The most exciting thing for me about the local music scene within the last year is the emergence of new independent media outlets that specifically focus on our scene. These outlets are not guided by profit motives and other things that can lead to less-than-objective coverage, and they're doing a fantastic job.
Misplacedmusic.org and Rift Magazine (riftmagazine.com) were both started by groups of hardworking music lovers who had no goal other than strengthening the local scene by exposing more people to it. You can listen to local music 24/7 on the web at misplacedmusic.org, and Rift is doing a wonderful job of covering local artists and giving advice and tips to musicians through columns written by scene vets. Both have been careful not to focus on any specific genre of music, which is commendable.
The hours required to make these outlets available are long, and like many selfless endeavors, it can be difficult to see whether or not they make any difference. So I implore everyone to support them whenever possible, and pass along encouraging feedback or constructive criticism. Hats off to all involved!
(Disclaimer: I was involved in starting Rift, doing publicity for the launch. I also created and continue to manage the website.)
Every year there is a turnover for bands in the Twin Cities. We see bands like Sweet JAP, Skin of Earth, and other great bands break up. But in addition to my top five, new local bands like Die Electric!, Chariots, Thunder in the Valley, and Melodious Owl assure people who think the Twin Cities doesn't have anything going on that they are not looking hard enough. I have found myself less sad about local bands breaking up because I just expect something new and amazing will come forth and replace the gap the previous bands left.
Since my comments come a little late in the game, it's hard not to talk about the loss of First Avenue, or the Bush election, but I won't. I think one of the coolest trends is that there is starting to be a sense of community in the Minneapolis scene. With benefit concerts, new venues, crossover gigs, and an alarming amount of Mallman covers. Not since the pop renaissance of the '90s has this city felt like a community here--it's not there yet, but it feels like it could be edging that way. Things like the Minnesota Music Awards in St. Cloud were a great way to foster that feeling. I'd love to see little tours of hipster Twin Cities bands going to Duluth or Rochester or other places in the state--start spreading the love to our neighbors.
Widening fan bases help the whole scene. This is going to be really important in a time when we don't have a giant black anchor that all music genres can call home. I do think that this could be a new renaissance for the towns of twin. It'll force us to think beyond the reliable, and hopefully expand our boundaries. After all, if the Red Sox could break their world series curse, maybe we can break the "Picked to Click" curse and the band that wins could continue to grow and prosper beyond our city gates.
I know I said I wouldn't talk about First Ave...but I lied. Oh yeah, and Bush sucks!
That is what I want for 2005. Some fucking soul. Things that are real and honest and as they seem. Charlie Parr has all of that. So do Josh and Jake from the Get Up Johns, Big Mike and Spaghetti Western, and even the Olympic Hopefuls. Look beyond the goofy suits and listen to Erik Appelwick deliver the vocal on "Shy." Don't forget Ben and Robin Kyle, Martin Dosh, P.O.S., and every single member of the Ashtray Hearts. I am looking for musicians who mean it, and songs that say something. People can get into that, can't they? Look at Jeff Tweedy and Wilco's following. How about some of that truth? We are all going to die, we don't know when. The world is fucked up and we are doing a lot of the fucking. The "Because We Are Americans" party is over, and it's time to clean up the mess and call the neighbors to apologize. Yes, it's going to be awful, but that doesn't mean you can't throw on the Band or Paul Westerberg while you work at making it better.