Twin Cities Year in Music 2010: The highlights

Prince, Gayngs, Gigamesh, and many others dot the calendar


Doomtree MC, teacher, poet, and writer Dessa releases her first solo album, A Badly Broken Code, and launches an incredible year of nonstop touring, garnering critical accolades from coast to coast for her stunning blend of hip hop, spoken word, and experimental pop.

Minnesota Public Radio's 89.3 the Current celebrates its fifth birthday with a victory lap at First Avenue so outrageous that even Prince shows up to pay his respects. Mason Jennings, P.O.S., Lookbook, the Twilight Hours, and Solid Gold perform at the party, and both St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak show up to congratulate the station for its support of the local music community.

Gayngs "Last Prom"
Stacy Schwartz
Gayngs "Last Prom"
Repainting First Ave.
Stacy Schwartz
Repainting First Ave.

Noise-rock trio Gay Beast embark on their first European tour, the first of several local acts to make the trek abroad. Brother Ali, Romantica's Ben Kyle and Luke Jacobs (along with fiddler Carrie Rodriguez), Real Numbers, and Banner Pilot are just some of the Minnesota acts to tour Europe in 2010.


Bassgasm debuts at First Avenue, splitting the venue into five performance spaces and inviting dozens of DJs including Derrick Carter and Dieselboy to re-create the rave atmosphere of the '90s inside the cavernous club. Spearheaded by local techno DJ Woody McBride (DJ ESP), the first installment packs the club with dance lovers, leading promoters to book a follow-up, Bassgasm 2, in July.

Electronic music producer Gigamesh, a.k.a. Matt Masurka, is invited to remix Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" for his debut album. The Gigamesh-remixed single goes on to top the Billboard charts, selling over two million copies and launching Posner's career as a Top 40 artist. Later in the year, Gigamesh jumps on another trend and finds success online with his treatment of the "Double Rainbow" viral video. By the end of the year, he moves to Miami to work full-time with his producer trio DiscoTech.


Local arts program MN Original debuts on Twin Cities Public Television. The new weekly program offers in-depth interviews and video segments on artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and other local creatives. Already in its first year, the show has proven its commitment to documenting our vast and wide-ranging music community; musicians featured on the show have ranged from iconic rockers like the Suburbs and Suicide Commandos to indie-pop act Rogue Valley, mandolinist and fiddler Peter Ostroushko, alt-country pioneers the Jayhawks, jazz singer Debbie Duncan, folk duo the Pines, hip-hop trio No Bird Sing, and many, many more.

Drum-and-guitar duo Peter Wolf Crier are signed to Jagjaguwar, home of fellow Midwest indie bands like Bon Iver and Gayngs. The signing gives their debut album, Inter-Be, national distribution and sends the band out on a series of high-profile tours with bands like Heartless Bastards, Rogue Wave, and Dawes.


P.O.S. jets to the California desert to represent the Twin Cities at massive music festival Coachella, along with frequent collaborators Marijuana Deathsquads. A week before his Coachella performance, P.O.S. and MDS play three back-to-back, mostly unannounced warm-up gigs in Minneapolis, delivering incredibly intimate, bone-chilling sets at the Turf Club, Triple Rock, and Nick and Eddie.

R.T. Rybak returns to the Mainroom to declare "First Avenue Day" on the club's 40th anniversary, April 3, following a sold-out show by Spoon. The year is filled with changes and renovations at the iconic downtown Minneapolis venue: June marks the opening of new restaurant and bar the Depot Tavern; the summer is spent repainting the exterior walls and re-evaluating which bands ought to be honored with white stenciled stars; and for the first time, a women's bathroom is installed in the 7th St. Entry.

Rogue Valley, the new vehicle for songwriter Chris Koza, release their first in a series of full-length records tied to the seasons of the year and announce their plan to release four albums and perform four release shows in the span of 12 months. By the end of the year they are still on track, with albums Crater Lake, The Bookseller's House, and Geese in the Flyway released in the spring, summer, and fall, respectively, and the band are at work recording the final installment in their grandiose anthology.


First Avenue is made over once again, but this time with yards upon yards of white, flowing tulle. The "Last Prom on Earth" celebrates the release of the mega-collaboration Gayngs' debut album, Relayted. The group, featuring members of Bon Iver, Solid Gold, the Rosebuds, Megafaun, Doomtree, Lookbook, and Leisure Birds, light the blogosphere on fire with their immaculately arranged, ambient electro-funk jams and fill First Avenue for two back-to-back shows that feature all 24 members of the "band." Prince crashes the Mainroom for the second time this year, this time sashaying up to the side of the stage with guitar in hand, then decides not to join the band onstage at the last minute. Damn.

A mere 24 hours after the "Last Prom on Earth," Gayngs producer and bandleader Ryan Olson rallies his improvisational electro-noise band Marijuana Deathsquads on the banks of the Mississippi River for an epic Art-a-Whirl performance. An expanded lineup of Deathsquads, who have spent every Wednesday night so far this year at Nick and Eddie honing their thrashing, blistering dance roar, sprawls out onto docks, the tops of houseboats, and a raft floating downstream to perform an echoing, roiling, yet surprisingly coherent river jam.


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