“As the lukewarm hands of the gods came down and gently picked my adrenalin…”
Do you ever sit back and wonder how the more eccentric stars of music manage to stay so weird? I’ve found myself asking this quite a bit as I watch the latest video from Björk, still with jaw agape and with my mind aflutter with bewilderment as usual. Björk is someone that I’ve always had a huge amount of admiration for – she has been giving the world of music a rush of innovative, exuberant and potentially even dangerious original ideas since before I was born; and even now she is still finding room to expand and evolve.
Her new release, Biophilia, is apparently some kind of multimedia extravaganza that I couldn’t even begin to explain. The clip for Moon is a part of it, in which she sports a wig that’s like Rihanna meets Erykah Badu, plays a harp THAT IS A PART OF HER DRESS and has the titular moon circling her the entire time. It’s pretty spectacular stuff, but it’s not like you’d expect anything less from someone like Björk. If you thought she couldn’t possibly still have anything left in the tank after all these years, then my advice would be to let her prove you wrong.
“If I started over, I’d do the same again…”
Well, I’ve gotta admit that I didn’t see this one coming. As much as I love pop-punk and how much it means to me, I don’t normally look to it for great clips. It’s often either just your stock-standard performance vid or compilations of tour footage – and, as fun as the latter can be, it’s not exactly inspired. So imagine my surprise when Detroit’s Fireworks came out of the blue with one of the most original videos of the year – I knew instantly that I had to share it about.
I’ve seen some fairly creepy imitations of humans in my time – the Manic Street Preachers and their civilsation of literally faceless people – but I’ve got to say that seeing pinata people – yeah, like the ones at kids’ parties filled with candy – have to be up there with the creepiest. The pinata people are being hunted by a crazed killer, complete with daggers, knives and…you guessed it…bow and arrows! Will the creepy family survive? What’s the killer’s motive? Was that candy? Think you’ve got some watching to do, chief.
“You’re such a drag on everyone, you’re such a burned out zombie…”
He may have his fair share of detractors, but I’ve been a fan of Nathan Williams – aka Wavves – for awhile now. He’s unpretentious, he’s a total dude on Twitter and he makes super-fun jangle-pop – with a fresh batch, the Life Sux EP, released just the other day. This is the first track from it, and I honestly think that out of all of the attempts Williams has made at intentionally tacky/kitschy videos, this one is probably his best yet.
I don’t want to spoil exactly how this video goes down, because believe me when I tell you that this is a clip that needs to be seen to be believed. What I’m going to do is give you some keywords. Williams playing a pretty serious game of Monopoly with the other half of Wavves, Stephen Pope. Cigars, weed, beer, fake money, cops, treasure chest, water. How the fuck do all of those link up? Hell, even I’m not so sure. What I can guarantee, however, is that you’ll definitely want to scroll down just a little bit and find out exactly what the hell is going through Wavves’ head. Definitely one of the most fun clips of the year.
“We built this bridge as big as Brooklyn, it’s gonna burn…”
Here’s an adorable way to start your Tuesday: meet Kate Martin, a sweet-voiced and softly-spoken singer-songwriter all the way from Townsville in Queensland, Australia. And before I hear any groaning or complaining from up the back there, I’d like to point out that Kate is different to your average Julia Stone wannabe. There’s depth to this sound, an ethereal nature that arises somewhere in the ghostly harmonies and the melodies that are nigh-on impossible to get out of one’s head. Point is, I really like her. And I want to share her with you lot.
This gorgeous clip is shot in countryside Victoria. It’s not so much what happens in this video, but where and how. The video is essentially Martin and her band, The Shallow Sea Choir, driving along, playing in a field, discovering an abandoned house and sitting on a blanket on the grass. Fairly innocuous stuff, really – so it’s all in the gorgeous locations (where) and the warmth between the band members (how) that makes this such an utterly charming clip.
Somebody please whoop me upside the head if this lady makes it to Sydney and I miss out.
“Spring is here again, reproductive glands…”
Part two of our anniversary tribute – let’s talk about Nirvana. I’m a suburban kid who grew up in the 90s, so of course Nirvana’s been a big part of my life. Interestingly, though, I didn’t quite understand the full story about them until the early 2000s, where the Nirvana phase went through my entire grade, coinciding with the self-titled greatest hits record. The story is one that has confused me, troubled me and shaken my foundations as a kid, and one that I’m not quite sure I fully comprehend – let’s not forget I was all of four years old when Kurt Cobain ended his life. With all that in mind, though, I feel it’s important to talk about Nevermind and the impact it had across all walks of life and all fields of pop culture.
For the In Bloom video, the band targeted the American dream. A parody of the Ed Sullivan Show, where the band are described as “wholesome, clean cut young men,” Nirvana take very clear stabs at their own success (complete with Beatlemania parallels) and what it means to be a cool, accessible rock band (the “clean” footage is mixed with the band cross-dressing and trashing their equipment). Most people will easily pick Smells Like Teen Spirit as the defining video of the Nevermind era, but I find myself coming back to In Bloom considerably more – it’s a smart, scathing clip that perhaps best summises what life was like for the band: clear skies one moment and thunderstorms the next. You never quite knew which to expect.
“How come everybody wanna kick it like the Kaiser?”
As I’m sure you’re all aware, two massive rock records celebrated their 20th anniversary of release over the weekend. Those records were Nirvana‘s Nevermind and the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Blood Sugar Sex Magik. I’ve decided to pay small tribute to albums that, although I barely listen to either band anymore, were still decidedly formative in my early years of music listening. Let’s start with the latter – a gateway to a world of funk, rock, metal, pop and everything else in-between to any guitar-hungry kid getting into music. Hell, I probably wouldn’t even know who Stevie Wonder was were it not for this band and their cover of Higher Ground. True!
The Chilis had been on the verge of something pretty massive at the time, and Blood Sugar Sex Magik was exactly what they needed to explode as a global rock phenomenon. It damn-near broke the band – let’s not forget this resulted in the first of two times that guitarist John Frusciante would quit the Chilis – but to me, the end result was more than worth it. We’re going to focus here on the Give It Away clip, which certainly captured my attention the first time I saw it – you mean to tell me these wild-looking dudes covered head to toe in silver paint were responsible for Blood Sugar Sex Magik? That’s…not that surprising, actually.
Essentially, you’re just getting the Chilis having a shitload of fun out in the middle of the desert, getting a little bit freaky and really enjoying that Wayne’s World-esque extreme close-up. Woahhhhhh! A great video that reminds me why I loved the band so much to begin with.
This one nearly slipped my radar completely, I’ve gotta be honest – that is, until their national tour with Papa vs. Pretty was announced last Friday. How exciting! Two of Australia’s best live bands rocking it up around the country. Having seen our boys The Vasco Era tear it up at both Goodgod Small Club and the Changing Lanes festival over the past month or two, I can vouch for their wild and exciting live show. They’ve also got a clever idea or two for their clips, and that’s where Child Bearing Hips comes into play.
At first, the contrast of the thudding rock drive of the song mixed with a girl letting her hair fly out of the car window in slow motion feels quite peculiar – where is it going, you’re bound to wonder? That opening sequence, however, is incredibly arresting and subsequently mesmerising – and it leads into a gorgeously shot tale of starcrossed lovers. I’m not entirely sure if the two main characters are Lucille and Sam, from the band’s last studio album Lucille, but whoever they are, they sure know how to speak volumes without actually saying a word. Watch this one right to the end, it’s very much worth it. Oh, and don’t forget to see the boys on tour next month!
“We’ve got hook hands, hook hands, hook hands, hook hands, hook hands…”
It’s never too early for party metal. That’s an invaluable lesson that my mother taught me as a child, and something that I have passed down from generation to generation. It’s where we start today, where my old mates and yours Totally Unicorn have come back for a second helping of inappropriateness following the dick-slinging fabulousness of Daddy’s Stabby Surprise back in May.
Directed by Sydney dude Mikey Hamer, there are considerably less dicks than last time – but there’s still a good time to be had. Why, there’s bikinis, beaches, guitars used as surfboards and even a disgusting eyelid trick by bassist Tim McMahon, who’s making his video debut here. It’s all plotless fun, but it comes together really well – there were plenty of belly laughs on the first go-around, even more by the second. What can I say? Drew Gardner, the head horn of Totes, is just a fucking funny guy – there’s one facial expression you’ll see around the middle of the clip that just cracks me up every single time. You’ll know it when it comes.
One more thing: If you’re in Sydney or Wollongong, then PLEASE come and check these guys out at one of their shows this week! On Thursday, they will be playing at Newtown’s Sandringham Hotel; and on Friday, they will be playing a very special hometown gig at Yours & Owls in Wollongong. It’s going to be nothing short of unmissable – and I’ll be at both! Be sure to say g’day if you see me around.
Now, on with the dicks!
“We dance to all the wrong songs, we make all the wrong moves…”
There are some videos that you never forget from the very second that you watch them. One of the major ones for me was Refused, the iconic Swedish punks who more or less turned hardcore and punk rock on its head with their definitive LP The Shape of Punk to Come. This was essentially my first foray into hardcore music, and it completely terrified and exhiliarated me at the same time.
Though this is mostly a performance video, I love the bizarre build-up towards it, as well as the insanity that comes in the outro where the stage is taken over by the band wearing freaky masks. The energy of the song is perfectly reflected in this clip, and there’s a very good reason why this stands as one of the most-picked videos by rage guest programmers. If you’ve never experienced this, please be my guest.