Monthly Archives: September, 2012

FEATURED FRIDAYS – My Favourite Video: Ben Britton

Ben Britton is an Australian musician,
best known as the vocalist and guitarist of the band Strangers.

His favourite video is Tonight, Tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins.

I was in year five when this album was released (around 11 years old). I used to think that Billy Corgan was some sort of supernatural being, like a vampire or a circus ringmaster after seeing this video. This song introduced me to “dark pop” songwriting and completely changed my view on music all together. The clip itself has a silent film style influence, which has always been disturbing yet interesting to me. The song, the look of Billy Corgan and the band, the artwork and this film clip has always seemed to fit together… almost like it was meant to be. It was an exciting time to be a young music lover. From a kid growing up in the 90s, I personally believe we haven’t seen a band make this much impact on a generation (except for Nirvana) since. Even now, as I watch it again. It’s timeless.

Strangers‘ new single, Persona Non Grata, is available now.

The band are currently in the middle of two residencies – every Wednesday at the Cherry Bar in Melbourne and every Thursday at the Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney. For more information, like the band on Facebook here.

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Watch This Now: Ben Folds Five – “Do It Anyway”

“Because I used to not like you, now I think you’re okay…”

Ben Folds has had some pretty awesome people star in his videos in the past. This has included, but is not limited to, “Weird Al” YankovicWilliam Shatner and Tim & Eric. For his first video clip with Ben Folds Five since 2000, however, old mate Foldsy has gone above and beyond the call of duty. He’s brought in the A team, the big guns, the real freaking deal. You’ve read the rumours, and now you can see it for yourself with your own beady eyes: the cast of Fraggle Rock are back, and they are HERE!

As the Five’s producer, played by Rob Corddry, watches on, the band attempt to record their new song. It’s not long, however, until they’ve disturbed the Fraggles, who have to come up to the surface in order to find out what all the hub-bub is about. They start going crazy about the joint, while a romantic sub-plot between two of the studio workers unfurls. It’s… well, what else can you say? It’s wonderful. Absolutely fucking wonderful. This warms my heart more than I could possibly emphasise. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming… it’s exactly what I’d expect from Ben Folds, his Five AND the greatness of Fraggle Rock combined. Let’s dance.

Watch This Now: Hilltop Hoods – “Rattling the Keys to the Kingdom”

“I go bananas every time, mind blown Nirvana, Nevermind….”

Always a treat to hear from the Hilltop Hoods, a group I’ve been following and supporting for nearly ten years. In that time, I’ve seen them basically go from an anomaly amongst the Australian hip-hop community to international flag-bearers for what’s going on right here in Oz. They’ve brought a lot of great acts with them along the way, and served as inspiration for countless more. With that in mind, it brings a very special concept to their latest video – one they’ve never really tried before, but one that’s a complete celebration of Australian hip-hop’s past, present and future.

Along with footage of the Hoods themselves, a cast of thousands flashes by the screen, from the young up-and-comers (Sky’HighSeth Sentry) to veterans and trailblazers (ReasonBias B) – all brought together, vibing along to the track. There’s also a very cute cameo from baby Aki, the son of Koolism‘s Hau Laketefu, as well as a touching tribute to the late MC Hunter at the end, who lost his battle with cancer last year. It’s such a simple concept, but I think it’s such an important thing that this has happened – for all the perceived clique-iness and the various sub-sections and groups that can often divide the national community, there is still a chance for all of these acts to come together to show unity and respect. It MEANS something – and it’s not often that a video is able to go above and beyond the call of duty quite like that.

Watch This Now: Dinosaur Jr. – “Watch the Corners”

“I’ve no-one to confide in, and I want you to be with us…”

Earlier today, we discussed the awesome team-up of David Byrne and St. Vincent. Keeping on that theme, I thought I’d alert you to another brilliant collaboration. In one corner, the noisy grunge dudes of Dinosaur Jr. They’ve just dropped a brand-new studio album entitled I Bet on Sky, far exceeding the normal anticipations that comes with a reunion. In the other corner: soon-to-be Australian visitor Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! fame. You’ve probably noted the T&E obsession with dads in the past, and now it all comes to great fruition: TIM HEIDECKER IS YOUR DAD!

Well, not your dad, specifically. He plays one in this great new video, in which his daughter starts work at the local supermarket and falls for one of the skate-rat wasters that also works there (think Breckin Meyer‘s character in Clueless). His face is blurred like the way you see on television for courtroom criminals, adding to the danger of his world and lifestyle. It’s an increasingly intense triangle between the three, which culminates in Heidecker losing his collective shit. It’s a really smart and well-paced video that does not waste any of the the five minutes given for the track. Heidecker really needs to do more of this sort of stuff – like, right now.

Watch This Now: David Byrne and St. Vincent – “Who”

“Who’ll help the tired soldier, far from his own hometown…”

Well, THIS is bloody exciting. Can you believe it’s finally here? David Byrne, one of the reigning kings of weirdness after all these years, has teamed up with ultimate indie-girl crush Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, to create a very funky new album entitled Love This Giant. As much as I’ve enjoyed listening to the album so far (which you can do right now thanks to the good people at NPR), I just knew that there would be a brilliant visual counterpart to go along with it. Hell, you didn’t need to look any further than the album art itself to know that.

It’s here now, in the form of the video for Who, the very first song on the album. Byrne plays an innocent (seemingly) bystander who notices Clark sprawled out in the middle of the road. From there, it’s a bizarre game of statues mixed in with some very funky dancing and a run of odd runs through the streets of suburbia. It’s a spectacle, that’s for absolute certain. It’s complete chaos, but you’ll be damned if it isn’t cool as shit. I mean, David Byrne is SIXTY MOTHERFUCKING YEARS OLD and is STILL an absolute pimp. What more can you say? I love this. Just watch it.

Watch This Now: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

“You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going, you’re like a time bomb in my heart…”

You know who’s a badass dude? Bob Dylan. Even into his seventies with his voice shot to absolute shit, this is a dude that could not care less what anyone thinks – and it’s this attitude that means that his most recent art is still able to evoke strong emotion, and even shock people. So it is with the imminent release of Tempest, Dylan’s thirty-fifth (!) studio album, the old bastard has riled up his fan-base with the release of what is possibly his best music video in the past twenty years.

Dylan himself has a very small part in the video – he’s seen strolling the city streets with a gang of rag-tags, including a Mexican thug and a Gene Simmons impersonator. As you do. The footage of Dylan’s walk is mixed in with the continuing story of a blossoming romance gone horribly awry, as a young man goes to great lengths to impress an inner-city beauty. It starts off sweet and charming, before turning very ugly towards the end – I’m not going to say how exactly, because even describing it blow-by-blow would not have even close to the impact of actually watching it happen. It’s similar to the shock of Spiritualized‘s Hey Jane video from a few months back. If you’re brave enough, this is a video that pays off in spades.

Watch This Now: Trash Talk – “F.E.B.N.”

“I gotta even the score, get right out…”

Here’s something a little bit exciting. This is a collaboration that I had been hoping would happen for quite some time, but now has finally eventuated – Wolf Haley, aka Tyler, the Creator, has sat himself down in the fancy chair and directed the new video for fear-inducing punk rats Trash Talk. We’ve seen collaborations between Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and the TT boys before, but that’s only been on-stage chaos. Here, Tyler tries to capture the insane energy that comes with their shows. For what it’s worth, he’s done a pretty good job.

Filmed in grainy black and white, the video is seemingly done in one take, with a spinning camera documenting the band letting loose from all corners of the room. It’s not all just a performance video, of course: in less than two minutes, you see skateboard stacks, nudity, bong rips and a circle pit. Vocalist Lee Spielman pretty much sums it up when he looks around at the end of the video and screams “What the FUCK?” directly down the barrel. Man, it’s great to have these guys as part of the Odd Future family. Break down genre walls. Fuck labels. This rules.

Watch This Now: Zebra Katz -“W8WTF”

“Smelling something brewing, like a batch of bitches’ tongues…”

Here’s something a bit weird and wonderful that went a little under my radar. Zebra Katz is a very engaging and exciting new artist emerging from that ever-burgeoning Mecca of cool that is NYC. He’s doing hip-hop, but on his terms – dizzy, warped beats and some particularly dark stories to go along with it. This right here is his second single and video – and I’ve got to hand it to him, the guy certainly knows how to make an impression at such an early stage of his career.

It’s unclear exactly what will grab your attention first: the stunning black-and-white surrounds that Katz finds himself in, or the fact that he has been handcuffed and is wearing a gimp mask. Various personas of Katz are sprawled across the apartment in which he has awoken, and it’s all quite unsettling and bizarre. Probably not something you’d want to be watching first thing – although it could send you into shock, which could be the exact kickstart you need. I dunno, all I’ll say is that the video is semi-NSFW and it’s not going to please everyone. Give it a chance, though – fuck knows that it deserves one.

Watch This Now: Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

“Find your piece of mind, with some indie record that’s much cooler than mine…”

Well, shit. Here it is. As soon as I heard Taylor Swift‘s jam-and-a-half new single, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, I knew two things almost immediately. The first was that it was going to be nigh-on impossible to get that fucker of a song out of my head for roughly the next month or so. The second was that the video, whenever it dropped, was going to be life-changingly fucking amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, I was NOT let down. We now have some very, very close competition to Justin Bieber‘s As Long As You Love Me video for the pop video of the year.

But how did we get here? Taylor isn’t normally the kind for outstanding pop videos. There’s been some good ones (the cute You Belong with Me) and even the occasional great one (the adorable Mean), but THIS level of greatness? There’s levels to it.

Declan Whitebloom of Mean and Ours returns to direct, focusing in on the best parts of his work on those videos and getting the pop princess down from her ivory tower. Her gloomy, look-off-into-the-distance videos invariably fucking blow, so letting T-Swizzle’s hair down and letting her enjoy the moment with a slab of squeaky-clean humour to keep things going.

Almost entirely a one-take effort, the video is full of gorgeous colour schemes, a very hunky leading arsehole ex-boyf in Noah Mills and… there was one other thing. What was it? Oh yeah, that’s right. HER ENTIRE BAND IS DRESSED UP LIKE WOODLAND CREATURES. I mean… it’s just perfect.

This is exactly what this song needed. This is exactly what Taylor needed. This is exactly what the pop video world needed. I hope this gets 85 billion views and earns Taylor enough money to buy her puppy a mansion.

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