Nobody rocks harder than we do in Minnesota. Minnesota has bred a music scene like no other. From the punk rock legends like the Replacements, Husker Du and the Suicide Commandos to international stars like Prince and Bob Dylan, the state has continually produced new and interesting acts that have taken the country by storm. Here are the best bands rocking Minnesota stages today.
It’s hard to consider Polica only ours now that it has gained national recognition and accolades from Rolling Stone to Huffington Post, as well appearances on shows like “Jimmy Kimmel.” But it is a Minneapolis band and has kept up the city’s tradition of new and interesting acts in music. Hailed by critics and fans alike as one of the best new bands in the country, Polica has become something of a phenomenon. The synthy alt-rock sound that it has pioneered is a brand-new, brain-wrinkling sound that is at the same time familiar, comfortable and just plain fun.
Still together after all these years, Low is one of the most interesting acts to come from the northern part of the state. Hailing from Duluth, the band formed in 1993. Ultimately ending up as the answer to the growing number of riffy Nirvana knock-offs of the era. Low’s unique sound, with slower tempos and melodic harmonies, and a minimalist but ever-evolving take on rock and roll music, has kept it at the forefront of Minnesota’s music scene. Always true to its Minnesota roots, the band played a 27-minute version of the song “Do You Know How To Waltz?” at the 2013 Rock the Garden, becoming one of the most talked about acts in years.
This indie-rock band has been one of the most creative additions to a culture some might say is over saturated with indie-rock bands. There’s certainly nothing ordinary about The Greycoats’ approach to music. The band might catch you off guard with a simple piano that explodes into a whirlwind of layered composition and lyrical complexity like in “Watchmen, What Is Left of the Night?” Or it might get your hands in the air, dancing for songs like “Goodbye, Sweet Youth Goodbye.” One thing is for sure: you won’t be able to stop listening.
Dark Dark Dark
With a style that blends the sounds of classic folk music with the moodier, edgier style of Eastern Europe (gypsy-esque), with a little jazz thrown in for good measure, Dark Dark Dark is unlike anything else that has come from the Minneapolis music scene. The mix of lead singer Invie’s potent yet melodic voice and poignant lyrics with the powerful support from the ever-changing array of talented instrumentalists creates an experience that begs to be seen, heard and felt at a live performance.
Part of the alt-rock movement that swept the 80s, the country-tinged Jawhawks are now godfathers of the local scene. This group produces enjoyable music that is perfect for a day at the beach, a cross-country road trip or an evening in your living room after a rough day on the job. The world can’t help but look brighter when listening to songs like “Blue” and “Save It For a Rainy Day.” Though the group took a hiatus from music for a few years, it is back together and gracing stages local and abroad.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.