of All Desires is a combination of progressive and black metal. Opaque plays very heavy, crunchy stuff, and they're good for being as young as they are. Ripsnorter is a Misfits worship band, nice guys who are really into it for the sheer sake of the music. With 21st Century Sin, the music is progressive, interesting metal--catchy but not predictable. Pentagoria play a great combination of death, speed, black, and thrash--everything that's happening in the metal scene combined into one aggressive and impressive band of very young musicians. Definitely a band to watch. Honorable mention to Impaler, with their new lineup.


Rachel J. Joyce, Walker Art Center

1. Arkology

2. The Short Fuses

3. All the Pretty Horses

4. Bobby Llama

5. Annie Enneking

My list this year is somewhere between "Ladies First" and Lilith Fair--a result of my efforts to wrest myself from my consuming passion for all things global and funkified. In developing an appreciation for what the Twin Cities have to offer beyond the ever-shriveling world-beat scene, I have been very impressed by the gals this year. Arkology, a jazz/soul/spoken-word collective, has really come into its own over the last year. Although the group's Nikki Giovanni-meets-Brand New Heavies vibe has attracted more people each time I see them, they are holding back (either by choice or oversight) on the one thing guaranteed to make them scene darlings: singer/poet/diva Mankwe. This woman could wail the wrap off Ms. Badu's head. I've heard her read a chicken curry recipe that made me tremble; pass her the mic, please. The Short Fuses are a sure sign that bad-ass mama Ms. Georgia Peach is on her way up; she does not return my calls anymore. All the Pretty Horses--glam rock served raw in the half shell--slips down the throat like butter. A lesson to be learned by some local rock boys: If women ever had a fantasy involving dirty-haired, flannel-wearin' boys with marginal hygiene, it passed when Cobain did. The cool kids are showering this year. The really cool ones are slipping into fishnets and spiked heels. Deal with it. Bobby Llama plays catchy global pop, and that frontgal Ellis is feisty. Finally, ordinarily I would rather watch a Tae-Bo infomercial marathon than listen to acoustic music for the coffeehouse set, so I'm hardly an expert. Ms. Annie's lyrics, however, have the same macabre twist on the human condition that makes me swoon for Morrissey and Tricky. But just like a spoonful of sugar, her off-handed phrasing makes the medicine go down.

Jason Parker, Extreme Noise Records

1. Ereshkigal

2. The Ending Again

3. Scorned

4. Real Enemy

5. The Hidden Chord

Now with double the guitar power(!), Ereshkigal explores the darker side of American hardcore. The female vocals push them over the top, and they keep playing faster (which is good these days!). The Ending Again is the surprise hit of the spring season: A very new local band doing the emotional hardcore thing circa late-'80s Washington, D.C. (before emo became a mess of whining and screaming). Scorned are various older guys and a gal who've put together a very nice snapshot of Swedish thrash/hardcore from the early '80s. Cute band alert (except for the guitar player): Real Enemy shows that it's about time straight-edge bands started playing fast again. And the Hidden Chord is another new band with a superstar lineup--ex-Kill Sadie, a current Misfire, and the tall guy from Ordination of Aaron--and they play some really sharp slash-and-burn mod-punk stuff.  


Jen Downham, Groove Garden Records

1. Initiation

2. Head Spin

3. Moveable Feast

4. Fresh Squeez

5. Anika

Initiation is the name for Truth Maze and Sistah Mimi's semimonthly 7th Street Entry gig, where Maze hosts a loose collective of like-minded DJs, poets, musicians, and hip-hop acts. Maze's Trektah Beam Express was an Initiation favorite. Head Spin's Sunday night Bon Appétit hip-hop hoedown put on by DJ Syrum, Detrick, and Zachary is like a cool basement house party that's open to the public. Like with most house parties, the sound is sometimes questionable, the seating is limited, and the lights are a little too bright. But the talent, vibe, and Guinness on tap make it one of my favorite new spots. The hip-hop lineup and DJs change weekly, but this showcase always offers a crazy array of young headz: fresh, unadulterated, and not out to promote Hilfiger. It's a gem. As for Moveable Feast: Drummer extraordinaire Kevin Washington is baaaack! And he's part of an all-star line up of groovers: John Keston, Jeff Bailey, Truth Maze, and Peter Virks. Often tucked away at the 400 Bar on a Monday, these seasoned kids will move you. Although the rotating version of Fresh Squeez is not new, recently a solid core of performers has come together to make this a supergroove group to be reckoned with. Surprise guests and sit-ins are nice cherries on this fat lollapalooza. Anika is a soul diva with just the right amount of attitude. She recently had 1,200 people at First Avenue wrapped so tight around her talented and sexy little pinkie finger that it made the place squeal.


Bill Snyder, Twin Cities Revue

1. Tugboat

2. The Hot

3. Bellwether

4. Dixie and the Cannibals

5. Tangletown

Tugboat completely blew me away! Mike Michel is an ax man with impeccable taste. He's got the power of a chainsaw and the sensitivity of a good therapist. As a vocalist, he has an edgy power that cuts right through the room. Besides, how can you go wrong when Happy Apple is the rest of your band? The Hot consists of more exes than Zsa Zsa Gabor could imagine: Bryan Hanna (ex-Hang Ups), Jason Orris (ex-Polara) and Tal Tahir (ex-King Can). This outfit combined the fun of 'Sota pop with the sophistication of three artists who know their way around the studio, and topped it all off with a beautiful three-vocalist assault. Bellwether's Turnstiles is certainly a respectable debut album. Eric Luoma's vocals ache, and country harmonies abound. Overall, the record continually resists the urge to fall into a sleepy alt-country haze. I played Dixie and the Cannibals' demo nonstop for five weeks. They play good, tight power-pop with hooks in all the right places. It sends me back to the days when postpunk college radio was a nationwide movement sporting acts like Let's Active, The Plimsouls, and early R.E.M. Tangletown's debut album foreshadows better things to come. There is remarkable promise in Seth Zimmerman's songwriting. As a unit they are as tight as they come, and their cover of "September Gurls" even makes that overcovered chestnut sound fresh again.


Christina Schmitt, freelance writer

1. The Misfires

2. Truth Maze

3. Selby Tigers

4. Debi 7

5. Abstract Pack

I've heard estimates that some 400 new bands turn up in the Twin Cities every year, and just as many quietly die in their warehouse practice spaces. So at the risk of sounding like a gloomy oracle, I say best wishes for survival to my choices for best new local band. With the kind of bitter self-righteousness that could only be learned in East St. Paul or in the backwoods of Wisconsin, the Misfires seem committed to updating the Jam and Gang of Four for the all-ages scene. Truth Maze remains the best beatboxer in Minneapolis, and the work he does under his various incarnations--his spoken-word artistry as Trektah Beam Express, his drum circle blowouts with Fodé Bangoura, et al.--is among the most challenging and political music activism these parts have seen in a while. Selby Tigers do not need any props from me: Before their CD Year of the Tigers hit the burner, their talent and connections assured them success. The most fun for fans, however, will be in watching Debi 7, whose rapid growth is sure to come if this trio sticks with it. I'd give them until July before they're constantly compared to Billy Childish's classic garage-punk band, Thee Headcoatees.  


Robyne Robinson, Channel 9 News

1. Moveable Feast

2. The Mason Jennings Band

3. Anika

4. Passage

5. The Hot

Wow, what a rough year. Incredible bands and institutions imploded or burned out, which meant some tearful farewells (Casino Royale, Freeloaded Wednesdays at the Front, the Sensational Joint Chiefs, Groove Garden Sundays at the Cabooze) and a temporary return to domesticity on my part, due to a lack of musical stimulation. Then I heard these new bands, and their uniquely dynamic sounds seduced me back into the clubs. For that, I thank them.


Tom Rosenthal, Foxfire Coffee Lounge

1. The Plastic Constellations

2. Walker Kong and the Dangermakers

3. Cadillac Blindside

4. Effervescent

5. The Misfires

The coolest part of my job booking an all-ages club is getting to see the newest bands extremely early in their development. Teenage bands are awesome! No pretensions. No absurd career ambitions. Just the pure joy of rocking out! With all of that in mind, here is my list. The Plastic Constellations: These boys from Hopkins High are turning everyone's heads. They jump around like they can't believe how much fun they're having. On top of that, they have interesting and sophisticated Ideas about lyrical and musical composition. In many ways they are more compelling than any twentysomething rockers you'd find playing the local dives. Truly a breath of fresh air. At first I was amused by the lineup for Walker Kong and the Dangermakers--four girls in cute matching outfits fronted by one dude. Then I got a load of the songs, some of which I still find myself humming. How can you argue with "Don't Forget the Underground"? Okay, the Jonathan Richman comparisons are inescapable, but with Walker Kong it's a loving homage and not a shameless rip-off. Cadillac Blindside is a tuneful and powerful foursome that artfully throws what some people call punk, pop, and "emo" into a blender to deliver a sound that is their own. Effervescent (of St. Paul Central High School) are a stunningly forceful postpunk, indie-rock trio. The Misfires may be heirs to the legacy of the Strike. They play an extra loud hyperactive Clash like form of rock 'n' roll.


Laura Brandenburg, Sweet Ass magazine

1. Mark Mallman

2. Flybüss

3. Vaseline Alley

4. Mother Bitch

5. Trace Element

Mallman, the former Odd man, knows the power of a good pop song and keeps his aesthetics--aural and visual--ever evolving. Flybüss have an excellent ear for timing and originality: Their jazz improvisations can involve elements of Zen and John Cage. Oh, did I mention their tuba-playing math teacher? Flybüss phone home. Vaseline Alley's good, sleazy rock 'n' roll is hard to find, but these three guys and a girl crank it out dirty-style. I'd pay even more if they cooled off the speed tempos, laid out the bass, and got a funky little groove on. Boasting a full band plus keys, one horn, and two sisters on vocals, Mother Bitch proves that St. Paul has got it going on. It sounds like a blues-rock and gospel mix, but I'm pretty sure they're talking dirty. Also based in St. Paul, Trance Element is an acid-jazz and hip-hop group featuring the cool vocals of Kerry Ann Francis as well as Dameün Strange on sax. Look for a CD in late summer/early fall.


Puffman Rae, Lick magazine

1. The Dames

2. Knock One

3. Annie Enneking

4. American Head Charge

5. Family for Life


If the national media listened to our music, they'd find a mini-apple busting out of old categories. Bands around this city are hungry, and the community is strong. I recommend you mentally download a list of your own. As for mine, the Dames are a downright spiritual experience. Knock One rhymes with the intensity of hip hop's top rank; increased exposure should bounce his crew into more venues. Annie Enneking is a soft-voiced, hard-working singer-songwriter. American Head Charge played an important role in the local resurrection of hardcore punk. And Family for Life's energy is still flipping slick beats through my bone marrow.


Jon Jon Scott, Pulse of the Twin Cities  

1. Abstract Pack

2. Raw Villa

3. Prosthetica

4. Moveable Feast

5. Sixth Sense

Abstract Pack has been around for a while, but they really came into their own this year with Bousta Set It (For the Record), an album that helped place local hip hop in the national spotlight. Another local crew with their eyes on the prize is Raw Villa, who have two singles rotating through KMOJ's rap specialty shows. Now, after opening for everyone from DMX to Esthero, Villa has taken their Wu-Tang-via-Jay-Z hardcore into the studio. Prosthetica put the star back in rock star, armed with a huge light show and tons of Mancunian swagger. And as the jazz and spoken-word scenes merged, Moveable Feast (with Kenny Washington and Truth Maze) brought the funk to jazzbos, just as the eclectic turntablism of DJ Abilities and left-field wordplay of Eyedea in Sixth Sense reminded hip hop of its adventurous heritage. In fact, with so much underground hip-hop activity in town, it's a shame there's no club space that caters to its core audience: the black community.

Contributors: Dan Haugen, John Beggs, Lynne Bengtson, Laura Brandenburg, Jon Bream, Bjorn Cahill Jr., Amy Carlson, Lynda Davis, Bill DeVille, Jen Downham, DJ Drone, Nate Dungan, Jim Francis, Deneen Gannon, Vickie Gilmer, Simon Peter Groebner, Sonia Grover, Keith Harris, Grant Hart, Randy Hawkins, Dwight Hobbes, Henry Horman, Grant Johnson, Rachel J. Joyce, Katherine Kelly, Chris Kieser, J.R. Maddox, Michaelangelo Matos, Mean Larry, Jesse Mraz, Patrick Olsen, Scott Pakudaitis, Jason Parker, Puffman Rae, Ian Rans, Pete Rhodes, Dan Richmond, Robyne Robinson, Earl Root, Tom Rosenthal, Brent Sayers, Christina Schmitt, Jon Jon Scott, Danny Sigelman, Laura Sinagra, Slug, Rod Smith, Bill Snyder, Chris Strouth, Bill Sullivan, Kate Sullivan, Roger Swardson, John Vance, Ed Varga, Krista Vilinskis, Karrie Vrabel, Jim Walsh, Mei Young

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