Local Frames is a weekly column spotlighting the best new music videos featuring musicians and directors with Minnesota ties.
Our first Local Frames of 2015 begins with a stylish video from Fairchord & Fixer, Christian Erickson's new musical project. New clips follow from Atmosphere, Rank Strangers, Chris Koza, the Dead Pigeons, and Chiefs of the North. We're also featuring a rooftop performance from Communist Daughter, an astute lyric video from Guante, an affectionate MN Original profile on Cornbread Harris, and a spirited live performance from Mark Mallman at the Cedar. Enjoy!
Fairchord & Fixer - "Gateway"
Christian Erickson has been a staple in the Twin Cities music (and advertising) scene for years now. Erickson's capital new musical endeavor is called Fairchord & Fixer, and has just shared an enthralling time-lapse video for "Gateway," the project's first single. He's since rolled out a few more tracks and videos, and the intoxicating electropop of these numbers suggests he's hit on something quite grand with his new group. Janey Winterbauer and Mykl Westbrooks also contributed to the blissful grooves of "Gateway," which has one of the catchiest hooks you're bound to hear this year. Let's hope Erickson has an official release planned for his Fairchord & Fixer material (and possibly a live performance -- fingers crossed), because we all need more of these sounds in 2015.
Communist Daughter - "Fortunate Son"
During their travels this past year, Communist Daughter rolled through Chicago to record a live session with radio station WBEZ. The band played on the roof of the station's building, overlooking Navy Pier and the entire downtown, and the folks at Rooftop Sessions Chicago were there to capture this lively rendition of "Fortunate Son," as well as some behind-the-scenes footage. The impassioned number rings out majestically over the City With Broad Shoulders, and suggests that the band is embarking on what hopefully will be a big year. In addition to a series of intimate house shows the group is setting up for the coming months, you can also catch them live at Varsity Theater on February 20 as they take part in a benefit for the MN Music Coalition along with John Mark Nelson and Holly Henry.
Atmosphere - "January On Lake Street"
Atmosphere has released a video for nearly every song on recent record Southsiders, but this Braden Lee-directed video for "January On Lake Street" is the best of the lot. In addition to a talented skateboarder turning deft tricks at easily recognizable landmarks throughout Minneapolis, there are images of forlorn faces of dissatisfied people who clearly look like they are trapped in the frozen isolation that is winter in Minnesota. The track itself is filled with Slug's rhymes and Ant's on-point production, with Lee's striking visuals complementing the song's message -- all of which builds to a cataclysmic conclusion that suggests end times are nearer than we think.
Rank Strangers - "Ivan After 5"
Twin Cities rock veterans Rank Strangers are back with a boisterous new record, Lady President, (part of a planned triology of albums they hope to release over the coming year), as well as a video for their feisty new jam, "Ivan After 5." They enlisted the visual talents of Rev K to stylishly and humorously illustrate the clip, as the track churns along with an unsettled urgency that the band has been honing for years. You can witness their potent, angular riffs and uproarious live show for yourself at the Driftwood Char Bar on Friday, January 16, as they take part in Goat Rock night, a tribute to Capricorns, along with Jeff Schuller.
Chris Koza - "Handful of Glass"
Rogue Valley singer-songwriter Chris Koza's excellent new record, In Real Time, continues to reveal plenty of indelible musical gems with each listen, including new single "Handful of Glass," which was given a stylish video treatment by Fourwind Films' Joe Mischo and Justin Joseph Hall, both University of Minnesota alumni. The local themes don't stop there, as the video itself stars the Minneapolis native (now New York City-based) illustrator/musician Marcellus Hall, who brings the visual aspect of the wistful track to cinematic life as he tries to piece his life back together from the shambles it has become. You can catch Koza live at the New Century Theatre along with Sarah Krueger as they take part in the New Century Sessions on Sunday, February 8.[page]
Cornbread Harris - MN Original Profile
MN Original just launched their new season with this affectionate, endearing profile on the distinguished local musician James Samuel "Cornbread" Harris Sr. The talented bluesman has been making music for 65 years, playing weekly gigs around town at the robust age of 86. His story is as captivating as his music, and both are featured in this revealing look at the man known fondly in the local music circles as Cornbread. His own musical history follows right along with the illustrious past of the Minnesota music scene itself, as he played in the very first rock 'n' roll band in the Twin Cities as part of Augie Garcia's group, along with many other acts that have played significant roles in the evolution of the local scene -- including his famous, Grammy-winning son, Jimmy Jam Harris. But after watching this warmhearted clip, you might just come to the conclusion that Cornbread is the more accomplished of the two.
Mark Mallman - "Tell It to the Judge (Live at the Cedar)"
Mark Mallman's live shows are always spectacles, no matter if they last for days or if they take place in the back seat of a van. Mallman is a showman of the highest order, and he brazenly ensures you will see and hear something that you've never experienced before each and every time he performs. This clip for "Tell It to the Judge" finds Mallman and his stellar band in the cozy confines of the Cedar, but the relaxed surroundings don't diminish his flamboyant, unrestrained live persona, as he digs deep within the raw emotions of the number while energetically prowling the small stage. "As we watch another New Year as it slides down the drain," Mallman exhorts, a sentiment that will ring true to everyone who was happy to see 2014 finally give way to the promise of a new day that is hopefully dawning for us all.
Guante - "You Say Millionaire Like It's a Good Thing"
Rapper/spoken word artist/social activist Guante is back with a bold collection of tracks both new and old called A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry. He teamed up with the omnipresent local music video director Adam J. Dunn for this lyric video for the potent new track, "You Say Millionaire Like It's a Good Thing," which was produced by Ganzobean. The fresh, insistent beats of the track augment Guante's lyrical message about getting trapped in a laborious struggle to work just to make money, and being locked into a job that ultimately doesn't bring you happiness, just more time clocks and alarms that seemingly go off earlier every day. It's an inspired track made even more so by Dunn's clever use of stylish fonts and well-timed old-school TV static that makes Guante's perceptive words leap off the screen and ingrain themselves in your thoughts.
The Dead Pigeons - "Drunken Banjo"
This puppet-filled video for the Dead Pigeons' barroom bluegrass jam "Drunken Banjo" is one of the best videos I've come across in a while. The DIY nature of the clip complements the jaunty vibe of the song perfectly, while also highlighting the talents of the artful puppeteers themselves. The track is one of many highlights from the band's debut album, Even If I Knew, which coalesced during their five-year residency at Palmer's Bar. The Dead Pigeons are currently in the midst of writing and recording some new material that should be released at some point this spring, but for now just be entertained by repeat viewings of the crafty charms of "Drunken Banjo."
Chiefs of the North - "Winterfell"
Chiefs of the North sure picked the perfect time to release a video for their poignant new song "Winterfell." Not only is the track appropriate because winter now holds us all within its icy, arctic grip, but the video for the track, directed and edited by band member Chris Brown, is full of tranquil, colorful images of Minneapolis before it became coated in frosty white. Yeri Pena and Brown shot the video throughout plenty of familiar parts of Nordeast, and those sights perfectly suit the swelling, impassioned feelings at the heart of the song itself. The band recorded their new tracks at Flowers Studio, and Ed Ackerson did a masterful job capturing the wistful and raw edge of their sweeping sound, one that forms a perfect soundtrack to the winter of our discontent.
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