With 69 points, Nur-D took first place as the Twin Cities’ “best new local artist” in the City Pages annual Picked to Click poll of Minnesota music influentials.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the winner and some of the other artists who made the top 10 are free spirits who can’t be categorized into traditional genres of music — something the Twin Cities music scene thrives on. This includes runner-up psychedelic punk band Green/Blue, rapper Jeremy Nutzman with his poetic project Velvet Negroni, and the genre-bending band 26 Bats!
The genesis of Nur-D’s music career was only a year and a half ago, and since then he’s rocketed into the spotlight with his proud eccentricity. After performing at Soundset 2018 only three months after his solo debut, this year he released his sophomore album Songs About Stuff.
“I was going to do hip-hop as hard as I could and how I wanted to do it,” Nur-D told Local Current’s Marla Khan-Schwartz in an interview about his background, inspiration, and advocacy. “I don’t do things the same way that everyone else does. I don’t want to be bogged down by any kind of genre constraints. If I want to do a ballad on my album, I’m going to do a ballad, and it won’t have any rapping in it at all. If I want to do a straight boom-back, no chorus, no hook, bunch of punch-line bars, I’ll do that too.”
Earlier this summer, Nur-D came into The Current studio for a jam session and played some of his most popular songs like “Black Wizard Wave” and “Take My Picture,” a song that reflects his desire to create music based on self-love and body positivity.
Here are the rest of this year’s winners.
2. The psychedelic punk rock supergroup Green/Blue, which includes Jim Blaha, Danny Henry, Annie Sparrows, and Hideo Takahashi, has been described as just a group of friends getting together to make music because they love to play.
3. Velvet Negroni, the project that pulled 34-year-old rapper Jeremy Nutzman out from the dark that was his previous project Pony Bwoy. Hoping to keep this one going, Nutzman stopped by The Current studio last month to play songs off his second album under the name Velvet Negroni.
4. 26 Bats!, a jazz-influenced group who have been favorites with our audience. They stopped by for an in-studio performance this spring, and singer Bailey Cogan shared their story with Local Current’s Lydia Moran. “I like to say that we’re genre-fluid because it’s a nice cop-out. But also, I’m gender-fluid, so it’s like me — it’s true to who I am,” Cogan explained. “It’s the kind of music I make, because art is an expression of self.”
4. Last Import, the self-described “surf punk band” who tied with 26 Bats! for 4th place with 31 points. Local Current’s Colleen Cowie called their song “One a Day” one of the top ten Minnesota tracks of 2018. You can see Last Import live at upcoming gigs including The Current’s Oct. 24 happy hour at Sociable Cider Werks.
6. Kiss the Tiger are a dynamic rock band fronted by Meghan Kreidler, who told Lydia Moran that on their new album Let Me Bleed, “you have songs that are a little more punky, songs that feel a little more classic rock and more in the vein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and then we have songs that are a little heavier and grittier. I think we’re just kind of exploring the whole scope of what rock and roll can be and trying not to get stuck playing one type of thing.”
7. Dreamy trio Prim Woes, who have an “intimate” EP called Sun Dunk coming out soon.
8. Noise rock/dance punk band New Primals, headed by Sam Frederick with drummer Lars Oslund and bassist Ali Terveen.
9. Dreamy folk-rock band Under Violet, headed by Sara Bischoff from folk-rock band Heavy Deeds.
10. booboo, also known as Miles Gordon Jamison, is a singer/songwriter/producer whose music City Pages describes as a “sneakily catchy, alienish Auto-Tuned fusion of electronic, R&B, and rap.”