Frankness is not always a welcome trait in the Minnesota music scene. In a place where back-patting and good vibes are more important than criticism, detraction is equal to sedition.
Many have bemoaned this music version of Minnesota Nice, and I'll be talking to Carnage the Executioner (you might remember his "Minnesota Mean" vid from a January entry of Local Frames) about it tomorrow. Coming from Massachusetts — one of the most curmudgeonly and enthusiasm-devoid cultures in America — it's been hard for me to adapt to this local aversion to criticism.
At the end of the day, every word published on this website and paper are in service of the local bands and fans. It's important to keep that in mind. We're very, very happy to write kind words when they're warranted, and the negative reviews really fucking suck to write, but they're just as important. We don't gain anything by coming off as crabby hipsters, but the audience does (in theory, anyway).
I'm overjoyed to write this column because it's an opportunity to give praise where it's always due. I've built strong relationships with artists because of it, and it's earned me more goodwill than I probably deserve. But just keep in mind that things can't rightfully be this sunny all the time.
OSO — "Head in the Clouds"
"Oso" is Spanish for "bear," but that might not be what Minneapolis' Christopher Williams was going for with his new far-out project OSO. As their February EP Goodhue demonstrated, there isn't much that's bear-ish in their lonesome electronica.
Their video for "Head in the Clouds" features one of the strongest symbols of isolation imaginable — a spaceman who wanders an empty town searching for companionship and finding none. Directed by James Christenson and premiered via Noisey, the video pairs with the song's repetitious existential sigh of, "So why fight it?" More about Williams' journey to OSO via writer Youa Vang here.
Tufawon — "Lucid Dream"
South Minneapolis' Tufawon was too poor to travel as a child, but his burgeoning career as a rapper has earned him the chance to finally trip out to other countries — an enlightening experience he shares on his new single for "Lucid Dreams."
His whole new EP, The Send-Off , follows the young MC's path to his global perspective, and the video for "Lucid Dream" contains footage of that arrival, being shot in Cuba, Colombia, and of course Minneapolis. It's directed by Tufawon himself as well as Maddie Harrison and was edited by Alan Taverna.
Prince Cray — "Fuck It Up!"
1619 Mafia Music is a local trap label that specializes in making punchline-heavy bangers. Prince Cray's latest, "Fuck It Up!," positions the Minneapolis rapper as one of the label's best-equipped for doing just that.
Over a scant, chorus-less runtime, he rips through bar after bar of boasts, fucking up the beat more and more as he layers the rhymes. In a city where every rapper's trying to prove themselves as the most ruthless, Prince Cray does a pretty convincing job entering his name into the conversation.
Roads of Glass — "King Me Pt. 2"
Local hardcore band Roads of Glass already have an apocalyptic sound, and their new video takes that to literal ends. "King Me Pt. 2" — which comes to us courtesy of directors Rico Roman and Tom Mandery — is a vision of the zombie apocalypse.
But it's more than just blood spatter and brain lust, as their video tells the story of lovers torn apart by the downfall of society. It ends as you might expect. The single comes from their recent LP King Me, which is purchasable here.
Botzy — "Awe Gawd"
Polkadot Mayhem owner and local emcee Botzy has already dropped two singles from his summer 2016 album I’ll Be Underground When I’m Dead Vol. 2., "Gwen Stefani" and "Flowers," and last week he added another to the flurry via URB Mag. "Awe God" — or at least the KPT remix that's been released — is one of Botzy's most industrial cuts, with sinister keys hovering above enormous, fuzzy bass.
Directed by go-to Minneapolis rap director Adam J. Dunn, the video features slow-motion chaos, and our buddy Astronautalis even makes a cameo popping a bottle of champagne with a look of utter madness on his face. Botzy's next show is scheduled for April 22 at Amsterdam Bar & Hall.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].