“They say it kills, but they don’t know when…”
How’s this for multi-tasking? FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk) are in Australia right now. They just played at Splendour in the Grass over the weekend and they’re playing in Sydney tomorrow night at the Oxford Art Factory (shameless plug, ticket still available etc). And yet, across on the other side of the world, they’re still managing to create a bit of chaos. How do they manage such a feat? Simple – they’ve just made a video for the last song on their awesome self-titled LP, and have brought out the big guns for it.
Yes, that grizzled bastard you see at the centre of Cocaine is none other than Ron Swanson himself, the hilarious man-beast that is Nick Offerman. Nearly unrecognisable with his salt-and-pepper beard, he begins the video by being told via text message that he’s been fired from his job. On his day off. While he’s in his shed. What follows is a furious, dick-swinging (literally) rampage across town. It’s puerile, it’s slightly gross and it’s more than a bit ridiculous. In other words, it’s right up my ally. What a fantastic effort from this collaboration. I’m going to be good for the rest of the year in the hope that we get it happening again before 2013 is all over.
“Like a small bird pretty, while it’s crapping on a new day…”
Well, goddamn! Here’s something I didn’t think I’d be posting in 2013: We have a new Pixies song and video, everybody! Not too long ago, we heard news that Kim Deal had officially left the band, leading most – if not all – to assume that this would be the last we’d hear from the band. Imagine the surprise, then, when we discover that not only are the band continuing on, but they have new material on the way – their first original song in nearly ten years!
The visual accompaniment for Bagboy features none of the remainingPixies themselves – as is well documented, they never did enjoy making videos. Rather, they’ve left the job up to director duo Lamar + Nik; who take the ball and run with it into a world of smoke bombs, reckless abandon and potentially the coolest bath you’ll see in 2013. I love the way they’ve captured the oddity of both the song and the Pixies in general, sending this kid in as a spokesman for all the weirdness that is sure to ensue when the Pixies eventually release another record. Will Kim be missed? Of course. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this, though, can we?
“I never really thought of Heaven much, ’til we put him in the ground…”
I first discovered the music of Bright Eyes around the age of 14, which is statistically the best time to discover Bright Eyes pretty much ever. His words and music connected with me the exact way they’re supposed to hit a confused, weird little kid like myself. Of all of the material that came out around this time, however – namely, the I’m Wide Awake and Digital Ash records – I remember this video the most vividly.
Yes, of course, First Day of My Life is the best-known track from this era. With that said, I always have such fond memories of this song – the last song on Digital Ash – and its simple yet incredibly fascinating video. In it, Conor Oberst enters a room, writes the words “DID IT ALL GET REAL?” on the wall – seemingly doing mirror writing so that we, the audience, can see it – before detailing the entire song’s lyrics in a very creative and clever way.
I’m not much of an artist, but this affected what art I was creating at the time substantially – I’d be doing visual interpretations of songs and their lyrics for years and years after this clip came out. Hell, if I’m bored on a train and have a notebook handy, I’ll probably even do one now. I often don’t rememeber doing them, but the sentiment and the idea still remains. Easy/Lucky/Free definitely takes the concept of a lyric video to the next level. I’ll always love this clip for what it did to my brain.
“There through my wasted days, you’re there through my wasted nights…”
Yay, it’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs time! I’ve gone on a bit about my love for this band and their videos, from 2003’s Maps all the way up to this year’s Sacrilege clip. That relationship has not changed at all with the release of Despair, a song I never would have picked to be a single but am ultimately so very, very happy that it was selected. It was one of the highlights of their Sydney show, and the magic has certainly been captured here.
It begins with Karen O drunkenly singing, seemingly to herself, in a bar. The a capella take here really emphasises what a unique and striking voice she has, building up the atmosphere of the video itself. Such a bold and stark open has never been seen before in a YYYs clip – but, then again, neither has the Empire State Building. That’s right – Kaz, Brian and Nick have found themselves atop it in what can only be described as an immense, powerful spectacle that builds up along with the song to create something really wondrous and sweet. Yeah, there’s elements of performance in here – which is normally a Neddy No-No. But seriously, YOU watch Karen dancing near the last chorus and tell me you don’t feel something.
“If I didn’t mind the distance, it would probably make me stronger…”
Here is a band that has been sorely missed in the realm of Australian music for a couple of years now – Blue Mountains crew Cloud Control, last seen flogging their remarkable 2010 album Bliss Release. This year, they’re going to drop a new album – next month, in fact – called Dream Cave. I have heard it, yes. No, I’m not going to give it to you. What I can tell you is that they’ve done an absolutely fantastic job with it; and what you’re about to see is their best music video to date set to one of the album’s highlights.
The clip takes place in Bolivia, and follows the adventures of a sweet little girl and a creepy, dodgy clown. Some music video tragics may sniff out some similarities character-wise between this clip and Bit By Bats‘ video for All Night. Some may not have, given it’s such a deep cut to compare it to. Regardless, let’s focus in on the clip itself – beautifully shot, wonderfully synced and a delightfully odd interpretation of the song. Lovely stuff. Album out in August, tour in September – don’t say I didn’t warn you!
“Everyone in line in the bathroom, trying to get a line in the bathroom…”
You might be wondering why I’ve used the above picture of Miley Cyrus as opposed to the pixie-cut blonde thing she’s got going on at the moment. Essentially, I’ve done this as a means of contrast to show you exactly how far off the deep end Miley is headed – or, at least, one assumes is her intention. It’s worth mentioning that she has literally JUST left her teens. No-one should be in this much of a rush to “grow up.” Sure, she was a child star. So was Mara Wilson, and she’s turned into a very funny, very smart and very respectable young woman. Apples and oranges? Maybe. But my sentiment remains – trainwrecks like these don’t normally come at such an early age.
The video for We Can’t Stop, Miley’s first proper single in quite awhile, is truly an imbalanced force of hell-reckoning. It’s got too many “funny” moments to be a serious video, as well as too many straight-faced faux-sexy shots to be a comedy video. I have the same degree of difficulty with the song itself, never sure whether it’s the jam of the summer or whether it’s a hilarious parody of the lifestyle. I mean, what am I supposed to say here? Who actually throws parties like this? Wearing giant teddy bears as backpacks while wearing no pants? Creating a skull out of french fries? Arranging your alphabet soup to say “twerk”? I’ve seen experimental films with less surrealism going on. But there’s no symbolism, no deeper meaning. It’s just a series of shots that eventuates into a grand ol’ nothing. That’s it. What a nasty piece of work. I can’t even do a proper rant – I mean, how do you have something to say about a video that has nothing to say? Some people just try way too hard. Miley’s one of them now.
“When I get fucked up, when I get half cut…”
2012 saw the glorious return of the Bloc Party boys, with what ended up being one of my favourite albums of the year in Four and one of my favourite songs of the year in Octopus. Earlier this year, my brother and I got to see them live in Sydney as well; which was a killer set. So, what does the rest of the year hold for these guys? Well, a non-album single has just been dropped; and with it comes a ripping new video from the band. Like, it’s really good. It’s one of the best Bloc Party videos ever. And the four of them didn’t even have to lift a finger… well, kind of, anyway.
They’ve already done the hard yards in making videos for songs like Helicopter, Hunting for Witches and the aforementioned Octopus. They’ve simply left them in the hands of that brilliant UK mind Cyriak, who was last seen around here working with Flying Lotus on the Putty Boy Strut video. Cyriak has taken these Bloc Party clips and created a monster – no, seriously! Things get so distorted and terrifying at times you won’t know where Kele Okereke ends and where he begins! I love this clever reinvention of what were mostly fairly straightforward performance videos. I’ll never look at them the same way again!