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The Scouting Report

10 Minnesota musicians to hear and share in January

LibiancaProvided, artwork created by Natalia Toledo | MPR

by Diane, Natalia Toledo and Youa Vang

January 10, 2023

Welcome to The Scouting Report, a monthly list of 10 Minnesota artists with exciting new projects, as curated by our local music team. If you like these picks, check out The Local Show on Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m., hosted by Diane. Also, each Thursday, The Current's music director Jade picks great new tracks from around the world.


"When you started rapping, I left my body and almost passed out," raved popstar Ariana Grande to Libianca on season 21 of NBC’s The Voice. Since earning high praise from all four judges on the hit TV show, this Roseville native has been bubbling up in worldwide popularity via Spotify and social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Her style is a combination of pop, afrobeat, R&B, and hip-hop with relatable lyrics themed around human interaction and development. Fans of Rhianna, Doja Cat, and H.E.R. will especially enjoy the similar finesse of Libianca. -Diane


Before pandemic life and Zoom calls every day were a thing, members of the band Caution were already collaborating long distance. Formed in 2019, former members of the band Saturday Night, Cash Langdon and Nora Button sent tracks back and forth from Alabama, where Langdon resides, and Minnesota, where Button resides. Their single “To Decide,” put out in December by Sub Pop offshoot label Hardly Art, has a bit of a ’90s feel, with heavy guitar riffs and airy vocals overlayed. Whether they continue to collaborate long distance or in person, we are looking forward to what Caution has in store for 2023. -Natalia Toledo


Sophia Eris is a chameleon, constantly innovating and changing her work. Lizzo’s past collaborator and current touring DJ worked on the new, five-song project MAKR AN ERIS with producer MAKR – Twin Cities-based Mark McGee, who has contributed to Marijuana Deathsquads, RONiiA, and many others. The project was released in mid-December. On the single “Shorty A$$,” they feature Crea$e and Hard_R over crunchy, delicious hip-hop beats. The song follows the rules, but it breaks out of the mold pretty quickly in the first few bars. It builds and releases, drawing from all sides, and then squeezes it into whatever shape it wants. Sophia Eris will open for Ness Nite at 7th St. Entry on Saturday, Jan. 21. -Youa Vang

Loser Magnet

Self-deprecation belongs in indie rock like snow belongs in winter. The two just need each other to signal realness. Minneapolis band Loser Magnet may attract “lame” fans of classic punk/grunge with a modern underground bent. There’s an essence of ‘90s and early ‘00s Death Cab for Cutie or Pedro the Lion on the single “Two Tears.” And songs like “Loser Magnet” may draw comparisons to the Pixies. The band’s latest release “Big Mouth” takes them one step further into the modern indie realm with its infectious chorus and shimmery electric guitar-driven instrumentation. -Diane


Minneapolis-based synth-pop band Beemer self-identify as “timid rock in the Twin Cities.” Their song “Butter,” released in December, was written from the perspective of a member’s late cat, Bella. Despite the sadness that comes with losing a furry family member, the song has an elegant pop feel that is really fun and catchy. Beemer open up for Bad Bad Hats’ It Hurts 10th anniversary shows (early and late) Feb. 4 at 7th St. Entry. -NT

Brotherhood of Birds

Formed in the years of COVID, acoustic outfit Brotherhood of Birds have come out swinging and played on the Blue Ox Fest stage, Shangri-La Music Festival, and will return to the First Avenue mainroom later this month for First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2022. Their single “Wolves on the River” grabs you by the throat with high-energy fiddle while pulling and clutching as it plummets through a wind tunnel of intricate harmonies and hard-driving bluegrass playing. -YV

J.E. Sunde

Minneapolis-based songwriter J.E. Sunde’s new EP Songbook, Vol. 1 is a collection of six tracks inspired by the Great American Songbook. Accompanied by an ensemble of classically trained musicians, Sunde’s expressive singing and storytelling create an exquisite soundtrack for contemplative listening — perhaps even emotional bonding with a loved one. The songwriter’s voice has an unusual but comforting resonant sound, pairing wonderfully with the delicate backdrop of guitar, piano, violin and/or cello. -Diane

Jada Brown

Minneapolis-based R&B vocalist and poet Jada Brown released her debut album, Admiration, in late 2022. Jada prides herself in having healing and empathy at the root of her art, and that shows in the vulnerability of her lyrics. In the track “Validation,” the lyrics that stand out are “think I’m strong ‘till I ain’t got no one, stone cold, independent woman.” Jada’s openness in her lyrics and sultry vocals shine throughout over laid-back hip-hop beats. -NT

Daphne Jane

Originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Daphne Jane has made a home in Minneapolis in recent years. Her songs pull straight from late-night songwriting sessions in her bedroom. Her latest single, “Green,” is a slightly floaty pop song. It’s so tender, a slight touch may make it disappear. This is a smart move, as it draws us into a world filled with a relationship that could dissipate on its own. Daphne Jane will perform at 7th St. Entry on Jan. 18. -YV

Mono Moon

Stepping out of his role as bassist for Hippo Campus, Zach Sutton finds his voice as the focal point in his new solo project Mono Moon. The intention with this side project is to give life to humanistic lyrical themes that can’t be fully understood, yet deserve exploration. “We will never name it right but attempting is all that matters,” he said in an artist statement. The production, developed by Hippo Campus’s leader Jake Luppen, is as playful, intricate, and experimental as one would expect from these young, prolific local musicians. Fans of bright yet melancholic indie-pop will especially enjoy Mono Moon’s new eight-song record Boundary. -Diane

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.