You’ve done it.
After 50-some-odd weeks of turmoil and disappointment, you’ve made it to the finale of 2016. You’ve officially crossed the threshold to the point in the year when most people stop focusing on the new stuff and just phone it in until the new year.
Yet, still, my inbox overfloweth with new visuals from musicians in the Gopher State looking to throttle while everyone else is happy to coast. It’s that hustle that makes being a music writer in Minnesota an exhausting vocation.
But I’m not the one assembling a crew of extras on a frigid December morning for a 10-hour shoot or editing that 10 hours of footage into a two-minute clip that perfectly embodies another artist’s work, so I can’t complain, really.
CRAM -- “TPB”
I’m still trying to understand CRAM, but I’m coming to terms with the idea that the four steezy rapper/singers might be something from a planet where everything is neon and hallucinogenic.
You may remember their previous Local Frames entry “LAMB,” and now the all-caps crew is back for an equally disorienting vision for “TPB.” Over a toy piano beat, the four slur and blur around a campsite while the visionaries at CMNCLTRE capture everything via drone.
The video takes some obvious nods from Trailer Park Boys -- something DJ TIIIIIIIIIIP clapped them for -- but CRAM's version of the offbeat Canadian comedy replaces get-rich ambitions with LSD and Auto-Tune.
Meridian Incident -- “Yellow Wings”
A band with a sound as ambitious and esoteric as Meridian Incident need a lasting vision to accompany their music. For their song “Yellow Wings,” they enlisted Megan Cowen, Adam Schmid, and Wholly Cowen Cinematography to help tell the tale of the pain, anger, and confusion that results from childhood abuse.
Band member Ray Smart is himself a survivor of childhood abuse, and he channels the aftermath of his personal trauma through the song’s protagonist, Janey. Smart also had a hand in the film’s direction, bridging a difficult gap in his story’s presentation and accomplishing an extremely moving clip that tackles an issue that’s unfortunately too familiar in American society.
Meridian Incident will release their multimedia album Istology on February 4 at the Parkway Theater.
Mac Irv -- “Misfit: 55411 (Intro)”
North Minneapolis’ Mac Irv has been telling his story for half a decade on the mic, but he’s never had a song that paints such a complete picture of his life as “Misfit: 55411 (Intro).” The title track of his still-forthcoming album shows how Irv, despite growing up in the projects, was lucky enough to have a father. That also meant he never fit in alongside his neighbors.
With Rich Peterson directing, the video for “Misfit: 55411 (Intro)” follows a man who, in the face of mounting bills, wonders whether he should get in on a robbery to make ends meet. Only when his daughter offers her piggy bank to help alleviate the debt does he realize that he can’t go the same route as so many of his peers.
Misfit: 55411 is out January 13. On December 23, you can see him at The Venue celebrating Christmas with Cam’Ron.
Just Wulf -- “I Don't Need Love” (Live)
You know why Just Wulf shot a live session for his song “I Don’t Need Love” instead of producing a video for the album version? It’s because there is no album version.
The HECATOMB representative keeps the song in the live element, meaning that, before today, the only way to have heard the Twin Cities powerpack’s inspirational jaunt would be in the audience. “I Don’t Need Love” was filmed at Carnage the Executioner’s Black Friday show at the Triple Rock on November 25. It’s easy to see why Just has kept this special to his shows. With Micky Breeze on the wheels, the pulsing beat and determined flow are galvanizing.
It’s almost impossible to suppress the reflex of a head nod when watching it on a computer screen. To be on the floor and feel the bass of Wulf’s voice vibrating in your chest, it’d be hard to leave uninspired.
Student 1 -- “Shuffle 2/Swing”
Student 1 is too hype for a single persona. In his debut video for “Shuffle 2/Swing,” the local rapper plays dual roles as he heads home from a party. On one side of the bench seat is the faded, exhausted version, who dribbles out bars with a removed deference. On the other side is the energetic party monster who breathlessly pummels verses. Only one survives the Uber ride home.
Continuing the bifurcated theme, the video includes two songs, both of which come from his earlier release Memoman. The album, which is hosted by Go 95.3’s Mr. Peter Parker (not the real Spider-Man, BTW), consists of a bounty of incredibly varied and bombastic tunes. “Shuffle 2” and “Swing,” joined by this relatively simple video narrative, do a good job encapsulating the breadth of Student 1’s multi-faceted talents.
You can glimpse the many shades of Student 1 on January 14 at the Pourhouse.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]