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What’s the Most Popular Music from Minnesota on Bandcamp?

Plus the latest news on Impaler, Heiruspecs, winter residencies, and so damn many concert listings.

Choose your fighter: Impaler and Heiruspecs
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Let’s Search for Local Artists on Bandcamp 

Bandcamp Friday—the periodic day-long sale where the independent music site forgoes its cut of the profits and passes all the cash along to artists—is so popular there’s even a site that tells you when it’s Bandcamp Friday. And as another BF rolls around today, I noticed that you can search artists by city and state, and … I bet you can see where I’m going with this. The first recommended artist for both Minnesota and Minneapolis is Inhaling Mist by Paperbark, an ambient artist I admit I know nothing about. I listened while writing this column, and it didn’t distract me, though when I listened closely I liked what I heard—which makes for good ambient by definition, right? As for the all-time best-selling releases? For Minneapolis it’s the New Standards’ Holiday Album, for St. Paul it’s Psymun’s 2014 album Pink Label, and for Minnesota generally it’s Low’s latest, Hey What. Also, a bunch of the musicians I’ll be talking about below have music on Bandcamp, so hit’em up there if you’re so inclined. Or just poke around with the local tags.

Not Krampme. Krampus.

Krampus is the anti-Santa, a horned creature who terrifies the bad children of central Europe at Christmastime. Twin Cities shock-rock institution Impaler is kind of like Krampus, but scarier and real. (Ha, jk, Krampus, you’re real too.) Bill Lindsey and his boys have been spookin’ ‘n’ rollin’ for 38 years now, and they released a new album earlier in 2021, The Great Hereafter. I’m not just writing about them because they sent a holiday card to City Pages every year after I profiled them 20 years ago. This Thursday they’ll be terrifying bad children at the Entry at their Merry Krampus show, along with Plague of Stars and SEMTEX, and you can expect a lot of fake blood, real riffs, and ghouliday spirit. Never stop impaling, fellas. 

A Heiruspectacular Holiday Event

Heiruspecs hasn’t been around quite as long as Impaler yet (by my count they’ve been with us for 24 years) and they wear comparatively less onstage makeup. But they’re just as scary—scary good at performing, that is. (Heh heh, good one, Keith.) I caught one of the hip-hop band’s outdoor shows at Icehouse this summer, and their chops as instrumentalists and MCs are undiminished. Their annual “holiday classic” is at the Turf Club tonight, and you should absolutely get there in time for St. Paul rapper Juice Lord, whose Spread Luv is one of this year’s highlights. Throw in DJ Rowsheen spinning between sets and your Friday night is locked down. The good kind of locked down, that is.

Residen-Season is Here

Like the Christmas season, the residency season seems to start earlier every year. What had become a January tradition has crept back into December. And who’s complaining? Not me! (Are you complaining? Really?) This weekend, Racket faves Gully Boys kick off their month of Sunday nights at the Entry with their recent fellow Hold Steady bill-sharers Kiss the Tiger and the fantastic Sass. All Tomorrow’s Petty begin their Turf Club stay on Thursday (I just now noticed they have “Tom” in their name because I’m a mega-dope) with Shania-celebratin’ A Little Too Short to Be Stormtroopers in the house. Turn Turn Turn started their Thursday residency at the White Squirrel last week, in case you’ve been looking for an excuse to get to the new St. Paul hang, and it’s a freebie. Icehouse doesn’t confine itself to a single season—the club offers residencies all year long, and this month jazz guitarist Zacc Harris is on call every Monday. Personally, I think a residency should actually require the artist to live in the venue for the full month, but I don’t make the rules.

And now, some show listings.

Friday, Dec. 3

The Dope Soap (release show) @ Amsterdam

Intrinsic, Waste, The Motion Mosaic, Agony Reigns @ Cabooze

Steve Gunn and Jeff Parker @ Cedar Cultural Center

Nicholas David’s Annual St. Nick’s Day Show @ Dakota

Dawes with Erin Rae @ First Avenue

Samantha Grimes & Sabyre Rae @ Hook and Ladder

Big Salt (EP Release Party) with Mayda, Black Velvet Punks, & Mad Mojo Jett @ Hook and Ladder

Sparks/Raynor/Epstein @ Icehouse

Kid Dakota and Buffalo Fuzz @ Icehouse

Vincent @ The Loft

Anima, My Grandma’s Cardigan (Rochester) and Friend Dog @ Palmer’s

Man Afraid, Sunset, Partial Traces, Closetalker @ Part Wolf

Rebel Queens with The Rumours and Hotel Caviar @ 7th St Entry

Theory of a Deadman @ Skyway Theatre

The New Standards Holiday Show @ State Theatre

Northern Hammer, Y Peru, Casey Gerald @ 331 Club 

Heiruspecs with Juice Lord and DJ Rowsheen @ Turf Club 

Private Oates + Sweet Stache @ Uptown VFW

Show and Tell Series w/ Waltzing on Waves, Mary Bue, and Kat Hansberry @ White Squirrel

Saturday, Dec. 4

Airship Caravan, The Only, The Cold Casuals @ Amsterdam

Jeff Arundel @ Aster Cafe

Rick Ross, Jeezy, 2 Chainz @ Armory

The Jon Sullivan Band, Craig Baumann & The Story, Brotherhood of Birds, Momo @ Cabooze

Holiday in the Heartland @ Dakota

The Dagnabits @ Eagles 34

Mason Jennings @ Fine Line

Anderson East with Savannah Conley @ First Avenue

Wanaku @ Icehouse

Stephen Kellogg @ Icehouse

The Trappestines Present the Winter Cotillion @ Icehouse

Kompany @ The Loft

Lavender Daughter, Alien Book Club and Rigby @ Palmer’s

Trailer Trash’s Trashy Little Christmas @ Parkway

VIN, Vivid Dreams, Bullet To Binary, 12th House Sun, Body By Torture @ Part Wolf

Atreyu @ Skyway Theatre

Disq with Why Not @ 7th St Entry

Rabeca, Freaque, and Serious Machine @ 7th St Entry

The New Standards @ State Theatre

Psychic Vampire, LocKGnaR, Tubal Cain @ 331 Club

Milkshake ~ Late 90s / Early 2000s Dance Party w/ DJ Dimitry Killstorm @ Uptown VFW

Jameson Rodgers @ Varsity Theater

Solid State, Jest, Crash Cuddle @ White Squirrel

Sunday, Dec. 5

The Acacia Strain @ Amsterdam

Swing Brunch with Patty and the Buttons @ Aster Cafe

Michael Ray Pfeifer @ Aster Cafe

Alexandra Kay, Cooper Alan and Thomas Mac @ Cabooze

Home for the Holidays @ Dakota

Ben Ottewell & Ian Ball of Gomez @ Hook and Ladder

Delphia Cello Quartet @ Icehouse

Charanga Tropical @ Icehouse

Nightchurch @ Icehouse

Time Room, Liquid Lunch, Tollund Moses, Radiator Girl @ Mortimer’s

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens @ Palace Theatre

Cornbread Harris: Church of Cornbread @ Palmer’s

Gully Boys December Residency with Kiss the Tiger and Sass @ 7th St Entry

Corpse Reviver @ 331 Club

Emily Wolf @ Turf Club

Monday, Dec. 6

Andy McKee @ Dakota

Zacc Harris Residency @ Icehouse

Human Impact with Child Bite and Murf @ 7th St Entry

The Roe Family Singers @ 331 Club

Matt Arthur & Friends @ 331 Club

Chef Sounds @ White Squirrel

Tuesday, Dec. 7

Evanescence and Halestorm @ Armory

Larry McDonough Quartet @ Dakota

Caroline Polachek with Oklou @ First Avenue

Luke Callen Band & Bad Posture Club @ Icehouse

Michael Gay’s Old Country Buffet with Laura Hugo @ Palmer’s

Wiki and Navy Blue @ 7th St Entry

Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz Combo @ 331 Club

Trevor McFadden and Mary Cutrefello @ White Squirrel

Wednesday, Dec. 8

The Carnegies @ Amsterdam

MN Songwriter Showcase with Nick Hensley @ Aster Cafe

Unleash the Archers with Aether Realm and Seven Kingdoms @ Cabooze

The Hot Sardines Holiday Stomp @ Dakota

42 Annual John Lennon Tribute with Curtiss A @ First Avenue

The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show @ Fitzgerald Theater

Southside Aces @ Icehouse

KFAI House Party Presents Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins @ 331 Club

Fuzzy Math Jazz @ 331 Club

Sue Foley with Ken Valdez @ Turf Club

Nights with Tim @ White Squirrel

Thursday, Dec. 9

John Magnuson Trio with Becky Kapell @ Aster Cafe

Swallow the Sun with Abigail Williams Wilderun

David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown @ Dakota

Turkuaz with BadNraD @ Fine Line

GWAR with Napalm Death and EyeHateGod @ First Avenue

Sarah Morris and the Sometimes Elves @ Hook and Ladder

Mary Lattimore @ Icehouse

The Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs @ Palmer’s

JoJo Green, Funk N Spuds, Natalie Fielder @ Part Wolf

Impaler with Plague of Stars and SEMTEX @ 7th St Entry

Trusion, Greyduck @ 331 Club

All Tomorrow’s Petty (December Residency) with A Tribute to Shania Twain by A Little Too Short To Be Stormtroopers @ Turf Club

Turn Turn Turn (Thursday Residency) @ White Squirrel