89.3 The Current helps popularize local music

From+Minnesota%E2%80%99s+popular+hip+hop+scene%2C+with+groups+like+Doomtree%2C+to+electropop+acts%2C+the+local+scene+is+positively+multifaceted+and+the+Current+works+to+uncover+as+much+local+talent+as+possible.+

photo courtesy of band's website

From Minnesota’s popular hip hop scene, with groups like Doomtree, to electropop acts, the local scene is positively multifaceted and the Current works to uncover as much local talent as possible.

Jenny Krane, Staff Writer

Local radio station 89.3 The Current makes a conscious effort to discover and support local artists. With live streaming and an updated daily playlist, The Current––part of a network of non- commercial progressive radio stations–– has local artists receiving recognition globally.

This global success starts with people like music reporter and local blogger, Andrea Swensson. Swensson, who works for The Current, attends three to four local concerts a week in order to discover as many new bands as possible, dedicating her work week to up-and-coming bands representing the state of Minnesota.

Andrea is also part of the Local Show, has a weekly check in on-air about local music, and writes the local music blog on The Current’s website. “I keep the staff informed on the newest developments, both nationally and in Minne- sota music,” Swensson said.

Realizing the noticeable effects The Current can have on local artists, Swensson coined the term “The Current effect” before she started working with Minnesota Public Radio. “Bands championed by The Current go on to play First Avenue and sell out in fifteen minutes, or their album is at the top of the CD sales at all of the local record stores,” Swensson said.

The Current doesn’t only reach Minnesota, or even the United States. “Online we have a lot of listeners from all around the world,” Swensson said.

Despite The Current’s ability to discover new bands, there’s not really a process to discovering them. Swensson claims the trick to discovering new bands is being open to music that comes her way in any given form. “I’m consuming music in so many ways, I’ve found bands on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp,” Swensson said.

Along with going to local concerts and hearing about bands through social media, many local, upcoming bands come to Andrea through the mail. “We get a ton of submissions sent to us, both physical and digital copies of whatever people have available,” Swensson said.

When it comes to the sound of the local scene, there’s not one specific type of music being produced in Minnesota. From Minnesota’s popular hip hop scene to electropop acts, the local scene is positively multifaceted. “There are healthy scenes to support each kind of music,” Swensson said.

“Independent radio stations, like The Current, across the country are discovering artists like this and then it escalates to the next level,” Swensson said. Artists The Current prides themselves as sending to the next level include mainstream bands like Mumford & Sons, Fun and Gotye.

With the desire to create awareness of artists and to uncover new acts, Swensson and the rest of The Current’s staff value local music and its accessibility. “It’s easy to get into the local scene [because] you can go out and support [local bands] and see them play,” Swensson said.

Up-and-coming local artists Swensson sees in the current Minnesota music scene include Strange Names, Bomba de Luz and John Mark Nelson.

Swensson predicted the band, Poli- ca’s, bright future, and she sees similar qualities in the main singer of Bomba de Luz, a senior in high school who is already connecting with popular local artists, P.O.S. and Dessa.“She’s just a force,” Swensson said.

Follow Andrea Swensson on Twitter at @localcurrent or her blog titled Local Current Blog. (Contributing writer: Arthur Boyle)