“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.
“Say what you want, but it won’t change a thing…”
Truly, truly, truly never thought I’d see the day. I mean, fucking Travis? The fucking Why Does It Always Rain on Me? guys? THAT Travis? Even post-hit, I hadn’t heard from these guys in about nine years or so. Truly just thought they’d quietly parted and been rained on separately. Now, it seems they’re back, having completed their seventh (fucking seventh!) studio album. This is our first taste from it, which they’ve put up for free download on their site. More of interest to me, however, is the cracking video.
Naturally, with a title like Another Guy, your mind has most likely gone all hetero on us and assumed that the song is about a relationship ending because old mate Fran Healy has seen his woman with… well, another guy. Wrong! Wrong! In this delightfully cheap clip – in breathtaking standard definition, I might add – the Travis gang are all mad at one another. In some sort of bizarre Fleetwood Mac
-esque situation, every member of Travis has been involved in a relationship with another. Throughout the course of the clip, they catch each other out – and, by some bizarre twist of fate, all of them have shacked up with the same balding grey dude. How about that, huh? I love the knowing humour and the play on convention that Travis have gone for here. Never thought I’d say it, but it’s great to have them back!
“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.
“I get no regard, no dinner invitations, no Get Well cards…”
I dunno about you lot, but we’ve already been treated to some pretty great Australian albums this year, ranging from the new Drones record to the Safe Hands debut and back around again. Way to go, first quarter! A record that I’m almost certain is about to join said ranks is Moving Out of Eden, the long-awaited sophomore from The Snowdroppers. Them boys have clearly been up to no good if their last video, the necromancing White Dress, was anything to go by. This time, however, it’s personal.
I dunno, is it? I just thought that sounded cool. What we do get is a minimal, shocking and exceedingly dark video starring the four Snowies lads, all of which apart from frontman Johnny Wishbone end up wielding pistols. The thing I dig the most about this clip is just how mysterious it is. We don’t ever quite cotton on as to where the guys are, what lingers outside and just what has brought them there. No words are spoken, just Johnny singin’ the blues. It ends in tragedy. It’s bleak, confronting and entirely watchable. Those crazy cats. See what you make of it all.
“Not so cute anymore, now that you’re pushing thirty…”
For my money, A Joyful Noise was one of 2012′s most underrated albums. It certainly didn’t have a “Heavy Cross” or a “Standing in the Way…” among its tracks, but that doesn’t take away from its great songwriting, top-notch production and the fact that Perfect World remains one of their greatest-ever songs. With this in mind, I really hope people give A Joyful Noise a second chance – especially after seeing this very funny clip.
The song itself is a takedown of slacker girls and dodgy housemates, so it’s only fitting that Beth Ditto is as sardonic and bitchy as ever in the clip. Taking on a myriad of jobs, with all the wigs and costumes one could ask for, Ditto tears through the workforce with ease. Whether she’s working the phones, pulling teeth or literally just hitting a piece of wood with a hammer, there’s nothing that Beth can’t do! Sassy and sharp, Get a Job is easily one of the best clips the band have put their name to. What’s that? You haven’t seen it? Well, shit, son, get to work!
“Spiraling down, biting words like a wolf howls…”
I’ve come to discover this clip from UK up-and-comer trio Daughter at somewhat of an interesting crossroads. This comes just under a month since the video was put online, as well as just under a month until their debut album, If You Leave. Noticing my timing makes me feel as though I am fashionably late, as well as quite possibly on the verge of something massive. Really, it’s a great feeling to have.
It’s not just the gorgeous song that’s gotten me all excited, which feels like Ladytron blending in with Explosions in the Sky. No, of course, the video is a wonder unto itself. Yesterday, we featured a video from Adelaide band Paper Arms which documented intensity taking its place in the spaces between, caused by a lack of intimacy between estranged lovers. The video for Still explores this further, going into extensive and intimate detail as a couple prepare to go to bed. They sleep in the same one, but go to bed at different times. That alone might not seem like much, but it’s beyond clear given their facial expressions that there is something well and truly wrong. This is beautifully shot and masterfully acted – especially impressive given the lack of dialogue. Fantastic stuff. Just between us, I think we’ve got something pretty huge on our hands here. So watch this, but don’t tell anyone… yet.
“Time is changing me, I’ve got to get my life together…”
In popular Australian music, we seem to go through two back-and-forth stages: everyone is either selling their guitars to buy synthesizers, or selling their synthesizers to play guitars. In a period of the former, Tim & Jean ruled supreme – and, upon listening to their debut LP, Like What, rightfully so. Those hooks! Those keys! How delightful. Anyway, last year Jean Capotorto decided that he needed to take a break from music, effectively ending that synth-driven daydream and leaving Tim Ayre and the T&J live band to pick up the pieces.
For what it’s worth, they have adapted remarkably. The Lazy Calm, as the collective are now known, show a great ambition and drive to create something that’s substantially different from the T&J sound. This has transferred, too, into their video making. For a song standing boldly against substance abuse in indigenous communities, the band head to the outback with Jae Laeffer of The Panics and Delson Stokes Jr. of the Yabu Band, who both feature in the song. The location is breathtaking, the sentiment is strong and the whole affair reminds me significantly of Midnight Oil‘s iconic video for Beds Are Burning. Hell, we may well have ourselves a new iconic Australian video right here. A must-see.
“But you work in an office, and you’ve got other offers…”
I’ve gone on before about how much I adore Brendan Maclean. He was the first-ever featured artist on this here blog, he’s had two videos in my top 10 clips of the year (2010 and 2011) and… well, shit, I just adore the little fucker. Can you blame me? He’s just so endearing and brave and interesting and funny – on and offline. It all really seems to be coming together for him now – at long last, we’re going to get an album from this son of a bitch, thanks to the support of his Pozible crew (which you should totally check out over here) and the wizardry of Paul Mac on the production knobs.
To celebrate, Brendan has just released his fifth music video. I missed out on the last two, OnlyOnly and Beat Me to It – the former because I pretty much have a “no performance videos” rule, and the latter because it was released during vacation time. Sorry, B-Mac! Hopefully, I can make up for it with a glowing review for this wonderful clip – potentially the best of the lot. Here, Brendan ends up as the only other person at a party. Rather than make things awkward, however, he decides to have a bit of a dance. Wait… a bit? A LOT of a dance might be a bit closer to the mark. Meanwhile, the girl who’s thrown the party (played by Eloise Winestock) decides that it’s her party and that she can bloody well cry if she wants to. She gets sadder and sadder as Brendan gets happier and happier. What a beautiful contrast it makes, too. If he keeps it up, not to mention with The Great Gatsby finally coming out this year, 2013 will be the year of the Mac. Get on board.
“I like to create a dialogue, that leads everyone to intercourse…”
Morning! Here’s something new from and old buddy, producer and rocker extraordinaire Simon Berckelman. You may remember him as Berkfinger, the fearless leader of the late, great Philadelphia Grand Jury. He’s now a solo adventurer under the name of Feelings, and has just dropped his second single for this project. How very exciting! To go with the song, Simon has teamed up with filmmaker Erin McBean for a low-budget, Tim and Eric-esque affair that revels in its kitsch and uncomfortable oddity. Where else but Berlin!
In the video for Intercourse, Simon appears to have found himself in an Odd Couple-esque situation with… what the hell is that, exactly? Is that an arsehole on someone’s face? Is it a mouth made out of a thumb and index finger? Whatever the hell it is, it’s pretty disconcerting – especially when it’s jumping on the bed and creating all kinds of anarchy in the midst of an antique doll-house that both the unruly/untidy one and Simon have managed to squeeze themselves into. It’s daggy, it’s squirmish and it’s an absolute charm.
“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.