Mankwe is like a version of Nina Simone and Erykah Badu, but we get to have her in our own backyard. Her improvisational technique, a skill she has fine-tuned through years of performing, as well as her world music influences, have melded together for a proper sophomore record in "Science and Spirit."
Eric Pollard has been playing with Low and Retribution Gospel Choir, but his new project may be of a surprise to you. As Actual Wolf, he channels the best of Bob Dylan in one respect and good ol' fashioned folk rock when a live band is employed. He's moved down to the Twin Cities this summer to routinely play gigs, and he joined us in the studio for his Local Show debut.
Sleep Study's craft comes in their songwriting, joining the ranks of other established lyricists in the Twin Cities like Chris Koza, Jeremy Messersmith and Adam Levy. Coupled with strong chemistry within the band and an updated '70s aesthetic as heard on their first single "Flower Girl," the group has been making waves since their formation last summer.
Martin Dosh has been playing in the Twin Cities music community for years, penning his first solo album a decade ago. After a successful streak on Anticon Records and consistent touring with Andrew Bird, the multi-instrumentalist is planning to release new material at the beginning of 2013.
Three is the magic number for Flavor Crystals. "Three" is the name of their new record, it took three years to record and it's their first release in that many years. It's a welcome surprise: the psych-rock band put out two of the Twin Cities' most acclaimed releases during the mid-2000s, a pair of records which spawned a tour with Brian Jonestown Massacre.
When people hear John Mark Nelson's music for the first time, the sense of disbelief is usually evident. With arrangements that recall songwriters who have been in the business for decades, the 18-year old - and recently graduated - Minnetonka High student is turning heads for the mature compositions he's been recording since the age of 14.
One of the most successful break-out bands for Minnesota in the past decade and a half, Motion City Soundtrack popularized the pop punk sound in the late '90s. They struck a chord in a young demographic that quickly started a MCS bonanza with high-profile live shows and a string of successful records which have already sold a combined half a million copies.
Hollow Boys' new mini-LP, "When You Think of Us, Pray For Us," has a happenstance title. The message was inside a card that fell out of one of Ali's records, and it solidifies the natural manner in which this band has come together.
The Chalice may be a new collective, but the three emcees who make it up - Sophia Eris, Claire De Lune and Lizzo - are well-known in the local music community both here and outside the region. Bringing a much needed light to female-fronted hip-hop, the trio mixes whip-smart raps, crisp production and clever imagery to create songs that don't plan on leaving your head anytime soon.
The Hypstrz were considered one of the purveyors of cool in the Twin Cities during the late '70s and early '80s, helping to pave the way for some of our most beloved bands like The Suicide Commandos and The Suburbs. Hypstrz had a different niche though: reworking '60s classics into an idiosyncratic, full-out garage rock and punk experiment. And while they didn't immediately get the attention they deserved, the band has now gone down in the history books of Minnesota music.
If there's one artist in the Twin Cities who has steadily increased their recognition and popularity, it's probably MaLLy. Malik Watkins is only in his mid-20s, but his reputation has been bolstered by encouragement from the Rhymesayers crew and old friends from the high-school days that now collaborate with him side-by-side.
Local duo Bloodnstuff has been gathering accolades the past few months for their raucous live show. While many might think they're a new band on the circuit, Ed Holmberg and Dylan Gouert have actually been playing around for almost ten years, finessing a craft that has seen many incarnations.
Dylan Hicks has been in the midst of a long-term hiatus. We saw the release of his last record in 2001 after a string of prolific efforts starting all the way back in 1990. Maybe he was tired and maybe he needed something new, but we can at least partially chalk up his absence as the result of his most recent endeavor: "Boarded Windows," Hicks' new book.
I Self Devine's new record features a slew of hip-hop power players to complement an emcee who is gaining major ground locally and nationally for his whip-smart and poignant raps. In his debut for The Current, I Self Devine talks Soundset, origins, his wide-range of influences from disco to his mother, graffiti and more.
Aby Wolf was chosen to partake in the Cedar Cultural Center's 416 Club Commission in 2011 and received a grant to explore a new electro-art-pop project that had been stewing in her mind. Recruiting the talents of Jesse Whitney, Linnea Mohn and Joey Van Phillips, Wolf created A. Wolf and Her Claws. Instead of a one-off performance as originally planned for the Cedar's winter season, a full-fledged band has been formed and there's no signs of slowing the momentum.