Best of 2019.5: Minnesota Music
We’re taking stock of the music we’ve liked from the first half of 2019. Wednesday will be shows, Thursday will be Minnesota music and Friday will be national albums and songs. Enjoy!
Jon Jon, @soundverite1
- Lady Midnight – Death Before Mourning
- Shrimpnose & K. Raydio …And The World Weeps
- Dua Seleh – Nur
- Lazerbeak – Luther
- Velvet Negroni – Brown Neon
- Dwynell Roland & Big Cats – A-OK
- Astralblak – Funkster’s Prayer
- K. Raydio
- Sophia Eris – Feel The Burn
- Dizzy Fae- Altar
- Yon – Smoke Signals
- Dua Saleh – Nur
- Uranium Club – Cosmos Cleaners
- Falcon Arrow – Occurrens
- Greta Ruth – Amor Fati
- Sass – Chew Toy
- Lady Midnight – Death Before Mourning
- Teenage Moods – Turn it Up, Tune Them Out
- Double Grave – ego death forever
- Miami Dolphins – Frisbee
- Oyster World
H/M: IE & Lonefront – Live at Cassette (online release); BLAHA – The Calming Room; Nova Human – ST EP
Songs (not on top albums)
- Shrinking Violets “Holding You Back”
- Green/blue “Proto Caves”
- Astralblak “Funkster Prayer”
- Trash Catties “Baseball on TV”
Adam J (Just Second Quarter 2019)
Double Grave – ego death forever, Forged Artifacts
Contemporaneous as they are (and definitely from Minnesota), Double Grave invoke the best qualities of early 90s alternative fuzz rock on ego death forever, a brief glimpse into their introverted world of riffs and melodies. If Goatsnake had treated themselves to some primal scream therapy, ego death forever might maybe be the result. “In the Morning” rips out emotional stitches with clumsy blades of overdrive, while “Days” offers comfort with prickly blankets of sludge. And there’s a trumpet. I like this band.
Betazoid – Scam Likely, Aura Vortex
Untethered to the corporeal world at moment, Betazoid have at least gifted us with a cassette full of peculiar, beautiful tunes destined to earn repeat listens through the summer. I am big a fan of vocalist/keyboardist Emily Kastrul’s lovely work in Sister Species, so the effervescing vocal melodies throughout Scam Likely are welcomed familiarity. So far, the juxtaposition of synthetics and pure vocal splendor, grounded by Lisa Harrigan’s bass, is exciting enough for me to wait impatiently for more. “Candy” won’t be leaving my head anytime soon.
Last Import – s/t, SR
It took a co-worker of mine to turn me onto this awesome hyper-pop surf-punk in my own backyard. And, as one of our white knights Bob Mould has testified, “They were fuckin’ awesome!” This self-titled full-length is an even-keel, multi-faceted dissertation on Last Import by Last Import. With dynamic vocals, fabulous tones (especially the hard-to-get-right surf effects, used appropriately sparingly (this is a preferential digression I don’t have time or space for right here)), and boundless energy make this one of the best good-ass, Minneapolis rock-n-roll albums in a long while.
WolFBlooD – II, Riff Merchant Records
“Unrelenting” would probably be the best word to describe this sophomore effort from WolFBlooD. While there are a few slower, even melodic, moments throughout II, the band either refuses or is incapable of letting up from their sonic assault. Furious blackened chord progressions rip along dank stoner riffs with comfort, creating an ominous aesthetic with “Lesion” that comes to a beautifully cataclysmic finale with “Tsunami”. If Kyuss were the superlative “desert rock” band, then WolFBlooD are “northern rock” ambassadors supreme.
Mine – Blueprint (EP), SR
Sonic Youth have been dispensing their Gospel-According-To-The-Stooges longer than the Stooges have actually had records, and that doctrine is evident in Mine’s fabulous output (Gary Numan, too). Jesse’s bass follows the vocal melody’s sensibilities, and goddamn is that nice. And, only because I care, I’m going to offer my first ever criticism of a group of interest – Matt needs to use more crashes and less splashes in recordings. Everything else sounds awesome, dogg; your cymbals deserve the same. Keep up the good work, y’all.
The Minneapolis Uranium Club – The Cosmo Cleaners, Static Shock
I honestly didn’t know this was even an AMERICAN band let alone a local band until translating the Italian article I found on them through Google. Regardless, these are some of the smartest, engaging songs I’ve come by in a while. Woke punk can be didactic, or even (worse) self-aggrandizing; but the Uranium Club make the matter the material, not themselves. Wholly competent post-punk progression cruise no-wave grooves with nervous energy, keeping the listener on the edge of their seat for the next anarcho-socialist scene study. “Grease Monkey” plays with one of those scenes with disregard, augmenting a relatively straight-forward story about cars (obviously not so) with sound collages and feedback. Now that I’ve found them, I don’t want to let them go.
Greta Ruth – “For A Moment the Lie Becomes the Truth”, SR
There has been a tidal wave of material from lady guitarists lately, and I am downright tickled. Gender notwithstanding, the idiom of finger-picked acoustic guitar has been in wanting for a good long while. Sacred cows need tipping, darn it; and players like our own Greta Ruth are racking up those points. “For A Moment the Lie Becomes Truth” is a classic folk composition at face value, but Ruth’s phrasing and dynamics reveal themselves to be wholly unique as the piece progresses; almost like she’s trying to hide something from us…I am waiting, also impatiently, for a full conversation in observance of these excellent anecdotes.
- Wolf Blood – II
- Dua Saleh – Nur
- Betazoid – Scam Likely
- Jacob Pavek – NOME
- Last Import – ST
- Smelkin Ernesto – Cambios
- Carlisle Evans Peck – Electric Porcelain
- BLAHA – The Calming Room
- Kate Malanaphy – In and Under
- (Tie) Nova Human – ST EP / Greta Ruth – The Quiet While EP
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