Minnesota Music Now
Local musicians you need to see and hear in 2018
Thomas Abban performing at Turf Club Feb. 22, 2018
photo by Darin Kamnetz
The internet turned music into just more “content” to scroll through and sample. The sheer amount out there is crippling—even with the #Minnesota filter. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Music Now calls out local musicians who have recent or brand-new projects available now (or very soon). We chose the best stuff—sonically, aesthetically, and topically.
Each of these artists forged a unique path on their way to this moment. Inside, learn more about the latest work from Thomas Abban (above), Dessa, Astralblak, Annie Mack, Lydia Liza, and Now, Now. Plus, an all-MN Playlist highlights even more new local music.
Brand-new and recent albums from our local stars
Poliça & Stargaze
Music for the Long Emergency
Minneapolis-based indie synth-pop act Poliça recorded its fourth album with Berlin experimental string troupe stargaze. The results expand the two groups’ regular electronic-acoustic live collaborations—featured in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series—to a recording. A true merging of classical and pop styles finds vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s voice reaching new heights, song lengths stretching, and both acts showing a newfound urgency interpreting the politics of current times.
TOP TRACK: “Agree”
Late Stage Capitalism
Released in March, Messersmith’s fifth album is dripping with feel-good, retro-pop melodies. Stabs of harpsichord, horn arrangements, and harmonies enhance the glistening, lounge-y production. A closer listen, however, reveals sly and dark commentary on consumer culture, televangelism, and imminent space alien invasion.
TOP TRACK: “Purple Hearts”
Trampled by Turtles
Life is Good on the Open Road
The first album from Duluth’s acoustic crew in four years is equal parts rollicking and reflective. In the album’s saddest moments, vocalist Dave Simonett delivers some career-defining performances that’ll put a lump in your throat. Overall, the band leans away naturally from past bluegrass glories, and deeper into the alt-country territory of Simonett’s Dead Man Winter side project.
TOP TRACK: “The Middle”
On her debut mixtape, the St. Paul-based rising R&B star linked up with creative local beatmakers for a futuristic collection. It’s slow and soulful in some spots, and funky enough to get your head nodding in others, but this former Lizzo tourmate is always pushing boundaries.
TOP TRACK: “Johnny Bravo”
Raised in Cannon Falls, but now based in Nashville, sure-voiced Smith has written songs for Garth Brooks, Lady Antebellum, and more. Her new album finds a stunning balance between modern country and acoustic folk.
TOP TRACK: “Starfire”
Also Worth a Listen
Folk-Americana brimming with sweet harmonies
TOP TRACK: “Timbre and Trail”
Warm Glow EP
Rising indie-rock crew’s catchiest statement yet
TOP TRACK: “Baseball”
Garage-rock gem from local underground scenesters
TOP TRACK: “Hell Hole”
Hot single from hip-hop R&B star, album is TBD
TOP TRACK: “Fitness”
Experimental synth-pop from southern MN native
TOP TRACK: “Episode”
Acclaimed Duluth blues and folk storyteller
TOP TRACK: “Dog”
Roma di Luna
We Were Made to Forgive
Indie-folk act’s return includes Roy Orbison cover
TOP TRACK: “Crying”
Side project of Twin Cities hip-hop crew Doomtree
TOP TRACK: “Cult 45”