Is Minnesota Music in a golden age?

Over the decades there have been some really robust cycles in Minnesota music, to the point where they’ve been described as “golden eras.” The local garage rock craze of the mid-’60s is one such period. The 1980s, when Prince owned the national airwaves and groups like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü made Minneapolis an indie rock hotbed, is another. What about right now?

Trampled By Turtles performs on the David Letterman show

MPR’s Chris Roberts set off to find out, and came back with some strong evidence:

You can’t scientifically measure whether a music scene is going through what some might call a “heyday.” But there are signs. Indicators. And some are too big to ignore. The Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider got a powerful hint at this year’s South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas.

“Everywhere you looked there was a Minneapolis band…’oh they got a big gig over here we got to get to this one, oh but wait … Howler’s playing over here; but wait you’ve got Doomtree over here and Brother Ali,’ and it was impossible to keep on top of what everyone was doing.”

In April, when the Walker Art Center and The Current announced this year’s Rock the Garden line-up, it was another startling reminder of the depth of talent in Minnesota music. Unlike in years past, when the Rock the Garden roster featured one local group opening for national acts, this year three of the bands — Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles, and Howler — are based here, while The Hold Steady has strong local ties.

And then the very next week, says First Avenue booker Sonia Grover, “Two nights in a row, like you have Minnesota bands on national TV, like Trampled by Turtles on Letterman one night. And Poliça on Jimmy Fallon the next.”

You can read the rest of the story here. And tune in to the Daily Circuit today at 11am for a discussion of the Minnesota music scene.

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