Album Review: Local Current Vol. 2

by Jon Schober

Minnesota music is poised for a break-out. Sometimes the isolated nature of the Midwest lends itself to create imaginary borders — and not just in terms of movement. Far too often, the world turns a shoulder to what is happening in this state musically, and that presents a burden for artists in Minnesota trying to garner a larger audience outside of the region.

The last two years though saw major changes in this perception. From the major-label signings of Peter Wolf Crier, GAYNGS, Night Moves, and Howler to growing internet buzz surrounding more underground bands like Buffalo Moon, Fire In the Northern Firs, Food Pyramid, Elite Gymnastics, and countless others, it seems as if people have started to take note, and, forgive the cliche, that we aren't just a state built around Husker Du, The Replacements, and Prince (although those are definite reasons to be proud).

As an out-of-stater myself, I moved to Minnesota with no opinion of the state's music — for one, not many in Texas knew where Minnesota was located on a map to begin with. But it only took a few weeks to realize that the local community here is among the strongest and most diverse I've ever encountered. We have our classic banjo pickin', singer-songwriter style which has always been a trademark of this part of the country. But our hip-hop community and its various branches has also made strides. The electronic scene has blipped itself into the national spotlight. The garage and punk rock of the 80s and 90s has also rekindled itself into something as fresh sounding as ever.

The Current is proud to have been around at a time where such an artistic resurgence is gaining prominence both locally and abroad. That's why we've compiled this second album of local performances from our studios, highlighting just a small portion of the dozens of bands who graced our station in 2011. Local Current Vol. 2 is a 14-track compilation meant to encapsulate what our state's music is all about.

From those who surged to unrivaled exposure in short amounts of time like Polica and Night Moves to experimental artistry that many bands will never match like you find in Brute Heart; from seasoned veterans who claim membership in too many acts to count like Haley Bonar and Halloween, Alaska, to the wild genre-crossing found in Mystery Palace and Doomtree — this thirst to constantly explore and collaborate is what makes the state so unique and active.

Every day there is a new local artist or band that has talent that many haven't yet heard. If the start of 2012 is any indication, Local Current Vol. 3 next year is going to be filled with names that may not have meant much to you in the beginning but became some of the next big players of Minnesota music both here and abroad.