Tag Archives: 2003

FEATURED FRIDAYS – My Favourite Video: Marcus Azon

Marcus Azon is an Australian musician.
He is the guitarist and vocalist of Jinja Safari.
His favourite video is Miss Misery by Elliott Smith.

This clip is a favorite purely for the personal connection I have to it. There are a lot more impressive videos, brimming with outstanding effects, and complex narrative. But this video is so simple, that it leaves you with an image you can’t shake, years after watching it. For me, it epitomizes a very specific time in my life; and a time where i felt i could relate to almost every Elliott Smith lyric. It’s really interesting to watch him in this clip, because it’s essentially just a one-man performance piece. I’ve got every album, B-side, demo etc. that he has released; and am still fascinated by him as a writer and performer. Always lyrically inventive, and melodically unpredictable. Maybe it’s the finality of his untimely death that has left him immortalized, to leave us thinking “What else could he have done?” But what he did leave was a catalogue of music that is continually inspiring. From what I know, he wasn’t the most comfortable live performer, and frequently made mistakes, which lead people (including himself) to think he was a poor performer. But i think his performance in this clip is as honest as you’ll ever see.

Jinja Safari‘s debut self-titled album is available now via Island Records.
You can purchase it here.

They will also be undertaking a national tour in September,
starting on the Sunshine Coast and finishing in Bunbury.
For a full run of dates and to purchase tickets, visit the band’s official website.

Old Favourites: Beyonce feat. Jay-Z – “Crazy in Love”

“It’s the beat that my heart skips when I’m with you…”

So, after years of neither one of them visiting Australia, both Knowles sisters are coming to Australia. This is good. This is very, very good. Solange, who kicked a lot of arse last year with her gorgeous video for Losin’ You, will be here in December for Falls Festival. Roughly a month and change beforehand, though, we’re getting an arena tour from the one and only Beyonce. This is my first time seeing Queen B in action, and I am expecting something that’s nothing short of exhilarating. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for a big show like this one.

I wasn’t always such a gushing queer over Bee, y’know. Back when I was a mad alternative triple j we love music kid, I was never allowed to like Beyonce. That was for GIRLS. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. That was, of course, before this ditty came around. Sure, I didn’t appreciate it at first – girl germs, rnb “not reel music” etc. But it was probably around 2007 that I snapped and realised I was holding back my enjoyment of this superwoman and her music for no real reason at all. So, I stopped being a fuckhead and immersed myself in all things Beyonce.

This video, in particular, has stood the test of time for me as one of the definitive moments in her career – not only voted as the greatest song of the 2000s, but a glistening and all-out video that made everything else stop dead in its tracks. Even though Wikipedia itself admitted that “the video is essentially plotless,” you have to ask yourself: Who’s watching Beyonce videos for the PLOT? There are insane chunks of choreography! Fast cars! Jay-Z just being a flat out dude! I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a world where this isn’t awesome. I don’t want to be there anymore. I’m in a safe – and far, far better – place now. Now, SHAKE!

Old Favourites: Outkast – “Hey Ya!”

“Thank God for Mom and Dad for stickin’ two together, ’cause we don’t know how…”

I’m, admittedly, pretty insufferable with my “can you believe this is ten years old?!?” schtick sometimes. Especially this year, where I get to go all crazy nostalgic on my twelve/thirteen year old self. But please, you will just have to forgive me for this one. We’re about to take a look at one of the defining videos of the 2000s, the visual accompaniment to what is regarded as one of the greatest pop songs ever written. Yes, friends, we’re tuning up the band for OutKast‘s video for Hey Ya!

Although the song wouldn’t majorly dent the charts until 2004, it was around this time ten years ago that we were introduced to The Love Below - the frenzy-inducing superstar pop band, comprised entirely of versions of Andre 3000Big Boi makes a cameo at the beginning of the video as the band’s manager, which I loved. The two would always appear in one another’s videos for the duration of the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below promotional cycle, and I remember really digging that – even though these were solo records, it was still being presented under the OutKast name and there was never any rivalry between the two.

Once we get to the actual performance – that’s Benjamin Andre, Possum Jenkins, Johnny VultureIce Cold 3000 and Dookie, not to mention the three backing vocalists known as The Love Haters – it’s magical stuff. It captures the kind of utter madness that would ensue when popular bands would play the Ed Sullivan show or some kind of equivalent. I remember this video so vividly, I barely had to watch it again to write about it. Benjamin’s cheeky little smile after he finds some girls in the audience lusting after the shy one; Dookie glaring directly into the camera while hitting the snare drum during the song’s breakdown, not to mention Ice Cold’s wild dancing.

I love this video as much now as I did back then – it captures one’s imagination and sends you directly into what makes the whole song so magic. Even the old dad watching from home can’t stop himself when this song comes on. No doubt you’ll be the same when you watch this again.

Watch This Now: The Postal Service – “A Tattered Line of String”

“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.

Old Favourites: The Mars Volta – “Televators”

“They lowered a tow, that stuck in his neck to the gills…”

Here’s a ten-year anniversary that kicked me in the dick this week: The Mars Volta‘s debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium. For all the flack that the band received in their later years, even leading up to the band’s demise back in January, a sold amount of said detractors can all agree that this record was – and still is – more or less untouchable. I mean, what a dream team! Rick Rubin producing. Flea playing bass. Jon Theodore on drums. Isaiah Ikey-Owens on keys. Need I say more? The album is an absolute punisher, the closest to perfection that the band ever got.

Only 2 singles were released from the album: Inertiatic ESP and this. The Inertiatic video was super-fun for its trippy take on the band’s extreme live shows, but I was always drawn to the subdued majesty of the Televators video. A mostly-animated affair, the video takes in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic city. The surrounds have been taken over by animals and something grand is forming… something bigger than you or I. That’s both metaphorical and physical, I should mention. The atmosphere of this clip is nothing short of incredible. For one of the more quiet moments of the album, it certainly knows how to delve into great levels of intensity. A remarkable visual interpretation, that serves as a souvenir of this iconic LP. Throw it on sometime this week if you get the chance. It sure as shit doesn’t sound like 2003. It sounds like the distant future.

Old Favourites: The Strokes – “Reptilia”

“The room is on fire, as she’s fixing her hair…”

By 2003, The Strokes were very much on my radar. I’d taken notice with the now-infamous video for Last Nite, but had more or less no idea what was going on in terms of their greater impact. Hell, I was in the fifth grade – can you blame me? By the time I hit high school, I naively wondered into Room on Fire, their second studio album which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in October. I realise that it’s a very disregarded and marred album now, but because it was my first full-on Strokes moment, I treasure that record. I know every word to every song. Hell, I know every last melody – I even have harmonies for them. As I see those same fans that adored them around this time turn their collective backs to the band’s latest record, Comedown Machine, I’ve returned to this era to see what I could find.

Rather than go with the Tron-aping clip for 12:51, I’ve decided to take a look at the album’s second single – overlooked at the time, but has grown in recognition over the years thanks to Guitar Hero and the like. The video is an up-close-and-personal look at the band members – and that’s not a metaphor. These here are what Wayne and Garth would have described as “extreme close-ups” (WOAHHHHH!). I loved this, as it showed exactly what each member contributed. Watching both guitars and the bass at the same time in the “chorus” of the song is spellbinding stuff. I also love Albert Hammond, Jr. shaking violently before the second verse starts up; not to mention Julian Casablancas screaming and going all bug-eyed on us. Brilliantly edited and effortlessly cool – the latter of which has basically become a Strokes calling card.

Watch This Now: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”

“Falling for a guy, who fell down from the sky…”

A couple of things that are blowing my mind regarding these guys. Firstly: Fever to Tell is TEN FUCKING YEARS OLD. One of the more iconic alternative debuts of the 2000s, which still sounds as fresh, aggressive, fervent and hellbent as it did when it first dropped so many moons ago. On that note, how have they not aged? They’re all in their mid-thirties now, and it barely shows. They still have a world of energy to them, particularly within their live shows – one of which I had the pleasure of seeing back in January as a sideshow from their Big Day Out festivities. Jolly good.

Lastly, anyone else as excited for Mosquito, their fourth album, as I am? I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, and it’s not officially out for a few weeks, but I heard from a friend of a friend of a third cousin that it’s out on the interwebs somewhere right about now. Before you get to it, however, take a minute to soak in the glory of Sacrilege, which opens the album; and its sinister video. It begins with a fire, and what appears to be an entire township surrounding it. With each flash of footage, we work our way backwards from the fire to find out how exactly we got there. It does indeed involve many of the people surrounding the fire in the first place, all linked in to a single person. Sorry to be vague on the details, but I really think this one has to be seen in order to be believed. No smoke (apart from the fire) and mirrors here. Just raw, confronting and gripping film-making. It’s quite possibly the best video I have seen all year.

Old Favourites: The Herd – “77%”

“Can’t understand, how the very word Australian has just been damned…”

A very special celebration from over the weekend in regards to Australian hip-hop – it’s the ten-year anniversary of The Herd‘s seminal LP, An Elefant Never Forgets. A drastic amount has indeed changed in the years since this album’s release – for Australia as a nation, for the Herd as a group and for myself as a listener. Australia has long since gotten rid of John Howard and – at least slightly – grown to have a greater understanding and empathy of the horrible ways that refugees and asylum seekers have bee treated over the years. Once a hungry collective of up-and-comers, The Herd are now an Aussie hip-hop institution, selling out tours and running one of the most notable indie labels in the country in Elefant Traks.

As for me? This was my gateway into Australian hip-hop – yep, this was pre-Nosebleed Section for me, so it was a steadfast and forthright display of what kind of hip-hop was happening in my own backyard. Nowadays, I’m fully immersed in Australian hip-hop – I’ve seen great artists come and go (Phrase1200 Techniques), not to mention some terrible ones (anyone remember Figgkidd? No?). It’s a community of artists and ideas that I appreciate so goddamn much. And it all begins here: An animated clip in which Little Johnny wakes up one day and gets to find out exactly what it’s like when horrible things happen to him. This actually managed to tie in with my first major interests in politics, as well – with Bush, Howard and Blair all in office, what a time to fucking hate world government, huh? I’m really glad I got to sit down and watch 77% again – it reminds me that Australian hip-hop lives, it reminds me that there is still a world of injustice out there and it drives me to maintain the rage on both accounts.

Old Favourites: Steve Burns – “Mighty Little Man”

“He shakes his head, finally stands up, throws his hands up in the air…”

Can you believe it’s been ten years since Steve Burns, the original host of Blue’s Clues, left the show? Since then, he’s mostly been subjected to various death rumours – including a nasty one about how he got manic depression and killed himself. Thankfully, none of that is true – although, to be fair, not many people are aware of exactly what Steve did next. The truth is, he got with some dudes from The Flaming Lips and made an album – a pretty good one, too, called Songs for Dustmites.

There are two videos that exist for the album’s lead single, Mighty Little Man. Although the one with Steve himself featured is sweet enough, I’ve decided to share what’s known as the “Dancing Gabe” version. A wild bearded man – looking similar to E from Eels – is jamming the track on a discman, while also air-drumming and smoking away. I think I love this video because anyone who can honestly say they’ve never found themselves in a similar situation while listening to music in public is a goddamn fucking liar. There’s no other word for it. Get your air drum kit out and get rocking.

FEATURED FRIDAYS: Takin’ 5 – Guilty of Being White

It was February 2 last year when Jack and Meg White officially announced that their band, The White Stripes, would be no longer. As one of my favourite bands growing up, it was certainly disappointing news. In my heart of hearts, though, I just knew that their legacy would remain intact – and let’s face it, they had a pretty good run. With Jack’s solo album, Blunderbuss, set for release next month, I thought I’d pay the band a quick retrospective visit to the band with five of my favourite clips that they did. Prepare for some wackiness, some creepiness and a lot of Meg smiling innocently.

5. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Jack comes home to a seemingly empty house, but all is not well. The ghosts of its previous inhabitants – Meg included – come back to haunt him constantly. Their second collaboration with Michel Gondry, who makes up the majority of this list, already shows the fruits of a very long-lasting creative relationship. A quirky idea that really managed to suit the contrasts in the song, both musically and lyrically.

4. The Denial Twist

With Gondry back for the first time in two years and the lovable Conan O’Brien making a guest appearance, the Stripes put together what was arguably their trippiest video to date. I don’t want to blow things out of proportion – but, then again, that’s basically what the entire video is about when you think about it. Dizzying to watch, but wholly satisfying all the same.

3. Seven Nation Army

Strangely enough, the Seven Nation Army video was the first and last time that the Stripes worked with Alex and Martin, a Swedish duo that also worked with everyone from U2 to Hilary Duff on a myriad of cool, interesting videos. This was the one that started it all for me – I distinctly remember being enchanted by this continuing stream of multiple Jacks and Megs. The pacing, the ebb and flow, the insane colours and the evil look in Jack’s eye during the verses – priceless, timeless.

2. The Hardest Button to Button

For the bulk of their career, the White Stripes’ sound revolved around one guitar and one drum kit. This video is what happens, however, when the band are given an infinite amount of guitars and drum kits to play around with. Replicating the pattern and arrangement of the song, the band move from parks to subways and into the streets with their stacks upon stacks of equipment. Fancifull excess at its finest – plus, the band donated pretty much all the gear to charity, so there’s a happy ending at least for any rock nerds who thought they’d all go to waste.

1. Fell in Love with a Girl

In typical eccentric style, the shortest video the band ever did took them the longest to make. Naturally, the end result was more than worth it, as Fell in Love is far and away the band’s greatest clip. Painstakingly put together using only Lego, it presented a frenzied take on the song and some truly jaw-dropping feats using just the bricks of Lego. Amazingly, no-one has really attempted anything similar since this clip dropped 10 years ago – not evenOKGO, who have surely done absolutely everything by now. I guess we all knew that nothing was going to top this.

Thanks y’all, have a good weekend!

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