“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!
“They say that no-one ever saw her, but that’s the city for ya…”
A triangle of Australian joy to wrap up for today, following on from The Herd‘s classic clip earlier. At the top corner is Urthboy, a Herd leader (pardon the pun) and a certifiable solo artist in his own right, a matter of weeks away from starting a tour on the back of his bloody excellent Smokey’s Haunt LP. The next corner over is Alex Burnett, the figurehead, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and sole original member of Sparkadia. Last but not least is Fishing, the Blue Mountains electronica/production duo who have made a hell of an impact these past 18 months, finding a niche and certifiably nailing it.
So, how do these three intertwine for us today? It starts, of course, with Urthy – one of the highlights of Smokey’s Haunt is a dark and powerful tale that centres around the story of the eighty-year-old woman who died in her apartment and wasn’t found until nearly a year later. Burnett provides the haunting hook to the song. The guys from Fishing have now brought their animation skills to the song’s video, which depicts the city we love (and love to hate) exactly for what it is: a murky, unforgiving jungle. It’s a stunning portrayal of a song that’s brutally honest, but still with a message that doesn’t necessitate all hope being lost. A massive, massive congrats to all three. Let’s hope it’s not the last time these three work together.
Here’s some thrashing insanity to take out our final week of new releases, heading down to Melbourne to say g’day to our new favourite metal dudes, King Parrot. I had the pleasure of seeing this lot as a part of the Bastardfest line-up in Canberra, and they were easily one of the most fun local acts I’ve seen of late. Although they’re a tight unit, playing thrashy blackened metal, they don’t bother taking themselves so seriously. After all, there’s just too much fun to be had!
Look no further than this video for an example of their twisted humour. After the band – all in facepaint, apparently farm workers – get a parking ticket from a dead ringer for Tony Martin, shit gets decidedly real. Although the cutscene is almost as long as the song itself, it’s still a hilarious take on how the anger in metal music can stem from the smallest of places. It’s impeccably shot, well-paced and thoroughly entertaining. Are you really looking for that much more out of your music videos – especially considering how many shithouse metal clips there are out there? Get fucking ropeable with a band I want to see more and more of in 2013.
“The tiding is high and moving into town, I hope it doesn’t take you…”
What you know about recurring themes? Earlier today, we had Justin Bieber rocking a pool party like no-one’s business. Now, it’s Hey Geronimo‘s turn to party – and we’re headed to the beach. For those of you playing at home, Hey Geronimo are from Brisvegas. I know their drummer, Tony, from his other band The Boat People. The rest are unfamiliar faces, but have also done their time in Brissie bands; coming together to keep the party going. And why not? Carbon Affair is, for lack of a more perfect term, fuckin’ radical. I see it having no trouble in scaling to the top of the year’s best tracks.
As for the video, the band decide to throw a hugely cheesy beach party out of boredom. You seem to think you know where it’s going for the first minute or two – silly dancing, various hijinks, etc etc etc. Then, it goes grey – literally. It takes an absurdist twist that makes me like the video and song even more. How about that? Oh, what’s that? You want to know what happens? Jesus shit. Watch it for yourself!
“I don’t know why I fight it, clearly we are through…”
Catch-up week continues, as I finally get to wrapping my head around this one. It dropped back on the first of this month, and in that time has accumulated nearly 2 million views. That is outstanding for an artist that is essentially starting again from the ground up after two solo albums, reinventing her sound, style and aesthetic in the meantime. She’s rejected the major labels and gone with Terrible Records, an indie also home to CANT, Kindness and Chairlift, among others. She then headed over to Cape Town, South Africa to party on for a little while. This is the results of that.
I was flat-out loving this Blood Orange-produced track even before the video kicked in. When it did, though, I fell for it instantly. The locations are stunning, the editing is sharp and I love the mischief that Solange and co. get up to while they’re in the area. Very much a “when in Rome” type of party, perfectly fitting the song’s style and bringing it to strange new levels. I’m really impressed with this one, mainly for going above and beyond its simple execution into a celebration of the highest order. Guaranteed to raise a smile or ten.
“Past the lakes, to where Mount Beauty took my breath away…”
I’m at quite an interesting point in my life where a lot of Australian musicians that I admire and grew up with have turned into friends and acquaintances, people that I know and trust. Five years ago, as a nervous sixteen-year-old, I asked for Jen Cloher‘s autograph at a show she did with The Audreys, Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd. These days, I’m happy to count her as a friend. Her 2009 album, Hidden Hands, resonated with me like few other LPs did that year. When personal tragedy struck for me earlier this year, Jen was one of the first people I spoke to about it. Hell, her song Rain was one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar. In other words, Jen and I have a history – and I’m so glad that it gets to continue here.
Mount Beauty is the first song from Jen’s first album without her band The Endless Sea, entitled In Blood Memory. It starts with spiralling acoustic picking before drifting into a gritty folk-rock number, replete with Cloher’s great storytelling and bold imagery. The latter is particularly touched on in the Bec Kingma-directed video, which sees Cloher take her guitar out of the city and into the depths of the woods, through freezing waters and filthy tunnels. Not only does she look totally badass while doing it, but it adds layer upon layer of intensity and grit to the song’s dynamics. I love a strong narrative in videos, and I love it when it’s making a great song even better. Lord, it’s great to have Jen Cloher back on the scene. You should see her live next month at these venues.
I hope you enjoyed this horribly biased piece of writing. Hey, that’s what friends are for.
“Because I used to not like you, now I think you’re okay…”
Ben Folds has had some pretty awesome people star in his videos in the past. This has included, but is not limited to, “Weird Al” Yankovic, William Shatner and Tim & Eric. For his first video clip with Ben Folds Five since 2000, however, old mate Foldsy has gone above and beyond the call of duty. He’s brought in the A team, the big guns, the real freaking deal. You’ve read the rumours, and now you can see it for yourself with your own beady eyes: the cast of Fraggle Rock are back, and they are HERE!
As the Five’s producer, played by Rob Corddry, watches on, the band attempt to record their new song. It’s not long, however, until they’ve disturbed the Fraggles, who have to come up to the surface in order to find out what all the hub-bub is about. They start going crazy about the joint, while a romantic sub-plot between two of the studio workers unfurls. It’s… well, what else can you say? It’s wonderful. Absolutely fucking wonderful. This warms my heart more than I could possibly emphasise. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming… it’s exactly what I’d expect from Ben Folds, his Five AND the greatness of Fraggle Rock combined. Let’s dance.
“I go bananas every time, mind blown Nirvana, Nevermind….”
Always a treat to hear from the Hilltop Hoods, a group I’ve been following and supporting for nearly ten years. In that time, I’ve seen them basically go from an anomaly amongst the Australian hip-hop community to international flag-bearers for what’s going on right here in Oz. They’ve brought a lot of great acts with them along the way, and served as inspiration for countless more. With that in mind, it brings a very special concept to their latest video – one they’ve never really tried before, but one that’s a complete celebration of Australian hip-hop’s past, present and future.
Along with footage of the Hoods themselves, a cast of thousands flashes by the screen, from the young up-and-comers (Sky’High, Seth Sentry) to veterans and trailblazers (Reason, Bias B) – all brought together, vibing along to the track. There’s also a very cute cameo from baby Aki, the son of Koolism‘s Hau Laketefu, as well as a touching tribute to the late MC Hunter at the end, who lost his battle with cancer last year. It’s such a simple concept, but I think it’s such an important thing that this has happened – for all the perceived clique-iness and the various sub-sections and groups that can often divide the national community, there is still a chance for all of these acts to come together to show unity and respect. It MEANS something – and it’s not often that a video is able to go above and beyond the call of duty quite like that.
“Who’ll help the tired soldier, far from his own hometown…”
Well, THIS is bloody exciting. Can you believe it’s finally here? David Byrne, one of the reigning kings of weirdness after all these years, has teamed up with ultimate indie-girl crush Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, to create a very funky new album entitled Love This Giant. As much as I’ve enjoyed listening to the album so far (which you can do right now thanks to the good people at NPR), I just knew that there would be a brilliant visual counterpart to go along with it. Hell, you didn’t need to look any further than the album art itself to know that.
It’s here now, in the form of the video for Who, the very first song on the album. Byrne plays an innocent (seemingly) bystander who notices Clark sprawled out in the middle of the road. From there, it’s a bizarre game of statues mixed in with some very funky dancing and a run of odd runs through the streets of suburbia. It’s a spectacle, that’s for absolute certain. It’s complete chaos, but you’ll be damned if it isn’t cool as shit. I mean, David Byrne is SIXTY MOTHERFUCKING YEARS OLD and is STILL an absolute pimp. What more can you say? I love this. Just watch it.
“You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going, you’re like a time bomb in my heart…”
You know who’s a badass dude? Bob Dylan. Even into his seventies with his voice shot to absolute shit, this is a dude that could not care less what anyone thinks – and it’s this attitude that means that his most recent art is still able to evoke strong emotion, and even shock people. So it is with the imminent release of Tempest, Dylan’s thirty-fifth (!) studio album, the old bastard has riled up his fan-base with the release of what is possibly his best music video in the past twenty years.
Dylan himself has a very small part in the video – he’s seen strolling the city streets with a gang of rag-tags, including a Mexican thug and a Gene Simmons impersonator. As you do. The footage of Dylan’s walk is mixed in with the continuing story of a blossoming romance gone horribly awry, as a young man goes to great lengths to impress an inner-city beauty. It starts off sweet and charming, before turning very ugly towards the end – I’m not going to say how exactly, because even describing it blow-by-blow would not have even close to the impact of actually watching it happen. It’s similar to the shock of Spiritualized‘s Hey Jane video from a few months back. If you’re brave enough, this is a video that pays off in spades.