Monthly Archives: May, 2011

Watch This Now: The Leafs – “Space Elevator”

“I wanna go to the equator, it’s so hot there right now…”

Here’s one that came to me in the email box thing yesterday that I was quite drawn to. Meet The Leafs – a twangy indie-rock duo with one guitar with the strings all tuned to one note and a drummer who only plays two drums. It’s very simple, primative rock & roll – and they’ve got a pretty damn cool video to go with it. Essentially, the whole thing is random footage of people doing things in slow motion. Been done before? Sure. But what hasn’t? What’s cool about it is the way that you’re entranced by whatever it is that they’re doing – whether it’s playing the bongos or smashing up a TV, it all strangely fits in with the song itself. Definitely check these dudes out, and maybe even grab their free album over at Bandcamp?


Watch This Now: Beyoncé – “Run The World (Girls)”

“Our love we can devour, you’ll do anything for me…”

It’s taken me far too long to get onto it, so let’s delve right in. Let’s talk about what is probably the biggest pop video in the world right now. Even though it may feel like she never left, this is Beyonce‘s triumphant comeback video; the first taste of what’s to come for her fourth studio album. It’s with these first impressions that you really need an audio visual combo that sticks. Look at the first videos from her last three records – Crazy in Love, Deja Vu and, of course, Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It). All defining videos of their time and context, regardless of whether you’re a fan or not. With all of this in mind, Run The World (Girls) does not disappoint. That’s the last thing it wants to do.

Beautifully shot around what appears to be several exotic desert locations, B and her crew pull out all the stops in this five-minute extravaganza. The choreography is the most immediate thing about the video, essentially jumping out of the screen with its intesity and focus. Let’s not forget the costume changes and amazing shots of Knowles crawling through the dirt like she’s on the prowl to murder something. Holy hell, has there been a video recently that has had the word “fierce” scrawled so boldly over it? It’s a dynamic, eye-popping and outright fucking awesome video. It’s one that I basically cannot stop watching. I trust you’ll feel the same after just one viewing. B’s back, bitch.

Watch This Now: Children Collide – “Loveless”

“You will be happy to know that I’ve moved on as well…”

I really, really shouldn’t have let this one go under my radar. Children Collide are no strangers to having an awesome video – let us not forget We Are Amphibious, or even the first single from their last album, Jellylegs. This one, however, the third and final single from the Theory of Everything record, is in a league of its own. In collaboration with director David Michôd, the band have delivered their finest video ever – a chilling reflection on their slowest and most heartfelt single to date. This isn’t the Children Collide you see thrashing about like crazy motherfuckers any other week on tour – this runs far deeper.

It’s even more amazing, still, to think that the band did this with one take, one camera, one backdrop and only one band member involved – vocalist/guitarist Johnny Mackay. Donned in clown makeup, he is transmogrified before your very eyes – I won’t give away what happens if you haven’t seen the video, but there’s a good chance that you’ll be left in fair amounts of shock by the end of it all. It’s confronting, at times even grotesque, but it all turns into something quite beautiful, reflective of the aching themes of the song itself. No Australian act has made a video this important and essential so far this year. They probably won’t for the rest of it.

Watch This If You Dare: Avril Lavigne – “Smile”

“You stole my heart, and you’re the one to blame…”

At this point of proceedings, I would just like to point out to everyone that Avril Lavigne is 26 years old. That is far, far too young to be having a mid-life crisis, wouldn’t you agree? Still, that’s more or less exactly what her new video feels like, as she attempts to reconnect with the tie-wearing faux-punk we grew to love (well, mostly hate – but there was some love!) back at the turn of the century. Needless to say, it doesn’t work.

There is some sort of weird pastiche going on here, in which Avril is attempting to reconcile her “trash the mall/steal boyfriend/have guys chase after her” self with her “sit at piano/look thoughtful/gaze off into the distance while sitting on bed” self. So you get Avril bouncing around a white room, spraying graffiti and playing guitar (PUNK RAWK 4 LYFZ) interspersed with footage of Avril walking around city streets in black and white and picking up pieces of a red glass heart (COLOUR IN THIS DARK DARK WORLD) and making people…you guessed it…smile!

I honestly have no freaking idea what Avril is going for here. All I know is that she’s pretty much embarrassing herself – this just feels so forced, so produced, so predictable. I’m sure this will smash the charts up or whatever, but for my money? Avril is still reeling from getting dumped by the Sum 41 dude.

Watch This Now: The Potbelleez – “From the Music”

We’re never gonna get too far away from the music…

Here’s a group I’d never expect to feature in a positive light – Australian production crew The Potbelleez. These guys are resonsible for some of the most boring, generic, sports-montage-ready dance/pop songs of the past few years, amongst them Don’t Hold Back, Are You With Me and the downright atrocious Hello (“Hello! Are you ready to go?”) So, how on earth did these guys end up in Y,WGAV!’s good books? Simple, really – all they needed was puppets.

With this video, the band have flipped the generic club video into something far more amusing. Watching puppets get wasted in place of humans honestly hasn’t been this funny since Avenue Q – they sure manage to get a lot of partying done within the space of three minutes, that’s for sure. Look out for the cheating puppet, the Smack My Bitch Up homage and – my personal favourite – watching hot chicks make out with inanimate felt objects. Never thought you’d see that, would you? Oh, and I guess the song is okay, too. I mean, it’s officially the least-worst single they’ve ever released – and I’m not going to say the “b” word in relation to them. They’ve gotten the pass from me, let’s not stretch the friendship too much.

Watch This Now: The Lonely Island – “We’re Back!” / “Jack Sparrow”

Hey hey hey! So, the Rapture didn’t happen on Saturday and I’m really, really excited. Mainly because I get to keep on pestering you motherfuckers with my music video fetish. What better way to kick off than with some dudes who have been absolutely slaughtering it since their triumphant return – I refer to The Lonely Island, who already made waves over here on Y,WGAV! with I Just Had Sex. Now, they’ve given us not one, but two videos to promote their sophomore Turtleneck and Chain, another excercise in post-SNL hilarity, brilliant cameos and more dick jokes than you can poke a non-sexual stick at.

First up is a video for the first track on the album, entitled We’re Back! This brilliant rip on hip-hop bravado is boosted especially by the imagery in this video – filmed entirely in black and white, with plenty of sunglasses and TMI visualisations of the guys’ supposedly tiny dicks. There’s lots of dick jokes, by the way, so perhaps keep small children away from this entry – although, I’d be grateful for any clicks my way…

I digress! Video number two sees the guys team up with former mullet-toting crooner Michael Bolton for a ridiculous club jam that is offset by Bolton’s choruses about the Pirates of the Carribean marathon he just watched on TV. Seeing Bolton dressed up like a pirate is worth your time on its own, but the entire video is worth a look – for my money, it’s probably the funniest one they’ve made since I’m On a Boat way back in 2009. Everyone kills it here – it’s always a great sign of not taking yourself too seriously that you can temporarily join a comedy-rap troup and send yourself up a bit. Get amongst it!

The Cringe: Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott – “Hero”

“They say that a hero can save us, I’m not going to stand here and wait…”

Every day, I’m trying to influence my younger brother to be the best person he can be. It’s not always a success, but I’m still trying. With that said, he’s made some terrible choices in his life time – and I count buying this single as amongst the worst of them.

Let’s take you back to the early 2000s. The singers of two of North America’s biggest post-grunge “mmmyeahh-heayuh” bands – that’s Chad Kroeger from old mates Nickelback and Josey Scott from Saliva – decided to team up to write and perform the lead single for the Spiderman soundtrack. The movie itself, while not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, was still a whole lot of fun. Unfortunately, that’s kind of lost in the mix when you’re only getting a few seconds of Tobey Maguire flying through the sky in full costume or Kirsten Dunst standing around and doing her “I’m worried about something” face that she’s pulled in pretty much every movie she’s been in post Bring It On.

Instead, the focus is on the even-more-worried faces of Scott and Kroeger, both belting out the ballad as if they were about to get eaten by The Green Goblin or something. It’s one of those very obvious, plain and downright tacky music videos that are meant to tie-in with the movie that they’re promoting. It’s my least favourite kind of video, as it can rarely be done with any degree of success. Here is no exception – a lame song with a bland, bullshit-munching video. Mmm-yeahh.

Watch This if You Dare: 30 Seconds to Mars – “This is War”

“A warning to the people, the good and the evil…”

We don’t get a whole lot of good news in relation to shit bands here at Y,WGAV!, so I’m very happy to announce that there is a very good chance that 30 Seconds to Mars are going to break up. I thought I’d celebrate their demise by giving them Y,WGAV!’s second-ever hat trick! Formerly a title only held by Tamara Jaber, you can now add this piece-of-shit video to the rest of the fucktarded videos to come from this album, namely Closer to the Edge and the truly atrocious Hurricane.

For the title track, old mate Jared Leto gets his Rob Schneider on. Jared Leto was a pink mohawk! Then, he was a non-sensical bondage freak in the middle of a 15-minute circle-jerk with the guitarist guy and his own brother! NOW, Jared Leto is…a soldier! Geddit? ‘Cause the song is called This is War! Boom! Kaboom! Shake the room? No! Wrong video! Back to the targets and explosions and shit! VISUAL METAPHORS FOR THE ETERNAL STRUGGLE WITHIN, YOU GUYS! Ahh, fuck this. I really can’t be bothered talking about this piece of arse much longer. I just wanted to give the band credit for a hat-trick of unfathomably shite videos. Not many bands can do that. Get down  on it.

Watch This Now: Manchester Orchestra – “Simple Math”

“The truth cannot be fractioned either way I imply…”

I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of Simple Math, the new record from Manchester Orchestra, when it dropped. Over time, however, I’ve grown to love the album and have listened repeatedly to the songs and related back to the themes and lyrics of it. Being somewhat of a visual learner, however, I don’t think that the title track impacted on me quite as much as it has after seeing this video and still recovering from its heart-wrenching visualisation of the themes found within the song.

Normally, I’ll want to talk extensively about such a crushing video – certainly one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen in a very, very long time. But there’s not much that I can really say, for fear of giving the video away. I’ll instead discuss the themes – I see it as being about violent rejection, wanting to be a better person, family and unconditional love. At first, it might not make sense, as there is a lot going on within the five-and-a-half-minute runtime. When it clicks, though, perhaps you too will have the overbearing feeling in your stomach like I have right now from just thinking about this video. Essential viewing.

Watch This Now: Death Cab for Cutie – “Home is a Fire”

“Cars on the freeway, tempting a clean break, there’s nowhere left to go…”

Like this was going to slip under my radar! I’m really, really looking forward to Codes and Keys, the new album from Death Cab for Cutie that’s due at the end of the month. I loved the last video for You Are a Tourist, and I’m happy to announce that they’ve made an even better video this time around. Tourist was a brilliant video for the ambition of creating a video in one take, live, with no editing. Home is a Fire, conversely, is brilliant on account of the collaboration made with visual artist Shepard Fairey.

With DCfC bassist Nick Harmer filming and directing the whole thing, Fairey creates stencils depicting the lyrics of the song, putting them up all around Los Angeles. Major kudos is due to Harmer for putting this one together – his filming work is excellent, putting together a really beautiful montage that’s reflective of the song’s warmth, as well as its underlying fears and paranoia. It generates a myriad of emotions in what feels like a very short amount of time, and makes you want to explore them through repeated viewings almost instantly. Stunning stuff, and yet another contender for the video of the year – watch your back, Kimbra!

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