The hyper-corporate indie orgy known as SXSW is back -- and it’s more problematic than ever!
After the music showcase/startup-bro fiasco was exposed for exploiting an immigration clause to control foreign performers this year, dozens of bands cancelled their shows in protest. It’s too bad considering how small-scale acts leverage this time to gain national exposure, but that’s capitalism for ya.
Then again, maybe so-called “emergent” acts place too much value on SXSW to begin with. When’s the last time a musician really broke out because of the Austin love fest? SXSW is basically just a place to meet labels and boost your merch sales for a week, not the launchpad it once was, and those sitting out this year’s festivities will probably find that it didn’t make a difference to their career trajectories anyway.
Connor Marques -- “Who Is You?” (PREMIERE)
V.I.C.E. Boys don’t always use their music to plumb the depths of the human soul, but that’s what standout rhymer Connor Marques is up to in the video for “Who Is You?” The wylin’ Minneapolis rapper takes to a spooky beat to question the authenticity of his detractors, posing the titular question to them over and over on the chorus.
With Nathan Porter behind the lens, editing in dark skies and superimposing flames, Marques looks more menacing and confident than ever. But what’s unclear is whether Marques is also asking that question internally, assuming his greatest powers to challenge himself.
Smellkin Ernesto -- “Can You Feel It?”
Another question song. This one’s also a premiere of some sort -- it’s Smellkin Ernesto’s first ever music video. “Can You Feel It?” is a self-described melancholy love song that finds a post-breakup Ernesto pining for what he’s lost.
The song comes from Ernesto’s debut LP Simply Smellkin, which releases on Saturday. Though most of the album deals with his experience growing up as the adopted Colombian son of a white Fergus Falls family, “Can You Feel It?” is a stylistic outlier, focusing on the more universal feeling of romantic ennui. In the video, directed by Ernesto’s childhood friend Alec Zender, a lover blindfolds the frontman as mysterious sensations materialize all around his naked body.
The Von Tramps -- “Fast and Loose”
In their video for “Fast and Loose,” the Von Tramps take their Power Wheels to the garage for an irreverent drag race through the Minnesota streets. Joined by an impressively floppy basset hound, the energetic four-piece carve up the pavement, the fat, greasy tones of their Ramones-y throwback punk soundtracking the race.
The title track from last May’s EP, “Fast and Loose” showcases the lo-fi thrill ride that is The Von Tramps. It’s hard to believe that this hilarious video is their first foray into the medium, but this seems like a band that only moves in big, aggressive strokes. Their full-length debut is due out in September.
Radio Ahlee -- “Static”
Minneapolis rapper Radio Ahlee lays out a theory on his album The Universal C.O.D.A. Experience. Ahlee believes all that is human is extraordinary simply because it exists. “In the circuits of life as a sperm you have two directions,” Ahlee explains. “You can either go off into the dead zone or where the egg is. Everyone on this planet is a champion because we made it past that level.”
The fun-loving video for album single “Static” offers glimpses of that theory in action. Filmed by Allways Films and Photography, animated by Philli Irvin, and directed by Ahlee himself, the video shows Ahlee at the Minnesota State Fair indulging in the victory of his sheer existence.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]