First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2021

Wilton Vinck

The pandemic may have shuttered venues throughout the Cities previous calendar year, but Minnesota artists in no way stopped producing audio, and 1st Ave never stopped paying out interest. These seven artists and bands are growing in the neighborhood scene, actively playing reveals at 7th Avenue Entry, the Turf Club, the Wonderful Line, and elsewhere—and January 7, they’ll choose the Mainroom for To start with Avenue’s showcase of the Greatest New Bands. Here’s a preview of the bluesy, angsty, ethereal, and all around electric exhibit to appear. 


Durry is an indie sister-brother duo who started off generating songs all through quarantine—“Durry” is the shared final title of sibs Taryn and Austin, who grew up in the MN suburbs. Their vibe is nostalgic: a minor ’80s synth, a minimal Slide Out Boy, a small obtaining-your-eyeglasses-smashed-in-gym-class. A Kickstarter assisted them file their very first EP, Suburban Legends, and they’ve been releasing songs 1 by just one in the course of 2021. Past summer months, they obtained large on TikTok, where you can peruse their tunes and hear to supplemental raps about cats. 

Ought to Pay attention: “Worse for Dress in,” to catch a bit of that suburban nostalgia. 

EVV is a Minneapolis-primarily based artist with a plaintive, soul-stirring audio. Their new music draws from blues, jazz, and rock influences, with electric guitars driving continual as a result of each song. Slipping between tender lyricism and pissed-off tough rock, EVV’s stuff seems like heartbreak—which, incidentally, is the topic of substantially of their perform, alongside their ordeals of strolling by means of this earth as a Black femme. EVV unveiled a three-music EP, Homebody, in 2020, and has a handful of outstanding singles out as well. 

Need to Hear: “Dead to Me,” which places the entire electricity of EVV’s bluesy vocals on screen. 

Honeybutter is a people-jazz-bossa-nova-pop trio that performs as a seven-piece set at are living demonstrates. The core a few artists—Zak Khan on guitar/manufacturing, Clara Wicklund on vocals/bass, and Andreas Fenner on vocals/keys—have acoustic roots, and Brazilian guitar riffs and homemade percussion maintain their stuff earthy. But their jazzy overtones are really hard to miss: Honeybutter is all about romance and exciting, and infectiously so. An EP is in the works—you can capture unreleased tracks at the First Ave display.

Ought to Hear: “Songbird,” the group’s most recent, added-groovy single. 

Kokou Kah is a “True Fusion” Liberian-American whose seem blends the influences of his Liberian heritage with his cultural upbringing in the U.S. The final result is a hip-hop, Afrobeats, and R&B combine with an effortless dance vibe, underpinned with a solid poetic lyricism—Kah commenced rapping at the age of 6, and weaves his terms on trauma, dreaming, relationships, and self-resolve via all his function. He unveiled his first album, Not Embarrassed, this yr, and included on to a handful of singles. 

Will have to Listen: “Sonshine,” a single from 2020 that captures Kah’s poetic presence. 

Lanue is a Duluth-centered singer songwriter whose current self-titled EP drips with gold like a summer time working day. Believe Lucinda Williams blended with Waxahatchee blended with Norah Jones: audio for driving with the windows down in June. Her instrumental setup is largely metal guitar, tender percussion, and synth, but the real standout is Lanue’s vocals, which produce an ethereal warmth to every single track. Lanue comes a few several years following her beforehand unveiled perform. 

Ought to Pay attention: “What I Like The Most,” to try to remember what sunshine feels like. 

Papa Mbye is a Senegambian, Minneapolis-primarily based artist whose music is shorter on style and heeeaaaavy on the feels. Mbye is a self-described unfortunate boy, but his things doesn’t audio sad—it thrums with angst and electricity and the kind of grief that can make you sense extremely, extremely alive.  Dance to it or cry to it as you see suit. MANG FI, Mbye’s debut EP, was produced by In opposition to Giants in September. (We wrote about him a few months back—read up in this article!)

Ought to Listen: “Only Correct,” a lead solitary from MANG FI and an superb song to mosh to at the Very first Ave show. Don’t don your wonderful footwear, y’all! 

VIAL is the punk/indie rock outfit Minneapolis has been dreaming of. The team obtained their commence taking part in household exhibits close to the cities, and introduced their debut album, Increase Up, in 2019. When the pandemic hit, the  quartet—vocalist and keytarist Taylor Kraemer (she/they), guitarist KT Branscom (they/them), bassist Kate Kanfield (they/them), and drummer Katie Fischer (she/they)—went viral on TikTok, and set jointly a killer next album, LOUDMOUTH. Their songs is loud and good and venomous. If you have obtained a shitty ex to get around or a patriarchy to yell at, blast it in your car and be healed. 

Will have to Hear: THIS BANGER, “Roadkill”.

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