Ballad of the opening band

Today, P.O.S can sell out a show at First Avenue’s Mainroom. In 2004, though, when he’d just signed to Rhymesayers, he toured as an opener for St. Paul hip-hop group Heiruspecs. “We were playing a really poorly attended show in Cleveland on the first night of the tour,” remembers Heiruspecs bassist Sean McPherson. “Stef [P.O.S] […]

Dibs on Dylan: Can Minnesota claim credit for the success of Robert Zimmerman?

When Bob Dylan was announced as the winner of 2016’s Nobel Prize in Literature, Minnesotans rejoiced. The first rock star ever to win the Nobel, and he’s one of our own! Born and bred! Or…is he? Throwing cold water on the prairie party, many pointed out that Dylan was nowhere near the Gopher State when […]

Trailblazers 2016: Danielle Cusack

Rock ‘n’ roll has always been about youthful energy, but right now the Twin Cities music scene is having an especially youthful moment, with artists like Lexii Alijai blowing up on SoundCloud and an all-ages scene burgeoning at venues like the Garage. At the nexus of what’s next is 20-year-old Danielle Cusack: drummer, bassist, singer-songwriter, […]

Trailblazers 2016: First Avenue

When Prince died this past April, fans from around the world flocked to First Avenue to pay their respects. His star, which someone quietly painted gold, became a memorial as flowers piled up on the sidewalk beneath it. For some visitors, this was their first time seeing the club that Prince made world-famous in his […]

Oldchella: Have the classic rock gods outlived their relevance?

Star-studded festival lineups are routine these days, but the lineup for this month’s Desert Trip festival in Indio, California, is in a league of its own. The festival is only hosting six acts, and they’re doozies: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Roger Waters (the golden-era leader of Pink Floyd), and Neil […]

Booked: How your favorite bands choose the venues they play

The process by which bands are booked into venues is, for the casual music fan, opaque. It may even be mystifying—especially if you just can’t understand why your favorite band is playing your least favorite venue. Booking, say local pros, is both a science and an art—and like the rest of the music industry, it’s […]

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The art of the mixtape

Even in the digital age, music fans cling to the retro joy of handmade mixtapes “It’s the exclusivity, the physical object, the artwork,” says Simon Brooks of Minneapolis record store Dead Media. “You can hold it. It degrades. It’s not like an MP3 that will last forever.” The rise of cassette tapes in the 1970s […]

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Classical renegades: The genre-bending experimentation of Liquid Music

When you imagine a concert presented by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, you probably picture the classical pros playing Beethoven in their new concert hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Think again. Picture indie siren Zola Jesus and pianist Stephen Prutsman at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Picture rapper Serengeti collaborating with […]

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The Vexing World of Music Awards and Best-Of Lists

Receiving his Video Vanguard Award at this year’s MTV VMAs, Kanye West gave one of the most deeply ambiguous (and confusing) acceptance speeches of any awards show in recent memory. Among the many topics Kanye touched on—including his supposedly planned presidential run—was the contrived injustice of awards shows generally. “I still don’t understand awards shows,” […]

Glensheen: Minnesota’s infamous murder mystery comes to life at History Theatre

It sounds like fiction—like a murder mystery in a worn paperback novel. A wealthy woman is murdered in her bed, smothered with a pillow in the landmark lakeside mansion built by her parents. Her nurse is also killed, bludgeoned with a candlestick. Investigators quickly identify two suspects with a classic motive: struggling financially, the suspects […]

The sensational world of band riders (and the not so glamorous reality)

Last winter, student journalists at the University of Oklahoma couldn’t have guessed they were breaking a story that media around the world would find absolutely delicious—even though it was a story about guacamole. Specifically, the story was about the detailed (“we want it chunky”) guacamole recipe that Jack White and his crew required backstage for […]

Remembering Jeff Hanson

An Interview with the late-musician’s brother, Ryan Hanson This article was produced as a part of a collaboration between The Growler Magazine and 89.3 The Current, Minnesota’s non-commercial, member-supported radio station playing the best authentic, new music alongside the music that inspired it. Find this article and more great music content at thecurrent.org. “Jeff is the single […]

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