The Pass The Mic podcast has been quiet for a few weeks as Minneapolis has been grappling with the police brutality and call for social change that has exploded across the country and around the world. But we're back to share a new episode with Sarah Levy, a vocalist, songwriter and guitarist in the Oakland-based pop-punk/emo band Pity Party.

Sarah talks about the vulnerable and empowering songs on Pity Party's new album "Concrete," her work as an activist, and how becoming a high school teacher gave her an outlet to bridge music and community involvement.

Songs included in this episode: "Empathy" and "Concrete" by Pity Party

Outer space, magnolia trees, and the “inevitable heat death of the universe” are just a few of the things that influenced Sister Species’ latest album. Sister Species describe themselves as a “chamber pop septet” and the Minneapolis-based band is led by singer, songwriter, and accordionist Emily Kastrul. 

In this episode, I’m joined by Emily and Sister Species’ guitarist, Willow Waters. The three of us met up over video chat, from our prospective quarantined locations, to talk about the many musical projects that Emily and Willow play in, how they blended their influences into Sister Species’ upcoming album Light Exchanges, and how they’re connecting with nature — and each other — despite social distancing.

Songs included in this episode: "Heat Death (Hold Me Here)" and "Cottonwood Trees" by Sister Species

Playing music has connected me with some of my best friends and most influential role models, like Anna Dolde and Joan Griffith. Anna and I met in our college's jazz band. Joan was our director, and also my guitar teacher. For this extra personal episode, I wanted to pay homage to the women who inspire me. Anna, Joan, and I talk about our musical upbringings, inspirations, and how we found the confidence to say, "I'm going to sound like myself."

Songs included in this episode: "Sautéed Mushrooms/Deviled Eggs," "Butter," "A Lot of Things Are Edible If You Only Eat One," and "Detective Sprout" by Rabeca; "Blues in Hoss Flat" by Foster & Basie performed by Mac Jazz; noodling from Joan Griffith 


The Sheshen are a 6-piece band that combines sequenced synthesizers, syncopated beats, and Lalin St. Juste’s soft, skillful vocals. Their third full-length album, CYAN, was inspired by the strength and softness of the color cyan, the tumult of the 2016 election, and personal struggles with depression. In this episode, Lalin breaks down some of CYAN's songs and talks about how she fused personal lyrics with bassist/producer Akiyoshi Ehara's textured grooves.

Songs included: "4AM," "Don't Answer" and "Dive"

Stefanie Vigoren and Jaybird Parkhurst are no strangers to change. After forming the band Termination Dust in Anchorage, Alaska, the two have traveled around the country, released two full-length albums, and welcomed drummer Matt Harris into the band. Termination Dust don’t just tolerate change, they embrace it — and are now using it as the inspiration for their third album, Growing Down. 

Songs in this episode: “It's Not A Place, It's A Feeling” and “Street Lights”

December 17, 2019

Gems of 2019: Part 2

This episode is part 2 of 4 "Gems of 2019," a series where I look back on some of my favorite albums and EPs of 2019. This time, I chat about releases from Jamila Woods, Charly Bliss, ahem, Carly Rae Jepsen and more, as well as a friend who's changed my own relationship to music.

Kathy Callahan (she/her), Nadi McGill (they/them), and Natalie Klemond (she/her) aren’t just bandmates — the trio affectionately refer to themselves as “brothers” — and sitting down with the three of them, it’s clear that their music is inseparable from their close-knit relationship. We talked about battling impostor syndrome, their upcoming EP Phony, how they used cheap wigs to recreate the looks of iconic boy bands, and so much more.

Songs included: "New Song No. 2" and "Neopet Graveyard"

December 9, 2019

Gems of 2019: Part 1

As 2019 winds to a close, I'm looking back on some of my favorite albums and EPs from the year. This episode is part 1 of 4 "Gems of 2019," where I chat about some of my favorite music released in the past year from Queen of Jeans, Chastity Belt, pushflowers, Sass, and more.

Nicolle Maroulis keeps busy. When talked over the phone, the frontperson of the Montclair, NJ band Hit Like A Girl was in between two tours, in the midst of two new releases, and managing their non-profit organization. Maroulis and I chatted about one of Hit Like A Girl's newest singles, "No More Dysphoria," tackling onstage nerves, and the secrets to building the perfect Taco Bell order.

Songs included: "No More Dysphoria" and "It's Not Me"

When Scrunchies released their debut album Stunner in June 2018, it seemed like this supergroup of Minneapolis musicians dropped from the sky — and that’s because they didn’t tell anyone about the band until after they had recorded an entire album, made a music video, and booked their first show.

Songs included: "Wichita" and "Double Vision"

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