Local Frames: New videos from the Starfolk, Toki Wright, SMMNR, and more
As the Twin Cities music scene grows, more and more artists are creating music that demands our attention. Combine the music with talented filmmakers locally and beyond, and you have a fruitful mix of distinct skills that generates more locally connected music videos than ever before.
While it's impossible to shine a spotlight on all of the great music video work going on around the area, Gimme Noise has created a regular segment called Local Frames, which will help bring some much deserved attention to a few of the standout videos of the moment from local bands or those filmed by local directors.
Here's our fifteenth installment of Local Frames, featuring ten recent video selections for your viewing pleasure.
The Starfolk - "From Above"
In advance of the Korda Records showcase at the Entry this Saturday night, one of the label's four bands, the Starfolk, released a new video for "From Above," a single which is drawn from their forthcoming debut record due out this April. The video was created by the Starfolk/Typsy Panthre member (and Korda Records co-founder) Allison LaBonne, and features elegant stop-frame clips shot through the windows of airplanes, which perfectly compliments Brian Tighe's (the Hang Ups/the Owls/Jeremy Messersmith) wistful, plaintive vocals and the simple strumming of his acoustic guitar. It's always peaceful from above, indeed.
Toki Wright - "No Gimmicks"
Insightful local MC Toki Wright is back with his fourth video from his blazing FADERS mixtape. "No Gimmicks" is over in a flash, leaving fans wishing for another verse or two from Wright over that fresh beat. The past year was a good one for Wright, musically, but other aspects of life proved taxing for the MC, which he openly recounts for the New Year's Edition of his Wright About Now podcast.
SMMNR - "Bleak House (Live on Radio K)"
Local ambient electronic duo SMMNR dropped by the Radio K studios recently and delivered an intoxicating set, which features this haunting take of "Bleak House." The group released a four-song EP, Peaks, at the end of 2012, and based on the moody inventiveness of those tracks, as well as their enthralling Radio K session, SMMNR should garner quite a bit more attention from the local music scene this year.
Knox - "Dying To Live"
Knox asks some big questions in "Dying To Live," a reflective track that lyrically tries to tackle how to truly be a man in today's world. The video was directed by local MC Greg Grease, and finds Knox strolling through a graveyard while searching for his way. The video launches with an impassioned plea from Tupac, which sets the tone for the rest of the track's weighty subject matter. "Dying To Live" is taken from Knox's recent album, Martyr Muzik.
Munqs - "Motions"
Local electro-pop crew Munqs bring an ethereal, textured sound to "Motions," a hypnotic track featuring the pensive vocals of Minneapolis native Corey Lawson, who also serves as the group's producer and main songwriter. Munqs was originally Lawson's solo project, but he has evolved the band to now feature six members. The video was directed by Ryan Melling, and the track comes from Munqs' recent EP, Thoughts. If you like what you hear, the group has an upcoming show at Memory Lanes on Friday, January 18.
How To Dress Well's mastermind Tom Krell and company delivered one of the shows of 2012 at the Entry back in December, and while the group was in town, they took a moment to drop by the hallowed studio of Radio K for a glorious live session. "& It Was U" is one of the group's more upbeat numbers, one that Krell insists is a dance song, and this slow-burning, funky version attests to that broad declaration. Krell's pitch-perfect falsetto vocals gracefully guides the song forward as the rest of the group provides sonic layers which gives the track a fresh kick.
Common Labor - "Burn Down The Old School"
Common Labor is comprised of Analyrical and Phingaz, and the duo is set to drop their debut record, Tales Of The Troubadours, on February 4. "Burn Down The Old School" is the first single taken from the album, and the track fluidly blends the melodic strum of an acoustic guitar with a bouncy beat over which the two-piece deliver their rhymes as well as a catchy poppy chorus. Common Labor are throwing a release party for their album at Hell's Kitchen on February 9, along with Guante, Mike the Martyr, and Kuley, which will be hosted by MaLLy.
Literati - "Modern Life"
Literati are a local duo featuring MC's Mercies May and Chris Caesar, and this somewhat disturbing clip for "Modern Life" (which was directed/shot/edited by May himself) tracks the sordid adventures of a down-on-his-luck monster who makes some bad decisions as his evening goes wrong. The catchy track is taken from Literati's forthcoming record, Fait Accompli , which is coming out soon on the Fill In The Breaks label.
Elskavon - "Fine Years"
Local singer/songwriter Chris Bartels is the leader of two fine local bands, Elskavon and Bora York, in addition to fronting the hybrid record label/production house Anthem Falls. This mournful track, "Five Years," is the closing number on Elskavon's recent record, Movements In Season, and the gorgeously retro video perfectly compliments the somber, stirring nature of the track itself. There's been some great pieces written about the distant past as of late, and this grainy clip of days gone by is another glimpse of the way things used to be. Whether the olden times were better or worse than things are now is entirely up to you to decide.
Michael Dermot - "No Through Road"
This found-footage horror film parody video for Michael Dermot's "No Through Road" was shot in Eden Prairie in October, and perfectly captures the fading fall splendor of Minnesota. The song itself, taken from Dermot's forthcoming new record, Pilot, belies the playfully menacing nature of the video, with a jaunty guitar hook guiding the breezy, Weezer-esque pop number forward.
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