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which is based on John Milton's Paradise Lost -- filtered through the imaginative mind of William S. Burroughs, whose unpublished sci-fi manuscript, Lost Paradise, also informs this new batch of songs.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.