Another year, another batch of world-class music videos from Minnesota artists.
Local Frames is a proud institution here at City Pages. It’s a train that never stops rollin’, and even though I have a full inbox of fresh, new videos, I thought it worthwhile to look back at what we published in 2017 and celebrate the year that was.
But we’ve done enough Top 5 lists to last us to infinity. For the final installment of Local Frames this year, we’re going to dole out some honorary awards for the things that stuck out.
Most Surprising: Scarlett Taylor -- “Concrete Angels”
I learn about a lot of new artists through Local Frames, but none caught my ear like Minneapolis singer Scarlett Taylor. The infectious melancholy of her video for “Concrete Angels” resonated with me all year. Taylor re-emerged with “Children of the Sun” in November, reminding me and all Local Frames readers how spellbinding her debut in the column had been months before.
Best Choreography: Maple & Beech -- “Cavers”
Huge respect to Symone Smash-It’s “Automaton,” but Local Frames regulars Maple & Beech struck a deeply nostalgic note with their single-shot lyric video for “Cavers.” Dancer Nicole Wilder fills St. Cloud’s the Skatin’ Place with an incorruptible sense of bliss. The purity of the moment is unambiguously translated through Wilder’s carefree, languid moves, which are captured by Jon Klaye and Justin Tholl.
Most Infectious: 4th Curtis -- “Anjali”
Writing an earworm is one thing, but pairing it with an eyeworm (ew) is another. 4th Curtis’s celebration of queer love “Anjali” is certainly an indelible song from 2017, but the coinciding video is equally unforgettable, with the group love-fucking a doll into dismemberment. Kudos to the Happy Children for nearly stealing this one with “All Wrong.” Bona Phide was a close third.
Most Consistent: V.I.C.E. Boys
Damn near every member of V.I.C.E. Boys got featured in Local Frames this year, and every single entry in their lengthy track record (see here, here, here, and here) was on point. Huge props go to their in-house director Nate P, who establishes the group’s visual identity. P and the Boys have created a masterful brand for the young crew that’s gone a long way toward making their entries in this column stick in people’s minds.
Most Touching: Streetlight Eyes -- “Hello”
There were moments this year where Local Frames popped open my tear ducts. When Batteryboy pleaded for refugees in Africa, it cracked my heart in half. When Lyric Marid wrote an open letter to his son, my eyeballs swelled into geysers. But no one made me wail quite like Streetlight Eyes, whose song “Hello” was a beautiful story of a friendship-turned-romance between two outcasts who can’t find their way in the world without each other.
Most Fun: Daniel and the Real Feels -- “City Girlfriends”
Not all was dour and serious in Local Frames this year. Musicians like Lux & Longley, Drelli, and Ashley Dubose all had a blast. But no one was doing it better than Daniel and the Real Feels. Director Alec Zender captures the rapturous spirit of the Fergus Falls rock band on his video for “City Girlfriends.” Even the good ol’ boys can’t resist the good time DATRF bring.
Most Insane: The Pour Organs -- “Lucifer Rising”
As they discussed in our June feature, the Pour Organs have alienated plenty of people with their caustic brand of drug rock. Their debut single “Lucifer Rising” is a sacrilegious vision of madness, featuring burning nativities and a singing, smoking kitty. “Drug Wizard” (from the same EP) was equally batshit. Mark Mallman and Dick Valentine nearly made the grade for their inexplicable “I Love You I Steal Your Gas.”
Most Woke: Guante and Katrah-Quey ft. Jayanthi Kyle -- “Our Relationship Is a Slowly Gentrifying Neighborhood”
Local Frames often features videos with messages. I try to include at least one socially conscious song per roundup, and when it works, it’s something to be proud of. In a year that saw Rich Garvey examine police interactions with black people and In Search of Solace combat childhood sexual abuse, it was Guante getting priced out of his own heart that endured as the most lasting message.
Most Minnesota: Gabe Barnett and Them Rounders -- “Robbinsdale”
Minnesota musicians love Minnesota. Naturally, many of their songs are about their home state. This year, we featured Paperilo’s ode to Uptown, Billy Dankert’s benediction of the Minnesota State Fair, and, just last week, Hot Date’s appreciation of the Minnesota woman, but no one did gave more parochial praise than Gabe Barnett and Them Rounders did on “Robbinsdale.” The Minneapolis rock band make the Hennepin County town feel more like Shangri-La than the forgettable hometown of David Backes and Rick Rude, and for that, they get top honors.
Most Fuck Trump: The Dames -- “Head of State”
Bootsnake and the Girl, GP Jacob, City Counselor, Toki Wright, See More Perspective, and several others used their music videos this year as a platform to speak out against the bratty, barely literate totalitarian currently occupying the White House. It’s been a not-so-secret joy of mine using Local Frames as a protest platform, and so many local artists took the piss out of Trump in the column this year that this was by far the most competitive category.
Ultimately, it was the Dames’ puppetizing of the dickcheese-in-chief that triumphed, thanks mostly to the hilarious puppet work from director Brian Barber.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].