Destiny Roberts meditates on 2016's positives in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Destiny Roberts

Destiny Roberts YouTube

Picked to Click 2016 couldn’t have been more poorly timed, huh?

Dropping the goddamn day after Donald Trump stunned the liberal echo chamber with his decisive, morally perilous victory in the presidential election, few could bring themselves to really care about the quantified merits of local musicians. In a time when women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ citizens are suddenly under siege from the country’s highest office, it felt a little gauche to celebrate anything, much less the nominal poll results of the local weekly magazine.

The whole election thing will take a long time before it’s settled, but let’s take a moment of respite from the outrage and sadness and congratulate the hardworking musicians whose accomplishments were lost in the political tide last week. Before the next issue hits stands on Wednesday, take a second to tip your hats to ZULUZULUU, Tony Peachka, Fraea, Color TV, Ness Nite, Finding Novyon, Dizzy Fae, Royal Brat, Holidae, and Lunch Duchess.

You all make the world a little less horrifying.

Destiny Roberts -- “Free Your Mind” (feat. Nsikak)

Much internet vitriol has been hurled at 2016’s way, but Destiny Roberts has a different lens on things. For the St. Paul rapper, this year has been an incredibly productive experience. Part of that experiences comes from Roberts’ Zen perspective, something she showcases alongside fellow 3ME representative Nsikak on their collaborative “Free Your Mind.”

Over a blithe ukulele beat produced by Roberts herself, the two expound the merits of keeping a positive outlook. With footage compiled by Brian Few Jr. following the duo from New Year’s Eve to this moment in time, you see how, despite all the garbage-flinging over the past 11 months, there have been great strides on a personal level.

See the product of these strides on November 17 at Cabooze.

Axel Foley -- “Intermission”

Minneapolis rapper Axel Foley borrowed his rap name from Beverly Hills Cop.

Like the 1984 Eddie Murphy film, Foley’s music is a good time, focusing on the good times of the rap lifestyle. In the new video for “Intermission” -- from his November 7 LP Maroon Goon -- Foley parties with Baby Shel, Chance York, Big Wiz, and a bunch of others, rhyming in a lengthy, non sequitur yarn that’s impossible to not to vibe with.

Maroon Goon, which is a meaty 17 songs long, is the second release from Foley, following 2015’s MØØD. That album was produced by City Pages Best Producer of 2015 Mike the Martyr, who did the mixing on “Intermission” as well, despite the fact that the beat comes from Gramatik’s “Cool Thieves.” The footage for the video is compiled by Omen and is taken directly from Foley’s birthday party this summer.

Mike Dreams -- “Change Up”

Pardon My Vices, the upcoming LP from Mike Dreams, has gotten a lot of hype from Local Frames over the year, but there’s never been a clear release date until now.

On December 17, Dreams will finally unleash the follow-up to 2012 album Millennial, and he’s just released the video for “Change Up” to keep the momentum going for the next month. Directed by Jake Handegard of Morningside Films, the video shows Dreams heading to church, only to be accosted by the police and haters who said his pursuit for hip-hop stardom has compromised his character.

Over a whirring trap beat, Dreams runs down anyone who thinks the paper chase has changed him, spitting with a determination that’s impossible to argue.

Monkey Warhol -- “It’s Warhol Actually”

Monkey Warhol is a pulsing fever dream. A disorienting orgy of computer blips and MicroKORG arpeggios filtered through the cheese cloth of pure goddamn madness.

Last time we saw the electro-chaotic band, they were falling in love with a woman who looked like a taco. Now, for “It’s Warhol Actually” from August’s EP3 and also last week’s The Darwin LP, Monkey Warhol have enlisted a student filmmaker to create a vision that matches the jagged, madcap fun of the song.

To do this, Braden Howard employs a shaky camera and plenty of pixelation. Almost like a gleefully avant-garde version of Prodigy's “Smack My Bitch Up,” the first-person camera follows through a party that shifts in and out of madness as the crunchy EDM beat plays darkly in the background. Try to maintain your sanity as you watch.

Communist Daughter -- “Balboa Bridge”

Communist Daughter are back. After a showstopper at First Ave on Friday, the well-wrought indie-rock band from St. Paul are reminding people why they fell in love with them back in 2011. After a six-year wait, The Cracks That Built the Wall proves Com Dot deserve their enduring placement on the tongues of the local media.

In the new video for “Balboa Bridge,” the band takes a reposed and reflective moment to look back at the expanse between their projects. In superimposed visions provided by Adam J. Dunn, the band subliminales below sparks and waves of plasma, giving their ephemeral sound a grounding in real life. Is there a better visual metaphor for Communist Daughter than a face standing earnest against a driving snow? Or a person whose very skin transforms into the energy of the universe?

For one of the Twin Cities’ most abstract and amorphous groups, Communist Daughter are difficult to embody in a video. But Dunn’s work behind the camera layers on the mystique for the band before they etherize again.

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]