Local Current Blog

Hennepin County Library’s MNspin adds 93 new local albums, announces virtual fest

Mae Simpson performs at First Avenue, January 2020. (Helen Teague/MPR)

Albums by Minnesota artists including Nur-D, iLLism, Sarah Morris, Mae Simpson, Venus DeMars, MaLLy, the Bad Man, Kiss the Tiger, Desdamona, Humbird, Pert Near Sandstone, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Superior Siren, and Mary Bue are among 93 new titles added last month to Hennepin County Library’s MNspin streaming program, free to library users.

A two-night virtual festival, streaming via the Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, is planned for Jan. 21 and 28 to celebrate the new season of the program, which launched in 2017 as a way to help the library keep its local music offerings up to date.

“MNspin is a unique collection of music that reflects the diverse and ever-evolving sound and scene of Minnesota,” said Kiss the Tiger singer Meghan Kreidler in a statement. “To be a MNspin artist is to be reminded of all of the great music being made in our state, and to be included in a community of inspiring creators.” Participating artists each receive a $200 stipend provided by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

While MNspin has a particular value at the moment, with most live shows shut down to guard against coronavirus spread, it was originally launched with hopes that listeners might connect with acts they could go see at local venues. It’s apt, then, that the series is sponsoring two nights of live and recorded performances.

The Jan. 21 stream will feature live performances by Nur-D, Superior Siren, and Wax Lead; with additional recorded performances by artists including Kiss the Tiger and Mae Simpson. On Jan. 28, Venus DeMars, Kiss the Tiger, and Fanaka Nation will play live; recorded performances that night will include offerings from artists including MaLLy and Mary Bue. Both streams are free with reservations.

The recently added albums were curated by a panel that included artist and agent Amber (Ace) Cleveland; Classical MPR’s Katie Condon; and Complicated Fun author Cyn Collins. The library’s supplied an introductory playlist for those interested in checking out a selection of the new tunes.