“Through this hell, we found our heaven…”
Here’s one of the better Aussie clips I’ve seen recently, courtesy of Sydney duo The Presets. These guys have made some absolute winners in the past – my personal favourite being 2007′s iconic My People clip – so it’s great to see them back in action in promotion of their third studio album, Pacifica. The record was one of my favourite LPs of 2012, but I can’t say I was all too excited about any of the videos the band have released from it, which is a shame. That was, of course, until now.
Inventively enough, for a song called Fall, the band decided to do a video of skydiving. Both Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes, wearing creepy plastic masks of their own faces, simply dive out of the plane and let the wind take them where it may. Literally, that’s the entire video. And yet, you never get a sense of ‘that’s IT?’ dissatisfaction. There doesn’t need to be anything more to this video. It works so remarkably on its own. The cinematography is to die for, the location is perfect and the boys handle such an intense experience so cleverly and uniquely. I guess, sometimes, less really is more. Bliss.
“Talk too motherfucking much, I got my drink, I got my music…”
What a relief that the undisputed star of hip-hop in 2012 is keeping up his productivity into 2013. The last thing I would ever want for Kendrick Lamar is for him to simply become a flash in the pan. After all, if it wasn’t for The Idler Wheel by Fiona Apple, there is no doubt in my mind that good kid, m.A.A.d city would have been the album of the year. This track in particular was one of my favourites, so I was quite keen to see how it would be portrayed from a music video perspective – and, I’m happy to say, K Dot has done me proud. Well proud!
As I had suspected when daydreaming about the clip, the video begins in the surrounds of a church. “I am a sinner, who’s probably gonna sin again…,” you know how it is. The jumpy editing and the stark contrasts that come in the following scenes make this a bit of a shock to watch the first time around. With repeated listens, however, comes the concept. Somewhere between love and fear, life and death, laughter and sadness, there’s the video. I get that some people really aren’t going to dig on this, and might find it to have mixed messages or contradictory. For what it’s worth though, I find that those people were missing Kendrick’s message from the beginning. This is great. DTM.
“Not quite dying, my body left to rot in a hollow tree…”
Oh yeah, fuck, that’s what I was forgetting to tell you guys. David Bowie isn’t dead. He’s alive. He has a new album. Perhaps you’re familiar with the product? It’s called The Next Day and it’s been one of the best albums of the year so far. There’s been a couple of – shall we say – interesting videos released in promotion of the LP. There was the slightly creepy Where Are We Now, in which the Thin White Duke’s face is plastered over toys; as well as The Stars (Are Out Tonight), in which Tilda Swinton – shock and surprise – does something weird and does her best Bowie. So, what have we got on our hands for the album’s title track? Actually… it’s a completely new matter entirely.
Friends, this is the best Bowie video since his Trent Reznor collaboration, I’m Afraid of Americans, back in the late 90s. It’s at once horrifying, engrossing and arresting; a series of outright disturbing events that fly by so quickly that the song itself isn’t even played in full. There is sacrilege, blasphemy, idol worship and a fuck-tonne of blood. Needless to say, it’s an intense experience. No surprise it was pulled off YouTube for a bit there. I guess that they thought at the age of 66, Bowie wouldn’t be up for anything all that shocking to the system. HA! Wrong answer, dudes. What an absolute treat – especially the Gary Oldman appearance, in which he loses his freakin’ MIND. Classic Oldman. Oh yeah, by the way, if you’re easily offended… first of all, what on earth are you doing reading this blog? Secondly, don’t watch this. The last thing Bowie needs is your pointless anger. Hail hail!
“Let’s get fucked up, then find Mr. Right and get monogamous…”
About damn time! Given their previous track record of releasing a record every other year, it’s new album season for The Lonely Island. We were teased earlier in the year with The Wack Album‘s lead single, YOLO (You Oughta Look Out), which featured hook man Adam Levine and the badass Kendrick Lamar. Unfortunately, Y,WGAV! missed out on that one – didn’t see it until it was too late! A real shame, given these guys are no strangers to this part of the internet. Still, no use worrying about that – we’ve got bigger issues at hand!
What issues, I hear you cry from the far reaches of wherever the fuck you’re reading this from? Two big ones, actually: Marriage equality and getting absolutely smashed on spring break. I think you’ll appreciate that both have been intensely discussed and debated recently, and there is certainly a world of controversy surrounding them. Through releasing Spring Break Anthem, TLI want to make sure we’re on board in support of both – and they make very convincing arguments. Hell, I was sold the second I realised that Andy Samberg had ditched Joanna Newsom in favour of getting hitched to Zach Galafianikis, who introduces the clip with a Between Two Ferns interview starring James Franco; who also finds himself getting married in the proceedings. God bless America!
“All your friends are smoking shit, and fingering, and going down…”
Guys! Guys! You guys! The Uncluded album is out in the world! Aesop Rock! Kimya Dawson! Together! Songs! The ultimate sugar-and-spice collab of the year! Can you tell I’m excited? Holy shit, I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time. The album, Hokey Fright, is fantastic. If you’ve been paying attention to this here dealio, you’ll have already checked out the clips for Earthquake and Delicate Cycle; the latter of which is well on its way to becoming my favourite video of the year. So, how does Alligator hold up in comparison? Surprisingly well, actually.
It’s a simple, charming concept, quite similar to Earthquake. In this clip, our heroes decide to take one another on in the most dangerous of all showdowns – a game of squash. No, seriously. That’s it. There’s some menacing shots of both Kimya and Aesop, some hilarious training runs, and footage of the two exhausted after a clearly-rewarding game that runs during the song’s instrumental outro. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s silly, it’s WYSIWYG. But, of course, the burning question remains: Who won? Easy: We did.
“You won’t get to taste it, with your face against the wall…”
Well, shit. Here we are. It’s nearly ten years since Absolution dropped, a record that may as well have just been called The Beginning of the End. That record, for all of its hits, essentially began the band’s transmogrification from rock band with stadium-sized ambition to a stadium band with office-worker-sized ambition. They couldn’t give less of a fuck about anything they do anymore. Want proof? It’s right here in the form of Panic Station.
I’m not going to delve deep into plotlines – there are none to be seen or heard. It’s the three guys in the band running around Tokyo and acting like the utter shitting twat-monkeys that they are. There’s ridiculous costumes, lame dancing and a run of bloopers to make the band feel a little WHACKY! and DOWN WITH THE KIDS LOL! for “good” measure. This video makes a serious dent in The History Of Things I Don’t Have Time For. What a wank this thing is. The only thing worse than these guys trying to be brooding and serious is these guys trying to show how kerrazy they are. It’s nasty business, really. Sorry I had to subject you to it so early in the morning.
“There ain’t no need for the pleasantries, ’cause there’s no need to pretend…”
There’s a great song by Kimya Dawson called My Heroes. In it, she details how disgusted and shocked she felt when Michael Jackson and Pee Wee Herman were both arrested on similar charges. “My heroes are falling apart,” she cried in the song’s refrain. Now, while he certainly hasn’t done anything quite as fucked up, I feel like singing the exact same refrain when I see, hear and experience what Andrew Stockdale is doing in 2013.
Rewind to 2005, and you couldn’t get a bad word past me about the guy. I mean, I freaking worshipped this guy. With his band, Wolfmother, they were the biggest rock band in my world for a period. That self-titled album, as derivative as it was, still comes across as a momentous mammoth of a thing. Stockdale was the coolest frontman in Australia, whipping his curls about the joint like nobody’s business and thrashing away on Jimmy Page riffs like they were his. My hero started falling apart when Chris Ross and Myles Heskett, the band’s rhythm section, up and quit the band. Stockdale never recovered, and after years of playing with ring-ins and session guys, he finally decided to pull the plug in 2013 on the Wolfmother name.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he’s stopped making music. With a solo LP on the way, this is our first taste of what’s to come. Naturally, it’s more of the same of the tragic Cosmic Egg record: Lame-duck riffs, uninspired lyrics and a rhythm section that may as well have come from GarageBand. Never fear, though. Stockdale is trying to prove what a wild and kerrazy guy he is by dancing like a dickhead in this we-blew-the-budget video. A bunch of random ring-ins, apparently what was left of Wolfmother at the time of dissolution, dance along. Dance, monkeys. This is literally all you’ve got left. My heroes are falling apart.
“Hey sister, am I good enough for your Heaven?”
Back in the game, people! My sincere apologies for the lax posting as of late. Just been quite busy with a myriad of other projects, things, bitlets… it’s all good, though. You can take the music videos away from DJY, but you can never take DJY away from the music videos! Especially if we’re talking about my next client. In 2010, she released the hands-down best song of the year in Tightrope, as well as one of the absolute finest records of the year in The ArchAndroid. Needless to say, she was featured in my best videos of the year. Twice! In 2012, she also played the single best show I saw in 2012 – keep in mind I also saw Prince, The Beach Boys, Ben Folds Five, Coldplay, Radiohead et al. when I say that this woman utterly dominated.
So, where do we find Miss Janelle Monae in the throes of 2013? Once again, it looks like the petite powerhouse is out to save the world again; as she readies her new album The Electric Lady. So, how do you get people even more excited that you’re back? I mean, apart from the fact there happens to be a guest verse from Erykah freaking Badu just sizzling away in the song’s third act. No, no, we need bigger! Are you thinking what I’m thinking, B1? It’s video time!
Q.U.E.E.N. sets itself in the seemingly-not-all-that-distant future, in which time-travelling rebels have been captured, thrown into suspended animation and brought to The Living Museum in Metropolis. Two women enter the exhibit which contains Monae, Badu (here known as Badula Oblongata) and her bandmates, known under the Wondaland collective. After Q.U.E.E.N. is put on a very cool-looking record player, the exhibit comes to life. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that ensues – we are talking about one of the greatest creative forces of the 21st century, after all. When Monae steps up, she steps fucking up. It’s such an exciting clip to watch – gorgeously shot, with great direction work from one Alan Ferguson; not to mention the outstanding costumes and wigs (I’ve always wondered what JM would look like with a short cut). I love the concept, I love the song. The Electric Lady could well be another game-changer. Don’t believe me? The booty don’t lie.
“Stuck in a moment of emotion I’ve destroyed, is this the end I feel?”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh boy. Well. They’re back. Possibly the most loved-to-hate band that has ever graced the posts of this here blog, Jared Leto‘s litte buddies 30 Seconds to Mars. Now, it’s been a little while since their promo cycle for their third studio album, This is War. From it, we got some truly terrible clips – blow-by-blow reports on which you can find here, here and here. They’re impeccably shit videos. Apex predators walking among just plain bad videos. Unstoppably, immeasurably bad. Either winding up their own egos beyond all comprehension or simply throwing a series of laughably pretentious imagery in the hope that it will come across as artistic. That’s more or less what we got from 30STM last time around.
You’ll be happy to learn that nothing much has changed as the band gear up to do their fourth album. It’s called Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams. I wish I was making that up. This right here is the first single, and they’ve decided that there really would be no greater introduction to this new LP of theirs than to throw together an 8.5 minute video for a 4.5 minute song. Because of course that’s what we’re after. I’m not exaggerating when I say “thrown together,” either. There is absolutely no cohesion, no artistry and no skill that went into taking these random bits and mashing them into a steaming pile of what-the-fuck-ever. It’s so easy to get distracted with this thing it’s not funny. Oh, look, it’s Dita Von Teese! Oh look, it’s slow-motion Shannon Leto! Oh, look, it’s some other crap! Why are there animals on the set? We going anywhere with this anytime soon? No? No? Not really. Didn’t think so. I dunno, normally I put a bit more bile into this. I just want to show you guys that this video exists. As in: This happened. And we let it happen.