Table of Contents
Last updated on January 27th, 2024 at 05:15 pm
We’ve scoured the state to identify some of the most exciting and hype-ready bands, from under-the-radar newcomers to continuously climbing mainstays that are expanding their reach to national stages. With that in mind, here are 14 artists we think you need to keep an eye out for in 2024.
Since their self-titled debut release in 2021, Pit Stop has continued to expand their appeal with a blend of Americana, blues, country, and rock. Their opening set for perennial Turf Club residents Cactus Blossoms offered a dynamic, entertaining, and exclusive peek into their second album of material set to be recorded this January. With a tentative release scheduled for spring 2024, Pit Stop is primed to have a big year.
“We are not a feelings band….we are here to burn things down and destroy,” exclaims lead singer Sally of the four-piece all-female band Big Salt. Their debut release in 2021 positioned themselves as a powerhouse garage/punk/grunge band evoking the spirit of defiance. Set to release their second album near the summer of 2024, Big Salt is primed to explode and turn some heads in our scene.
Minneapolis-based singer, songwriter, saxophonist, and composer Geoffrey Lamar Wilson has garnered a ton of exposure with his 4-song EP Flowers. Bridging folk, soul, R&B, and country together to advocate on issues of racial and social justice, Laamar wraps the human experience into poetic songs. By sharing stages with national acts Arlo Parks, Durand Jones, Sunny War, and Matthew Logan Vasquez, Laamar has quickly emerged as an important voice in our community.
Northern Minnesota singer-songwriter Kelley Smith found plenty of accolades with her debut EP back in 2022. A testament that age doesn’t matter when it comes to songwriting, Smith is currently working on her second album set for a release in middle to late 2024. Her entrancing soft-sweet voice catapults her songs about long-term love, grief, and her kinship with the northern Minnesota woods.
Taylor James Donskey
Host of the Twin Cities Songwriting Rounds and jack-of-all-trades, Taylor James Donskey released his own stellar record this past February called JoyRide. His pulse on the local music community is unparalleled as he passionately supports young artists and serves as an invaluable substitute for gigs. He’s also an 11-year music educator who works privately and with Twin Town Guitars in Minneapolis.
Set to release their debut EP Allergic to Dogs on December 15th with a celebration at Amsterdam Bar on the 22nd, Anni Xo combines a genuine voice with an impressive stage presence. Through songwriting that blends alternative elements with folk stylings, Anni explores themes of love, loss, and the struggles of youth in today’s chaotic landscape. The duet below with Daphne Jane is a dreamy track that hints at the potential collaborations and voices among future youth in our scene.
Lighter Co. (Formerly Zippo Man)
For a band that blacks out their eyes in their photos, Lighter Co. is the definition of must-see live music. Out of the Furrow is a sneaky solid album that dropped this year and captures the kerosene energy of their live shows. The genre-fluid versatility of their music means every show is a sonic expedition of surprise proportions, all delivered by bandmates wearing suits and Stetson hats.
Once you know who Berit Dybing is, you’ll start spotting her in concert crowds all around town. The rising indie-pop darling known as Ber has amassed a rabid fan base and spends evenings out supporting her friends. With over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, her own headlining tour, and a live performance of her breakout single during a Minnesota Wild playoff game, you won’t forget Ber’s name in 2024.
Nigerian producer and artist Obiora Obikwelu, otherwise known as Obi Original, has already emerged onto our scene with recognition in First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2022. He formed Ozone Creations as a hub for Afrofusion, meant to promote cultural importance, positivity, and authenticity through music. From his energetic stage presence mixed with dance-heavy production, Obi is always a winning choice to catch live. Look for a new album coming out January 24th.
A strong new voice in our emerging country scene, Clare Doyle infuses her music with a decade of heartache, adventure, addiction, and life on the road. Currently recording and planning to release new music in 2024, Clare is a fresh perspective in emotional storytelling that should make a big splash, starting with her appearance at First Avenue’s “Best New Bands of 2023” show in January.
Working on their new album for a summer 2024 release, the chamber-pop septet Sister Species is primed for a larger stage. Accordionist/songwriter Emily Kastrul fronts the band that features three-part trumpet harmonies, intricate lyrics, and a sound that is all their own. The depth of our talented music community is showcased in a group like this, with their unique quirkiness and pop sensibilities.
This burgeoning Minneapolis-based roots group finished the year with their rapturous sophomore release About The Winter. Recorded with Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens), Barbaro’s latest effort matures its sound with nourishing acoustic instruments and rich synthetic textures. The dual lead vocals of Kyle Shelstad and Rachel Calvert hit a sonic sweet spot that strengthens the gifted juxtaposition in the lyrics.
After years of garnering critical acclaim with her voice and high-energy shows, Mae Simpson dropped a debut album this September that is still sizzling. With elements of funk, soul, pop, rock, and country, her band delivers an unforgettable performance each and every time. After spending over a month on The Current’s Chart Show this fall, the sky’s the limit for this rising star.
Queer bedroom dreamy pop-princess Daphne Jane has woven a bundle of solid hits in 2023, setting the stage for an even stronger 2024. While “Months” remains the catchiest, “Sleepyhead” showcases the lush sonic potential of her music. Look for a new single and music video at the start of 2024, all leading to a project release next summer.