“But if I was to say I regret it, would it change a thing?”
Sometimes, you just gotta break the rules. I’m usually pretty stringent on not including “performance” videos unless it’s an extreme circumstance. Yesterday, this video came out. I’d consider it pretty fucking extreme circumstances – Haim, the sisters doing it for themselves, have delivered one of the coolest looking pop videos in a damn long time. Like, the thing looks spectacular. And all eyes, naturally, are on them.
Yes, there are some simple performance shots, but that’s not what you’re watching for. Check out when the three are stripped of their instruments and deliver the song with some truly slick choreography as provided by one Fatima Robinson. That name may not seem all that familiar, but perhaps the videos for As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys and Try Again by the late, great Aaliyah do? That’s Fatima’s work. She brings a vintage style to the clip, all rhythm and popping limbs; while director Warren Fu (Daft Punk, The Killers, The Strokes) adds a sheen and a few well-tapped filters; as well as some sharp camera cuts. The best thing about If I Could Change Your Mind, overall, is the fact it’s a glossy pop video that looks fantastic and doesn’t include a single product placement. We’re kicking it old school here, and that’s exactly what fits.
“He said that beard accessories were no longer necessities…”
It’s a rough time to be a bearded traveller. For whatever reason, the collective performing visas of The Beards were recently denied by US immigration; forcing the band to cancel their run of North American dates. Heartbreaking stuff – bloody shutdown! What’s going on over there? Apparently a few other bands have had similar issues recently. Regardless, it seems as fitting a time as ever to share with you guys the most sombre tale ever told by the band – which looks to be their last little bit of promo for the Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard album.
The band’s fearless frontman, who also works as their keytarist and saxophonist on the side (busy guy!), Johann Beardraven, begins to tell the tale of The Beard Accessory Store in three separate places – the local pub, around the fireplace with the fellow members of the band; and (perhaps most frighteningly of all) in a child’s bedroom. Although they are fairly different circumstances for one to tell a story, he doesn’t change his intensity levels for any of them – he grabs collars, smashes randomly-placed acoustic guitars and pours Jack Daniels into his beer. It’s a pretty full-on story, so probably avoid watching this if you’re beardless or easily frightened. If you’re up for a punishing gut-wrencher of a laugh, though, have we got a surprise for you.
“Shelter also gave their shade, but in the dark I have no name…”
A few things I’d like to talk about before I get onto today’s top video. Firstly, I just want to say how fucking bored I am with the hate towards Mumford and Sons. Trying to take them down a peg in 2013 is like trying to tell everyone how shit Britney is in 2007, or how slutty you think Ke$ha is in 2010. It’s lazy, it’s boring, it’s cheap, it’s Pavlovian, it’s unchallenging and it makes you sound like a dreary rock pig attempting to talk “street” with the “kids” about their “popular musics.” Just… just fucking shut up, okay? No-one thinks you’re clever – literally, if someone thinks you’re clever, they’re a no-one.
Point number two: As much as I fucking hate M&S hate (I’m not even a massive fan), I truly cannot stand bands that take themselves too seriously. It’s in this regard that I can sort of see where the backlash has come from for Marcus and the boys – by all means make “serious” music, but have your wits about you and never make it seem like what you’re doing is a chore. Loosen up, and learn to laugh at yourself – you and your music are never as important as you make them out to be.
Okay, so we’ve got both of those points out of the way: Let’s talk about this new Mumford and Sons video that you’ve no doubt seen busying your feed the past few days. In replacement of the four band members, four comedians have taken their place – namely Saturday Night Live‘s Jason Sudekis, The Hangover‘s Ed Helms, Arrested Development‘s Jason Bateman and MacGruber himself, Will Forte. I love all four of these guys on an individual basis, so perhaps I was always predisposed to enjoying this video. But holy hell, did these four go above and beyond the call of duty.
Hopeless Wanderer is by no means one of the better tracks on Babel, but much like OKGO, it’s not so much about the song. There’s too much fun to be had here to worry about something as petty as the song itself. There’s fake beards, fake tears and all-too-real makeout sessions. Bateman thrashes away on a banjo, Forte sways with his double bass and all four glide down the river in their boat. It’s never cruel or taunting, but it does give a very obvious nod to the fact that M&S aren’t always the most cheery of gents. Don’t worry yourself over something like whether you’re being “tricked” into liking Mumford and Sons. People attempting to tell you that are complete fucking morons. Just settle down, now. It’s only folk rock. They’re just comedians. Nobody’s going to get hurt, and that’s the most important thing.
“I’ll show you my private things, like my scrapbook of fantasies…”
One of the greatest experiences of my life was mid-November last year, in which I ended up going to a major international artist’s show every single day of the week. This included a two-day trip to Adelaide, where I saw today’s topic Silversun Pickups along with The Dandy Warhols. Not only had they been one of the most important bands of my life for the past five or so years, they had also just released one of my favourite records of the year in Neck of the Woods. It was surreal, both being in a completely foreign city and seeing (then later meeting) one of most-loved bands.
We’re now coming up to 15 months give-or-take since the album’s release; and although they have a slew of festival appearances still to come in 2013, the promotional trail for Neck of the Woods is coming to a close. It’s with this that we get the video for the album’s forth and final single – and what a way to go out. For many people, their first exposure to SSPU comes via the inimitable Lazy Eye single – more specifically, the song’s video; which focused in on awkward attempt at young love. Several years on, the clip for Dots and Dashes takes a similar approach.
Removing the band from proceedings entirely, the video follows a young, innocent girl who chances upon a rebellious soul on a bike. They like what they see in one another, and spend their day breaking into houses, jumping on beds and seemingly falling for one another. It’s gorgeously shot – I love the filters used, as well as the intimate close-ups that draw you into their seemingly-wordless relationship. The editing is also spectacularly done, to the degree where I was genuinely left wondering as to whether the whole thing was in the running girl’s head the entire time. It’s difficult to make something like this work over a five-minute music video, but Dots and Dashes is an exhilarating experience. Give it a try.
“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!
“Just spread my arms and flew, all the way across Canada to see you…”
Ahh, Kate. You invaluable resource of a human, you. Not only did you give us one of the best albums of 2012 in Nightflight and a shortlister for best Australian video of the year in I’ll Change Your Mind, you continue to bring joy to people all across Australia – well, apart from that one grumpy cunt in Queensland, but hey! Nobody’s perfect! Anyway, Kate, great to catch up; I’m going to talk to the reader now.
Hey, you! Oh my God, I know, right? KMH just rocking up out of nowhere and just being lovely? How crazy is that! What do you mean, imaginary? It totally happened! Just then! Anyway, no time to argue semantics – have you seen the new video for Ride This Feeling? It’s a collaboration with Lucy Dyson, who is a very clever artist that has worked with the likes of Gotye, Sarah Blasko, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Drones and Dan Kelly. Fucking impressive, right? Here, she brings her drawing and animation finesse to give a literal expression of Ride This Feeling‘s lyrics, right down to the surreal dream that Kate falls into around the second verse. It’s a spot-on collab, sweet and clever in equal measure. It’s only a matter of weeks before I get to see the lady in question again as a part of the Heavenly Sounds show in Sydney – and friend-of-the-blog Brendan Maclean is opening! AYFKM? So good! So yes, until then, immerse yourself in this.
“I ain’t Snoop Dogg, but I’mma drop it like it’s hot…”
So, here is a collab that I didn’t see coming. In the red corner: Mr. Eric Wareheim. Despite their show ending a couple of years back, Tim & Eric have been pretty busy lately. They still tour the T&E show – which I got to see on my 22nd birthday last year – and are busy working away as content creators for the new Jash network on YouTube, also featuring Reggie Watts, Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman. Tim even found himself starring in what we thought was one of the best music videos of the year: Dinosaur Jr.‘s Watch the Corners.
In the blue corner: Major Lazer. These two dancehall kings have been firing up their unmistakable style of booty-bouncing hard-edged dance-pop for a few years now, but have really taken off with the success of last year’s Get Free and their debut album, Free the Universe, which dropped just a month or two ago. Fittingly enough, Diplo also scored himself one of the best videos of 2012 in Express Yourself, which launched one of the bigger dance crazes of the past 12-18 months – no easy feat given both the Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style dropped within this period.
So, what happens when the beardy-weirdy gets his hands on this alternate reality of future-disco? Well, it’s as hilarious as you’d expect from Eric, as ridiculous as you’d expect from Major Lazer and as mental as you’d expect from the pair of them. Wareheim takes us into a world of bored Brooklyn hipsters, who are visited by some sort of bootylicious Godzilla. The monster pumps them full of… well… the goods; and then all hell breaks loose. Bubble Butt blows everything out to epic proportions, in the same way that Express Yourself did but in a far more knowing, satirical form. I’m borderline obsessed with this clip; and with any luck you’ll find yourself in the same situation.