Music can isolate as much as it unites.
Two weeks ago, I was home in my native Boston (go Pats) talking to my friend Christine, who runs a Boston local music blog called Allston Pudding. We were eating Indian food before Christine headed to a show. I asked her who she was seeing, thinking my primordial knowledge of Boston bands might kick in, and when she told me, it was like we were speaking different languages.
She asked me for some of my favorite bands in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I spoke about them matter-of-factly, as if anyone with ears would recognize their names. Not so. She looked at me like a dog trying to decipher its owner’s baby talk.
It made me realize that these fierce community lines we uphold also keep people out. There have always been worries that the Twin Cities is an echo chamber, and that success here almost never gives way to larger national success. As listeners, there are things we can do to help change this. Expand your listening horizons. Check out the bands cutting Bandcamp EPs in Seattle. Catch a bar show while you’re on vacation in Ft. Lauderdale. Take your browser to new and unexplored scenes outside of Minnesota.
That is, after you enjoy your hometown homies’ music video work below.
Remo Drive -- “Yer Killin’ Me” (PREMIERE)
“Emo” has gotten a bad rap since the outset, and Minneapolis trio Remo Drive are here to set things straight. Instead of leaning hard on the ’90s-kid nostalgia of eyeliner and Dashboard Confessional, Remo Drive focus on the raw, unedited stream of emotion that characterized the genre.
In their new song “Yer Killin’ Me,” the band outline the cringy details of their downspiral following a particularly heart-wrenching breakup. Instead of whining or whimpering, Sam Mathys, Stephen Paulson, and Erik Paulson (who also edited the video) take to the streets to scream out their self-destructive instincts. Instead of taking up smoking so he dies slowly (as he posits in the opening verse), Erik Paulson sprints through his neighborhood with a guitar around his neck, channelling all the ugly emotions inside into a song that’s as raw as it is reactionary.
“Yer Killin’ Me” comes from Remo Drive’s upcoming album Greatest Hits, which arrives March 16.
RoDizzyy -- “Ima Make It” (PREMIERE)
A couple weeks ago, I named local crew V.I.C.E. Boys as one of my picks for the 10 Minnesota music acts poised to pop in 2017.
Local Frames has basically been a proving ground for the collective of RoDizzyy, Connor Marques, Chvnsv, and Yahiko. Each time one of their names appears alongside a Nate P. production in this ranking, it’s more and more evidence this young crew of startups is too exciting to ignore. The latest evidence comes from RoDizzyy, who premieres his new cut “Ima Make It” right here on Local Frames. In the video, the gold-fronted Dizzyy runs around the Twin Cities with the other V.I.C.E. rappers, sneaking into balconies at the Guthrie Theater and onto billboards to proclaim his determination to succeed.
RoDizzyy’s delivery is mostly deadpan, but the disaffected rhymer communicates his fire to disprove the haters in every scene -- rapping audaciously at the camera and showing how far he’s already come in in young career.
Polygon Peach -- “So Far Away”
One of the most wonderfully obtuse things to come out of the local scene in the young year -- St. Paul basement band Polygon Peach.
The group released a 12-song album back in November, but they’ve already got plans to do a followup LP this spring. The lead single for that project is the experimental meander “So Far Away.” The video plays like an audio-visual collage, with seemingly improvised jolts of blown-out bass and drums flowing in and out of superimposed scenes in taxis, basements, and street corners.
There’s no fluid narrative to the music or the video, but there is a definitive poetry to the piece. Understated if not a little oblique, the video for "So Far Away" calls for a deeper study, which is more than most music provides upon the first listen.
Dima Kash -- “Do It” (Ft. NaDay)
With NaDay adding in a hook that features her bright, galvanizing vocals, Kash sounds even more determined than ever before. Their shared product is called “Do It.” With K Allen behind the lens showing the two locals working in the studio and onstage, the work that goes into the “I’ma do it” mentality becomes transparent. Whereas so many artists claim their hustle on the mic, Kash and NaDay invite you into the lab where they live the hustle they speak.
Though it’s not clear if “Do It” will find its way onto the tracklist, Kash has a mixtape entitled The Last Prophet due out later this year.
Finding Novyon -- “Safe”
We’ve heard 2016 Picked to Click finalist Finding Novyon inhabit a lot of styles. In different shades, he’s been a geeky Dragon Ball Z fanboy, a carefree punchline rapper, and a brash trap lord. But we’ve never seen the Minneapolis rapper take to AutoTune and go full-on Xan rap until his latest, “Safe.”
In the video, which is directed by director-to-the-local-stars Jake Handegard of Morningside Films, Novyon sits in a literal safe counting his paper bills. He also sits alongside Scrooge McDuck-levels of gold coins, all the while slurring his affinity for counting money across the speakers. Producers EQthesound and BlxCKonBLxCK provide the sumptuous beat, which Novyon takes over in a breathless, rhyme-packed minute and a half of rap.
Novy is currently on a national tour with Prof and Metasota, but he’ll return to Minnesota to play Duluth’s Clyde Iron Works on February 25.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]