Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list

Categories: Lists
Minneapolis music scene named second-best in the U.S.
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene

Minnesotans need to remember to exhale sometimes -- especially fresh on the heels of being ranked as the number two music scene in the country. Shouldn't it be enough to simply enjoy a rich history of quality musicians blossoming from fertile local soil? For those times when worrying that people in Athens, New York, or Des Moines are having more fun than us becomes too much to bear, we've prepared this exhaustive list of the best acts to come out of the North Star State. It's an artistic blanket that fits nicely over a chipped shoulder or a bruised ego in a pinch. -Reed Fischer

Photo by Emily Utne
20. Doomtree
Origin: Hopkins and Minneapolis | Active: 2001-present | Songs: "Bangarang," "Goodbye," and "Drumsticks"
Probably the best way to explain the Doomtree collective to an unknown is to call it the Wu-Tang Clan of the Minneapolis indie scene. Each member has their own well-respected, distinctive style that sets them apart from one another but when formed together, it's deadly entertaining. Members include P.O.S, Dessa, Sims, Mike Mictlan, Cecil Otter, Paper Tiger, and production genius Lazerbeak. What's scary about this group is even after 10-plus years turning out great music and shows they are just getting started. It's safe to say that the Doomtree clan ain't nuthin' to fuck wit. -Lars Larson

Walt Mink_Chris Cuffaro.jpg
19. Walt Mink
Origin: St. Paul | Active: 1989-97 | Song: "Shine" (Directed by a 22-year-old Sofia Coppola and shot/edited by Spike Jonze)
Named after their favorite psychology professor at Macalester College, Walt Mink lurked on the hazy periphery of the Twin Cities music scene in the '90s. Their blistering debut, Miss Happiness, is one of the best records of the decade, and third album, El Producto, was the fledgling music review site Pitchfork's first perfect 10.0. After original drummer Joey Waronker left to be in Beck's band in '94, the group experienced record label difficulties, and Walt Mink lost a bit of their direction and potency. But their place in Twin Cities music history is secure based on the strength of their superb studio output alone. -Erik Thompson

18. The Suicide Commandos

Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 1974-1979 | Song: "Burn It Down"

They were together for barely five years, and they released only one studio album (plus a live one), but it's safe to say that without the Suicide Commandos, there'd be no Minneapolis punk as we know it. Granted, it didn't take much to parse out what Chris Osgood had in mind when he shouted, "Burn it down! Burn it down!" But then that was the point: The Commandos were all about energy and enthusiasm, a giddy squall of feedback and wiry hooks that may as well have announced the end of the world. Anyone since who's hit a power chord or turned the volume up to 11 owes these guys a debt of gratitude. -Jeff Gage

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