For Minneapolis garage-surf trio The Sex Rays, the divide between self-aware rockstar image and behavior connects in goofy, pulverizing performances. The band’s blistering, self-described “psycho-beach party” style completes itself with their frenetic live shows. Guitarist Joe Hastings, bassist Joe Holland and drummer Ben Crunk toss tambourines across the stage and bang power chords out with a pencil.
Though stand-up comedian Tommy Johnagin’s career took off by the time he was 21, he didn’t escape the dreaded day job drudge. And of course, he worked those experiences into his act. “I had a joke about working at Applebee’s which was true,” Johnagin said. “On my two-year anniversary, they gave me a two-year pin. They give you a two-year pin so everybody knows your life’s gone nowhere for the past 24 months.”
For singer-songwriter HOLLY, becoming independent meant following the crowd. HOLLY, real name Holly MuÃ±oz, struggled for years as a part-time musician until the recording of her latest album, the alt-country “Maps and Lists,” which she financed through crowdfunding website Tilt.com. The campaign raised $50,000 from about 300 donors, which supplied MuÃ±oz with the means to record on her own terms.
Before he became a full-time musician three years ago, rockabilly artist JD McPherson found creative ways to inject music into his day job as a middle school art and technology teacher. Now on tour and booked to play two nights at the Turf Club this week, the artist based in Tulsa, Okla., looks back on how his wide range of heroes influenced both his music and teaching careers.
The International Reggae All Stars are brothers from other countries. Despite having members from different parts of Jamaica, Trinidad, Venezuela and Ghana, IRAS (pronounced Eye-Rahz, as in ‘Rasta’) considers the Minneapolis reggae scene to be its home. Though the band formed in the early 1990s, all of its members migrated to Minneapolis in time for the Twin Cities’ emerging pop, R&B and reggae communities in the mid-1980s, when dancehall and traditional reggae acts like Shangoya and Ipso Facto were established on the scene.
With the buzz surrounding Sylvan Esso’s eponymous debut, singer Amelia Meath makes it clear that ‘folk’ is not a part of the band’s vocabulary. ”I understand the impulse to talk about how I have a folk vocal,” Meath said. “But honestly, there’s no such thing.”
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