Minnesota never stops surprising you. Just when you thought it'd be safe to play an outdoor hockey game in the Gopher State in mid-February, the temps reach the 40s and turn all the ice in the Twin Cities into puddles. Capriciousness, our only guarantee.
But it's a birthright that's become the defining characteristic of the local music scene. You truly never know what you're gonna get when you open a Local Frames submission link. You think a band named "Poolboy" would be a surf-jam pop band. Nope. You think a song called "Vixen" would be rote and kinda disgusting. Try soothing and evocative. You think a young rapper's first visual cut would be sloppy or at least kinda rough. Not even close to the case.
Poolboy — "King of Cool"
Poolboy are the right kind of weird. Eccentric right down to the marrow, the Minneapolis five-piece of Brett Bjornrud, Travis Thorp, Jeff Dreblow, Johnny Kermott, and Seth Conover wrote a song about living (very literally) in one of their ex's heart and giving them asthma.
In fact, watching the bizarre lyrics scroll by the screen in their video for "King of Cool" is a trip that's on par with reading Salvador Dali's dream journal. Quirkiness pays big dividends in Minneapolis/St. Paul, so look for Poolboy's new EP — which they'll release Sunday at the Entry — to make a lasting impression in 2016.
Swisha Reese — "Still Here"
Twenty-year-old Swisha Reece has been in the game longer than his age might suggest. He's been rhyming since a young age, but he's yet to put together an album. At Local Frames, we're happy to feature the up-and-coming Southside representative's first video, the impassioned "Still Here," which was written in the aftermath of the Jamar Clark killing at the hands of Minneapolis police last year.
The song deals with the young MC's distrust of police and his disenchantment with the American attitude toward black people. In the heavily adlibbed song, Reese imagines his own death, a thought that's cut gaspingly short by the video's conclusion.
Badass Wolf Shirt — "Candles"
Every once in a while, you come across one of those band names that's absolutely, unignorably awesome. That's the case with Minneapolis doom-wave band Badass Wolf Shirt, whose moody, crushing drone is capitulated in the video for their new single "Candles."
The song plays against grainy stock footage like a post-modern Russian student film, the repetitive sounds building into a danceable madness. Like our favorite long-since-viral piece of nerd apparel, Badass Wolf Shirt comes with little explanation, subsisting off the immediate, shareable recognition that it's good.
Sonic Intension — "Vixen"
Neo-soul doesn't require a big budget, which is something that Minneapolis' Sonic Tension know well. The funky quintet formerly known as Electric Children only needed one room and one day to create the visual for their sensual new single "Vixen."
With the help of Renee Copeland and Genevieve Muench of Hiponymous, Sonic T took to the Hive and danced themselves clean. Full disclosure: A tambourine was harmed in the filming of "Vixen." Catch Sonic Intension at the Red Herring Lounge in Duluth on March 19.
Every rap crew needs a theme song, and Minneapolis' Team 100 set out to release their "Dipset Anthem" with their self-titled manifesto video. Headlined by SickDaPunchliner, the crew's relentlessly modulated trap anthem asserts them as the realest local team in the Cities.
A head-turning, mile-a-minute verse from Trap at the song's close is their best argument in favor of that claim. With a name like SickDaPunchLiner, you'd better roll with rappers who got bars, and that's exactly what this teamup proves.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].