Top 10 best Minnesota music videos of 2014 (so far)
Local Frames is a weekly column spotlighting the best new music videos featuring musicians and directors with Minnesota ties.
At the year's halfway point, we take a look back at some of the most artfully crafted and stylish clips that truly caught our eye over the past six months. Here are the ten best music videos of the first half of 2014.
Marijuana Deathsquads - "Ewok Sadness"
Marijuana Deathsquads take the ominous sonic themes of "Ewok Sadness" and bring it to visual life in their new video, directed by Isaac Gale. The simmering lead-off track to the experimental group's recent album, Oh My Sexy Lord, builds to a dynamic, cacophonous finish, as does the dramatic video, which deals with the world's fixation on celebrity and how it can lead people -- even Ewoks -- to some really dark places. Marijuana Deathsquads caught much of the music world's attention while opening for Poliça on tour throughout this past year, and this striking clip certainly caught the eyes and ears of fans of both Star Wars and wildly experimental music.
No Bird Sing - "Apogee (Feat. Aby Wolf)"
No Bird Sing's national fan base grew a lot wider when the local trio signed to Strange Famous Records, who recently released their spirited album, Definition Sickness. For the second video from that collection, the group leaned hard on Aby Wolf, who not only lends her backing vocals to the track, but stars in the video (along with Joe Horton) as well. The clip, which was directed by Horton and Patrick Pegg, artfully captures a couple in conflict, and the games that are often played in any relationship, both literally and figuratively. The track and the video both build to an elegant, impassioned conclusion, with No Bird Sing yet again making a bold musical statement that will resonate with fans both new and old.
Spooky Black - "Without You"
The lo-fi nature of this video for Spooky Black's "Without You" didn't keep the clip -- and the song -- from becoming a viral sensation, as music fans across the country got completely lost within the hypnotic track and the mysterious artist who created it. The teenage St. Paul musician had help crafting the ethereal nature of this track by producer Greaf, who creates a dreamy soundscape that suits Spooky Black's impassioned but understated vocals. The track is lifted from Black's recent album, Black Silk, while the stark, snow-covered video was directed and edited by Gabe Broderick, who stylishly adds to the relaxed elegance of the smooth, modern R&B number.
Buildings - "Because It Doesn't Matter"
Minneapolis noise-rock trio Buildings returned with a raucous new 10-inch EP called, It Doesn't Matter, and the first offering from their new collection is this arresting video for the quasi-title track, "Because It Doesn't Matter," which was directed by Joe Clark. The track is a blistering, urgent musical statement by the band, with echoes of the sludgy churn of the Melvins boiling just below the surface of the tempestuous number. Throw in irreverent visuals of a menacing (aren't clowns always menacing?) clown, a cake, and what appears to be an extremely comfortable couch, and you've got the makings of one of the best videos of the year.
What Tyrants - "Hangin' Out In Havana"
The young Minneapolis garage rock trio What Tyrants are set to release their debut 7" later this summer, and they recently released their first video for the lively lead single, "Hangin' Out In Havana." Drummer Kyle Schultz directed the clip, which features the band rocking out to a rather immobile, judgmental audience who slowly get won over by the untamed sounds of the group. As both the crowd and the band become more rambunctious, the staid original setting suitably switches over to a far more raucous beach party as the song picks up in both pace and potency. Absolutely ace, this.