T-Rell, Giants Chair, Stephonne, and more of the best new local music videos
The weather seems to have decided that it’s already the middle of August before we’ve barely made it out of the first week of July. Might we suggest air conditioning, ordering a pizza, tipping your delivery driver heavily, and watching some local jams which frequently benefit some great organizations and causes?
Seriously: you’re not spending money on going out, so turn those funds into something productive, rather than working your way through the local liquor store’s craft beer selection in alphabetical order.
T-Rell, “I’m Black”
“I thought police were supposed to ‘protect and serve.’ Am I confused?” So asks Topeka rapper T-Rell in the video for his latest single, “I’m Black.” In a turn of events not usually expected in protest music, T-Rell can be seen shaking hands with Topeka police while his lyrics, “To all the good police, I have to show respect.” it’s definitely in strong contrast to the image immediately prior, of the rapper soaked in blood in a recreation of Trayvon Martin’s killing — replete with Skittles, iced tea, and hoodie — and the lyric, “You crooked cops is fuckin’ outta line,” but I certainly haven’t thought this much about a video in some time.
T-Rell’s latest, Smile Through It, is available on most digital platforms.
Giants Chair, “The Streets”
Technically, this Anthony Ladesich-directed and edited and Jeremy Osbern-lensed video debuted from the Kansas City post-punk rockers back in July of 2017. However, given that the band’s new label, Spartan Records, just released “The Streets” and its B-side, “Featureless Horizon” as a limited edition (and now sold out) cassingle, it’s definitely worth revisiting the gloriously-lit performance from the band.
You can snag “The Streets” single digitally on Bandcamp.
The Bubble Boys Live at The Hurricane
This was the very video that led to me seeking out John McGrath, host of the late ’90s live music TV show, Burnin’ Down the House, to hear the story of the program’s rise and fall. Watching it, and digging through the other videos posted to 90.9 the Bridge’s YouTube channel, you can see why the program’s digital resurrection is such a great thing: these are pro-shot videos with soundboard audio from bands who mostly existed pre-digital cameras, and whose performances were captured on VHS camcorders, if at all. Getting to see Lawrence pop-punkers The Bubble Boys in high-energy live form for the first time in years is definitely a reason to celebrate.
You can find a selection of Bubble Boys tracks on bassist Dan Cook’s Bandcamp.
Danny Hatem, “Where You At?”
Rapper Danny Hatem rhymes over the sound of police sirens after a scroll of the names of those killed by police violence. It’s a furious statement of indignation — “Fuck anybody posting hashtags online that never act upon it” — and in less than a minute and a half, summarizes every argument as to why protests have happened, and why they’ll keep happening until change occurs.
All proceeds from “Where You At?” are going to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and you can donate directly here.
Kansas City City of Music — Fête de la Musique 2020
Make Music Day 2020 — aka Fête de la Musique 2020 — took place virtually on Sunday, June 21, and saw 25 cities from around the world participating in an online version of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network event. For the Kansas City portion, Anita Dixon has a conversation with Bahamanian guitarist Fred Ferguson, and the Marcus Lewis Virtual Big Band performs two songs, “Facing East” and “Togetherness,” the latter featuring Kadesh Flow and Kemet.
Make Music Day 2020 was a fundraiser for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, and you can donate here.
Stephonne, “Want Me”
“Want Me” is the first single from Stephonne’s upcoming EP, SIS: Side A. It’s the first new music from the artist since 2018’s Caged Bird Sings Songs About Red Beard, and the video is absolute brilliance. Director and editor, Jordon Rioux, takes Stephonne’s darkly-intense song and gives it visual life, drawing equally from “Nosferatu, The Craft and an inescapable heat and sexuality that emit from both the songwriter and featured dancer, Courtney Germany.” Goddamn. It’s intense.
The Harrisonics, “Trailer Court Goth Girls” (live)
When The Harrisonics announced their debut full-length, Love Songs for All Occasions, earlier this week, I was prompted to dig out a stack of old SD cards to find this video I’d shot of the band back in June of 2016. Here’s the band performing a brief, trenchant ode to the titular ladies. Sadly, the band won’t be able to have an album release party for the new record, but hopefully, this will help fill a hole.
You can get Love Songs for All Occasions on Bandcamp. The band also has compact discs and vinyl.
Are you a local musician with a new music video to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org