As we inch closer to 2017, the organizational compulsions in writers start to kick in.
Before it’s even December, blogs are quantifying and compiling -- trying to distill a year’s worth of music into a digestible, seemingly objective ranking. Now, we can argue about the futility of that exercise and the heresy of assigning scientific metrics to art, but the fact is end of the year lists aren’t going anywhere. Artists may reject them, but readers really value having the complexity of a year distilled onto a single page.
Album on the Year, Artist of the Year, Rookie of the Year, whatever -- these designations aren’t designed as services to the artists. Magazines don’t drop lists to gas up those atop the rankings. They do it effectively communicate to their audience. While a Top 10 might not be the justice you think your album deserves, just know that there’s a reader somewhere thankful for the simplicity that got it there.
CHVNSV -- “Face” (feat. GainesFM)
With his crew Vice Boys, rapper CHVNSV (pronounced “Chansa”) makes ominous hip-hop steeped in grease and grime. But on his own, the Minneapolis emcee is caustic and chaotic.
Every bar he growls drips with danger. His stage presence activates survival instincts in your skin. Local Frames homie GainesFM is a little less visceral, but on the pair’s new team up “Face,” he takes CHVNSV’s challenge to go harder and rips out a verse that makes your blood run cold. In the video by Nate P. Productions, the two wyle out, going savage in the chorus as they pose in hotels and bedrooms flanked by women. What makes the video unique is the Microsoft Paint-quality graphics painted in over their eyes.
These two don’t need to be gussied up in After Effects. All they need is a Crayola scribble framing their shoulders. Simple and effective.
Nathan Walker -- “Bobby”
Nathan Walker’s 2016 album Bobby is an autobiographical time capsule of Walker’s youth in Wisconsin. It follows the singer-songwriter as he grows from an insecure boy to a struggling college student who leaves his hometown.
“Bobby,” the melancholic title track, traces the divergent path between Walker and his touch football buddy Bobby, who never leaves their rural hometown, providing Walker with a grounding presence during the stresses of his adolescence. In the DIY video, Walker provides glimpses of the humble town, giving a perfect backdrop to the homey, John Prine vocals that ramble by matter-of-factly in the background. It feels like a home video, and that loving touch makes the characters of “Bobby” feel like pictures in your own photo album.
Walker will be bringing his earnest folk to the 7th St. Entry on Wednesday and Seward Cafe on Thursday.
Primal Feelings -- “Ghostin’”
Those in the local electro-pop inner circle may have been treated to a screening of Primal Feelings’ newest Conner Evert-directed video last Wednesday. But for the rest of us, the duo of Jake Rudin and Marios Nicolaides have dropped off the absurd video for “Ghostin’” right here.
Borrowing heavily from “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the intro, the video takes many stylistic turns as the turtlenecked musicians fall in and out of love with a purple-haired woman. This is all before the hand drums and recorders come in and the whole thing turns into a wacky world music abduction scene. The whole video is a trip that I’m still struggling to comprehend, but the good news is that it’s all great entertainment. I’m not sure if Primal Feelings are supposed to be the Lonely Island or Kenny G, but it’s probably not productive to ask questions.
As the video shows, the best way to negotiate the insecurities of life is to just dance the doubt away.
ROYAL'Z -- “I Am Ghost”
Speaking of ghosting, Minneapolis/Rochester metalcore band ROYAL'Z just released the visual for their frenetic new song “I Am Ghost.”
Blending guttural screams and pounding double bass with elements of rap metal and DJ rock, ROYAL'Z are a unique breed. After listening to “I Am Ghost,” you won’t know whether to mosh, pogo dance, or hit a dab. There’s no consonance in their blend, though, and “I Am Ghost” is a cathartic mishmash that calls out the haters on their bullshit.
In the video, the band takes to the woods to unleash their screed without the prying eyes of the public. Cloaked in night and isolated from the interpersonal drama of their lives in the city, they bellow curses at volumes that could pop blood vessels, ending on the vindictive stinger of, “At least all the bad parts of me are better than all the good parts of you.”
Carnage the Executioner -- “The Show Saver” (feat. Gradient) (PREMIERE)
Carnage the Executioner is the Show Stealer. As his 2012 track illustrates, the multitalented rapper/beatboxer takes over every bill he’s on. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t give back. For his new song “The Show Saver,” Carnage redeems himself by using his vocal superpowers to help fledgling fictional emcee Voe-kulz (played by Oregon rapper Gradient) find his stage presence.
The song is set up as a kind of battle wherein Voe-kulz opens by ethering his own career, pleading to the exuberant Carnage for coaching. Carnage’s clap back is constructive -- he tells Voe-kulz to change his name, fire his DJ, and rebuild. Director Paul von Stoetzel of Killing Joke Films shows the two trading stories in the booth, cutting their separate stories together similar to Eminem’s “Stan” video so that you can see the conversation. The video ends with mentor and mentee on stage burning it up, show successfully saved.
“The Show Stealer” is being pressed as a 7-inch maxi-single that drops today at Carnage’s online store. The release -- which is somehow Carnage’s first vinyl pressing -- will be limited to 300 hand-numbered and autographed copies.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]