mnartists.org, a project of the Walker Art Center and the McKnight Foundation, announces the third series of mnSpin, a quarterly music contest for Minnesota musicians sponsored by Summit Brewery. Winning tracks from each contest are selected by a panel of judges from within the music industry, and each week a three-song playlist from the winning submissions will be featured on the mnartists.org and Summit Brewery (summitbrewing.com) Web sites. Quarterly live music showcases take place at area venues will take place and a compilation CD of music from the yearlong contest is planned. The second mnSpin showcase, sponsored by Summit Beer, will be held on Saturday, June 28, at Grumpy’s Bar at 1111 Washington Avenue South in downtown Minneapolis. Doors open at 8 pm and the event is free and open to adults 21 years of age and older. The evening features sets from mnSpin round-two winners Ben Connelly, Glorious Monster, and Josiah Wordsworth. Local DJs will spin Minnesota-made music throughout the night and the Minnesota History Center will conduct a Minnesota music and Summit Beer trivia contest between sets.
A cohesive marriage of soaring melodies, transient textures, and poignant lyrical ideas, Glorious Monster’s debut album Adventures on Earth embraces a colorful palette of musical ideas in its presentation of both the miraculous and the disturbing aspects of the modern world. An intricate combination of guitars, keyboards, and studio wizardry complement the soft falsetto of vocalist Brian Casey. Beautiful, haunting, and powerful, Monster’s debut is as diverse as it is cohesive, flowing seamlessly from beginning to end.
A two-man team in the studio, Glorious Monster is Danny Burke (electronic musician/pianist) and Brian Casey (vocalist/guitarist), who met while studying music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the spring of 2005 they formed their music production company, Skeptic Music, and started making a name for themselves as the production team The Skeptics. They have written and produced music used in national TV ads for brands such as BMW and Coke, the movie trailers for Rescue Dawn and The Curse of the Golden Flower, and the theme to MTV’s Parental Control. They have also worked on scores for several short and feature-length films. Recently, Glorious Monster’s music has been featured on episodes of MTV’s The Hills and Real World.
After releasing the In the Movies Remix EP in December of 2007, Monster has returned to their music-making dungeon to work on other musical endeavors. This year will includes the release of a second full-length Glorious Monster album, more lives appearances, and the unveiling of their new side project, the Neo-disco Electro-rock outfit known as Man is Doomed.
Since 2005, Josiah Wordsworth has been dazzling listeners with a refreshingly new sound that lies somewhere in the realms of jazz, classical, and rock.
The 2007 debut EP Blue State made a stunning splash on the radio, receiving airplay on 180 CMJ-affiliated radio stations, charting in the Top 10 in many markets for multiple weeks. In addition to the radio success of Blue State, the album EP has been recently licensed to various television networks, such as MTV, Oxygen, and Lifetime. The recently released debut full-length LP is aptly titled Wordsworth!.
Ben Connelly spent the 1990s investigating bars, studios, and late-night parties in South Minneapolis and across the eastern half of the United States with his rock band Steeplejack, who put out one full length and three EPs for a variety of record labels. His Big Red Throbbing Heart launched his solo career in 2001 and was described by Nashville Scene as “blessed with urgent musicianship, passionate vocals, entertainingly off-kilter compositions, and an overall feeling of immediacy. He’s an uncut gem, dingy as often as he is glittering, but beautiful when he sparkles.”
Connelly’s songs have appeared on college, commercial, and public radio, as well as national television and theater and film productions. His live performances transport audiences across the northern midwest and east coast with what City Pages has described as “furious finger-picking and top-notch tunes.”
mnSpin Round 3 Judges Panel
Rachel Lee Joyce
(mnSpin Coordinator) is Assistant Director of Public Relations for the Walker Art Center. As D.J. Nite Nurse, she co-hosts the world music program “Shake & Bake” on KFAI radio. Joyce is a member of the board of directors of the Cedar Cultural Center and board president of the Diverse Emerging Music Organization (D.E.M.O.) She is a co-producer of the Twin Cities Pan African festival.
Andrea Myers has been the music editor at City Pages since April of this year. She previously worked as a freelance music journalist, was co-founder of the online music magazine Reveille, and edited for HowWasTheShow.com.
Pushkar Ojha is currently the music director at Radio K, the University of Minnesota’s student-run radio station. He is also into his second year as host of “Off the Record,” the longest-running local music radio show in the Twin Cities, where local musician Martin Dosh recently played him a birthday serenade.
Melisa Rivière is a Latina hip-hop audio-visual/event producer, scholar, activist, and talent manager whose work spans from the Twin Cities to Cuba and Puerto Rico. She is currently a MacArthur Scholar Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota completing her research on the global diffusion of the four elements of hip-hop, with a particular fieldwork focus in the Caribbean. She has worked with In The House Magazine, Songo Sounds, Time Machine Squad, and The Lab Studios in Puerto Rico as well as with The Cuban Agency for Rap, La Fabri K, and the Hermanos Saíz Association in Cuba. Rivière’s work on either island includes documenting hip-hop conferences, festivals, and live performances, leading keynote talks and pedagogical workshops as well as producing audio recordings and music video clips with Anónimo Consejo, Tego Calderón, Doble Filo, Los Aldeanos, SieteNueve, Intifada, and Obsesión, among others. Currently she teaches courses in Anthropology and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota and Hamline in the Twin Cities; forms part of the co-founding directorship of “B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop,” in its fourth year at Intermedia Arts; and serves as the CEO of Emetrece Productions, an audio-visual production and artist management company that focuses on ‘edu-tainment’—making education entertaining and entertainment educational.
Submission Specifications and Entry Process
mnSpin round three submission deadline is Monday, July 7. Any and all types of music accepted; only three tracks per musician will be reviewed for possible inclusion on the CD. Tracks can be uploaded to artist pages on mnartists.org, and a URL of the page can then be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must come from mnartists.org members. To sign up for membership, visit www.mnartists.org/join.do?action=join. For assistance with registration or with uploading music tracks, please e-mail email@example.com or call 612.375.7611.