Thanks to all 97 Minnesota acts who entered the seventh annual “Are You Local?” competition! Now we’ve arrived at the semifinals of the best-new-band contest. Now 16 bands strong, the pool includes funk, synthpop, and harmony-heavy folk—plus a healthy dose of hip-hop.

Now it’s up to you. From Monday through Thursday, Feb. 1-4, listen to and rate the semifinalists here. On Feb. 20, the top four bands will perform at 7th Street Entry. That night’s winner will play our March 11 SXSW Send-Off Concert at First Avenue, and the Star Tribune/First Avenue showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 18.

So listen to all 16 songs now and score them from 1-10. We’ll see you in the Entry on Feb. 20.

Good Night Gold Dust, ‘Waves’

Cheerful music meets strong vocals in this jaunty synthpop tune from Mankato. The chorus leans Bad Bad Hats.

Cherry Cola, ‘Death’

After Stereo Confession folded last year, Max Timander debuted a buzz-worthy solo project. This song is weirdly groovy (in the most punk way).

Lakewood Cemetery, ‘Run You Out’

The folk duo charms with tight harmonies and songwriting. “Run You Out” could be on a playlist with Fleetwood Mac—maybe as a happy refresher after some sad Stevie.

Porno Wolves, ‘Hot Boyz’

Their band name leaves something to be desired, but Porno Wolves nail this solid bit of sludgy rock ’n’ roll. Wails and riffs for everyone.

Danami & The Blue, ‘By Your Side’

Charismatic frontman Danami mashes up hip-hop and soul on his new EP “Before the Wait.” His band the Blue fills out the music with horns and harmonies.

Knox, ‘One’ (feat. MaLLy & Slug)

Local rap titans guest on this song, but Knox locks it down with a sturdy final verse. Nicademus’ production smoothes the edges.

Drumbeat Red, ‘Sad Faces’

Slow-burn shoegaze. Listen to the whole song to get the full effect.

A Piano in Every Home, ‘Anchorage’

As this band gears up for its second album release, “Anchorage” promises good things to come. This crisp song can shock and soothe at once.

Dives,  ‘ChinaTown’

A waterslide of a song: fast, splashy, and just a little out of control. We could use more spontaneity like this.

Mac Irv,  ‘I Know I Can Make It’ (feat. Gabrielle Noe’l)

The beat will grab your attention. Rapper Mac Irv will keep it.

The Fire & Fury, ‘Soundcheck’

If you were looking for genre-melting punk rap, look no further. This duo spotlights Linkin Park-like vocals, hip-hop verses and towering electronic production.

Ness Nite, ‘Yes’

Producer/rapper/vocalist Ness Nite brings the flow on this spaced-out alt-R&B gem. Stay tuned for more from this 20-year-old.

Color Tab, ‘California’

Hawk Nelson themes set to Jason Mraz sound. Calling Cities 97 fans.

Holidae,  ‘Darkest Shade’

R&B veteran Ashley Gold joins Garrett Neal in this new synthpop project. The music is danceable, smooth and intriguing.

Hot Cellars, ‘Summer Voodoo’

Surfy and short, this song sounds like it’s headed out the door for anywhere warm. Points for the female vocals.

Hustle Rose, ‘Still Feel It’

Drums are the backbone of this dancy funk jam. Horns, soft synths and David Glen’s vocals sweeten the deal.

Older Post

Minneapolis' Strother sisters are earning a royal buzz with the trio King

Newer Post

"Sister Act" is canceled for Tuesday night