Most songs about America are corny.
There’s a performative charm to songs like “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the U.S.A.,” but “You’re a Grand Old Flag” is the only patriotic anthem that really slaps.
Maybe that’s because the best art doesn’t come out of collective identity; the best songs are written about the individual. When those individual songs resonate with a larger whole, that’s the magic. This Independence Day, we celebrate the individuals who carry the voice of the Twin Cities not because they sought to but because they can’t help but do so.
Baby Shel and Prolly Tri$ – “Red Lakin”
On Independence Day, it’s important to remember the people who got America poppin’ before the Revolutionaries ever arrived. We begin this week’s Local Frames with a cut from native rapper Baby Shel, who arrives on the scene to show the rest of the world how they party on his reservation. In the video for “Red Lakin,” the Red Lake resident tours CRAM rapper Prolly Tri$ around his home, and the two gear up for a summer kickoff party. Created by Endlessvisiion and PudiloJon, the video could act as a promo for the Red Lake Bureau of Tourism if they were looking to showcase how lit the reservation can get.
Fragile Canyons – “Dull City Stars”
The moody closer to the 2017 album Adapting the Cosmos, “Dull City Stars” is one of Fragile Canyons’ most striking tracks. The song is an invitation to untether yourself from the past and sink into the moment. Sounding like a transcendental Band of Horses deep cut, “Dull City Stars” called for a majestic video, so the band decided to set the song to footage of Highway 61, offering a meditative four-minute tour along the open road.
Witch Watch – “Seconds”
Derek van Gieson would like you to know that no one dies in the new Witch Watch video. “Thought we'd take a slight break from the gore,” the usually macabre Witch Watch guitarist says of “Seconds,” the latest single from Witch Watch’s forthcoming album Underground/Overground. Directed by Joah Colby and filmed at van Gieson’s art studio, “Seconds” gives an unbloodied glimpse at what Witch Watch looks like when they’re jamming together in private. That’s assuming the animal masks are a regular occurence. Witch Watch play the Terminal Bar on July 6 alongside Services and Cult of Lip.
Van Stee – “Slo Mo Jazz Hands”
How about a little empathy for vampires? Not since Astronautalis’ “Trouble Hunters” have we seen the bloodsucking ancients treated as humanely as Van Stee does in the video for “Slo Mo Jazz Hands.” Screenwriters Kelsey Henry and Andrew Santoro and director Jarrett Braun hilariously reimagine the haunted house as a threat to the paranormal way of life. “Slo Mo Jazz Hands” comes from June’s Heartbreaker, Nervewrecker, Meansucker.
Lil' Royals ft. Riccardo Box – “Thugz Mansion” (cover)
HSRA student rapper Lil’ Royals is so inspired by Tupac Shakur that he decided to do his own take on the sentimental classic “Thugz Mansion” alongside his friends Riccardo Box and Metel Eli. Royals’ take on the song pays tribute to his late mother, giving her the peaceful, reflective sendoff she deserves for raising such a thoughtful artist. The song comes from Royals’ self-released EP The Great Tribute.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].com .