There’s a bearded synth-pop band, a whimsical and lovelorn co-ed folk-rock trio and a rowdy and innovative hip-hop crew. Sounds like a pretty good representation of the Twin Cities music scene circa 2013.
Vita.mn announced its three Are You Local? finalists this morning in preparation for the March 1 showcase at Mill City Nights. The three relative newcomers will perform downstairs at the club that night, and a winner will be picked to then perform upstairs alongside headliners Solid Gold, Sims, Wiping Out Thousands and L’Assassins. That winner also gets a slot and a little travel money two weeks later to play Vita.mn’s party during the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. There's a little prestige that goes with joining the past years' winners, too: Prissy Clerks, the 4onthefloor and Bight Club (featuring the future freakazoid rap star Spyder Baybie).
Here are the three finalists:
Carroll: A quartet of transplanted musicians from as far away as Seattle and New York, they took their band name from their basement rehearsal space on Carroll Avenue in St. Paul and their whirring electro-pop/synth-rock sounds from Postal Service and MGMT records -- but frontman Brian Hurlow also has a James Mercer-like (Shins) charm in his high-wirey writing and singing style. It’s certainly the AYL? 2013 act most likely to earn Current airplay (in fact, they’ve already landed a Song of the Day on 89.3 FM with “Lead Balloon”).
Bad Bad Hats: Lucy Michelle and/or Caroline Smith fans might immediately be smitten with BBH frontwoman Kerry Alexander and her folksy girl-meets-world style. Sample lyric: “I want an Icee and a heart that won’t break,” from the impatiently romantic “Super America.” But her band has more or a indie-rock style that falls somewhere between Camera Obscura and Now, Now. The trio just issued an EP via Afternoon Records, which also worked with Now, Now and Haley Bonar early on.
Audio Perm: Probably the best-known of the bunch -- having already played Soundset and headlined the Cabooze for their popular Permed Out Showcases-- this crew of three cunning hip-hop producers and their six or so wild-eyed, tag-teaming rapper pals are still young enough to get carded everywhere they perform. And perform they will. They earned a slot among the best live acts in our Twin Cities Critics Tally 20012.