A good band never really dies.
We’ve had a rash of local band breakups in the past three or four years, and it’s a disheartening trend, but the good thing about a small scene is that people don't disappear when their band does. There’s a lot of rebirth in the Twin Cities, and breakups can actually be a huge creative boon.
This week, we see such a rebirth with Cheap Fantasy, a band born from the wreckage of Frankie Teardrop. In a few weeks, we’ll see it again with Witch Watch, the progeny of the best local band to break up in the past five years, Murder Shoes.
Cheap Fantasy -- “Fluoresce”
Cheap Fantasy is the latest moniker for Jordan Bleau, formerly known to localvores as Frankie Teardrop. Bleau introduces his new project in an appropriately cheap bluster of neon and VHS tracking in the video for “Fluoresce,” directed by Alex Szantos.
Much like its predecessor, “Ricky (Halo on Everything),” the second song from Cheap Fantasy is a washed-out, dreamlike throwback to the ‘80s gloom-pop of the Cult and Echo & the Bunnymen. Despite these dusty muses, Bleau is in the midst of an obvious and self-determined creative sprint here. Whatever album comes out of these early tracks is sure to be a stunner.
Late Night Fights -- “Saving Face” (PREMIERE)
If you like Deftones and Faith No More but prefer to keep your hard rock local, allow me to introduce you to Late Night Fights. The Minneapolis three-piece plays a blend of alt, psych, and industrial, all genres showcased on their new single, “Saving Face.”
While waves of tie-dye colors wash over them, Late Night Fights conjure up a jaded, defiant love song on this Rev. John Wheeler-directed vehicle, which is halfway between a lyric video and a live showcase. The visual effects are somewhat at odds with the band’s Breaking Benjamin-style pummeling and robotic vocal overlay, but it does indicate the depth of influences Late Night Fights draw from.
“Saving Face” is from Late Night Fights’ previous album, Jousthouse. They'll release a new one, Renal 911, on May 12 at Uptown VFW.
EL.i.BE -- “Come On” (Ft. Graydon Francis and Bryan Doe)
EL.i.BE immigrated to the Twin Cities from Liberia as a child and has since made a name for himself as an MC and producer, as well as the founder of Cherry Sky Studios. It took a lot of gumption and hustle to get EL.i.BE to where he is now, a tale the soulful rhymer tells on his new single, “Come On.”
Playing with the idea of Africa and Minnesota as his homes, EL.i.BE runs down the inequities he still faces as an immigrant and diagnoses the corruption and racial inequity endemic to the American system. But Graydon Francis’ uplifting chorus highlights the point that EL.i.BE’s story is ultimately one of survival.
Dono Gerard -- “Great”
I don’t know if Reese’s Puffs paid Dono Gerard for the extended product placement in his new video for “Great,” but it would’ve been a smart move if the cereal brand was trying to build goodwill with Generation Z.
The Minneapolis rapper exudes swag on “Great,” rapping with steez and confidence as he tries to live up to the song’s title. Something about his delivery screams YouTube mogul, but the main difference here is Gerard has actual talent. On “Great,” he’s just having fun spitting some bars in his kitchen, but listen deeper to his Wavelengthmaximum mixtape and you’ll hear a dude who is ready to be taken seriously.
Palmer T. Lee -- “Rag”
The ache in Palmer T. Lee’s voice on his spare, confessional song “Rag” is indelible, to the point where it creeps inside your cavities and becomes your own. Putting a vision to such a powerful tune is challenging, but director Brett Hansen takes “Rag” even further.
In the video, Lee sits with his guitar in the blackened ruins of his burned-down home -- colloquially known as The Bottle House for the stacks of empty bottles mortared in its walls. Trembling amongst the scorched wood and busted windows, Lee cuts a powerful figure. He can’t even make eye contact with the lens as he strums. Instead, he sings, despondent and full of grief over what he’s lost.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]