|Photo by Lindsey Byrnes|
The most frequent complaint non-country listeners make about today's Nashville is that the music doesn't sound like it used to. That's true. But it's not that the hitmakers have abandoned their base -- it's that they've annexed the audiences abandoned by rock when rock went crabby after Nirvana.
Brandy Clark wrote or co-wrote the best songs on three of this year's best albums, including her own
The sonic palate of today's country is any music that its (mostly white) audience has ever liked, which means Blake Shelton raps, a little, and The Band Perry rocks Queen chord changes. If "November Rain" came out today it would be the CMA's song of the year -- although some label suit would probably insist on adding a rudimentary hip hop beat.
The records that turn up on lists like this tend to cut against the grain. Most of my choices ape older country sounds and favor a self-conscious austerity over the parking-lot party-pop that often storms the charts. That's a preference rather than a swipe at the Lee Brices of the world -- music like his does what good pop always has: It brightens the corners of its listeners' lives.More »
|Photo by Tony Nelson|
From Kanye's massive ego, to the death of teenage angst and the rise of Miley, 2013 was filled with signs that pop music was on life support and that music fans and consumers have become bored and jaded in the process. I take a sardonic look back at some of the biggest, most frightening moments of the past year that have left me wondering where pop music is heading in 2014 and if it's finally dead.
Photo By Mark Kartarik Lee Fields and the Expressions stirred up the Cedar in 2013
My head spins when I think back on all of the incredible shows we all saw in the Twin Cities this year. There are so many great spots to experience live music and the variety of shows throughout 2013 was astounding. Most music loving folks can attest that the Twin Cities can keep you out every night of the year.
I thought I'd go through a list of some of the more seasoned veterans of the trade that graced us with their divine presence this year. With grace and honor, those artists who invented the game continue to spread their music gospel, for both cathartic and nostalgic purposes.
I was lucky enough to soak up many of these stellar shows, and I came up with a fairly platinum list filled with a stalwart roster of creators and pioneers of their respected forms. 2013 looks great when looking back, and reminds us all not to sleep on living legends.More »
|Photo by Erik Hess|
As 2013 winds down with a wintry bang, the unforgettable live music moments from the second half of the year are enough to still keep us warm.
While some of the bands who were included in our best concerts list from the first half of the year came back to rock our stages with equally potent -- if not better -- local gigs (namely CHVRCHES, Prof, Poliça, and Prince), we've assembled an entirely new list of performers who put on incredible shows from July through December that those of us who were there won't forget anytime soon.More »
Do they people who conceived and designed these metal album covers not care, or do they care too much? It's not entirely clear, but that's what makes them so awesome. Behold, the 10 most ridiculous metal album covers of the year.More »
In addition to all of the great songs and albums released by Minnesota musicians throughout 2013, it has also been a wonderful year for local music videos. Each week, there are no shortage of original, striking clips that I've spotlighted in my Local Frames column, as area bands and filmmakers continue to craft indelible images to compliment the stirring sounds of the Twin Cities and beyond. And now, as the year draws to a festive and fruitful close, we take an affectionate look back at ten of the best Minnesota-based music videos that have captured and held our attention throughout '13.More »
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 2013More »
|Photo by Mark N. Kartarik|