It's an exceedingly rare moment of silence for my inbox, as bands and PR folks alike are too busy drinking Lonestar and shaking hands with the FLOTUS to be fielding new videos to Minneapolis alt weeklies. While they're out there hustling in the biggest music summit in the country, I got a nice reprieve from the ol' Gmail, though I was nervous this week's roundup would suffer for it. Not so.
Things were understandably quiet, but a handful of locals did manage to get a link sent my way for Local Frames. And a swell collection they are. We have a hand-painted vintage charmer, a live video from one of the state's undersold madmen, one of the weirdest rap songs I've ever heard, and a disproportionate amount of love for Winona.
Clementine — "Elephant and the Arctic Tern"
Director Chelsea Arden Parker really outdid herself in the video for Clementine's "Elephant and the Arctic Tern." Using shadow puppetry, rotoscope animation, and painted Super 88 film, she cast an ominous vision for the Minneapolis lo-fi impresarios.
It's like a really PG, 2D Tool video from the early '90s set to soothing, reverb-laced indie rock. Clementine are currently touring the country behind their LP Crooked Brain, but they'll be back home in Duluth on April 2 at Studio15.
Alex Crankshaft Larson — "We Ain't Got No Chicken" (Live)
Alex "Crankshaft" Larson is a goddamn madman, and if you don't believe me, check out the rabble-rousing live video for his atypical blues-country stomper "We Ain't Got No Chicken." In the video, Crankshaft sits among his fans as they sing back the nonsensically catchy refrain, drinking in his contagious madness.
There are no details about where the performance was filmed, and the only detail provided is that it's from sometime in 2015, but suffice it to say this is what every Crankshaft gig ends up looking like. Come on in and see what he got goin' on at Russel's Bar & Grill in Annandale on March 25.
CRAM — "Lamb"
CRAM's drugged out vision of hip-hop is half Young Thug and half Yung Lean. The trio of Janitarjones, Tommy Bathwater, and Juan Lobsternostrils is a Dadaist interpretation of both grime culture and traditional rap, and the video for "Lamb" — from "CRAM" Vol, 1 — really just adds to all the confusion.
The vocals are sublimated so far behind the beat that every verse sounds like an extended sample; the Minneapolis posse remove a lot of the personality from the song, leaving only shadows of their absurd personas. The video, directed by Sam Wayne, plays like a beat-up old VHS that you'd find jammed in a Salvation Army tape deck. You might've caught some of the steez Friday night at Cabooze.
Sleeping Jesus — "California At Dawn"
Nick Elstad's voice is a dreamweaver. The Winona musician rasps a breath above a whisper in his band Sleeping Jesus' new song "California at Dawn," which was released Saturday as the first single from the band's April 1 EP Perennial.
It's a little Beach House and a little burned out, but the haze of lens flares and overexposure give the video an almost existential malaise that melts across the screen. Sleeping Jesus will celebrate Perennial at Ed's No Name Bar (more on that place in a second) on April 2, so you can enjoy Californian bummer jams in the crisp night air of Winona.
Weathered Heads and Friends — "Get Away"
Members of General B and the Wiz, Ali and the Scoundrels, Driftwood Bones, Church Dads, and Dan Dimonte and the Bad Assettes joined Weathered Heads for an Insight-sponsored Winona lovefest. Insight's brewer Ilan Klages-Mundt is from the Island City, as are Weathered Heads, and the jamboree was set up as a celebration of the Winona-centered Weathered Eds weekend, which took place at local watering hole Ed’s No-Name Bar in February.
In the spirit of the weekend, they got a whole room of friends to sing along enthusiastically to their song "Get Away," mixing in a marching band's worth of instrumentation. The video was, of course, filmed in Winona at St. Mary's University by C-Side Productions and Phaux Pas Photography. Weathered Heads will be back in their home city on April 30 for the Mid West Music Fest.