Creativity is in bloom.
As the final snows of the year melt and the sun emerges from its winter hiatus, the artistic instinct in the Cities seems to also awaken. I’ve never gotten more submissions for Local Frames than I did this week -- fifteen videos for five slots.
They came daily and two at a time. They came from expected sources and from out of the ether. They came through email and Twitter and Facebook. (Note: They should NOT come through Twitter or Facebook.)
Some difficult decisions were made. As always, I tried to not to overlap with The Current’s Friday Five, but beyond that, the cuts were agonized over. That’s the dark side of the creative explosion of Spring – it’s almost too much to handle.
The Suburbs -- “Hey Muse!”
The Suburbs are back in a big way. In addition to their sold-out show at the Turf Club on April 27, the local new-wave pioneers are dropping their new album Hey Muse! on June 23, and now there's a video for the title track.
“Hey Muse!” is being released in anticipation of Record Store Day next Saturday, but we have it here on Local Frames first. Filmed by guitar impresario Jeremy Ylvisaker, the video captures the whirlwind that is the life of a nationally touring band. The Suburbs will also be releasing a video for the song “Lost You On The Dance Floor,” but you’ll have to wait until April 22 for that one.
OG Grip -- “On Baby” (Ft. Cookie Monroe and MN Fats)
OG Grip is basically the Twin Cities version of RZA. The Liberian-born gangsta rapper's unhinged, volatile style makes him absolutely entrancing on film, and in the video for his latest single, “On Baby,” Grip explodes out the frame in a torn balaclava, rhyming with menace and purpose.
With an assist from Cookie Monroe on the chorus and MN Fats on the second verse, Grip turns a TLOnTheBeat production into a grimy, sexy club song -- the kind you’d hear played while you're grinding in a windowless warehouse with no listed address. Future Frame Productions and video director Tomas Aksamit brings out Grips' inner Wu Tang element by framing the MC in an abandoned studio that could be straight outta Shaolin.
Dick Valentine and Mark Mallman -- “I Love You I Steal Your Gas”
Minneapolis arena rocker Mark Mallman has always been eccentric, but when he’s paired off with Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine, things careen into new degrees of oddity. Their duet single, “I Love You I Steal Your Gas,” is an unglued journey into the comical side of madness. In the newly released video, the pair galavant around in werewolf masks, swiping petrol and singing their wayward love song.
Director Phil Mickelsunra captures the two as they traipse the edges of insanity. In shaky, telescopic shots, the duo unleash their improbable rave on the public, offering a glimpse into the lunacy that’s sure to unfold when they take the stage together on April 30 at the Entry.
Rz Shahid -- “Run Away”
Nineteen-year-old Minneapolis MC Rz Shahid makes an indelible statement with his new video for “Run Away,” rapping with a smooth determination that puts him on par with the likes of Schoolboy Q and Lupe Fiasco.
There’s nary a break in Rz’s flow as he spits for three straight minutes, and the video (shot by Real Nice’s Samuel Herold) is more of a showcase of his skill than a theatrical accompaniment. As Rz and his crew tour the Mississippi harbor, he rhymes with a nonchalance that let's you know that his rapping is a nearly instinctual gift.
Witch Watch -- “My Insect Funeral”
We’ll be talking to Murder Shoes spinoff Witch Watch in an upcoming print issue of City Pages, but before we delve into the band’s quirky, macabre stylings in earnest, they’ve dropped off the quirkiest, most macabre cut from their upcoming album in video form. “My Insect Funeral” is an odd but devilishly charming two-minutes preview of just how far their new album Wandering and Wondering will drift from the surf-rock milieu of Murder Shoes.
In the song, frontwoman Anna Neighbors reports the happenings of a recent insect funeral (whatever that means), snowballing into deeper absurdities as she sings. Not much in the Jonah Colby-directed, Derek van Gieson-edited vision makes sense, but the sight of a group of women doing the Charleston in sequined insect hats should clue you in to the fact that Witch Watch is not about making sense. Wandering and Wondering is out April 21.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]