Box-headed misfits, neighborhood walks, and tearful goodbyes in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

A clip from Just Jimi's 'Better Vibes.'

A clip from Just Jimi's 'Better Vibes.' YouTube

Algorithms won’t save you.

After years of principled resistance, I’ve finally caved and paid for a Spotify Premium account. Though I prefer to own the music I listen to (and to support artists by buying it), it’s hard to keep up with new music without access to Spotify’s immense library. It was pay up or get left behind.

In my first week on the app, I’ve found that access really only encourages my worst habits as a music listener. Instead of exploring, I’ve reverted to the bands that I listened to in my teens, and I’ve branched out only to those bands that share aesthetics, hometowns, and history with those bands. It’s an echo chamber that, though enjoyable, doesn’t help me grow as a listener.

Don’t be like me. Go out of your way to expose yourself to new things. Hey, why not start here with these visual releases from the Twin Cities scene?

Just Jimi – “Better Vibes”

When last we saw Just Jimi and Khalid Silvers, they were de-stigmatizing anxiety and depression in the hip-hop world. Now the rapper/director duo are back to once more help normalize mental illness with the hopeful “Better Vibes.” The song deals with how Jimi’s habit of isolating negatively affects his disposition yet ultimately is his superpower. Holing up and exploring his mind is what makes Jimi the odd, creative individual we see in the video, wandering around with the horned box on his head. He never finds the community he thought he wanted, but he does uncover a deeper truth about himself.

Taylor J – “Can’t Break Me”

St. Paul’s Taylor J has been releasing new music at a neck-breaking pace lately. It’s been hard to keep up, but his latest album Roses is a reminder of why you should try. “Can’t Break Me” serves as the sendoff for Roses, summing the record up in a determined outro that brings J back to his original thrust—success at all costs. Video director 13TwentyThree takes us back to J’s neighborhood to show us where the rapper draws his unbreakable will from. Plus: cute dog.

Ttrystt – “Drugsandsuicide”

The Twin Cities lost a well-loved personality last week when St. Paul rapper Tyy P tragically took his own life. For local artist Nathan Johnson (commonly known under his Loya monogram), that passing came at an emotionally heavy time, as it coincided with the anniversary of another friend’s overdose. To commemorate those lost lives, Johnson released the new video for “Drugsandsuicide” from his lo-fi side project Ttrystt. The video for the self-produced song cuts together melancholic home footage that shows the very human cost of addiction.

Drift Clique – “Ghost”

When your band’s tagline is “synths, samples, and all things analog,” you better live that mission in your videos, too. “Ghost,” the newest release from low-fi indie-pop band Drift Clique, was shot on a fully mechanical super 8 film camera, giving the weary song a nostalgic late-’70s feel. The reel of magnetic tape was captured on campus at St. John's University in Collegeville, a lush setting for the downbeat basement tune.

Zack Baltich – “Tired Blood”

On Friday, local percussionist Zack Baltich will release his new project, ingress:passage. To hype it, he enlisted animator Maggie Royce to help build a quirky visual for track “Tired Blood.” Baltich and actors Carley Olson and Reese Kling dance expressionlessly in stop motion as the exotic panoply of instruments beats all around them. Suddenly, shapes and drawings come alive on the concrete wall behind them, bursting forth in an abstract visualization of the song’s beat.

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]