“Her body is gone, but her soul is here to stay…”
There are few things I love more than an odd couple, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that there aren’t that many couples quite as odd as anti-folk troubadour Kimya Dawson and hyper-literate rap fiend Aesop Rock. Talk of their collaborative album has been going around as early as 2011, but only last week was their album officially announced. It’s called Hokey Fright; and the two of them together are officially known as The Uncluded. If that wasn’t enough to whet one’s appetite, how about a new video to go along with it?
Neither artist are strangers to clever or sweet videos – hell, Kimya’s video for Solid and Strong was one of the most adorable clips of 2012 – so it’s no surprise that their first video as The Uncluded is a simple delight of the senses. Located entirely within a bedroom – perhaps the bedroom of Kimya’s kid Panda? – the two play around with toys, keyboards, acoustic guitars and even a swing. I especially adore the sequence during Aesop’s rap in which they dive onto a stuffed-toy shark on the bed. They’re having a world of fun, so why on earth aren’t you? Get uncluded.
“Spiraling down, biting words like a wolf howls…”
I’ve come to discover this clip from UK up-and-comer trio Daughter at somewhat of an interesting crossroads. This comes just under a month since the video was put online, as well as just under a month until their debut album, If You Leave. Noticing my timing makes me feel as though I am fashionably late, as well as quite possibly on the verge of something massive. Really, it’s a great feeling to have.
It’s not just the gorgeous song that’s gotten me all excited, which feels like Ladytron blending in with Explosions in the Sky. No, of course, the video is a wonder unto itself. Yesterday, we featured a video from Adelaide band Paper Arms which documented intensity taking its place in the spaces between, caused by a lack of intimacy between estranged lovers. The video for Still explores this further, going into extensive and intimate detail as a couple prepare to go to bed. They sleep in the same one, but go to bed at different times. That alone might not seem like much, but it’s beyond clear given their facial expressions that there is something well and truly wrong. This is beautifully shot and masterfully acted – especially impressive given the lack of dialogue. Fantastic stuff. Just between us, I think we’ve got something pretty huge on our hands here. So watch this, but don’t tell anyone… yet.
“The smoke is clearing, and I can see it’s burning out…”
If you look closely at the most recent tour poster for Adelaide melodic punks Paper Arms, you might see a dude at the far right having a good old fashioned scream-along directly into the face of Josh Mann, the band’s frontman. “Gee, David, are you doing a none-too-subtle mention of the fact that you’re on the tour poster?” Why yes, dear reader, as a matter of fact I am! And the point of this story? Why, simply to tell you that I fucken love me a bit of Paper Arms.
This year, they’ve finally dropped their second studio album, the follow up to 2010’s positively bitchin’ Days Above Ground. In order to generate a bit more interest, the band have teamed up with Adelaide collective Passel Media to deliver an intense visual portrayal of the album’s opening number. It’s a single location of the humble dining table in the middle of the kitchen area, which seems to start off innocently enough as the start of a morning between a couple. That is, of course, until they start playing mind games around the same time that the drums kick in. I won’t give it away, but I can tell you this much: If you’ve learned one thing from this blog, it’s that actions can speak a shitload louder than words, and sometimes silence can convey more than a speech ever could.
“Time is changing me, I’ve got to get my life together…”
In popular Australian music, we seem to go through two back-and-forth stages: everyone is either selling their guitars to buy synthesizers, or selling their synthesizers to play guitars. In a period of the former, Tim & Jean ruled supreme – and, upon listening to their debut LP, Like What, rightfully so. Those hooks! Those keys! How delightful. Anyway, last year Jean Capotorto decided that he needed to take a break from music, effectively ending that synth-driven daydream and leaving Tim Ayre and the T&J live band to pick up the pieces.
For what it’s worth, they have adapted remarkably. The Lazy Calm, as the collective are now known, show a great ambition and drive to create something that’s substantially different from the T&J sound. This has transferred, too, into their video making. For a song standing boldly against substance abuse in indigenous communities, the band head to the outback with Jae Laeffer of The Panics and Delson Stokes Jr. of the Yabu Band, who both feature in the song. The location is breathtaking, the sentiment is strong and the whole affair reminds me significantly of Midnight Oil‘s iconic video for Beds Are Burning. Hell, we may well have ourselves a new iconic Australian video right here. A must-see.
“But you work in an office, and you’ve got other offers…”
I’ve gone on before about how much I adore Brendan Maclean. He was the first-ever featured artist on this here blog, he’s had two videos in my top 10 clips of the year (2010 and 2011) and… well, shit, I just adore the little fucker. Can you blame me? He’s just so endearing and brave and interesting and funny – on and offline. It all really seems to be coming together for him now – at long last, we’re going to get an album from this son of a bitch, thanks to the support of his Pozible crew (which you should totally check out over here) and the wizardry of Paul Mac on the production knobs.
To celebrate, Brendan has just released his fifth music video. I missed out on the last two, OnlyOnly and Beat Me to It – the former because I pretty much have a “no performance videos” rule, and the latter because it was released during vacation time. Sorry, B-Mac! Hopefully, I can make up for it with a glowing review for this wonderful clip – potentially the best of the lot. Here, Brendan ends up as the only other person at a party. Rather than make things awkward, however, he decides to have a bit of a dance. Wait… a bit? A LOT of a dance might be a bit closer to the mark. Meanwhile, the girl who’s thrown the party (played by Eloise Winestock) decides that it’s her party and that she can bloody well cry if she wants to. She gets sadder and sadder as Brendan gets happier and happier. What a beautiful contrast it makes, too. If he keeps it up, not to mention with The Great Gatsby finally coming out this year, 2013 will be the year of the Mac. Get on board.
“And if you hear me, come and join the revolution…”
And now, for today’s excercise in What The Shit Is Going On Here?, we take to the land of Jamaica. In case you missed out on one of pop culture’s more bizarre tales in 2012, Snoop Dogg has apparently found Ja and will release his debut album as Snoop Lion this year. There’s a documentary to come, too. No shit. He’s really getting into it. Of course, it hasn’t been without its controversy – last month, the Rastafari Millenium Council stated that they felt Snoop was “fradulent,” and would sue him if he continued to use the SL moniker. Yikes. Still, my response thus far has been basically one of fence-sitting. The songs, produced by Major Lazer, haven’t hit me as being offensively bad – hell, I’ve even had a smirk or two in the couple of tracks I’ve heard. Dogg, Lion, whatever, y’know?
That was, of course, until I saw this clip. Dude is on a pretty massive Christ complex right about now, and it’s frankly quite ugly to look at. I’m not just talking about his hideous robes, either – it’s about setting himself up as some kind of messiah in a country he wasn’t even born in and doing it without a trace of irony. Like, f’real? This is where we’re at now? I can’t even begin to describe how baffling this is to watch. I mean, the guy’s done some ego-pleasing stinkers before, but this? I’m pretty flat out insulted by the whole thing. And I’m not even Jamaican. That said, Snoop: Jamaican me crazy here.
“I like to create a dialogue, that leads everyone to intercourse…”
Morning! Here’s something new from and old buddy, producer and rocker extraordinaire Simon Berckelman. You may remember him as Berkfinger, the fearless leader of the late, great Philadelphia Grand Jury. He’s now a solo adventurer under the name of Feelings, and has just dropped his second single for this project. How very exciting! To go with the song, Simon has teamed up with filmmaker Erin McBean for a low-budget, Tim and Eric-esque affair that revels in its kitsch and uncomfortable oddity. Where else but Berlin!
In the video for Intercourse, Simon appears to have found himself in an Odd Couple-esque situation with… what the hell is that, exactly? Is that an arsehole on someone’s face? Is it a mouth made out of a thumb and index finger? Whatever the hell it is, it’s pretty disconcerting – especially when it’s jumping on the bed and creating all kinds of anarchy in the midst of an antique doll-house that both the unruly/untidy one and Simon have managed to squeeze themselves into. It’s daggy, it’s squirmish and it’s an absolute charm.
“They say that no-one ever saw her, but that’s the city for ya…”
A triangle of Australian joy to wrap up for today, following on from The Herd‘s classic clip earlier. At the top corner is Urthboy, a Herd leader (pardon the pun) and a certifiable solo artist in his own right, a matter of weeks away from starting a tour on the back of his bloody excellent Smokey’s Haunt LP. The next corner over is Alex Burnett, the figurehead, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and sole original member of Sparkadia. Last but not least is Fishing, the Blue Mountains electronica/production duo who have made a hell of an impact these past 18 months, finding a niche and certifiably nailing it.
So, how do these three intertwine for us today? It starts, of course, with Urthy – one of the highlights of Smokey’s Haunt is a dark and powerful tale that centres around the story of the eighty-year-old woman who died in her apartment and wasn’t found until nearly a year later. Burnett provides the haunting hook to the song. The guys from Fishing have now brought their animation skills to the song’s video, which depicts the city we love (and love to hate) exactly for what it is: a murky, unforgiving jungle. It’s a stunning portrayal of a song that’s brutally honest, but still with a message that doesn’t necessitate all hope being lost. A massive, massive congrats to all three. Let’s hope it’s not the last time these three work together.
“Can’t understand, how the very word Australian has just been damned…”
A very special celebration from over the weekend in regards to Australian hip-hop – it’s the ten-year anniversary of The Herd‘s seminal LP, An Elefant Never Forgets. A drastic amount has indeed changed in the years since this album’s release – for Australia as a nation, for the Herd as a group and for myself as a listener. Australia has long since gotten rid of John Howard and – at least slightly – grown to have a greater understanding and empathy of the horrible ways that refugees and asylum seekers have bee treated over the years. Once a hungry collective of up-and-comers, The Herd are now an Aussie hip-hop institution, selling out tours and running one of the most notable indie labels in the country in Elefant Traks.
As for me? This was my gateway into Australian hip-hop – yep, this was pre-Nosebleed Section for me, so it was a steadfast and forthright display of what kind of hip-hop was happening in my own backyard. Nowadays, I’m fully immersed in Australian hip-hop – I’ve seen great artists come and go (Phrase, 1200 Techniques), not to mention some terrible ones (anyone remember Figgkidd? No?). It’s a community of artists and ideas that I appreciate so goddamn much. And it all begins here: An animated clip in which Little Johnny wakes up one day and gets to find out exactly what it’s like when horrible things happen to him. This actually managed to tie in with my first major interests in politics, as well – with Bush, Howard and Blair all in office, what a time to fucking hate world government, huh? I’m really glad I got to sit down and watch 77% again – it reminds me that Australian hip-hop lives, it reminds me that there is still a world of injustice out there and it drives me to maintain the rage on both accounts.
“If you don’t like it, then leave this place…”
Welcome back for a new year, everyone! This will be Y,WGAV!’s third year running, and I’m stoked to continually bring you new/exciting/interesting/terrible videos etc. from around the joint. On our first venture of the day, we’re headed to Brisbane to see what’s happening with your mates and mine, Dune Rats. This lot had a great year, doing national tours with bands like Bleeding Knees Club and Children Collide, and they kicked off 2013 with support slots for Best Coast and The Hives. Not too shabby, I reckon! Don’t think that success has gone to their heads, however- they’re still the same old fun-loving burnouts that you were drawn to in the first place.
As if to prove this, the band issued a Facebook challenge in which they would recreate DZ Deathrays‘ video for The Mess Up – the band’s infamous introduction to the music world in which they attempt to scull as many beers as possible within their song’s short time limit. There were just a few small changes – replace The Mess Up with DR’s own Red Light, Green Light. Oh – and trade beer for bongs. Should we also mention that the song goes for less than 2 minutes? It’s difficult to watch at points, but still wickedly funny- particularly when BC decides to do his best tugboat impression somewhere around the middle of proceedings. Are they mental? Completely. What better excuse to make them your new favourite band?