The year's best in show and on record

Our music critics agreed on Springsteen and Alabama Shakes, but otherwise they saw 2012 from distinctly different perspectives. Compare your picks with theirs.

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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Nov. 11.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Not that we're complaining, but being a music critic in the Twin Cities is more demanding than it's ever been. National promoters and local entrepreneurs have seen to it that every weekend in the summer and nearly every week year-round is loaded up with concerts that merit coverage.

Moreover, the ever-changing nature of the record business, where nearly everything is Internet-based now, has made it harder than ever to hear every noteworthy album.

It takes at least two. Here are our dueling -- and only occasionally intersecting -- perspectives on the year in music.

Bream's top concerts

Don't think of it as two concerts. Think of Bruce Springsteen at the X as a 52-song concert with a 21-hour intermission. How can you top the Boss in top form for nearly six hours?

1. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Nov. 11-12, Xcel Energy Center.

2. Alabama Shakes, Aug. 2, First Avenue

3. Fiona Apple, July 16, Orpheum Theatre

4. Paco de Lucia, April 15, O'Shaughnessy

5. Metric, Sept. 11, State Theatre

6. Aerosmith, June 6, Target Center

7. Tool, June 23, Harriet Island

8. Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw, July 8, Target Field

9. Merle Haggard/Kris Kristofferson, July 25, State Theatre

10. The Revolution, Feb. 19, First Avenue

Riemenschneider's top concerts 

The Boss brought it, no question, but the Irishman of Swell Season fame also had an impressively expansive big band, and both he and P.O.S. left their everything on stage like no one else.

1. Glen Hansard, Sept. 29, First Avenue

2. P.O.S. album release party, Oct. 26, First Avenue

3. Wilco, July 1, Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park

4. Bruce Springsteen, Nov. 12, Xcel Energy Center

5. Fiona Apple, July 16, Orpheum Theatre

6. Bob Mould Band, Sept. 15, First Avenue

7. Alabama Shakes, Aug. 2, First Avenue

8. Black Keys, May 15, Target Center

9. Tribute to the Replacements/Slim Dunlap, Nov. 23, First Avenue

10. "Real-Phonic Radio Hour" with the Pines, Erik Koskinen, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers, March 23, J.J. Hill Library

Bream's top albums

Many old favorites -- including Jack White finally going officially solo -- did themselves proud in 2012, and some remarkable newer voices, including Alabama Shakes' soulful Brittany Howard and R&B auteur Frank Ocean, commanded our attention, as well.

1. Jack White, "Blunderbuss"

2. Alabama Shakes, "Boys and Girls"

3. Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange"

4. Fiona Apple, "The Idler Wheel"

5. Leonard Cohen, "Old Ideas"

6. Dr. John, "Locked Down"

7. Cold Specks, "I Predict a Graceful Expulsion"

8. Bob Dylan, "Tempest"

9. Chelle Rose, "Ghost of Browder Holler"

10. Miguel, "Kaleidoscope Dream"

Riemenschneider's top albums

Classic, head-sticking songs in the case of Dr. Dog, Heartless Bastards and Beach House compete with chills-inducing spirit and adrenaline from Japandroids, the Shakes and Lamar.

1. Dr. Dog, "Be the Void"

2. Japandroids, "Celebration Rock"

3. Alabama Shakes, "Boys and Girls"

4. Heartless Bastards, "Arrow"

5. Beach House, "Bloom"

6. Kendrick Lamar, "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

7. Dwight Yoakam, "3 Pears"

8. Killer Mike, "R.A.P. Music"

9. Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange"

10. OFF!, "OFF!"

10 stories that rocked our world in 2012

1. Kidney problems derail P.O.S. tour

2. River's Edge brings a big-time festival back to Harriet Island

3. The splashy new Brick nightclub gives refunds, changes name after opening-night fiasco

4. Tornado sirens put an early end to another highly attended Soundset hip-hop festival

5. Madonna performs in Twin Cities after 25-year absence

6. Semisonic's Dan Wilson wins Grammy for Adele's "Someone Like You" and writes for Taylor Swift and Pink albums

7. Target Field makes an all-star concert debut with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw

8. Local hero Slim Dunlap suffers debilitating stroke

9. Somerset's 89.3 the Current-flavored Soundtown fest caves, but the jammy electronic fest Summer Set soars

10. Our own Nicholas David makes the final round on NBC's "The Voice"

Jon Bream • 612-673-1719 • Twitter: @jonbream Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Twitter: @chrisrstrib

 

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