Local Frames: This week's 5 must-see Minnesota music videos

Jillian Rae

Jillian Rae

Holy jumpin' up and down, it's cold outside. Winter is here in the most painful way, so here are some music videos to distract you from the fact that, eventually, you'll run out of food and have to leave the house.

Even though Dan Israel wants to remind you, from the comfort of your office/home office/parents' dining room that it is an icy hellscape outside, J.Plaza's triumphant cypher should give you the gall to test the temperature. Likewise, the sheer bliss of FireFlyForest's latest song and video should keep the positive vibes going (until the frostbite sets in, at least). Jillian Rae's take on a Donovan standard will be all the warmth you need to recover from that, though, and we've got a premiere that'll resuscitate you down to the core.

Dan Israel — "Winter Is Coming"

Minneapolis singer-songwriter Dan Israel is an easy musician to root for. As anyone on the receiving end of his PR distribution list can attest, the guy is a relentless hustler, and any press he gets is not enough return on that hustle. In "Winter is Coming," the folky lyricist unwinds a love story that's bleak as the season it's named for. As the Tom Petty-esque bridge of "What can you do but give in?" lands flatly, the band of Katie Gearty (vocals), Mike Lane (bass), James Tyler O'Neill (keys), Dave Russ (drums), and Paul Odegaard (trumpet) take us through the last days of fall into the still despair of full-on winter. We don't necessarily need Dan's visions of a frosted Lake of the Isles to remind us that the temperature outside is in the negative, but the Dan standout song helps us make peace with the fact that it'll be over in a matter of months.

J.Plaza — "Minnesota Alarm"

You remember J.Plaza, right? His last collaboration with cereal films "Coffin" landed him in Local Frames, and now the talented, boisterous twosome are back, wrecking a beat from the East Flatbush Project. Plaza goes through the 2:47 of the song without so much as a chorus, ripping through the video in a single take. The most dramatic punchline comes when Plaza gets topical, bringing in meme-ified Mrs. Universe host Steve Harvey to rap, "No phone numbers, but I want them digits / Oh, you think you had the crown, Steve Harvey, please come and fix this." You can almost hear the chorus of OOOOHHHHs erupt right after he drops it. Easily one of the best battle bars to come out of Minnesota in the young year.

FireFlyForest — "Soft Equation"

There aren't enough bands with tapdancing lead singers, and Minneapolis' FireFlyForest is out to fix that. The eclectic world fusion band features an accordion, a French horn, and like 50 kinds of drums in the 6-minute groove "Soft Equation," which starts as innocent as possible before warping into a truly trippy vision. It takes a couple listens to fully process the spirit of the song, but luckily FireFlyForest have made the audio downloadable on their Bandcamp. You can also make the journey to Bedlam Lowertown on January 23 to see if that helps. There's something deeply enchanted about the giddy collective, so don't be too surprised if they actually turn into pink gorillas when they play "Soft Equation."

Jillian Rae — "Superlungs My Super Girl"

Common Culture is back again! After a double feature last week, the Minneapolis creative engine has returned with a visual for Jillian Rae's cover of the "Superlungs My Supergirl." The Iron Range native's take on the 1969 Donovan classic is predictably psychedelic and moody, but with Rae's silky voice and an overly funkified backbeat taking over, the song gains a new level of sultriness. The reinterpretation comes as part of Rock the Cause's Gazing with Tranquility, a tribute to Donovan that puts the Minneapolis multi-instrumentalist alongside the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Lissie and the Flaming Lips. As the video shows, Rae has the mood-making magnetism to stand alongside those beacons unchallenged.

Liam Gerard — "Your Name"

Meet up-and-coming blues/country singer Liam Gerard, whose new single "Your Name" is heartbreakingly sweet. It's a song about being utterly devoted to your muse, culminating with the touching platitude "I swear I'll love you like I've never been torn apart." Gerard will be releasing an official video for the song and playing cuts from his October release Belle and Music on January 29 at the New Century Theatre

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