Jeremy Messersmith, Heart Murmurs
As the delicate strings and palm-muted riff in the first bars of “It’s Only Dancing” give way to an orchestral explosion, it becomes clear that this Jeremy Messersmith is not the whimsical folkie we have come to know. Heart Murmurs, out today, represents a shift toward ambitious pop production underneath sweet, personal lyrics. On his first release with Glassnote Records (home to Childish Gambino, CHVRCHES, and Mumford and Sons), Messersmith has crafted an album that is simultaneously bigger and more vulnerable than any of his past efforts. It delivers punch after heart-wrenching gut-punch, all with finesse, undulating energy, and diverse stylistic influences. (It’s also the Current’s CD of the week!) Heart Murmurs is a gorgeous and triumphant step forward for Minneapolis’s favorite hometown shy guy.
Tree Party, Iced Over: Thawing Minnesota’s Local Lore
In a sonic tribute to Minnesota history and folklore, 2011 Ivey Award winners Tree Party (honored as part of Live Action Set’s 7-Shot Symphony) have taken fantastical legends and tales from all around the state and layered them over nostalgic, lighthearted sounds reminiscent of early American pop, rock, and folk. Due for release on February 9, Iced Over was funded through a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, which allowed the band to fish for the best—and most quintessentially Minnesotan—stories from deep within all 10,000-plus frozen lakes. The cast of characters on the album, including “Dorothy the rootbeer lady” and “the 137-year-old man,” were all inspired by real people or stories, as interpreted by the band. Luckily, in addition to being a highly creative homage, the album does more than just sustain itself on local pride. The smart instrumentation and thoughtful songwriting on the album should make for a highly enjoyable listen, regardless of the listener’s state residence. Tree Party will celebrate Iced Over with a release show at the Cedar Cultural Center on February 9 with Ben Weaver and Jack Klatt.
The Last Revel, Uprooted
While Southern Minnesota’s the Last Revel perform exclusively with acoustic instruments, their debaucherous attitude and high-energy performances could rival the presences of plenty of big-city rock outfits. Their style evokes a marriage of Americana influences—like country, bluegrass, and folk—sure to delight fans of other Minnesota favorites Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr, and the Cactus Blossoms. On their full-length debut, Uprooted, funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, the three guys making up the band share vocal responsibilities that range from gravelly wails to gorgeous three-part harmonies, while banjos and honky-tonk pianos dance with acoustic guitar and understated percussion. Uprooted is set for release February 7, and the Last Revel will perform a release show at the Turf Club the following night, featuring performances by Bigtree Bonsai and Dead Horses.
KT Lindemann is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pursuing studio art and Spanish. She is a native of the Twin Cities and is a wannabe musician, artist, and music writer.