Turn down the lights, put a record on the turntable or on the speakers, and gather around a nice, cozy fire as the busy summer season dies down into a time for nesting at home. To help usher in the colder weather, artists that have been working tirelessly through the pandemic are emerging with new music—some introspective and deep, others light and ingenious in their execution into new ventures. These Minnesota artists give you a glimpse into the evolution of their craft.
Unknown Prophets, Evolve
Album release: 11/11/2022, Listen
Eleven years in the making, Unknown Prophets will release Evolve on the eleventh day of the eleventh month exactly eleven years since their last album. In their void from making new music, Mad Son, Big Jess, and Willy Lose grew into their artistry and gained life experiences to become better versions of themselves.
Ondara, Spanish Villager No. 3: A Prophet of Doom
Album release: 9/16/2022, Listen
J.S. Ondara has seen the world, earned a Grammy nod for Best Americana Album with Tales of America, and returned to Minnesota to share his latest work. “An Alien in Minneapolis,’ his first single off Spanish Villager No. 3: A Prophet of Doom, once again opens up and inspects what it means to be a foreigner in an unfamiliar place. Ondara draws from his experiences and shapes them into his songs, sharing how lived experiences don’t always match his imagined picture of American life as a boy in Africa listening to music on a shortwave radio.
Album release: 10/28/2022, Listen
Trampled by Turtles understands that to reject this image of cool is to move out of the pack, and its associated dubious safety. The band is constantly touring and writing new music. The latest single “On the Highway” Dave Simonett sings “Out on the highway/It all comes crashing down/Out on the highway/Yeah where would we be now, I don’t know” brings you with them and gives listeners a poignant taste of what it’s like on the open road.
Album release: 9/23/2022, Listen
A mix of country, folk, and classical with some rock mixed in, the Foxgloves recall the early days of Hurray For the Riff Raff and Mountain Man. The first full-length album Mama Was a Bandit listens to the earth and wind in the trees and is relentless in its melodies and harmonies and will insidiously burrow into your mind.
Album release: 9/11/2022, Listen
Dan Rodriguez’ voice is as smooth as caramel and made for pop radio, and his latest album Troubadour Family Man builds, drops and repeats with consummate ease and yearning. It’s as razor-sharp and emotional as you would hope for, and is a fractured and outward-looking view, and yet marked with insightful observations.
Album release: TBA, Listen
Ber, short for Berit Dybing, is the artist that made it outside of Minnesota before we could claim her as ours. The singer made her debut at SXSW this year, and is on the cusp of releasing her new album Superspreader. She sings “Can’t lie I’m quite unimpressed by all the boys that I’ve met/And I’m avoiding all the reasons/Used to leaves staying on trees, used to you staying with me/But Minnesota has seasons/And I tried testing the waters, my intentions are pure” while the title track is a glorious traipse through pop ingenuity.
Album release: 9/2/2022, Listen
Dylan Hicks is prolific in his writing, churning songs and projects (he and John Munson recently released new music under the moniker Munson-Hicks Party Supply), and put out the jazzy new album Airport Sparrows at the beginning of September and celebrating with a release show on October 29 at the Cedar Cultural Center. The album is so warm and blissful, it aches. It’s a conflation of all your favorite autumn experiences – the dense orange heat of a midnight bonfire; plodding through a grassy field; holding hands in the heat. Bliss.
Album release: TBA, Listen
The three-part harmonies from Adam Levy, Savannah Smith, and Barb Brynstad carry the stories behind Turn Turn Turn’s songs to an intangible place. The band is working hard towards their sophomore album which has a sound that hearkens the decades of classic country. New Rays From an Old Sun thrusts forward to the future yet is a nod to the past.
Album release: 9/2/2022, Listen
Cristalle Bowen, aka Psalm One, loves you, and she shares it through her words. The artist has many mediums and recently released her album Bigg Perrm, and it is raw, simple, direct. The collection confronts themes of Black support, Black entrepreneurship, queer acceptance, good mental health, and patriarchal independence. Psalm poetically takes apart and analyzes these subjects while finding space for her ever-evolving humanity. Along with celebrating a new album, Psalm One also is celebrating her evolution into an author. In June, the artist released HER WORD IS BOND: Navigating Hip Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny.
Dan Wilson, Dancing on the Moon (EP)
Album release: 9/28/2022, Listen
Dan Wilson is the king of crafting catchy melodies. So how did a collection of songs that Wilson will release at the end of September emerge? The balance between melody and yet retaining the winsome off-kilter quality must be akin to spinning musical plates. “I always figured all those singles I’d been releasing might turn into an album or something down the line,” he reflects, “but I could never get excited about the idea of sweeping up a bunch of odds and ends and calling it a record. Plus, the world had changed so much in the last year or two alone that my writing had naturally changed with it, and I felt like anything I put out needed to reflect that.” The pieces that make up the new album beautifully crawl into your head, much like vines slowly creeping up a wall and invading the crevices of a house – thin green fingers moving in perpetuity into your brain and heart.