It might be the best bargain of the year for Minnesota music fans: seven bucks for seven bands, with not a lemon in the bunch. That’s how the annual Best New Bands showcase, hosted by First Avenue and sponsored by Radio K, works. The lineup for next month’s show—scheduled for January 30, with tickets on sale now—was announced Friday on the K. Here are the bands who will be helping us rock the winter doldrums away.
Allan Kingdom. This young MC—not yet 20 years old—has been busy at the mic and at the boards, turning heads with work including his remix of Poliça’s “Chain My Name.” His debut LP Trucker Music has been earning national attention, with the help of memorable videos. Kingdom could be the guy your out-of-town friends start asking about in 2014.
BBGUN. In our happily cross-pollinating music scene, new bands often feature familiar faces; such is the case with BBGUN, a new project featuring Neal Perbix of Wishbook. A collaboration with Al Church and other local standbys including Jeremy Hanson, the “BB” in BBGUN might stand for Best Buddies. That warm, loose spirit permeates the band’s debut album.
Black Diet. They have the least-cool band name ever to begin with the word “black,” but never mind that: what matters is the music, and that’s where Black Diet deliver. They also pride themselves on their “sartorial flair” and passionate live shows (when a band tags their Bandcamp track “sweaty,” you know they mean business). Best not schedule a pizza break for this set—you might have to see this soulful ensemble to believe them.
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Frankie Teardrop. “Not only is the name Frankie Teardrop one of the best names since Cry-Baby Walker,” wrote the Current’s Andrea Swensson last month, “but the music he’s been releasing so far demands attention. Think early Strokes, Wavves, Howler, et al; this is electric, surfy punk rock that just chugs and chugs.” This inclusion of this busy, much-buzzed performer on the Best New Bands bill was no surprise.
Fury Things. This band grabbed the attention of Andrea—and many other local music lovers—early in 2013. “This band,” wrote Andrea in March, “pays tribute to the earliest days of indie rock—Archers of Loaf, Pavement, Sonic Youth. It’s fuzzy and hooky and wonderful.” Fury Things have lived up to the hype, watching their fan base snowball.
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GRRRL PRTY. When Manchita bounded onstage to join the Chalice at Voltage, it immediately became clear that something special was in the works from the long-respected under-the-radar MC and two-thirds of the Chalice: Sophia Eris and Lizzo, the 2013 performer who everyone wanted to have at their PRTY. “That. Song. Is. My. Jam,” was a frequently-heard review of GRRRL PRTY’s “Wegula.”
Southwire. “You have to drink a lot to live there,” Southwire’s Sean Elmquist says about the band’s home base of Duluth. The combination of lake air and C2H5OH has worked wonders for Southwire, whose boundary-breaking sound made an immediate fan of Andrea. “It’s not often that a band comes along that hits me square in the gut,” she wrote earlier this year, “but that’s what happened the first time I saw Southwire perform […] Their sound was so distinct, and their emotions so unadulterated that I had no choice but to stand on my tip-toes at the back of the crowded room and hold my breath as it washed over me.”