Local Current Blog

Friday Five: GRRRL PRTY, Mark Mallman, Neon, and more

New collaboration Grrrl Party (Publicity photo)

There’s a theme to this week’s Friday Five, and it has a lot to do with a talented local filmmaker named Adam J. Dunn (who we recently profiled here). Dunn is in the midst of a series of videos that he calls Lights and a Backdrop, a self-explanatory title for a simple concept that he’s been executing quite elegantly.

Season two of Lights and a Backdrop just dropped on Monday, and it was packed with tons of debuts from artists across the spectrum of Twin Cities talent, from rappers to pop songwriters to young rock ‘n’ roll bands. A few of those are showcased here, alongside a few other highlights from the week.

Mark Mallman

One of the sparsest and most revealing cuts off Mark Mallman’s latest album, Double Silhouette, is delivered through a dramatic, high-contrast filter in this new video, which was shot by Chris Hadland.


I can’t even keep track of how many projects Lizzo and Sophia Eris are contributing to these days, but this is one of my favorite songs to emerge from their camp in recent months. GRRRL PRTY finds them teaming up with La Manchita (who also performs with Lizzo in the Clerb), and her sprightly, spitfire rhymes add another layer of energy to the chemistry the two MCs already have with one another. This one’s a keeper.

Mixed Blood Majority

Another from the Lights and a Backdrop series, this one had me clamoring for Mixed Blood Majority’s debut, which I did not spend nearly enough time with when it came out back in January. I may need to amend my list of the top albums of 2013 so far


I wrote about Neon a few months back after being blown away by their appearance at the Mid West Music Fest. Now, thanks to Lights and a Backdrop, you can get a feel for the band and see these promising recent high school grads for yourself.

Wilco and Low

One of my biggest regrets in missing the Duluth stop of the AmericanaramA tour was hearing about Low’s appearance during Wilco’s set. With the waters of the Great Lake Superior behind them, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker joined Richard Thompson, Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, and company for an epic cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald,” with Sparhawk dramatically eating his lyric sheet at the end of the song. A few moments of that cover were archived on YouTube, so those of us who missed it can get a glimpse at what went down.