Friday, February 17, 2006

New Kanye Video: "Touch The Sky"

As I previously reported here, Kanye is releasing/just released his brand new epic of a video for new single "Touch The Sky", which is directed once again by Ye's favorite director, Chris Milk. Milk's previous work includes the excellent videos for "Jesus Walks" and "All Falls Down" (the latter of which is my favorite hip-hop video of all time), as well as Modest Mouse's great 2004 clip for "Ocean Breathes Salty", which are all viewable in embedded Quicktime format at Milk's website here.

In an age where every single hip-hop video is exactly the same (large posse + women with exaggerated figures dancing + hot rides [somewhat optional] = every current hip-hop video), Kanye has consistently put out quality videos, and "Touch The Sky" is no exception. The video is beautifully filmed with 70's vintage cinematography and stars Mr. West as Evel Kanyeval, and focuses one the final hours before he attempts to launch himself across the Grand Canyon and literally "touch the sky". It's very well done and features a pretty decent performance by Pamela Anderson as Kanyeval's girl, a reference to the "as soon he get off, he leave your ass for a white girl" line from "Gold Digger". The video is nothing short of an extavaganza, clocking in at over five minutes (the actual song is 3:27), and easily one of the best videos put out so far in 2006. Check it out below in all it's vintage glory:

Video: "Touch The Sky" - Kanye West [highly recommended]
{Directed by Chris Milk}

Monday, February 13, 2006

Buck 65: "463"

Hey hey. While the song is from 2003, Buck 65's "463" is an example of how to shoot a great video with only one person in front of the camera. The backwoods-hip-hop-meets-Tom-Waits speaksinglyricist's history with baseball is put at the forefront of the video. You see, Buck 65 (real name Richard Terfry) was once a baseball phenom, actually having scouts come and see him pitch back in high school - he was a very talented player before blowing out his knee and therefore his chances (he was in fact drafted by the New York Yankees). He's a phenomenal songwriter who happens to have grown up listening to Public Enemy tapes - and this video really catches your eye. The simplicity of just using Buck 65 to play all the roles in the video for both teams and the umpire is great - you don't even notice that they're the same person really and he gives character to each one of them (note: the catcher in the beginning has rosary beads; the 'cocky' player who takes the longest to get dressed; the grizzled manager; and so on). Add to the fact that you've got Micah Meisner directing it (who also did the video for "Kennedy Killed The Hat"), and you've got something pretty cool going on. Enjoy.

Video: Buck 65 - "463" [highly recommended]
{Directed by Micah Meisner}

New Death Cab Video: "Crooked Teeth"

Before launching into the body of this post, I'd just like to say that I've had a ridiculously good/crazy week. On Tuesday I got to see the lovely Feist (with Jason Collett) from the front row of UVA's (well actually Charlottesville's) tiny Sattellite Ballroom, which was a great show. But the true highlight of my week came on Thursday when my friend Stephen (who was actually my host when I visited UVA as a prospective student last year) and I threw together a last-minute trip to NYC to see Sigur Ros from the 6th row in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. I'll be doing full reviews/write-ups of those two shows later this week (I promise), but for now I want to draw attention to another one of the highlights of last week: the release of Death Cab's brand new video for their second single from Plans, "Crooked Teeth".

For "Crooked Teeth" Ace Norton, who's also contributing a video for "Someday You Will Be Loved" to DCFC's Directions series, directs a brilliant homage to Peter Gabriel's 1987 stop-animation classic video for "Sledgehammer" (which you can and should watch or download here). Norton takes many of the tricks used in the "Sledgehammer" video, which was directed by Stephen Montmus, modifying them slightly and of course adding a modern polish to wonderfully entertaining effect, creating a video that works perfectly for the song. I especially love the part where the blended guitar effect (at the 2:33 mark of the song) perfectly coincides with Ben Gibbard's perfectly round head (seriously, it's geometrically flawless) getting swirled in a blender. All in all it's a really enjoyable video and is the early contender for February's video of the month honors.

Video: "Crooked Teeth" - Death Cab [highly recommended]
{Directed by Ace Norton}
Bonus Video: "Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel
{Directed by Stephen R. Johnson}