Sarah Askari, City Pages music editor

1. Dan Wilson "Free Life"

2. Fog "Ditherer"

3. Vicious Vicious "Parade"

4. Little Man "Soulful Automatic"

5. Brother Ali "The Undisputed Truth"

6. The Owls "Daughters and Suns"

7. MC/VL Stance

8. Romantica "America"

9. New MC "White Jesus"

10. Sick of Sarah "bittersweet" EP


Christopher Bahn, Onion A.V. Club Twin Cities

Albums:

1: Cloud Cult, "The Meaning of 8"

2: Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3: Low, "Drums and Guns"

4: Walker Kong, "Deliver Us From People"

5: Charlie Parr, "Jubilee"

6: Roma Di Luna, "Find Your Way Home"

7: Ed Ackerson, "Ed Ackerson"

8: Little Man, "Soulful Automatic"

9: Fog, "Ditherer"

10: Romantica, "America"


Songs (unranked):

Brother Ali, "Take Me Home"

Charlie Parr, "Twenty-Nine"

Cloud Cult, "Take Your Medicine"

Jan, "Juliet Was The Sun"

Low, "Breaker"

Michael Yonkers & The Blind Shake, "Inbetween"

Roma di Luna, "The Devil Walks"

Trampled By Turtles, "Who's Calling?"

Vampire Hands, "Opium Typhoon"

Walker Kong, "Andy Warhol & The Honey Bees"

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2007: When I asked local bands to send me music for our "I'm in a Promising Local Band" compilation series in September, I wound up with well more than enough great songs to fill three discs.


Jon Bream, Star Tribune music critic

1. Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. Brian Setzer Orchestra, "Wolfgang's Big Night Out"

4. Charlie Parr, "Jubilee"

5. Manifest, "Manifestations"

6. Ben Weaver, "Paper Sky"

7. Storyhill, "Storyhill"

8. Becky Schlegel, "For All the World to See"

9. Chastity Brown, "Do the Best You Can"

10. Desdamona, "The Source"


Tim Campbell, Star Tribune arts editor

Albums (unranked):

Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

Romantica, "America"

The Owls, "Daughters and Sons"

White Light Riot, "Atomism"

Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

Happy Apple, "Happy Apple Back on Top"

M.anifest, "Manifestations"

Molly Maher, "Balms of Gilead"

Fog, "Ditherer"

Live acts (unranked):

Birthday Suits

Gay Witch Abortion

Brother Ali

Doomtree

Cloud Cult


Songs (unranked):

"Sugar," Dan Wilson

"Uncle Sam Goddamn," Brother Ali

"Chemicals Collide," Cloud Cult

"The Now," Mouthful of Bees

"Mattress," Atmosphere


Cyn Collins, freelancer and author, "West Bank Boogie"

1. Fort Wilson Riot, "Idigaragua"

2. Charlie Parr, "Jubilee"

3. The Owls, "Daughters and Suns"

4. Fantastic Merlins, "Look Around"

5. Painted Saints, "The Bricks Might Breathe Again"

6. Roma di Luna, "Find Your Way Home"

7. Dance Band, "Returns from the Land of Tomorrow"

8. Ben Weaver, "Paper Sky"

9. Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

10. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"


Songs (unranked):

"Idigaragua," Fort Wilson Riot

"Riding Lawnmower Blues," Charlie Parr

"Jesus on the Mainline," Charlie Parr

"It Would Seem," Fantastic Merlins

"Junk Bones," Dark Dark Dark

'New York Song," Dark Dark Dark

"Golem er Something," Painted Saints

"Stagger Slide," Dance Band


Live Acts:

1. Fort Wilson Riot

2. The Knotwells

3. Dark Dark Dark

4. Jelloslave

5. Painted Saints

No. 1 sign the scene is alive and well:

"Dark Folk" -- a growing number of bands doing new takes on folk, revisiting old-timey, gypsy folk and old-country blues with punk, rock and rockabilly edges, also merging genres making it new, or playing it as it was c. 1920s and 30s.


David de Young, Howwastheshow.com founder

1. Ed Ackerson, self-titled

2. Stook, "When the Needle Hits the Wax"

3. Terry Eason, "Sentimental Vanity"

4. To Kill a Petty Bourgoisie, "The Patron"

5. James Buckle Trio, "Stitches"

6. Evening Rig, "Never Been'r"

7. Alarmists, "Ghost and the Hired Gun"

8. Glad Version , "Make Islands"

9. White Light Riot, "Atomism"

10. various, "Twin Town High Music Yearbook"


Tom Horgen, Star Tribune A&E reporter

Albums:

1. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

2. Big Quarters, "Cost of Living"

3. M.anifest, "Manifestations"

4. Atmosphere, "Sad Clown Bad Summer" and "Sad Clown Bad Fall" EPs

5. Charlie Parr, "Jubilee"

6. The Alarmists, "The Ghost and the Hired Gun"

7. Maria Isa, "Split Personalities"

8. The Pines, "Sparrows in the Bell"

9. Mel Gibson & the Pants, "Sea vs. Shining Sea"

10. New MC (Zach Combs), "White Jesus"


Songs:

1. Big Quarters, "Painkillers"

2. Brother Ali, "Daylight"

3. M.anifest, "Gentleman"

4. Atmosphere, "Lyndale Avenue User's Manual "

5. New MC, "Cool J Planets"


Live acts:

1. Brother Ali

2. P.O.S.

3. The Alarmists


Christopher Matthew Jensen, freelancer (City Pages, Vita.mn)

Albums:

1. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie, "The Patron"

2. Kill the Vultures, "Midnight Pines"

3. Fog, "Ditherer"

4. Gay Beast, "Disrobics"

5. Michael Yonkers, "Grimwood"

6. Charlie Parr, "Jubliee"

7. Mouthful of Bees, "The End"

8. Painted Saints, "The Bricks Might Breathe Again"

9. Pandamonium, "Ling Ling"

10. M.anifest, "Manifestations"


Songs:

1. Best Friends Forever, "Eisenhower"

2. Mouthful of Bees, "The Now"

3. Big Quarters, "Lou Diamond"

4. Painted Saints, "Lights Hanging Low From Heavy Cottonwoods"

5. Charlie Parr, "Twenty-Nine"


Live acts:

1. Skoal Kodiak

2. Seawhores

3. Best Friends Forever

4. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie

5. Styrofoam Duck

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2007: For every moldy basement turned word-of-mouth underground venue we lost, another quickly sprouted up. The people that organize, perform at and attend these D.I.Y. happenings have proven themselves to be as resourceful and resilient as anyone could hope.


Kandis Knight, freelancer and blogger (Altjournalist.com.blogspot)

Albums:

1. Sha Cage, "Amber People"

2. Omaur Bliss, "Omaur Bliss"

3. MN Fats, "Perfect Candidate"

4. Musab, "Slicks Box"

5. M.anifest, "Manifestations"

6. New MC, "White Jesus"

7. Trama, "HCMC

8. Jah Doctrine, "Echoes of History"

9. Brother Ali, "Undisputed Truth"

10. Mercies May, "Crooked Valentine"


Songs:

1. "Patriotic Duty," Muja and I Self

2. "Beautiful," Muja andSamhara

3. "Mn Fats," Hustle-Grind

4. "Mercies May," End of The Affair

5. "Maria Isa," MN Nice


Live acts:

1. Muja Messiah

2. Black Blondie

3. I Self Devine

4. Leroy Smokes

5. Chosen Few

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2007: People in the music industry (outside of Minnesota) generally appreciate the lyrical content of artists from Minnesota. More Minnesota artists are actually going on tour and over seas and hiring professional representation.


Steve Marsh, MSP magazine writer

Albums:

1. Fort Wilson Riot, "Idagaragua"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. Nightinghales, "Leaves of Green, Songs of Blue"

4. The Alarmists, "The Ghost and the Hired Gun"

5. Best Friends Forever, "Romance Conflict"

6. Mouthful of Bees, "The End"

7. Mystery Palace, "Flag Forward"

8. Ice Rod, "It's About Sex and Hip-Hop"

9. Death to Our Enemies, s/t

10. Friends Like These, "I Hate You, Vol. 1: The Greatest Generation"


Kyle Matteson, ReveilleMag.com and MoreCowbell.net

Albums:

1. Romantica, "America"

2. The Glad Version, "Make Islands"

3. Cloud Cult, "The Meaning of 8"

4. The Pines, "Sparrows in the Bell"

5. The Alarmists, "The Ghost and the Hired Gun"

6. Stook!, "When The Needle Hit the Wax"

7. Mouthful of Bees, "The End"

8. Fog, "Ditherer"

9. Ed Ackerson, self-titled

10. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"


Steve McPherson, ReveilleMag.com and TheBottleGang.com

Albums:

1. Fog, "Ditherer"

2. Building Better Bombs, "Freak Out Squares"

3. Gospel Gossip, "Sing Into My Mouth"

4. Red Fox Grey Fox, "From the Land of Bears, Ice and Rock"

5. Fantastic Merlins, "Look Around"

6. The Pines, "Sparrows in the Bell"

7. Painted Saints, "The Bricks Might Breathe Again"

8. James Buckley Trio, "Stitches"

9. Mystery Palace, "Flags Forward"

10. Happy Apple, "Happy Apple Back on Top"


Songs:

1. "What's Up Freaks?" Fog

2. "Queen of Everything," Haley Bonar

3. "Come Down to the Water," Ela

4. "Uncle Sam Goddamn," Brother Ali

5. "Digitata Forever," Digitata


Live acts:

1. MC/VL

2. ELK

3. Ladyslipper

4. Story of the Sea

5. Roma di Luna


Jim Meyer, freelancer

Albums (unranked):

Low, "Drums and Guns"

Weaver at the Loom, "I Was Searching and I Found"

Paul Metzger, "Deliverance "

Fantastic Merlins, "Look Around"

Storyhill, "Storyhill"

Paul Renz, "Beyond Blues"

Strange Friends, "Fireside Recordings Vol. 1"

various, "West Bank Boogie Companion CD"

various, " Sugarfoot Records For New Orleans"

Suicide Commandos, "The Legendary KQRS Concert"


Andrea Myers, ReveilleMag.com

Albums (unranked):

Romantica, "America"

Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

The Pines, "Sparrows in the Bell"

Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

City on the Make, "In the Name of Progress"

Stook, "When the Needle Hit the Wax"

Fog, "Ditherer"

Vicious Vicious, "Pararde"

Little Man, "Soulful Automatic"

Roma di Luna, "Find Your Way Home"


Songs (unranked)

"Breathless," Dan Wilson

"Hennepin Avenue," Stook

"Wrong," Ben Glaros

"Soulful Automatic," Little Man

"Screen Doors and Back Doors," Eliza Blue

Live acts (unranked):

Fort Wilson Riot

JoAnna James

The Cates

Dance Band

Mouthful of Bees

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2007: Trying to stay caught up with everything that's happening in local music is like trying to dog paddle from one end of Lake Superior to the other. All the more reason to keep on paddling.


Ross Raihala, St. Paul Pioneer Press music critic

Albums:

1. Cloud Cult, "The Meaning of 8"

2. Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

3. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

4. First Communion Afterparty, "Ever Last Sting Live"

5. The Alarmists, "The Ghost and the Hired Gun"

6. Little Man, "Soulful Automatic"

7. Flavor Crystals, "Flavor Crystals"

8. Moon Maan, "Moon Maan"

9. Kwang, "For What It's Worth"

10. Prince, "Planet Earth"


Songs:

1. "Chelsea Rodgers," Prince

2. "Hired Gun," the Alarmists

3. "Uncle Sam Goddamn," Brother Ali

4. "Please Remain Calm," Cloud Cult

5. "All Kinds," Dan Wilson


Live acts:

1. Prince

2. Dance Band

3. First Communion Afterparty

4. White Light Riot

5. The Alarmists

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2007: The first draft of my year-end top 10 list had 38 albums on it, so that must mean something.


Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune music critic

Albums:

1. Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. Cloud Cult, "The Meaning of 8"

4. Happy Apple, "Happy Apple Back on Top"

5. Romantica, "America"

6. Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

7. Charlie Parr, "Jubilee"

8. M.anifest, "MaNIfestations"

9. Mouthful of Bees, "The End"

10. Storyhill (self-titled)


Songs:

1. Dan Wilson, "Sugar"

2. Mouthful of Bees, "The Now"

3. Charlie Parr, "Twenty-Nine"

4. Brother Ali, "Daylight"

5. Happy Apple, "Very Small Rock"


Live acts:

1. Prince

2. Brother Ali

3. First Communion Afterparty

4. Mouthful of Bees

5. The Alarmists

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2007: Many of the best new acts of 2007 were young enough to make me feel too old [at 35] to be doing my job -- but exciting enough to make me never want to quit.


Amber Schadewald, freelancer (Vita.MN)

1. Digitata, "II Daggers"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. New MC, "White Jesus"

4. Baby Guts, "Gasoline"

5. Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

6. Maria Isa, "Split Personalities"

7. Ice Rod, "It's About Sex and HIp-HOp"

8. Mel Gibson & the Pants, "White Guys Lost in the Blues"

9. Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

10. Low, "Drums and Guns"


Peter Scholtes, freelancer and ex-City Pages music writer

1. The Owls, "Daughters and Suns"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. Michael Yonkers and the Blind Shake, "Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons"

4. Little Man, "Soulful Automatic"

5. Big Quarters, "Cost of Living"

6. M.anifest, "Manifestations"

7. Desdamona, "The Source"

8. New MC/Zachariah, "White Jesus"

9. Golden, "Peddling Medicine"

10. Maria Isa, "M.I. Split Personalities"


Jon Jon Scott, Liberator Magazine/Black Corners music editor

Albums:

1. Digitata, "II Daggers"

2. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

3. M.anifest, "Manifestations"

4. Big Quarters, "Cost of Living"

5. Maria Isa, "Split Personalities"

6. Mystery Palace, "Flag Forward"

7. Moon Man, "S/T"

8. Indigo, "Kirke"

9. Sha Cage, "Amber People"

10. Beatrix Jar, "Golden Fuzz"


Songs:

1. Musab, "Baaang"

2. Roma di Luna, "Don't Take My Baby"

3. M.anifest, "Babylon Breakdown"

4. Brother Ali, "Take Me Home"

5. Big Quarters, "Lou Diamond"


Live acts:

1. Building Better Bombs

2. White Light Riot

3. Black Blondie

4. Maria Isa

5. Ouiji Radio

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2007: Everyone's a star "DIY Now"; the future is so now with the instant satisfaction of the blog era and social networks. The quirky Cat Power-like beauty of Roma De Luna, the laptop experiments of Beatrix Jar breathe life into new genres. The hipster-dj crews, the continued growth and diversity of the cities various hip-hop camps. But can hip-hop survive emo? Yup.


Rob van Alstyne, ReveilleMag.com

Albums:

1. The Glad Version, "Make Islands"

2. Ela, "Real Blood on Fake Trees"

3. These Modern Socks, "These Modern Socks"

4. Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

5. The Evening Rig, "Never Been'er"

6. Mouthful of Bees, "The End"

7. The Owls, "Daughters and Suns"

8. Ed Ackerson, "Ed Ackerson"

9. Mary Bue, "Boat With No Oars"

10. Sean Na Na, "Family Trees: or Cope We Must"


Songs:

1. "Ho Baby," Vicious Vicious

2. "Glue," These Modern Socks

3. "Never Been'er," The Evening Rig

4. "WW II," Friends Like These

5. "In the Movies," Glorious Monster

6. "We've Been Here Before," Sean Na Na

7. "Talking," Mouthful of Bees

8. "Where it Hurts," Mel Gibson & the Pants

9. "She Holds Hands," Ice Palace

10. "Ambulance," the Glad Version


Live acts:

1. Chris Koza Band

2. The Alarmists

3. White Light Riot

4. Vicious Vicious

5. Story of the Sea

No. 1 Sign the Local Scene Was Alive and Well in 2007: Once again the year hasn't even come to a close yet and I'm already salivating over what 2008 has in store, whether that be long awaited new records from established veterans (Kid Daktoa's new album drops in February) or the eagerly anticipated next chapter from some of the Cities' newer talents (what I've heard of Jeremy Messersmith's in-progress sophomore album is simply stunning).


Jim Walsh, ReveilleMag.com and author, "The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting"

Albums (unranked):

Romantica, "America"

Jan, "Everything Must Go"

Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

Jonathan Delehanty, "Golgotha"

Jessy Greene, "A Demon and Her Lovers"

Stook!, "When The Needle Hit The Wax"

Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

Alison Rae, "Alison Rae"

Ed Ackerson, "Ed Ackerson"

Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

Songs (unranked):

Brianna Lane, "Porch Light"

Terry Walsh, "Bike Ride On 35W"

Joanna James, "Back Of My Mind"

Molly Maher, "Let's Pretend We Never Have Met"

Heroine Sheiks, "Cock Asia"


Live acts (unranked):

The Dollys

Golden Smog

Joanna James

Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers

The Falls

No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2007: The fact that it's impossible to narrow it down to just one. That said, I'm constantly inspired by people like Dessa, Martin Devaney, and Steve McClellan, whose enthusiasm and love of music, art, and people is infectious, and by the not-to-be-taken-for-granted Current (89.3 FM), which regularly wedges in locals between various legends and alternastars, and gathers together this whole witchy-bitchy music burg under one big sweet umbrella.


Megan Wiley, MSP magazine online editor

Albums:

1. Happy Apple, "Happy Apple Back on Top"

2. Vicious Vicious, "Parade"

3. Brother Ali, "The Undisputed Truth"

4. Low, "Drums and Guns"

5. Dan Wilson, "Free Life"

6. The Owls, "Daughters and Suns"

7. Fog, "Ditherer"

8. Storyhill, "Storyhill"

9. Romantica, "America"

10. Cloud Cult, "The Meaning of 8"


Songs:

1. "Very Small Rock," Happy Apple

2. "Uncle Sam Goddamn," Brother Ali

3. "Stay With Me Tonight," Vicious Vicious

4. "Breaker," Low

5. "Into the Black," Ruby Isle

Live acts:

1. Prince

2. Happy Apple

3. Dosh

4. Little Man

5. Ela

No. 1 sign the local music scene was alive and well in 2007: For the majority of Twin Cities music writers, the drive to cover the local music scene outweighed the drive to stay gainfully employed.