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TCCT 2010: All the critics' ballots

  • December 31, 2010 - 11:45 AM

JON BREAM, Star Tribune music critic

BEST ALBUMS, not ranked:

Dessa, "Badly Broken Code"

Dean McGraw & Marcus Wise, "Now the Light Gets In"

Katie McMahon, "Christmas Angels"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Reluctant Graveyard"

Charlie Parr, "When the Devil Goes Blind"

Leandra Peak, "Honeysuckle Vine: Lullabies for Everybody"

Roma di Luna, "Then the Morning Came"

Becky Schlegel, "Dandelion"

Trampled by Turtles, "Palomino"

Ben Weaver, "Mirepoix and Smoke"

BEST SONG:

Trampled by Turtles, "Wait So Long"

JAY BOLLER, Vita.mn contributor

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Bight Club, "Dreamworld vs. MPLS"

2. Peter Wolf Crier, "Inter-Be"

3. Private Dancer, "Alive in High Five"

4. Dada Trash Collage, "Neighbors"

5. Kristoff Krane, "Hunting for Father"

6. Buffalo Moon, "Wetsuit"

7. Adam Svec, "Rarefaction"

8. Sleeping in the Aviary, "Great Vacation"

9. Phantom Tails, "Sounds of the Hunchback Whale"

10. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

TIM CAMPBELL, Star Tribune arts editor

BEST ALBUMS, not ranked:

Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

Martin Devaney, "The West End"

Fort Wilson Riot, "Prey/Predator"

Dean Magraw and Marcus Wise, "How the Light Gets in"

Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

Charlie Parr, "When the Devil Goes Blind"

Retribution Gospel Choir, "2"

Rogue Valley, "Crater Lake"

Roma di Luna, "Then the Morning Came"

Trampled by Turtles, "Palomino"

BEST SONGS, not ranked:

Communist Daughter, "Not the Kid"

Dessa, "Dixon's Girl"

Gayngs, "Cry"

M.anifest, "Coming to America"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Dillinger Eyes"

BEST LIVE ACTS, not ranked:

Cloud Cult

Curtiss A's D'Lando Flaques*ffaire *Rockestra

Doomtree

Goondas

F--- Knights

NO. 1 SIGN THE MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2010:

"The Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 2." A bias against tribute albums kept this off my top 10 list. But where most such projects are a mixed bag at best -- this means you, "Vol. 1" -- the sophomore effort is an unalloyed delight that showcases the deep bench of Twin Cities players. You name it, you got it, from current all-stars (Mason Jennings, P.O.S.) to cagey veterans (Soul Asylum, New Standards, Polara) to fresh-faced phenoms (Total Babe, Communist Daughter), all contributing strong and/or surprising takes while treading well-worn territory.

CYN COLLINS, freelancer, author of "West Bank Boogie," host of KFAI's "Spin With Cyn"

BEST ALBUMS, not ranked:

Hastings 3000, "A New Monster"

The Goondas, "The Goondas"

Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

Patches and Gretchen, "Sugarhead Pie"

Spirits of the Red City, "Hunter Moon"

Dark Dark Dark, "Wild Go"

Birthday Suits, "Minnesota Mouth to Mouth"

Ben Weaver -Mirepoix and Smoke "

Regolith Vol. 1 Various Artists, "Compilation LP "

TIE: Satellite Voices, "Scarlet Rays of Future Echoes"; Phantom Tails, "Sounds of the Hunchback Whale"

BEST LIVE BANDS:

1. The Goondas

2. Hastings 3000

3. The Birthday Suits

4. Knifeworld/Poop Smear Mirror (same band, latter is more recent name)

5. Tie: Chooglin'/The Sex Rays

BEST SONGS:

1. Hastings 3000, "Modern Man"

2. Me and My Arrow, "Pour Some Brown Sugar on Me"

3. BNLX, "Do Without"

4. The Phantom Tails, "The Oven of Romance"

5. (tie): Fort Wilson Riot, "Forgotten Language"/The Gleam, "Away Like a Song"

#1 SIGN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2010:

The Goondas, Hastings 3000, the Sex Rays and a few more live bands are bringing back stage presence and wildly entertaining shows with a lot of creative surprises, chaos and unpredictability, harkening back to Iggy Pop, early Rolling Stones, the NY Dolls, etc. Also, new places hosting their shows, outside of the regular venues, via word of mouth such as Nick and Eddie. The great new live acts and unexpected places to see them (in addition to great existing venues) are revitalizing our local scene.

ANDREW FLANAGAN, freelancer, City Pages and the Daily Swarm)

BEST ALBUMS:

1. STNNNG, Smoke of My Will (Modern Radio)

2.Gayngs, Relayted (Jagjaguwar)

3. Chelsea Boys, S/T

4. Haunted House, Lesh Is More

5. Leisure Birds, Copper Scroll (Totally Gross National Product)

6. Spider John Koerner, March 1963 (Nero's Neptune)

7. Tender Meat, Live At The Ritz (The Ritz on the Fritz) (Moon Glyph)

8. Dark Dark Dark, Wild Go

9. V/A, Regolith, Vol. 1 (Moon Glyph)

10. Voytek, Demos/II

BEST SONGS:

1. Gayngs, "Faded High"

2. STNNNG, "Ladies and Gentlemen ... We've Been Infected"

3. Chelsea Boys, "Jackson, Janet"

4. Haunted House, "The Devil"

5. Leisure Birds, "Demon Haze"

LIVE ACTS:

1. Gayngs

2. STNNNG

3. Marijuana Deathsquads

4. Chelsea Boys

5. Skoal Kodiak

#1 SIGN:

There's no sign heavy enough to wrap up our music scene -- we're all very, very lucky people.

KYLE MATTESON, Morecowbell.net

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

2. Roma di Luna, "And Then The Morning Came"

3. Dark Dark Dark, "Wild Go"

4. Retribution Gospel Choir, "2"

5. Gayngs, "Relayted"

6. Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack To The End"

7. Dosh, "Tommy"

8. New Century Masters, "New Century Masters"

9. BNLX, "4 EP's"

10. Mike Swoop, "New Love"

BEST SONGS:

1. Phantom Tails, "Real Savage"

2. Retribution Gospel Choir, "Hide It Away"

3. Gayngs, "Faded High"

4. Cloud Cult, "Running With the Wolves"

5. Jeremy Messersmith, "Violet"

BEST LIVE ACTS:

1. The Goondas

2. Retribution Gospel Choir

3. Dessa

4. Jeremy Messersmith

5. Pink Mink

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2010:

As a city well known for it's rock and alt-country acts, the style and depth of local musical acts has branched out quite a bit this year. I'm often discovering newer local acts that I'm surprised come from the Twin Cities.

JIM MEYER, "Local-music weather terrorist"

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

2. Patches and Gretchen, "Sugar Head Pie (Sandpaper Tongue)"

3. Jeremy Messersmith, The Reluctant Graveyard"

4. A tie between two amazingly durable acts whose continued excellence seems taken for granted: Atmosphere, "To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy" (The Atmosphere EPs) (Rhymesayers); and Storyhill, "Shade of the Trees" (Red House)

5. Take Acre, "Take Acre" (Late Nature vinyl)

6. Delphia Blize, "West River" (self-released CD)

7. The Dahlias, "Jangle Twangle" (Sweeter Pie)

8. Dark Dark Dark, "Wild Go" (Supply and Demand)

9. Paul Metzger, "The Uses of Infinity: A 23-String Banjo Meditation in 6 Parts" (Locust)

10. A tie between two commendable local discs with the same title and scant media focus to date: Wise-Magraw, "How the Light Gets In" (Red House); and The Fantastic Merlins featuring Kid Dakota, "How the Light Gets In" (nato), a collection of Leonard Cohen songs.

Honorable -- perhaps needless to -- mention: The Jayhawks, "The Jayhawks" (aka the Bunkhouse Album) reissue (Lost Highway)

And lastly, jazz freak Dave King's solo album "Indelicate" (Sunnyside) may be the greatest one-man piano/drum duet record ever.

BEST SONGS:

1. "Better Angels," Storyhill

2. "I'm Tired of Chicken," Patches and Gretchen

3. "Red River of the North," Rogue Valley

4. "Tendrilled Mass," Mother of Fire

5. "Ashes and Ashtrays," Eliza Blue

LIVE ACTS:

Retribution Gospel Choir at St. Johns Block Party, Rochester.

#1 SIGN:

That so much of it stands the test of time. I need a separate Top 10 for the many Koerner and/or Ray and/or Glover reissues that arrived this year. Mark Trehus' loving Koerner restorations on his Nero's Neptune label may have overshadowed John and Dave's solo albums ("Spider Blues," "Snaker's Here," "Fine Soft Land") that magically resurfaced on tiny Wounded Bird Records of Guilderland, N.Y. Did I mention Bob Dylan's "Witmark Demos"?

JASON NAGEL, host of Cities 97's "Minnesota Music"

BEST ALBUMS:

Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

Roma di Luna, "Then the Morning Came"

Elk, "Tamarack Mansion"

Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End"

BNLX, "EPs 1-4"

Cloud Cult, "Light Chasers"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Reluctant Graveyard"

Retribution Gospel Choir, "2"

The Arms Akimbo, "The Arms Akimbo"

Rogue Valley, "Crater Lake"

JAHNA PELOQUIN, contributor to Vita.mn, l'etoile magazine, the651.com

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

2. Gayngs, "Relayted"

3. Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End"

4. Zoo Animal, self-titled

5. Peter Wolf Crier, Inter-Be

6. Satellite Voices, Scarlet Rays of Future Echoes

7. Bella Koshka, "The Slow Mirror and the Metronome"

8. BLNX, EPs #1-4

9. Grant Cutler & The Gorgeous Lords, self-titled EP

10. Phantom Tails, "Sounds of the Hunchback Whale"

ROSS RAIHALA, Pioneer Press music critic

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Cloud Cult, "Light Chasers"

2. Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End"

3. BNLX, "EP #1-#4"

4. New Century Masters, "Vol. III: Rarities and Odd Ditties"

5. Gayngs, "Relayted"

6. Peter Wolf Crier, "Inter-Be"

7. Apollo Cobra, "Dance to This"

8. Dosh, "Tommy"

9. Alison Scott, "Chinese Whispers"

10. Trampled by Turtles, "Palomino"

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER, Star Tribune music critic

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

2. Roma di Luna, "Then the Morning Came"

3. Retribution Gospel Choir, "2"

4. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code"

5. Cloud Cult, "Light Chasers"

6. Communist Daughter, "The Soundtrack to the End"

7. The Stnnng, "Smoke of My Will"

8. Ben Weaver, "Mirepoix and Smoke"

9. Various artists, "Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 2"

10. Charlie Parr, "When the Devil Goes Blind"

BEST SONGS:

1. Dessa, "Dixon's Girl"

2. Cloud Cult, "Running With the Wolves"

3. Communist Daughter, "Not the Kid"

4. Retribution Gospel Choir, "Working Hard"

5. Trampled by Turtles, "Separate"

BEST LIVE ACTS:

1. Cloud Cult

2. Retribution Gospel Choir

3. Peter Wolf Crier

4. The Goondas

5. Eyedea & Abilities

#1 SIGN:

In New Orleans three weeks ago, I ran into a guy wearing a Doomtree T-shirt. On two separate trips to Austin, Texas, I witnessed numerous Twin Cities musicians playing to appreciative crowds (including members of Solid Gold both times). In New York, I saw a poster for Retribution Gospel Choir, read an ad for a Dosh gig and heard a Brother Ali track in a store. Our scene may not be as reputable as those cities, but we're getting there.

PETER SCHOLTES, freelance writer

BEST ALBUMS:

1. The Abstract Pack, "Ear-Responsible" (Pack Material)

2. Kanser, "Two for One" (Interlock)

3. Muja Messiah, "M-16's" (Black Corners)

4. Toki Wright, "BlackMale" (Rhymesayers)

5. Stophouse, "Prof & St. Paul Slim present Recession Music" (Stophouse)

6. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code" (Doomtree)

7. Paper Tiger, "Made Like Us" (Doomtree)

8. The Okee Dokee Brothers, "Take It Outside" (Okee Dokee Music)

9. Trama, "Viet-Tram" (K.E.P.)

10. Arm, "Two Africans and a Jew EP Vol. 1" (self-released)

BEST SONGS:

1. "Leech Lake," Muja Messiah

2. "Footsteps," Kanser

3. "Alibi," Dessa

4. "Freedom Song," Toki Wright

5. "Horses in the Ghetto," Stophouse feat. Prof & St. Paul Slim

NO. 1 SIGN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2010:

The size and diversity of the community mourning Eyedea.

ANDREA SWENSSON, City Pages music editor

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code

2. Gayngs, "Relayted

3. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard

4. Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End

5. Various Artists (Moon Glyph), "Regolith Vol. 1

6. Dark Dark Dark, "Wild Go

7. Phantom Tails, "Sounds of the Hunchback Whale

8. Lazerbeak, "Legend Recognize Legend

9. Mike Swoop, "New Love

10. The Book of Right On, "All These Songs About Music

BEST SONGS, not ranked:

"Red River of the North," Rogue Valley

"Our Love Is a Mighty Fortress," Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords

"The Renaissance," Mally (produced by the Sundance Kid)

"Last Prom on Earth," Gayngs

"Wait So Long," Trampled by Turtles

BEST LIVE ACTS:

1. Pink Mink

2. Marijuana Deathsquads

3. Slapping Purses

4. The Jayhawks

5. Peter Wolf Crier

NO. 1 SIGN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2010:

First Avenue celebrated its 40th anniversary by adding dozens more local bands to the stars on its iconic exterior and hosting community-fostering, locally oriented events like the Replacements Tribute, Rock for Pussy, the Current's birthday, the Celebration of the Life of Micheal Larsen, etc. The electricity buzzing around on those nights alone was enough to make my hometown pride swell.

ERIK THOMPSON, freelancer, City Pages contributor

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Dark Dark Dark, "Wild Go'

2. Retribution Gospel Choir, "2'

3. Red Pens, "Limitations EP'

4. BNLX, "EP #2'

5. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard'

6. Dessa, "A Badly Broken Code'

7. Lazerbeak, "Legend Recognize Legend'

8. Gayngs, "Relayted'

9. Dosh, "Tommy'

10. Roma Di Luna, "And Then The Morning Came'

BEST SONGS:

1. "Where Is The Love" - BNLX

2. "Something For Myself" - Dark Dark Dark

3. "Good Luck Charm" - Red Pens

4. "Hide It Away" - Retribution Gospel Choir

5. "The Chaconne" - Dessa

BEST LIVE ACTS:

1. Red Pens

2. Peter Wolf Crier

3. BNLX

4. Dark Dark Dark

5. Retribution Gospel Choir

ROB VAN ALSTYNE, freelance music journalist

BEST ALBUMS:

1. Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

2. Ben Weaver, "Mirepoix and Smoke"

3. Lazerbeak, "Legend Recognize Legend"

4. Rogue Valley, "Crater Lake"

5. Hunting Club, "Hunting Club"

6. Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End"

7. Estate, "Nuclear City EP"

8. The Arms Akimbo, "The Arms Akimbo"

9. One for the Team, "Ghosts"

10. Fort Wilson Riot, "Predator/Prey"

Honorable mention: Ten Centuries, "White Pines"; Luke Redfield, "Ephemeral Eon"; Martin Devaney, "The West End"; Satellite Voices, "Scarlet Rays of Future Echoes."

 

BEST SONGS:

1. National Bird - "In Summer"

2. BNLX - "Blue and Gold"

3. Roma di Luna - "Hey Lover"

4. Dessa - "Dixon's Girl"

5. Beight - "Bang Bang"

 

BEST LIVE ACTS:

1. Free Energy (sure, they moved to Philadelphia, but they played here as much as any local band in 2010)

2. Wishbook

3. Haley Bonar (and her amazing new band)

4. Joey Ryan and the Inks

5. Laarks

 

#1 SIGN THE MUSIC SCENE WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2010:

In my 10 years covering the local music scene, I've never seen so many all-local bills packing in significant crowds at sizable venues.

JIM WALSH, Minnpost.com, Southwest Journal, author of "All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History of the Replacements"

BEST ALBUMS, not ranked:

Ben Weaver, "Mirepoix and Smoke"

Patches and Gretchen, "Sugar Head Pie"

Erik Koskinen, "Keep It To Yourself"

Dessa, "Badly Broken Code"

Jennifer Markey, "We're All Going To Hell"

Communist Daughter, "Soundtrack to the End"

Ashleigh Still and Nick Salisbury, "Firefly"

Jeremy Messersmith, "The Reluctant Graveyard"

Eliza Blue, "The Road Home"

Romantica, "Control-Alt-Country-Delete"

BEST SONGS, not ranked:

Erik Koskinen, "Detroit, Detroit"

Patches and Gretchen, "Sugar Head Pie"

Terry Walsh/Joe Fahey/Kieren Folliard, "Hurry Back St. Pat"

Tuesday's Robot, "The Sun's Gonna Shine"

Ben Weaver, every song on "Mirepoix and Smoke"

BEST LIVE ACTS, not ranked:

Patches and Gretchen

Street Hassle

Pink Mink

The Suicide Commandos

Molly Maher/Eric Koskinen

#1 SIGN:

We're fortunate to have so many curious people who regularly dig themselves out of igloos of their own making to imbibe in the soul food that is live local music. After living through a recent docket of especially meaningful shows, the most oft-repeated phrase I've heard from various music lovers/players is, "I'm exhausted." Hell, yes: Bring on the double-hockey sticks decade and a chorus of "These Are The Good Old New Days."

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