Monthly Archives: March, 2011

Watch This Now: Katy B – “Katy on a Mission”

“My limbs seem to move what the beat dictates to me…”

Welcome to another week, and here’s an interesting one that’s beentaking the U.K. by storm but is slowly starting to make waves here in Australia. The name is Katy B, and she’s mixing stylish pop vocals with some pretty heavy/thudding dance music, with elements of garage, grime and dubstep. Needless to say, it’s a tasty cocktail – and her debut video is certainly assisting things.

What I’ve found recently is that it’s hard to translate the energy of a pulsing, sweaty room of dance music. As far as music videos within the mainstream go, this one manages to get reasonably close. It also manages to do it with a sense of style – the editing is excellent, fading in and out with different blurs and flash cuts. It can get a bit trippy at times, and that’s more or less exactly the point. Very cool video – hopefully we’ll see it get a bit more of a spin within the limited reach of Australian music television very soon!

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The Cringe: Lionel Richie – “Hello”

“And in my dreams, I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times…”

The big man himself is just a few weeks away from a national tour with Guy Sebastian, so what better time than now to pay tribute to the king of daggy pop, Mr. Lionel Richie. Normally, I’d go with the awesome Dancin’ on the Ceiling video featuring the one and only Harvey Dangerfield, but today I’ve chosen something just a little creepier from Lionel’s filmography. It’s time for his torch ballad, so get your lighters out for Hello – the video you have to see to believe.

So, here we go. Lionel is a teacher in this video, right. One of his students is a blind girl. Innocent enough – that is, of course, until he starts FOLLOWING HER AROUND THE SCHOOL and CALLING HER HOUSE AT NIGHT. Nothing wrong with that at all, of course not. I mean, what’s twenty years and some fucking EYESIGHT between lovers? It just gets weird. And Lionel isn’t exactly the best actor you’re likely to come across, either. In conclusion, this video is outstanding for the lolz but otherwise? Juuuuuust a bit fucked up. Plenty of tickets still available to his tour, by the way – maybe the fact that he’s into the young blind kids that he teaches has something to do with that? Just sayin’, hide your kids, hide your blind!

Watch This If You Dare: Birds of Tokyo – “Circles”

“He keeps tapping on my shoulder, telling me it’s over…”

Got a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum here, tieing in pretty weakly with the band’s name. Have Birds of Tokyo always been as bland, weak and generally awful as they currently are – or have I, and many other pissed off fans, just grown less and less tolerant of their general fuckery? First came the bland singles, then the terrible album, then the awful live shows and the complete fuck over of Silversun Pickups on their national tour. Now, their bassist (the one with the fuck off sideburns who looks like a pro wrestler) has dutifully fucked off from the band. Whether it’s because of this piece of shit video or not is anyone’s guess, but I’d like to think it was a strong contributing factor.

So, there’s a giant bird with human clothes on. It doesn’t fly. Nah, prefers to ride bikes. Until it throws the bike away. Then he goes and plays pinball. Pretty exciting fucking man-bird we’ve got on our hands here, kids. That’s literally all that happens in this wank fest, and it really is enough to make one want to punch out a screen if they had the energy. Any energy required to do as such is drained by the boring bullshit of the song itself. Seriously, how did things get this bad? Or, as previously questioned, has it always been this way? Whatever the answer, we can all agree on one thing: fuck Birds of Tokyo.

Watch This Now: Totally Unicorn – “Daddy’s Stabby Surprise”

You there, filthy commoner! D’ya like DICKS? D’ya like to party? Well, allow me to introduce you to the dudes who do both of those things best – Totally freakin’ Unicorn! They’re about to head out on tour with Let Me Down Jungleman, Gently on a tour called The Dick Party tour. Great, you say! But how exactly DOES one have a dick party? Thankfully, the hirsute gents of the band have put this instructional video together for us all to enjoy.

Now, as one might suspect, there’s a lot of dick in this video. There’s also shirtlessness, chest hair, beer, hats, a dog, a snare drum, underwear, tongues and a swimming pool! Now, if that doesn’t get you excited to have a goddamn motherfucking dick party, I don’t know what will. This was originally going to be embedded from YouTube, but their video was taken down within a record three hours. We’ve now got it on Vimeo…for now. So watch this motherfucker while it lasts, and come have a dick party with the dickiest partiers there are.

Old Favourites: Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube”

“Try to squeeze a drop of blood, squeeze a drop of blood from a sugarcube…”

Bloody indie rock bands. Useless, the lot of them! Couldn’t make a great music video to save their lives! Thankfully, at least one of them had the right mind to get themselves an education. That’s right – let’s take you back to 1997, where those indie slackers Yo La Tengo released a single from their album I Can Hear The Heart Beating as One. They needed a video, and made one, but as shown here, the label thought it sucked!

So, what did Ira and co. do? Slack off some more? Hell to the no! They go off to ROCK SCHOOL, where the teachers wear corpse paint and have pink wigs. Epic shit, bro. The transformation is truly a spectacle. Wait until you see what YLT come up with at the end! Overall, some pretty lifechanging stuff on offer here – this video is a montage for the ages, y’dig? Observe!

Watch This Now: The National – “Conversation 16”

“I was afraid I’d eat your brains, ’cause I’m evil…”

Heyyyy maaaate! First off, thanks for making last week such a success – we got hundreds of view here; and that might not seem like much to many “big” blogs but to me, that’s really cool. Thank you so much for reading! Anyway, onto the latest video from one of my absolute favourite bands – The National. These guys have had an incredible run on the back of last year’s masterpiece High Violet, and now they’ve delivered on a very strong, intrinsic video that is potentially their most dramatic, as well.

In this video, the President of the United States isn’t the band’s good friend Barack Obama – nope, it’s a woman. And that woman is Kristen Schaal, best known for her role as Mel on Flight of the Conchords and her notoriously hilarious style of absurdist comedy (if the phrase “Kristen Schaal is a horse” means anything to you, you’ll know what I’m talking about). There’s a few other familiar faces in there, too, including most of the band itself – singer Matt Berninger, in particular, plays a security guard to the President. He doesn’t say a word, but often his face says it all: look especially around the 2:50 mark.

This video is clever, beautifully written and well-acted. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but is a sound reflection on the themes of the song itself. In other words, you’re looking at a very worthy video from a very worthy band. Watch it! Now, altogether: KRISTEN SCHAAL IS A HORSE, KRISTEN SCHAAL IS A HORSE, LOOK AT HER DANCE LIKE, LOOK AT HER GO LIKE…

Old Favourites: Ween – “Freedom of ’76”


“Liberty bell cracked in half, a bacon steak, a perfect match…”

I’m ending the week feeling very excited but also a little nervous. Tonight, I make my return to the Town Hall Hotel in Newtown – the Townie, to the locals – to take part in Ween Keen 3, a tribute night to the one and only Ween! If you’re in Sydney, PLEASE come down – it’s free and there’s a lot of cool acts playing, starting at about 8. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy this cracking vid from the band’s Chocolate and Cheese era; personally probably my favourite Ween record.

So, here are Dean and Gene Ween, stealing a bell from a tower. Pretty standard, right? This is an interesting one, given the band are prone to some really weird shit in their videos and nothing of the sort really happens this time. Lots of slow-motion shots and the two visually regretting their decisions as they’re whisked away in a police car. The twist at the end, however, suggests they might have a chance of getting out alive – but you’ll have to watch in order to see what it is. Also of note is the very funny dream sequence, in which the “Bell Brothers” are rowing across a lake with the bell in the middle of their rowboat. No-one makes music, or music videos, quite like Ween.

Watch This Old Favourite If You Dare To Cringe: Rebecca Black – “Friday”

There are no words.

Except one.

FRIDAY.

There’s so much more, but there’s just a taster of this phenomenon.

Old Favourites: Massive Attack feat. Tracy Thorn – “Protection”

“I’ll stand in front of you, and take the force of the blow…”

When it comes to Massive Attack, I have to admit – as a fan, I’m really not all that massive. I love many of their singles, but find most of their albums incredibly hard to get through; and get bored with the songs that don’t feature guest vocalists. I have to say, though, I’ve got massive respect for their legacy – and I also have quite a thing for some of their music videos, too; especially the one you’re about to see.

This is a very clever one-take video. The kind in which everything needs to go exactly right exactly as the camera is rolling. It’s smartly edited and very cool in its oddball concept, documenting a bizarre neighbourhood which shares the same apartment building. If you pay close attention, all the residents are either lying down or are on their side, allowing more genius panning from apartment to apartment.

Tracy Thorn, she of Everything But the Girl fame, sings lead on this track and also stars in the video. She’s probably had countless years of experience in playing the morose, longing vocalist in videos but I feel that here she could well be at her most convincing. It’s just a beautifully done video, and one that I find new reasons to love every time I watch it. Maybe you’ll feel the same…

Old Favourites: Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”

“Showin’ off your ass ‘coz you thinkin’ it’s a trend, girlfriend…”

Though it’s somewhat admirable that Ms. Lauryn Hill went into semi-retirement from music in order to raise a family, one can’t help but wonder what would – or, indeed, may – happen were she to follow up her seminal solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Would she ever be able to top it? And, more in sync with today’s subject, would she ever create a video as masterful and timeless as this one? Not only does Doo Wop (That Thing) remain one of her defining songs, with or without The Fugees; it also stands as her defining music video – to this day, no-one’s ever made anything quite like it.

Here’s the skinny, conceptually – Lauryn performs the exact same song at the exact same block party at the exact same area of New York City…except 33 years apart. One is in 1967, the other in 1998. This video is a reflection of American culture and time-honoured tradition, particularly within the black community. I recall seeing this video a lot when I was growing up and never really having a grasp of what exactly was being presented before me – just digging the song that went “that thing that thing that thiii-iii-iii-iiiing.” Now, I see it for something much greater – it’s commentary on how far we’ve come, questioning if it’s really as much as one would think. Sure, there’s the superficial things like fashion and performance styles, but what about things like community and romance, both displayed consistently throughout either side of the screen? It’s certainly food for thought.

This is one of my all-time favourite videos, so I’m glad I finally got around to writing about it. Wherever you are, Ms. Hill, please consider following up the album. Even if it’s not as good, at least we’ll know that you tried! Hell, come down to Australia and I’ll help you write it! How does Splendour in the Grass sound?

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