Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week
Local Frames is a weekly column spotlighting the best new music videos featuring musicians and directors with Minnesota ties.
We get things going this week with a lovely in-studio performance from former Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart, who just released an expansive new album, The Argument, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost. We also are featuring new music videos from Dan Israel, Avenpitch, Jack Campbell, Oppi, and a new collaboration between Mastermind and Kaleem called Apple Tree. We also shine a spotlight on a recent local TV performance from Joey Ryan and the Inks, a raucous Radio K in-studio from Rabbit Holes, as well as a wonderful Wits performance from this past season from Jason Isbell. We're also are sharing a lengthy but insightful video from Dessa, who breaks down the meaning and sentiment within her recent album, Parts of Speech. Enjoy!
Grant Hart - "Is the Sky The Limit? (Live on the Current)"
After some time away from the musical spotlight, former Hüsker Dü drummer/songwriter Grant Hart has returned boldly to the fray with an assured new album, The Argument, which is based on John Milton's Paradise Lost -- filtered through the imaginative mind of William S. Burroughs, whose unpublished sci-fi manuscript, Lost Paradise, also informs this new batch of songs. Here Hart plays a lovely solo version of one of the tracks most central to the story of man's epic fall from grace, "Is the Sky The Limit?" It's a gorgeous, touching performance, with Hart keeping his eyes closed the entire time, lost in the eternal meaning of the song.
Dan Israel - "Live On"
We featured St. Louis Park singer/songwriter Dan Israel a few months back when his new record, Live On, was released at the same time as a sprawling career retrospective, Danthology. Now, Israel has just released a stark, black and white video for the record's title track, which was directed by the distinguished local photographer (and frequent City Pages contributor) Steven Cohen. The video, which features an icy Minneapolis winter backdrop as well as live performance clips with a full band, is a lovely accompaniment to Israel's heartening anthem of perseverance and positivity.
Joey Ryan and the Inks - ""Of a Feather/Spitting in Tune (Live on Kare11)"
Kare 11 has been featuring live local performances on their new Music Mondays series (with Dessa spotlighted a few weeks back), and recently it was Joey Ryan and the Inks' turn to play in front of the TV cameras in the plush backyard of the studio. This buoyant performance features breezy takes on "Of a Feather" from the band's recent EP, Pause, and their classic "Spitting in Tune." The group is set to play a free show with the Twilight Hours tonight in St. Paul, as part of the Music in Mears series, so if you like what you hear in this performance, you should definitely catch them in one of the Twin Cities' most gorgeous outdoor settings.
Jason Isbell - "Pancho and Lefty (Live at Wits)"
The Wits series at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul has been entertaining and enthralling local audiences for four years now, with each successive season gaining momentum and notoriety for its fluid blend of music, comedy, improv, and unforgettable, unscripted moments. One of the clear standouts of this past season was Jason Isbell's performance in an episode that also featured actor Collin Hanks. Isbell debuted a few songs from his stunning new album, Southeastern, and also delivered this brilliant cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty," which Jason calls "the best country & western song anybody ever wrote." And, after Isbell's gorgeous solo, acoustic take on the classic, it's tough to argue with him.
Apple Tree - "The Contractors"
Local MCs Kaleem and Mastermind have been making waves in the Twin Cities hip-hop community for quite a while now, gaining national notoriety when they recorded a track with Slug. Now, the two vibrant artists have collaborated on a spirited new project that they are calling Apple Tree. The video for "The Contractors" was directed by Adam J. Dunn, and represents the boisterous first track that the duo are dropping from their forthcoming album (set to be released on Titan Administration Records). The song features a choral-driven beat that gives the track an insistent depth that suggests great things are in store for Apple Tree in the future, as well as the local hip-hop scene.
Dessa - Deconstructing Parts of Speech
Dessa has hit the road really hard in support of her most recent record, Parts of Speech. But before she took that new batch of songs to her fans throughout the country, she sat down with the Current's David Campbell to share what her motivation and inspiration was for her new material, and performed a selection of those songs for the Fitzgerald Theater audience. But when Dessa returns home from her lengthy tour, she's not planning on resting for very long, heading out again in September for a series of high-profile shows around the country, including a coveted spot at Riot Fest in Chicago alongside the reunited Replacements as well as Atmosphere.
Rabbit Holes - "Where Do We Go (Live on Radio K)"
Punk-fueled new local trio Rabbit Holes recently dropped by the Radio K studios for a raucous live session, which featured this blistering take on their initial demo, "Where Do We Go." The group is still in its nascent stage and getting their live legs under them while they are busy making their name in the local scene, but this performance should certainly get the word out that these guys rock. Big time. Rabbit Holes is composed of guitarist/vocalist Jon Tester, Taylor Harris on bass, and local photographer (and co-founder of Reviler) Adam Bubolz on drums -- catch 'em tonight at the Hex if you like what you hear.
Avenpitch - "Manscaping"
The lively electropunk band Avenpitch are back with their fourth full-length, Disconnect, and the first single and video lifted from the new record is the jocular "Manscaping," the title track off their recent EP. The video is just as humorous as the song title suggests, with the band making a bit of fun of the lingering metrosexual trend. The video was directed by Brandon Kaplan, and shot entirely in the Bloomington neighborhood where the band grew up, as the band gives a nod to their strong local roots.
Oppi - "Rose Gold"
Wisconsin native and current Minneapolis hip-hop musician Oppi just released this engaging new video for his track "Rose Gold." The clip, which he produced and directed himself, features striking images from his recent trip to Southeast Asia, all of which perfectly augments the laid-back but enthralling nature of the track itself -- a lovely combination.
Jack Campbell - "Absentee"
Jack Campbell is a senior in high school in Duluth, Minnesota, and he paid for the recording of his recent collection of songs by working at a part-time job at a convenience store. That's dedication and commitment to your craft. "Absentee" is one of the tracks that Campbell worked hard to record, and this celebratory video for the song was shot by Lakefront Films. The track is catchy, especially when the crunchy chorus kicks in, and certainly is proof positive that all the hard work Campbell poured into his music was worth it.
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