JON BREAM, Star Tribune music critic


1. Jeremy Messersmith, "Hearts Murmurs"

2. Dave Ray, "Legacy"

3. Erik Koskinen, "American Theatre"

4. Heiruspecs, "Night Falls"

5. Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

6. Dan Wilson, "Love without Fear"

7. 3rdEyeGirl, "PlectrumElectrum"

8. Spooky Black, "Leaving"

9. Home Free, "Crazy Life"

10. Davina & the Vagabonds, "Sunshine"


1. Prince and 3rdEyeGirl

2. Davina and the Vagabonds

3. Dessa

4. Sonny Knight and the Lakers

5. Real Phonic Radio Hour Band

DAVID CAMPBELL, 89.3 the Current's "The Local Show"

ALBUMS (unranked)

Tiny Deaths, "Tiny Deaths EP"

Toki Wright and Big Cats, "Pangaea"

Haley Bonar, "Last War"

Fort Wilson Riot, "trIllIun"

Tropical Depression, "Tropical Depression"

The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

Rupert Angeleyes, "Young Sunset"

Hippo Campus, "Bashful Creatures EP"

Black Diet, "Find Your Tambourine"

K.Raydio & Psymun, "LucidDreamingSkylines"

SONGS (unranked, 4 points apiece)

Sun Gods to Gamma Rays, "The Water, The Wave (Grant Cutler Remix)"

Spooky Black, "Without You" from Black Silk

Atmosphere, "Flicker"

Lizzo "Paris,"

Allan Kingdom, "Wavey (feat. Spooky Black)"

Little Man, "Face"

Tiny Deaths, "Ocean"

LIVE ACTS (unranked)

Sonny Knight and the Lakers

Fort Wilson Riot

Hippo Campus

Toki Wright and Big Cats

The Cactus Blossoms

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: There was a staggering number of releases by artists under 21 years of age who's respective artistic visions were mostly unique, definitely fully realized, and pretty much flawlessly executed. These releases were built by musicians who's skills as players and arrangers and producers and employers of technology parallel or exceed those of musicians 10-20 years their senior. These young artists charge fearlessly away from the systems and conventions built for getting attention for their art that their older brethren lean on, preferring the wild west of the internet and it's volatile, but massive, potential for critical mass. The future … (author puts on sunglasses) … looks bright.

TIM CAMPBELL, Star Tribune senior arts editor


1. "Heart Murmurs," Jeremy Messersmith

2. "Legacy," Dave Ray

3. "Good Vibes Trio," Chris Bates,

4. "Southsiders," Atmosphere

5. "Bashful Creatures," Hippo Campus

6. "Bring Me Home," the Ericksons

7. "Lolo's Ghost," James Loney and Lolo's Ghost

8. "Future Memoirs," Allan Kingdom

9. "Wild Animals," Trampled by Turtles

10. "America Theatre," Erik Koskinen


1. "Clapp'd," Mike Mictlan

2. "Let 'Em Say," Lizzo and Caroline Smith

3. "Exurb Kids Don't Know What They Don't Know," Tyte Jeff

4. "Be Forever," Two Harbors

5. "Juicy Lucy," Sonny Knight and the Lakers


1. Tickle Torture

2. Marijuana Deathsquads

3. Sonny Knight and the Lakers

4. Stereo Confession

5. The Replacements

CYN COLLINS, freelance writer, KFAI-FM's "Spin with Cyn" host


Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"

Alpha Consumer, "Meat"

Hollow Boys, "Believe in Nothing"

Magic Castles, "Sky Sounds"

Erik Koskinen, "America Theatre"

Web of Sunsets, "Room of Monsters"

Stereo Confession, "No Coast"

Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

Ben Weaver, "I Would Rather Be a Buffalo"

(tie) Frankie Teardrop, "Raiders"/Leisure Birds, "Tetrahedron" (5 points apiece)

SONGS (unranked)

Fort Wilson Riot, "Something Left Alive"

Alpha Consumer, "Miss Positron"

Erik Koskinen, "First Time in Years"

The Blind Shake, "Go Lie"

Flavor Crystals, "Mirror in My Mind"

LIVE ACTS (unranked)


The Suburbs

The Blind Shake

Erik Koskinen

(tie) The Sex Rays / Fury Things

No. 1 Sign the Twin Cities/MN music scene was alive and well in 2014: "Again this year, there are several new and existing local punk, garage, psych and post-punk and old-time country bands cropping up,getting more radio airplay and picked up by labels in the UK, West Coast and more. There were a few new venues/underground spaces to see live music this year, and the return of Bedlam Theatre. It looks like the music scene is thriving now, as much or even more than ever."

PAMELA ESPELAND, MinnPost arts writer, Bebopified jazz blog

ALBUMS (unranked)

Patty and the Buttons, "The Mercury Blues"

Courageous Endeavors, "Prototype"

Firebell, "Impossible Vacation"

Chris Bates Good Vibes Trio, "Good Vibes Trio"

Chris Lomheim, "Timeline"

Dean Magraw and Eric Kamau Gravatt, "Fire on the Nile"

Adam Meckler Orchestra, "When the Clouds Look Like This"

Casey O'Brien, Davu Seru, Nathan Hanson, "Ghost Dance"

Peter Vircks, "What You Believe Is True"

Jeremy Walker, "Psalms"

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2014: 'Twin Cities Jazz Sampler: Volume One.' Released Dec. 20, conceived by trumpeter Steve Kenny and crowd-funded through Kickstarter, the 'Sampler' symbolizes the resilience of jazz at a time when making a living at it seems especially hard. The Artists' Quarter has been dark for a year, and the Dakota, like many jazz clubs, has opened its doors to all kinds of music, yet jazz is heard across the Twin Cities every night, from Jazz Central to the Black Dog, Icehouse, Studio Z and now even Orchestra Hall."

REED FISCHER, City Pages music editor


1. Rupert Angeleyes, "Young Sunset"

2. Hollow Boys, "Believe in Nothing"

3. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

4. Howler, "World of Joy"

5. Miami Dolphins, "Becky"

6. The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

7. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

8. The Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"

9. The Bad Plus, "The Rite of Spring"

10. Psymun, "Pink Label"


1. Allan Kingdom, "Wavey"

2. Spooky Black, "Without U"

3. Frankie Teardrop, "100%"

4. Prince, "U Know"

5. Manny Phesto, "Cedar Ave"


1. The Stand4rd

2. Sonny Knight & the Lakers

3. Teenage Moods

4. Low

5. Hippo Campus

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "The Twin Cities music scene is alive and well because consensus is nowhere in sight. So many vocal factions of fans are disagreeing about everything, and everyone benefits from that passion."

JAY GABLER, 89.3 the Current/Minnesota Public Radio digital producer


1. Maria Isa, "Valley of the Dolls"

2. Tropical Depression, "Tropical Depression"

3. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

4. Sifu Hotman, "Embrace the Sun"

5. Howler, "World of Joy"

6. Various, "New Space — Moon Rock, Vol. 1" (Sound Verite compilation)

7. Votel, "Votel"

8. Prince, "Art Official Age"

9. Tiny Deaths, "Tiny Deaths EP"



1. Howler, "Don't Wanna"

2. Lizzo and Caroline Smith, "Let 'Em Say"

3. John Mark Nelson, "Boy"

4. Prince feat. Zooey Deschanel, "FALLINLOVE2NITE"

5. Molly Kate Kestner, "His Daughter"



2. Tickle Torture

3. Prince

4. Caroline Smith

5. Hippo Campus

No. 1 sign the Twin Cities music scene was alive and well in 2014: "It's collaborations that really turn a city (or cities) into a scene, and Minnesota musicians couldn't stop jumping on stage, into studios, and even behind turntables with each other this year. The Lizzo-Caroline Smith lovefest that packed First Ave for two nights in a row was happily emblematic of the spirit of collaboration that was in evidence across the Twin Cities, all year long. Even big names like Prince and the Replacements shared the local love this year, and there was a lot to go around."

JARRED HEMMING, Minnesota Daily arts editor (University of Minnesota)


1. "Fishy Business," Papertown Godzilla

2. "Space Trash EP," Aubades

3. "One," Origami Bones

4. "TrIllIun,", Fort Wilson Riot

5. "If You Let It," Wealthy Relative

6. "Some Pulp," Some Pulp

7. "Disrespect," The Drug Budget

8. "Believe In Nothing," Hollow Boys

9. "Midnight Caller b/w Where's the Tambourine?" The Sex Rays

10. "Zozzled," Hardcore Crayons


1. "I'm Breaking Up With Mr. Smiles," White Boyfriend

2. "Spine Diving," Origami Bones

3. "Oh Oh (Who's Cryin' Now)," Some Pulp

4. "Midnight Caller," The Sex Rays

5. "Becoming," Wealthy Relative


1. White Boyfriend

2. The Sex Rays

3. Some Pulp

4. Kitten Forever

5. Aubades

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "This year the kids seem to be taking over the indie Minneapolis scene. Acts like Origami Bones, Aubades, Papertown Godzilla and Wealthy Relative are all college students in the Twin Cities, and the members of White Boyfriend graduated in 2013. It's great to see elder statesmen like The Sex Rays and Pink Mink welcome the youngsters into their home."

JON HUNT, l'etoile music writer


1. Leisure Birds, "Tetrahedron"

2. Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

3. Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

4. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

5. Sun Gods to Gamma Rays, "A Ghost To Find"

6. BNLX, "Flextime"

7. Deleter, "Komposition and Komposition Zwite"

8. Frankie Teardrop, "Raiders"

9. Faith Boblett, "Tell Me"

10. Howler, "World Of Joy"

ROSS KOEBERL, Radio K KUOM music director (University of Minnesota)

1. The Miami Dolphins, "Becky"

2. Chantz Erolin, "Break Shit and Die"

3. Fort Wilson Riot, "trIllIun"

4. GIRL, "Split w/ Flare Up"

5. Rupert Angeleyes, "Young Sunset"

6. Suzie, "Born Single"

7. Tickle Torture, "Spectrophilia"

8. Origami Bones, "One"

9. The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

10. Hollow Boys, "Believe in Nothing"


1. Suzie, "Coffin in Houston"

2. Straya, "Richard Baggins"

3. Greg Grease, "Really Tho"

4. White Boyfriend, "I'm Breaking Up With Mr. Smiles"

5. Sans Caballo, "No Horse"


1. The Drug Budget

2. France Camp

3. Vacation Dad

4. Black Diet

5. Maeth

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "There hasn't been a defining moment, sorry to say, rather a year's worth of great moments. But if you ask me, next year I'm probably saying the 12 Rods reunion show, let's be real."

KYLE MATTESON, tweetus criticus maximus, @solace

1. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

2. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

3. Dan Wilson, "Love Without Fear"

4. Tropical Depression, "Tropical Depression"

5. Hippo Campus, "Bashful Creatures EP"

6. Erik Koskinen, "American Theatre"

7. The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

8. Toby Thomas Churchill , "Where Is My Rumspringa, Darling?"

9. Tyte Jeff, "Tyte Jeff EP"

10. Chris Koza, "In Real Time"

ZACK MCCORMICK, City Pages contributor

ALBUMS (unranked)

Howler, "World of Joy"

Frankie Teardrop, "Raiders"

Animal Lover, "Guilt"

Teenage Moods, "Rosebuds"

The Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"

Uranium Club, "Human Exploration Demo"

Heiruspecs, "Night Falls"

Kay Raydio and OD, "One Drop"

Tree Blood, "Tape EP Series I,II,III"

Banner Pilot, "Souvenir"


Greg Grease, "Really Tho"

Waveless, "Nausea"

Hollow Boys, "Spellbreaker"

Narco States, "Lost in Time"

Southside Desire, "Heat"


The Replacements

Black Market Brass

Black Diet

Mystery Date

France Camp

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "For the first time in a while, it feels like this community shedding a bit of the inferiority complex that can make it frustrating to live here. More young bands and micro-labels are springing up and the DIY spirit seems stronger than ever, but the new outlook seems less concerned with outside validation. The focus is on making quality art by grassroots means, and letting the dominoes fall, and that's a great sign of life."

JASON NAGEL, 96.3 KTWIN FM "MN Music" host


1. The Great Depression, "In a Starry State"

2. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

3. Hippo Campus, "Beautiful Creatures"

4. Eric Koskinen, "American Theatre"

5. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

6. Little Man, "Original Face"

7. Sonny Knight & The Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

8. Two Harbors, "The Natural Order of Things"

9. Big Lake, "Big Lake"

10. The Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"

PAT O'BRIEN, City Pages contributor, freelance writer

1. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

2. Two Harbors, "The Natural Order of Things"

3. Tropical Depression, "Tropical Depression"

4. Howler, "World of Joy"

5. Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

6. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

7. Tyte Jeff, "Tyte Jeff EP"

8. Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

9. Web of Sunsets, "Room of Monsters"

10. Leisure Birds, "Tetrahedron"

JAHNA PELOQUIN, and Minnesota Monthly contributor


1. "Future Memoirs," Allan Kingdom

2. "Born Single," Suzie

3. "Miner of Light," Leisure Birds

4. "LucidDreamingSkylines," K.Raydio & Psymun

5. "The Colors of Black," MaLLy

6. "I'm Still Here," Sonny Knight & the Lakers

7. "Art Official Age," Prince

8. "World of Joy," Howler

9. "Raiders (EP)," Frankie Teardrop

10. "Tiny Deaths (EP)," Tiny Deaths


1. "Let 'Em Say," Caroline Smith & Lizzo

2. "Coffin in Houston," Suzie

3. "Would I Love You," Tickle Torture

4. "Without You," Spooky Black

5. "Don't Wanna," Howler


1. Tickle Torture

2. Suzie

3. Sonny Knight & the Lakers

4. France Camp

5. Allan Kingdom

ROSS RAIHALA, Pioneer Press music critic


1. Tickle Torture, "Spectrophilia"

2. Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

3. Hollow Boys, "Believe in Nothing"

4. Black Diet, "Find Your Tambourine"

5. The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"


7. Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra "Too Big to Fail"

8. Two Harbors, "The Natural Order of Things"

9. Atmosphere, "Southsiders"

10. Prince, "Art Official Age"

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER, Star Tribune music critic


1. Hippo Campus, "Bashful Creatures EP"

2. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

3. Toki Wright & Big Cats, "Pangaea"

4. Two Harbors, "The Natural Order of Things"

5. Tyte Jeff, "Tyte Jeff EP"

6. Mike Mictlan, "Hella Frreal"

7. MaLLy, "The Colors of Black"

8. Trampled by Turtles, "Wild Animals"

9. K. Raydio & Psymun, "LucidDreamingSkylines"

10. The Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"


1. Ben Weaver, "Ramblin' Bones"

2. Atmosphere, "Flicker"

3. Trampled by Turtles, "Winners"

4. Lizzo & Caroline Smith, "Let 'Em Say"

5. The Ericksons, "My Love"


1. The Replacements

2. Sonny Knight & the Lakers

3. Trampled by Turtles


5. (tie) Hippo Campus/Stereo Confession (1 point apiece)

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "Live Nation spent $5 million trying to make a festival work here in 2012 and failed. I mean, really failed. Atmosphere spent a small fraction of that on Soundset and sold it out with 30,000 attendees this year. Two more local artists followed suit and put on their own fests in 2014, Trampled by Turtles and P.O.S. Next year, Doomtree, Justin Vernon and Lord knows who else have similar big plans."

MICHAEL RIETMULDER, Star Tribune and contributor

ALBUMS (unranked)

Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

Animal Lover, "Guilt" EP

The Blind Shake, "Breakfast of Failures"

Howler, "World of Joy"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

Manny Phesto, "Southside Looking In"

The stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

Stereo Confession, "No Coast"

Toki Wright & Big Cats, "Pangaea"

Wolvhammer, "Clawing Into Black Sun"

ERICA RIVERA, contributor, freelance writer

(Erica's lists came too late to count toward the total tally, but we're happy to include them here.)


1. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

2. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

3. Atmosphere, "Southsiders"

4. The Ericksons, "My Love"

5. Black Diet, "Find Your Tambourine"

6. Trampled by Turtles, "Wild Animals"

7. Heiruspecs, " Night Falls "

8. We are the Willows "Picture (Portrait)"

9. John Mark Nelson, "Sings the Moon"

10. Grant Cutler, "Stuck Between Stations" (Original Score)
Chastity Brown, " Colorado "

We Are the Willows, "Dear Mrs. Branstner"

Jose James, "Every Little Thing"

Heiruspecs, "Let's Go"

MaLLy, "A Long Day"
No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2014: "Minnesotans have lifelong admiration for their hometown musicians, as evidenced by Bob Dylan's three-night stand at the Orpheum."

DANNY SIGELMAN, City Pages and contributor, freelance writer

ALBUMS (unranked)

Chris Koza, "In Real Time"

Black Diet, "Find Your Tamborine"

Deke Dickerson and the Trashmen, "Bringing Back the Trash"

Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

Ben Weaver, "I Would Rather Be a Buffalo"

Sims, "Field Notes"

Dosh & Ghostband, "Def Kith"

Bob Mould, "Beauty in Ruin"

Lott, "Bury the Hatchet"

Impaler, "Stiff In Her Casket"

JACK SPENCER, City Pages contributor, freelance writer

ALBUMS (unranked)

K. Raydio & Psymun, "LucidDreamingSkylines"

The Stand4rd, "The Stand4rd"

Muja Messiah, "God Kissed It, The Devil Missed It"

Toki Wright & Big Cats, "Pangaea"

Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

Pony Bwoy , "när-k"

Mike Mictlan , "HELLA FRREAL"

Tickle Torture, "Sepctrophilia"


SONGS (unranked)

KPT+ACTN, "Salt"

Sweetz P, "Life Behind Bars"

Mike Mictlan, "CLAPP'D"

Muja Messiah, "Pocket Full Of Slaveowners"

Psymun featuring Kerry Roy, "Talk 2 Me"

LIVE ACTS (unranked):

Tickle Torture

The Stand4rd

Shiro Dame


Coloring Time

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well this year: "When Spooky Black went viral, the mainstream music media and listenership dug a little deeper into Twin Cities music and discovered that we've been doing cool shit all along. Seeing The Stand4rd flourish is proof of local acts building off of their fluke successes, working to truly cultivate a unique sound and style more so than any of the other disposable viral tracks floating around in 2014.

SARAH STANLEY-AYRE, City Pages contributor, freelance writer

(*Sarah's albums list came too late to count as votes in the master tally, but her votes for songs and live acts did count.)


1. Pony Bwoy, "när-k"

2. Waveless, "Waveless"

3. Tickle Torture, "Spectrophilia"

4. Dustin Zahn, "Monoliths"

5. Black Diet, "Find Your Tambourine"

6. Doubt, "Doubt"

7. Buildings, "It Doesn't Matter"

8. Hollow Boys, "Believe in Nothing"

9. The Miami Dolphins, "Becky"

10. Stolyette, "Lubymaya"


1. RONiiA, "Fool's Game"

2. Pony Bwoy, "On Old Bones"

3. Waveless, "Nausea(Song for Proski)"

4. K. Raydio and Psymun, "Lobby Music"

5. Stolyette, "Bride Groom"


1. Black Market Brass

2. Brain Tumors

3. Tickle Torture

4. Prostate

5. Heckadecimal

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well this year: "Kevin Cosgrove (Transitional Species) started Tourniquet Noise, a monthly night at the Kitty Cat Klub focused on local and touring noise acts. This event, and the success of Heliotrope festival, are hallmarks of what I love most about living here — there is a home and an opportunity for everything, even harsh noise!"

TOM SUROWICZ, Star Tribune contributor


Tim Sparks, "Chasin' The Boogie"

Bob Bingham, "New Ground"

Firebell, "Impossible Vacation"

Connie Evingson, "All The Cats Join In"

Phil Heywood, "Rollin' On"

Chris Lomheim Trio, "Timeline"

Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, "Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio"

Big George Jackson, "Back At It"

Ray Barnard, "Where Would I Be Without You"

Greg Herriges, "Artifacts"

Lisa Wenger, "Simple As That"

Rena Haus & Friends, "Out Of The Blues"

LIVE ACTS (unranked, 4 points)

Kinda Kinky

Bingham & Thorne

Bill Simenson Orchestra

Meteor Boys

The Hula Peppers

Uncommon Roots

ANDREA SWENSSON, 89.3 The Current music reporter

ALBUMS (unranked)

PaviElle, "Fear Not"

Pony Bwoy, "när-k"

thestand4rd, "thestand4rd"

Dave Simonett, "Razor Pony"

Tickle Torture, "Spectrophilia"

Toki Wright and Big Cats, "Pangaea"

Manny Phesto, "Southside Looking In"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

Muja Messiah, "God Kissed It the Devil Missed It"

Toby Thomas Churchill, "Where is My Rumspringa, Darling?"


Hippo Campus, "Little Grace"

Sarah Krueger, "Nothing Hits Me"

Strange Relations, "Very White Teeth"

Lizzo and Caroline Smith, "Let Em Say"

Allan Kingdom, "Wavey (feat. Spooky Black)"


Shiro Dame

Hustle Rose


Taggart & Rosewood

Sonny Knight and the Lakers

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well this year: "Of the top five new acts to place in the Picked to Click poll this year, only one was old enough to buy a drink at a bar. An unprecedented amount of teenaged artists stormed the scene with impressive live shows and high-caliber albums—and it gave the whole community a much-needed jolt of youthful energy and inspiration."

ERIK THOMPSON, City Pages staff writer, Current contributor


1. Leisure Birds, "Tetrahedron"

2. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

3. Votel, "Votel"

4. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

5. Two Harbors, "The Natural Order of Things"

6. Allan Kingdom, "Future Memoirs"

7. Hollow Boys, "Believe In Nothing"

8. Web of Sunsets, "Room of Monsters"

9. Howler, "World of Joy"

10. Tiny Deaths, "Tiny Deaths EP"


1. Howler, "Don't Wanna"

2. Haley Bonar, "Kill The Fun"

3. Allan Kingdom, "Wavey"

4. Hollow Boys, "Die Young"

5. Jeremy Messersmith, "It's Only Dancing"


1. Sonny Knight and the Lakers

2. Jeremy Messersmith

3. Stereo Confession

4. Frankie Lee

5. Two Harbors

No. 1 Sign The Local Scene Is Alive and Well: "All of the familiar local faces who played the late night talk show circuit throughout the year is proof positive that Minnesota bands and musicians are being embraced by a national — and international — audience."

ROB VAN ALSTYNE, freelance writer

1. Tropical Depression, "Tropical Depression"

2, Hippo Campus, "Bashful Creatures EP"

3.Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

4. Tyte Jeff, "Tyte Jeff EP"

5. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

6. Graveyard Club, "Nightingale"

7. Northward, "Northward"

8. Big Lake, "Big Lake"

9. Fair Oaks, "This is the River"

10. Dan Mariska & the Boys Choir, "Bummer Songs"

YOUA VANG, City Pages contributor, freelance writer


1. Chris Koza, "In Real Time"

2. Haley Bonar, "Last War"

3. Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

4. We Are the Willows, "Picture (Portrait)"

5. Koo Koo Kanga Roo, "Whoopty Whoop"

6. Jenny Dalton, "Black Water"

7. Harbor and Home, "Dark Days"

8. American Scarecrows, "Yesteryear"

9. Weather Maps, "Painted Stripes"

10. Tree Party, "Iced Over"


1. Chris Koza, "Prism"

2. Jeremy Messersmith, "Bubblin' "

3. Haley Bonar, "Kill the Fun"

4. Jenny Dalton, "Paper Moon"

5. Actual Wolf, "July"


1. Chris Koza

2. Koo Koo Kanga Roo

3. John Mark Nelson

4. Hippo Campus

5. Tickle Torture

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "Every time I talk about moving to another city to find work in music, a friend will remind me that she has never seen such a supportive music scene as the Twin Cities. I appreciate that people are so passionate about music here — and by passionate, I mean how dedicated they are to their craft."

JIM WALSH, freelance writer, Replacements biographer

ALBUMS (unranked)

Ben Weaver, "I Wish I Was A Buffalo"

Jim Crego and the North Electric, "I Got Loud and It Got Late"

Matt Arthur & The Bratlanders, "Heavy On My Mind"

Haley Bonar, "Last War"

Atmosphere, "Southsiders"

Sonny Knight & The Lakers, "I'm Still Here"

Eric Koskinen, "America Theater"

Lolo's Ghost, "Lolo's Ghost"

Two Harbors, "The Natural Order Of Things"

Jeremy Messersmith, "Heart Murmurs"

SONGS (unranked)

Jillian Rae, "Heartbeat"

Adam Levy, "Clemens In Plainview"

Doug Collins, "Lesbian Wedding"

Annie and The Bang Bang, "Explode With Happy – Man!"

Chris Koza, "Be Wild"

LIVE ACTS (unranked)

Maurice Jacox


The Pines

Curtiss A & The Dark Click

Lizzo and Caroline Smith

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2014: "Compiled with much love and dogged perseverance, the hugely underrated various artist compilations 'Slim Town Singles' and 'Rock For The Rules 2' are great examples of disparate music communities pulling together to write and record heartfelt tunes for reasons bigger than themselves. Minneapolis music at its most inspirational."

TOKI WRIGHT, Insight News music columnist


1. Toki Wright and Big Cats, "Pangaea"

2. K. Raydio and O-D, " One Drop"

3. Manny Phesto, "Southside Looking In"

4. DJ Snuggles, "That Beat"

5. Margeaux Davis, "Won't Do It Again"

6. Theo Brown Music, "The Void"

7. Frogtown Beats, "Frogtown Neighborhood Association"

8. Tek, "Like I Never Left"

9. King Fuvi, "I Want My Name Back"

10. Sonny Knight and the Lakers, "I'm Still Here"


1. K.Raydio and O-D, "The Back Wall"

2. Shiro Dame, "Crazy Ways"

3. Freez, "Survival"

4. Sweetz P., "Life Behind Barrrs"

5. Manny Phesto, "Eternity In The Cities"


1. Up Rock

2. Malamanya

3. Meta

4. Kevin Washington Ensemble

5. Sankopheonix

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well this year: "The Afrofuturist Movement: Afrofuturism is a concept that brings together science fiction, Afrocentricity, and more into ideas around Black identity in the future as a mechanism to combat misrepresentation. Most notable figures include Sun Ra, Parliament Funkadelic, Outkast, and Janelle Monáe. In the Twin Cities artists like Shiro Dame, Eric Mayson, Soul Tools, Greg Grease (ZULUZULUU), Sankopheonix, Up Rock, Voice of Culture, and more are redefining a generation of artists by creating alternative venues and avant garde works."

Special thanks to all the voters in this year's Twin Cities Critics Tally, not just for taking part in this annual exclamation point on local music press at year's end but especially for providing valuable support to the scene year-round.

How TCCT works: Voters choose their top 10 local albums, which are then weighted through a point system. Ranked lists go from 20 points for the No. 1 album to two points for No. 10. Unranked lists are 10 points per album. Best songs and live-act categories are top-five lists, with ranked lists ranging from 10 points to two, or five apiece for unranked lists.