Feelin’ Nur-D: The Minneapolis rapper blending geek culture, activism, and pro wrestling to keep MN hip-hop weird

If you ask Matt Allen, known on stage as hip-hop artist Nur-D, how he’d describe himself, he would tell you that he is weird, your seventh favorite hip-hop person, and then declare himself a nerd. Vocal about his love for comics, professional wrestling, video games, ’80s hair metal bands, and superheroes, Nur-D creates his music … [ Read more]

Living Outside the Box: A Q&A with pianist, activist, and musical auteur Lara Bolton

Lara Bolton’s impressive array of performances, creations, and occupations defies any attempt at being clearly labeled, and her work⁠—imbued with sparkle and elan⁠—can be relied upon to trigger something of the unexpected in those who experience it. Recently praised by the Star Tribune for her “heroic presence at the piano,” Bolton is known for her versatile … [ Read more]

Blazes of Glory: Pyrotechnic designers and engineers add fiery drama to the concert experience

When you go to a concert by Macklemore, Pitbull, or Marshmello, it’s not just for the music—you’re also going for an elaborate spectacle, and often that means waterfalls of sparks raining down from the ceiling or pillars of fire erupting from the edge of the stage. In short, pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics can incorporate anything from fire … [ Read more]

Minnesota’s Most Famous Singing Trio: The Andrews Sisters’ inventive harmonies buoyed a nation at war and topped the charts

What comes to mind when you think of the Andrews Sisters? Maybe holiday classics like the Bing Crosby collaborations “Jingle Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” You might remember the Andrews Sisters’ appearance in the comedy “Buck Privates” or the World War II-era hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” You might even know that the Andrews Sisters spent … [ Read more]

Voices in the Wilderness: Bands (other than Bon Iver) that chased the muse into the woods

I n 2008, when Justin Vernon debuted his Bon Iver alias with the release of “For Emma, Forever Ago,” the music world was forced to grapple with a project so far-flung from indie music at the time that it was soon shrouded in myth. Soft, sparse, and smoldering with emotional intensity, “For Emma” led curious … [ Read more]

Musical Minnesota: Visiting 8 destinations around the state immortalized in song

Planning a Minnesota road trip? Check a local landmark off your bucket list—specifically, one of these places made immortal by shout-outs in song. Get your playlist and your map app ready! Red Wing “Kelly’s Bar,” Trampled by Turtles Our musical road trip starts on Old West Main Street in Red Wing, Minnesota, where a particular … [ Read more]

The Genre Rebel: With fluidity, confidence, and company, Bailey “26” Cogan shirks genre and makes music for joy

Listening to the music of Bailey “26” Cogan—songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and leader of the Minneapolis-based group 26 BATS!—is not a passive experience. While listening to the band’s latest album, “Onyx,” on the Green Line recently, the sharp rays of sun bouncing off windowed office buildings and fresh puddles mirrored the album’s vocals and bright notes … [ Read more]

The Sound and the Money: 3 ways musicians support their dreams of making music

While some musicians are financially successful enough to focus exclusively on music, most aren’t quite so lucky. For the average musician, making a living can be a difficult puzzle to figure out. “It’s not going to look the way a lot of people think it will. It’s not glitzy and it involves a lot of … [ Read more]

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]

A Blind Tasting beer festival

Taste & Rate 48 Minnesota Oktoberfests

Sept. 20, 2019 | 5:30–9pm
Upper Landing Park
Tickets: GA $40 | DD $20