The 10 best Minnesota singles of 2013

Photo by Guy Eppel

On both national and local levels, 2013 has been a great year for music. Plenty of talented artists and acts have produced memorable songs and and albums that have kept the area scene buzzing for 12 thrilling months now, making the choice of the ten best singles of the year a hard -- but ultimately rewarding -- one.

Some of these tracks weren't heating up the airwaves or burning up the charts, but they still warrant your rapt attention and should be played loud and proud by those who love local music. These ten songs represent only a fraction of what the area has to offer, but they boldly stood out as being fresh and original amidst the flourishing Minnesota music scene in 2013.

See Also: The 10 best Minnesota albums of 2013

Batteryboy - "Minus One Together"

This delicately heartbreaking tune by Batteryboy was first shared with their fans in a live setting before the group gathered to record this stirring studio version as part of a commission for the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands. Frontman Cobey Rouse elegantly captures the sting of loss as well as the overwhelming weight of having to move on within the song's plaintive lyrics, while the track swells to a fragile emotional release that envelops the listener as the raw sentiments of the number sweeps you away.

Aby Wolf - "Permission"

Aby Wolf's collaboration with Grant Cutler was just bound to produce some stellar results, and "Permission" is just one of many highlights on their Wolf Lords album. The synth-driven track gradually blossoms as Wolf's pristine vocals carry the song heavenward. Cutler's bold, refined production provides a modern texture that perfectly compliments Wolf's impassioned delivery, creating a stylish, assured musical statement from two supremely talented local artists who turn to gold everything that they touch.

Sombear - "Incredibly Still"

As the national success of Bradley Hale's main band, Now, Now, took off around him, the drummer quietly worked on a solo project of his own to satisfy his synth-based electronic leanings. The results of which stylishly color his Sombear debut, Love You In The Dark, which is launched by the dynamic lead-off track, "Incredibly Still." Hale once again teamed up with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla for this project, who released the album on his label, Trans-Records. And their time working together has clearly paid off, both for Now, Now and Sombear, as Hale's refined sense of rhythm propels the effortlessly poppy song forward atop a vibrant synth melody that proves to be indelible and infectious.

Gospel Gossip - "Dreamawake"

Gospel Gossip quite frankly put out the best local record of the year with their self-titled album, and you could technically pick out any song from that brilliant collection and it would be worthy of inclusion on this list. But "Dreamawake" captures the hazy charms of the record perfectly, with Sarah Nienaber's wistful vocals and swelling guitars giving the song a churning edge that builds to a dramatic release of blissful discord and raw fury. The band really hit on something exceptional and moving on this album, and this track is proof positive that Gospel Gossip are on another level entirely, and are one of the best of many talented bands in this thriving Twin Cities music scene.

Four Fists - "MMMMMHMMMMM"

P.O.S. and Astronautalis teased us about their eventual Four Fists collaboration for long enough, and finally gave their fans a creative double-shot on their fiery debut 7-inch, which features "Please Go" and this dynamic banger, "MMMMMHMMMMM." Both MC's are in feisty lyrical form throughout this insistent track, as their inspired rhymes roil atop a menacing beat that urgently pushes the number forward. Hopefully, this represents just the first of many musical offerings from Stef and Andy, who form a potent combination that the local hip-hop community could use more of in 2014 and beyond.

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