Thoughts on the Current’s Local Music Stream

Raghav Mehta

Honestly, I didn’t really know much about the Current’s Local stream program until today. But as someone who considers himself an ardent supporter of local music and frequents shows weekly, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes after reading into it. I can’t think of a promotional tool more hilariously superfluous than a 24/7 channel dedicated to all things local. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the Minneapolis music scene. It’s diverse, thriving and rich with history. I like my Dessa’s and Jeremy Messersmith’s as well as more under-appreciated acts like Private Dancer and Sleeping in the Aviary.  But it’s become harder and harder for me to stomach the self- congratulatory nonsense that has come to define the scene in recent years. And nothing emblemizes the Twin Cities’ unconditional love for itself more than MPR’s new Local Current Music Stream.

Supporting local music, new and old, is important. The Twin Cities has been the stomping grounds for a wide pool of musical talent – many of which have gone on to become legendary staples (The Replacements, Husker Du, Prince). But vibrant history aside, Twin Cities just simply doesn’t have all that much music – at least not so much that it warrants celebrating 168 hours a week.

The real issue with The Current isn’t that they don’t play local music, it’s that they overplay certain local music. Instead of launching an autonomous online outlet dedicated to all things local, a more logical solution would be to simply diversify their playlist. I mean honestly, there is no reason you should be playing “The Best Day” by Atmosphere six times a day. 

And with blogs/websites like City Pages’ “Gimme Noise” and Reviler and MPLS.TV’s “City of Music” series, media exposure has never been easier for musicians to come by.

Call me cynical, but I don’t find it likely they’ll get a lot of mileage out of the cities’ catalog. I dont care how many times you play “Zen Arcade” in a week. You’re going to run out of material and it’s going to get redundant, believe me. And for those of you ready to dismiss me as some bitter curmudgeon who gets a kick out of bashing the Twin Cities music scene – let me just say A&E assistant editor Andy Penkalski would have a good laugh at that idea.