American Catastrophe: You guys really took off this year. You not only played a shitload of well-attended shows but also struck a deal with the local upstart label Oxblood Records. And you gained a lot of fans, a majority of whom are ladies (because Terry and Shaun are so damned tall, brooding and manly). You came to fruition in a year when dark, gothic, Tom Waits-ian folk was all the rage. If not for you, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed Nick Cave's blood-splattered, fly-infested western flick The Proposition at all. Happy Holidays.
Anvil Chorus: You were voted the Best New Act at the Pitch Music Awards, then your bassist and drummer quit, reportedly after an intra-band meltdown in St. Louis. I'm glad it had nothing to do with my telling you not to sound so Björk-y. Now you're back, with a new drummer, and there's a smiley-faced emoticon in the phrase "Current mood: optimistic" on your MySpace blog entry calling for a new bassist. I guess that's the way to be. Merry Christmas.
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk: Remember when we were hyping you guys when you first came on the scene? That's because you started out strong, tearing out soaring, pummeling songs that grabbed us and rocketed us to the top of tall buildings like Batman grabbing his quarry. Then you replaced some band members, and your Batman started taking us on top of hospitals and fast-food restaurants, only to mutter about the greatness of Broken Social Scene. Here's hoping Santa brings back your attention span.
Bleeding Hands: Thank you for coming along this autumn and giving Rolling Stones fans a reason to go see local music, even though you guys are sometimes sloppy as hell. Special Christmas greetings to your singer, "Gentleman" Johnny Eggerman, who swallowed a pine cone and ain't afraid to show it. Don't drink too much hot cider, J. we'd hate for you to lose that beautiful, barking rasp.
It's Over: The only thing that's over is your rookie status, It's Over. Now you have a slew of fans who love to twist and shout right along with your adorable, young-Paul McCartney frontman, Jamie Searle. I'd invite you to Christmas dinner, but you'd probably start a food fight with Grandma.
Lovers in Transit: You started in the synthy shadow of Roman Numerals but moved into your own pink spotlight, mastering a sound reminiscent of the '80s Brit new-romantic movement. You'd better strive for something original soon. On your Christmas wish list: a sense of humor and irony.
The Pomonas: We put you on our cover and gave you a Best Of nod, and most people around here still don't get it. I guess it takes dramatic things such as having your life saved by the Replacements to realize how good your clean, hooky, guitar-driven pop really is. You say you might relocate to New Orleans next year, following the marriage of multi-instrumentalist Ryan Laird to a woman down there. May Santa bring you a new bassist-guitarist-keyboardist so that you can stay here, happily out of Mrs. Laird's hair.
The Republic Tigers: I was at your last show before you went off to hibernate for the winter, promising to return with all-new material. It was at the Grand Emporium, and I've never heard you sounding so fucking good. There are too many people in the band. But the fact that you're all in creative prog-pop harmony makes for a sound like eggnog spiked with bourbon, rum and a dash of nutmeg. And that probably means that your next project will be a jaw-dropping summer album. Rowr.
Super Black Market: You Warrensburg punks aren't playing mammy-ma's old school damn-the-man jams, but your fire, spit and sense of humor are all in the right place. Eschewing that straight-edge bullshit and penning songs such as "We'll Make Your Ass Dance (to the Death Beat)," you came along like less serious, harder-partying younger brothers to Henry Rollins. And make our asses dance you did.
Now to all, a good night.