By a twenty-two year old desperate and unpaid intern named Gabe.
Hi! I’m Gabe! I’m twenty-two, desperate, broke, in serious debt (mostly student loans, but there was a brief phase of underground cockfighting I dabbled in during college that I’m not proud of and still paying off what I owe) but boy do I love music! I love music so much that I don’t even care that I don’t get paid to take time out of my two-job schedule to write album reviews, attend local shows, take pictures, blog concert experiences, post on social media, all in an effort to get published by online publications that will cease to exist in a year!
I’m also an introverted straight caucasian male virgin, which means not only do I relate to lyrics of strife, isolation, and internal conflict, but I also have no social life, which in turn allows me to do nothing but listen to and critique music in my spare time! And by “listen to and critique”, I mean I have a generally positive and buoyant opinion on essentially everything I hear! I love everything! Proggy math-rock, furry-folk punk, toxically-masculine metal, straight-edge hip-hop, musicals about animals with human tendencies and characteristics, Orca mating season noises captured on sonic radar, early Cee-Lo, present-day Aaron Lewis, I love it all!!! And as we enter a new decade of unreleased songs by undiscovered bands, my excitement for seeking out music and sharing my blindly-optimistic opinions to hypothetical online readers that will not like or share my articles is making me pulsate at nuncomfortable speeds! Minneapolis is currently home to some of the best kept secret bands in the world, so without further ado, I present to you the eight local bands and artists you NEED to listen to RIGHT NOW, or else I will consider you part of the patriarchy and a key contributor to the oppressive powers at be!
Lead singer and guitarist Kendra Jackson loves to talk about the moment they came up with their perfectly abrasive and catchy band name. “This bald-headed fuck sitting on a stoop wearing a Big Dogs shirt cat called me as I walked by,” Jackson recalls. “I had just eaten a vegan breakfast burrito and drank a gallon of coffee, so my first reaction to his grotesque whistling was to take a shit all over him. I went with my gut, literally so to speak. I lifted up my skirt and shat that son of a bitch sideways, I mean, it was pouring out like self serve frozen yogurt. As I walked away, I remember thinking, ‘Hmm, there’s got to be a band name here somewhere.’”
Feces is a primary inspiration and instrument in Scat Call’s hostile, riot grrrl-influenced punk, and Jackson serves as the conductor, frequently shitting on stage in a metaphorical maneuver that conjures up emotions like confronting trauma and resorting to self-alienation as a coping mechanism.
“I only truly feel like myself when I’m rolling around on the floor, covered in shit, screaming about castrating abusers,” Jackson says. “When you come to a Scat Call show, I want you to go through all the shit I had to go through in order to make this music as genuine and honest as possible. And what better way to go through my shit with me than to shit all over you.”
You can listen to Scat Call’s latest EP “Shit Happens” on their Bandcamp, but they’ve yet to announce any upcoming live shows since they’ve been banned from every venue they’ve played.
Murdered by Moose
The leading crusaders of the Minneapolis bluegrass-polka scene revival, Murdered by Moose are the foot-stomping forces, who can be spotted roaming the gritty urban streets of Uptown, decked out like Dust Bowl farmers. With their funny hats, overalls, and one word chorus chants of “HEY!”, Murdered by Moose are the perfect band for parents in their early-to-mid-thirties who don’t listen to music and attend on average two live concerts a year, generally while sitting on blankets in open fields, feeding vegan string cheese to infants. Lead banjo and backing “HEY!” chanter Quentin Octavious describes the band’s latest album “Sister, Forgive Me, For I Know Not What I Do” as a channeling of simpler times, with heavy themes of agricultural strife and incestual relationships.
“To get in the proper headspace for this album, we recorded it on my step-dad’s horse farm just outside of Lanesboro, Minnesota,” Octavious said. “We’d turn off our phones for multiple hours, close our eyes, feel the Lanesboro breeze flow through our Goop-shampooed hair, clap our hands in unison, and simultaneously yell ‘HEY!’, and the album really started to come together after that.”
All thirteen of the bearded white male members each play an intricate role in sonically crafting a nostalgic ode to the sounds of The Great Depression. Lead jug blower and trash can percussionist Cletus Jankum attributes the band’s steadily rising popularity to the wide variety of comforting and relatable sounds that anyone can make using generic objects they’d find around the kitchen.
“I mean, I came up with the main riff for ‘Father Must Never Know About Us’ with a toaster, several wooden spoons, and slamming my microwave door shut in 4/4 tempo,” Jankum said. “Everything we do as a band is organic. From the primitive nature of our songwriting, to the gallons of raw reindeer milk we chug after waking up, to the trustfunds that allow us the freedom to create, it’s all organic.”
Murdered By Moose is currently working on their next album tentatively titled “Rock The Cradle Till The Crying Dies”, and are scheduled to headline this year’s Yogurt & Yoga In The Park Fest at Powderhorn Park this summer.
“If a song doesn’t have a sample from either a John Cassavetes film or an Orca Whale during mating season, can it really be called a song?” Quotes like these are just a handful of the musings you’ll hear when you interview Fitzgerald Rawlings III, better known as the brainchild of the lo-fi bedroom pop project titled Shingles Shed.
There’s a formula when it comes to the compositions of a typical Shingles Shed track. Songs usually start with an abrasive or confrontational sound clip, which can range from field recordings captured from Vietnam POW camps or lengthy, layered edits of Newman from Seinfeld laughing on a loop. Next up, Rawlings III typically eases you into their lonely lullaby, with something like a Fisher Price xylophone riff or windchimes blowing in the wind as their signature croon, somewhere between a baby coyote cry and a sobbing Minion, gently serenades your ears. The track will generally hit its apex when Rawlings III will interrupt the quirky ballad with abrupt buzzsaw guitars and torturous screaming of repetitive phrases such as “FEED ME COOKIES DADDY” or “RAINBOWS ARE TERRORISTS”. After several minutes of vitriolic chaos, the songs ultimately resort back to its cuddly origins before concluding.
“My songs are the sonic equivalent of being cradled and rocked to sleep by a pantless-seventy-year-old wearing a FUBU jersey and a Nick Nolte mask,” Rawlings III said. “I want listeners to inhabit a reality where confrontation equals comfort, and infinity is confined to your imagination. Like, a talking dead parakeet could be your father, or John Wayne Gacy is actually just the color blue, you know what I mean?”
You can listen to Shingles Shed’s latest EP titled “Heaven Is A Slippery Stripper Pole Where Princess Diana Can Finally Feel Free” on their Bandcamp and be sure to catch Rawlings III’s 24-hour lecture titled “A Meditative Guide to Cumming on Vladimir Lenin’s Face” at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design this summer.
“Have you ever hit a gravity bong upside down and chugged a Bud Lime before exhaling?” Kratom, the lead singer of the local reggae-infused ska rockers Gram Crackers asked me. “Shit’s rad.”
‘Shit’s rad’ can be applied to the general vibe and approach of Gram Crackers’ aesthetic. Hypnotic dub bass lines plucked by bassist Gnar play hacky sack with twitchy up-strum riffs from guitarist Weasel, which alone are almost enough to distract your senses from the lingering aroma of stale bong water and unaltered armpits. Full-frontal nudity is a common amenity from frontman Kratom, who garnishes his natural state with bombastic raps that borderline between post-2010 Anthony Keidis poetry and the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes hosting a spoken word open mic. Drummer Paint Chip detailed the origin of Gram Crackers to me while inhaling fumes from a crushed and burning Monster Energy can.
“We were at Burning Man,” Paint Chip began before uncontrollably coughing for the next four minutes. “Ugh, fuck… What’d I say? Oh yeah, Burning Man. Yeah, um… We were there, and… Fuck, hahaha, I don’t remember, my bad.”
Kratom, Gnar, Weasel, and Paint Chip have earned a fervid following over the years, but their ascension as the Twin Cities premiere reggae-ska band has not been without its fair share of controversy. Their knee-long dreadlocks and Jamacian flag-draped amplifiers have generated cries of cultural appropriation due to their Caucasian perplexions, and Kratom’s fondness for complimenting his nudity with exaggerated hula-hoop solos have raised questions of obscenity. Nonetheless, these ‘crackers’ seem generally unphased by any questions of their character.
“We’re just being ourselves man,” Kratom said while twirling his sombrero string and gripping a didgeridoo. “This whole thing that we’re, like… Abro, apro, aprori, whatever, fuck that word, that we’re stealing culture or whatever?? It’s like come on! We’re all one man, you know? All our energy, it’s all one. But the haters can say whatever they want man, when I’m on stage, in the zone, trancing out, hoop soloing with my fam beside me, that’s why I do it. One love, know what I’m saying?”
You can catch Gram Crackers this spring hosting their annual Hack Some Sacks festival, and be on the lookout for their new album titled “True Love Is Always Consensual” dropping this summer.
In the male-dominated local noise scene, there is one artist that is not only attempting to overthrow this patriarchy associated with this genre, but sonically castrate any traces of masculinity on stage, as well as in the crowd. Guantanamo Boy is the self-described “torture noise” project of Regina Ness, better known by her peers as Crotch Hatchet. Ness’s message is simple, even if her music is anything but.
“I was born to eliminate straight white males,” Ness bluntly explains while wearing a custom made Minnie Mouse bondage mask. “But since our patriarchal judicial system will imprison me for committing the same crimes that they themselves have committed against anyone not like them since the dawn of civilization, I unfortunately cannot carry out my life’s purpose. So instead I will fill my existential void with music and performances specifically designed to make fuck boys cum themselves with fear, shame, and confusion.”
It’s impossible to describe an average Guantanamo Boy set because there’s no such thing as an average Guantanamo Boy set. The most recent G.B. live show I experienced involved everything from Ness violently hammering a workbench covered in dildos, to urinating into a mop bucket while ripping out and eating photos of famous male celebrities from an issue of People, to chasing one of the few straight white males brave enough to endure the set with a fire extinguisher until a bouncer intervened.
As for G.B.’s music (I’d prefer calling it “soundscapes”), words such as ‘abrasive’, ‘unsettling’, and ‘disturbing’ fail to accurately define it. For Ness’s latest track uploaded to SoundCloud titled “A Fish Hook Through Mitch McConnell’s Urethra”, Ness layers tracks of live recorded chainsaws, samples of Gavin McInnes speeches, live cow birthings, and sitcom laughing tracks, all layered over Ness reading passages from Rob Lowe’s memoir, for twenty-two minutes.
“I only experience pleasure in the presence of straight white male pain,” Ness says. “Whether I’m making love to my partner or recording my music, I need to have sensory representations of male suffering to stimulate me, be it looped videos of boomers getting kicked in the testicles from old American Home Videos clips or audio from World War Two bombings. I cannot be satisfied with anything unless I am reminded of my purpose.”
You can listen to Guantanamo Boy’s new seven-hour release of ‘spontaneous experimenting’ called “What It Would Sound Like If I Put Lindsay Graham’s Testicles In A Blender For Seven Hours” on their Bandcamp.
MC Judd Nelson Muntz
“I’m just a friggin’ bully dog,” Donovan Ingles, aka MC Judd Nelson Muntz yells at me. “On the mic, I’ll take your lunch money. In person, I’ll drop a bag of dog poop on your porch, light it on fire, ring the doorbell, and run away. And if you attend my shows, you’re going to see me grab the first person I see not waving their arms to my shit, take them into the restroom, submerge their head in the toilet, and flush it. Straight bully crap, you feel me?”
Ingles is the latest rapper bad boy to ascend his way up the ladder of the Minneapolis creative scene, and rumors of a developing deal with Rhymesayers are swirling faster than a flushed toilet you’re head would be in if you forget the lyrics to any of his hooks. While he’s hardly the first MC to embrace a tough guy persona, he wants to make it clear that he doesn’t endorse the usual suspects of sins generally themed in many rappers tracks, such as murder, dealing drugs, and pimping. When it comes to Ingles’ rhymes, he prefers slingshots and wedgies over drive-bys and promiscous sex.
Tracks such as “Knuckle Sandwich” contain intimidating bars such as, “I don’t hit the spliff, but I’ll noogie you like Biff, put my fingers up your butt and force you to sniff,” and my personal favorite verse from his recent hit single “Eat Me Four-Eyes” features the lyrics, “Half Johnny Lawrence, half Regina George, de-pants you in gym class, watch your face turn orange,”. While Ingles music certainly seems catered toward football playing middle schoolers, the forty-two year-old rapper seems content that his tracks of adolescent torment are extremely applicable with the current times.
“I mean, look around you dog, the bullies are back!” Ingles says. “We’re in charge now, all you nerds had your little grace period of holding hands and singing Kumbaya, but all that ooey-gooey crap can eat my shorts! Bow down to the biggest bully in the scene! MC Judd Nelson Muntz is going to blow up a metaphorical whoopie cushion and force this town to sit on it!”
You can catch MC Judd Nelson Muntz’s record release show for his latest album “New Kid Noogie” May 29th at Icehouse.
I don’t know about you, but when I was nineteen, it just seemed like I simply couldn’t dedicate any time to devote to my love of music. I was working two jobs to pay for college, volunteering at various student organizations, not to mention allocating any spare time I did have to staying up all night writing papers or studying for exams. Which is why it’s so inspiring to see the young guns of Trust Fun! going so gung-ho on perfecting their elegantly crafted post-punk vibes, and spending all their energy on the thing they love the most in this world: music.
“We put in so much time, effort, and inherited money into our art,” lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Van Buren says. “I mean, it’s sad to see so many of our friends and peers having to devote their lives to studying bullshit in school or working dead end jobs just because of money. We as a band told ourselves from the get-go that we weren’t going to get caught up in all that conventional drivel society tries to force upon you, and it’s been so rewarding being able to dedicate our lives to something that truly matters.”
Trust Fun! has been going strong for four years now, when most of the band were freshmen at a private high school in Minnetonka. Known for their pristine gear assemblance of Marshall amplifier stacks, pedal boards the size of canoes, and authentic 1960s Fender Strats, Trust Fun! has grown not just in maturity as people, but as a melodic unit, churning out heartfelt an thems of defiance, struggle, and inequality. Bassist Blake MacKenzie attributes their incredibly personal tracks to the vast variety of turmoil and trauma the band has already endured in their brief, yet experienced lives.
“I mean the title track to our last album ‘Strange World’ was literally based off my backpacking trip through the mountains of Columbia when I was sixteen,” MacKenzie says. “I felt so alone, amongst all these… Simple people, you know? Their lives dedicated to… Squeezing goat nipples, picking cantaloupes, knitting and shit, you know? I mean, the mountains were cool and I got some incredible photos for The Gram, but just being surrounded by all these, I’ll say it, minions, it was.. It was depressing. Made me realize how much I love my art and that I can’t take it for granted.”
Trust Fun! already has quite a busy 2020 year lined up. With the release of their fourth album and major label debut “Change The World” due out this spring and a forty-city tour booked for summer, the boys are also lined up to open for established titans such as Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Wire, and The Jesus Lizard. It’ll be a matter of no time before all this band’s hard work and dedication pays off big time!
Arguably the most innovative, inspiring, and irresistible musical act in the Twin Cities right now is a baby, who’s also a total slut. Ariella Spears, aka Slut Baby, is the two-year-old pop singing sensation who’s taking over the scene by storm with her over-the-top acrobatic performances, and her completely skanky outfits and attitude. As Slut Baby’s manager Dino Campari puts it, Ariella must simply be seen to be believed.
“I’m telling you, this baby’s a total slut!” Campari says. “Don’t get me wrong, this friggin’ baby’s got all the talent in the world, but Jesus-Fist-Fuck-Me-Christ! I mean this baby’s doing shit I wouldn’t even dare dream about my wife doing! Mark my words, this slutty baby’s going straight to the top!”
If you break down Slut Baby’s pop music formula into a pie chart, she’s essentially like ten percent ‘Oops I Did It Again’ Britney Spears, twenty percent ‘Dirty’ Christina Aguilera, thirty percent ‘The Simple Life’ Paris Hilton, and forty percent Ron Jeremy. Slut Baby has been consistently cranking out the sexy jams, with tracks such as “BB WANT BOTTL”, “MOMMI’Z TIDDIEZ”, and my personal favorite “WYPE MY ASS DADA” on constant rotation on The Current. Proud mother Annabella Spears attributes her daughter’s success to her own promiscuous past.
“It’s in her genes,” Spears speaks about Ariella’s ascent to stardom with a licentious grin. “My little angel was born to be a star, and it’s been great watching her learn to walk in mommy’s footsteps. As long as she doesn’t get pregnant by some bartender named Cliff who lied about his grandparents being oil tycoons and gained fifty pounds while I was pregnant out of ‘solidarity’, I really believe she’ll be the biggest star on the planet!”
As provocative as she is, and goddamn, she’s downright nasty, it’s the raw talent Slut Baby possesses that really has us excited to watch this artist grow. This June, you can catch Slut Baby hosting her own weekly residency at First Avenue every Sunday, in preparation for her debut album “Born Slutty”.