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The Scouting Report

10 Minnesota artists with fly music for July

Smellkin Ernesto
Smellkin ErnestoPhoto by Aaron Rice; artwork by Natalia Toledo | MPR

by Diane, Natalia Toledo and Youa Vang

July 05, 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.

*Listen to The Local Show at 6 p.m. on July 16 to hear all artists featured on air.

Smellkin Ernesto

Transracial Colombian adoptee Eric Johnson began making pop music in 2017 as he was also reconnecting with his birth family. It was also at that time that he discovered his birth name, hence Ernesto. The connection to his birthland of Colombia is important and is reflected throughout his music. Both cultures and languages come together on the catchy and bilingual track “long as I’ve got you.” Smellkin Ernesto will open for Los Rolling Ruanas on Saturday, July 29 at The Cedar Cultural Center. -Natalia Toledo

Partial Traces

Partial Traces’ music belongs in a Sofia Coppola motion picture. With its epic wall of sound and pensive singing and lyricism, the band captures the essence of ‘80s post punk mixed with modern indie flair. Fans of The Smiths, Big Thief, or Alvvays may especially enjoy Partial Traces. The band is currently in the midst of a U.K. tour with Minneapolis punk rockers Off With Their Heads, promoting its 4th LP, Stay Dreaming, which was released on July 2. -Diane

Caleb Dee

Caleb Dee is part of an emergent group of local songwriters, including Landon Conrath and Aiden Intro, redefining the pop sound of the Twin Cities music community. His latest single “FACEDOWN” is a look inside a relationship with outside obligations. The song has dense and delicious layers of pop production to savor. Dee has finished seven new songs that will be released throughout the summer, and his upcoming shows include opening for Blake Proehl at Fine Line on Saturday, July 15, and opening for Abby Holliday at 7th St Entry on Tuesday, Aug. 29. -Youa Vang

Greta Ruth

An adept finger-picking guitarist and hyper-delicate vocalist, Ruth’s music channels spiritual inner reflection — “song as a way to sit with, move through, & heal from experience.” Appreciators of Iron & Wine’s The Creek Drank The Cradle, Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me, or perhaps even Cat Power’s You Are Free may especially enjoy the poetic and ethereal work of singer-songwriter Greta Ruth. Her latest single, “Holy Omen,” was released in May. A follow-up release, "Cuseo Hands,” will be out July 7, featuring string arrangements by inventive producer Andrew Broder. -Diane


Aaron “Heatbox” Heaton describes himself as a professional beatboxer, loop artist, singer and voice actor. He has been making music as Heatbox since 2005 and this year released his latest album Hilarious and Epically Legendary. The single “Bad Internet Friend” is in fact, a hilarious and witty look at our insane use of social media and how we measure our friendships through our virtual interactions. Heatbox pokes fun at himself for being a bad internet friend and not keeping up with people’s every documented move. It is quite refreshing to hear an artist be more playful in such a serious world. -NT


Minneapolis singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Mayyadda returns with a heartfelt acoustic ballad about leaving a toxic relationship and finally choosing yourself. “I Choose Me” is technically a demo and the first offering from her upcoming new album Try&Remember: The Acoustic Album. Mayyadda’s vocals shine, as always, along with incredible vulnerable and relatable lyrics that hit us right in the feels. She reminds us to always do what is best for us, even when that decision is incredibly painful. -NT

Molly Brandt

Strong, singable melodies are one of the most foundational elements in country music. And so is a touching, emotion-soaked voice. Songwriter Molly Brandt possesses all the right qualities to pay homage to traditional Americana with her own Midwestern personality. Think Martina McBride meets Loretta Lynn meets Brandi Carlile, whose music is filled with twang, relationship-oriented lyrical themes, and big-hearted tonality. Brandt’s first full-length album, Surrender To The Night, releases July 22, accompanied by a show at the Turf Club with Pit Stop and Becky Kapell. -Diane


Adam R. Garcia and producer Medium Zach come together as MAARCHES. The project began with Garcia, who lives in Los Angeles but has deep Twin Cities ties, experimenting with creating music and writing lyrics. Medium Zach decided to produce his ideas and together they polished them into their debut EP, which is out now. According to Garcia, “The first half of the EP is ranging with songs about living in the digital age, moving to Los Angeles, and astrology. The second half is about three song women, two of them real and one fictional.” The track “Synthesize” reflects their joint new venture into different genres outside of rap. -NT

Silver Summer

Mankato-based Silver Summer live up to their name on the floaty synth-pop song “Witch.” It’s a jam made for opening up the sunroof of your Chevy Camaro on a late summer evening. The band pulls from other musical projects Good Night Gold Dust and New Tribe to form a group that draws from influences like Frank Ocean and the Clash. “Witch” was written after Colin Scharf read a short newspaper story about the sale of a witch’s house in Salem, Mass. Scharf shares, “I liked the idea of going into the woods and seeking spiritual guidance from a witch, and the sense of flailing once those supernatural therapy sessions were no longer possible.” -YV

The Last Revel

Fresh off their Blue Ox Music Festival performance in late June, the Last Revel chases that musical high with their latest acoustic-folk single “Here for You.” The song grows organically on the strength of tight banjo, fiddle, and guitar picking and passionate vocals pulling you in. The trio will celebrate the summer playing music festivals, including RiverSong in Hutchinson in mid-July. -YV

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