Category: Best-of-the-year

The best local music of 2009

My picks for the Minnesota music scene’s best albums of the year. Here’s #1:

1. P.O.S., Never Better
(Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Stef Alexander opens his third album with a down-to-earth apology for the three-year gap between Never Better and 2006′s Audition—”sorry I took so long,” he says, before launching into “Let It Rattle.” It’s the only thing the Doomtree rapper needs to be humble about when it comes to his music. Drawing energy as much from his punk-rock background as his hip-hop side, P.O.S. is as verbally propulsive and nimble here as Savion Glover, the dancer he namechecks on Never Better‘s third song. The Twin Cities is not exactly hurting for talent when it comes to underground hip-hop, but here’s a solid sign that P.O.S. will be counted in the highest echelons of that group for a long time to come.

Originally published on Dec. 10, 2009. Read the complete article.

Best Music Of 2006: Loon State Edition

As the A.V. Club’s Twin Cities editor, I was happy to weigh in on our collective national Best Music Of 2006 list (here’s a link to my personal top 10), but I also thought it would be important to do the same for my own local music scene. I put the following list together for the A.V. Club’s Minneapolis print edition, and in the name of civic pride and all that, I’ll share it with you guys here too. Though making these annual best-of lists is one of the highlights of a critics’ year, the idea of ranking one musician against another sometimes seems a little ludicrous. Is a rap group really comparable to a folk duo, or an alt-country band? You know what they say about apples and oranges. Still, they’re both fruit, and if you can’t pick out rotten produce, you’re gonna wind up in the hospital. Of course, you can’t really compare CDs and fruit either, except to say that if you try to eat a CD you will definitely end up in the hospital even if it’s a good band. (This despite the fact that economists call people who buy CDs “consumers.”) At any rate, here are my picks for the best Minnesota-made music of 2006.

Originally published Dec. 14, 2006 on Read the complete article.

2005: The Year In Music (Loon State Edition)

As someone who’s lived almost all of his life in the Twin Cities, I’ve always been a big fan of Minnesota’s music scene, and one of the pleasures of being The A.V. Club’s Twin Cities editor is that I get to hear so much local music. As a sidebar to our national 2005: The Year In Music list, here’s my take on the best discs made by or (in one case) about Minnesotans this year.

1) Low, The Great Destroyer: Low’s musical identity is so closely tied to melancholy, introspective stillness that turning up the volume would seem to wreck what’s appealing about the band in the first place, but on The Great Destroyer, Duluth’s finest export after taconite pellets cranked up the fuzzbox and the amps without sacrificing a thing. Instead, the increased intensity—ominously rumbling keyboards under “Monkey,” a loud, distorted riff powering “Everybody’s Song”—lends Destroyer an epic quality that works hand in hand with the intimacy at the heart of a Low song.

Originally published Dec. 16, 2005 on Read the complete article.

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