Tag Archives: folk rock

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.

FEATURED FRIDAYS – My Favourite Video: Tim Hart

Tim Hart is an Australian singer-songwriter, best known as the
drummer and vocalist of Boy and Bear.

His favourite video is Always by Junip.

For me, when I look at film clips, I like to see something new and fresh, rather than the age-old band performance clip. Because, let’s face it… they’ve been done to death. Having said that, I’m aware that I’ve been part of such clips; but, for my 2 cents this one is a cracker. It was shot mostly at the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland and it’s weird. I guess, at a stretch, it is technically a performance clip; but the way that it’s done is great.

It starts in a dingy bar with what we assume is a covers musician playing in the corner of a pretty empty bar. There is one rather intense, slightly creepy guy drinking and smoking in a booth. He is staring at the guy playing covers he reaches his hands towards him and miraculously the guitar disappears. The covers musician doesn’t seem to notice and keeps playing. The weird guy then walks in to a room where the three members of Junip are sitting around playing the song together and he performs the same transformation on them, before taking them to air guitar school.

I think this video is great because it has a narrative and it manages to convey it effectively (something that so many videos attempt to do and fail at). The culmination of the video is the band been wheeled up on to stage at the air guitar world championships and sitting on the stage in the same very understated formation they were playing in when Weird Creepy Guy discovered them. I love that the director was clearly taking a shot at the overly serious “trying to be rock and roll” videos, and I think he nails it. In the end, creepy guy doing weird dance moves+ air guitar + Junip = my favourite film clip.

Boy and Bear‘s new album, Harlequin Dream, is in stores August 16th.
You can pre-order the album here (physical) or here (digital).
The band are also headed out on a national tour in support of the record.
All tour dates can be found on their official website.

Watch This Now: David Bridie – “Delegate”

“Close the blinds and lock the doors, those outsiders have thieving paws…”

Okay, I’ll admit. I’m a busy dude. I have places to be, people to see, songs to sing, articles to write, Tweets to send to random YouTube celebrities, videos to watch… there’s a lot on my plate. So, sometimes, I let things build up. I’ve been sitting on this new video from David Bridie, the veteran Australian songwriter behind bands like Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend the Chocolate Cake for a couple of weeks now. I just hadn’t gotten around to it until this week. It was at the top of the pile of roughly a dozen video clips and I only JUST watched it. This week.

Why am I telling you all this? More or less just to establish that yes, I am indeed a fucking idiot sometimes.

Delegate, the first video from David’s most recent solo album Wake, is one of the best Australian filmclips I have seen in a very, very, very long time. It’s a confronting, eerily beautiful and profound video. The likes of which haven’t been seen in quite some time. It’s a bold statement wrapped in cryptic messages and surrealism. The dialogue is displayed, rather than said out loud. It would disrupt the flow of the song. We find ourselves in an office, where an employee simply looking out the window and daydreaming turns into something gravely serious. This might take a few views to get your head around. It certainly did for me. I wouldn’t recommend you watch it at your own work, either; or if you’re somewhat sensitive. In any and all other circumstances, however, Y,WGAV! gives you a big, bright green light. Watch this by any means necessary. It’s vital that you do.

Watch This Now: Buffalo Tales – “Amsterdam”

“The river runs wild, the veins to the heart of a city…”

Anyone who’s ever sat me down and talked about Australian music for longer than a minute or two knows that I have a few things to say about Australian Idol – not like in a fuckwitted Dave Grohl style, but in more of a supportive and even pondering style. I felt like it has brought us too much good music – Owl EyesMatt CorbyBobby Flynn et al. – to be ignored as just a barren wasteland of talentless karaoke singers. There was something there, a medium that didn’t guarantee success but certainly gave enough exposure to substantiate an advanced music career, which many AI alumni now have.

It’s with this I introduce you to Buffalo Tales. The name itself may not be familiar, but perhaps Wes Carr is – the winner of the 2008 season, and perhaps the only winner apart from Guy Sebastian still actively pursuing music. He is set to release his debut album as Buffalo Tales at the end of the month, and this rustic gypsy-folk style marks a substantial departure from, say, Feels Like Whoah from his The Way the World Looks LP. The video, too, is striking and eccentric. It loosely follows on from the Blood and Bone video of last year, with both clips beginning with waking up and ending with a new journey seemingly ready to begin. Carr awakes in a forest, with three waifish girls ambiguously guiding him. Where shall it lead? I’ll leave that with you. Take a moment to breathe in the glorious location shots and the bizarre twist at the video’s end. Aside from that, I’m leaving this one entirely up to you. Make good of it.

Old Favourites: Dave Carroll – “United Breaks Guitars”

“I should have flown with someone else, or gone by car…”

This fiasco went down circa 2009, but I was too busy walking around university with a finger up my arse to notice anything that wasn’t Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was recently brought to my attention thanks to The Checkout, the outstanding new ABC show from Chaser alumni Julian Morrow and Craig Reucassel. To launch their customer-service rant website, FUTube, they Skyped charming Canadian singer/songwriter Dave Carroll to discuss how his music video was a complete game-changer.

For context: He took a flight with United Airlines, and due to luggage mistreatment his guitar – an acoustic Taylor, worth three-and-a-half grand – was broken at the headstock. He took it up with United, who subsequently fucked the guy over until he couldn’t take it anymore. He decided to get revenge in the best way that he knew – he made a music video for a brand-new original song; in which he when into specific detail regarding how the airline mistreated him. Almost instantly, the video was a runaway success, ending up with major PR dramas for old mates United. Taylor Guitars themselves even donated two brand-new guitars to Dave; and when he finally got compensation from the airline, he gave it to charity. What a legend!

As for the video, it’s a very charming shoestring-budget clip, in which Dave even gets to play the broken guitar in question. The extras are the ones that make this for me – his backing band dressed up as Mariachi singers, the apathetic stewardesses and the bumbling comic timing of the two guys playing the luggage carriers. It’s fascinating how this managed to create such a stir, and how the medium of the music video has done so much in this regard. There’s even a book about this whole ordeal now, written by DC himself. Just goes to show what a little creativity can get you – in this case, there’s a chance of a minor revolution!

Watch This Now: Bon Iver – “Beth/Rest”

“Said your love is known, I’m standing up on it…”

The album cycle for Bon Iver, Bon Iver, the wildly successful second studio album for Justin Vernon, aka – you guessed it – Bon Iver, is nearly complete. We’ve seen a helluva lot go on in that time – sell-out world tours, Grammy wins, Saturday Night Live parodies and a young lady by the name of Birdy taking one of Vernon’s tracks and becoming an adult-contemporary sensation on the back of it. For the intents and purposes of this blog, it’s also absolutely worth mentioning that the album also gave us some truly fantastic videos, including CalgaryTowers and Holocene – the last of those three even cracking my top 10 in the top 30 best videos of 2011! So, how does it all end for BI,BI? There’s one more video.

It’s for the last song on the album, a gorgeous late-night easy-listen with glassy synths and a sax solo. In other words, it’s quite a stretch away from what had been established about Bon Iver’s sound. In turn, the video for Beth/Rest sees Vernon and co. move away significantly from previous video efforts. In fact, I’d wager that this is unlike any other video that you’ll see this year. It’s a gorgeously bright parallel universe, full of blinding light and onesies that turn up out of nowhere and then are never seen again. It’s like a mix of an alien movie, that Harvest Moon game and arthouse cinema. Am I mad in that I genuinely want to know what the fuck is going on in this video? Does it matter? It’s fantastic, regardless.

Watch This Now: Jen Cloher – “Mount Beauty”

“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 AudreysAsh 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.

Watch This Now: The Beards – “Got Me a Beard”

“Whenever I looked at a bearded man, it made me glad that I’d stuck to the plan…”

Okay, so I’m slightly late to the party on this one. Still, why would I EVER want to miss a video from the almighty bearded ones, known to us mere mortals as The Beards? We’re a few weeks away from their massive End of the World (For Beardless People tour, and I’m almost too keen to get amongst the madness in Wollongong. For now, though, this delightful animated romp will simply have to suffice – and that’ll do nicely, thanks all the same!

Our hero in the clip is a bearded dude who ends up in a nasty break-up due to his girlfriend wanting him to have a trim. Hell no, the beard won’t go. So, our hero gets out of the evil town of Shaverton and winds up in the Utopia of Beardland – a place for all bearded folk to roam free and in perfect harmony! Our hero has such a good time there, he decides to take the party all the way back to Shaverton. What follows is potentially the funniest final minute of a music video this year. No spoilers. You have been warned. Get bearded. Get bearded now.

Watch This Now: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

“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.

Watch This Now: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”

“That’s a wall that you cannot scale, so you’re forced to burrow under…”

Full admission: I’m a 90s kid, but I’m not THAT much of a 90s kid. Thus, the whole Aimee Mann thing passed me by at its peak. That said, I’ve really come to enjoy her work recently, particularly in the field of comedy with her episode of Portlandia and her improv work with Paul F. Tompkins. It’s great to see a musician that not only has a sense of humour, but a particularly sharp one, too.

So naturally, I was excited to hear about a new video from Mann, working with director Tom Scharpling, for the title track of her new album – which, for legal reasons, I definitely have not heard and will not hear until it is officially released. Here, she vents about the frustrations of the grind that comes with touring. Solving her problems – or at least attempting to – she buys a robot replicate of herself (played by Laura Linney) to do a bunch of things that she doesn’t feel like doing. Naturally, it goes sour – but it’s very quickly paced and really entertainingly done. Who knows? Maybe comedy was a true calling for Aimee – she could have been a killer sketch comic in another life, I think. If I recall correctly, Aimee was last out her with Ben Lee about 2 years ago? Let’s get her back out again! I’ll gladly attend – even if it’s her robot version.


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