“From Rhymesayers at Target Center to Lizzo on Colbert, the Twin Cities have stopped being that teenager that is trying too hard to let everyone know they are cool, and finally have realized that they were cool all along.”
Youa Vang, City Pages contributor

“I went to a lot of shows this year that didn’t have any all-male, four-chord, third-rate guitar-rock bands on the bill. It was a year for audacity, for young artists to work collectively toward great musical aspirations. It kept me on my toes all year, and it’s made me feel very fortunate to be a part of that landscape.”
Ross Koeberl, Radio K music director

“Watching Hippo Campus’ fandom explode. It’s been amazing to see how intensely and emotionally this band’s fans connect with them, and it proves that even in a world where national performers like One Direction and Taylor Swift can conjure massive cross-platform media machines, there’s still room for local artists to connect with audiences — young and old — on a grass-roots level with great music, energetic live performances and pure fun.”
Jay Gabler, 89.3 the Current digital producer

“Allan Kingdom’s Grammy nominations are a pretty big sign.”
Jack Spencer, City Pages contributor

“In years past, it seemed the bills for album release shows consisted of the band releasing said album and two so-so to not-great bands. Now, those shows are filled with marquee/buzzy bands across the board, making them can’t-miss affairs. It’s a trend that’s been on the rise for a couple of years and I hope it continues.”
Jason Nagel, “MN Music” host, Alive & Social Network

“Minneapolis-based alt-synth outfit Enemy Planes won the Hard Rock Rising international battle of the bands contest in July. They were one of over 13,000 bands that entered and among the six flown to Barcelona to compete in the finals.”
Erica Rivera, City Pages and Star Tribune contributor

“Jazz musicians took care of business. Tireless trumpeter/flumpeter Steve Kenny programmed Friday Night Jazz at the Nicollet and Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog, two strong series. Guitarist Zacc Harris ran Jazz at Studio Z, drummer JT Bates brought his Jazz Implosion to Icehouse on Mondays, drummer Mac Santiago featured live jazz at Jazz Central five nights a week, and singer/pianist Andrew Walesch booked the Tuesday night jazz at Crooners.”
Pamela Espeland, freelancer, MinnPost columnist

“Diversity has always been lacking in Minnesota, but this year the music scene cultivated a diverse range of artistry and musical styles that continue to surprise me. When we make our monthly in-house local compilation for rotation at Radio K, I’m stunned by the wide range of sounds I hear on every disc.”
Jared Hemming, Minnesota Daily, Radio K and City Pages contributor

“Hippo Campus and GRRRL Prty drew bigger crowds than Insane Clown Posse did headlining First Avenue in 2015. Doomtree sold more tickets at St. Paul’s minor league ballpark than Matt & Kim and Yelawolf could muster at Minneapolis’ major league ballpark. Prof far surpassed Charli XCX at the Cabooze Plaza. And Atmosphere even outsold Mötley Crüe at Target Center earlier this month.”
Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune

“Look at that variety!”
Danny Sigelman, City Pages contributor

The rest of our TCCT voting bloc: Jay Boller and Michael Rietmulder (City Pages); Andrea Swensson (89.3 the Current); Jon Bream and Tim Campbell (Star Tribune); Ross Raihala (Pioneer Press); Jahna Peloquin (Minnesota Monthly); Joe Kellen (Minnesota Daily); Rich Horton and RiftMagazine.com; Cyn Collins, Jerard Fagerberg, Cecilia Johnson, Kyle Matteson, Pat O’Brien and Jim Walsh (freelancers).