It’s February 20. You’ve survived.
One month into the Trump presidency and there have already been threats to the artistic community, including proposed budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and a plan to repeal the ACA, which most working musicians depend on for health insurance. But we have persisted. The music has not halted, not one single note.
That alone is a victory. Being 30 days in without having been totally morally vanquished is a triumph. Persevering and devoting yourself to your art in a time when the quintessential value of art is being undermined is an accomplishment.
Now you’ve just gotta do it for another 47 months.
Illuminati Steele -- “Desire By Design (The God Complex)”
The music of Illuminati Steele falls somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Michael Jackson. With barely whispered lyrics and an undercurrent of dark funk, a foreboding sensuality emerges, and lyrics mix the imagery of pain and pleasure with impunity. In the video for Steele’s new song “Desire By Design (The God Complex),” the Oregon-born Minneapolis musician writhes in the Guthrie’s yellow room, broadcasting her sinister love across the Mississippi.
Directed by SheMayRunWithWolves (a pseudonym for Steele herself), the video has a sense of unreality that’s not unlike a Gaspar Noé short. Alight in the yellow of the room, Steele and her music come throbbing from another dimension.
Mike T -- “Gazillions”
Most rap videos are laughably clichéd. Shots of the rapper in the booth spitting and popping their chain. Shots of money being thrown in the air. (Or counted.) A flashy car. It’s all kinda rote, which is why local rapper Mike T enlisted Equitis Media and Common Culture to shoot a tongue-in-cheek parody video for his new song “Gazillions.”
In the video, Mike T has fun with the clichés, rapping with a $20 bill inside his beanie and lying on the studio floor while cash rains down on him. In his own words, he's “almost mocking cheesiness and unoriginal content” he sees in other rap videos. The effect isn’t a clap at the rap industry but instead a lighthearted nod at other folks who know the industry intimately enough to laugh at its traditions.
The Happy Children -- “All Wrong”
Isn’t it great when a band sounds exactly like their name? That’s the case with Twin Cities indie rock band the Happy Children, who capture the unbridled, disorganized joy of youth on their new song “All Wrong.” Coming from the new EP Small Talk, “All Wrong” has an infectious jam-band groove and loose, impressionistic drums that stir movement from the hips outward.
In the Nate Armour-directed video, the three take to the streets in their parkas, chasing down the camera while snot drips blissfully down to their chins. You know who the Happy Children would be a great opening band for? Hippo Campus. And that’s exactly what they’ll be doing on March 11 in the Mainroom at First Ave.
Holidae -- “Scared” (lyric video)
Something about lyric videos is so mesmerizing. In fact, a sequential, in-rhythm lyric sheet is actually more entrancing than a narrative music video. Doubly so when the sweet sounds of 2016 Are You Local? winners Holidae are providing the soundtrack.
With the lyrics materializing out of a gothic pink-purple background provided by Adam J. Dunn, you follow along as vocalist Ashley Gold unspools her anxieties about entering into a new relationship. You feel her ennui and indecision as your own, grooving yourself into the music vicariously through her words. The song comes from 2016’s Tantrum, and it will more than likely be performed when Holidae take the stage at the Fitz on March 2.
P.O.S -- “Bully” (Ft. RP Hooks and Moncelas Boston)
P.O.S is back with yet another video from Chill, Dummy, this time directed by another of Minneapolis’ most visionary talents: underground photographer Adam DeGross. (You may know him as the guy behind A$AP Ferg’s visual media.) P.O.S stains the video with grime and punk, making every bar he spits feel more raw than the last.
With guest spots from RP Hooks and Moncelas Boston, the song feels more like a Marijuana Deathsquads cut than a proper P.O.S track. The music's fluid and impulsive structure ebbs from one artist to the next in a disorienting whirl, and DeGross brings this feeling to the lens using quick cuts, telescoping drone shots, and his signature black-and-white treatement.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected] .