Hard to believe it hasn’t snowed in the Twin Cities yet, but if you’re already looking for a Minnesota winter retreat, consider Texas. The annual South by Southwest Music Festival returns March 15-20, 2016 in Austin and five Minnesota-linked acts have been announced in the first two rounds of official SXSW performers: Har Mark Superstar, John Mark Nelson, Night Moves, Now, Now and Tommy Stinson.
Har Mar Superstar is expected to release his follow-up to 2013’s beloved Bye Bye 17 in spring 2016. Recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas with Chris Bierden and Ryan Olson of Polica, Har Mar himself describes the album as “very mariachi” with a few Danzig, Rod Stewart and soul-wrenching moments.
Night Moves haven’t officially announced their follow-up to their Domino Records 2012 debut Colored Emotions, but the trio (John Pelant, Mickey Alfano and Jared Isbella – Mark Ritsema of Suzie left the band) have been playing new songs during their lives sets here and there since August.
John Mark Nelson may be on his fourth album, but 2015’s I’m Not Afraid is his first release on a label, the new GNDWIRE Records co-founded by Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles and Twin Cities-based artist manager Mark Gehring. The (almost) 22-year-old recently signed to Billions Corporation, a national booking agency home to artists like HAIM, Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire.
Now, Now have been hush-hush about plans for a third release on the Chris Walla-owned label Trans- Records, but we’re hoping to hear new music news from the Minneapolis trio soon.
In what has become a destination for finding up-and-coming acts, Tommy Stinson is SXSW’s red herring. The well-known Minneapolis export self-released the two-song EP L.M.A.O back in September, just before he performed in The Current studio and bared all in a revealing interview about the past two years of touring with the Replacements and the possibility of a Guns ‘n’ Roses reunion. (Perhaps GnR will be 2016’s rumored surprise SXSW set? Axl Rose and Slash have reportedly reconciled, after all. Time will tell.)