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Juice Lord has no mercy in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Juice Lord.

Juice Lord. YouTube

As your least funny coworker has probably noted, people don’t like Mondays.

Maybe you noticed that our Local Frames video roundup fell on Tuesday last week, and that’s the case again today. And forever on into the future. Because having a deadline first thing Monday morning sure is a pain in the ass.

We didn’t want to go as far as posting on Friday, since that’s when The Current and Reviler both have their own video roundups, so Tuesday it is. If Local Frames was the lone highlight of your Monday morning, sorry folks. Adjust your content consumption schedules accordingly.

Juice Lord -- “It Ain't Hard to Tell” (PREMIERE)

21-year-old St. Paul rapper Juice Lord is fronting the next wave of lyricists from the Twin Cities. Especially now that the young poet has teamed with Twin Cities mainstay Tek to produce a new album, the fact that Juice Lord is on an unstoppable come-up has become damn near undeniable. And that’s more or less the thesis behind his new single “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” featured here for the first time.

Over Tek’s soulful feather of a beat, Juice sounds composed as ever. Verse to verse, you can hear the determination in his voice -- he’s ready to lay his shoulder into the rap game and push ‘til he cracks the ranks of the local greats. M&A Productions provide the visuals to accompany the song, and the team positions Juice as a despot at the head of his disciples. It feels like a movement is coming.

Hope Country -- “Falling Away”

There’s a gaggle of intimate, baroque video series in the Twin Cities, and despite that, the launch of Pony Rug still stands apart. The audio quality is extremely high and the tones produced in the well-wooded studio are warm and silky.

The first entrant in this series is from heartfelt Wisconsin singer-songwriter Brent Johnson's Hope Country project, the opener of last year's self-titled LP. In the confines of Pony Rug, Brent Johnson sings with unsoothable despondency, like he’s calling out for intervention from the Lord. But when only a camera and a microphone appear, he does what he can with those.

The Dames -- “Head of State”

Hilarious anti-Trump videos will always have a home at Local Frames, but what makes this submission from the Dames so distinct is that the song was written 19 years before The Donald was sworn in. The newly reunited Dames found some historical synchronicity between their bygone outrage at The Machine and the current state of the U.S. government, which made “Head of State” an obvious candidate for the Duluth Homegrown Music Video Fest.

Local director Brian Barber was assigned the song as part of the festival protocol, and he knew exactly which tiny-handed wannabe dictator to direct its disgust at. He slapped together a grotesque trio of puppets to stand in for the band, and the fireworks they produce are nearly enough to rescue their world from their fate.

The Dames will be at the Entry on June 3.

Chad Erickson and the Untimely -- “Save Yourself”

This year, 2016 City Pages Best Music Video Director Mercies May has already teamed up with one regular partner, Ecid, and now he continues his victory lap by framing up constant collaborators Chad Erickson and the Untimely for their new single “Save Yourself.” CEATU are “a hard rock band that rocks so hard it will make you rock hard as a rock” and the video draws influence from B-horror to create a sleazy scene.

In “Save Yourself,” a night at the strip club turns into a sexy vampire misadventure (think From Dusk ‘Til Dawn) while the band does their best to escape with their arteries intact. The song itself is a devilish sneer that comes down with a meaty hammer towards the end -- just in time for the bloodshed.

Spencer Joles -- “Unfold”

Spencer Joles has a rich musical life outside of his surprise 2016 hip-hop collaboration with Nazeem. “Unfold” demonstrates that the sometimes-producer is also a wonderfully somber singer-songwriter.

The first track of the upcoming self-titled album, “Unfold” is a bout of self-exploration, with Joles traipsing bridges, riverbanks, and train tracks looking for understanding in the fallout of a broken relationship. The video is also directed by Joles, who seems to be undergoing a creative renaissance.

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