What’s up, friends? Thanks for coming back yet again and checking out our little dealio here, as we look back at the best visual counterparts to the songs of 2013. If you missed part one, you can check up on that here. If not, let’s get right back to it!
25. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
Directed by Becky and Joe
This groovy tune from the part-Kiwi, part-Portlandian’s second album was certainly one of the more talked-about clips in the indie world this year. It’s safe to say that there was nothing out there quite like it – the imaginative team of Becky Sloan and Joe James (with the clever moniker of Becky and Joe) lured us into the life of a perverted puppet whose life manages to get weirder and weirder by the second. His surrounds and the people in it tend to raise more questions than get answered, but perhaps that’s why it’s such a strangely alluring clip.
24. iwrestledabearonce – Boat Paddle
Directed by Justin Beasley
It’s morphin’ time! In order to save the universe from a giant butt-faced monster – and that’s quite literally what it is, by the way – the guys and girl of IWABO suit up and use the almighty powers of rock & roll. You may have guessed that we’ve gotten to a silly section of the countdown, and you’d be absolutely right. Everything here is as cheesy and hammed-up as you’d expect; very much a reflection on how rare it is that the gang actually take things seriously. They’re just an outrageously fun band – if anyone deserves to be saving the world, it’s gotta be them.
Read my original post on Boat Paddle here.
23. Batpiss – Loose Screws
Directed by Chris Matthews
We all know how this one goes: Boy gets job, boy gets abused at job, boy decides to go on bloody massacre rampage. It’s the oldest trick in the book! Melbourne trio Batpiss pricked up eyebrows across the country with their cartoonishly graphic video, complete with a nod to one of the best videos of 2012 and a finale that no-one could have possibly seen coming. Major kudos to the make-up department, as well as the slab of extras whose campish overacting sell the video even more than it was already being sold. Yet another world-class video from Australia’s relatively-underground scene.
22. Cloud Control – Dojo Rising
Directed by Ian Pons Jewell
A truly international affair if ever there was one: Australian band based in the U.K. enlist London director for a video shot in Bolivia. Yeah, that just about checks out. While we’re at it, why don’t we throw in a dodgy, down-on-his-luck clown and a seemingly-sweet little girl who seeks revenge on said clown ruining her birthday party? Hell, why not? In for a penny, in for a pound. Gorgeously shot and splendidly strange, Dojo Rising proved to be one of the year’s biggest curveballs from a video perspective. It wasn’t what anyone was expecting, but it was sure as hell what we got.
Read my original post on Dojo Rising here.
21. Psy – Gentleman
Directed by Choo Soo-hyun
If 1,877,401,067 YouTube hits can’t be wrong, can 623,110,248? That’s the billion-dollar question, and the answer was a resounding yes. Sure, following up literally the biggest music video of all time was a big ask – but the K-pop superstar took it in his stride and kept things just as outlandish, as extravagant and as hilarious. Not an instant classic, but certainly one guaranteed to raise a smile everytime you see it.
Read my original post on Gentleman here.
What do you think? Leave a comment or an email; and we’ll see you next week!
But wait! There’s more!
Oliver Clark – Atomic Thrust
He’s the man with the sexiest voice in comedy and suits that could make Paul F. Tompkins look like a hobo. Yes indeed, the housewives’ choice Oliver Clark is one for the ages. For the title track of his new album, he decided to put his pelvis to the test; subsequently delivering one of the flat-out funniest videos of the year.
Blood Orange – Chamakay
In which Devonte Hynes goes home. Well, in a traditional sense, anyway. Visiting Guyana for the first time ever, Dev makes his way around the beautiful area and connects with the townsfolk. Parallels can easily be drawn with frequent collaborator Solange‘s wonderful video for Losing You, but not even that can match the tender beauty of seeing Hynes meet and speak with his grandfather for the first time ever. Stunning.
They Might Be Giants – You’re on Fire
They’ve been getting weird since before you were born and they show absolutely zero signs of slowing their roll. Here, they give a spin to the opening track on their sixteenth(!) album, allowing some mince meat to take lead vocals while the gorgeous Lauren Lapkus from Orange is the New Black dances around the kitchen preparing to send it to its impending doom. Because of COURSE that’s what they would come up with.
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
A lot of people have asked me about this one. Where do I stand? What do I make of it? Now, I’ll be the first to admit it needed an editor, and maybe some restraint on the more… shall we say… ‘out there’ moments. When she’s staring straight down the barrel of the camera, though? I simply cannot deny it. It’s gripping, and it’s honest, and it’s the most real that we’ve ever seen the girl born Destiny Hope Cyrus.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
What an exciting time to be an AF fan. As the band bravely venture into what may be their weirdest album to date, we’re treated to what may be their weirdest video to date for the album’s title track. Late-night roadtrippin’, mirror suits, giant paper-mache heads, tricked-out caskets… I mean, I’ll be damned if I know what it all means at this point. It looks pretty amazing, though; don’t you agree? What a thrilling video.
Fall Out Boy feat. Big Sean – The Mighty Fall
The saga continues. This year, Fall Out Boy have been releasing music videos for every song from their Save Rock & Roll LP; following a conceptual story about the four members and a secret briefcase which has contents only they (and the villains of the series) know about. There’s been aspects of Stockholm syndrome and Clockwork Orange-esque ultra-violence thus far, and the madness continues here with some all-new characters. Kudos for keeping them guessing, boys.
The Polyphonic Spree – Let Them Be
Following on from the parallel universe of the You Don’t Know Me video, the Spree get animated on the second video from their excellent Yes, It’s True. album. Director Ben Rowe takes the song into a lush dreamscape, enlisting the help of dozens of creepy-crawlies, frogs, aliens and what appears to be an avocado. No, really, it’ll all make sense once you’ve seen it. Well, okay, I won’t make any promises…
Moby feat. Wayne Coyne – The Perfect Life
Oh, come on! It’s Moby and Wayne Coyne in mariachi suits. What joy! What pure, unadulterated awesome have we found ourselves with? If you don’t get a smile out of this one, your heart is dead as dead can be. That’s all that can be said!
“You haven’t got my awkward silence, or my three ways of acting…”
I believe in Brendan Maclean. The same way Cher believes in life after love, or the way Harvey Dent believes in Harvey Dent. I’m sure I’ve explained our history far more eloquently and in far greater detail in one of the several other times he’s appeared here. All you need to know is that he’s back, on the attack, with a fellow Mac – Paul Mac, that is; who was also behind February’s Stupid. The guys behind that video have returned as well, namely directors Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston. To top it all off, this too is a single-shot video… yep, just like Stupid.
You might think I’m being back-handed here, but I’m actually quite excited that B-Mac has started properly carving his niche into this grandiose style of buzzing pop; with some truly awesome visuals to accompany it. As soon as you realise that we’re in the midst of a “backwards” video, more and more questions begin to arise – namely, how did Brendan end up in his underwear? What is he doing on a race track? Why is there glitter all over the field? Patience, young grasshopper. All will be revealed once we retrace our steps… well, most will be revealed, at least. Given this video focuses squarely on Maclean, it’s up to him and him alone to keep you entertained and intrigued for the entire runtime. In that regard: Sir, you’re a winner in our books.
“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.
“I’m in love with two, but I could never tell you…”
Yeah yeah, been sick and busy. Not a good combo. As a result, I’m late to yet another party – this time the brilliantly weird new video from Kirin J Callinan. This sonic adventurer has been a guest on the blog before, but we’ve never actually had the time to feature one of his videos. Which is a shame, and a total oversight on my behalf – especially considering how much I am loving his debut solo album, Embracism. It’s an incredible-sounding record, brimming with fearless concepts and ideas, mixed in with jarring noise and abstract lyrics – he’s definitely the kind of artist that enjoys clearing the room of squares as quickly as possible.
He even manages to do so here, which is arguably the most “conventional” – or, dare it be said, “pop” – song that he’s released under his solo moniker to date. The song becomes the opening credits to a midday soap opera, in which KJC plays every single character. There’s something quite fascinating about watching him go from bumbling waiter to bikie thug to innocent schoolgirl and back again. It’s all just a bit of low-budget fun with costumes, really. How much enjoyment you get out of it will really just come back to your degree of comfort with the man, his music and the frequent cross-dressing. Can’t please everyone, but I can’t imagine that would be very far up Kirin’s to-do list.
“Close the blinds and lock the doors, those outsiders have thieving paws…”
Okay, I’ll admit. I’m a busy dude. I have places to be, people to see, songs to sing, articles to write, Tweets to send to random YouTube celebrities, videos to watch… there’s a lot on my plate. So, sometimes, I let things build up. I’ve been sitting on this new video from David Bridie, the veteran Australian songwriter behind bands like Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend the Chocolate Cake for a couple of weeks now. I just hadn’t gotten around to it until this week. It was at the top of the pile of roughly a dozen video clips and I only JUST watched it. This week.
Why am I telling you all this? More or less just to establish that yes, I am indeed a fucking idiot sometimes.
Delegate, the first video from David’s most recent solo album Wake, is one of the best Australian filmclips I have seen in a very, very, very long time. It’s a confronting, eerily beautiful and profound video. The likes of which haven’t been seen in quite some time. It’s a bold statement wrapped in cryptic messages and surrealism. The dialogue is displayed, rather than said out loud. It would disrupt the flow of the song. We find ourselves in an office, where an employee simply looking out the window and daydreaming turns into something gravely serious. This might take a few views to get your head around. It certainly did for me. I wouldn’t recommend you watch it at your own work, either; or if you’re somewhat sensitive. In any and all other circumstances, however, Y,WGAV! gives you a big, bright green light. Watch this by any means necessary. It’s vital that you do.
“Come back into bed, babe, turn off the phone…”
I have no idea why this one came to me the other day, but it somehow ended up in my head for an entire day so I had to go and seek out the video. Kate Ceberano, for those of you playing at home, was a teen pop star in the 80s through her work in the band I’m Talking. She had a handful of hits as a solo act, but the timing of my birth meant I missed most of them. This one landed at just the right time, though. It’s fascinating that it became such a hit for her, given she was in her thirties at the time of release – by no means old, but if you’re a teen musician then it’s certainly considered “past your prime.”
Perhaps Kate was pre-empting the whole cougar thing? Who knows. All I knew was this video was sexy as hell when I was watching it growing up. The single-entendre sexuality of the song hadn’t quite sunk it yet – I genuinely thought the bed in that lyric posted above was just for sleeping. Still, I was immersed in this world of extreme close-ups, cool suits and a brassy, bold woman who wasn’t going into her thirties without a fight.