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Would You Rather Listen to 5 New Local Songs or 5 New Non-Local Songs?

Guess what? You can do both.

1:39 PM CDT on July 24, 2023

Photos provided|

Big Thief, Crush Scene

I've shared the little not-so-secret technique I use to pan for local music gold here before, right? I just search Bandcamp under the "Minnesota," "Minneapolis," and "St. Paul" tags and browse away. This week, I found 40% of my local recommendations that way.

Local Picks

Annie & the Bang Bang, “Let Me Down”

On the lead single from Radio Baby, slated for a fall release, Annie Enneking sings “First you let me down/Then you make me wait" in a style set somewhere between "seethe" and "slow burn" as the guitars fittingly brood behind her.

Constant Insult, “No Covenant”

The lead track from a new release called Demo 2023 sounds clean enough to my admittedly non-audiophile ears. Anyway, with breakneck guitars and unison male/female vocals rushing forward together in punky abandon, who needs some fancy producer? 

Crush Scene, “Love Bomb”

The lead track of and first single from Rejection Therapy highlights this quartet's most distinctive qualities: Rachael Guertin’s trebly guitar sting and Madalyn Rowell's easy shift from plainspoken drawl to a threatening growl.

Doggy, “Scotty”

Predictably, the speediest song on Raise Yourself is my favorite. And I didn't even realize that was my Twitter pal Alexis Politz singing “You’re just static/Not electricity” till I checked the notes. This town's so small that even saying "small town" feels like stating the obvious.

Pyrrhic Victories, “Worm Welcome”

Drawn in by one of the great slack 'n' sullen indie band names, I was happy to hear someone ID'd solely as "jph" muse dispiritedly via filtered half-spoken vocals about a “teachable moment” under layers of tuneful guitars.

Non-Local Picks

Big Thief, “Vampire Empire”

Fans, I hear, prefer the live version. As a non-obsessive normal person who enjoys listening to Big Thief and recorded music in general, I dig how the verses unspool (in a way I must reluctantly call “Dylanesque”) before Adrianne Lenker adds a little falsetto flip to the end of each line. If I want to hear how it sounds live, I'll go see Lenker and the boys next time they hit town.

Illuminati Hotties, “Truck”

Sarah Tudzin is at her immediately winning in gonzo mode, but her knack for an acid ballad when she slows and calms down shouldn't be underestimated. "Like only a Teamster could/You got so good/At splitting," she sings to some wanderlusty lover, and her chorus comes complete with a Pavement quote. (Guess.)

MJ Lenderman, “Rudolph”

Over fetchingly fuzzed out drums, Wednesday guitarist Lenderman rambles on about the titular reindeer and whatever else crosses his mind over a loping guitar riff and an unmoored pedal steel. “How many roads must a man walk down till he learns… he’s just a jerk?” Bob Dylan didn’t have that to sing about.

Mountain Goats, “Clean Slate”

Not even indie rock is immune from sequels. Twenty-one years down the road, John Darnielle is following up All Hail West Texas with Jenny From Thebes, a continuation of his lo-fi classic. And as the horns and strings here attest, it's gonna sound a lot different than its boombox-recorded predecessor.

Tinashe, “Talk to Me Nice”

R&B’s perpetual shoulda-been plays up the contrast between her conversational midrange and breathy upper register over a rhythm track punctuated by a staccato vocal backing track. “We got options,” sings a near-star who's always had to explore them. 

Wanna get a local song considered for the playlist? To make things easy on both of us, email with MONDAY PLAYLIST in the subject header. (Don’t, as in do NOT, DM or text: If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just ask you to send an email; if I’m in a bad mood I’ll just ignore it.)

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