“We can cry tomorrow, watching It’s A Wonderful Life…”
Should get this out of the way up top: DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY INTO JOHN TRAVOLTA‘S EYES IN THE ABOVE PHOTO. HE WILL TAKE YOUR SOUL, AND SECURITY WON’T LET YOU GET IT BACK.
Alright, now let’s focus here. Eyes down here, friends. We’re talking the horrific reunion of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John today – specifically for a truly nightmarish Christmas album, imaginatively titled This Christmas. No doubt you’ve already seen some of the wreckage that this record has left in its wake, but it’s almost a given that nothing has been quite as glaringly evil and notoriously awful than the music video that the twosome put together for one of the songs from the record. Proceed with extreme caution.
Something I noted from the outset: Both of these guys are millionaires. Not quite in the same league – Travolta averaging about 160 mill, while ONJ is somewhere closer to 40 – but millionaires all the same. Why, then, did they decide to put aside maybe 20 dollars to make this video? Seriously, if you can afford a plane, you can afford a half-decent video. Hell, if you can afford the kind of heavy-duty hair dye that John is using on himself these days, you can surely afford a fucking half-decent video.
Anyway, this poorly-acted and plotless affair essentially revolves around John and Olivia getting back together for Christmas, as well as a stack of other families for no apparent reason. They just seem to be kind of tacked on in the second verse. I dunno. It’s all got this very artificial and creepy vibe to it, like they’re all part of a cult or something. I dunno, might be the Scientology wiping off on me. The dance scene near the end is particularly fucked. Maybe they all turn into aliens in the director’s cut? Who knows? All I can say is that it’s truly a Christmas nightmare we’ve got on our hands. Enjoy the fuck out of it.
Here’s some thrashing insanity to take out our final week of new releases, heading down to Melbourne to say g’day to our new favourite metal dudes, King Parrot. I had the pleasure of seeing this lot as a part of the Bastardfest line-up in Canberra, and they were easily one of the most fun local acts I’ve seen of late. Although they’re a tight unit, playing thrashy blackened metal, they don’t bother taking themselves so seriously. After all, there’s just too much fun to be had!
Look no further than this video for an example of their twisted humour. After the band – all in facepaint, apparently farm workers – get a parking ticket from a dead ringer for Tony Martin, shit gets decidedly real. Although the cutscene is almost as long as the song itself, it’s still a hilarious take on how the anger in metal music can stem from the smallest of places. It’s impeccably shot, well-paced and thoroughly entertaining. Are you really looking for that much more out of your music videos – especially considering how many shithouse metal clips there are out there? Get fucking ropeable with a band I want to see more and more of in 2013.
“Took me to fire, held me to flames…”
Here’s something a bit saucy out of Sydney, starring a dear ladyfriend of mine in Hayley Foster, who you may recognise from her days in Chaingang. She’s still rocking out like the fierce alpha-femme that she is, but the music is quite different – a lot more Peaches than The Pretenders, if you will. With Laura Noir by her side, it looks like we’ll be seeing some big things from Twincest in 2013. Right here is our first proper taste of what’s to come.
In this feisty clip, the ladies trade hooks as a series of identically-dressed ladies surround them. The fast-paced choreography – kudos, Amrita Tennant – adds a dash of craziness to the mix for good measure. They sure do manage to pack in quite a bit into the song’s short run-time – and, I have to say, the thing looks absolutely massive for what was basically a shoestring budget. Fabulous debut effort, ladies – let’s keep it at this level of bootylicious for future endeavours, yes? Yes? Alllrighty then!
“I don’t mark my time with dates, holidays, faded wisdom, locked karma holders…”
I thought it was all over. Last year, I lost my all-time favourite band, R.E.M. After 31 years and over a dozen albums, the Athens indie-rock pioneers decided to depart. We got a greatest hits package and three more songs, and that was it. Just over a year on from that announcement, however, a bizarre footnote has arisen. It’s for the band’s final ever video, for the last song on their last ever album. I don’t think it can get anymore definitive than that, now, do you?
Actor and occasional eccentric James Franco is in the director’s chair for this one, bringing the song’s distorted poetry and swaying rhythm to life in an unsettling but intensely fascinating style. Neither Franco nor any members of R.E.M. appear in the video. Rather, we take a slew of handheld footage taken from Hollywood streets and hotspots, blurring in and out of grainy old footage from unknown times and places. Oh, and there’s a Lindsay Lohan photoshoot in there somewhere, too. It almost feels like a descent into madness, particularly when paired with the lyrics. Is any of it real? What has this city done to you/me/them/it/us? Is this all as beautiful as it seems? These questions are left hanging as the song fades away. They’ll probably never be answered.
“Your animals are all alone, there’s a chicken waiting on the stove…”
Catching up again. This one has been hanging in my tabs for weeks, and I honestly have no idea why it’s taken me so long to get around to it. That said: Holy fucking shit, am I beyond glad that I did. Filming a wild party is not a new and exciting idea, people. It’s been done. You know it, I know it. With that being said, it takes a video like this to make it feel like it’s new and exciting – and who else to bring that fire back than Amanda Fucking Palmer and her new merry band of men?
Before the song even starts, we are treated to two different groups getting into the AFP show – a drag queen and her friends; and a group of hipster caricatures. Both provide some hilarious dialogue in the video’s opening minutes, before shit gets decidedly real as Amanda and The Grand Theft Orchestra take to the stage and tear through what’s become one of my favourite songs of the year, Do It with a Rockstar. All of the doubt, bitchiness and slander that went on in the previous scenes is gone. Everyone is going decidedly mental – from the freaky lead hipster who hooks up with the drummer, to The Flaming Lips‘ frontman Wayne Coyne, who is inexplicably and awesomely climbing over the top of the crowd on some kind of pipe. It’s beautifully chaotic, and a true joy to watch. Long live AFP.
“I don’t want to have to teach you how to love me, baby don’t you understand…”
Rushing in with a late pass on this one, but I figured it was better late than never. This one deserved some massive credit, as it’s not only from one of my favourite live Australian acts, but one of the catchier blues-rock tunes I’ve heard in awhile. We’ll finally be getting a second album out of these motherfuckers in early 2013 (hey, how about a tour with Gay Paris?), and this is our first taster from it. One thing I’ve always been drawn to about the band is their aesthetic; how they truly sell themselves as old-time bluesmen in the clothing that they wear and the names they take on stage. It’s stuff like this, really, that makes them all the more entertaining – and videos like White Dress all the more disturbing.
In this b-grade horror pastiche, we see the band’s irrepressible vocalist Jeremy “Johnny Wishbone” Davison preparing for the day of his wedding. It seems fitting enough, really, that the woman he intends to marry is also being prepared – limb by limb. That’s right, Wishbone’s got himself a zombie bride, being put together by the other Snowdroppers after various grave-raids. It’s disturbing, stomach-turning and more than a little NSFW. In spite of all that, though, it remains completely watchable for all of its insanity. For me, the most fascinating thing about White Dress is the fact it hasn’t been pulled from YouTube yet. And here I was thinking that YouTube WASN’T a place for zombie titties. The world we live in! Although this is obviously a bit more Halloween than Christmas, it’s still worth a look-in.
“You won’t kiss their lover’s lips, you’ll kiss his ass…”
After a successful crowd-funding campaign, my top-form provocateurs and down-n-dirty bluesmen of Gay Paris are nearly ready to release their second studio album, entitled The Last Good Party. Before all that hullabaloo, however, we’ve got some other business to get down to – namely, the goddamn video for the first goddamn hit single from this goddamn record.
We’ve all heard about cock-fighting before, I’m sure. We’re all adults and all that. Well, the GP boys have decided to take that to the next level. Now, don’t you get your mind into the gutter just yet, scoundrel. We’re talkin’ some seriously old-school shit here. In this GP world of cockfighting, there’s a lifesize chicken who used to be a heavyweight boxer. Nowadays, he’s a janitor. We flash between the past and the present, to see just how things came to be this grim in Hollybone’s life. It’s blackly comic and overall quite an entertaining prospect. It’s not all about W.H. Monks shakin’ his beard and booty for your visual pleasure when it comes to Gay Paris, y’know! Roll on, 2013; and roll on, The Last Good Party!
“Don’t keep me with the kisses, there’s never any doubts when I need you…”
I’ll be completely honest – I’m only going to Laneway Festival for Cloud Nothings and Japandroids at this stage. There’s still a lot that I haven’t checked out on the line-up – among the top of the list, until quite recently, was UK chanteuse Jessie Ware. I’ve seen her bandied about the place quite a bit lately, but I just didn’t have the time to get around to her. That was, of course, until this adorable little clip landed in my lap – or, at least, on my desktop. Whichever seems more pleasing to you, really.
Here, a kid version of Jessie works with a kid version of a producer to create the sultry pop magic that’s going on in the background (that was surprise number one, really – this shit is GOOD!) and ultimately perform it to their parents. Admittedly, it’s not all that original a concept – we’ve seen kid versions of rockstars many, many times in the past; from Grandaddy to Powderfinger. That said, there’s something still so wondrous and sweet about the interaction between the two kids in this video, from their work in the “studio” to their playful lunch break. It’s funny, it’s cute and it lures you into the music itself. Mmm, more please.
“Too black for the white kids, and too white for the blacks…”
We’ve had several features of OFWGKTA videos, whether it be the all-in party of Oldie or Tyler, the Creator‘s intense clips like Yonkers. It’s been quite an interesting development, as we’re more or less seeing the entire collective grow up before our very eyes. Although this year has unquestionably been the breakout year for Frank Ocean, a returning OF member has also been making some waves as he prepares for his long-awaited second album. Remember the FREE EARL campaign? Yeah, well, Earl Sweatshirt is free, alright – and he’s back with a top-notch new video.
The black-and-white affair sees Earl taking us into the inner workings of his psyche (psyche, psyche), defying gravitational law and drifting in and out of some truly sinister scenes, ranging from a burning shopping trolley to a bullfrog that goes from being a tiny flicker on the screen to growing into a giant and taking over the streets. There’s something very dark and off-putting about this clip, similar to the first time you saw Yonkers. That said, it’s become less and less about the shock value with OFWGKTA, and more about the artistic expression. If efforts like this are anything to go by, we’re essentially “post-swag.” It’s time to get down to some seriously good hip-hop, and Earl is more than happy to be the guiding light.