Here are the other wide-ranging acts besides Creeping Charlie graduating to the Mainroom stage in First Avenue's annual Best New Bands showcase on Friday night — a tradition that dates back to New Bands Night in the mid-1980s' early days of 7th St. Entry.
Brotherhood of Birds: This fast-plucking, bluegrassy Twin Cities string quartet is truly a brotherhood, led by Willie and Cole Christianson (on guitar and banjo, respectively). They already won over new fans at last year's Blue Ox and Revival fests and are lined up for the Barn Dance at the Turf Club with Trailer Trash on Feb. 1.
Harlow: With a misty-eyed, ethereal folk-rock sound somewhere between Phantogram and Iron & Wine, singer/guitarist Samuel Ketcham and singer/violinist Hannah Morton trade off lead vocals and harmonize together beautifully on their band's new EP, "Other Lives, Told," produced by Eau Claire, Wis., studio operator Evan Middlesworth (see also: Laska, Humbird).
Killusonline: This volatile and thrashing rap-rock band falls somewhere between Fugazi, Death Grips and P.O.S. Chaotic live sets have been its calling card so far, but the new EP, "Inside Out," captures the group's wild energy on record, and frontman Mory ("just Mory") is stepping up as a provocative lyricist, too.
Mike Kota: Nope, not a dude. A musician since childhood piano lessons, she fronted the band Good Luck Finding Iris and has now become a one-woman force with a relaxingly funky soul-pop guitar sound and electronically altered vocals, part James Blake and Lorde. The Current has been playing her confidently chilled new single, "Watch Your 6," and she's earned a lot of opening slots of late with the likes of Solid Gold and Papa Mbye.
Obi Original: This Nigerian-born Minneapolis transplant sings and raps and produces with impressive smoothness, offering a worldly blend of African pop, reggaeton and electro-R&B. His debut EP, "Waves," shows off the wide range, as did his cool variety of live gigs last year, including a choice gig opening for the similarly kaleidoscopic Genesis Owusu.
Rafaella: Also new to town, via New York City, this playfully poetic and defiantly upbeat singer/songwriter had already generated Spotify traction and a deal with Mom + Pop Records when she partnered with Hippo Campus frontman Jake Luppen to produce her latest EP. Titled "Live, Raff, Love (Act I)," the six-song collection falls somewhere between Regina Spektor and Beabadoobee and is backed up live with a new band of local aces.