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

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Carnage thinks you're "Minnesota Mean."

January is the month of isolation, which is probably why four of our five videos this week are from solo artists.

The year's first month welcomes temperatures in the single digits, and it's a great incubation period for bedroom artists to hunker down and binge record music. It's the enemy of collaboration. Though there was a great deal of teamwork that went into creating these videos, 80 percent of the songs here come from solo artists.

First we have an undersold Twin Cities rapper gettin' mean about Minnesota Nice, then singer-songwriters Sam Cassidy, Ben Cook-Feltz, and Dave Sandersfeld treat us to some of their singular acoustic vision. In the end, Reflectivroe come all the way from Duluth to show us that humanity is probably at it's best when we join together. 

Carnage the Executioner — "Minnesota Mean"

Local emcee/beatboxer Carnage the Executioner doesn't think like like most Minnesotans. He prefers to shoot straight, eschewing the social niceties Minnesotans use to pad their language. The gifted lyricist isn't afraid to speak his mind, and that's exactly what he does on his latest single, "Minnesota Mean." The song starts innocently enough with an anecdote about miffing a coworker for being too direct, but it gradually evolves into an outright criticism of the local music scene. Carnage struggles to understand why, even with his abilities, he still doesn't fit in the local music scene.

Is it because his pants aren't tight enough or because he doesn't invest in green living? Perhaps. Maybe it's because folks around the Twin Cities have a hard time handling someone so confrontational. The video is the result of a collaboration between Killing Joke Films and Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, pairing visual arts professionals with students on the project. The combined teams will do a video for every song off Carnage's upcoming album, Ravenous. 

Sam Cassidy — "Hallelujah"

If you missed Sam Cassidy's video release party on Friday, then you missed the conclusion to the story he's been crafting in his last two videos. Beginning with his single for "Reason to Stay," Cassidy's songs follow the deteriorating spiral of a man, played by local actor Eric Pierson, whose self-destructive wave ends him in front of the Turf Club. "Hallelujah" provides some more backstory to the man's evening, showing him bartering for fingers of Jim Beam as he gradually loses his grip on reality. Both songs come off Cassidy's 2014 collection of sordid spirituals, Debts.

Dave Sandersfeld — "Better Than This"

Unheralded local singer-songwriter Dave Sandersfeld is mainly a YouTube cover artist, but unlike many of the ukulele-bearing twee clickmongers, Sandersfeld doesn't make his followers cringe when he releases original material. Sandersfeld's careful voice and soothing guitar bathe "Better Than This" in emotional flourishes, and the video's bare-bones, confessional style only add to the intimacy.

The song, which is off the young troubadour's upcoming debut EP, is, in Sandersfeld's own words, about "craving something better and the people that stick with you through each new phase of yourself." If it sounds generic, it's not. It's tonic for a lonely afternoon delivered by a guy you should expect to see more of in the coming year.

Ben Cook-Feltz — "Run Around"

Seems like every edition of Local Frames comes with an animated video, and this week's comes courtesy of Adobe wiz Colby Ortmann, who lends his quirky art to Ben Cook-Feltz's new single "Run Around." The extremely Ben Folds-ian piano jig comes from Cook-Feltz's 2015 LP She Doesn't Believe Me, which, judging by the content of the song, was birthed more of necessity than vanity.

Cook-Feltz's songwriting seems to suggest that he'd literally drive himself insane if he didn't put his words and thoughts into song, and the manic outro to "Run Around" is probably the best evidence of that. Come see him perform his therapy at Ginkgo Coffeehouse on Thursday, January 28.

Reflectivore — "Red Looking Glass"

Duluth's Reflectivore partnered with True Norse Films to create the perfect companion for their moody, experimental rock. Led by filmmaker Kjell Kvanbeck, Reflectivore took the sprawling "Red Looking Glass" and turned it into a narrative that follows a lost child and a man chained to a piano.

What it all means is a little unclear, but there's an instantly recognizable beauty in the joy of the two lonely protagonists finding each other. Luckily, Reflectivore's Ryan Rusch and Allen Cragin go into much more detail about the grief and sorrow that spurred the song's creation in this behind-the-scenes video that makes the incredibly powerful song/video even more powerful.

RED LOOKING GLASS from Kjell Kvanbeck on Vimeo.


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