The City Pages best-new-band beast known as Picked to Click holds a special place in my overstimulated heart, mostly because I spent the last four years tabulating the results and putting the whole issue together myself. So I approached this year’s poll from a strange place, one from which I am both overly informed on Picked to Click’s inner-workings and yet am observing it as an outsider for the first time in half a decade.
With that in mind, and before we get on to the winners, here are a few extraordinarily biased and borderline neorotic notes on the latest poll:
* For the first time in the poll’s history, this year’s Picked to Click was limited to an even 10 winners, even if two bands tied by receiving the same number of points. In the past, a tie between two bands would only take up one of the top-10 slots; because of this, certain years saw 13 or more bands place in the poll and receive recognition in the print issue. This year, Wiping Out Thousands and John Mark Nelson tied and yet were placed at 3rd and 4th, bumping A. Wolf and Her Claws out of the top 10. Reed Fischer, City Pages‘ music editor and the man behind this year’s issue, says the switch was made to ensure that all the winning bands could fit into the limited space available in print.
* Another point of interest is that this is the least incestuous poll in recent memory; last year, especially, the recycling of former Picked to Click winners into new winning bands was so rampant that I mapped the whole thing out in a flowchart. Last year eight of the 13 Picked to Click bands had members who had formerly placed in other projects. This year? Only four of the 10 have already-picked-and-clicked players. (Extra props to Poliça bassist Chris Bierden, who managed to place in two separate bands this year.) It’s a relief to see so much legitimately new talent filling out the pool this year, and from so many corners of the community.
* And speaking of Bierden, I couldn’t help but notice that the writers assigned to profile this year’s winners seemed to shy away from pointing out his association with other acts, especially Poliça. In the profile of Pony Trash, Poliça is referred to as “a certain guitarless, experimental combo that has been on the road extensively throughout 2012,” while the Heavy Deeds article states that “Bierden has been on tour with you-know-who for … well, it feels like forever.” Perhaps we’re all still rattled from the ol’ gatekeepers/tastemakers/back-patters debate that seemed to engulf the music community earlier this year, or maybe it was just a way to try to keep the focus on this year’s winners. Either way, I found it curious that attempts to talk around Poliça’s continued popularity only seemed to draw more attention to their impact on this year’s poll.
It occurred to me as I was poring over the results of this year’s Picked to Click that many of the acts have already performed here in the Current studios for our Local Show. For the uninitiated, here’s a smattering of in-studio videos, sessions, interviews, and other content we have floating around about this year’s winners, who placed as follows:
1. The Chalice
2. Pony Trash
Pony Trash will be our guests on the November 11 episide of the Local Show.
3. John Mark Nelson (tie)
4. Wiping Out Thousands (tie)
See also: My review of Wiping Out Thousands’ live show from back in February.
5. Heavy Deeds
6. Actual Wolf
7. Strange Names
8. Observer Drift
See also: My interview with Observer Drift’s Collin Ward.
9. Prissy Clerks
See also: My coverage of Prissy Clerk’s formation from earlier this year.
10. Audio Perm