The 10 most anticipated albums from Minnesota artists

During Minnesota winters, bands hole up in their studios, bedrooms, or basements and fend off the crippling cold by creating fresh material that they typically begin sharing with us around spring. This year is clearly no exception, as a slew of highly anticipated local albums are set to be released over the coming months.

Gimme Noise has assembled a list of 10 of the best upcoming local records spanning indie rock, hip-hop, punk, and more. 

Haley Bonar
Last War
Check Out: "Last War"
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Since the release of her last album, Golder, in 2011, Haley Bonar had a baby and got a bit weirder with her adventurous side project, Gramma's Boyfriend. But now, she's finally ready to share what may just be the finest record of her career, Last War. The title track has already caught the attention of the local music scene, while everything else we've heard from the album has been equally as captivating. Bonar and her band are celebrating with a record release show at the Varsity Theater on Friday, May 16, but you can check out the album early courtesy of NPR's First Listen, who are promoting the record all this week.

Two Harbors
The Natural Order of Things
Check Out: "Be Forever"
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Two Harbors make a raucous return to the local scene with their guitar-fueled new album, The Natural Order of Things. The songs churn with the confident spirit of Britpop, while the soaring choruses draw you in effortlessly. The veteran quartet recorded the album at Flowers Studio, and the pristine production emphasizes the relentless hooks of guitarist Kris Johnson and the resonant vocals of Chris Pavlich. The band clearly aimed big on this album, and the results are a massive, resounding success. Two Harbors are celebrating the vinyl release of their album on Friday, May 16 at Cause, along with BNLX, Fury Things, Stereo Confession, and DJ Jake Rudh.

Animal Lover
Check Out: "Neighbors"
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Local noise rock trio Animal Lover are set to turn the local scene on its collective ear with the release of their boisterous new 12" EP, Guilt. The new collection is packed with fierce, adventurous sonic excursions that are compelling and raw. Addison Shark's guitar work continually pushes these songs into new directions, while they rhythm section of Evan Bullinger and Nate Fisher add a relentless kick to their dynamic sound. Before they hit the road for a tour to support the album, Animal Lover will celebrate with a release party at the Turf Club on Thursday, May 15, with STNNNG, Solid Attitude, and Les Deux Magots.

Muja Messiah
God Kissed It The Devil Missed It
Check Out: "Pocket Full of Slave Owners" ft. Brother Ali and Boots Riley
Release Date: May 23, 2014
Local MC Muja Messiah is set to break out in a major way with his new album, God Kissed it the Devil Missed It. In addition to Messiah's boundless flow, the record also features a talented cross-section of the current Twin Cities and national hip-hop scene, as Brother Ali, Boots Riley (The Coup), I Self Devine, Maria Isa, Planet Asia, Nazeem, and Mike The Martyr all lend their skills to the album. We here at City Pages named Muja Messiah the Best Hip-Hop Artist of 2009, so you know we've had our eyes and ears turned towards him for a while now. Muja Messiah will be celebrate the release of God Kissed It The Devil Missed It on May 23 at 7th Street Entry)


Fort Wilson Riot
Check Out: "Something Left Alive"
Release Date: May 13, 2014 (Record Release show May 24 at Triple Rock)
Local electro-pop duo Fort Wilson Riot get sonically adventurous and ambitious on their shimmering new full-length, trIllIun, with the help of the polished production skills of Ryan Olcott (12 Rods/Mystery Palace). The results are an assured change in creative course for the group, but one that consistently pays off with mesmerizing, textured arrangements and lush, dreamy vocals. Amy Hager and Jacob Mullis boldly took their sound in an enthralling new direction on this record, and it clearly worked out well for them, and should rightfully find its place in the clubs and on dancefloors throughout the Twin Cities.

The Parlour Suite
Check Out: "Pressure"
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Another band that changed things up a bit on their new album is the Parlour Suite. The electro-pop trio spent last summer recording the tracks that would make up Vibes at the Hideaway in NE Minneapolis with Joe Mabbott. The imaginative Grant Cutler handled production duties for the record, and the results simply pulse with a boundless, evocative spirit. The group has recently moved out to Los Angeles to bring their sound to a wider audience, but the tone and tenor of this record really captures the warmth and atmosphere of a place that was waiting all year for summer. The saturnine synths and propulsive beats that are layered throughout the record sound fresh and expansive.

Busy Signals Part 1
Check Out: "All I Have"
Release Date: May 31, 2014
Mayda went through considerably more than most artists in the making of her new album, Busy Signals Part 1. The effervescent R&B pop diva recently traveled to Seoul, South Korea, to meet her birth parents for the first time, and toured Europe with her lively new songs. The experience infuses the artistic tone of the record with an adventurous spirit, while also highlighting Mayda's imaginative musical gifts and impassioned, soulful vocals. On stage is where her songs and her vibrant attitude truly comes to life, so if you like the sound of her dynamic new single, "All I Have," you should most definitely find your way to the Turf Club on May 31 for Mayda's big release show for her confident new record.

Alpha Consumer
Check Out: "The Eat"
LP Release Date: June 7, 2014
Alpha Consumer's dynamic new album, Meat, has officially been out since April, but the band has just announced an LP Release show at 7th Street Entry on June 7, giving their fans an opportunity to hear their exuberant new rock songs on vinyl for the first time. The vinyl release also highlights the exquisite photography and design work of Cameron Wittig and Mike Davis as well. Anyone familiar with the local music scene already knows that JT Bates, Michael Lewis, and Jeremy Ylvisker all absolutely slay on their respective instruments, and Meat only reinforces that fact.


Leisure Birds
Check Out: "Waveforms"
Release Date: June 17, 2014
In order to put out the pioneering new album by Leisure Birds, the innovative folks at Totally Gross National Product have wisely partnered with Oakland by-way-of Minneapolis record label, Moon Glyph. That wild, experimental creative partnership perfectly suits the sonic stratosphere where these songs reside. The radical psych-rock of the Minneapolis quartet hits new heights on Tetrahedron, with songs that churn with a boundless sonic abandon. The group is filled with local scene veterans, but what they have hit on with Leisure Birds is entirely fresh and unique, as they brazenly continue to push the boundaries of what rock songs can -- and should -- aspire to. Each layer of sound that the individual band members produce can take you on a spectacular journey in its own right, but when they all coalesce together, its best to just get lost in their sound and forget where you even are.

John Mark Nelson
Sings the Moon
Check Out: "The Moon and the Stars"
Release Date: June 24, 2014
John Mark Nelson caught the attention of the local scene while he was just a teenage singer/songwriter still finishing up high school. And the prolific musician hasn't gotten caught up in all of the attention or accolades bestowed on him ever since, as Nelson continues to write and record proficiently, even taking to Kickstarter to successfully fund the recording of his new album, Sings The Moon. Nelson's assembled a top-notch band around him to help bring his plaintive, evocative songs to life, and everything we have heard from the new record reflects a creative maturity and wisdom well beyond Nelson's years. Paste just premiered "Boy," a lovely track from the forthcoming album, which proves that Nelson's exposure and fan base will surely be expanding with this new release, as it should. His rare and refreshing talents should find their way well beyond the borders of Minnesota, into the hearts of music lovers everywhere. You can catch John Mark Nelson and his special guests at the Sings The Moon record release show at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, June 28.

Other upcoming local releases of note:
Vaudeville - The Masquerade I (CD Release show May 17 at First Avenue)
Ryan Traster - Get Easy (CD Release show May 21 at 7th Street Entry)
Kougar - Cold Room (EP Release show May 22 at Turf Club)
Warehouse Eyes - Carvings EP (Release show May 23 at Turf Club)
Astronomique - Burning Stars Fade EP (Release show May 23 at Cause)
Koo Koo Kanga Roo - Whoopty Whoop (Release show May 25 at Amsterdam)
Falderals - Witness (Release show May 30 at Aster Cafe)
Dichotomy - Subterranean (Release show May 31 at Cause)
#MPLS - Hello (Release show June 5 at Fine Line)
American Scarecrows - Yesteryear (Release show June 19 at 7th Street Entry)
Trampled by Turtles - Wild Animals (July 15)
Hollow Boys - (Summer 2014)
Maria Isa - Valley of the Dolls (Summer 2014)
Bomba de Luz - Ember (August 5)

And here's a list of groups and artists who are set to put out new releases sometime soon that you should definitely keep an eye and an ear out for:
Carroll - TBA
Dem Atlas - TBA
Allan Kingdom - TBA
The Standard - TBA
Fury Things - TBA
Whatever Forever - TBA
Tired Tongues - TBA
Tiny Deaths - TBA
Strange Names - TBA
Suzie - TBA

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