Mall goths, frozen rivers, and Rhymesayers camaraderie in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Ness Nite

Ness Nite YouTube

Did you know Minneapolis International Film Festival has a local music video showcase?

Me neither, till I got an email this week from the MSP Film Society with a heads up about their 2018 edition. That’s good to hear. Though music videos tend to be more DIY and are often self-directed, they’re a valid art form. Why shouldn’t they be counted among features, documentaries, and shorts?

The 37th annual MSPIFF is April 12-28. Keep your eye out for the best local vids of 2017 in the program when it’s released.

Ness Nite—“Tightrope”

Former Picked to Click finalist Ness Nite may have skipped town for New York City, but when the 22-year-old singer/rapper/producer dropped her new album Dream Girl last week, her hometown took notice. The midpoint of that release is the empowered Mike Frey joint “Tightrope,” which made its music video debut two days before the record. In the video, which Nite directed alongside Lisa Persson, Nite escapes from some metaphorical binds to free herself from the criticisms and expectations that others have set for her.

Sleeping Jesus—“Cigarette Skies” (PREMIERE)

Winona mood-makers Sleeping Jesus have the perfect vibe for Super 8 film—the delightfully vintage garage-pop band sounds like something you’d discover in a bin of 45s at an estate sale. Their 2017 EP House Plants kicked open the door with “Cigarette Skies,” which now gets the camcorder treatment along the banks of the fully winterized St. Croix.


The creative commons is not only a source of good edits for your music video—it’s also a trove of aesthetic inspiration. Local low-fi absurdists Catbath dug deep into the animations of old to create the visual for their new song “Scuttlebutt,” collaging together a disturbing peek into the past. From Humpty Dumpty to a claymation smiling spider, the band finds some of the oddest relics to align with their “swinging scoo-wop-diddy” (their words) of a song.

Wellness—“Fake Flowers”

Ever wondered what Jordan Gatesmith of Howler did after his moment of indie stardom? Gatesmith now lives in L.A. and makes dreamy slacker rock as part of Wellness, and he’s releasing a new EP, Mall Goth, on April 6 on Forged Artifacts. For the appropriately nu-metal-happy video for lead single “Fake Flowers,” we follow Gatesmith and his gang of lipsticked misfits as they cruise the mall trying to awaken the spirit of Michael Jackson. Carley Solether directs the angsty seance.

Evidence ft. Slug—“Powder Cocaine”

Another L.A. artist, Dilated Peoples MC Evidence has been adopted into the Twin Cities music scene ever since signing his deal with Rhymesayers back in 2011. He released his third album on the label in January, though locals have largely slept on Weather or Not. To drum up some more local love, he’s released a video for “Powdered Cocaine,” which features a verse from local superhero Slug. Jason Goldwatch directs the video, and the beat is provided by longtime Evidence homie the Alchemist.

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