Just hearing a new Suburbs song on the radio circa 2013 was a treat, but lo and behold "Turn the Radio On" had a timeless bop-bopping charm and a sad undercurrent that endeared it all the more to critics this year. Har Mar's lyrical and sonic nod to Sam Cooke, on the other hand, sounded like it was straight out of 1965 but packed a modern punch. The poppier tracks off both Smith's and Poliça's records proved irresistible, too.

1. The Suburbs, "Turn the Radio On" (38 voter points)

2. Har Mar Superstar, "Lady, You Shot Me" (32)

3. Caroline Smith, "Magazine" (26)

4. Poliça, "Chain My Name" (17)

5. Fury Things, "Harsh" (16)

6. (tie) Dan Wilson, "Disappearing" The Replacements, "Busted Up" (Slim Dunlap cover) (15)

8. (tie) Four Fists, "MMMM­HMMMM" Low, "Plastic Cup" (14)

10. (tie) Dessa, "Call Off Your Ghost" Lizzo, "Batches & Cookies" (13)

Honorable mentions: Low, "Stay" (Rihanna cover; 12); the Ericksons, "Gone Blind"; Gloss, "Front Porch"; Chris Koza, "Last Tuesday"; Mason Jennings, "Wilderness"; Poliça, "Tiff" (all 10).


Considering that their nearest gig was in Chicago and less than half of our voting critics actually got to see them, this is quite a resounding thumbs up on the No. 1 entrant's return to the stage. No. 2 still has one of the wildest live shows around, and No. 3 and No. 4 might be why our ears are still ringing at year's end.

1. The Replacements (38)

2. Marijuana Deathsquads (33)

3. The Cloak Ox (20)

4. The Blind Shake (19)

5. Lizzo (16)

6. (tie) Kinda Kinky and Poliça (12)

8. (tie) Dem Atlas, Rogue Valley and P.O.S. (10)


Chris Riemenschneider (Star Tribune music critic): Between Low's "Drone, Not Drones" set at Rock the Garden, Prince's pajama party and "Chappelle Show" homage, the Replacements' coy and self-effacing approach to cashing in, half of Lizzo's great album and the fact that Prof might've had the biggest breakout year of all locally, our scene reiterated one of its greatest attributes this year: We're all a bunch of smart-asses.

Pamela Espeland (MinnPost arts writer, Bebopified jazz blog): The outpouring of affection for the Artists' Quarter jazz club in St. Paul, and the shared grief at its imminent closing. Rising rents are forcing owner Kenny Horst to shut the door on Jan. 1, but because he nurtured so many musicians and helped to create such an avid and knowledgeable audience, that won't be the day the jazz music dies.

Erica Rivera ( contributor, freelance writer): We're redefining in what context concerts can occur. From the Live Letters loft to Prince's pajama party at Paisley Park, the Twin Cities music scene is getting creative with venues and making music a more intimate experience.

Cyn Collins (KFAI-FM's "Spin With Cyn," freelance writer): There were more promising new bands cropping up nearly weekly, it seemed — many more in hardcore, punk, metal and garage than ever — and many veterans returning to the stage and releasing brilliant new records.

Pat O'Brien (City Pages contributing writer): Just the other night at the vinyl release for Actual Wolf and Frankie Lee, the crowd was full of musicians that weren't on the bill that night — they came out to support their friends and the scene. It's that kind of thing that will always make me think this scene is better than other cities'.

Kyle Matteson (Twitter king, @solace): Even in a year when the Replacements reunited and Prince played more local shows than he has in a decade, so many local acts managed to make headlines and churn out more amazing local records and live shows than I can recall in my 14 years of living here.

Jeff Gage (City Pages contributing writer): Drone, not drones.

THE REST OF THE TCCT 2013 VOTERS: Jay Boller, assistant editor; Jon Bream, Star Tribune music critic; Tim Campbell, Star Tribune senior arts editor; Abbie Gobeli, Radio K music director; Reed Fischer, City Pages music editor; Sally Hedberg, freelance writer; Jon Hunt, l'etoile music writer; Monica LaPlante, freelance writer; Zack McCormick, freelancer; Jason Nagel, host of K-TWIN's "Minnesota Music"; Jahna Peloquin, contributor & l'étoile magazine editor-in-chief; Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press music critic; Michael Rietmulder, Star Tribune & contributor; Danny Sigelman, freelancer; Jack Spencer, freelancer; Tom Surowicz, Star Tribune contributor; Andrea Swensson, 89.3 the Current music reporter; Erik Thompson, freelancer; Rob van Alstyne, freelancer; Youa Vang, freelancer; Jim Walsh, freelancer & author of "The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair and Painted Shoes."