Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Are You Local?" Our picks for's Best New Bands contest's annual online "Are you Local?" contest is upon us--a.k.a. the best bands in the Twin Cities, according to you. And if you haven't yet heard of our picks below, then we suggest you take a quick crash course, right quick:

With their whiskey-soaked, thundering blues the4onthefloor is best paired with stompin', cussin', drinkin', hollerin' and any other verb you can think of which becomes more fun when you drop the "g". The live show is where it's at with this crew, so if you're not headed to SXSW, check 'em out here in Minneapolis ASAP. Listen to and vote for the4onthefloor here.

Minimalist, glitchy synth-poppers (OME), featuring the Original Mark Edwards and Luke Albertson, has caught our ear with their new album Tired Birds, which has the ability to both frighten and coax tears. Soul-crushingly beautiful and jarring in just the right places, (OME) is one of our very favorites on the local scene. Listen to and vote for (OME) here.

The gloomy, driving post-rock Citizens Of The Empire have been around for a few years now, but we get excited about moody Britishness--more excited if that moody Britishness is actually from Minneapolis. These guys put out a politically-charged, self-titled debut last year and we're looking forward to what comes next. Listen to and vote for Citizens Of The Empire here.

More fun than the last show you went to (unless it was them), Koo Koo Kanga Roo aren't trying to be anything but what they are: a goofy, manic burst of nerdy energy and they have all that in spades. The lyrics seem both brilliant and patently ridiculous; the beats are tight and straight out of 1982. And seriously, look at those shoes! Listen to and vote for Koo Koo Kanga Roo here.

With their carefully-crafted lyrics and stunningly perfect arrangements, Ryan Paul and The Ardent are a band steeped in timelessness. You've heard things like this before, but never like this; never this good. Another one of our faves locally, RPandTA make some of the best straightforward rock 'n roll you've been missing out on. Listen to and vote for Ryan Paul and The Ardent here.

Like a less baroque (read: no tuba) and more cerebral DeVotchKa, The Sunny Era's sad, string-kissed indie-folk isn't exactly uplifting, but is inspiring and beautiful nonetheless. They're like the coolest house band in 1920s NYC. Listen to and vote for The Sunny Era here.

With the auto-tuned vocals and smoking 80's metal riffs BadNraD make music that can only be described as the soundtrack for a drug-fueled one-night stand. What seems like it started as a bad joke actually has legs and we couldn't be more excited about it, honestly. Listen to and vote for BadNraD here.

A heady mix of fuzzed-out garage rock and shoegazey goodness, The Desert Vest formed in 2008 and self-released their debut, You Can't Push A Ghost, last year with a follow-up in the works for later this year. We dig the moody, buzzy, experimental nature of these guys quite a bit. Listen to and vote for The Desert Vest here.

Submitted by @brokenhalo


  1. Totally with ya on the Sunny Era and 4onthefloor, but no love for Pat Dougherty and the Second-Hand Opera?

    I can't be the only alt-country fan still left in the cities... can I?

  2. Good call on The Sunny Era! Just listened to their stuff and I am surprised that I'm not hearing them more often. Very creative stuff.