Michael Bank of Minnetonka:
1 DMA’s, “For Now.” The young Australian band’s second album markedly improves on its very impressive debut. Best Britpop disc in 20-plus years. Just great tunes!
2 Hanging Stars, “Songs for Somewhere Else.” This U.K. cosmic country group’s second LP is another super-strong outing full of West Coast and Americana influences. Album opener “On a Sweet Summer’s Day” could be the best song you’ve never heard.
3 Shindig magazine. Best source for past, present and future psychedelic, freakbeat, mod, folk and soul music. A great read every month.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 “Chicago,” the Orpheum. The Bob Fosse choreography remains masterful and sexy, and Dylis Croman as Roxie Hart and Terra MacLeod as Velma Kelly have the musical, acting and dance skills to give this warhorse fresh legs.
2 Tina Schlieske, Spring Cafe pavilion. This indomitable rocker proved she also has the crooner instincts, panache and chops. She can belt a Sinatra standard or be subtle like Simone.
3 R Factor, Bunkers. This tight, versatile and highly entertaining Twin Cities variety band keeps the dance floor hopping with the best of them — whether at a wedding or in a barroom.