Lyrics are often considered the most valuable part of a song.
Some people don’t even consider instrumental music as entertaining as songs with words. Maybe vocals give music the human element that helps non-musicians relate to and appreciate music. Lyrics do make the work of interpreting a song’s emotional message a lot easier. They give the song a protagonist. But that doesn’t mean instrumental music has no value.
This week, we feature a pair of mostly instrumental songs. Close your eyes and listen. See if you can unlock the artist’s intent without someone articulating it on the song.
Allen Echo ft. O-Lay — “Apocalypse Party” (PREMIERE)
With international conspiracy, North Korean belligerence, and Trump’s petulant tweeting all on the rise, it’s really only a matter of time until the United States is nuked into a puddle of creamed spinach. Allen Echo’s seen all he needs to see, and he’s ready to hunker down with his homies and wait out the devastation.
Morningside Films turned this fantasy into the video for Echo’s new song “Apocalypse Party.” In this clip, Echo recruits local homie O-Lay to join him in his bunker while the world tears itself apart, and the two share their experiences over an energetic beat from Nagra Beats. But when their doomsday prepping is interrupted by an invite to a Halloween party, the two decide to venture into the wasteland to get twisted.
CHVNSV — “No Hook” (PREMIERE)
Last week, V.I.C.E. Boys representative RoDizzyy went solo with a two-minute burner of a track. Not to be outdone, his compatriot CHVNSV came with his own heat this week in the form of “No Hook.” As the title suggests, CHVNSV operates with no chorus, preferring to hammer home his message in a single hard-edged verse.
Ro joins CHVNSV for the video, and as always, Nate P is behind the camera, so “No Hook” feels like a sibling to last week’s entry. It remains to be seen whether Connor Marques and Yahiko will have entries in the series, but it’s been a productive way to show off each individual V.I.C.E. Boy’s talents outside the context of the group.
We Are — “We Are”
We’re used to seeing Jake Woodbridge’s work in Local Frames. He’s one of the more prolific music video directors in Minnesota, and his work with Skyhaven, In Search of Solace, and Portraits of War has produced memorable entries in our weekly series. But all that exposure has given Woodbridge the itch to start making music himself, so he joined up with Brandon Mingo to form the EDM duo We Are.
For the video to the eponymous single from We Are, Bryce Wandling relieves Woodbridge of his duties in the director’s chair. It features the captivating dancing of Alan Mure, who Wandling follows in a single shot while he dances around downtown. “We Are” is largely instrumental, but Mingo joins Mure in the video to shout a fiery verse.
Loya — “Glassboy”
St. Paul’s Nathan Johnson performs as the one-man electro-pop act Loya. For a single person, Johnson makes some big, dark music. His latest song, “Glassboy,” is a complex and dizzying soundscape that comes complete with a moody visual, courtesy of Jake Johnston.
The “Glassboy” video is rife with religious imagery, offering a universal metaphor to the existential struggle Johnson sings about. Johnston and Johnson make the ache apparent with other dour visuals, like Johnson crumbling in the shower as water runs down his face. It’s a bit melodramatic, but it’s an excellent complement to a song that deals with the pain of being mistreated by someone you love.
Badass Wolf Shirt — “Final Flowers”
Badass Wolf Shirt is back with another sample-heavy piece of ephemera. “Final Flowers” feels like it’s stitched together from about 50 different songs, sprawling across genres in its short run. Appropriately, the video for the song is also stitched together, pulling together clips of esoteric stock footage.
“Final Flowers” plays like propaganda for a cult of conspiracy theorists. It’s delirious and disorienting, and when BAWS’s crazy synth lines frantically explode, you have to grip tightly onto your sanity. But if you have some psychedelics within reach, gobble ‘em up and hit play. Should make for a transcendent couple minutes.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]