More best-of lists from Twin Cities music critics.
1. Y.N.Rich Kids, "Hot Cheetos & Takis" (40)
2. P.O.S., "Get Down" (32)
3. P.O.S., "F--- Your Stuff" (16)
4. (tie) BNLX, "1929" (15)
Fathom Lane, "Hope You Never"
Trampled by Turtles, "Alone"
7. (tie) Actual Wolf, "Hollow Heel" (13)
The Pines, "All the While"
9. Guante & Big Cats,"The Invisible Backpacker of Privilege" (12)
10. John Mark Nelson, "Reminisce" (11)
If a song's ability to entrench itself in your head is a sign of greatness, then it's no surprise that the viral hit born out of a YMCA after-school program in north Minneapolis took top honors here.
The real surprise was how the elementary- and middle-school-aged Y.N.Rich Kids paid homage to their favorite snack items with such savory rhymes and full-on, authentic rapper energy. Our critics' approval proves that, while it was insatiably cute, no one was laughing at "Hot Cheetos & Takis" as they do most other YouTube hits (remember "Chocolate Rain"?). See the video that charmed 4.5 million YouTube viewers along with clips of other top songs at startribune.com/music.
BEST LIVE ACTS
1. P.O.S. (44)
2. Poliça (29)
3. Doomtree (25)
4. Astronautalis (25)
5. Marijuana Deathsquads (17)
6. The Chalice (14)
7. Audio Perm (11)
8. (tie) Brain Tumors, Brother Ali, Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen with Her Disbelievers, Minnesota Orchestra, Trampled by Turtles (10)
The fact that P.O.S. won this category as a solo act -- over his famously hyperactive Doomtree rap crew and the impressive electro-improv troupe the Marijuana Deathsquads, which he also co-anchors -- likely has to do with his unforgettable October release party at First Avenue, just a few days after it came to light that he needs a kidney transplant and had to swear off a fall tour.
Back in May, he also captivated what was probably the biggest audience faced by any other local act this year -- nearly 20,000 people strong -- at the Soundset fest. No. 2 entrants Poliça had a lot of festival gigs this year, too, and wowed them with their dueling drummers and enchanting singer. Quick-witted freestyle rap king Astronautalis also had many memorable local gigs in 2012.NO. 1 SIGN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2012
Andrea Swensson (89.3 the Current music reporter): The conversations sparked by Jordan Gatesmith of Howler and stoked by questions like, "Are we in a golden age of music?" reminded me just how many opinionated and passionate people we have in this ever-expanding music scene. Sometimes it feels like a big, loud, dysfunctional family, with members arguing about each other's hype one minute and collaborating to make a new scene-spanning compilation the next.
Chris Riemenschneider: It's probably fair to say that 99 percent of the people in the local music scene aren't rich -- fans, club staffers, label proprietors and certainly musicians -- and yet they generously donate their time and money to passionate causes. Proof came this year when the election and controversial state amendments rolled around, and when floods struck Duluth, and especially when Slim Dunlap and P.O.S. got sick.
Erik Thompson (City Pages contributor and freelancer): The amount of local acts who broke nationally and worldwide. It was gratifying and a whole lot of fun to see familiar local bands playing late-night talk shows.
Tom Horgen (Star Tribune features editor/reporter): Rhymesayers' gargantuan one-day hip-hop festival, Soundset, brought some of the country's hottest rap stars to town, including Kendrick Lamar. But it was our local luminaries, such as P.O.S. and Astronautalis, who shined brightest.
Jon Schober (89.3 the Current local music assistant): It was good to see hip-hop from other corners of the Twin Cities getting the attention they deserve: Greg Grease, Sean Anonymous, Homeless, K.Raydio, Lizzo, Sophia Eris and Claire De Lune, Guante, MaLLy, I Self Devine, Xavier Marquis, etc.
Kyle Matteson (Twitter guru @solace): Youth without youth! The sheer volume and quality of artists who aren't even of legal drinking age in 2012 was something to behold. John Mark Nelson, Collin Ward (Observer Drift), Clara Salyer (Prissy Clerks) and Lydia Hoglund (Bomba de Luz) just to name a few. Our scene should be in good hands for years to come.
The rest of our TCCT 2012 voters: Star Tribune critic Jon Bream and Senior A&E Editor Tim Campbell; Ross Raihala of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Jay Boller, Jahna Peloquin and Michael Rietmulder from Vita.mn; Reed Fischer, Jeff Gage and Jack Spencer from City Pages; Pamela Espeland and Jim Walsh from MinnPost.com; Chase Mathey from Radio K, and dedicated freelancers Cyn Collins, Sally Hedberg, Rob Van Alstyne and Youa Vang. See their individual lists at startribune.com/music.