On My Playlist: Top 5 artists from Mariana Glitsos and Laura Levar

On My Playlist “My Playlist” offers readers a way to discover new music that other people in their area are listening to. Each week will profile two local Duluthians and highlight their top five favorite musical artists.


Name: Mariana Glitsos

Glitsos is the campus organizer for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a UMD alumnus and studied anthropology and sociology. In her free time she loves to attend music festivals and finds a lot of new artists that way.

“I like going to local shows, especially at Homegrown in Duluth. I just like checking out what shows are going on that night,” Glitsos said.

She gives us her top five favorite artists:

  1. Tin Can Gin: A local band from Duluth, Tin Can Gin tours all around the Midwest sharing their folky Celtic feel with audiences. “I heard them at last year's homegrown fest. They're kind of bluegrass,” Glitsos said. Heavy on mandolin, banjo, and Celtic fiddle, they have a feel reminiscent of Trampled By Turtles, The Avett Brothers, or New Grass Revival. Tin Can Gin recorded their first album at Sacred Heart Studios in Duluth and released it in 2014.
  1. Xavier Rudd: A mix of rock, blues, reggae, and tribal music, Xavier Rudd harnesses a very unique and haunting sound. “He's from Australia and does a lot of sounds of aboriginal Australians. It's kind of tribal. When I was in high school I had seen him play a few times, also at the revival fest this May,” said Glitsos.Xavier Rudd is a multi-instrumentalist and a one-man band. He has mastered a variety of indigenous instruments including the Didgeridoo.Related artists include: John Butler Trio, Matt Costa, or Donavon Frankenreiter.
  2. Trevor Hall: Similar to Xavier Rudd, Trevor Hall pulls influence from various cultures. Defined by Glitsos as 'reggae-acoustic-rock', Trevor Hall is mostly influenced by artists like Jack Johnson and Bob Marley. “He brings in a lot of influence from India,” said Glitsos. “His newest album is very meditative, and I appreciate that.”Related artists also include: Donavon Frankenreiter, Xavier Rudd, Citizen Cope, and Dispatch.
  1. Nahko and Medicine for the People: Heavily focused on cultural and philosophical issues, this band draws from nature as well as society to create their unique “thump-hop”, percussion heavy, acoustic sound. “They're very much focused on social and environmental justice and how the issues relate to indigenous peoples especially,” said Glitsos. “I like them because of that reason.”Their debut album, Black as Night, was released in 2013.Related artists include: State Radio, Barefoot Truth, and Dispatch.
  2. Wookiefoot: A reggae-blues group, this high energy band captures many elements in their performances. “Their shows put on an entire performance, like with lights, and I've seen once when they did trapeze artists and stuff,” said Glitsos. “They also bring in a lot of social justice issues.”Related artists include: The Mantras, Jimkata, and Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band.


Name: Laura Levar

Levar is a senior at UMD studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. She likes a variety of music and like many people of her generation, relies mostly on Pandora to discover new artists.

Her top 5 favorites include:

  1. Blackmill: Robert Card, a 20-year-old from Scotland, creates and produces trance-dubstep music. His career took off when he partnered with big name artists like Ellie Goulding. “It doesn't really have lyrics, so I like listening to it while I study. Because when I listen to lyrics I usually get distracted and start singing along instead of studying,” said Levar. “It's almost like a dupsteppy chillax kind of music, but it's fast enough so you don’t fall asleep.”Blackmill released his debut album in February of 2011, called Reach For Glory.Related artists include: Zomboy, Rameses B, and Nero.
  1. Lindsey Stirling: Appearing on NBC's America's Got Talent in 2010, Lindsey Stirling became known as a 'hip-hop violinist'. “She kind of combines violin music and dupstep. "She's another one of my studying favorites,” said Levar.Mixing styles such as classical, EDM, dubstep, and hip-hop, she creates a very unique, one of a kind style. She has also become known for her creative Youtube music videos.Related artists include: David Garrett, Skrillex, and Escala.
  1. Brandi Carlile: This singer/songwriter creates music with powerful and sentimental lyrics. Classified as pop-rock and folksy Americana, Brandi Carlile harnesses two different feels in her music.“It's just easy listening, kind of folk-pop music,” Levar said.Even though she started out in a more aggressive rock band, Brandi Carlile eventually found her stride in her softer lyrics and acoustic feel.Related artists include: Ingrid Michaelson, The Weepies, and Priscilla Ahn.
  1. Maroon 5: One of the most popular bands of the decade, Maroon 5 has topped the charts with their hit songs “She Will Be Loved”, “Moves Like Jagger”, and “Animals”. Defined as pop-rock and neo-soul, Maroon 5 has gained popularity worldwide. “He just has all these songs that are all really good,” said Levar. “It's still sort of easy listening but more upbeat and faster.”Lead singer, Adam Levine, has also become well known for being a judge on the hit vocal competition show, The Voice.Related artists include: Bruno Mars, OneRepublic, Train, and Justin Timberlake.
  1. Florence + The Machine: Blending genres like moody classic rock, alternative pop, and EDM, this British artist has gained considerable fame since 2009 when she released her debut album “Lungs.” “She has really unique vocals, and it's used in some popular TV shows which I think is cool, like in Vampire Diaries. She's used a lot,” Levar said.Florence + The Machine has continued to gain popularity, not only in Europe, but worldwide, especially with the release of her latest album, “Ceremonials.”Related artists include: Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, Adele, and Kate Nash.


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