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Zoo Animal (solo)

You don’t release a record titled Departure if you want to stay the same. That’s just what Holly Hansen did in 2012, when she put out her third full-length as her acclaimed project Zoo Animal. Since 2008, Hansen has taken Zoo Animal from a solo songwriting project to a fully-fledged, heavy-gigging band, and put out three records that tracked her own personal growth, shifting beliefs and identity, and musical exploration as she sought to distill information into meaning. With Hansen on guitar and vocals, 2008’s Young Blood and 2010’s Zoo Animal won Hansen critical and popular acclaim in the Minneapolis music scene, with comparisons to Cat Power and Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards, and producing partnerships with the likes of Low’s Alan Sparhawk. In October 2018, all three Zoo Animal records were re-released by Waxploitation Records (founded by Jeff Antebi, best known for developing the careers of Grammy Award winners Gnarls Barkley, and Danger Mouse as well as Grammy Nominees Broken Bells, and R.L. Boyce), along with previously unreleased Zoo Animal recordings to give Hansen’s fiery, minimal, guitar-driven rock past its due, and to showcase new Holly Hansen music to come.


In 2019 she released the Naive Enough EP (Suntanman Records), the first new Zoo Animal recording in 7 years, to critical acclaim, supporting Trampled by Turtles, The Cactus Blossoms, and touring with Damien Jurado.


Holly is a City Pages Artist of the Year (2011) and Best Live Artist (2012), the recipient of a Minnesota Emerging Composer Award from the American Composers Forum (2017), and was named one of “9 Queer Musicians to Watch in 2020” by Twin Cities Pride Magazine, in addition to many other awards and accolades.


Whether tormenting her guitar during the dynamic tracks from her earlier albums or quieting her instrument to a mere murmur for her newer, sparser songs, [Hansen] is the kind of live musician that demands unwavering attention and shallow breaths. The Twin Cities is home to plenty of raucous bar bands, but [Hansen] stands out as one of the area’s finest conjurers of all that is holy in rock’n’ roll - an artist through and through.