In the early 2000s, it was not terribly uncommon to meet a punk kid with a soft spot for the Mates of State. Though I'm sure the word "joycore" was often stammered in justification, it actually made a lot of sense: There was an unmistakable DIY spirit to the band's earliest material. [...] A decade later, certain core facts remain: Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are still happily married, they are still an organ-and-drums two-piece, and you'd still convulse in a fit of sugar shakes if you found a way to bite into one of their songs. But a funny thing happened somewhere between 2003's rollicking Team Boo and the AM-gold glimmer of 2006's Bring It Back: Gardner and Hammel became pretty great pop songwriters. Their harmonies got more technically sound, their songs moved more fluidly-- basically, the seams don't show anymore. [Pitchfork]

Recommended If You Like:
The New Pornographers, Rilo Kiley, Bettie Serveert, Rainer Maria, Tilly And The Wall, Stars



Like a tidal wave of sound Me and My Arrow's musical performances soak through every pore of the human body. The blend of strings, pianos, synths, guitars and urban clanging make for an orchestral sound that is larger than large. The pieces fit together in unique ways, coming together to create a new sonic palette the likes of which haven't been heard since the invention of the sonic boom. When the band comes together to vocalize either in harmony or unison one cannot do anything but feel. With every show the band gets better.


The members of Beasthead have been playing music all over the Twin Cities area for almost ten years now. Coming from backgrounds in everything from blues to jazz fusion to funk rock to folk pop, they started working together about a year ago on bringing together all of their past musical experiences and current influences to create a sound that is as unique and diverse as the flourishing creative community found in Minneapolis. What they came up with was Tallest Trees, their debut EP, released in September of 2013. This five song EP has provided the local music scene with a great introduction to Beasthead's sound, which weaves together large violin guitar sounds, ambient synth backgrounds, atmospheric vocals, and a rhythm section whose dancy yet aggressive bass and drum tracks can only be compared to those found in Midwest hip hop.

c.Kostra—aka Ryan Olcott, former frontman of 12 Rods, Mystery Palace, and Foodteam—has descended upon the digisphere with a solo bedroom beat project, guitar and vocoder in hand. A few months ago, he released two digital singles, one of which, "Double Crush," might be too silky for its own good. The track, a tingly chillwave banger that feels like washing your face, shows off Olcott's genre-blending ease, as he stitches together soul, glitch and vocodercore influences. Though Olcott's voice is buried in effects, the track proves he knows how to use it as an instrument, or at least, as fodder for his electronic wizardry. [Impose]

Recommended If You Like:
Phantom Tails, Two Harbors, 12 Rods, Mystery Palace, Waterplea, James Harmon



The Swamp Kings live and play by one motto: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! While bringing New Orleans Funk and Cajun Boogie up the Mississippi River to their home of Minnesota, the band has captured a unique fan base playing clubs, festivals and events since 2006. The Swamp Kings style is rhythmic, energetic and raw blending Cajun, Funk, Blues and Zydeco. Soulful vocals, swampy guitar, spicy accordion and just the right amount of heat from the rhythm section make the perfect ingredients for good times.


Jimmi and the Band of Souls. Energetic. Soulful. Genuine. It's about the passion for the music. It's about the love of the story. It's about the joy of playing for people. The band pulls from the vast array of blues, roots and R&B in their original songs and covers. They play boogie-woogie. They play slow and lonely. They play toe tappin', deep groovin' and hard drivin'. It's about diversity: Guitars. Slide. Harmonica. Mandolin. Bass. Drums. Two-part harmonies. It's a full sound that changes in tone and timbre with every song.

Recommended If You Like:
Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Mayall, Etta James, The Band



A lovely record about the heart, children, commitment, joy and other Saturday afternoon-style pleasures, Let's Fly a Kite presents Los Angeles singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell at her lyrically precise best. Nick Lowe's backing band on the standard guitar, keyboards and drums employs a tasteful array of instruments — vibraphone, flugelhorn, violin and trumpet — to craft sophisticated but playful parlor music. "Little Joy" is one of the most loving songs to a child you'll hear this season (Mandell is the mother of toddler twins). "Maybe Yes" takes a stand against ambivalence in a delicately expressed work that outlines reasons why "maybe" won't cut it. Here and throughout "Kite," Mandell's wonderfully direct: "Maybe doesn't turn me on/ Maybe's not filet mignon/ If your answer's 'I don't know'/ Maybe I will let you go." [LA Times]

Recommended If You Like:
Jolie Holland, The Watson Twins, Laura Cantrell, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case



Dave Hause had it all figured out by his late 20s: he was the singer in a successful punk band, the Loved Ones; ran his own construction business in Philadelphia when he wasn't touring; and was happily married. Then it all fell apart: the band petered out, construction work dried up when the economy tanked in 2009 and he and his wife split up — a string of events that laid the foundation for his new solo album Devour. It's an album divided into thirds as Hause, 35, reflects on his origins growing up in an evangelical Christian household in working-class Philadelphia, how that informs his present circumstances and what may come in the future. [Wall Street Journal]

Recommended If You Like:
Frank Turner, Franz Nicolay, The Loved Ones, Chuck Ragan, Cheap Girls, Tellison



Matt Owen and The Eclectic Tuba is an instrumental psychedelic space-funk group that originated on Mars and migrated toward Birmingham, Alabama in early 2012. The Eclectic Tuba takes the audience on a joy ride through the cosmos with trippy lights, ripping synthesizers, funky tuba loops, latin percussive grooves, and soaring saxophone solos. 2012 was an exciting inaugural year on Earth for The Eclectic Tuba - In May, the band came in 3rd place in the SonicBids: Road To Roo competition in which fans could vote for their favorite band to play the Manchester, TN festival. The tuba in the competition caught the eye of a few promoters, and the group was able to do an extensive East Coast tour of the US, traveling to Manhattan and back multiple times during the summer. After the tour, The Eclectic Tuba was given multiple opportunities to open for fantastic acts including Maps and Atlases, Fishbone, New Fumes, Linear Downfall, and HOTT MT.

Recommended If You Like:
Umphrey's McGee, The Flaming Lips, Keller Williams, Black Moth Super Rainbow, STS9