Monthly Archives: February, 2012

Old Favourites: Keane – “Everybody’s Changing”

“Tried to make a move, just to stay in the game…”

Am a bit poorly today, unfortunately, so haven’t really had a chance to do very much blogging. Thankfully, I’ll churn this one out – in spite of my sickness, there is some celebrating to do! Keane will return with their fourth studio album, Strangeland, this May. Always a massive deal in the U.K., these guys have been consistently underrated basically everywhere else on the planet – and that’s something that never quite made sense to me. They’ve made consistently good records and make stunning pop music, and in their time they’ve made some pretty swell clips, too.

This here is my personal favourite of theirs, just because of its deceptive nature. It starts out as a very plain performance video, with just the three of them playing to a white backdrop. The camera turns, however, and suddenly there are completely different people playing the instruments. And there’s a LOT of different people – you’ll see an eskimo, a soldier, a drag queen, a scientist… Sure, it’s a very simply executed video, but it’s clever and cute and fun. Especially great for a band that is always seen as taking themselves too seriously. Now, excuse me while I go cough up a lung.

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Watch This Now: Gotye – “Easy Way Out”

“Seventeen seconds and I’m over it, ready for the disconnect…”

He’s back! Not content with one of the best Australian albums of last year, mind-blowing animated clips and THE video of 2011, Wally de Backer has come back yet again with a new Gotye video. A collaboration with Oh Yeah Wow, whose Set Sail clip was recently featured on the blog, de Backer has nailed it yet again. Seriously, does this guy kill kittens or drown babies or something? No-one can be that good at this level of consistency. Something’s gotta be up.

Anyways, the clip seemingly focuses on the mundane daily routine, and how much it can be quite soul-destroying and exhausting. Wally plays all of the characters, going in dizzying circles similar to Kylie’s Come Into My World video – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all! There’s so much to be packed into this crazy two minutes, and there’s something new to enjoy with every view. Hell, you can get at least five views in the next 10 minutes, why not give it a go? Trust me, you’ll love every second of it.

The Cringe: Creed – “With Arms Wide Open”

“I close my eyes, begin to pray, tears of joy stream down my face…”

Another one from the list of friend of the blog, Mr. Ryan Towers. Not content with infecting me with horrid shit like LMFAO and The Europeans, he’s now decided to refocus my attention on one of the more embarrassing post-grunge turds to ever grace the ears of millions of goateed morons. We’ve spoken briefly about the atrocious phenomenon that was – and, sadly, still is Creed, talking about their hilarious Rain video back when it came out. That was just the tip of the Vedder-molesting iceberg, though. Here is where the true gold lies, in what is arguably the band’s biggest hit single.

There is more comedic gold in the first sixty seconds of this clip than you’ll probably find in a lot of modern sitcoms – all of which is unintentional and almost all of which is vocalist Scott Stapp‘s responsibility. The dude hams it up like an absolute champion, with his Jesus posing and clenched fists getting great little close-ups. Then there’s a bunch of missiles going around the place, a bell that falls through a hole and… I dunno, I can’t be bothered keeping up with this shit. It ends with Stapp just hanging out in the water. For some reason. Seriously, figure out the plot to this fucker and you get ten bucks.

And that’s about it.

Watch This Now: Bleeding Knees Club – “Nothing to Do”

“You never change, you’re always the same, I can’t stand the things you do…”

Hey dudes! Have a good weekend! I had a pretty insane double of SoundDave at Black Wire Records and my favourite band, Death Cab for Cutie, at the Enmore Theatre. Pretty pooped, to tell you the truth. No problem, we’ll soldier on. After all, there’s too many good videos out there! We’re kicking off this week with a 2-minute surge of sugary pop-rock power – that’s right, it’s Bleeding Knees Club.

Not content with being the reigning overlords of extended syllable choruses, the babyfaced twosome have decided to let loose in various other areas. This includes broomstick-riding, lazer-shooting, tree-ghost-killing, cape-wearing and demented-drumming-koala-destryoing. For what it’s worth, they manage to do it all pretty well, considering they’ve got roughly 110 seconds to work with. Heaps party. Heaps fun. If you like this, they’re going on tour in April. Suss it out and chuck a mosh.

Old Favourites: Rage Against the Machine – “Sleep Now in the Fire”

“Jesus blessed me with its future, and I protect it with fire…”

To be completely honest with you, dear reader, I’m not nearly as politically engaged as a person now than I was around the age of fourteen and fifteen. Back in the mid-2000s, at the height of Bush, Howard and Blair, I was exposed to music and documentary makers that wanted their voice heard and the system fought against. Amongst them were NOFX, Anti-Flag and Cog, but none of them would have even crossed my mindset were it not for Rage Against the Machine – and, in particular, this video, which came at a very interesting time in my life.

I was aware of Killing in the Name Of and Guerilla Radio and the like, but Sleep Now in the Fire was my game changer. It turned me into a massive RATM fan, and got me engaged in what they stood for and what they believed in. It’s this video that did it. Directed by a little-known film-maker at the time, Michael Moore, this video cuts between RATM performing in front of the Wall Street Stock Exchange and a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?-esque game show, where the questions are simple a) and b) multiple choice with some incredibly harsh statistics – some of which still manage to ring true to this day.

It’s one thing to think you care. Sleep Now in the Fire made me want to burn everything and change the world. I didn’t and I haven’t, but I can’t think of many other bands that have ignited that very feeling inside of me. I got cold sweats when I watched this video for the blog, and part of me will always remember that pissed-off teenager. No doubt I was one of the many.

FEATURED FRIDAYS – Takin’ 5: Blurry Vision

In light of the band’s recent (read: fantastic) performance at the 2012 Brit Awards, as well as the announcement of a massive Hyde Park show alongside The Specials and New Order in August, I thought there was no better place than here and no better time than now to celebrate the illustrious Britpop career that was – and is – Blur. Here are my five favourite videos from the band, with a couple of hits and maybe a few unexpected inclusions amongst the lot. Let’s take a look.

5. Country House

What’s not to love about this charmer of a clip? Even with Blur at the height of their financial success, they still couldn’t help but bite their thumb at the rich and wealthy in this hilarious romp. Keith Allen – probably known to you younger readers as Lily‘s dad – plays the lead character in the song, dancing about the place with reckless abandon and tongue firmly in cheek. There’s so much going on in this video that it’s honestly hard to keep up at times. My personal highlights include the cute-as-a-button face Alex James makes after taking the pills handed to him in the book, the Bohemian Rhapsody video reference… and, of course, watching Matt Lucas of Little Britain fame chase around models, Benny Hill style. Booya.

4. Song 2

In my view, one of the ultimate rock performance videos – not just of the nineties, but of any era. It’s hard to quite describe the impression this video left on a rock-hungry preteen such as myself way back when. Everything about this is pure intensity, basically for the entire 2 minutes. Even when that riff hasn’t kicked in, there’s still an edginess – and, even, a downright scariness – to Damon Albarn’s face as he glares straight down the barrel through the darkness. When all hell breaks loose, I have to credit guitarist Graham Coxon for pretty much being the man of the match. I don’t think the imagery of Coxon leaping against that wall or shredding in that wind machine will ever leave my brain. And I don’t think I want it to, either.

3. Boys and Girls

Potentially the coolest uncool video ever made. The boys really hammed it up for this one, from the cheesy green-screens and the various shots of the lads and lasses in swimming pools to the t-shirts depicting lyrics from the song. For all its efforts to be kitschy and dorky, however, Blur proved themselves to be majorly ahead of the curve with this one. It’s in the little things, too – you can argue that Alex James basically invented hipster dancing with his little fringe flicking in this clip. Many other bands have attempted to try clips in this style, too, and yet they simply don’t come close. This right here is the original and the best – still as uncool as it ever was, and remarkably proud of it.

2. Out of Time

The video for Out of Time comes from a particularly dark patch in Blur’s career, lifted from the 2003 Think Tank record, the only album Blur has ever recorded without Graham Coxon. As a result, it’s a startling and confrontingly dark video, shot on board a nameless navy vessel and following the mundane every day tasks. Despite its seemingly boring nature, one cannot help but be engaged by this harsh reality, shot as plainly as possible on what looks like surveilance cameras. Things particularly get quite interesting when the lead character reveals an inner dialogue via subtitles during the song’s guitar solo. It’s definitely not a popular Blur clip, but it still cuts to my very core with every view.

1. Coffee and TV

Of course we were going to end with this one. It’s not just a Blur clip. It’s the Blur clip. Since its 1999 release, countless people have fallen in love with the ever-endearing tale of Milky, the animated milk carton that decides to cheer up the family he has been assigned to by finding their missing son, played by Graham Coxon. Milky’s big city adventure is one of love, fear, paranoia and small fish in very big ponds. It’s cute and funny, but can also make you seriously think about life from a completely different perspective than you normally would have. It’s a great song, but it almost feels secondary to this brilliantly-plotted clip, a highlight of the directorial duo Hammer & Tongs‘ career. For all the accolades it has received over the years – countless awards, list toppings et al. – nothing quite beats that first reaction. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cheer. What other video has ever done that with a bloody milk carton?

Watch This Now: The Ghosts – “Ghosts”

“I’ve considered all this, I’m not the only one that fights them…”

I know what you’re thinking, dear reader, and the answer is yes. I do think it’s weird that a band called The Ghosts have a song called Ghosts. Regardless, if you can get past this minor bout of confusion then you’ve got yourself a cracking slice of electronic pop fresh out of the UK, a phoenix that has risen from the ashes of the late, great Ou Est le Swimming Pool. Former live member, keyboardist Alex Starling, has started a new life here, and it sounds fantastic.

Ghosts has been brought to life in this excellent clip, which features some particularly sinister goings-on set in the surrounds of a creepy looking hospital. At least, you assume it’s a hospital. Then, it hits: What kind of hospital keeps a hamster wheel close by? And has ghosts haunting the place? Oh yeah, the visual metaphor thing is pretty massive in this clip, but thankfully manages to avoid most cliches. At least, they don’t have any white sheets over the top of them.

After being such a massive OULSP fan (The Golden Year is one of the best electro-pop records released in the past ten years), it’s great to see some great new music come out of it, not to mention a very cool video. Their debut album, The End, will be released in April; and I’m really looking forward to it. Until then, let’s get spooky.

Watch This Now: Of Monsters and Men – “Little Talks”

“Though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore…”

Strap in, boys and girls! We’re going on an adventure to Iceland! Yep, you heard right – I am super-stoked to share with you this delightful new video for Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men, with the single from their debut album My Head is An Animal that has also served as one of the greatest little earworms I’ve experienced in the past few years. It’s just a delightful song, truly anthemic in its chorus and delightful in its execution. And now, finally, it gets its own video – and what a treat it is.

There’s so much going on here that it’s hard to keep up. I can assure you that it’s a tale of epic proportions, however. There’s monsters everywhere, from up in the sky right down to the deep sea. There’s excitement, action and even some crazy colours in the alien girl that they find. Big smiles all around for this one – really, what more can I say? I’ve swooned over this song for ages and now I’m swooning over this video. It’s practically perfect in every way. Get amongst it.

 

Watch This Now: OFWGKTA – “Rella”

“Bitches on my dick, but look at me! I’m fucking beautiful!”

No rest for the wicked, y’all. OFWGKTA are back after the breakthrough solo success of Tyler, the Creator generated worldwide interest in the collective. Despite a tonne of backlash and a set at the Big Day Out in Sydney that left a lot to be desired, I still consider myself an Odd Future fan. These kids have some great ideas and some excellent tunes, and the craziness continues with this taster from their upcoming second mixtape/album.

This track features OF members Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis alongside Tyler, and the three of them all get up to a variety of mischievous antics. You’ll either find this absolutely hilarious or completely terrifying, depending entirely on which side of the coin you view Golf Wang. It’s pretty safe to say this isn’t a clip for the easily offended – especially the slapstick misogyny that is sure to have tongues-a-clucking while the group keep their tongues firmly planted within their cheeks. Personally, though, I found the whole clip wholly entertaining. I particularly loved Tyler’s turn as a cocaine-snorting centaur, as well as Genesis’ bullying of the little red-head kid. It’s rare to see a hip-hop video that is this much fun anymore, which is a damn shame. Put all pretensions aside and swag out.

Watch This Now: Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”

“This was their last night on the continent, the production was shutting down…”

My my, 2012 has been full of unexpected twists already, hasn’t it. Here, grumpy folk-r0ck veteran Kurt Wagner, aka Lampchop, has teamed up with indie pro-wrestling company ATL Wrestling for what is surely one of the most unlikely combos of the year. Normally, wrestling is associated with big guitars and fuck-off riffs – if you’ve never listened to Bodies byDrowning Pool, head to YouTube and see what I’m talking about. So to have a seven-minute acoustic folk tune accompany the lead up and the highlights of an indie wrestling match certainly isn’t something that immediately comes to mind. I’m so glad that it happened, though.

The video basically revolves around Wagner picking up a wrestler from his home, taking him to the venue (it appears to be some sort of community club) and watching the guy rehearse and prepare. It’s fascinating for me as a wrestling fan to see how little sheen or prestige is given to the goings-on of the video. It’s just another profession, presented in as rough-as-guts detail as you’d like.

It’s not glamourous or a high-paying lifestyle like you’d get out of WWE wrestlers, but it’s clear that the love that these guys have for what they do is unshakable. Wagner is just an observer – and it’s this approach that leads me to believe I’ll almost certainly be checking back into this clip when it comes to my end-of-year list. Just magical.

 

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