As welcomed as they feel after a year of truly godawful global fuckery, the holidays are not always the respite they’re advertised to be. This coming week is the great interruptor. With Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa all intersecting, there’s a guarantee that celebrations this year will inevitably fuck up some other stuff you gotta do.
Musicians know it’s hard to fight the urge to lock yourself in your childhood bedroom, to work on that Soundcloud remix while your family argues over who’s eating your share of the figgy pudding. But being forced to pause is a constructive exercise sometimes.
As such, I won’t be taking Local Frames submissions until 2017. This will be the last roundup of 2016, though I’ll do a little retrospective next week. Put in your last few hours of work these next days. Make it good. Earn the break. And when you’re pajamaed up in front of the yule log, try to suppress that anxiety that tells you to work.
City Counselor -- “Ask the Gays”
Though conservatives are convinced the idea of safe spaces and, shit I dunno, human dignity are symptoms of entitlement and weakness, there are entire populations of people who stand to lose a lot in the impending Trump presidency.
Since logic has has been such a poor device for convincing GOP voters, Minneapolis “political sad pop” band City Counselor have decided to return the mockery in kind. For their new video “Ask the Gays,” City Counselor remix the ramblings of the Donald into a thumping club banger that turns our barely coherent president-elect into a reluctant ally. As a sound clip of Trump saying “Ask the gays what they think and what they do" repeats, the quote becomes a no-shit plea for conversation and understanding.
The video features a dozen LGBTQ locals reveling in City Counselor’s empowering rehash, though once the beat disappears, the darker implications of President Trump re-emerge.
Dance Attic -- “Startin’ a Fire with You”
Uff da, it’s been cold this month. There’s seemingly no relief other than hunkering down, cuddling up, and putting a log on the fire, but Duluth vaudeville folk duo Dance Attic would like to add their cozy stylings to your winter hibernation.
Their new song, “Startin’ a Fire with You,” proves that a peppy accordion can be enough to insulate your home as the mercury plunges below levels the thermometer can measure. Presented by Perfect Duluth Day and the Homegrown Music Festival, the video captures Suzi Ludwig and Jimi Cooper at home in their titular space -- a woodsy barn attic where their novelty country sound was perfected.
Wisconsinites can see what the two sound like away from home at the Spirit Room in Superior on December 21. They’ll be back in Duluth at the Barrel Room (this band loves rooms) on January 6.
Karah -- “Can’t Go On”
Now, Karah is back with the resolution to her breakup trilogy with “Can’t Go On” -- a dark and violent third act that significantly ups the stakes from the previous two videos. Taking revenge upon the crew of criminals that killed her boyfriend (played by Jake Bugella in the other Ready to Fall videos) during a robbery, Karah goes to extreme lengths to show just how much the loss of love has hardened her.
She orders a team of assassins to exact revenge -- leading to one excellently hammy death -- though the vengeance doesn’t seem to soothe her broken heart.
ECID -- “Breaking Up With Death”
Death is an intoxicating mistress. She’s mysterious and spontaneous. She picks up the check after dinner. She goes all the way on the first date. But the problem is that she knows no loyalty -- something Minneapolis rapper Ecid discovers in his new video “Breaking Up with Death.”
In the Mercies May-directed video, Ecid romances a large, bony grim reaper puppet who, despite her gangly and ghastly appearance, proves to be an addicting lover. It’s a comical overlay to what is a scary and difficult conversation, which is exactly the point of the song. In the lyrics, Ecid confronts death for taking his friends and being a harrowing asshole in her work.
It seems like a tragic bit of deference until you see the way it’s translated to film, and then death seems totally depowered. Reduced to an unrequiting lover, death seems conquerable and, frankly, kinda corny.
Rob-1 -- “Wishin’ The Rain 2” (feat. Bigg Moon)
Minneapolis rhymer Rob-1 began writing raps as a strategy for processing day-to-day life. But after 2016, Rob-1 needed to call in fellow T.C. rapper Bigg Moon to exorcise all the shit they’ve felt this past year.
Their collaboration “Wishin’ the Rain 2” talks candidly about the fear and frustration of being a black American in the post-Trayvon Martin world. The video, which came courtesy of Morningside Films this morning, is a sequel to the pair’s 2012 single, which deals mostly in personal issues. Four years later, Rob-1 and Moon have widened their scope to talk about how the police-instigated violence in their community has shaped them.
Though both men look back at their brushes with officers in the past, the message is much bigger, and the rain is more needed than ever.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]