Local Albums to Hear This Winter

J.E. Sunde Songbook, Vol. 1

Album release: 11/30/2022, Listen

Jonathan Sunde has lived many lives in his short years on this earth. Since his days in the Daredevil Christopher Wright, Sunde has been prolific in his songwriting and reinventing himself every time he puts out new music. On his latest album with Dory Bavarsky, Songbook Vol. 1, the classically trained had an overwhelming ambition to distill a composition where there was no fat left. Everything has a purpose like the gears in a clock. Taking extreme care in the choice of lyrics and musicianship that went into the album, he ended up with a collection of songs that on the surface seem simple but carried world-bearing weight in each track.

Humbird, Still Life (Instrumentals)

Album release: 12/16/2022, Listen

Humbird makes music for the mind and soul, programmed for the head and the heart, and ponders over love and life. While Siri Undlin is delicate and intentional about her lyrics, her latest instrumental EP (cuts from her 2021 album of the same name) leaves many things up to the listener to interpret their way through the tracks. Still Life (Instrumentals) is dense and heavy like Minnesota snow, but also bright and immediate. It carries with it the lazy shine and sudden prickle of a needle. Above all, these treasured tracks are honest and genuine—joy laid bare. A triumphant EP to celebrate all of the senses.

Heiruspecs, Pretty Random But What Happened to Heiruspecs?

Album release: 12/23/2022, Listen

Pretty Random But What Happened to Heiruspecs? is not just the name of Heiruspecs latest album, it also raises the question we’ve been asking the last eight years since the band released new music. According to their latest single “Four Werewolves Forever Ago,” it’s been worth the wait. It opens with an air-punchingly fabulous beat, and leads into a brilliant melody covering the aspects of living a full life, leading you to find that the hip-hop group is without pretense, but full of humor and sincerity.


Album release: 1/3/2023, Listen

The day she was sworn in as a state representative for MN House District 65B in West St. Paul in January, the hip-hop artist and rapper also dropped an album to celebrate her achievements coming to fruition. The new album pays homage to her Puerto Rican roots and opens with an inspirational dialogue from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, capturing him candidly encouraging Pérez-Vega to bridge the hip-hop community and state government. As evident with her run for office, CAPITOLIO is the sound of Isa stretching her musical muscles and creating a brilliant and political album by just being herself.

Ber, Halfway

Album release: 2/17/2023, Listen

The forthcoming six-track EP by rising indie-pop sensation Ber is a distillation of what’s made this artist so compelling. Its songs switch between diaristic vamps about love and acid-tinged, sardonic humor, like the dichotomy between the title EP track and anthemic Gen Z cuts like “Your Internet Sucks” and “Boys Who Kiss You in Their Car.” A self-described overthinker, Ber’s music is relatable for the introverts and anxious.

Chris Lynch and Dust of Suns, Ignes Fatui

Album release: TBA, Listen

Ignes Fatui (which means foolish fires in Latin) from Chris Lynch and Dust of Suns creates a wistful, magical world of instrumental sounds. The band had many moving parts when creating this album and schedules needed to fit as perfectly into place like a key in a keyhole for it all to work properly. The group recorded during COVID when cellist, Anna Lee Roberts, moved out of town, forcing the band to hurry and finish their recordings. Bassist John Munson struggled with the schedule and questioned using the recordings, but when he went back and listened, he realized something wonderful had taken place. The minuets and compositions are like vignettes livening up a fairy tale. Lynch also worked with a wood-maker to create boxes for dioramas Lynch designed to coincide with each song.

The Alarmists, The Alarmists

Album release: TBA, Listen

After a decade away, the Alarmists returned with a roar in 2022 (but left like a lamb when they had to cancel their holiday show in December, rescheduled to March of 2023). They teased us with two singles “The Future” and “(Don’t Be A) Mystery” to gear up for an upcoming album in 2023. If the new music is a taste of what they have in store, we are in for a short, sharp kidney-punch to their swirling, feedback-laden sound. The work is part dizzying pop sounds and part disorientating swirl. They aim to confuse and obliterate—a noble intention, and one for which we ought all be grateful and anticipate.

Honeybutter, TBA

Album release: TBA, Listen

A lot of things are up in the air with Honeybutter’s upcoming album, with their highly-anticipated debut album to be announced along with its actual release date. One thing is clear based on its first single “Butterfinger,” it will be worth the wait. “Butterfinger” is so delicately smooth in execution that it will delve deep into your mind and make a nest there. The indie pop track is a seamless mix of acoustic instruments with an electric edge: kitsch, clever, and wrapping you up in the cold with its warmth.

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