Mesmerized psych-rapper Malik Augustus has a close encounter of the rad kind in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Malik Augustus, photo by Harrison Barden

Malik Augustus, photo by Harrison Barden

How do we do better?

After a long conversation with new City Pages music editor Keith Harris this weekend, that question stuck in my mind. How do we, as a media entity, do a better job spotlighting local music? How do we do it in a way that benefits readers – always our first priority -- while also supporting the musicians we feature? How do we become more representative?

The answer to that question is obtuse and long-winded and still in process, but Keith and I agreed that it starts here, in Local Frames. This is City Pages’ most democratic column, and I’ve always valued it as a place where upstarts get their first press clippings, a place to explore scenes we’ve traditionally under-served.

The five videos featured here every Monday are just a start. This may be the first place you hear of some of these artists, but if the column works as I’m hoping it will, it won’t be the last.

Malik Augustus -- “Trip”

Malik Augustus and the team at Young Vision Films must’ve watched a lot of Are You Afraid of the Dark? back in the day, judging by their new collaborative video “Trip.” The team of Gabe Hostetler, Nathan Casey, and Daniel Laumann put Augustus in his jammies and sent him into the woods to set up an eerie scene for his repurposed psych-rap track.

Bathed in the extraterrestrial light of his staticky TV, Augustus raps with an almost mesmerized flow. There’s a free-associative quality to the rhymes, as the heady Augustus voices whatever visions come into his head during the trance. “Trip” is the interlude track on Augustus’ new jBird-produced EP, Lucidity.

New Sound Underground -- “Something About Today”

Minneapolis instrumental wundergroup New Sound Underground don’t need flashy visuals or narrative arcs to draw you in. The jazzcentric jam band are fascinating to watch in real time, where you can see how the many instruments and sounds of the six-piece work together.

That’s why New Sound went for a bare-bones in-studio video for their new song “Something About Today.” Cameraman Rubens Mello floats through the group’s studio at Hideaway like an invisible eyeball, capturing one solo after the next. It’s an intriguing look into the complexities and subtleties of the band -- who are currently at work on a new record, don’cha know.

Mike the Martyr -- “Power” (Ft. #ArtByMixie)

Mike the Martyr, City Pages' Best Producer in 2016, is off to a productive 2017 already, producing a slew of tracks for himself and others. But nothing he’s cooked up before quite resembles his new song with #ArtByMixie. Its title a truncated version of the Pussy Power rallying cry, “Power” is a spacey, blurry ode to the female anatomy, with both genders bowing down to the strength of the vagina.

This is a real anomaly in the hip-hop tradition, where hypermasculinity is champion and pussy usually only comes up is when male rappers discuss how transactionary and weak it is compared to themselves. The song comes from Martyr’s recent LP Alexander Dopedeal.

Cold Sweat -- “I’m Alright, I’m OK” (Ft. Doc McFly)

North Dakota rapper Cold Sweat considers “I’m Alright, I’m OK” his favorite song. According to him, it’s the song crowds get most hype for, and so the rhythmic MC decided to enlist Out Here Visuals to put together a video for the song to promote his upcoming Aight, Tight Tour.

The video, filmed in Minot, North Dakota, showcases the bleak-ass winterland Cold Sweat hails from and provides some insight into the world that made him. Throughout the song, Sweat apologizes for not having his shit together, all the while promoting his hedonistic, haphazard lifestyle. It’s an unpretentious look into the life of Cold Sweat, who will be at Nomad on March 5 with his group Zen People.

Bootsnake and the Girl -- “Love It, Hate It” (lyric video)

Few bands are as creative with their lyric videos as Minneapolis newcomers Bootsnake and the Girl. For “Love It, Hate It” (off their self-titled debut, which drops March 7) they turned their lyric sheet into found art that manifests across the refuse of different cities. From dilapidated carnival rides to the marquees of old theaters, the words to their despondent grunge song appear, almost taking the viewer by surprise.

On the album, Bootsnake lean heavily toward the Nirvana sound, with “Love It, Hate It” showing shades of In Utero all over. But with more than 20 years having passed since the grunge fad, Bootsnake’s decadent, indulgent sound feels invigorated and informed by two decades of alternative rock like Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots.

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