Monthly Archives: April, 2012

Watch This Now: Cub Scouts – “Do You Hear”

“Are you deaf and blind to all the turns and winds, a kingdom you cannot defend…”

Some indie pop joy coming straight outta Brisbane from Cub Scouts, the vehicle for the little songwriter that could, Tim Nelson. I’ve been following this kid since we were both in high school, keeping in touch through MySpace (no shit!) and to finally see him getting the attention that he deserves is really an awesome thing. As much as I loved their first single as Cub Scouts, Evie, I sadly couldn’t get as much into the video as I was hoping due to its similarities to ParadesLoserspeak in New Tongue clip that had come out some 6 months before. This time around, however, it’s a clip that I loved instantly.

Working with director Sam Rogers, the band plays escapee prisoners on what looks like the hippest jailbreak ever. They take off on old-people scooters, run in slow motion and play their instruments while getting their mug shots. It’s pretty awesome to see Tim despondently playing his tambourine while he’s in handcuffs and getting interrogated by the officer. They’ve put together a really sweet and clever video that is definitely worth a watch or three. See if you love them as much as I do. Just you wait and see.


Watch This Now: Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

“Finishing eight or nine, tell me what’s the perfect time…”

Do you think Blood Orange will EVER break more than double digits on a music video budget? Their last kitschy escapade, Forget It, was a super-simple video filmed entirely on VHS. This time around, Dev Hynes has gone for a late-90s internet feeel, creating a virtual reality that feels as camp and outdated as the official Space Jam website. Yeah, go and look it up. It still exists.

Anyways, the scene is set in a high-rise apartment, with plenty of luxurious items and gorgeous women spread about the place. The catcher is this: it’s all 2D. Well, 3D technically, but it’s been stretched out from 2D to appear 3D. Does that make sense? It all comes together when you view the clip. It’s so late 90s that it even lags in parts, just to add that comically ironic “futuristic” look. This is a completely naff video, but it’s done so unashamedly that it kind of becomes brilliant. Who’d have thunk it, right? If Dev can keep making videos this good for this cheap, he’s set. He’s back in the country at the end of next month for shows opening for Florence + The Machine. Flo fans, proceed at your own risk. Everyone else, get thee to a dancefloor!

FEATURED FRIDAYS – My Favourite Video: Michael Chamberlin

Michael Chamberlin is an Australian stand-up comedian
and writer, best known for his time on
skitHOUSE, The Mansion
Rove Live.

His favourite video is Addicted to Bass by Puretone.

There are a number of gaps in my music knowledge. Just recently, I asked a friend about a particular singer only to be told, “That isn’t a person, that’s the name of the track.” That’s what you get when you’re addicted to Melbourne based 24-hour sports radio.

But I do have a favourite clip, it’s Addicted to Bass by Puretone, conceived and directed by a mate of mine called Jolyon Watkins. It’s one man’s tribute to his treasured Mad Max; in fact, I think Jolyon probably spends most of his time trying to work out how he can pay tribute to his treasured Mad Max.

Frenetic and stylised with a dash of Keystone Cops, if there was an award for “best performance by a man towing a caravan who realises he’s blocking the path of a high speed pursuit,” surely this clip would win.

Michael has just finished up a season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for his show Joy and Despair.

For more information on Michael and his upcoming shows, head to his official Facebok page.

Old Favourites: Korn – “Freak on a Leash”

“Every time I start to believe, something’s raped and taken from me…”

Let’s go back. Back when the only thing Skrillex was dropping was a turd in his nappy. Back when the internet was a new exciting thing. Before YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, MySpace, VampireFreaks, Bebo, Friendster and all the other shit we’ve wasted our time on in the 21st century. Let’s go back to the turn of the century – specifically, 1999; where our heroes Korn were ushering in a new era of American heavy metal. The kind that ruled the charts and headlined stadiums as opposed to being played in sweaty barns by dudes in denim jackets. The kind that spawned a whole generation of clingers-on, copy cats and dudes who just wouldn’t shower. Here, Korn reigned supreme.

These days, only the most shameless of beings will admit to being Korn fans – and with rubbish like their last album, The Path of Totality, you can hardly blame them. With that said, around the time of their Follow the Leader record, it was safe to say that Korn were a band on many’s hot list – a band being embraced by both alternative and mainstream radio. Sure, other acts like Limp Bizkit and Nine Inch Nails were charting and presenting a heavier side of mainstream rock, but Korn added an even stranger element – a twisted, childlike sense of torment and despair, which essentially paved the way for what would come to be known as nu-metal.

If there was no Korn, there probably would be no Disturbed, no P.O.D., no Papa Roach… and, sure, the world might have been a better place (imagine having no Creed if Nirvana never existed!) The argument I maintain, however, is that it was worth putting up with this band’s countless years of rubbish – and the turgid acts that would generate from their influence – for their golden period from the mid to late 90s. It comes down to the greatness of Freak on a Leash – and, specifically, this video.

I have a very vivid memory of the Freak on a Leash video. I was maybe eight or nine years old when I first saw it, and I’d never quite seen anything like it. The top and tail consisted of a dark, alternative reality brought to life through animation. The bullet escapes from their world into the “real” world – and thus, the destruction began. The bullet shatters everything that gets in its way; seemingly for no other reason than for the sole primitive purpose of watching shit blow up. It’s not profound in any sense, and yet it feels so damn right when the audio-visual matches up. Freak on a Leash manages to be that much more enthralling and slightly terrifying on watching the bullet’s journey right up to Jonathan Davis‘ face and back. Don’t ask me how he made the bullet turn around. I was too busy looking at his kilt.

Over ten years on, I still look back fondly on the Freak on a Leash video. It captured my imagination and harnessed the idea that two contrasting worlds – black and white, yin and yang, real-time and animation – could easily be sewn together through the magic of music videos. I realise this lengthy post is going to tarnish my very precious indie cred, to which zero fucks are given. I paid the same respect to Slipknot a month or so ago, it’s about damn time I did it for Korn. Whatever.

Watch This Now: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “We Almost Lost Detroit”

“No-one stopped to think about the babies, or how they would survive…”

Sometimes, the joy of discovering new music can be completely accidental. Such is the case with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – they were not the act I was planning to watch on the SXSW live stream on YouTube (I had actually tuned in for Kimbra), but they were the act I got all the same. And I was mesmerised – these guys have to be one of the most fun, inventive and exciting indie-pop acts going in North America right now. I love their debut album, It’s a Corporate World, and I love the video that they recently put out to celebrate two huge parts of American pop culture – the late Gil Scott-Heron and the city of Detroit.

It’s a tribute to the former in that this is his song, released around 35 years ago on his Bridges record. It’s a tribute to the latter in that the band filmed this video in and around their beloved city. It doesn’t come across as self-grandeurizing or an attempt to tack themselves onto a historical legacy – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. With this video, DEJJ manage to profess the love they have for their city in a very sweet, unique and clever way. It warms my heart to see them do this, especially when you learn more about just how much this project meant to these guys. There’s a greater layer of story here, but I’ll leave that extracurricular reading up to you. For now, kick back and enjoy this.

Watch This Now: Cloud Nothings – “Stay Useless”

“Nothing I could do would make things change, I am stuck in here…”

Here’s an interesting one: Cloud Nothings are an act I was previously indifferent about, mainly due to their cutesy light surf-rock not doing a great deal for my senses. Their third album, Attack on Memory, has completely changed that – they’ve eliminated the room of squares and delivered a feisty, biting and downright exciting record. So, too, have the videos improved – while their video last year for Should Have was a sepia-toned feel-good splash of mushy generic hipsterisms,Stay Uselessdares to delve beneath the surface – and that alone should make it essential viewing if you’re a fan.

Teaming up with director and animator Jack Kubizne, the Stay Useless video revolves around the twisted imagination of a little boy on the bus. The lyrics go from their face value to describing this character’s own inner turmoil. Just what the hell is going on as his world – potentially even his reality – warps and distorts around him? Is it all his doing? Is it simply a matter of his own pure imagination? It’s hard to say, but it certainly results in a very clever and very entertaining music video. Get amongst it.

Watch This Now: Dan Mangan – “Post-War Blues”

“What they don’t know, they won’t mind, find them a foe for the fight…”

Look out, Art vs. Science – looks like your record is getting nipped at the feet. AvS may have six posts on this blog to their favour, but Dan Mangan is now in second place with five – this here post included – and it’s worth mentioning there’s a very good reason for this silver medal. Mangan is a creative mind and a wandering spirit – to my ears and heart, one of the most brilliant people working in music today, not just within the restrictive “folk rock” tag. I’m a huge fan, and he serves as one of my greatest musical inspirations. He continued to blaze this trail with his excellent third album, Oh Fortune, last year; but his great mind for bringing his songs to visual life had lead us to a great new clip to one of my favourite songs he’s ever done.

Post-War Blues sees a circle of politicians coming together, seemingly out of sheer boredom, to start a war (as suggested in the opening lyric of the song). The “War on Evil” is revolted against by the children it affects, as everything that they love and express themselves through is taken away from them. Hell no, we ain’t gonna take it! Fuck that! The rebellion is a beautiful thing, and it adds another layer of excellence to this song – as if it needed more. Essentially, if you’re not a Fangan, you’re nothin’. Now get to watchin’.

Watch This Now: Missy Higgins – “Unashamed Desire”

“Empty out my pockets if you like, I got nothing to hide…”

What a difference a few years can make. It’s been quite awhile since we’d heard from Missy Higgins, the accidental Triple J Unearthed star who made good. Her last record, 2007’s On a Clear Night, had some strong points but was overall a disappointing follow-up to the excellent debut, 2004’s The Sound of White.

Now that she’s had some time away to experience the world in a much more hands-on way – as well as score an acting role in 2010’s Bran Nue Dae – it’s given her a chance to try music that she’d never tried before. June sees the release of her long-awaited third album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, and we’ve finally gotten the first taste from it. No word of a lie, it’s tasting pretty good – and the video is a little extra boom of flavour.

The scene is set in a blank room, with Higgins sitting down, covered in layers. As more people – dancers, specifically – emerge from the darkness, so too do the layers strip away. Through momentary conflict and heated moments of passion, more and more is revealed – the words take on new meaning, the movements grow more aggressive. What’s it commenting on? Honey, whatever you like. It’s beautiful and expressive and smartly choreographed. If you weren’t much of a fan before, who knows? Maybe you might be this time around. Give it a chance.

Watch This Now: Keane – “Disconnected”

“Something’s crept in under our door, silence soaking through the floor…”

It wasn’t long ago that I was discussing my naff heroes from across the pond, Keane. With their new album, Strangeland, set for release next month, they’ve dropped a brand new video in the interim, the second single to be lifted from the album. I didn’t feature their first video, Silenced by the Night, for as much as I liked the song, I found the video a bit plain. They’ve thankfully answered my prayers, however, and put together a clip that’s quite out of their comfort zone – in all the best ways, of course.

Here, the band have gone for a vintage thriller/horror feel, complete with opening and end credits. With some gorgeous cinematography, we’re drawn into this freakish alternate reality where you’re never quite certain whether the people in it are dreaming or are awake. Some great editing smashes all these ideas and similar scenes together to create this dizzying mind-funk, which is definitely not a term I’d ever have used in relation to the band or their videos prior to that. Disconnected is a great romp, its cheesiness living proof that the band don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as you think they do.

Watch This Now:The Medics – “Griffin”

“I was a a young boy, when my house came crashing down…”

The Medics have been building up a solid audience for quite some time now, and I’m predicting right here and now that it’s just going to expand wider and wider with the imminent release of their debut album, Foundations, set for release in almost exactly a month’s time. To get an idea of what this Brisbane band is all about, take a peak at the clip for their latest single, a collaboration with director Lucas Thayer.

It’s a tale of teenage delinquency and reckless living – something, I’m sure, you’ve seen done multiple times in the past across a wide variety of videos. The difference, however, is that they are only showing you a singular side. It’s the side without any consequence. It’s the side that shows the kids as the good guys and the adults as the losers/villians. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of teenage fantasy, of course – let’s not forget that 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins is one of my favourite videos of all time. What I love about the video for Griffin, though, is that it pulls no punches. It’s an intense video, showing viewers exactly what can and will go wrong when teenagers mess with the law. The ending had me completely thrown, too – I won’t give it away, but if you don’t either gasp or shout “BASTARDS!” at the end, I’ve got no idea what video you were watching.

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