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

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Nick Jordan contemplates life as a lion, other things.

While the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are being assassinated by snowfall, we here in the Midwest are sittin' pretty with perfect broomball weather. But Local Frames has been undergoing a precipitous week, too, with scads of new videos raining down on my inbox. It's been the most prosperous week since the column's re-launch, and honestly, it's a bit of a conundrum.

Though it feels good to have so many established and up-and-coming artists reaching out to us for exposure, the increased submissions also means an increase in videos that had to be cut from the roundup. Some were easy to say no to — like the Kentucky rapper who sent me a video of a freestyle — but most were a laborious decision.

After much examination and duress, I've settled on this handful from Liam Gerard, Graveyard Club, Vicky Emerson, Nick Jordan, and Rick McLean. A sincere thank you to everyone whose name does not appear here. Please keep submitting new local videos!

Liam Gerard — "Ice Skating"

Liam Gerard dropped the video for "Ice Skating" a little while ago, but now that the songwriter is gearing up to release his follow-up video for "Your Name," it's worth revisiting the spare, emotional burn of "Ice Skating" one more time. Like much of music found on Gerard's debut Belle and Music, "Ice Skating" is a piano-driven ballad that oscillates through joy and desperation.

The seething ballet at the center of the video is a dramatic yet apt embodiment of the song's frustration and exalt. Through it all, there's Gerard's mountainous voice, which aches until the very last notes. See Gerard (and maybe cry just a little bit) this Friday at New Century Theatre.

Graveyard Club — "Fire in the Sky"

New-wave musicians aren't exactly known for their rich tans, but that didn't stop local synth rockers Graveyard Club from writing an ode to the sun. "Fire in the Sky," off 2014's Nightingale, combines retro educational videos about the universe with Graveyard Club's soaring vocals and New Order-influenced beats.

It's no wonder the Minneapolis brooders were included among Daytrotter's favorite songs of 2015. Graveyard Club have no upcoming shows on the docket, but that's actually good news. These days, they're spending their time in the studio recording a followup album to be out this year.

Vicky Emerson — "Long Gone"

"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." That's ominous epigraph that begins the video for Vicky Emerson's scorned lover ode "Long Gone." The Americana artist then proceeds to hunt down the woman who betrayed her in a grungy old warehouse, leading to an ending just as ominous as the beginning.

Though Emerson celebrated the release of her new LP Wake Me When the Wind Dies Down last night at Icehouse, she's right back at it tonight at Morningside Community Church in Edina playing a free coffeehouse. Also, have you read Youa Vang's Q&A with Emerson? You should. In it, Emerson talks a bit about how having children gave her the confidence to pull off the revenge narrative in "Long Gone."

Nick Jordan — "Flavors"

You know that disgusting limestone enclave in Minnehaha Park where dipshit teens carve their names? It's not a very romantic or profound place, but in his new video for "Flavors," soul artist Nick Jordan makes it feel like a sacred space. The video, which features Jordan donning a fuzzy lion costume, is a synthesis of The Lion King and Where the Wild Things Are, a context Jordan uses to explain the loneliness he feels in his singular quest for success in the music industry.

We spoke with the 21-year-old crooner back in October when his debut NJ dropped, and since then, he's been working hard to gain traction in the local scene. This self-directed music video is only the latest evidence that Jordan won't be a no-name much longer. Hopefully you caught his set on Friday at the Dakota, but if not, look for his name on fliers around town.

Rick McLean — "St. James"

Duluth has its own version of Flogging Molly in brogued-out singer/songwriter Rick McLean. Showing shades of blues, folk, and punk, McLean's song "St. James" from his 2015 EP Coupla Focal follows the sordid exploits of a fallen saint as he goes about trying to corrupt others while "drinkin' bourbon whiskey" and "snortin' crack cocaine."

There's nothing redeemable about the titular St. James, as evidenced by the disgusted looks he gets while McLean snarls his backstory, but the song itself is a spirited 1:58 that's great conversion fodder for the young artist. It's also much, much better than Flogging Molly.

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


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