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24 Twin Cities Artists You Need To Put On Your Playlist

Legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix had to cross the Atlantic and build a following in England, before being recognized here at home. Let's not let that happen to our artists! 

Sure, the two dozen or so local artists that seem to be on repeat rotation on The Current are groovy, but that's barely scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg. The two dozen artists listed here represent just a small, but eclectic sample of the endless ocean of electrifying homegrown talent that doesn't get nearly enough press. 

My musical tastes know no genre limitations. So as you're reading, listening and watching the clips below, you probably won't be hip to one or two of the artists. But just keep scrolling, your new favorite band is somewhere on the list...

Toussaint Morrison

Toussaint Morrison makes sociopolitical commentary and insightful poetry- that you can dance to. The best part is an underlying sense of levity that's quite refreshing considering how so many other artists adhere to the odd trope that to be "artistic" or "deep" you've got to be pretentious. 

Vonnie Kyle

Vonnie Kyle is a brilliant singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist that is remarkably relatable. Vonnie's songs stick with you like a really great memory...oh, and they effing rock, too.


Contrary to what Nas declared, Hip Hop isn't dead. It's Ceewhy. Even if you don't dig hip hop, you can't deny the astonishing energy of they bring to every stage, every time. 

Pamela Machala

The meticulously masterful song-craft of Pamela Machala is the perfect soundtrack for a Twin Cities Saturday. The feel is both modern and familiar, like a new offering at your favorite restaurant. 

Carbon Handshake

No pretense here. Just damned groovy music. Carbon Handshake are virtuosos of intricately arranged modern rock pieces. Like Radiohead before OK Computer, but with a decidely midwestern flavor.

Hardcore Crayons

The music of the Hardcore Crayons can be an acquired taste- if your tastes lean towards mindblowing basswork, infectious guitar riffs and near-perfect percussion that is. Not to mention, they make some of the most interesting music videos on the local scene.


If you like Prince, you'll like Herschel. If you like Maxwell, you'll like Herschel. If you like unapologetic R&B with a big dollop of pop charisma, you'll absolutely love Herschel. 

New Sound Underground

The sweet fusion of New Sound Underground is the reason why jazz remains one of the most consistently in-demand music forms in the Twin Cities. The musicianship is as stellar as the grooves are fantabulously funky.


The unparalleled authenticity of Poosa hearken back to the days when kids listened records they liked because they liked them. No frills, no posturing, as close to punk freedom and hip hop attitude without being either. Just damned good tunes.

Yasen Marie

Yasen Marie is the kind of band that makes you want to start a band. To call them a 'girl group' would be as woeful an understatement as calling the Mississippi River 'wet.' Yasen Marie's songs bring a tangible emotion to every hook, lyric and drum beat. It's powerful Power pop that makes you feel.

Courtney McClean & The Dirty Curls

Courtney McClean & The Dirty Curls are bluegrass with heavy emphasis on 'blue.' The not necessarily suitable for work lyrics are as witty as they are off-color. If you've got a thing for euphemisms, double entendre and a bit of tongue-in-cheeky sass, they're definitely the band you've been looking for.

Southside Desire

Southside Desire is the best local band in the Twin Cities. Vocalist Marvel Devitt and the band create actual magic with every performance. If a good piece of music can take a feeling and create a whole new worlds, then the repertoire of Southside desire builds aural galaxies of emotional masterpieces- in other words, Southside Desire is the best local band in the Twin Cities.

The Pinata Hearts

The Pinata Hearts don't show up to rock, they rock the show! The bring the kind of old school energized, garage-rocking, hard-charging, piano-driven, guitar blaring, shut and dance attitude that's hard to find even in the hippest joints.   


At first Elena might seem like just another singer-songwriter delivering the same mid-range songs about the same mid-range topics on the same mid-range stages, but then the seamless interplay between instrumentation, vocalization and lyrical phrasing make your realize the surprising complexity and nuances of her work. 

Black Diet

In recent weeks, Black Diet has been getting a lot more attention from local press and radio- and rightfully so. The effortless, classic cool of their songs and stage show deserve a massive audience. Sure, some people prefer to be part of some cool, pseudo-secret, and get disappointed when their favorite groups breakthrough. But Black Diet is far too amazing to keep under wraps.  

The Sudden Lovelys

The Sudden Lovelys are hard to define. Is it country? Is it folk? Is it alternative roots? Is it pop americana? With remarkable songs like theirs, it doesn't matter what you call it- only that you turn it on and turn it up.

Venus On Fire

What would it be like to see an arena-worthy band on local stages? Go to a Venus on Fire show and find out. While they have great recordings, seeing them live is more than just another night out, it's an electrifying experience that leaves you wanting a whole lot more.

Silverback Colony

If asked to describe a Midwestern band, there's a good chance you'd describe Silverback Colony. Their appeal lies as much in their unassuming quintessentialism as it does in their incredible ability to flawlessly capture the mood and moment in song.

Becky Rae Dalton

Alternative is less a genre than an apt description of the incredible music of Becky Rae Dalton. There's an old saying that people fear different but flock to unique. The line between the two is razor thin, but Becky and her band navigate walk that line with precision and ease, giving you something different enough to catch your attention and unique enough to hold it.

Curbside Bandit

Some bands have a breakout star, but not Curbside Bandit. Every single member of the quirky quartet is ready for the spotlight. The insanely infectious vocal-driven rock would fit right in with the major label acts on 93X and Alt93. 

PaviElle French

If anyone ever ask what happened to soul, the answer is PaviElle. Her superlative style crosses genres while remaining solidly grounded in pure, beautiful soul, creating a kind of hypnotic tonal atmosphere that is all kinds of all right.  

The Crinn

Some people think Metallica is heavy. Hell, some people think Nickelback is heavy. They've obviously never heard The Crinn. This is what for-real metal sounds like.  Even if the advanced precision of their aggressive musicianship isn't usually your bag, their peerless energy, shockingly intricate arrangements and overall grand mastery of delivery are impossible to deny. 

Fuzzy Machete

Geek rock isn't reserved for the pop cultural referencing stylings of Childish Gambino and The Bloodhound Gang. Fuzzy Machete wears the Geek rock crown proudly right here at home. The best part is that even if their lyrics didn't reference Klingons and Legos, the music is still soul-stirring, mood-chaning, addictive pop.


To quote Leonardo Da Vinci, "poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen." Guante is in a class all his own. Fusing incendiary spoken word expression into postmodern hip hop firmly establishes Guante as the lyrical litmus by which other artists are measured.

Obviously, this is just a small sample of the amazing artists in the Twin Cities. Who do you think is overlooked? Share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to check out more pieces on the Arts, Culture and Lifestyle of the Twin Cities at my NewsCast