All-Time Best Band: Apples in Stereo All-Time Best Solo Artist: Jello Biafra Best New Band: DeVotchKa
In the land of ski slopes and dope-smoking jam bands, Beach Boys superfan Robert Schneider flipped the hippie script. He gilded the Apples in Stereo’s patchwork pyschedelia with recycling-bin orchestration, and tempered his rigorously eclectic popcraft with poetic, newfangled noise. The resultant Elephant 6 movement re-ignited Amerindie-rock’s love affair with facial hair and pawn-shop trombones. | “Jello Biafra” was conceived in San Francisco, as a yippie-fied provocateur (and leader of Dead Kennedys) battling Reaganomics with pith, politics, and poignancy that quickly transcended punk. (In a run for mayor of SF, his platform included a law mandating businessmen to wear clown suits. In a field of 10, he came in fourth.) But as any true Rocky Mountaineer knows, Jello’s alter ego, Eric Reed Boucher, was born and raised in Boulder. | The lavishly theatrical circus band DeVotchKa delivers made-for-Hollywood gypsy punk, with a Clooney-esque frontman and a raucous stage show featuring a really, really hot tuba player. Easily the best reason to re-add Little Miss Sunshine (they did the score) to your Netflix queue.