Tag Archives: Canada

Watch This Now: Tegan & Sara feat. The Lonely Island – “Everything is AWESOME!!!”

“A Nobel prize, a piece of string, you know what’s awesome? Everything!”

Hi, everyone! I’ve got good news and bad news. Do you want to hear the bad news first? It will make the good news even more good. Y’sure? Okay, bad news first: The LEGO Movie isn’t out in Australia until April. Because we CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS, APPARENTLY. Still, there is some good news – until that fateful day when it’s finally here, we have the lead single from the soundtrack. It’s a combination of two of my favourite acts in the whole entire world: the delightful Tegan & Sara and the perennial friends-of-the-blog known as The Lonely Island. Hoo-fucking-ray! Ooh, wait. Sorry. Kids might be reading. Hoo-flipping-ray! That’s better.

Now, admittedly, the soundtrack music video can be a little lazy. After all, half the work is done for you when you’re taking footage from the movie – or, even more lazily, the trailer. Thankfully, some real Lego is involved with a video idea created by six-year-old Markus Jolly. It all blends together wonderfully – I’m particularly fond of the building montages. Reminds me of the joy that is Lego building. Sometimes, I completely forget about how cool it can be. How awesome, if you will. The wait may be longer for Aussies to get the movie, but it will make our popcorn-gnawing joy all the more fulfilling when it’s finally here. Word to awesome possums everywhere!

Watch This Now: Moby feat. Damien Jurado – “Almost Home”

I’ll decide in a moment’s time, to turn away, leave it all behind…”

The contrast between the last two videos released from Moby‘s new album Innocents could not be greater. The Perfect Life, a collaboration between the big M and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, was as extravagant as you’d expect – all rooftop parties and mariachi outfits. This time around, however, we’re dealing with a much more lush and blissed-out song, featuring the dreamy vocals of Damien Jurado. It only fits that we’re dealing with a much more subdued and simple clip – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful thing in its own right.

Almost Home follows the adventures of a stuffed rabbit and his travels across the country. It’s filmed on super-8, Moby himself cameos as a limo driver and the whole thing apparently had a budget of roughly 10 bucks. It’s a very basic clip, interspersed with footage of Jurado busting it out somewhere completely unrelated to the story. I am simply warmed by its utter charm – Moby doesn’t do videos like this one very often. They serve as a strong reminder of not only how goddamn underrated Moby is, but how sometimes a little rabbit and some steady handheld work is all you need to win the heart of a music video blogger.

Old Favourites: Dave Carroll – “United Breaks Guitars”

“I should have flown with someone else, or gone by car…”

This fiasco went down circa 2009, but I was too busy walking around university with a finger up my arse to notice anything that wasn’t Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was recently brought to my attention thanks to The Checkout, the outstanding new ABC show from Chaser alumni Julian Morrow and Craig Reucassel. To launch their customer-service rant website, FUTube, they Skyped charming Canadian singer/songwriter Dave Carroll to discuss how his music video was a complete game-changer.

For context: He took a flight with United Airlines, and due to luggage mistreatment his guitar – an acoustic Taylor, worth three-and-a-half grand – was broken at the headstock. He took it up with United, who subsequently fucked the guy over until he couldn’t take it anymore. He decided to get revenge in the best way that he knew – he made a music video for a brand-new original song; in which he when into specific detail regarding how the airline mistreated him. Almost instantly, the video was a runaway success, ending up with major PR dramas for old mates United. Taylor Guitars themselves even donated two brand-new guitars to Dave; and when he finally got compensation from the airline, he gave it to charity. What a legend!

As for the video, it’s a very charming shoestring-budget clip, in which Dave even gets to play the broken guitar in question. The extras are the ones that make this for me – his backing band dressed up as Mariachi singers, the apathetic stewardesses and the bumbling comic timing of the two guys playing the luggage carriers. It’s fascinating how this managed to create such a stir, and how the medium of the music video has done so much in this regard. There’s even a book about this whole ordeal now, written by DC himself. Just goes to show what a little creativity can get you – in this case, there’s a chance of a minor revolution!

Old Favourites: Alanis Morissette – “Thank U”

“How about them transparent dangling carrots?”

Here’s an interesting one. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed Alanis Morissette – the first lady of boyfriend-revenge pop – properly within the world of this here blog. I admit that there are plenty more obvious places to start than this video, which is one of her few hits that came after the Jagged Little Pill record. But if you’ve garnered anything from reading this blog over nearly three years (if at all), it’s that I’m not always coming from your most obvious points of reference. The late nineties and mid-2000s were my most formative musical times, and they were guided by music videos.

So imagine my shock at seeing a straight-up naked chick just hanging out in a music video. I barely had any idea who Alanis was at the time, but needless to say I stood up and paid attention after the release of this video. No, not like that; c’mon now. I just found this video to be so mesmerising and confronting. Definitely not a video I felt comfortable watching in front of my parents, that’s for sure. The nudity aside – covered up by hair and what Wikipedia describes as a “blurry vulva” – I was taken aback by the context of it. Just standing in the street, either being completely ignored or momentarily embraced by passing strangers.

What did it all stand for, exactly? Did it reflect the fact that only a few people are willing to stop and help someone at their most bare-soul moment? Hell, could anyone actually see Alanis away from those random people? These were the issues that weighed on my mind – and, over a decade on, I still get overwhelmed at the video for Thank U. It takes me back to that time of confusion and discovery – I’m not sure if Alanis ever gave me proper answers, but I can always thank her for getting me to start asking the questions.

Top 30 Videos of 2012: The Top 10!

ywgav102012

Friends, Romans, countrymen – lend me your eyes!

Twenty excellent videos over four weeks has brought us to this very moment, where we take a look at the ten absolute best videos of 2012. From dentist appointments across the pond to love in a Korean elevator and back, it’s been a remarkably varied and endlessly fascinating year for music videos. Here’s hoping 2013 can hold a candle! For now, though, here are THE TOP TEN VIDEOS OF 2012 ACCORDING TO YES, WE’VE GOT A VIDEO!

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10. Milhouse – Cereal
Directed by Tim Harris

As you’ve probably seen on this blog over the past two and a half years, a great music video has no set format. A million dollar budget doesn’t guarantee excellence, neither does a shoe-string budget. Sometimes, however, all you need is a single camera and a crazy idea. Such is the case with Sydney band Milhouse. Earlier in the year, they had the chance to work with a team at NIDA on a video after winning  a Triple J Unearthed competition. As fun as that clip was, however, what they followed it up with would far surpass any NIDA chin-stroking. The premise: See how much cereal bass player Dave Drayton could work his way through in the 2.5 minute run-time of his band’s imaginatively-titled Cereal. Is it stupid? Magnificently stupid. Stupid like a fox. That’s more or less the entire point. It’s a fantastically endearing attempt to take a joke and run with it.

Read my original post on Cereal here.

9. Tellison – Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart
Directed by Tim Peck

This came out of nowhere – I genuinely can’t remember exactly how it ended up on my screen. Nevertheless, I’m so very glad that it did – Freud Links the Teeth… ended up becoming one of my most-watched and most-beloved videos of the year. Here, the band take what would normally be a boring and dreary place – in this case, the dentist’s office – and turn it into a place where anything could happen. Flourishes of romance and flirting, a horrific twist in the dentist’s chair and even a bit of a sing-along with the four patients in the waiting room, who have all conveniently brought along their instruments of choice. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s a little bit mental. Really, it’s one hell of a way to make a lasting impression.

Read my original post on Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart here.

8. Justin Bieber feat. Big Sean – As Long as You Love Me
Directed by Anthony Mandler

If you saw the brilliant Ask a Network Executive parody last year, sketch comic Brian Firenzi played Michael Destiny, the Head of Programming at MTV. As much as I laughed at this sharply-acted sketch, I wanted to argue the point made that popular videos are more worthless now than ever before. You could indeed argue in the affirmative of that statement, using everyone from Flo Rida to Reece Mastin as examples. That said, I’m disagreeing – and I’m using this video as my leading most recent example. Has the Biebs been guilty of shitty, product-placement-driven videos in the past? As sin. But Christ, he was FIFTEEN. I’d have done anything Usher told me to do at fifteen – fuck, I probably still would. Regardless, this video was a game-changer. With director Anthony Mandler and Reservoir Dogs‘ own Michael Madsen in tow, Bieber delivered a Michael Jackson-esque high-concept pop clip. It’s confronting, impeccably choreographed and just a bit edgier and darker than anything Biebs had done prior. Really, the only reason you haven’t given it a chance yet is because your friends think Bieber is “lame” or “gay” or whatever the equivalent is with your age group. Fuck them.

Read my original post on As Long as You Love Me here.

7. M.I.A. – Bad Girls
Directed by Romain Gavras

2005: A young, fresh and stunningly beautiful face drops (seemingly literally) from the sky and welcomes us to the jungle with the dazzling, bold video for Sunshowaz. 2007: The aforementioned face has become M.I.A., international breakthrough artist who appears on Letterman and gets the Beastie Boys to cameo in her New York-shot video for smash hit Paper Planes. 2010: M.I.A. releases her clip for Born Free, a nine-minute clip depicting genocide and war that has gone on to become one of the most talked-about music videos of the past 15 years. It’s no stretch to say that M.I.A. has built a legacy on her clips – so, in 2012, with all but a single to her name, she knew she had to make her only video of the year count. Reinlisting Born Free director Romain Gravas, known for aggressive and intense clips, was the wise first step. The next was taking Bad Girls to Morocco – specifically, the city of Ourarzazate. The rest essentially played itself out – jaw-dropping car stunts, a knowing mockery of big-budget Western hip-hop clips and a message of endearment, empowerment and liberation. “Bad girls do it well?” Too right.

Read my original post on Bad Girls here.

6. St. Vincent – Cheerleader
Directed by Hiro Murai

Last year, I made great note of the contrast between the opening and closing shots of my number 2 video of the year, Children Collide‘s Loveless. I can draw a similar parallel here, in which Cheerleader begins with Annie Clark – aka St. Vincent – laying on the floor, oblivious to what surrounds are. It ends with Clark yet again on the floor – this time, however, in literal ruins; and all too aware of where she is. Cheerleader is a video that astounded and baffled me on my first few viewings – hell, I pretty much openly admitted to having no idea exactly what the whole thing was about. On reflection, I’ve come to terms with what I see in Cheerleader – this is a video that takes an idea about feminine perception and artistic ideals and makes it gargantuan, ugly and disastrous. It’s a mirror-turn on pretension and objectification. This is what so many women go through each and every day – at least from a metaphorical or internal perspective. Really, Cheerleader says so much without really saying anything at all.

Read my original post on Cheerleader here.

5. The Shins – Simple Song
Directed by DANIELS

From fancy ice-skating to origami cows, The Shins have always delivered videos that delve into the fantastical and the strangely delightful. It was fitting, then, that they delivered what is quite possibly their best video ever at what was quite possibly the most crucial time to have one – at a stage of re-introduction. This video came five years after the band’s last album, Wincing the Night Away. In that time, the band had relocated and changed practically its entire line-up save for bandleader James Mercer. Essentially, this would serve as an introduction to a new generation – yes, you’d be damn surprised how much can change in five years – as well as a reminder for fans who may have forgotten about them. In both regards, this video delivered in spectacular fashion – the new band members play estranged siblings, brought back to their old family house by their deceased dad, played by Mercer. Imagine The Royal Tenenbaums with its cast halved and sped up to 3.5 minutes, adding in some slapstick for extra measure, and you’re halfway to capturing the bittersweet magic of this clip. From the switching between VHS footage and present day to the wrecking crew finale, there is just so much to take in, adore and enjoy here. If anything, it’s a great reminder that the family that fights together, stays together.

Read my original post on Simple Song here.

4. Grimes – Oblivion
Directed by Emily Kai Bock

Just to give you some sort of idea on the power of this video – the director, Emily Kai Bock, actually pulled out of studying a degree in film in order to keep up with the demand of work she got in the wake of this clip’s release. Millions of views and countless accolades later, it’s easy to note Oblivion as one of the defining moments of music videos, pop music, indie crossover… whatever timeline you’re looking down, Oblivion is there. This collaboration between Bock and lispy Canadian darling Clare Boucher was born out of a mere exercise in visual contrast. What happens when you take Boucher – petite, fairy-like, wide-eyed, innocent, sweetly dancing and miming to her own song playing on a portable CD player of all things – and place it in the fiercely masculine world of live sports? The reactions run from pure confusion of some gridiron players to an overly enthusiastic bro dancing away and making up his own words to lip-sync along to. There’s a later scene where a dozen shirtless dudes start slam-dancing behind her, while she’s dressed like a character out of The Crucible and, just like clear influence Robyn, dancing on her own. Is it meant to highlight just what dropkicks men can be when surrounded by beer and sport? Is it meant to show that these type of events aren’t just for beer-soaked cock-rockers anymore? Sure, Oblivion raises more questions than answers them – but the fact that they’re even being raised in the first place is proof alone that this was must-watch music television. Hell, it still is, regardless of your play count.

Read my original post on Oblivion here.

3. Lambchop – Gone Tomorrow
Directed by Zack Spiger

Let’s get this one out of the way. Is Gone Tomorrow so high because of my love of pro wrestling? In a way, yes. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Gone Tomorrow is a celebration of the everyman that isn’t like every man. For every guy that works just as hard at what they do than their friends and neighbours and gets a quarter of the credit. Obviously you don’t have to be a pro wrestler to have an occupation that’s somewhat out of the ordinary – but it certainly makes for great aesthetics in this clip. We’re not talking WWE levels of pro wrestling, either – this is bingo hall stuff, the overlooked and under-appreciated indie circuit. From the moment Kurt Wagner picks up a giant wrestler in his car to the second their match ends, you know that there’s going to be no moment of glory. There’s no Mickey Rourke tale of overcoming adversity. To these guys, it’s just another day on the job. Wagner is just an observer here, intrigued by his surrounds. It’s played out with no judgement – and, in a way, that’s what makes Gone Tomorrow so stirringly beautiful.

Read my original post on Gone Tomorrow here.

2. PSY – Gangnam Style
Directed by Lee Bo Young

Few things have gone so remarkably quickly from “OMG, have you SEEN this?” to “OMG, why won’t this go away?” than Gangnam Style. We went from making the guy a cult hero to public enemy number one within the course of roughly half a year. Pop culture? POP CULTURE? Gangnam Style fucking WAS pop culture in 2012 – and, yes, we know how edgy you are for thinking that this video is – quote – “gay” – unquote. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to discuss the remarkably odd and strangely inspiring tale of PSY, the mid-30s Korean pop star who became 2012’s least likely pop sensation roughly half-a-dozen albums into his career. Despite notable success in his homeland, it never crossed over with a western audience. This can be said for most of the K-pop world, save for a few YouTube hits that have bedazzled and befuddled countless English speakers for their brightly-coloured sugar rushes and plotless oddities. Perhaps what worked for Gangnam Style was the fact that it was in on the joke. Many of the K-pop videos of the past few years have felt like you’re laughing at them – with Gangnam Style, we were quite clearly laughing with the guy as he poked fun at the rich lifestyle in Seoul. Audiences of all ages found themselves with a different favourite part – whether it was the arse screaming, the elevator dance or the world-famous invisible horse. To this day, I’m fascinated by the series of events that lead to this becoming literally the most viewed video in the history of the internet – take that, Evolution of Dance! You don’t need to click above and watch it again, but take a moment to think about the weight of this statement: Gangnam Style has changed the way we think about pop videos, hit singles, technology and the power of “viral” internet trends. Not bad for a song with literally three words of English in it.

1. Spiritualized – Hey Jane
Directed by AG Rojas

There’s a very, very distinct difference that needs to be made here. Hey Jane is, far and away, the single best music video of 2012. It is, however, by no means my most-watched video of the year. Hell, I’ve probably watched it less than some of the videos that didn’t even make the cut for my top 30. Even with some of those views, I haven’t been able to make it through the entire thing. So, how does a video like this end up at the top of the list? It’s very, very simple: Hey Jane is the single most powerful piece of film I saw in all of last year. It’s gritty, it’s uncomfortable, it’s raw, it’s a complete punch in the guts at times. This isn’t a smile-along, happy-ending video. This is a portrayal of a rough-trot life that is all too familiar and, for many, will hit achingly close to home. It’s as much about parenthood and protection as it is GLBT rights. It deals with the joy of family – however much it deviates from the nuclear format – as much as it sheds life on the truly dark and seedy underbelly of strip club lifestyles. It takes on violence, influencing youth, city living, escaping hardship and finding out what means the most to you in this life. It’s a truly unforgiving audio-visual experience, but one that will leave your reaping its rewards for a damn long time yet.

Read my original post on Hey Jane here.

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There you go, guys! Sorry about the delays but I really hope you enjoy these videos as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

The other 20 videos can be found here, here, here and, of course, here!

We’re back to all-new videos next week, so I’ll see you then!

Watch This Now: Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj – “Beauty and a Beat”

“What you got, a billion could have never bought…”

Do you think I’m a hypocrite for absolutely adoring this new video from Justin Bieber and poo-pooing the 1D-wannabes of The Janoskians the other day? Y’do? That’s fantastic! Why not get on the internet and complain about it? I hear that’s a fantastic medium for such things. You’ll win all the sports! Go, go, go! …okay, are they gone? Great. Let’s get down to this shit. The Biebs is back with the third video from his Believe album, following up what is easily the best video he has ever done, As Long As You Love Me. Of course it was going to be a shitfight to follow that one up, but for what it’s worth he’s done a pretty decent little effort here.

The angle here is that the footage of the video was “stolen” from JB’s phone and uploaded “anonymously.” Of course, the anonymous blogger is also a remarkable editor and producer, but stretch your imagination with me here for a second, won’t you? The Biebs is throwing a pool party, and it’s pretty simply a crazy good time for all involved. I literally thought Nicki Minaj was edited into this video, but I’m pretty sure she’s actually there. Goddamn, it’s pretty much just over a month until I see her live. That shit is going to be hectic. Ahh, goddammit, I’m a little boy. Just watch this already. POOL PARTY 2K12.

Watch This Now: Justin Bieber feat. Big Sean – “As Long As You Love Me”

“Seven billion people in the world, trying to fit in…”

Well, shit. It looks like Justin Bieber has had another Justin moment – Timberlake, that is. Although it’s early days yet, his sophomore Believe is already being touted as his FutureSex/LoveSounds, and I’m starting to think that this new video of his will be regarded as his What Goes Around… It’s the darkest, most confrontational, most exciting and unquestionably the best video the Biebs has ever put his name to. It’s not going to “silense da haterz,” regardless of what the tween Twittersphere tells you. What it will do, however, if there is any justice, is remove the novelty surround him and bring the focus to his serious cuts as a major pop star.

Here, JB plays a young lover trying to get to his girlfriend… with her overbearing father the only thing standing in his way. The opening scene presents the two having a very honest discussion over their relationship, with the father played very darkly and aggressively – this ain’t no One Less Lonely Girl or Baby, kids. It gets ugly with threats, and the song begins soon after. It’s then a mix of dancing, romantic reminiscing and some wordless confrontations that lead to the fairly shocking ending. I didn’t quite see it coming, to be honest, and it’s got to be the first time I’ve ever felt that way about a JB video. This is about as interesting and mature as you’re going to get out of an 18-year-old pop sensation – and I gotta say that it’s a very impressive effort. A lot more impressive than I was ever planning to give it credit for, that’s for sure. Wonderful. Take a look, regardless of your stance on Bieber Fever, and see what you make of it.

Watch This Now: Feistodon – “A Commotion”

“It ripped the books off the shelf, it turned heaven to hell…”

Dudes. Seriously. Am I the only one who thought/thinks this is one of the most badass things to happen to either artist in their entire career? I’ve spoken about how much I dig both in the past – Mastodon just yesterday, and Feist back in February – but the fact the two came out with a collaborative seven-inch in which they covered one another’s songs is just… it rules. So much. No-one cares about genre or whether it’s “cool” or whatever the fuck else: They did it because they dig each other’s music. Nothing more, nothing less. And now, we get to see the mighty Feistodon in action through this wicked video.

Okay, so it’s not quite what you think – Leslie Feist herself stars in this video of Mastodon covering her own track. She goes pretty wild, in accordance with the band’s proggy take on her original. There’s a lot of shit that gets trashed, with Leslie going ape amidst a smashed violin and what looks like a torn pillow. It’s a really creative, unpretentious reflection on this unlikely collab, and you come to appreciate both acts more just through watching this. It gets wilder and wilder as it goes on, culminating in a gang of Feist’s friends losing their collective shit. Now, that’s what rock and roll is all about, kids.

Watch This Now: Seaway – “Sabrina the Teenage Bitch”

“Make up your mind, stop fucking with mine…”

Here’s something short and sweet from an adorable new pop-punk band straight outta Oakville, which I believe is in Ontario, Canada. Was pointed in their general direction by the lovely people over at Dying Scene – who you should totally check out once you’re done with this site – and quickly grabbed a copy of their debut EP which dropped last year. This is their first foray into the world of music videos, and I gotta say that it’s great to have them on board!

Let’s get this out of the way first – yes, this very closely follows the tried-and-tested pop-punk video format that can basically be summed up in three words: “PARTY OVER HEEEEERRRE!” Yep, the Seaway kids sure know how to throw a pool bash. There’s babes with their band sticker on their arses, a buff black dude busting out every word in a sing-along, a shed for seven minutes in heaven and a bunch of very good-looking boys and girls that look even better in high-definition (go on, try it!) It’s very goofy, but there is plenty of fun to be had in the song’s 150-second run. Keep it simple, stupid! Really enjoyed this one – probably just a little bit more than I should, but who cares? I’d love to get the lowdown on what else is happening in Canadian pop-punk. Who’s my hook-up in that regard? Anyone? Food for thought, anyway. Get to stagediving, y’all!

Watch This Now: Dan Mangan – “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All”

“I was thrown in a boat, cast out to sea, friendly with waves, there were sharks below…”

Is that… is that Dan bloody Mangan? Again? What is this, your sixth time here? We must really like you, Dan. Not many other people get that kind of love around these parts. There must be something in the water over in your magical Canada land, right? Whatever it is, keep it up. The glory run of videos from the Oh Fortune record continues here, for the album opener and potentially one of my favourite Mangan tracks. This one requires a bit more imagination than the previous clip for Post-War Blues – and yet, that’s not quite the deterrent that you think it is. In fact, it can make this video all the more exciting.

Mangan is at the centre of the clip, surrounded by a wondrous and peculiar forest. He is seemingly the leader of a tribe of strange painted faces who follow his commands – which, naturally, involve confetti and sky lanterns. It’s simultaneously wonderful and unnerving, in the sense that there’s a sense of ecstasy and joy to the gathering and the colour and whatnot; but what are they all doing there? Who’s behind this? And just what does it all mean? Enter your imagination, stage left. It will know what to do. It makes this video what it is. I think I know what’s going on, but maybe your idea will be entirely different…

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