Monday, February 15, 2010

"Are You Local?" - Our picks for's best new bands contest

Another week, another contest. This week, it's to vote for the best new Twin Cities band, and the winners play's annual "Are You Local?" showcase at First Avenue. It's set up similarly to the Hotness contest (bands are nominated or nominate themselves). We listened to all 144 bands so you don't have to. You do have to register to vote with the, but it's quick and easy. Here's our picks for finalists:

Could hip hop/electro twosome Bight Club be the next MGMT - or OutKast for that matter? With MC Nutz combining a smooth rap delivery and just-as-hot falsetto with the nimble-fingered Tony Tone on the decks, it's quite likely. Listen to and vote for Bight Club HERE.

We've been fans of Dada Trash Collage since they hit the scene a little over a year ago with their textured layers of percussion and melody. (Not sure if this qualifies as "new," but we regress.) When we discovered their new four-song EP Rain War was produced by Arcade Fire and Animal Collective producer Scott Colburn, one thing's clear - this duo is onto big things. See them live this Wednesday at Sauce Soundbar with Ghost in the Water and New Monarchs. (Visit their Myspace page for more upcoming shows.) Listen to and vote for Dada Trash Collage HERE.

We dig this poppy acoustic one-man band called History Books, fronted by Seth McGaha and rounded out live with a full band. He just released his debut LP last month, and we love that each album is "hand made with chipboard cases, black ink stamp, old vintage maps, and real bank notes from 35 different countries." The band's next live show is slated for February 27 at 7th Street Entry with Al Church & State and Wishbook. Listen to and vote for History Books HERE.

If you dig nu-gaze (aka post-shoegaze) you should like Hunting Club, who offer a fairly straightforward approach to guitar-heavy songwriting. The band, which released its debut EP last spring, have their next scheduled show on March 25 at 501 Club. Listen to and vote for Hunting Club HERE.

Our first thoughts after hearing Gallupstar: Wow, why haven't we heard of this guy yet? Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Webber, formerly of Pushing the Ghost, Gallupstar has that fresh psychedelic sound so popular these days - think Animal Collective textures mixed with Devandra Banhart mysticism and bit of a thickly applied Sonic Youth guitar. We like. No upcoming shows are announced, but he'll be releasing his debut recording sometime this year. Listen to and vote for Gallupstar HERE.

We dig Luke Redfield's throw-back country-folk sound. He gets bonus points for having recorded with the likes of local folksters JT Bates, Chris Bates, Jeremy Ylvisaker and Haley Bonar. His next show is this Thursday, February 18 at Lee's Liquor Lounge. Listen to and vote for Luke Redfield HERE.

Known for his remixes for Lookbook and Solid Gold, Jeremiah Conlon's own outfit Nyteowl reminds us of early Daft Punk with lyrics and melodies that sound like New Kids on the Block (in a good way). Though it's been around since 2007, the act is looking to release its debut full-length this spring. Listen to and vote for Nyteowl HERE.

Al Church & State is a fresh name that's been floating around lately in the Twin Cities music scene, and the buzz is for good reason. The acoustic strumming avoids mundanity thanks to delightfully fuzzy guitar and soaring Jeff Buckley-like vocals. Elsewhere on its debut album, Al Church & co. delve into early Weezer-inspired power-pop and post-punk. Its next show is slated for February 27 at 7th Street Entry with History Books and Wishbook. Listen to and vote for Al Church & State HERE.


Sometime l'etoile contributor Robyn Lewis pointed out a miss on our part: Post-rock trio Paragraphs. Oops! Our bad. Here's the scoop: The all-instrumental band's debut EP, You Can't Make A Ghost Without Its Sheet, is filled with melodic flourishes and layered percussion, the songs feeling at once both epic and intimate. Paragraphs' next show is this Thursday, February 18 at The Whole Music Club with Atlas Sound. Listen to and vote for Paragraphs HERE.

We called it on two of the three finalists. just announced today (2/19/10): "After 186 band entries, the three finalists in's ‘Are You Local?’ best new band contest are: Hunting Club, Joey Ryan & the Inks and Bight Club. Hear the finalists along with Lookbook, Gay Witch Abortion, Peter Wolf Crier, Jeremy Messersmith, Romantica and City on the Make at the 'Are You Local?' SXSW Sendoff showcase on March 6 at First Ave." Congrats!

All images courtesy

Submitted by @jahnapeloquin


  1. huge bummer. Paragraphs should be top of this list.

  2. Not sure what everyone is seeing in this Nyteowl. I saw them play at the entry the night of the lookbook ep release show, and it was embarrassing to watch. I've liked his lookbook & solid gold remixes, but this was painful.

  3. that was a rough show. .. live shows are learning process get going for any band..

    The main thing about that particular show was... our laptop fell on the ground during the second song!! Yes... so I finished the second song "acapella" pretty much with no music. ouch.. was horrible moment. we tried to recover - but it was tough.. especially for a sold out show, and a show that took me months to organize for lookbook's remix ep release on my label. so yeah, rough. but I understand .. was a shit show. we're revamping this summer.. hopefully getting rid of the laptop. check out the album.. then see what you think. don't judge based on that show...cheers
    Jeremiah (nyteowl)

  4. For those that are interested, it was just announced that Luke Redfield will be opening for Gregory Alan Isakov at The Varsity Theater on April 12. They just announced it on their Facebook page.