The Replacements vs. Hüsker Dü: Four decades on, which local band looms larger?

Two of the most influential rock bands in Minnesota history just happened to hit the scene at the same time. Hüsker Dü exploded out of the Macalester College campus, while the Replacements crawled up from South Minneapolis. Formed in 1979, both groups became legends with international cult followings. Lots of people were fans of both, … [ Read more]

The Past, Present, and Future of Minnesota Hip-Hop: Part 2

Four local artists on collaboration, creative barriers, and the future of rap in the North Star State This is part two of a two-part conversation with three up-and-coming Minnesota-based hip-hop artists—Kamilla Love, booboo, and Student 1—and Medium Zach, an artist with two decades of experience, about Minnesota’s hip-hop scene. Read Part 1 here. I’m Sean … [ Read more]

The Past, Present, and Future of Minnesota Hip-Hop: Part 1

Four local artists discuss collaboration, creative barriers, and the future of rap in the North Star State I’m Sean McPherson and I’ve been playing bass in Twin Cities hip-hop groups for 20+ years now. I went to St. Paul Central, and I started a band that’s still active today called Heiruspecs, and I met a … [ Read more]

Liquid Music: Former ballet dancer’s alt-classical series is on point

Curatorial dynamo Kate Nordstrum launched The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series—now in its seventh season—to international acclaim. From her years training as a dancer to curating concerts across the country, music inspires Kate Nordstrum to action. “As a dancer, you relate to music viscerally,” says Nordstrum. “You think about how it feels in your … [ Read more]

10 Notable Minnesota Albums of 2018

Low ■ “Double Negative” If you were to stand on the shores of Lake Superior in February, you might be able to imagine how Low’s “Double Negative” came to be. Like the tumultuous stacks of ice that grow and break as waves crash onto the North Shore, the 12th studio album from the Duluth-based trio … [ Read more]

Masters of Arena Rock: Why sound engineers are to thank for the ultimate concert experience

There are few experiences as memorable as attending your first concert in an arena. You enter the doors of a cavernous dome and squint to find the section and row of your seat on your ticket. You take your seat, the lights dim, and the rumble of bass being pumped through a dozen loud speakers … [ Read more]

Why the Smell of Locker Rooms Trigger Panic Attacks in Musicians: An essay by Rob Morgan  

I’m told your sense of smell is linked more closely with your memory than any other sense, and I’ve never wished that that wasn’t true more than I do right now. I’m sitting backstage in Yokohama, Japan, listening to the muted sounds of the opening band finish their set before we go on, and my … [ Read more]

Painting the Court Purple: Looking back on the sportier side of Prince

Prince loved a good pair of heels. He was often found sporting them on stage or in public, along with his famously outlandish wardrobe. But occasionally he preferred sneakers over heels—so as not to scratch up the gym floor. During his time at Bryant Junior High and into his years at Minneapolis’ Central High School, … [ Read more]

Freddie For A Day

To commemorate what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 72nd birthday, Hard Rock Cafe at the Mall of America is hosting a Freddie For A Day Tribute event on Wednesday, September 5. This free event is open to the public and will feature a performance by The Crown Jewels—A Tribute to Queen. Additional activities will include … [ Read more]

Not Just a Happy Apple: Mike Lewis on John Prine, Bon Iver, and his very own music

How the hell can a person go to work in the morning and come home in the evening and have nothing to say?”  That’s singer/songwriter John Prine. Well, that’s Mike Lewis quoting Prine’s song “Angel From Montgomery” while sitting next to me at a countertop. We’re nearing the end of an hour-long conversation, and I’ve … [ Read more]

Caydence Hip Hop Fest

Caydence Records & Coffee will be hosting a 2 day hip-hop fest August 31–September 1. There will be 20+ artists over two days, food by Eureka Compass Vegan Food, DJs, clothing and art vendors and, of course, coffee. A one-day pass is $15, and a two-day pass is $20. The fest runs from 6pm–10pm Friday and … [ Read more]

Beyond Polka: Championing the accordion at Mahler Music

A 20-something man lugs a battered accordion case through the screen door at Mahler Music. As he pulls the instrument out of the box, Ken Mahler is already speaking. “This is a 1930s accordion. Probably 1938 or ’39,” he says, pointing to the engraving and inlay. He tinkers with the strap, points out broken buttons, and … [ Read more]

Smaller Towns, Vibrant Sounds: Exploring the music scenes of Greater Minnesota

Some music venues advertise thousands of seats and state-of-the-art light shows. Others double as sports arenas. And then there are those that offer pottery classes or operate out of someone’s living room. While the Twin Cities house some of the state’s most iconic music venues, Minnesota’s small towns are the perfect places for discovering vibrant … [ Read more]

We Could Be (Feline) Heroes: Bowie fans and cat lovers come together for 14th annual fundraiser concert

Since 2004, local musicians have filled First Avenue’s Mainroom for one night a year to celebrate David Bowie—and cats. Rock For Pussy is now in its 14th year, and although the event has grown since its inception, its goals remain the same: to raise money for Feline Rescue, a Minnesota-based no-kill cat shelter, and to … [ Read more]

PHOTOS: Rock The Garden 2018

Rock The Garden 2018 has come and gone. If you were there, you know it was hot, sweaty, and an exhaustingly fun time. If you missed it, or just want to reminisce, The Growler’s got you covered. Our photographer was there (regrettably wearing a black shirt, and black pants) and captured the tropically humid music … [ Read more]