Is Super Bowl Sunday the worst day for the arts in America?
Everything else stops when the NFL’s best take to the gridiron in the league’s February championship. The rest of the world -- from television series to movie releases to video drops -- halts dead in its tracks. Not even the Grammys or the Oscars can measure up to the way that the Super Bowl shuts down all other entertainment.
Now that the 51st contest is over and the New England Patriots are your world champions, everything else can resume, and the American attention bandwidth can be devoted to nobler causes. Start with these five music videos from local bands that you missed while you were neck-deep in wings and Grain Belts.
Maple & Beech -- “Cavers”
The latest single for electro-pop band Maple & Beech, “Cavers,” is about distraction and the struggle to stay present and engaged. To capture the feeling visually, band members Tyler Tholl and Pete James Johnson, director Jon Klaye, and filmmaker Justin Tholl returned to their old stomping grounds -- St. Cloud’s The Skatin’ Place -- to try and tap into the simpler days of their youth.
Featuring the blissful dancing of Nicole Wilder, the video shows the release that comes with unburdening yourself from technology and giving yourself fully to the moment -- and to the music of that moment. You can imagine losing yourself in the song’s blithe keys and ecumenical bass just like Wilder does as she traipses across the empty floor bathed in neon.
Catch Maple & Beech at the ACLU benefit show at Reverie on February 17 with William Within and Summer Carols.
Daniel Choma -- “Emma Goldman”
If you like No Bird Sing, Haley Bonar, Desdemona, Guante, or Rogue Valley, then you’ve probably heard of Daniel Choma. The Twin Cities multi-instrumentalist and visual artist plays drums in Emot and leads Toni Wolff's Dream Wedding, and on February 10, he’ll release his second solo album -- a collection titled East Side to Silver City that leads with the new single “Emma Goldman," named for the pre-WWII anarchist feminist.
The lyrics of the opening stanza draw inspiration from Goldman’s fiery history, but from there she becomes more of a symbol of unsuppressable resolve -- an idea that Tessa Cicak’s video captures tragically. The video opens with Choma awaking in the austere woods, following a mysterious string. But all that appears are horrors, and he eventually collapses again to sleep, in a metaphor for the bleak desperation of being “an agent of positive change in a world that seems impervious to change,” in Choma’s words.
Choma will release East Side to Silver City on February 10 at East Side’s Humble Cup Coffee Shop.
Tall Paul -- “No Questions”
Minneapolis rapper Tall Paul has never sounded more galvanizing than on his newest cut, “No Questions.” Over a pulsing, anxiety-inducing beat provided by Rube, Paul tells the parallel tales of George Stinney and Tamir Rice -- two black youths executed by the police 70 years apart from one another -- delivering with a steely determination that never relents.
The video, directed by Mercies May, illustrates the disparity between how cops deal with suspects of different skin tones. We see a knife-waving white man gently talked down and apprehended while an innocent black man in a hoodie is gunned down without question. “I wanted to reintroduce the grey of human nature into a situation that is often reduced to the crudest black and white of propaganda,” May said of the video, which dripped via Mic this weekend. The song comes from Paul’s most recent LP, The No Good Good Guy.
Mithya -- “Ashes”
Flame often represents catharsis, but in Mithya’s newest video for “Ashes,” it stands for the opposite. A few years ago, the St. Paul metal band lost most of their belongings in a house fire that also claimed the life of Lee Mintz’s roommate. Now, the band has channeled the anger and sadness of that experience into an emotionally charged single that poetically recounts the fire and the months of grief afterwards.
Captured in an intimate blur, the video shows the band hurling their despair into the lens of director/editor Jesse Lynch. As Mintz and his bandmates thrash and headbang, you feel their pain being released. Though no greater understanding is reached, the trauma is exorcised, and the embers cool to ashes.
Blinds -- “Some Thing for No Thing”
Austen Browne shot a heist short not knowing that his brother’s band would have a perfect soundtrack. Lucky for Blinds, Browne’s camerawork turned out to be the perfect companion for their fidgety lo-fi punk. The feverish, impressionistic video for “Some Thing for No Thing” follows a man with a mysterious briefcase as he flees capture.
“Some Thing for No Thing” is the title track of Blinds’ latest EP, released on January 26. Its six tunes reach back to post-grunge bands like Blind Melon, to Bad Brains and, incongruous as it seems, to Vampire Weekend -- a lot of sounds for a bare-bones garage band out of the Mill City.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]