The (Local) Fresh Five: Giallo, Rra, Heart To Gold, and Sun Wave Mountain Cave
For the Fresh Five we pick out five great new(ish) jams that we’re currently obsessing over. All of these songs come from local (Minnesota) bands/artists.
Local hardcore band Giallo’s self titled album came out back in 2022 but the span of a few years’ time has done nothing to dull the edges of the anger in vocalist Jake VanKempen’s screams. Describing their sound as “fast and mean,” Giallo sing about murder like they are actually capable of it. Stream/purchase here.
None of the new tracks on Rra’s new album El Atlal الأطلال are available to stream yet so in anticipation of hearing more, here’s a song from her (Sara Abdelaal) last album Moon Dancing which is terrific. We covered قص القمر (Moon Dancing) a couple years ago when it came out and it certainly merits going back to listen to Abdelaal’s unique North African influenced darkwave experimentalism again as an appetizer for the new work. The release show will be on 3/8 at Mortimer’s (info).
It’s kind of given that any artist who breaks up with their partner and then retreats to a cabin to write an introspective record will inevitably be compared to Bon Iver. It doesn’t necessarily seem like a comparison that local artist cowboy slang is going out of his way to avoid though. His new album Are You Gonna Wait? is melancholic, full of beautiful harmonies, and brittle autotuned falsetto vocals. It feels like a disservice though to call it an alternative take on For Emma, Forever Ago. Cowboyslang’s music is much less guy-on-acoustic-guitar and more pop-forward, adding a lot of piano/synth, vocal warping, and saxophone. It stands up on its own and is definitely worth a listen. just not certain if it’s the same cowboyslang that produces local hip hop?
Heart To Gold are a local power pop/punk group with an upbeat sound driven by emotionally potent lyricism. They have a new(ish) single “Chloë” out and will perform at Saint Paul’s Temple on 2/2 (a unique venue that everyone should experience). The lineup is stacked and should be excellent (info here).
Sun Wave Mountain Cave seems like a group of guys that like to have a good time. Their recent video for “Bones” has them frolicing with a bunch of inflatable air dancers against the backdrop of Minneapolis’s famous United Crushers grain silo. SWMC have a very guitar driven sound with dual axe-slingers anchored by bass and drums. The band’s sound isn’t always as light as their antics – “Bones” is packed with emotion that feels serious and heartfelt. Find out more about the band and their latest EP Familiar To Me here.