“Bits of yellow paper, addressed from you to me…”
Here’s another example of when a performance-based video can score themselves a hall pass here at Y,WGAV! Perhaps you’re familiar with Michel Gondry; the legendary French director behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and countless classic music videos for Bjork, Steriogram, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, Kylie… just to name a few. It’s pretty safe to say that the guy is one of my heroes, whose work has shaped the blog’s motives for even existing.
When I found out that Love Letters would be his first music video in three years – following a Bjork clip from back in 2011 – I couldn’t have clicked fast enough. Although it quite literally centres around the band performing the song, I knew that there would be more to it. It’s Gondry, after all. He manages to find a way. After a few views, I was completely taken – it’s not what’s happening in the confines of the performance, it’s the scenery that surrounds it. As the camera spins, it takes us to a different, beautifully-painted backdrop. The concept is so simple, but it adds so much to the song. Dammit, Gondry, you’ve done it again!
“Let me go, where’s there’s no memory of you…”
Earlier this year, the music world heard the abrupt and surprising news that Kim Deal was to leave the Pixies for good. This wasn’t a full-band split like last time around – the Pixies were staying on, Kim was not. It was a bit of a shock to the system, especially considering what a huge influence she had over the band’s sound. We still had The Breeders – it’s not long now until the Last Splash tour hits Australia – but it was going to be flat-out weird to experience the Pixies without Kim doing her thing. Not long after that, we got Bagboy, the first new Pixies number in nearly 10 years. An insane video followed. It was promoted bigtime and plastered all over the place. They wanted to make a definitive, big statement about their return. Kind of a big deal, if you will.
By means of contrast, Kim dropped this remarkably quiet song quite recently with no fanfare whatsoever. The video is a simple affair, no cereal baths or youthful recklessness here. Hell, not even the lady herself had much to say about Are You Mine? – that is, except to give a succinct and touching description of the song itself:
I live with my mother, who has Alzheimer’s.
In the house she’ll stop me, put her hand on my arm, and dearly ask, ”Are you mine?”
I say back to her, ”Yeah momma, I’m yours.”
Oh, how my heart ached after reading that. The video, created by Kurt Ralske, is an intimate and strangely sweet affair. Its cast of characters are a humble collection of salt shakers, as owned by Deal’s grandmother. They are cast under flickering, coloured light, and occasionally covered in beads. It’s elementary in its approach, but it’s starkly emotional and even a little gut-wrenching – especially when the cameras hone in on the salt shakers’ blank expressions. The direct contrast between the warming glow and their cold, unmoving faces… I can’t describe it. What a tiny marvel this video is. A true delight.
“Live your life, VHS cassette, fast forward, back to the future…”
I remember meeting Alison Wonderland at the fourth birthday party of Sosueme, perhaps one of my only tolerated club nights in Sydney. She was polite and sweet; and I actually didn’t find out she was actually a DJ until later in the conversation. “Oh, right, cool,” I responded. “That sounds like fun.” Little was I to know exactly how much fun – her set with the rest of the Sosueme crew just as the clock hit midnight was a world of high-energy excitement and bombast. It was unpretentious and entertaining, which is more than I can say about a slew of other deck-spinning douches in the city.
Anyway, this year Ms. Wonderland has made the move into original music, and her debut single features a collaboration with my boys in Fishing busting out their rap dude personas. Now, I’ll be honest – as much as I dug the song, I wasn’t sure the video would be much chop. Nothing personal, it’s just that DJs… well… they’re not great with the music videos, are they. Let’s not forget the first-ever negative review we gave of a clip on this blog was a David Guetta video. And have you seen the Pauly D video for Night of My Life lately? Don’t. Of course, this isn’t to compare Alison to either of those guys – like I said, she’s different. One might even say, One of Us. So with equal amounts of relief and pleasure, the video for Get Ready ended up fucking ruling.
Like, seriously – Alison, Doug and Russell have gone above and beyond the call of duty here. Watching a crew of delinquent teenage zombies busting mad rhymes into a fisheye lens already screams “fucking awesome” on paper. The word ‘awesome’ being underlined several times. Watching the whole thing executed, however, leaves one at a loss for words at points. It’s just so much fun to watch – the lip-syncing is seamless, the little breakdancing dude left my jaw on the floor and the varying hijinks that unfurl throughout the second half cemented the shit-eating grin on my face. They couldn’t have made a better clip for this track, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. For Alison, for the rap dudes of Fishing, for the breakdancing zombies… the whole shebang. They’ve started something beautiful here, friends.
“If the wind has got you shaking, I will be your blanket…”
It was the very first day of 2010 that I was first introduced to Martha Brown. Her band, Otouto, were playing at a showcase for Popfrenzy records, downstairs at the Civic Hotel. I remember it vividly – I had never heard them before, and as they were playing I had never heard anything like them before. It was truly amazing stuff. I gushed to Martha about their music and bought their single, Sushi, from them. Although they’ve been a bit quiet lately, they remain one of my absolute favourite Australian bands. Ever? Probably. They mean a lot to me. Some of the best nights I’ve ever had have been at Otouto shows. I mean that.
Here we are in 2013, and Martha is finally shifting the gears on her solo project, bAnoffee. This is the first single to be released from the project, and it makes me very excited for where her solo sound is headed. Directing is Alice Glenn, Martha’s cousin who also directed the two brilliant Otouto clips for Sushi and W. Hilliar, the latter of which made it into my best videos of 2010 list. It’s a simple and intimate portrayal of Martha, who is shown training and air-boxing throughout the clip. Some tender close-up shots and some really cool backwards/forwards shots of Martha wrapping tape around her arms adds to the awe-inspiring visuals. It’s not too complicated or demanding, and it suits the song beautifully. No matter how much things change, some things always stay the same – my music crush on Martha Brown isn’t going away anytime soon.
Tim Hart is an Australian singer-songwriter, best known as the
drummer and vocalist of Boy and Bear.
His favourite video is Always by Junip.
For me, when I look at film clips, I like to see something new and fresh, rather than the age-old band performance clip. Because, let’s face it… they’ve been done to death. Having said that, I’m aware that I’ve been part of such clips; but, for my 2 cents this one is a cracker. It was shot mostly at the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland and it’s weird. I guess, at a stretch, it is technically a performance clip; but the way that it’s done is great.
It starts in a dingy bar with what we assume is a covers musician playing in the corner of a pretty empty bar. There is one rather intense, slightly creepy guy drinking and smoking in a booth. He is staring at the guy playing covers he reaches his hands towards him and miraculously the guitar disappears. The covers musician doesn’t seem to notice and keeps playing. The weird guy then walks in to a room where the three members of Junip are sitting around playing the song together and he performs the same transformation on them, before taking them to air guitar school.
I think this video is great because it has a narrative and it manages to convey it effectively (something that so many videos attempt to do and fail at). The culmination of the video is the band been wheeled up on to stage at the air guitar world championships and sitting on the stage in the same very understated formation they were playing in when Weird Creepy Guy discovered them. I love that the director was clearly taking a shot at the overly serious “trying to be rock and roll” videos, and I think he nails it. In the end, creepy guy doing weird dance moves+ air guitar + Junip = my favourite film clip.
Boy and Bear‘s new album, Harlequin Dream, is in stores August 16th.
You can pre-order the album here (physical) or here (digital).
The band are also headed out on a national tour in support of the record.
All tour dates can be found on their official website.
“Every time we kissed, I felt something that couldn’t exist…”
Yesterday, we discussed the 10-year anniversary of De-Loused in the Comatorium. We also happened to discuss the new March of the Real Fly video, which included some time at the good ol’ laundromat. Today, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of The Postal Service‘s only studio album, Give Up. Any self-respecting Death Cab or Dntel or electro-pop or good-taste fan has spent many, many moons with this record – so imagine the surprise and joy when the band reunited to re-release the record and head out on the road once again.
We also got to hear a song left on the cutting room floor from the original Give Up sessions, and said track has been given visual life thanks to the crew at AB/CD/CD. So, we mentioned the humble laundromat being the centre of focus here… and you’d better believe that we meant it! As soon as the load of clothes goes in, a serious lesson in perspective is given: What would happen if everything outside of the washing machine spun instead of the machine itself? Its surrealism reminds me a lot of various Flaming Lips videos, and even a little of the Battles video from last year for My Machines. Above all else, though, it makes me wish that there was more “new” Postal Service to give this kind of treatment to! A guy can dream. This will definitely suffice for now, of course. Just don’t get too dizzy.
Hey, look who it is! It’s them crazy kids from March of the Real Fly! Good to see these uke-swingin’ cutie pies at it again. They dropped another clip late last year, but it sadly came during our break period and I never got around to it! To quote Eminem: “Don’t think I did that shit intentionally just to diss you!” Anyway, I’m glad I took the 83 seconds it took to watch this video, and the several further 83-second blocks that it would subtract from my life there on out. Once again, these creative little dorks are on to an absolute winner.
The video revolves around the clothes-based antics of keyboardist/vocalist Anita Miles. She recklessly throws her washing on the line and it forms into her ratty bandmates, spreading their boy germs all over the place! She recklessly throws her washing into her local laundromat and it forms into a trio of singing socks! Can our damsel ever catch a break? Who’s to say, really. Anyway, for another tiny-budget affair and with such a limited timeframe to work within, I’d safely say that MotRF have done it yet again. Bless their cotton socks – although preferably not the singing ones. Fuck knows where they’ve been…
“Shut down, turn around, don’t look that way anymore…”
Yeah yeah, the Hottest 20 happened over the weekend. Blah, blah, blah. More self-congratulating and lamenting corpesfuckery. Songs by dudes and for dudes. Only one GLBT artist, less than 10% women. So obviously, Kylie Minogue was a shoe-in, right? …right, fellas? Anyway, today I thought we’d talk about Our Kylie again. You know, a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I think Impossible Princess is Kylie’s best record; and remains one of the more underrated pop records of the 90s. It came at a very peculiar time, where she was caught between rock and a hard place. Yeah, literally as in rock music – as showcased here.
A lot of people think the Come Into My World video was the first time several Kylies had appeared on screen at the same time, but trek back five years prior to its release and you’ll find this gem of a clip. Considering the woman has had roughly as many reinventions as Madonna, it was only fitting that several of her personalities came out to play in the Did It Again video. The four Kylies are Cute Kylie, Dance Kylie, Indie Kylie (naturally, my favourite) and Sex Kylie. All four of them try to dominate the screen in the verses, which was a fairly playful – if not excessively blatant – stab at the conflicts that have come with the changing of the times and the style development. Eventually, it looked like Dance Kylie won out: the lead single of the next album was Spinning Around, the video for which is another story for another time. Still, we’ll always have 1997. We’ll always have this wonderful, bizarre time. We’ll always have the Impossible Princess. Kiss the tiara.
“The mark on the wall that you kick, when you fight in the dead of the night…”
Oh, hey! It’s Andy Bull! Y’know, Andy? Oh come on, he was everywhere for awhile. Dog! Last Waltz! Yeah, old mate. That’s the guy. Handsome fucker. Bachelor of The Year nominee. Piano man. Yeah, yeah, you’re catching my drift. He’s been on here before. Twice. And now he’s back! Yep, Bully Boy has got himself a brand new video. It’s pretty exciting stuff, really! Good to have him back.
What’s that? You want me to tell you about the video? Hmmm. Well, we might have some difficulty there. Y’see, I normally don’t admit to such things in such a blatant fashion, but I genuinely have no flippin’ idea what in actual shit is going on in this video. There’s a hunky dude in glasses who’s lifting weights in time with the song, some old lady stamping paper in time with the song, a birthday cake being blown out, a series of Babushka suitcases being packed an unpacked. My guess is AB has had a nice little acid trip and wrote down what happened – right down to the extras getting their lip-syncing wrong. I’m dazed and confused, people. But I’ll be damned if I’m not impressed. It all just tessellates. It meshes together beautifully. I’ll have what Andy’s having.
“It’s broke and shattered, to a million and one…”
Yeah, I’m gonna be completely honest here. There was absolutely no shitting way that I ever thought that She & Him – the musical project for M. Ward and perennial manic-pixie-dream-girl Zooey Deschanel – would ever appear on this blog in a positive light. I mean, they’re just so fucking twee and cutesy and blergh. I’ve gone off Deschanel something chronic lately – probably something to do with her awful New Girl show, which just got less and less funny as it got queasier and queasier. Not to mention all those Frankie girls spinning around the streets in their floral dresses, Instagramming their 35-dollar breakfasts and playing San Cisco on their iPod; all the while idolising their dearest Zooey.
So, with all of that in mind, how exactly in all of fuck did I end up grinning like an idiot at this video, the first in support of their imaginatively-titled third album, Volume 3? I’m personally blaming my enjoyment of I Could’ve Been Your Girl on two things. The first is the goddamn colour and choreography. I mean, you guys remember how much I gushed over the Cameo Lover video, right? This is exactly like that. Zooey is wearing a bright pink dress with baby blue frill and bright yellow shoes. I queered up the second I saw her in it. As for the dancing, it’s just remarkably camp and wonderful and sweet. I’m not supposed to be feeling this way, dammit!
And the second thing? Well, call me crazy, but I genuinely think that Zooey is taking the absolute piss out of herself and the whole MPDG movement. Look at the haphazard way she tries to spin her umbrella, or the fumbling of the beachball, or how awkward she is with the wooden duck. These might just be attempts to humanise her, but I’m seeing something else. I’m seeing Deschanel attempting to break the fourth wall to show anyone that will give her a chance that she’s more than aware she’s a stereotype. It’s as if she’s saying “Yeah, I know I’m a bit ridiculous. And so are all the people trying to be like me.” I dunno, should I let sleeping dogs lie on this one? I really like Ward’s guitar, Zooey’s not the worst singer, and this video cracked a grin out of me. Maybe I’ll listen to Volume 3… Jesus, what is happening to me?