Felt nightmares, family portraits, and blood-red depression in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Van Stee: Is this band felt? Now it is.

Van Stee: Is this band felt? Now it is.

It’s hard to accurately measure the impact of a good music video director.

This week, we feature videos from some of the best, most accomplished directors in the Twin Cities. Though the artists are the focus of each video, entries from directors Mercies May, Jake Handegard, Nate P, Endlessvisiion, and Jake Woodbridge stand above the rest for their quality and ability to captivate.

That’s not to say there’s no value in taking the DIY route or hiring an up-and-comer, but let’s take some time this week to tip our hats to the talents behind the camera.

Van Stee ft. Haley – “Here Comes the Fire”

Van Stee will release their sophomore album Heartbreaker, Nervewrecker, Meansucker on June 22. Its lead single is the Haley collaboration “Here Comes the Fire,” a melodic burner that brings lead singer Charlie Van Stee’s nightmares to life in felt cutouts. The video is directed by Toph Heubach, who animates Van Stee’s art into a horrifying chase sequence. As the monsters in Van Stee’s mind track him down, the song swells to its gigantic finale.

Nazeem and Spencer Joles – “Rock Lee”

Director Nate P’s calling card is his chaotic editing. He glitches out his shots, cutting in apocalyptic clouds and TV static, giving his work a distinct, unsettling look. This aesthetic is perfectly paired with the raucous new song “Rock Lee” by Nazeem and Spencer Joles. Named for the goofy ninja from Naruto, “Rock Lee” showcases the fun-loving side of Nazeem and Spencer as they screw around Minneapolis rapping with cypher-like fluidity.

Jaylap – “Nonexistent”

Jaylap enlisted the help of producer buddy and fellow CRAM member Shrimpnose for his darkly emotional new song “Nonexistent.” The song is a dour look at a how the end of a relationship can crush your mental health. Shrimpnose’s downtrodden, uneasy production creates the palette for Jaylap (a.k.a. Tommy Bathwater) to explore his depression, and director Endlessvisiion follows up with a video steeped in blood-red overexposure. The synchronicity of all three elements make for an incredible 1:48 balance between music and art.

We Are ft. Jake Johnston – “Kilimanjaro”

Jake Woodbridge has directed three music videos for metal band Skyhaven, and now Skyhaven lead singer Jake Johnston is repaying the favor by shredding on the new song “Kilimanjaro” for Woodbridge’s band We Are. Johnston drives “Kilimanjaro” to packed-stadium levels of rowdiness with his insane note bending. TurboKelan takes over the directing duties from Woodbridge, capturing the mastery as the two axmen torment their fretboards.

Kobruh – “J Cole”

North Minneapolis rapper Kobruh tabbed Mercies May for her debut music video, and the well-rounded director took the video to personal levels. In “J Cole,” Kobruh laments the lack of good, strong leadership in the black community, holding the eponymous rapper up as an exemplar of how a positive message can make a difference. To tie in the community angle, May frames Kobruh in front of portraits of her friends and family.

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