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

If the music editor of City Pages is Jay DUMB, this has gotta be Jay Smart.

If the music editor of City Pages is Jay DUMB, this has gotta be Jay Smart.

We were blessed with another glut of local music videos this week, thanks in large part to the popularity of NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. Local singer-songwriters and bands were coming out of the woodwork to strip down and cram themselves into small spaces to make semi-intimate submissions for the podcasting news outlet. The winner gets to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR's D.C. office. And, since I had so many Local Frames submissions that also went to NPR, I snuck in two bonus videos this week.

But there's a lot more here besides just quasi-acoustic storyteller stuff. We have a live video from everybody's favorite revamped venue in St. Paul, a low-budget statement piece from a local rap crew, a soaring alt rock ripper, and a calculated cut from up-and-comer Baby Shel. My beard and I even make an appearance in one of these videos. Happy hunting!

Baby Shel — "Baby Shel's World"

I've talked about Baby Shel a lot lately, both in our print issue and in Go96.3. The truth is, he's an easy guy to believe in. His tireless hustle and extremely precise flow make him one of the most galvanizing forces in the Twin Cities. In the video for "Baby Shel's World" — the title track of the Ojibwe rapper's latest mixtape — Shel gives viewers a glance into his come-up.

We see the real-life Sheldon Cook Jr. arrive at his friend Nic Swisher's house to begin recording the mixtape, and from there, we follow Shel into the Go95.3 studios where he's interviewed by Peter Parker. The climax of the video comes from Shel's incendiary set at First Ave's Best New Bands showcase last month, where we see the Rez Rap Records founder snacking on the famous Glam Doll donuts headliners receive. The video was premiered over at Breaks x Lakes last Monday.

Version 5 — "Take You There"

Brothers Andy and Spencer Olsen have put a ton of polish into their new video for "Take You There." The Version 5 members have turned a stadium rocker into a Hollywood-ready visual. From afront a layer of smoke, the two brothers rock out prodigiously. You could've almost pictured the video being intercut with tackles and Hail Marys as part of yesterday's Super Bowl send-up footage, that's how rousing the three-and-a-half-minute alt rock anthem is. Think Linkin Park without the rapping or Puddle of Mudd with some goddamn competence. Bemidji, Minnesota, locals can see V5 at Toddy's on Saturday.

Racc Chassirs — "The Struggle"

Racc Chassiers' ambition is all in the name. The Minneapolis collective of JayDON, 2WIN, Skesus, and Cball are out there trying to make it off of hip-hop, a grind that's lamented in their latest crew cut "The Struggle." The song comes from label owner 2WIN's upcoming 2 World Order mixtape, and the video features the four rappers soldiering through a frozen Swing Bridge Park as they extoll the evidence for why they should be the next rap group to blow up out of Minneapolis. Though it is 2WIN's cut, the most convincing verse comes from Skesus, who closes his stanza with the punch up "Racc Chassin' to stack paper, man, it ain't finna stop / Get it with me or get left, we on our way to the top."

Erik Koskinen — "Nothing Without You" (Live at the Turf Club)

Erik Koskinen's grimy black-and-white video for "Nothing Without You" makes the new Turf Club feel like the old Turf Club. The outlaw rock 'n' rolla just wrapped a residency at the Turf, and he's homaging that time with this throwback celluloid. Through the song's fat, George Thorogood-esque licks, he wails, all in black, in his forlorn voice for a lover now gone. Most of the son's emotion comes through his guitar and not the microphone, to the point where you can almost feel the beer spilling as the crown empathetically sways along. Koskinen will return to the Turf on Valentine's Day to sing some (hopefully more) romantic songs.

Jay Smart, Oklahoma, and William Within — Tiny Desk Contest submissions

In celebration of the star-reaching cohort of Minnesota artists who submitted to NPR's Tiny Desk Contest, we have a threefer to close out this week's Local Frames.

We start with Jay Smart, the young Kenyan singer-songwriter who's hoping to turn his sparse rendition of "Television Girl" into a launchpad for his career. With a voice as arresting as his, that outcome seems possible, even among the large pool of stargazers he's competing against.

Second, Minneapolis' Oklahoma checks in with tinsel to try and sway the judges with their nasally, delicate "Talking Cheap." In the spirit of most Tiny Desk concerts, the confines they recorded in are incredibly tight, a bonus that'll surely endear them to viewers.

Lastly, William Within's whispered "Amuse Me" — which trades aching repose with sudden cacophony — closes out the trio of contestants. "Amuse Me" feels like barebones Tool or violin-laden prog rock, and seeing the band perform sans amps in a living room is a really cool dynamic that could easily find itself in the winning echelon. Good luck to all Minneapolis hopefuls!

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