South Minneapolis rapper Greg Grease knew he had to get his debut album "Cornbread, Pearl and G" out to the masses before the end of 2012. If anything, it would be a good holiday gift to family and friends. What he didn't know was that the record would end up making just about every best album list from local critics.
Portland indie band the Thermals, now a trio, have spent over a decade on the scene crafting urgently catchy, punk-influenced anthems. Now, they've signed to Conor Oberst's Saddle Creek records for their new album Desperate Ground, which came out last month.
Crimes' first album "Good Hope" was a sleeper success. Released to little reception initially, the band gradually came to forefront of the Twin Cities music community and gained praise for their interesting mix of lo-fi rock and slight sense of depraved lyrics.
Silverlake, Los Angeles-based quintet The Lonely Wild aim to conjure the mythic Old West, decorating their supple, beautifully textured indie folk-rock with flourishes straight out of Ennio Morricone's classic film scores for 1960s and '70s Westerns like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
In 2011, Charles Bradley proved that it's never too late for a musical talent to enter the ring, issuing his debut album at age 62 and winning plaudits from critics and the adoration of soul fans nationwide. Now, he's back with a sophomore effort called Victim of Love.
Just a few years ago, James Blake was a precocious and talented young electronic producer dabbling in the UK's vast, eclectic, fast-moving and amorphous "post-dubstep" scene. Shortly thereafter, he began recording vocals over his own productions, swerving out of the dance music scene and into the vanguard of indie electro-pop with a wounded cyber-soul sound.
Saint Paul's Nicholas David Mrozinski has been a fixture of the local music scene for a decade, with several albums under his belt and frequent live shows in the area to bolster his Twin Cities rep. But last year he was catapulted to nationwide fame thanks to a stint on season three of NBC's The Voice.
British garage-rockers the Palma Violets have been kicking up a noisy, youthful rock storm for a couple of years now, with a raw sound daubed with rich, vintage organ sounds and shaded with hints of '60s psychedelia.
It's time for us to welcome On An On to the Minnesota music community. But they aren't total strangers: Nate Eiesland and Alissa Ricci both grew up in the state before joining forces with Ryne Estwing and several others in the popular Chicago band Scattered Trees. After the act suddenly disbanded, Eiesland, Ricci and Estwing started On An On, changed their musical direction and partly uprooted themselves back to Minneapolis.