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Continued: Twin Cities Critics Tally 2013: Lizzo's bang-up year

6. The Cactus Blossoms, “Live at the Turf Club”

It isn’t brain surgery. Play a gig at the same place every week, and chances are you’re going to build up your repertoire and your relationship with the venue. Harmonizing brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey and their vintage country band finished off a year-plus of gigs at St. Paul’s favorite music hole with a live recording that’s steeped in ambience and as solid as your grandfather’s belt buckle. Traditionals by Ray Price (R.I.P.!), Bob Wills and Hank Cochran suit the bar’s post-war vibe to a T. (76)

7. (tie) Actual Wolf, “Actual Wolf”

Building on the ambitious, now-or-never approach to his pair of 2012 debut EPs — recordings made under the gun pending a drug-charge conviction — Iron Range song man Eric Pollard and his ace Twin Cities band crafted a full-length album that sounds like it would make his dad proud, or at least fit in with his record collection. There’s a warm ’70s analog sound and poetic style throughout, with traces of Harry Nilsson, Neil Young and Gram Parsons. (70)

Hollow Boys, “It’s True”

With an opening song that repeatedly warns, “I hate you,” the second record in as many years by producer/frontman Ali Jafaar’s trio has all the misanthropy of Morrissey’s new autobiography, but washed with the shoegazer fuzz-rock of other late-’80s Brits — influences that pre-date Jafaar himself. (70)

Marijuana Deathsquads, “Oh My Sexy Lord”

The peculiarly gruesome cover art is a hint at the oddly cut-up sonic offerings by this improv-based, experimental group of Twin Cities indie all stars (Ryan Olson, Isaac Gale, P.O.S., the Poliça drummers). Amid the freakishly manipulated vocal loops and industrial noise are hints of melodic synth-punk and ambient dance, making it the group’s most accessible effort. But it’s still the freakiest disc on this list. (70)

10. Dessa, “Parts of Speech”

The belle of the Doomtree Blowouts moved closer to the singer/songwriter tag on her second full-length collection of original tunes, utilizing her live band more and her forceful MC-ing skills less. She still hits hard in “Warsaw” and a few others, but softer, fragile ballads such as “The Lamb” and “Call Off Your Ghost” are the ones that really hurt. (68)

11. Fathom Lane, “Fathom Lane”

Even with an elegant female duet partner in Ashleigh Still, heavy use of the Laurels String Section and a core band able to switch from ambient twang-rock to psychedelic ’60s pop, the second effort by ex-Electropolis experimenter Michael Ferrier’s singer-songwriter vehicle is surprisingly intimate, laid-back and stylish without being trendy. The cover of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” is a perfect example. (64)

12. (tie) Har Mar Superstar, “Bye Bye 17”

If his career were one decade-long striptease, this would be the record where the pants finally come off. Zelig-like world traveler Sean Tillmann — who keeps up his Twin Cities appearances enough to still be considered a local by some of our voting critics — unabashedly and unironically exposed his classic soul and R&B influences on a throwback record strong enough to propel his Har Mar persona into another decade. (46)

STNNNG, “Empire Inward”

Already harking back to hard-blasting, Steve Albini-affiliated noise-punk acts such as Big Black and the Jesus Lizard on its prior three albums, the wild-eyed Twin Cities quintet made a no-duh hook-up with the famed Nirvana producer. He cleaned up the sound and raised the decibel level without lessening the chaos or impact. (46)

The Suburbs, “SÍ Sauvage”

Even after being hit hard by deaths and other personal turmoil in recent years, the Twin Cities’ favorite party band of the ’80s still found plenty to celebrate on its first album in 27 years. The buoyant and often attitudinal tunes have the classic Bowie-pop sound and horn-laced groove, but a lot of them also sound made for these times. (46)

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