Picked to Click 2020: The individual ballots

These people are not six feet apart.

These people are not six feet apart. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here are the individual ballots submitted for this year's Picked to Click, along with voter comments.

Drew Ailes
Musician (Citric Dummies, the Spits, Erik Nervous, Liquids, Sick Thoughts, Buck Biloxi and the Fucks)

1. Killing Joke
2. Citric Dummies
3. The Spits
4. Liquids
5/ Erik Nervous

Comments: Pandemic Poser Purge 2020, fuck losers who are in it for social currency, to prey on women, act “cool,” or just to wear leather jackets. Those of us who were doing this shit in sketchy basements and piss-soaked apartments at age 15 will be doing it at age 51 without the slightest fuck given as to who is watching. Get the fuck out of music and go live your dreams as a guy with a fast car or a nice watch. No one here will fuck you anymore. There is nothing left for you. Even when you’re a big fish in a small pond, you’re still harvested and ground up for dog food in the end. Leave the art for those of us who were born in tin cans, bursting at the seams from bacterial infection. I’m still missing a front tooth. I’m still mad at everyone. I still love electric guitars. Are you a Taurus or a Tourist? Tell the truth now that no one’s watching. Most bands still suck and I’m totally fine with it. Killing Joke rules. John Peel forever. Watch that Bill Hicks clip about playing from the heart. Citric Dummies, The Spits, Liquids, Erik Nervous, Sick Thoughts stole one of our riffs. Maybe. See you in the funny pages.

Jordan Alamat
Music Director, Go 96.3

1. Moise
2. Faith Boblett
3. Cashinova
4. Lucid Van Guard
5. Grayson Dewolfe

Comments: Hey City Pages, I appreciate you guys. You bring me daily joy and laughs.

Matt Allen
Musician (Nur-D)

1. Bayo
2. Enzy Rose
3. Lazenlow
4. Mpls Drew
5. Uncle T

Comments: This year is such a hard one as the world seemed to fall apart right at the jump. No concerts, no festivals, just a whole lot of nothing. So I went with people I saw working hard to make big moves despite the pandemic slowing everyone down. There is still some year list and I know a lot of talented artists have stuff on the way. But as of right now this is who I got for 2020!

Flip Arkulary
Manager (Actual Wolf), Engineer (Blumlein Studio Duluth)

1. Sordid Affairs
2. Aurora Baer
3. "Misisipi" Mike Wolf
4. Kenneth Gregory Bressler (KGB)
5. Extermination Day

Comments: Contests for music are dumb but I vote every year. I guess I'm dumb!

Rachel Austin
Digital Marketing Manager, Target Center

1. Harper's Jar
3. niiice.
4. Natalie Fideler
5. Careful Gaze

Comments: I wanted to use this space to give an extra shoutout to past Click to Pick winners Gully Boys & NUR-D for how involved they have been in supporting the Twin Cities community in 2020! Gully Boys raised over $20K for Northside Funders Group through sales of their "Demolish White Supremacy" shirt, and NUR-D started Justice Frontline Aid to give support and aid to those protesting around the city for justice. The local music scene is so lucky to have you!

Collin Axell
Musician (Chatham Rise)

1. Muun Bato
2. Monica LaPlante
3. Cult of Lip
4. IE
5. Sapphire

Jon Behm

1. Extraterrestrials
2. Iceblink
3. Nat Harvie
4. Super Flasher
5. Lilac Fortress

Comments: Fuck 2020!

Dan Black
Makes drawings and prints things at Landland

1. The squirrel friend I feed stuff to out of my kitchen
2. The muskrats tirelessly putting in work at Bde Maka Ska
3. The Infinite & Expansive Symphonic Army of Cicadas
4. Probably some birds
5. Dogs

Thomas Boettner
Musician (Straight Panic, Secret Historian, ISØLATIØN, Jouissance du Rien)

1. The Blight
2. Gnawed
3. Body Carve
4. Baculum
5. Cock ESP


Andrew Brandt
Freelance writer

1. Hotline TNT
2. Heart to Gold
3. Harper's Jar
4. Double Grave
5. Aros E-V

Adam Bubolz

1. Plowed Effigy
2. Iceblink
3. Dope Walker
4. Super Flasher
5. Extraterrestrials

Emily Cassel
Editor-in-chief, City Pages

1. niiice.
2. Pierre
4. Grim Light
5. Gramma

Bailey Cogan
Musician (26 BATS!)

1. Kamilla Love
2. Mrs. Pinky and The Great Fox
3. Keep for Cheap
4. Lucid VanGuard
5. Alien Book Club


Cyn Collins
Host of KFAI’s Spin with Cyn, author (Complicated Fun, West Bank Boogie), MNHS First Avenue exhibit researcher, music journalist

1. Products
2. Monica LaPlante
3. Loki's Folly
4. Heart Bones
5. Muun Bato

Comments: There are so many excellent bands working on recordings, or had just completed recordings around the beginning of COVID-19. The tenacity of our music community is great, during these challenging times. Please support them however you can.

Colleen Cowie
Blogger and Founder of Pass The Mic

2. bugsy
3. Allergen
4. Alien Book Club
5. Dad Bod

Pat Dougherty


1. Elle PF
2. Double Grave
3. Faith Boblett
4. Seaberg
5. SYM1

G. Douglas
Creative Director at Double Asterisk Group

1. The Shackletons
2. Niiice
3. Sarah White
4. Dakota Lane North
5. A Sunken Ship Irony

Ali Elabbady
Host of Tacos & Tastemakers, food and music critic

1. Nyasia
2. Timisarocker
3. Seaberg & The Black Velvet Punks
4. DJ Yasmeenah
5. DJ Ariesfirebomb

Jerard Fagerberg
Music writer in non-COVID times

1. niiice.
2. Harper's Jar
3. Partition
5. Fruitpunchloverboy

Comments: I know I voted niiice. as no. 1 last year, but it seems like the world wasn't ready for that truth. Now that they have their first LP out, maybe the Cities will get on board?

Sam Frederick
Guitarist/vocalist for New Primals & Lunch Duchess

1. Taylor Seaberg
2. bugsy
3. Harper’s Jar
4. Gramma
5. Partition

Robert Frost
Audio Visual Coordinator @ Catalyst Music Group

1. Early Eyes
2. Dev Jana
3. Ternion Sound
4. Nostalgia
5. Do a Barrel Roll!

Jay Gabler
Digital Producer, The Current

1. FPA
2. MC Longshot
3. Mae Simpson
4. Turn Turn Turn
5. SYM1

Comments: Amid anguish and tragedy and righteous upheaval, Minnesota musicians continue to sustain us with heroic heart and much-needed inspiration.

Aaron Gleeman

1. Szechuan Spice
2. Shuang Cheng
3. Rainbow Chinese
4. Wong
5. Cheng's Garden

Christopher Goyette
Concert photographer, First Avenue/Reviler

1. The Nunnery
2. Muun Bato
3. bugsy
4. Strange Relations

Matthew 'Gravey' Graves
UnderCurrentMPS, Catbath, Holliday/Graves/Schaal, Oyster World, Tiger Maul

1. Split Fountain
2. Oeurth
3. Miss Manners
4. Basement Boys
5. Dana Sterling

Comments: fuck bands

Tara Grimmer
Musician, producer, booker

1. Christof Rochel
2. Athereal Rose
3. Mikko Blaze
4. Mercy Valentine
5. Hotel Caviar

Sonia Grover
First Avenue

1. Miloe
2. Lupin
3. FPA
4. L.A. Buckner

Keith Harris
Music editor, City Pages

1. Mary Bue
2. Taylor Seaberg
3. Kamilla Love
4. Harper’s Jar

Scott Herold
CEO, Rock the Cause Records/Business of Music, High School for Recording Arts

1. DJ Mickey Breeze
2. Lewiee Blaze
3. Destiny Roberts
4. Rashad 502
5. Some Girl Named Anna

Joe Holland
Event planning at Uptown VFW, Booking agent at Nobool Presents, Freelance audio engineer

1. Low Rats
2. El Drifte
3. Snake Whips
4. High Tiny Hairs
5. Basses Loaded

Ali Jaafar
Engineer (ecstattic studio), musician (another heaven, diie, subtle beast)

1. Serac
2. Superheater
3. Partition
4. Human Error
5. Lady Brugs

Cecilia Johnson
Digital producer at the Current

1. Psalm One
2. FPA
3. Blood $moke Body
4. Freaque

Darin Kamnetz

1. Sophia Eris
2. Tufawon
3. SYM1
4. Margret
5. Ashley DuBose

Chaz Kangas
On-air personality at Go 95.3

1. Ka Lia Universe
2. Mic Dos
3. Deja Miquel
4. Tufawon
5. Tory Vee

Josh Keller
Writer/founder @

1. The Muatas
2. Iceblink
3. Lilac Fortress
4. New Glue

John C.S. Keaton founder, composer, performer, series organizer

1. Diane Miller
2. Neon Menhirs (Jonathan Waldo)
3. Jesse Whitney
4. portal iii
5. Carnage the Executioner

Comments: Carnage is not new, but he just keeps killing it day in day out! Jesse Whitney has been quietly making an impact on electronic music in the TCs for while and deserves a mention. Diane Miller revived an outdoor music scene at the Icehouse. Jonathan Waldo organized a streaming series through Corrector Records shortly after lockdown. And... portal iii!!!

Jack Kolb-Williams
Executive Director, Catalyst Music (The Garage and soon-to-be Treasury)

1. Miloe
2. Why Not
3. John Chuck and the Class
4. Heart to Gold
5. Mae Simpson

Taylor Kraemer
Musician (VIAL)

1. bugsy
2. EVV
3. Allergen
5. Blue Venus

Shelby Lano
Synth/vocals in Prim Woes

1. Half Tramp
2. Enzyrose
3. Double Grave
4. Kamilla Love
5. Taylor Seaberg

Comments: I just really fucking miss shows

Monica LaPlante
Local schlub

1. Extraterrestrials
2. Superheater
3. Iceblink
4. Muun Bato
5. Magenta Vice

Laura Larson
I play in Scrunchies and Kitten Forever

1. Loud Sun
2. Waveless
3. Double Grave
4. Sad Boy Dave
5. Butter Boys

Comments: Drink some water, fuck the MPD.

PD Larson
Artist manager

1. Muun Bato
2. Escape From Minneapolis
3. Turn Turn Turn
4. Sapphire
5. The Shackletons

Ryener Learning Curve
Learning Curve Records shipping specialist

1. Serac
2. Silt
3. Anything on Learning Curve
4. Caterwaul 2021
5. Ex-Nuns

Robert Lehmann
Marketing and booking manager, the Cedar

1. Lewiee Blaze
2. Humbird
3. DJ Cassie Opia
4. Cydi "Livin' Wabi Sabi" Yang

Tom Loftus
Founder & co-owner, Modern Radio record label

1. Dope Walker
2. Lilac Fortress
3. Lazear
4. Night Stone
5. Plowed Effigy

Comments: Kudos to all of the local musicians who are sharing out new music and putting fresh things in the world with little or no ability to perform in public places. I honestly can't wait to get back to a point where I can be crammed into a small stinky room with music fans enjoying music being played obscenely loud. To say this past 6 months has been disorienting is a wild understatement. In the past 2 years, I've seen quite a few less shows than my usual 100 or so shows a year due to life, work, other creative endeavors and being picky. Right now, I'd give anything to see my least favorite show of the past 20 years with friends. Everyone needs to throw money and love indiscriminately at music makers in this moment. It is necessary to make it through to the other side of this.

Aaron Mader (Lazerbeak)
Artist/manager/label guy

1. .Dua Saleh
3. Monica LaPlante
4. FPA
5. Moise

Stephen Thomas McClellan
Talent buyer for years, still do music events for a non-profit called DEMO, and presently working volunteer work for Hi FI Records and the Museum of MN Music

1. Uranium Club
2. Mae Simpson Band
3. Swamp Poppas
4. Harrison Street
5. The Lanes

Comments: Of course, some of the musicians are veterans artists, but the group is a "newer" entity in their careers. I am also waiting to hear a definition of "made an impact" that is included in the City Pages criteria - beer sales, ticket sales, media attention? What is the quantifier?

Zach McCormick
Editor/producer at the Beer Dabbler

1. Monica LaPlante
2. Split Fountain
3. Alien Book Club
5. Hard Looks

Comments: No shows this year really sucked. Seeing our music community stand up against racist cops and predators while providing crucial aid to our city did not. Keep fighting the good fight y'all, we'll see you again in 2020.

Sean McPherson
Host on the Current, member of Heiruspecs

1. Blood $moke Body
2. LA Buckner
3. Juice Lord
4. The Jayhawks (what a sound)
5. Happy Apple (have you heard King behind a drum kit?)

Comments: I feel very strongly about my top three but I think all the other local artists I'm into have been doing their thing long enough to not fit on the list so I tossed on two jokes to end my list.

Diane Miller
Musician and talent buyer at Icehouse

2. Arthur LA Buckner
3. Portal iii
4. The Nunnery
5. Ness Nite

Comments: I'm sure I'm forgetting artists...It was hard to place these in order. They are all excellent.

Tony Nelson

1. Turn Turn Turn
2. King Pari
3. Muun Bato
4. The Shackletons
5. Mae Simpson

Comments: I realize some of these might be pushing at the rules of who qualifies as new artists here but I've been lucky enough to have been working with some of the venues producing live streamed shows these last few months and have actually attended some great shows that transcended the current circumstances and made real impacts on me, which skewed my list a little.

Taylor Nice
Lead singer/bassist of PARTITION

2. Sass
4. Harper’s Jar
5. Blue Venus

Comments: Time will tell.

Carly Olds

1. Split Fountain
2. Miss Manners
3. Oeurth
4. Dana Sterling
5. Brain Conditioner

Jessica Paxton
Radio Host (Northfield) and talent buyer for the Parkway Theater (Minneapolis)

1. Champagne Confetti
2. Ryan & Pony
3. King Pari
4. Matt Wilson & His Orchestra
5. Courtney Yasmineh

Comments: Strange year for those of us who work in the music/performance industry. Nonetheless, the creativity & talent in the Twin Cities music scene continues to astound me -- and I gotta give an extra shout-out to Courtney Yasmineh who has embraced every opportunity to perform -- from front porches to city sidewalks to remote woodlands throughout the state.

Chris Polley
Guitars/synths, PRGRPHS

1. Dismantlists
2. Driftless
3. Iceblink
4. Cole Pulice
5. The Decayed Realms


Robert Quinn
I attended a lot of live music, back when the world was (sort of) normal

1. Muun Bato
2. Harper's Jar
3. Monica LaPlante
4. Turn Turn Turn
5. Graveyard Club

Aoife Roberts
First Ave / staying home

1. Dana Sterling
2. Miloe
3. Alien Book Club
4. bugsy
5. Marmalade

Jack Spencer
Supposed former infatuation junkie

1. Xythlia
2. Iceblink
3. Dre Boney
4. Maki
5. Tine Net

Comments: Is anybody clicking this year? I've never felt more disconnected from local music; I usually find out about new bands by seeing them open for other bands. Here’s some newer artists from here that I like a lot, which I found by searching the internet. It's a good time to buy some records if you’re able.

Ellen Stanley
KFAI Radio/EFS Publicity/Mother Banjo

1. Turn Turn Turn
2. Mary Bue
3. Gambler's Daughter
4. Barbaro
5. Taylor James Donskey

Jesse Stensby
Vitriol Radio, Promo director of college radio

1. Turn Turn Turn
2. The Nunnery
3. Ryan and Pony
4. Graveyard Club
5. Cashinova

Comments: I'm encouraged by the number of entries on my list that are voices that may not be brand new on the scene as it were but have found new configurations and ways to invigorate the things they'd done before.

Chris Strouth
Paris1919 and, like all kinds of other things

1. Munson–Hicks Party Supplies
2. Iceblink
3. Bora-York
4. Vild

Comments: 2020 had been a crazy year for shows, my God so many choices its overwhelming truly/ it also seems like we have more venue choices then ever before yet the crowd sizes are large enough - some might say too large for anyone trying to go to the Weasel Factory on a Saturday night. What is great about the fresh new vibe of 2020 is all the new re-imaginings of old projects, and new skills that established performers have been bringing out that air excellently with the new club scene which is sadly barely documented in this paper. Really the big star of the year is the new alt-weekly “Yam” though I think we could all live without their many root vegetable related puns, well less puns and more replacing jam with yam.

First favorite: “Dr. Munson Honeydog” who would think that a band playing only songs performed by the Muppets would be all over both the Current and KS95, not to mention become the walk out music for the MN Vikings but who can deny the killer combination of John Munson and the Levy Brothers (Adam & Noah) on their signature “Ma-Na-Mah Nah”. Deet deed ide de indeed.

Second position: “Run Westerberg Run MDC”. Proving that 2020 makes for strange bedfellows who would have expected to see sell out crowds week after week for this Run Westie Run, Paul Westerberg, Run DMC, millions of Dead cops mash up group but their KJJO 104 hit “Mop Up the Corporate DeathBurger Blackeyed Susan” was the undeniable jam of the summer.

Third Position: “Cowl City” sure superheroes movies have been the summer buzz I mean who cant stop talking about that new Wonder Woman movie, or the none stop thrill ride that was the Black Widow movie, so should w really be surprised that Owl City (Adam Young) has made a dipped a toe in that pond with his all Batman themed project: Cowl City. Sure its quirky but when most of the songs are about losing your parents in Crime Alley, or beating the snot out of the Joker its too be expected, still the Track “Brooding” from their debut laser disc “Songs the Penguin taught Me” is a master class in ennui.

Fourth Position: “The Dueling Banjos” Talk about when titans meet, in one corner you have Charlie Parr country blues folk icon, and in the other Paul Metzger the High and lonesome cosmic hobo of experimental awesomeness. What do they have in common: Banjos! Put them tighter and well you know what you get. Who can forget their 3 hour country drone jamboree on that one banjo tune everyone knows at this years Rock The Garden, now out on Amrep as a 6 disc set “the Squeal Like a Pig Sessions” are the soundtrack of the now.

Andrea Swensson
Host of the Current's Local Show

1. Mae Simpson
2. Mikko Blaze
3. Javier Santiago
4. Moise
5. Mrs. Pinky and the Great Fox

Helen Teague

1. SYM1
2. Double Grave
3. Tufawon
4. Annie and the Bang Bang

Jon Tester
Musician (Rabbit Holes/Tora Tora Torrance)

1. 120 Minutes Club
2. Plowed Effigy
3. Uggga Buggga
4. Brown Cat
5. Mama’s Fuzzy Boy

Erik Thompson
City Pages clubs editor

1. Muun Bato
2. The Muatas
3. Iceblink
4. Lazear
5. Super Flasher

Youa Vang
Music journalist/talent buyer MSP Airport

1. D Mills
2. Jessica Arnold
3. PaviElle
5. Taylor Seaberg

Comments: It's hard to make a splash in a pool of voices, even harder when there are no shows to share your work in a setting to connect with others. These are my favorites that I feel did/are doing good work (along with good music).

Krista Vilinskis
Publicist/Music licensing

1. Gowns
2. Harper's Jar
3. YYY
4. Chris Castino
5. The Catalina

Comments: It's always so hard to just pick 5! Minneapolis is bursting with amazing musicians! I also really dig Leslie Vincent, Why Not, Wax Lead, VIAL and Tthe Shackeltons.

Jeremy Warden
I used to help release tapes and book shows for bands all around the Midwest but now I just build guitar pedals and try to keep my band alive.

1. Double Grave
2. Split Fountain
3. bugsy
4. Keep For Cheap
5. Scrunchies

Comments: The last Twin Cities show I was able to attend was Another Heaven at the 331 on February 28 2020.

Eamon Whalen


1. Kamilla Love
2. P Will
3. MMYKK of astralblak
4. Blood Smoke Body
5. Papa Mbye

Jen Whittier
Talent buyer

1. Genital Panic
2. Turn Turn Turn
3. Pony and Ryan
4. Dmills
5. Munson-Hicks

Comments: Uff da. What an unprecedented and trying time for not only our industry, but the world around us. If last year you would have told me I would be sitting alone at my place at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and not at the Entry checking out a new band, I would have immediately called your bluff. Nah dude, no way!! Huge love to all the bands, especially new acts that are working so hard to bring us joy in these difficult and wild times. What a long strange trip it’s really been!

Erik Wivinus

Organizer/curator of the occasionally occurring Heliotrope festival, manager at IT Records, member of Thunderbolt Pagoda/The Quaking Bogge/Magenta Vice, et al.

1. Arcturus V
2. Galaxy 80
3. Iceblink
4. North Innsbruck
5. Sacred Oak

Comments: No order. These artists are all worthy of your attention and I’m sure none of them will “win,” which means they will probably be making quality work long into the future and staying relevant to themselves and their vision.

Check out the complete list of winners here.