“You build your heart of plastic, you’re cynical and sarcastic…”
Is it weird that one of the nicest guys in the Australian music scene is actually a Brit? Whatever the case, I’ve come to know and love Mike Rosenberg - aka Passenger – over the course of roughly 18 months or so. A lovely guy with a great talent, and he’s just dropped his third studio album entitledAll the Little Lights. It’s a sweet, heartfelt and charming record, as good as anything he’s done before – and he’s added a very cute little video to go along with it.
Mike isn’t really the music video type, and you can tell from his minimal, almost begrudging, participation in the clip. Taking a KISS approach, Mike plays his guitar, runs in front of a video screen (see if you can figure out the meta-lyrical nod) and lies down in a kid’s swimming pool. Sure, on paper, it’s not much to look at. It comes together as very unpretentious and sweet-natured, however, and I think that’s about the best reflection you can have of Passenger’s music. I also love the little cartoons that randomly pop up here and there, which you should totally look out for. Essentially, Mike is a champion. If you disagree, you are wrong. Have a nice day!
“You wanna do it, but you don’t know what you’re doing, baby…”
We’re off and racing! Sorry about the lack of posts last week, gang – as mentioned in the Keane entry, wasn’t feeling too great after a nasty cough and extensive gigging. Feeling much better now after a great weekend of rest, followed by seeing both the legendary Judith Lucy and the amazing Manchester Orchestra live. What a treat!
Let’s bring the focus back, though, as we’ve got some big music video fish to fry. The biggest of the lot has to be DoYaThing, the new “3 artists, 1 song” single put together by Converse.You might also remember My Drive Thru with Julian Casablancas, Santigold and Pharrell; or maybe I’m a Goner with Andrew W.K., Soulja Boy and Matt & Kim. Needless to say, it can be pretty hit and miss in these collaborations. With DoYaThing, however, it’s safe to say that we’re onto a winner with this one.
But onto the video. In terms of the continuity of the Gorillaz universe, the original line-up is back together and living in a shoddy London flat, having finally escaped from Plastic Beach. Noodle is back, her android version nowhere to be seen. Russell is still giant, but he now resides on the roof. As for 2D and Murdoc, they’re just as dodgy, seedy and downright lovable as they ever were. On the surface, there’s not a lot going on in this clip. Essentially, 2D is getting ready to leave the house, he checks on the other Gorillaz and heads out. There’s a lot of very clever little subtleties amongst the clip, though; as well as some cracking easter eggs. My personal favourite aspect of the clip, however, has got to be Andre 3000 turning up in all these random places. So that’s where he’s been hiding for the past few years – in the fridge!
What more can you say? It’s Gorillaz. It rules.
“Seventeen seconds and I’m over it, ready for the disconnect…”
He’s back! Not content with one of the best Australian albums of last year, mind-blowing animated clips and THE video of 2011, Wally de Backer has come back yet again with a new Gotye video. A collaboration with Oh Yeah Wow, whose Set Sail clip was recently featured on the blog, de Backer has nailed it yet again. Seriously, does this guy kill kittens or drown babies or something? No-one can be that good at this level of consistency. Something’s gotta be up.
Anyways, the clip seemingly focuses on the mundane daily routine, and how much it can be quite soul-destroying and exhausting. Wally plays all of the characters, going in dizzying circles similar to Kylie’s Come Into My World video – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all! There’s so much to be packed into this crazy two minutes, and there’s something new to enjoy with every view. Hell, you can get at least five views in the next 10 minutes, why not give it a go? Trust me, you’ll love every second of it.
“I just can’t stop singing, oh how baby I love you…”
Man, I am in a great mood right now as I write this – and I can’t help but feel it’s because of what you are about to watch. Meet Set Sail, a charming three-piece pop/rock band from Sydney. You might have heard about them in the news recently due to their lead singer, Brandon Hoogenboom, after his recent deportation from Australia due to visa issues (read more over at Tone Deaf). Thankfully, the trio have taken it all in their stride, continuing to bring good vibes and positivity to their ever-expanding fanbase. Seriously, these guys must have popped up overnight – they’re at nearly 20 thousand Facebook fans!
Anyway, onto the matter at hand. Before all this mess, the band teamed up with animation collective Oh Yeah Wow to bring us this adorable clip that packs as much as it possibly can into its brief running time. The band are out at sea, having a whale of a time (forgive the pun)… that is, of course, until an evil sea monster takes off with their boombox! What a bastard! Will they get it back? Oh, of course they will – it’s all about the happy endings, after all! How they do it, however, is what makes this clip worth watching. A very impressive and super-sweet clip from a band that might be facing rough seas at the moment, but can always see the silver lining.
P.S: Don’t forget to click over here and join the campaign on Facebook to Bring Brandon Back!
“Harrison Ford is a quarter Jewish – not too shabby!”
Why should Christmas get all the fun? Way back when Adam Sandler was actually funny (if you were born after 1992, you may have trouble remembering this), he penned a Hannukah carol to celebrate the Jewish festivities in the only way he knew how. It’s turned into a mini-anthem of its own, and a couple of years ago Cherry Cherry himself Neil Diamond decided to have a crack at it.
This adorably cheesy video clip is the result of said cover, and although Diamond plays it straight in his cover, he still keeps the humour intact. There’s a lot to like about this – it’s family friendly, it’s cute, and for all of its dagginess it doesn’t make me want to skull-drag innocent children along dirt roads the way that many a Christmas carol tends to do. L’chaim, bitches!
“We can pretend there’s an orchestra in the loungeroom…”
Well, I’m pooped. Dozens of videos, an award nomination and probably more blogging than I’ve done in one week than probably any other week in the history of the blog. In other words, it’s been a mental comeback week – and the hundreds of views I’ve been getting every day are at least an indication that it’s not all in vain! Let’s wrap the week with a smashing new animation from Gotye, who you may know from ABSOLUTELY FUCKING EVERYWHERE RIGHT NOW thanks to his hit Somebody That I Used to Know. Overplay aside, the man born Wally de Backer is killing right now with his chart-topping Making Mirrors record – and a very clever animation team has put their work towards one of the more peculiar tracks from it.
Essentially telling the tale of a man obsessed with a new organ, it’s brought to life with charming and cute animation in this clip, which pays remarkable detail to every last movement within the song. Seriously, it syncs up perfectly! I first saw this clip when I caght Gotye live at the end of last month, and I’ve loved it ever since. Seriously, it involves Gotye – the guy is freaking King Midas right now. You can’t really go wrong here.
And with that, I am OUTTA here. Thanks so much again for the positive feedback and the support – very much appreciated! Seeya next week.
“Never need to change my style, been this way for a long, long while…”
It’s not hard to dig Seasick Steve. He’s a travellin’ man with some great stories and killer blues numbers – and, even at age 70, he’s still one of the hardest-working dudes in his field. He’s just released a brand new record, You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks, and has rung in a mate to help him out on the title track – that rumbling bassline you can hear is played by none other than John Paul Jones, of Led Zeppelin and, of late, Them Crooked Vultures. Pretty cool, right? Well, it just got a little cooler with the release of this video.
An animated interpretation of the song and its lyrics, this vid has a cool mix of animal magnetism and artistic surrealism. From the bird on the wire, tapping in time to the kick drum, right up to the giant iron going up the coastline, there’s a whole lot of kerrazy shit going down in this video. Even Steve himself makes an appearance – in cartoon form, at least – as both a human and an underground dinosaur skeleton. It works so well with the song, you really couldn’t have picked a better style of video to go with this. Hopefully we’ll get the old bastard down Australia way before too long…hell, if it’s in a month or two, he’ll probably have another album ready to go!
“Five years, countless months and a loan…”
Ahh, Grizzly Bear. There’s something about this band that always leaves me feeling remarkably pleasant. There’s the harmonies, the lush instrumentation, the cuteness of Ed…wait, what? Anyways, there’s plenty to enjoy about the band and this translates particularly into their music videos. This is my personal favourite – it’s peculiar and often downright weird, but at the same time it can be strangely beautiful. The animation is incredibly well done, and fits in with the light-and-dark contrast that the song itself provides. That’s really where the best animated videos work – by taking the songs to their next level. That’s in my experience, anyway. See what you think!
“The conversation’s over, we’re all played out…”
Another band who’ve had a killer year of videos is the best band in the world who don’t actually exist – Gorillaz. Then again, is that really a surprise? They’ve got an amazing animator in Jamie Hewett and a back-history of some of the fucking coolest videos of the 2000s. No surprise whatsoever that their latest album, Plastic Beach, has been a video goldmine – the concept of the Plastic Beach has been translated beautifully to the audio-visual perspective, with a little bit of Bruce Motherfucking Willis thrown in for good measure (see: Stylo). Now, they’ve released a brand new single to be included on the re-release of Plastic Beach, and – no surprises – have thrown together an awesome video to go with it. Party!
In this aquatic adventure, suave new-kid-on-the-block Daley is commanding a miniature sub around a self-referential ocean – is that some SUPERFAST JELLYFISH he just flew past? – while singing his little song and trying to keep his hair still. A mean feat, if you ask me. It’s engaging and fun – not the best video from the Plastic Beach concept, but probably the best song. It’s hard to get over how fucking catchy this track is, and the video improves it all, really. Be sure to watch out for the gorgeous final shot with the Plastic Beach in all of its glory. Truly awesome stuff.
And now, another great guest blog from our good mate Jimmy Reilly! Take it away, sir!
“You don’t know how you got here, you just know you want out…”
I hate U2. There are few bands on this planet that rate as highly on both my Pretentious Wank-o-meter and Wanton Shit-o-meter as U2 do. If aliens came to earth, and asked for the single most average, least spectacular example of our Earth music, I would hand them a copy of Everything You Can’t Leave Behind. So, when I say this next sentence, understand where it’s coming from: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me is one of the best animated film clips ever.
Ok, full disclosure: I am a shameless Batman fanboy. Say what you like about Batman Forever, but I’ve never met anybody who has been able to claim the soundtrack was anything short of spectacular. This song, as well as Seal’s Kiss From A Rose, was released as a single from that soundtrack to promote it, and both are much more fondly remembered. In U2’s case, I’m betting that’s at least partially because of this clip.
There are two sections that take place during the song, which are seamlessly integrated together: First there’s the boring and probably-mandated-by-the-studio best bits of the film, which probably works as a trailer, and the visually stunning animation portion, designed to look like a mid 90’s comic book. When I say seamless, I mean exactly that. There’s a great scene where the cartoon version of The Edge shatters a disco ball, suspended by a crane, which swings into an apartment as a wrecking ball. It’s so very busy, and stylish.
The plot, if you can call it that, seems to be about Bono’s dual personalities fighting for control in Gotham City. According to Wikipedia, they are called The Fly and Macphisto, essentially an egomaniacal jerk and Satan. These guys were created for U2’s Zoo tour as a cosmic joke on the audience where Bono would either complain about being a rock star, or perform dickish prank phone calls. Essentially, these guys are the villains. Macphisto looks very similar to The Joker, so I guess that makes sense. They prove their villainous intent by shooting The Batwing with their flamethrower guitars and being chased by it in one of the ugliest yellow flying cars I have ever seen.
That particular scene separates the two origin stories given about our two villains. there. First, The Fly literally descends from heaven as an angel, turning his halo into those trademark “Dick Shades”, and then Bono gets hit by a car (driven by Elvis, of course) while reading The Screwtape Letters. When lighning strikes, he wakes up and he’s evil. This was an obvious homage to the first Batman film. After an orchestra filled entirely with Batman plays the ending refrain, Macphisto reveals himself to be Batman, and Macphisto, and Batman, and Macphisto, while Robin falls to his (presumed) death.
This film clip came out during a time when U2 were experimenting with multimedia and trying to be more adventurous as a band, between Achtung Baby and Zooropa when they were still mucking about with alternative rock and electronica. Being that they look back at most of this stuff as an old shame, this film clip is sort of an alternative history for me. If they had have continued in this vein, there’s a good chance I would hate them a lot less.