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The Scouting Report

10 Minnesota artists bringing the heat in June

KC Rae
KC RaeKC Rae

by Diane, Natalia Toledo and Youa Vang

June 06, 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. For more music discovery from The Current, watch for Jeffrey Bissoy's The Come-Up, highlighting new local hip-hop and more. Also, each Thursday, The Current's music director Jade picks great new tracks from around the world.

*Listen to The Local Show at 6 p.m. Central on Sunday, June 11, to hear these artists featured on air.

KC Rae

KC Rae is the solo project of Now Now’s Cacie Dalager. In November 2022, she revealed her recent autism diagnosis on Instagram. Since then she’s gained a newer and deeper understanding of her human experiences and “superpowers,” including the ability to hyperfocus and the ability to feel deeply. Her latest single “Blockbuster'' especially highlights her vivid memory, reliving a childhood experience with her cousin. The sound embodies the modern youth’s sophisti-pop style, comparable to artists like Taylor Swift, Haim, and Tegan and Sara. -Diane

Big Cats

Written for the documentary The Race to Alaska, “Seymour Narrows” is an instrumental track from Big Cats that starts off slow and mellow with an intense beat carried by some synths. It runs parallel to the doc, which centers around a group of people who race to Alaska for the chance to win $10,000 that is nailed to a tree. (The second-place winner gets a set of steak knives.) Big Cats manages to capture the maniacal energy that goes into this marathon: no artifice, no front, just a lustrous piece brimming with confidence. Big Cats will perform later this month with Lydia Liza for Payne Ave Fest at The Treasury on June 17. -Youa Vang

Lucy Michelle

Lucy Michelle had a heyday in the Twin Cities music scene in the 2010s with her indie bands the Velvet Lapelles and Little Fevers — one acoustic, the other electric. Lucy’s songwriting gifts continue to thrive in her latest single “The Living,” an emotional tune about the longing for human connection. She’ll release a full-length folk-rock album, Womanly, this July 14, accompanied by a release show at Parkway Theater. Her supergroup backing band will consist of John Munson (Semisonic, The New Standards), Chris Koza (Rogue Valley), Dylan Hicks, and Richard Medek (Turn Turn Turn, Erik Koskinen). -Diane

Willow Waters & The Earth Tones

Self-described as an artist that defies categorization, Willow Waters has been and continues to be a part of several different bands around the Twin Cities such as Sister Species, Still Unstill, Ginger Bones, and more. Her latest project, The Friction I Demand, released in May, is a musical exploration of the depths and shadows. The opening track “Theater of the Absurd” invites us to do just that, as the opening line says “Take me down to the bottom of the ocean, take me down below.” The track takes you on a journey to a mellow, unique blend of jazz and rock. Consider me a fan! -Natalia Toledo

The Belfast Cowboys

The Belfast Cowboys may be the closest alternative to Van Morrison a Minnesota music fan can find. In fact, this nine-piece band has garnered a million-plus streams on Spotify for covers of “Days Like This” and “Into The Mystic.” Their latest original recording “Look At The Moon, Betty” captures a similar sentimental, touching sound with its personable lyrics, vibrant, soulful singing, and exceptional instrumental backing. A highly active live band, the Belfast Cowboys’ next performances in town are July 7 at Dakota. -Diane

The Von Tramps

The party starts when the Von Tramps arrive. Their track “Goldfish Memory” unfolds into one of the most fun pop-punk songs this side of “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry. Sharing the tale of losing hours and forgetting what happened the prior evening, it features dancefloor-ready shimmering guitar and energetic chanting. The band is currently touring Europe, supporting Flogging Molly and Antiflag at SBAM Fest, as well as supporting their latest album Go. -Y.V.


Kashimana’s new single “Only Human (Hey Hey Hey Ah),” a song about becoming a mother, truly has a human touch. Produced with just layered vocal harmonies and minimal percussion, it has a similar organic feel to loop artist Tune-Yards, but with less clutter and more groove. Kashimana, a multi-faceted artist, is especially a talented singer who uses their voice to express and explore feelings such as joy, pain, compassion, and healing through music. “Only Human” is the first single off their upcoming album Phantom Cries. Catch the release show on July 28 at Cedar Cultural Center. -Diane


Minneapolis dream-pop band Lumari released their debut album En Phase this past May. The band has already been playing shows around town and also out of town. The track “Doors and Corners” has a nostalgic, atmospheric ‘90s feel paired with the powerful voice of lead singer Margo Pearson. Twin brothers Dave and Dan West have been involved in the music world prior to this project, and alongside Robert Caple and Margo, Lumari offers a new sound and is definitely a band to watch. -N.T.



Lazenlow is a trio from Minneapolis formed by vocalist Gillian Needham, guitarist/producer Ghost Channels, and drummer Mo Bluntz.  Their latest project, The Panic Button, was released this past April. The track “Fantasy World” is a very unique blend of genres, that reminds me of Depeche Mode at times, and Lady Gaga at others. It has a dreamy and catchy feel, and also a sinister vibe. -N.T.

Wild Lyre

Americana rock act Wild Lyre was born from friendships and playing cover songs to get a feel of what they liked. They booked their first show within a week of rehearsing and tend to keep things very organic when it comes to promotion. Their latest single “Shelter” finds a way to be arty and not jarring, pulling the listener in. The band will be playing at Paisley Lane in Golden Valley on Saturday, June 10 ,and Kingfield Porchfest on Thursday, June 15. -Y.V.

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