Monthly Archives: March, 2012

FEATURED FRIDAYS: Takin’ 5 – Guilty of Being White

It was February 2 last year when Jack and Meg White officially announced that their band, The White Stripes, would be no longer. As one of my favourite bands growing up, it was certainly disappointing news. In my heart of hearts, though, I just knew that their legacy would remain intact – and let’s face it, they had a pretty good run. With Jack’s solo album, Blunderbuss, set for release next month, I thought I’d pay the band a quick retrospective visit to the band with five of my favourite clips that they did. Prepare for some wackiness, some creepiness and a lot of Meg smiling innocently.

5. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Jack comes home to a seemingly empty house, but all is not well. The ghosts of its previous inhabitants – Meg included – come back to haunt him constantly. Their second collaboration with Michel Gondry, who makes up the majority of this list, already shows the fruits of a very long-lasting creative relationship. A quirky idea that really managed to suit the contrasts in the song, both musically and lyrically.

4. The Denial Twist

With Gondry back for the first time in two years and the lovable Conan O’Brien making a guest appearance, the Stripes put together what was arguably their trippiest video to date. I don’t want to blow things out of proportion – but, then again, that’s basically what the entire video is about when you think about it. Dizzying to watch, but wholly satisfying all the same.

3. Seven Nation Army

Strangely enough, the Seven Nation Army video was the first and last time that the Stripes worked with Alex and Martin, a Swedish duo that also worked with everyone from U2 to Hilary Duff on a myriad of cool, interesting videos. This was the one that started it all for me – I distinctly remember being enchanted by this continuing stream of multiple Jacks and Megs. The pacing, the ebb and flow, the insane colours and the evil look in Jack’s eye during the verses – priceless, timeless.

2. The Hardest Button to Button

For the bulk of their career, the White Stripes’ sound revolved around one guitar and one drum kit. This video is what happens, however, when the band are given an infinite amount of guitars and drum kits to play around with. Replicating the pattern and arrangement of the song, the band move from parks to subways and into the streets with their stacks upon stacks of equipment. Fancifull excess at its finest – plus, the band donated pretty much all the gear to charity, so there’s a happy ending at least for any rock nerds who thought they’d all go to waste.

1. Fell in Love with a Girl

In typical eccentric style, the shortest video the band ever did took them the longest to make. Naturally, the end result was more than worth it, as Fell in Love is far and away the band’s greatest clip. Painstakingly put together using only Lego, it presented a frenzied take on the song and some truly jaw-dropping feats using just the bricks of Lego. Amazingly, no-one has really attempted anything similar since this clip dropped 10 years ago – not evenOKGO, who have surely done absolutely everything by now. I guess we all knew that nothing was going to top this.

Thanks y’all, have a good weekend!

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FEATURED FRIDAYS: My Favourite Video – Brent DeBoer

Brent DeBoer is an American musician, best known as the drummer of
The Dandy Warhols
and the lead singer/guitarist of Australian-based band Immigrant Union.

He has chosen three of his favourite videos: Gay Bar by Electric Six, Black Mags by The Cool Kids and Rock the Casbah by The Clash.

I like the song alright, but this video just goes the extra mile.  I remember after first meeting Dick Valentine, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and I went back to the bus and looked up Electric 6 and watched this video.  We were rolling around on the floor punching each other trying not to die laughing.  Dick Valentine is one of the smartest people I have ever met, and this video gives viewers a small glimpse of his brilliance.

 

I am a big fan of hip hop music, and this song just does something for me.  The studio production is phenomenal.   I love the lyrics.  I used to ride a chrome GT Dyno with black mags when I was a kid, so that might have something to do with it.  The black and white is beautiful, and the peaceful nature of the video is unusual for the genre.  The animation on the bridge and in other places are subtle and so trippy.  Check out the chick he picks up on his bike.  She is so cool.  I also love how he uses a beeper and the pay phone.  God, I love this video.

 

Obviously, the song is one of the best of all time.  It is flawless in every way.  Everyone knows that.  But have a look at the video for it.  What you see are maybe the four coolest people to ever walk the earth.  I have been in a few videos in my day, and let me tell you: it is very hard to fake like you are playing a song and not look like a total idiot.  These guys pull it off so nicely.  They are all wearing such detailed and wonderful clothes.  I love watching Paul Simonon pace toward the camera.  The look on his face.  What a rock god.  The mini movie throughout the video is nice to watch, but it is really just a cutaway from the band.  When I was a kid, this was one of the first videos I saw on MTV as they played it over and over all day long. I could not take my eyes off of these people.  What a band.

I did meet Joe Strummer one time, at a festival in England.  He looked like a familiar face, but way different in person; and I didn’t know it was Joe until later.  We just talked about the festival and he asked when my band was going on stage etc….  I have never forgiven myself for not recognising my hero as he stood talking to me.  It’s probably for the best.  I might have made a total ass out of myself.

 

Immigrant Union‘s new single, “Up in Smoke / Oregon,” is out now and can be streamed via Soundcloud here.

The Dandy Warhols‘ new album, This Machine, is set for release on April 24th. The lead single, “Well They’re Gone,” can be streamed via Soundcloud here.

Watch This Now: N’Fa – “March On”

“I don’t know what I’ve been told, but I don’t get love from radio…”

Take down the Missing signs! Call of the search party! At long, merciful last, motherfucking N’Fa is back! We only saw this guy fleetingly in the Bali Party video from Drapht last year, but prior to that it had been years since anyone heard from the former 1200 Techniquesfrontman. Apparently, he’s been off seeing the world, and his findings have been put together in a new EP entitledBabylondon. Awesome news for anyone who’s been wondering what this severely underrated MC has been up to as of late.

Never one to shy away from an ambitious video – see the legendary 1200 video for Karma, as well as the Heath Ledger-directed Cause An Effect – N’Fa has made a video without actually using any video. Yep, the all-photographs thing has been done many a time before, but I love the fact there are still cool and innovative ways to work within the format. Such is certainly the case here, as N’Fa moves about and interacts with art on the walls. The cartoons and the drawings are especially great when they refer to lyrics in the song, but the whole thing is just fascinating and fun to watch. I’m definitely a fan. More of this, please, N’Fa, and soon. Oh, and don’t you dare run off like that again without telling anyone!

Watch This Now: Tenacious D – “To Be the Best”

“We got to learn to fly, we got to take it to the sky on the wings of an eagle…”

Here we go! Ten years after the world was first drawn into the unstoppable rock of Jack Black and Kyle Gass – better known as Tenacious D – the band have come back together to once again rock socks off and blow our minds with the greatest music ever written. Y’know, business as usual. Not counting the soundtrack to The Pick of Destiny, the D’s ill-fated feature film, their upcoming Rise of the Fenix is their first album since 2002. A lot has changed in that time, but it’s a relief to know that the D’s OTT humour and their larger-than-life characters are still intact.

Part music video and part trailer for Rise of the Fenix, the video sees the band attempt to get their groove back after so much time apart. We all know that there’s only one way to do that – a MONTAGE! With MUSIC! While former D drummer Dave Grohl gets them back in shape, popera singer Josh Groban gets their pipes back into shape. There’s a stack of other cameos, too, making this an absolutely riotous return to form. What more can be said? If you loved them back in primary/high school, you’re probably going to love them again now. Give it up.

Old Favourites: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Babe, I’m on Fire”

“My mate Bill Gates says it, the President of the United States says it…”

2003 was a confusing and disappointing year for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Sure, they got to headline Homebake and released their 12th studio album Nocturama – but there were consequences. The album pretty much tanked, and founding member Blixa Bargeld left the band not too long after it was all finished. Thankfully, there was one great thing to come out of the Bad Seeds circa Nocturama. And you, dear friends, are about to watch it.

Babe, I’m on Fire is about as anti-single as anything that the Bad Seeds have ever done. It’s 14 minutes long, it features extensive organ solos and the lyrics centre almost entirely around a myriad of people saying the titular phrase. Why they decided it was a good idea to release it is anyone’s guess, but this video will make you forever grateful that they did. For a band with such a brooding manner and a noted lack of humour, it’s worth seeing the entire band at their absolute silliest. Raiding the costume drawer, the Bad Seeds dress up as every single character depicted in the song, from Nick’s “wife with the furniture” to “the doomed homosexual with the persistent cough.” Perhaps this wildness was the place where the idea of Grinderman began to bloom, who knows?

Whatever the case, this is easily amongst Cave’s best videos, if only just to see him as a skinny, cross-dressing nutjob for a minute or fourteen.

Watch This Now: OFWGKTA – “Oldie”

“Down at Muscle Beach, pumping iron and bone, pumping ODs off my cellular phone…”

Back so soon? It was just a month or so ago when we were jamming Rella, the first track to be lifted from The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, as well as its hilariously bizarre video. With the release of the album, we now get a little treat to go with it: while the entire OFWGKTA crew was at a photo shoot, they decided to put on the huge posse cut, Oldie, and have the entire group do an impromptu music video. And why the hell not?

It’s a simple, loose and fun concept that revolves around the various members of the group miming along to their respective verses, much like the rap heroes that they have all grown up with. It’s a delight to watch as the camera pans about trying to find each member for their verse. Both Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt make their returns after extended leave, and they blend back into the mix perfectly – as if they’d never left. What I really love about this video, though, has to be the fact that it shows OFWGKTA for exactly what they are – kids who love hip-hop having fun. They’re not the Devil’s music, they’re not the scourge of society, they’re not gay-hating misogynists that are out to corrupt your child. They’re Golf Wang. They’re best friends that do what they love and disregard the rest. Take 10 minutes to watch this and get an appreciation of that, why don’t ya.

Watch This Now: Tanlines – “All of Me”

“So pardon me for asking, pardon me for thinking…”

It says a lot about their devoted fanbase that, even several years after their peak of popularity, the two gents behind The Mighty BooshNoel Fielding and Julian Barratt – are still able to make things cool by association. The latter is what brings us here today, as Barratt turns his eye to music video directing for the first time with New York electro duo Tanlines. It’s already had a stack of views almost entirely on the back of Barratt’s name being attached, but it’s worth noting that All of Me is far from a bandwagon jump.

The video maintains the absurdist quirkiness that made Boosh – particularly within its first season – so appealing. In a dimly-lit room full of senior citizens, a mysterious figure enters with a video (yes, an actual video for a VHS!), puts it on and shares Tanlines’ performance with the group. At first, they remain statuesque – until one brave soul cannot contain the rhythm within and gets up to… dance? I’m not entirely sure dance is the right word. It’s delightfully done from a choreography perspective, though; creating something dark and unexpected yet somehow undeniably joyous. See what you make of it.

Watch This If You Dare: Lana Del Ray – “Blue Jeans”

“It was like James Dean for sure, you so fresh to death and sick as cancer…”

We’ve never really touched on the passing phenom of Lizzy Grant, better known to you lot as Lana Del Ray. People either find her an enthralling relief from the current batch of female pop stars or an incarnation of Satan himself. Me? I just find her unremarkabe. Spectularly unremarkable. As in, I legitimately cannot think of anything interesting about her music. The things that people say surrounding the supposed conspiracy of how “credible” or “real” she is as an artist is more engaging than anything from her debut album, Born to Die. So, I’ve kept my mouth shut. That is, until now.

What you’re about to see is one of the most turgid, faux-artistic phlegm-wads that has passed for a music video in the past few years. This is Blue Jeans, and in order to spice up a bland slice of Shirley Bassey-wannabe chanteuse stylings, director Yoann Lemoine has thrown together a clip that’s enragingly bad. What’s so awful about it? The long, drawn-out shots of Lizzy’s flat, emotionless face. The oh-so-pretentious black-and-white – being in B&W doesn’t make it look any more like a classic, honey. The deadshit they cast as the male lead, who essentially takes his shirt off, jumps in a pool, sticks his fingers down Lizzy’s throat and leaves. It starts off nowhere, it leads nowhere and stays exactly there. It’s four-and-a-half minutes and feels like it goes on for an hour. It’s drivel, basically. Any further questions, just look into Lizzy’s distant, vague eyes or her bee-sting lips. You’ll know the answer.

Watch This Now: Paul Weller – “Dragonfly”

“Laugh at the life that’s inside of you, send in shadows under the trees…”

Here’s something new from Paul Weller. If that’s an unfamiliar name, perhaps you’ve heard of The Jam – one of the most influential rock bands in U.K. history. Although The Jam is long gone, Weller is still doing somereally cool and really interesting stuff, as found on his eleventh solo album Sonik Kicks, which was released just a couple of days ago. Thankfully, it’s as interesting visually as it is sonically, as this great new video for Dragonfly proves.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no: I don’t just like the video for the tits. Oh yeah, there’s quite a few nipple shots here. Not the selling point. It’s art, doofus! The women used in the video have a myriad of artworks and designs projected onto their bare skin across the film, which might sound like a boring premise at first, but it actually gets gradually more interesting as the video progresses, especially as the imagery begins to reflect the nature of the song and its lyrics. This might be a controversial clip, but I’ve warmed to it really quickly. Who knows, maybe you’ll do the same.

Watch This Now: Spiritualized – “Hey Jane”

“That clock going 110, I never said I’ll get you back again…”

Normally, when a video like this comes out, you can’t stop me raving about its wonders, its artistic beauty, its fragility, its resonating power. This is a video that has left me feeling like I’ve been savagely hit in the guts. I’m shaken and pale, and it’s been hours since I watched it. In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure I can bring myself to watch it again any time soon. All I can say is that this is a really important video – it’s absolutely remarkable. I’m going to shut up and let Hey Jane speak for itself. At this point in time, this is all I can do.

I might come back to this, I might not. Just watch. Not at work, though. Not suitable.

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