I hate to use the word “dog” as a pejorative for anything, but these are indeed the dog days of summer.
As we lag our way back toward the abyss of winter, people are eschewing work in all forms for one last grasp at relaxation or repose. It’s also a time of great existential dread -- a motivation killer in its own right. In Europe, it’s the time of the year where most take lengthy vacations, and though it’s not as formal a tradition in America, there seems to be some resonance of that in the local music community.
Things have slowed here in the Twin Cities, with no major releases coming and a lapse in the festival scene. Only a few videos are released per week, making Local Frames slim pickings as musicians take one final reprieve after what’s been a dead sprint of a summer.
Reflectivore -- “Flight 7 77/March”
Do you have nine minutes to reflect on your own impermanence and ultimate futility in the face of the infinite?
If you do, melodic prog-rockers Reflectivore have just the double video for you. "Flight 7 77/March" is the band’s second collaboration with True Norse Films (the first of which, “Red Looking Glass,” we featured here), and it’s just as abstract.
Across several vignettes, including one in which someone melts Reflectivore’s own record with a weapons-grade blowtorch, the band confronts the very idea of being. There’s no thesis, nor is there a conclusion. The two songs merge together over thematically overlapping episodes, ending with something of a triumph. Both songs are from last winter’s self-titled EP.
Atmosphere -- “Fishing Blues” (feat. the Grouch)
Atmosphere’s newest and dadliest album, Fishing Blues, may not be the most exciting music to come from Slug and Ant in the last two decades, but it’s at least the best example of how much fun a rapper can have when they retire all pretense.
Part of setting aside that ego for Slug has been the re-introduction of guest verses on Atmosphere albums -- something that hasn’t been seen from the Rhymesayers founder since Seven’s Travels in 2003. The Grouch from Living Legends guests on Fishing Blues’ title track, which is sung in this lyric video by a hilariously manipulated Big Mouth Billy Bass.
Complete with a fishing bobber dishing out all the karaoke cues, the “Fishing Blues” video does great work to characterize Atmosphere’s new work -- carefree fortysomethings transcending a lifetime of criticism and reclining into a productive career back nine.
Zuluzuluu -- “Fall Behind” (Live on Radio K)
89.3 the Current isn’t the only local radio station that hosts in-studio performances and posts the footage on YouTube.
Radio K has a really eclectic stream of visitors hosted on their homepage. In the last few months, Swimsuit Area, Astronomique, Royal Brat, and other hometown highlights have put on performances at the U of M station, but the recent visit from Zuluzuluu has to be one of the most captivating on record.
Playing their song “Fall Behind” from their powerful new album What’s the Price?, Zuluzuluu transformed Radio K into an afrofuturist funk den. Though they also performed “People Make the World Go Round” (a Stylistics cover), “On Our Way,” and “Fades," “Fall Behind”’s emotive falsetto and syncopated clapping make it one of the most dynamic listens in the live setting. It's a feeling perfectly captured by the camera work from Ryan Gilman, Gabriel Timmreck, and Will Youel.
Good Night Gold Dust -- Artist to Watch Video Short
Mankato sensation Good Night Gold Dust are pretty far from your average band, so it makes sense that their entry on this week’s Local Frames is well beyond our normal fare. Instead of being a straight-up music video, Good Night Gold Dust’s visual serves to hype up their gig at the Cedar last Saturday for the Current’s Bands to Watch showcase.
Though GNGD have plenty of songs from their self-titled 2015 EP to feature, they’ve begun shooting these little teasers for gigs as an alternative way of showcasing their personalities. In the short, the members of GNGD are abducted one by one after portraying their various talents.
Ultimately, it’s revealed that they’re being zapped away into the poster for the Bands to Watch. Goofy, campy, and 100 percent Good Night Gold Dust.
Jack & Kitty -- “I'm Sleeping Fast”
We end Local Frames this week on a pastoral meditation care of Jack & Kitty, the self-styled organic folk duo from Minneapolis who we last saw visiting the grave of a Wisconsin blues singer. Now, we find the two ambling through a corn field singin’ a dusty tune about regret and acceptance.
“I’m Sleeping Fast” has something of a positive sound -- there’s a sense of bliss and enlightenment in the song’s stress-free refrain -- though the lyrics themselves center on a couple who’ve lost the luster in their relationship.
The pleasantly picked guitar and warm vintage rattle of the Keystone K-8 Deluxe 8mm camera rolling try to lull you into euphoria, Jack & Kitty’s quiet admissions raise the alarm, letting you know that things are not often as delightful as they appear.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]