Erik Koskinen fills a studio with longing in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Erik Koskinen

Erik Koskinen YouTube

If you’re a loyal Local Frames reader, you’ll recognize a lot of names in the results of this year’s annual Picked to Click poll.

Last year, five of the ten finalists had their videos featured in this column. The year before, it was six. This year, only three finalists participated in my weekly roundup. (You’ll have to wait till tomorrow, when the results are announced, to see who). But dig deeper into the ballots and Local Frames alums abound.

Local Frames aims to be a launching pad for the Twin Cities’ rising musical talents. I endeavor to introduce local music heads to their new favorite Hexagon regulars with each edition. I want this to be where you catch the next Doomtree before they’re hot. Three out of ten ain’t bad, folks. Keep the good future shit comin’.

Erik Koskinen -- “Broke Down”

Minneapolis-by-way-of-Michigan everyman Erik Koskinen is a classic dusty trail folkster, his songs resonant with soul. And for his latest single, “Broke Down,” he’s gathered a band of likewise talented musicians: J.T. Bates, Mike LaBeau, Paul Bergen, and Steve Garrington. Director Erik Nelson caught the group in candid moments recording their new EP Cruising Paradise and spliced it together for the song’s video.

Cruising Paradise will be released on November 24 via Koskinen’s own Real-Phonic Records, and he’ll play a gig at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis that same night. All the regulars will be there.

Finesse -- “Unbroken Memory”

Modern music is replete with callbacks to the effortless glam and gloom of the 1980s; it’s no wonder cultural talismans like Stranger Things have caught on with such fervor. Everyone wants a piece of that sweet nostalgia, and Finesse is here to claim their inheritance as the local scene’s best transmitters of Reagan era synthpop.

On the duo’s single “Unbroken Memory,” singer Patrick Donohoe and synth-master Jeff Cornell reach back to Soft Cell and the Cure for what they call a “classic late night FM affair.” The vocals sound like they’re being played back through a thrift store Walkman, and director Sara Abdelaal’s lonesome vintage visuals only deepen the aesthetic. Finesse play Icehouse on November 17 alongside Xylophone Jetty and Cheap Fantasy.

ItsJustVic ft. Jake Thacker -- “Good Intentions”

Nigerian-American rapper ItsJustVic knows the danger of going on tour all too well. Not only does it disrupt your daily life, but chasing down your dream in a van can mean personal sacrifice. For ItsJustVic, that means losing the love of his life.

In his new collaboration with singer Jake Thacker, ItsJustVic spills his guts about the relationship he’s been trying to save before hitting the road. K-lup Mainye directs the sentimental video for “Good Intentions.”

REEL Smoovv -- “Face the World”

REEL Smoovv of Deeply Rooted Tribe and Mill City Collective has a cool, nonchalant delivery that instantly connects with listeners. The dreadlocked rhymer stands out in his respective collectives, but on his own Smoovv really shines. The rapper’s newest solo endeavor, “Face the World,” is a slick, intuitive track that showcases his considerable skills on the mic.

Smoovv directs the Young Tribe Productions-shot video. Instead of opting for a story or an animation, Smoovv instead positions himself on the streets of his city, rapping at the camera. It’s not the most captivating formula for a rap video, but Smoovv’s lyrical acrobatics draw the viewer in and sit them down for the whole song.

GainesFM ft. Shawn Lyricz -- “Blame”

FreeMinds rapper GainesFM has had a career-making year since dropping Smile back in January. The Crystal rapper has developed his songwriting and delivery, and his aesthetic has evolved as well. With longtime homie Robert Henry in charge of his visuals, GaineFM is making a big enough impact for fellow locals like Shawn Lyricz to taking notice.

Lyricz and GainesFM just teamed up for the warbly new track “Blame.” Over a blurry OG Abi beat, Gaines and Lyricz go all the way in, wailing into their vocoders. Henry and co-director Matt Wales get really playful with the video, incorporating screenshots of their own editing, creating a chaotic video for an equally chaotic song. The rawness suits the rappers perfectly.

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