Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: #20-11

Categories: Lists
Doomtree_Emily_Utne.jpg
Photo by Emily Utne
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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

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

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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

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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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17. The Jayhawks
Origin: Minneapolis | Active: 1985-present | Songs: "Blue" and "Waiting for the Sun"
It's easy to pinpoint what got the Jayhawks to stand out in a flock of alt-country bands -- the voices. Gary Louris and Mark Olson's clear, intertwining tenors stood in stark contrast to the gruff, cigarette-raw delivery that traditionally dappled their mid-'90s contemporaries' work. Although the band's lineup seems to be constantly in flux, the quality of the songcraft has thankfully been far more stable. Tomorrow the Green Grass from 1995 is the easy favorite for its heft of weeping solos ("Miss Williams' Guitar"), a novelty Grand Funk Railroad cover ("Bad Time"), and crystalline beauty of "Blue." -Reed Fischer


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16 comments
Jill Haverkamp
Jill Haverkamp

Thanks for the props to Des Moines! This is a solid list. Lots of great talent in Minneapolis.

David Brooks
David Brooks

Are you just trying to out-hipster everyone else? Soul Asylum at #13, behind brother ali or Low? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am not mad, it is okay, but I can no longer trust your opinion. I suppose Replacements and Husker Du are way ahead of Soul Asylum, oh, and probably Tapes 'n' Tapes, Communist Daughter and Trampled by Turtles. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... I am going to be laughing at this for days to come. 

Dan
Dan

THANK YOU for recognizing the Mink.

Scoops
Scoops

What about brice, Flap Granny Pill, sweet potato project and Mary Kill Me..?

Mike
Mike

so steamed, you guys

Flanneldisaster
Flanneldisaster

Just what we need, more lists! *Insert your favorite band sucks argument here*

41yearsold
41yearsold

Interesting choice of band photos to accompany this.  The Jayhawks and Soul Asylum photos are later period line-ups, without their heyday period members, and the Low shot includes their first bass player (presumably?) who only played on their first album.  Why not a Low pic with Zac Sally who was with them for nearly 10 years and who is still active in the Mpls scene?  Strange history, this is.

George
George

I have a hard time believing anyone else thinks the Jets are better musicians than The Jayhawks, Doomtree, or the Suicide Commandos. 

PutSomeRanchOnIt
PutSomeRanchOnIt

 Ahhhrghh! It makes me so mad!!! A list of good bands!!!!

S.E. Ackermen
S.E. Ackermen

Indeed, that is Jon Nichols in the Low snapshot, good to seem him represented for once.

Zach Pasdoe
Zach Pasdoe

Are members of the Jets better musicians than members of the Jayhawks, Doomtree, and the Suicide Commandos?  Perhaps they are not, but I'm willing to bet more people have heard of the Jets than the three you mentioned.   After all, they (the Jets) had 5 top 10 singles on the Hot 100 Chart. Unfortunately, true talent is never recognized when it comes to the music industry.

41yearsold
41yearsold

I'm sure he'd be even more proud if you had spelled his name right.

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