Happy April, fools.
With the closing of what’s known in the business world as Q1, we’ve successfully filed 25 percent of 2017 away. Just like that, we’re making headway to 2018.
Generally, the first three months of the year are the most productive. With the holidays behind, a sense of urgency takes hold, a mad dash to make the year mean something. For local music, this means that some of the best albums are out on shelves by March -- see Landmark by Hippo Campus or I Won the Pageant by 4th Curtis, for example.
But this initial surge sets bands up for failure come AOTY consideration. It’s a shame that year-end polls ignore the first quarter, because it’s the engine that drives a full calendar of creation.
Symone Smash-It -- “Automaton” (PREMIERE)
If you ever thought the Twin Cities needed our own David Guetta, Symone Smash-It is the futuristic EDM maven you’ve been waiting for. Her new song “Automation” is a pulsating dance mix that embeds a club-ready hook permanently into your brain’s pleasure centers.
Video director Paul von Stoetzel of Killing Joke Films used THX-1138 as an inspiration for the technophilic video, in which Symone leads a group of automatons through a rigid, Kiesza-style dance routine. “Automation” comes from Symone’s forthcoming EP Symulation, out on April 28.
Double Grave -- “All My Heroes”
When Ego Death took on the new name Double Grave and signed to Sad Cactus, you knew a morose turn was in the works. Not that the Minneapolis shoegaze wundergoths weren’t already in a dark mode, but with their forthcoming New Year’s Daydream, they’re cutting straight to the gloomy truth.
On album single “All My Heroes,” the band sounds disenfranchised, sullenly running down the ways in which reality has failed to live up to fantasy. The stark line drawings by Adam Loomis provide a somber metaphor for this despondence: a shark swimming through fields before it’s ultimately choked to death in city traffic. The video premiered via GoldFlakePaint last Tuesday, but New Year’s Daydream doesn’t release until April 27.
OTE -- “Mary Dat Bih”
Hamline student Cody Vaughn goes by Covenant when he raps; when he teams with OT Swayze and Mario da Don, the trio call themselves OTE. Their debut video, “Mary Dat Bih,” is a sacrilegious trap jam that captures the dynamic of the three young rhymers perfectly.
With an irreverent visual from Dogfood Media, “Mary Dat Bih” is a three-minute rhymefest filmed in the rugged parts of St. Paul. The three rappers trade verses like they’re blunts being circled in their St. Paul basement -- but only after they spend some time grinding on a lawn statue of the Blessed Virgin herself.
Christopher David Hanson Band -- “Monster in the Woods”
American folklore often mixes the playful and the macabre. In their video for “Monster in the Woods,” the Christopher David Hanson Band uses both elements in rootsy harmony, as a group of cabin-bound muppets deals with a supernatural scarecrow stalking the woods outside.
The plot of the video, which is produced by the band and Midnight Troll Films, follows the lyrics of the stomp pretty directly, making for a preternaturally fun three minutes. The video was filmed in the wilds of Embarrass, Minnesota, and features the floppy, wonderful puppet work of Shaun Chosa. “Monster in the Woods” comes from the band’s upcoming album HOODANG and features guest mandolin from Eric Berry of Trampled by Turtles.
High School for the Recording Arts -- “Sunshine”
In Dan Frey’s class at St. Paul’s High School for the Recording Arts, students are assigned a word or subject matter, then tasked with transforming the concept into a music video. Rock the Cause CEO Scott Herold calls Frey “a rock star educator and an unsung hero in our community,” and if you don’t believe that praise, take a look at the product of his curriculum.
“Sunshine” reflects the coursework of rappers Lewiee Blaze and Jayy Solo; producers Kashta French, Sean Haskin, and Riccardo Box; and director Tomas Leal. All involved are working toward the common goal of epitomizing solar bliss by channelling the sensation of a sunny day into a metaphor for determination and creation -- a message that Frey must be proud to sponsor.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]