By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
Since the debut of their full-legth LP, Brass Beads, in 2010, this all-female indie-rock trio has kept things relatively quiet with just a handful of shows, including performing as the openers for Dark Dark Dark. With the haunting, almost tribal-sounding record and its dynamic progression of symphonic songs, it will come as a surprise to many that the only instruments played are a viola, drums, electric bass, and sometimes a piano. Brute Heart offer a splash of psychedelic indie rock with what could otherwise be construed as experimental jazz, but overall these ladies have composed a sound that is striking in very new ways. Seek them out in 2011—their live shows are just as eerily captivating as their record.
To call Slapping Purses experimental electronica would be doing it a disservice—Jason Power's brainchild of synthesized goodness is much, much more. His intricate constructions of noise and beats have often been the electrifying dance-party element to close out a classic evening with a great lineup or, alternatively, to jumpstart a night and inject the audience with some life. Power is a creative virtuoso in that way—far from the static nothingness of some electronic indie bands, he manages to draw from the energy of the crowd and offer something akin to a wake-up call, somehow simultaneously in ode to and in defiance of the "experimental" genre. After two years of honing his skills live (including a gig this Saturday at the 501 Club), he should finaly treat fans to a debut album from Slapping Purses this year.
Chastity Brown may well be one of the most underrated vocalists in the Twin Cities. Her music has roots in funky neo-soul and she has a voice that runs like warm honey, warming you up whether you're prepared for it or not. She brings a bluegrass-fed gritty, earthy sound that is as unencumbered by the waves of popular indie-rock trends as it is the jazz genre that would be a typical category for her songs. Far from being a coffeehouse blues singer-songwriter type, Brown has crafted a sound that will sneakily pull you in and keep you close. Her summer 2010-released third album, High Noon Teeth, got attention for its poetry and flow. Brown is a rare bird in these Minnesota parts, and it's worth a trip to see her play; she has a few dates out for early 2011 in some southern states and Minnesota, including a show on January 22 at the Aster Café.
Set to release their eighth studio album in spring or summer 2011, the Jayhawks are setting themselves up for an interesting new year: They haven't put out a record since 2003's Rainy Day Music and haven't recorded with Mark Olson since 1995. Jayhawks fans are, needless to say, jumping-for-joy excited; the Jayhawks are one of the most prolific and celebrated bands to come out of Minneapolis. They're planning a mini-tour in January 2011 of five major cities—Minneapolis, of course, being one of them. Fellow "Band to Watch" Rogue Valley will be opening for the Jayhawks on January 29 at First Avenue.
He was 2010's Best Hip-Hop Artist, but that doesn't mean 2011 will be a quiet year for this hard-working rapper. Since his 2008-released Never Better, P.O.S. has tirelessly toured, performed, and worked it on the local, national, and international scenes. With gigs from the Taste of Minnesota to Soundset to Coachella, this determined star has been on the rise for some time, having garnered plenty of national media coverage—enough to make him a household name in the indie-rap scene. He'll be back in the studios in January, and his new 2011 record will be one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year.
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