Local Current Blog

First Avenue’s Best New Bands: Muun Bato

Photos by Helen Teague/MPR

This year’s Best New Bands showcase took place this past Saturday at First Avenue. Writer Colleen Cowie and photographer Helen Teague attended to check out each of the seven acts: Green/Blue, Under Violet, Loki’s Folly, FruitPunchLoverBoy, Mae Simpson Music, Muun Bato, and Nur-D.

When Muun Bato played their first show just a year ago, singer and guitarist Joe Werner told his bandmates that they would one day play at First Avenue. “I don’t think they believed me. I don’t think I believed me,” Werner said from the Mainroom’s stage at First Ave’s Best New Bands concert.

Muun Bato combined swirling guitars and syncopated drums into a hypnotic wall of sound. Their songs evoke vivid textures or the colorful brushstrokes of a painter. Fittingly, multiple songs off their debut album are named after visual artists, like the pulsating “Twombly,” which calls to mind the artist’s unruly scribbles. As their set progressed, Muun Bato gently nudged the volume up from soft psychedelic jams and self-described “fake jazz” to distorted rock that echoed off the walls of First Ave.