Each week on the Local Show, we’ll meet a new person from the Minnesota music community who has some fresh discoveries to share in a feature called “Ask a Cool Person.” These people will come from all corners of the scene, including record store clerks, recording studio engineers and producers, artists, writers, bookers, photographers, and fans.
This week’s “Cool Person” is Brittany Sanford, an employee at the Electric Fetus in Duluth and the woman behind the local music-focused Twitter account @EllipsisDuluth.
How do you discover new artists in Duluth?
One of the jokes about Duluth music is that if you’re in one band, you’re in three. So one of the best ways to discover new music is honestly to know what bands you like, and then to ask the members what other bands they are in. You can find a lot of really good music that way. I also work at the Electric Fetus, and I’m often the person that my coworkers send people to when they want to put stuff on consignment. And I love to be able to take something that someone recently brought in and listen to it. I tweet about every band that plays in Duluth, so to be able to know the Twitter handle or the name, and then to actually be able to put a sound to it, is always really interesting.
And then you have to be really concise. How do I describe this in 14o characters?
Exactly. 140 characters. It’s very limiting, but I like it that way.
You brought in three emerging Duluth artists that you’re excited about, starting with the Social Disaster. Tell me about this band.
The Social Disaster is basically a supergroup to me. We have Ryan Nelson, he’s the drummer, he’s from one of my other favorite bands, the Farsights. Jacob Swanson, who is in Dad’s Acid and Heaven’s Getaway Team. And then Jesse Hoheisel, who is in Portrait of a Drowned Man and a bunch of other local Duluth projects. So when I found out that they were all coming together in this band, I was extremely excited. They have Rachel Phoenix, she’s the frontwoman, and she’s amazing. They are definitely one of my favorites; I very rarely miss a Social Disaster show.
Rick McLean is another one you like. Tell me about him.
Rick McLean, he is really well known among the locals. I’m actually doing a Tap Takeover on the 14th in the Rathskeller, and I kind of designed the event around having him play. He’s got the best stage presence; he’s funny, hilarious and awesome, and he’s a really good guitar player. He does this amazing cover of “Downtown,” which takes the classic song and makes it very much so it’s actually what it’s like to hang downtown. A little bit more gritty than the original, and it’s really good.
And the third one you’ve recommended is Ingeborg von Agassiz. What do you know about her?
Originally, actually, I know of her from playing at Carmody’s. She just did a month-long residency, and she goes up there by herself, she has her two keyboards, she does looping, she has an amazing voice, and she does this one song called “Rebel Robin” that really caught my ear. She doesn’t currently have a CD, which is really sad because she did an in-store at the Electric Fetus, and I’ve never had more people come up to me and be like, “Where can I find her CD?” She does have a YouTube channel, and she’s working on a CD, so she says. But yes, she is one of the best new bands. I think she was in Homegrown’s new band night last year. She’s awesome, and she is a terrific person, too.