Thursday, March 30, 2006

Longwave: "Tidal Wave"

Longwave's "The Strangest Things" album was a highlight of the year 2003. It has the emotional sincerity of Nadasurf's "Let Go" album while retaining pop sensibility. In one of the more original concepts for a video that I can imagine, we join Longwave in their journey on a roller coaster. It's that simple. But what makes the video so fantastic is that it seems that when the coaster is hitting its best spots, the song is as well. I also have to wonder how many takes this took - and if the bands got sick eventually. I think my favorite part of the video is how the guy sitting next to the singer reacts to the various turns and twists on the coast - he acts so happy and so giddy at parts that it makes you recall the fun you've had on a roller coaster in your life.

Also, I've always wanted to throw confetti from a roller coaster. It just seems like it would be really fun.

Video: [iPod Compatible]
"Tidal Wave" - Longwave
{Director: Tomorrow's Brightest Minds}

Final Fantasy: "The Dream of Win & Regine"

While this video came out in September of 2005, I just discovered it. Let me go back to... February 2005 for all of you. It was a cold and snowy here in the Hub of the Universe and I was freezing my nips off waiting outside for the biggest indie rock show in a long time here in Boston. I had a bunch of beers over at a local watering hole near the Roxy (where the show was). Before I was going to be emotionally smashed to pieces like a 13-year old who had just been dumped by his two-month girlfriend by the Arcade Fire, Final Fantasy took the stage. You see, I had not heard of them, and was completely unaware of how fucking good Owen Pallett was at the violin. After his 30-minute set (or so), I immediately went and bought his album and haven't looked back since. His music is so tremendously different than most that it's hard not to get hooked.

Now then. This video looks like it was shot for about $5,000, with most of those expenses being spent on film and camera costs. The plot is simple - girl works job she hates, wears headphones listening to this song on it while serving, and imagines animated unicorns, dragons, and such around the restaurant. While it's a simple concept, it works so well with the music of Final Fantasy, and specifically this song.

Do yourself a favor and wake up to this song one day. You can't go wrong with that.

Video: [iPod Compatible]

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We Are Scientists: "It's A Hit" (Version 2)

This is actually the second video for "It's A Hit", the latest single from the trio's debut album, With Love & Squalor, although the first clip was more of a humorous teaser for the main video, and it can be streamed here (Windows Media Player) or here (Real Player). We Are Scientists are one of those bands that's eventually planning to release an entire DVD of music videos, a concept I love that has gotten a lot of publicity thanks to Death Cab's Directions series (which is currently available in it's entirety on iTunes and will be made available in stores next week). Here's what We Are Scientists have to say regarding music videos and the teaser clip for "It's A Hit".

And of course, creatures of rigid habit that we are, we shot another video. This one's for "It's A Hit", which will be our next single in both the U.S. and the U.K., and will be out around the beginning of the year. Didn't we already shoot a video for It's a Hit? For the DVD? Yes we did. But you can never have too many videos, and you can never have enough videos, and so by this time next year we'll probably have shot half a dozen videos for every song on the album. Which has never been done before, supposedly.

I can't agree enough with their "you can never have too many videos" mentality, and I love that more and more bands are picking up on this. As for the new video in question, the big(ger)-budget clip for "It's A Hit" did see an eventual release earlier this year, and it's more of the same humorous video content we've come to love from We Are Scientists. The band themselves come off as natural comedians, but one of the reasons their videos are so enjoyable are because their directed by Akiva Shaffer of The Lonely Island, whose best known for his work (along with Jorm and Andy - the other two members of The Lonely Island) on SNL's "Lazy Sunday" and the recently-hyped Natalie Portman rap, as well as his videos for the Scientists' "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" and "The Great Escape". Akiva returns here in great form working with his biggest budget yet on "It's A Hit", which revolves around the rise and fall of a champion boxer, played by lead singer Keith Murray. His wins his first two fights with ease, against drummer Michael Tapper and bassist Chris Cain (respectively), but when a child comes to see him fight from ringside as his dying wish things don't go quite as planned. Another great video from We Are Scientists and the consistently-hilarious Akiva Shaffer; check out the reviews and advice sections of We Are Scientists website for more hilarity.Video: [iPod Compatible]
"It's A Hit" - We Are Scientists [highly recommended]

In other We Are Scientists news the band recently released "It's A Hit" as a UK and US single, which charted as high as #29 on the UK chart, and will be re-releasing "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" as their next single in May. Finally, if you're planning on seeing them live anytime soon, be sure to follow their recommendations for how to best view the show (taken from the advice section of their website):
  • Melt your mind beforehand: Come to the show your mind already molten, your intentions shattered, your inclinations and desires bone-broken and reduced to mush.
  • Eat a good meal that evening: The wrong way to watch We Are Scientists -- the very exact wrong way -- is tummy a'rumble.
  • Bring your own hair: We don't provide hair.
  • Above all come to the show with an open mind and a sincere desire to have a great time because we are going to bring the rock and make you feel great about yourself and your friends and parents and life and the fact that your dog got lured by the neighborhood perv into a thresher where he got flung -- thousands of strands of him, like 1500 pieces of wet uncooked bacon -- all over the driveway! Which you later had to clean up cuz your parents were on vacay.
Enjoy the video, and keep your eyes out for the complete We Are Scientists videography here in the near future.

Eagles of Death Metal: "I Want You So Hard"

The Eagles of Death Metal are what goddamn rock and roll should be. They're loud and classic sounding - as I wrote on my site, "i love the bluesy-rock sound that they absolutely nail perfectly without sounding fake." A lot of their music sounds like classic Rolling Stones in that sense. Now, onto the video. "I Want You So Hard" is freakin' hilarious. The video guest-stars Jack Black and Dave Grohl as a bartender and a patron, suggesting to a sexy lady that the lead singer of EODM is in fact "bad news". We follow the lead singer as he uses his guitar to apparently create strong winds to blow various people's clothes off.

Yes, it makes no sense, but if it isn't a fun video, I don't know what would be. Thank you commenter Nick for providing the name of the director of this video, Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island and Saturday Night Live fame.

Video: [iPod Compatible]
"I Want You So Hard" - Eagles of Death Metal [highly recommended]
{Director: Akiva of The Lonely Island}

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Duke Spirit: "Cuts Across The Land"

So far 2006 has been off to a bit of a slow start as far as great music videos are concerned, but Woof Wan-Bau's newest video for The Duke Spirit's "Cuts Across The Land" is one of the top videos of this or any other year in recent memory. For those of you not familiar with The Duke Spirit, they're a female-fronted power-chord rock group from the UK that possesses a distinct Sleater-Kinner-meets-Blondie sound. The five-piece released their debut album, Cuts Across The Land, in the UK last year and it just saw a domestic release earlier this month, in conjunction with the start of their US tour with Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.

Director Woof Wan-Bau, who's best known for the haunting black and white clip he made for Four Tet's "My Angel Rocks Back And Forth", creates another black and white masterpiece here. The video revolves around lead singer Liela Moss's brilliantly blonde locks, which Wan-Bau highlights with diffuse lighting and projects as a spotlight from various standard light sources (a lighthouse, car headlights, a flashlight, etc.). It's a bit hard to explain but it's brilliantly executed and you'll understand when you watch the video.Video: [iPod Compatible]
"Cuts Across The Land" - The Duke Spirit [highly recommended]
{Director: Woof Wan-Bau}

Bloc Party (Nearly) Complete Videography

IMPORTANT: We decided to switch from Rapidshare to Ezarchive! Now everyone wins! Rejoice!

Now that Ben's posted the nearly complete videography of his favorite band, The Streets, I figured I'd follow suit and do the same for my favorite band, Bloc Party. I'd have titled this post "Bloc Party Complete Videography", but I'm missing the orginal low-budget video for "Helicopter", which is an absolutely awesome black and white clip from 2004, as well as the video for The Streets' remix of "Banquet", which as Ben mentioned is more of a mini-documentary than a music video anyway. I like the original "Helicopter" video so much I'm posting a link to where you can stream it, even though streaming video usually isn't my thing. However, I do have the rest of Bloc Party's video history, and they've consistently put out great videos since that point. Download below, in descending chronological order (most recent video at the top).

Videos: [all ipod Compatible]"Two More Years" - Bloc Party
{Director: Dominic Leung}
Of all the Bloc videos, I find this one, the most recent, to be my least favorite and the most uninspired of the bunch. It does touch on the song's central theme, the neutrality and lethargy of the youth of today, and has great lighting and all, but the lights on the floor idea could have been executed to a much better effect and the video is largely just plodding and uninspired."Helicopter" (Version 2: Animated) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]

"Pioneers" - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Minivegas}
In an interesting/lazy turn of events, Bloc Party released only slightly different versions of the same video for two different songs. In the UK they released this as the "Pioneers" video, while in the US a slightly different version of the clip served as the promo video for "Helicopter", which has been getting heavy rotation on mtvU here. In the clip, Bloc Party are taken by a giant beetle (I know, weird) to an alternate universe where flowers ascend to the skies held to the earth by chains, and pig/lizard hybrids terrorize unwanted visitors. Though I don't love the character animation here, the animation of the environments is top notch and makes for a great video. I especially love the part at the end in which they enter the barrel of the gun and are shot into outerspace where they reacquire their instruments once again. The "Helicopter" version, while pretty much the same, works also, but is less appropriate, considering the song's anti-Bush/anti-American subject matter."Banquet" (Version 3: Colored Circles) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Director: Scott Lyon}
This is actually the third video for GWFAS' song of the year, "Banquet", and though it can't match the raw excitement of the original, it almost seems to be a higher-budget, re-worked version of the original version, with added shots of the misled generation that Kele's singing about spliced into the mix. This video is very simplistic - basic black and white performance footage highlighted by subtle use of color and camera movement - but I enjoy it immensely. This could just be because I love Bloc Party and everything about them, so this may not be for everyone. Towards the end of the clip they focus on the emotionless audience, the "left behind" generation Kele is singing about, and the subtle use of color is again employed to lovely effect. This should be boring but I find myself watching (and enjoying) it again and again."Banquet" (Version 2: Giant Hands) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Alex & Liane}
The video opens with an awesome lighting/shadow effect, in which the shadows of the band move around them in a sundial effect in time with the song, and the shadow effect remains cool throughout. Even though the giant hands have a bit of a cheesy b-movie horror film feel about them, I still thoroughly enjoy it, and the reflections in the knives at the end are a classy touch, as is the destruction of the set in sync with the closing seconds of the song."So Here We Are" - Bloc Party [highly highly recommended]
{Directed By: Alex & Liane}
Wonderful video that carries the track perfectly, Alex & Liane direct one of the 2005's best clips for this song with beautiful cinematography and especially wonderful camera work at the beginning. My favorite thing about this video is the way it perfectly keeps up and reflects the pace of the song, exploding into fast forward at the same time the song does (at the 2:53 mark). I may or may not have already explained my fixation with London on this site - I was born there, my ex-girlfriend lives there, and I enjoy nothing more than walking through London listening to music (and "So Here We Are" provides the perfect soundtrack for such an activity) - but that is perhaps the reason I love this video so much."Helicopter" (Version 1: Black & White) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: type2error} STREAM HERE
I'm pretty upset I don't have this video for myself on my hard drive and iPod, because I love it, and I definitely recommend that you follow the link to the stream to watch it. That said, this video is awesome. It has a haunting, spooky feel that perfectly reflects the song, and the editing further reinforces this vibe. Directors type2error borrow elements from Hitchcock and German Expressionism, using rapidfire editing and a claustrophobic, seemingly impossibly-structured set to create tension within the frame and a generally ominous unsettling feeling in the viewer. Tie that in with the cuts to the glowing spastic creature thats buckled down to that lab table and you've got yourself a pretty creepy video; great job by type2error.
"Little Thoughts" - Bloc Party [highly highly recommended]
{Directed By: Ben Dawkins}
I absolutely love this video, though I can't exactly pinpoint why; something about the brightly-colored, rapidly-moving shapes seems to adequately satisfy my ADD. Director Ben Dawkins places Bloc Party on a floating set, flying through what appears to be a colorful digital world, and the flying digital shapes exit the frame in perfect conjunction with the drum beats of Matt Tong's urgent percussion. Normally when I see guys in pink or "salmon" polos (which is only every time I open my eyes at UVA) I shudder, but Kele manages to pull it off and still remains unfailingly cool. Definitely one of my all-time favorite performance-based videos."Tulips" - Bloc Party
{Directed By: Charles Spano & Nick Sutton}
I'm not sure if this is an official video or a very well-made unofficial clip, but I'm including it here nonetheless. Pretty simple concept here: dual-screen low-budget clip composed of performance and tour footage. Nicely executed, but nothing too exciting here."Banquet" (Version 1: Black & White) - Bloc Party
{Directed By: Nautilus}
The video that started it all. Very low budget, very simple performance-based video concept, but wonderfully executed with absolutely perfect editing; the perfect debut video for Bloc Party. Imagine never having heard "Banquet" and having this video come on your TV screen on MTV2UK for the first time, as you hear this awkward noise (did someone kill a dolphin?) break the initial silence as the band takes the stage, wondering exactly who this rag-tag group of youngsters are, and who that dashing fellow on the microphone is. All of a sudden the steady percussion gradually fades in, and those anthemic call-and-return guitars come in, as the camera cuts frantically to each member and his respective instrument on the claustrophobic stage, generating tension and excitement as you try to figure out who this "Bloc Party" band is and why you've never heard them before. And then before you know it, the chaos and excitement are over, fading out just as it came, and you're left wondering what exactly you just witnessed and how long it'll be before you can experience the excitement again.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Streets (Nearly) Complete Videography

IMPORTANT UPDATE: We're using Ezarchive instead of Rapishare now, woooooooo!

This is pretty funny. Apparently, The Streets have another video - one that they released today. So, here's another video by The Streets - the Professor Green remix of 'When You Wasn't Famous'. Oh, sweet irony.

The Streets, are, if you didn't know, pretty much my favorite music act on the planet. I've written about them many times over on my other site pretty often, to the point where if I met had Mike Skinner, I might go bananas, and not Gwen Stefani-levels of bananas, well beyond that.

All that aside, as far as I can tell, The Streets have thirteen videos. And I think I've collected all but one of them, but it would be nice if someone would tell me, "Ben, they have fifteen. You must not have seen the videos for 'Sharp Darts' and 'Empty Cans'." The one video I don't have is the Streets Remix of "Banquet", which is less of a video anyway and more of a documentary. It's on the Bloc Party "Two More Years" disc as an extra.

A few of these videos I have for you people are in iPod format, but the rest are in .wmv, and directly from the wonderful people at Warner and Atlantic -- in fact, you can't convert, burn, or do anything to them. Just watch. Hoo-rah.

One of the reasons I think I've become such a fan of The Streets is that Skinner refuses to hold himself back in his music; the same goes for his videos. Unlike some artists who show up for a video shoot and just star in a short movie, Skinner puts himself into the videos and you get a good idea of his personality. When he's upset over the loss of a girl in "Dry Your Eyes", you feel for him. When he's thinking about secret celebrity girlfriend while in rehab, you giggle along with the lyrics. When he's complaining about the drugs he's taken in "Blinded By The Lights", you join him in his lament. That's been Skinner's strength all along - while the beats are sometimes harsh, he's always listenable - you don't just want to listen to the music, you want to hear what his story is.

I guess I should also mention that any iPod-playable video is also at a quality well below of what you can buy from the iTunes store. In terms of music and video. And I should also mention that every single one of these videos was found SOMEWHERE on the web, all I did was just compile them.

Videos (via Rapidshare): [some are iPod Compatible]
"Blinded By The Lights" - The Streets [iPod Compatible]
{Directed by Adam Smith}
"Could Well Be In" - The Streets [iPod Compatible]
{Directed By ??}
"Don't Mug Yourself" - The Streets
{Directed By Rupert Jones}
"Dry Your Eyes" - The Streets [highly recommended]
{Directed By Johan Renck}
"Fit But You Know It" - The Streets
{Directed By Dougal Wilson}
"Fit But You Know It (MC Remix)" - The Streets
{Directed By ??}
"Get Out Of My House (MC Remix)" - The Streets
{Directed By Alastair Siddons}
"Has It Come To This?" - The Streets
{Directed By Nick Wood}
"Let's Push Things Forward" - The Streets
{Directed By The Snorri Brothers}
"The Irony Of It All" - The Streets
{Directed By Adam Smith}
"Weak Become Heroes" - The Streets [iPod Compatible] [highly recommended]
{Directed By Dawn Shadforth}
"When You Wasn't Famous" - The Streets [iPod Compatible]
{Directed By ??}

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Introducing: VIDEOTEQUE

IMPORTANT UPDATE: So for those of you who were all "Awh nawh, I hate Rapidshare, this site sucks" and immediately left because of our inconvenient hosting system, we've decided to try to use ezarchive for as long as we can, so please come back, we'd like to be friends. Really.

DEREK: Welcome one, welcome all, to Videoteque, the first blog on the web devoted exclusively to downloadable (i.e. not streaming) music video content. These days mp3 blogs are a dime a dozen, and last week my grandmother even started her own indie rock blog (not true), but music video blogs, who's even heard of such a thing? ClipTip got the ball rolling with their music video-oriented site, which finds videos already available on the internet and tips off readers, and the wonderful Antville music video community does the same, but we'd like to take things one step further. Here at Videoteque we'll be uploading videos from our own exorbitantly-large music video libraries (each of us have over 1,000 videos on our hard drives) for your consumption and enjoyment, with daily updates and commentaries on each video posted. Now, if you don't mind, we'll be taking a minute to introduce ourselves. My name is Derek, I designed the header you see at the top of this page, I'm 18 years old, and I am a first-year student attending university in Charlottesville, Virginia at Thomas Jefferson's fine establishment, the University of Virginia. I enjoy both music and music videos way too much, and I've been running my own music website, Good Weather For Airstrikes, since last year. Many of you may remember my Top 65 Music Videos of 2005 post (which I've made available here also), the popularity of which inspired me to collaborate with Ben on this website. Though I was born in London and spent the early part of my life there, I've spent most of my life growing up in and around the Washington DC area. I'm ridiculously excited about the potential of this website and I hope you are too. Now I'll be kicking it over to Ben... (if this were a Disney basketball movie I'd dribble the ball between my legs then pass the ball behind my back real quick to Ben, and the camera would shift to him as he catches it all serious-like).

BEN: Hi. Wow. So this is what it's like to blog with proper punctuation. Ahem. So anyway, yeah. Welcome to Videoteque -- and let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm a 24-year old DJ/Video Editor living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I went to Queen's University where I studied film -- and learned that while I love film, I really love music (hence, my website -- Ben Loves Music) and what I'd really love to do in my life is to edit music videos together. I've put together a few mash-up music videos on my own (which will all see life here on this site at some point), and I'd say I'm the tech-geek of the two of us. Part of my DJ life actually involves using music videos to a degree, so I've got a lot of weird/old stuff, but also a lot of the newest cutting-edge stuff, which is pretty sweet. Anyhow, that's all for now, so be sure to check back every day for more content, and go through the Music Video Archive on the left and check out some of your old favorites. (Dribbles once, stutter-steps, pump fakes, and dishes the ball back to Derek).

The site's name is inspired by Radiohead's "Ideoteque", and with this in mind we think it's appropriate that we round off the inaugural post by uploading a selection of our favorite Radiohead videos, in ipod-friendly .m4v and .mp4 format. We originally were going to use Rapidshare, but RS isn't exactly everyone's favorite hosting service, so we've decided to try using ezarchive for now until we figure out a long term solution. Ezarchive doesn't handle large-volume file transfer terribly gracefully, as is evident by the ezarchive crashed caused by my Top 65 Videos post last January, but that was more the result of the massive amount of people (46,000 in one day) downloading at one time. SO... without further ado, onto the downloadable video content!

The videos below are a collection of some of Radiohead's best videos, but vary greatly in terms of quality. Some are flawless DVD-rips ("Street Spirit" and "Karma Police"), while others are lower-quality MTV rips (we apologize for the somewhat shoddy sound quality on "There There"), but they're all of high-enough quality that we don't think anyone will be dissappointed. Typically we'll uphold a higher standard than this when it comes to the quality of the videos we upload, but we've found high-quality Radiohead videos to be fairly elusive, and if you have higher-quality copies of any of these videos and would like to send them to us, we'd love to have them. Enjoy.

Videos: [all iPod Compatible]
"Idioteque" (Live on Saturday Night Live) - Radiohead
{Director: N/A}
"Just" - Radiohead [highly recommended]
{Director: Jamie Thraves}
"Karma Police" - Radiohead [highly recommended]
{Director: Jonathan Glazer}
"Street Spirit" - Radiohead [highly recommended]
{Director: Jonathan Glazer}
"Knives Out" - Radiohead [highly recommended]
{Director: Michel Gondry}
"There There" - Radiohead [highly recommended]
{Director: Chris Hopewell}
"Pyramid Song" - Radiohead
{Director: Mike Shynola}
"Creep" (Version 2) - Radiohead
{Director: Corinne Day}
"Fake Plastic Tress" - Radiohead
{Director: Jake Scott}
"High and Dry" (Version 2: USA) - Radiohead
{Director: Paul Cunningham}