Four local music acts the A&E office felt this summer.
A&E obviously covers local music tirelessly, but it still feels like there’s a shortage in our office coverage. With the ever-growing list of bands, DJs, rappers, singers, instrumentalists and every other type of music in the Twin Cities, it’s easy for our team of three journalists and an editor to get lost in the fray. Nonetheless, this week’s reporter’s picks aim to address a few of our aforementioned issues by spotlighting four of the local artists we’ve recently discovered. Sure, we seem to have a preference for indie rock, but you know what they say, “write what you know”. –James Schaak
Heart of gold: Midwestern emo band Heart to Gold have made a name for themselves on the Minneapolis DIY scene since their 2018 debut album, “Comp.” This first album presented the trio as a powerhouse of guitar riffs in the same vein as Joyce Manor, Nirvana or The Replacements. The group now serves as a model for countless budding Como bands. No shade though, it’s impossible not to find their Bandcamp, Northeast house show, flannel skater boy aesthetic a bit inspiring as a music-loving student. This year, Heart to Gold reinvigorated their local fan base with their second album, “Tom,” an extreme improvement on their paradigmatic grunge debut. –James Schaak
Bad bad hats: Hailing from St. Paul, local indie-pop band The Bad Bad Hats add a smooth, lighthearted layer to the Twin Cities music scene. Since forming at Macalester College as students in 2012, the band, consisting of Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Connor Davison, have released three albums. Their 2018 standout, “Lightning Round,” received national acclaim, including a glittering review from Rolling Stone. With 255,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, the band’s playful and carefree discography is the musical equivalent of a sunny summer day. The Bad Bad Hats are currently on a national tour with another local Twin Cities band, the Gully Boys. – Maya Marchel Hoff
Gully Boys: The grungy Minneapolis-based power pop band was conceived during a 2016 conversation shared about trash cans at a local Ragstock. Their first full-length album “Not So Brave,” a raw and electrifying record featuring gems like the viral “Neopet Graveyard,” earned them City Pages’ Best New Band (RIP) accolade of 2018. Their EP “Favorite Son” late 2021 saw the band gain in refinement while retaining the same powerful angst, where their latest single “See You See” features a new, softer, synth-laden sound. There’s no desire to be part of it as a new band continues to grow and discover its sound. –Bel Moran
First eyes: Jazz band Twin Cities Early Eyes first formed in 2016 as a class of 2020 at the University of Minnesota. From their early days stealing moving carts from Middlebrook Hall to their more recent efforts to support mutual aid efforts in the Twin Cities, the five-member band have kept busy while developing their current sound. Their singles, including their sweet hit “Coffee” and the more soulful “Penelope”, amassed millions of streams on Spotify, cementing their place somewhere beyond the Twin Cities scene. Their latest album, “Look Alive!”, is an eclectic assortment of jazz-funk and euphoric pop produced in part by Caleb Hinz and Jake Luppen of local legends Hippo Campus. –Sophia Zimmermann