Friday, April 28, 2006

The Arcade Fire: "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"

This is a truly gorgeous video. With two major "sets", the video drifts between the dream world of animation and the real world (which is quite dreamy). The Josh Deu-directed clip features Monty Python-esque animation that follows each band members on their own little journey. One of the things I really like about the video is that while the video takes you between live-action and animation, neither one really defines itself as "seperate" - the animated world features a lot of live-action stills, and the real world is so dream-like that sometimes you forget where one starts and one begins. The song itself is so superb that when a clip comes along like this to accompany it, it's one of those cases where the song itself is improved by such a tremendous video.

Video: "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" - The Arcade Fire [iPod Compatible]
{Director: Josh Deu}

Madonna vs. Death Cab For Cutie: "Hung Up on Soul" (Party Ben Mash-Up)

So a while back (in February), Party Ben (the mash-up genius) mashed-up Madonna's "Hung Up" with Death Cab For Cutie's "Soul Meets Body", creating the dancetastic "Hung Up on Soul". Me, being a film geek and someone who really dug both of those songs decided that making a music video for the mash-up was a good idea. I'm the same guy who also made videos for DJ Mei-Lwun's "You Humped Me All Night Long" and Soundhog's "Are You Gonna Be My Dirrty Girl?" - I'm a bit of a Top 40 junkie, as you can see. Anyhow, when I finished it, I sent it off to Party Ben himself, hoping for approval. Here's what he wrote about it.

"My dance-a-riffic mix of Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body" with (mostly the beats from) Madonna's "Hung Up" has expanded into a truly multimedia experience. First of all, a talented producer guy from Boston named Ben Cohen has created a deceptively simple video mashup for "Hung Up On Soul," combining both the original videos in a way that somehow really enhances my admittedly rather lackluster production."


Here it is for your consumption, in iPod form.

Video: "Hung Up On Soul" - Madonna vs. Death Cab For Cutie (Party Ben Mash-Up) [iPod Compatible]
{Video Mash By: Ben Cohen}

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thursday: "Counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1"

So as long as we're on the topic of epic punk/emo, I figure I might as well post Thursday's new video for "Counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1", the lead single off of their upcoming album, A City Divided By The Light. Directed by high-budget emo video veteran animators Artificial Army, who have worked extensively with The Mars Volta and Coheed and Cambria, Thursday's latest video is the latest in a growing trend of overly-dramatic and epic videos for punk and emo bands (see also: My Chemical Romance's "Ghost of You" video and Green Day's unbearable "Wake Me Up When September Comes" clip, both from 2005). However, I like this one, and I think it fits the song well. While some of the animation looks unrealistic and straight out of a video game at times, and some of the flame animation could use some refining, the video fits the song and looks quite nice. However, my one question is this: is performance footage absolutely mandatory in every single punk video? Seriously? I'm hard-pressed to think of any recent punk videos off the top of my head that didn't force performance footage down the viewer's throats (we get it, you're super awesome at rocking out, we don't need to see you perform in every video). That aside, it's a good video, check it out for yourself below.

"Counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" - Thursday
"Counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" - Thursday [iPod Compatible]

Angels & Airwaves: "The Adventure"

Here's the thing: I'm a huge Blink-182 fan. I'm not going to lie about that. I really do love their music - I'm a fan of a lot of the pop punk that's come about in the last ten years, whether it's Blink-182, New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, Midtown, Brand New, or whatever. I just dig it. Why? Well, part of it is that for the most part, pop punk bands make good videos. They're usually guys who grew up watching MTV and therefore grew up watching Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, and Mark Romanek make some of the best videos ever. And here's the kicker - as much as I hated to see Blink-182 break up, it was exciting to hear that Tom and Mark and Travis were going to all do different things. Tom's new project is this - Angels & Airwaves. This first track, "The Adventure" was posted in his section months ago. It's not new at this point.

But it's fucking phenomenal. It's like listening to Who-18U2 (did that make sense?) - it's epic sounding. What I love about it is that while Mark and Travis are working on an album, Tom's working on a project. It's a movie, it's an album, it's supposed to be incredible. I'm really excited. So when I saw that there was a video for this project of his, I was excited. While the video itself isn't going to blow your mind, it's really the perfect video for this song and a perfect introduction to the world of Angels & Airwaves (which, supposedly, is going to be a World War II epic with a twist, at least as far as I know). We're talking about the first mainstream full-length movie/music video project in quite some time. I'm excited (and hoping this isn't the equivalent to Head by the Monkees). You should be, too.

(And I know that in the last 25 seconds something weird happens and you lose audio for about 5 seconds. I apologize. I don't know why that happens, but it does.)

Video: "The Adventure" - Angels & Airwaves [iPod Compatible]
{Director: The Malloys}

Friday, April 21, 2006

Videography: Willy Mason

Like Willy Mason, the artist for whom all four of their music videos have been made, Tim Laursen and Emily Wilder (who together form the Wilder/Laursen production duo) hail from Martha's Vineyard and also like Mason and many of the native islanders, are people of many talents and skill sets. Mason, aside from his self-titled folk project, which has garnered him international acclaim and success (both critical and retail), also lists interior decoration as a hobby on his website. Wilder/Laursen have their collective hands in many proverbial jars as well, not only working in music videos and film (their primary focus, "[their] goal is to make short films"), but also recording music (check out their stuff here) and working in stained glass. Another unique attribute of the Vineyard is the extremely close and tight-knit community it fosters, and this is evident in all walks of Mason's music. Not only do his fellow Islanders Wilder/Laursen produce and direct his videos, but fellow-Vineyarder Geoff Pease designed the beautiful cover art for Mason's debut album, Where The Humans Eat.

But back to the matter at hand. Aside from many other animation projects and short films (which can be viewed here), Wilder/Laursen have also created all four of Willy Mason's music videos, only two of which, "Oxygen" and "So Long", were formally released. Below is Mason's complete videography, all of which were written, shot, edited and directed by Wilder/Laursen.

Videos: [all iPod Compatible]

"So Long" - Willy Mason [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
Filmed in Barcelona in London last year, Wilder/Laursen's video for "So Long" chronicles Mason's life away from home, and the difficulty of being an outsider in a culture very different from your own. Nice stop-gap animation here, and you can tell Mason and company had a lot of fun during the shoot. Also, the Wilder/Laursen website has this to say about "So Long": "'So Long' was shot and released in March '05 and surpassed the success of "Oxygen" by moving to #3, getting A-list playtime, and being featured in European award shows like "Videos that should have won the MTV awards". It cost half as much as "Oxygen" which cost half as much as a car."

"Oxygen " - Willy Mason [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
I love this video. Maybe it's because I love Martha's Vineyard and this video follows Mason as he hitch-hikes around the island in the autumn, a side of the Vineyard most people don't get to see. It's very well-done and exudes a definite Garden State vibe, possibly another reason I like it so much. The various scenes in the video are all taken from different parts of the island or in different cars that have picked up Mason, in which he interacts with various people in situations that echo the lyrics of the song. This definitely would have been one of my very favorite videos of last year had I only known about it then.

"Hard Hand To Hold" - Willy Mason
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
The first official video the duo produced for Mason, it's split evenly between footage from Martha's Vineyard and footage from the Glastonbury festival in the UK, juxtaposing the two very different lifestyles, with some nice animated footage as well.

"Gotta Keep Moving" - Willy Mason
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
This is the first video ever produced by Wilder/Laursen, and it was a test shoot for Virgin Records before they allowed Wilder/Laursen to film Mason's other videos. It's very low budget and was shot at All Tomorrow's Parties and in the surrounding desert near Long Beach, California, and pretty much just features Mason, his friends, and some trains. Nice work as far as a test video goes.

Be sure to hit up GWFAS for downloadable MP3s of "Oxygen", "So Long" and "Hard Hand To Hold" here.

Arctic Monkeys: "The View From The Afternoon"

So there's this band, "Arctic Monkeys". Not sure if you've heard of them, but I guess they're kind of big in some circles. Their debut album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" was a decent hit in the UK and I guess they're a bit of a buzz band. Anyhow, they've had a few videos come out, but this is their most recent one - "The View From The Afternoon". I can't honestly remember another video that so prominently featured the drummer over all other band members, not that it's a bad thing. It's a really cool video that definetly plays into the kind of videos they've done before ("Scummy / When The Sun Goes Down") - the working class type of schtick they've pulled off.

"The View From The Afternoon" - Arctic Monkeys
.WMV: "The View From The Afternoon" - Arctic Monkeys
.RM: "The View From The Afternoon" - Arctic Monkeys
.MP4: "The View From The Afternoon" - Arctic Monkeys [iPod Compatible]
{Director: W.I.Z.}

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Videoteque Videomix #1: 4/20 Mix

The second half of my 4/20 celebration continues here with the music video portion of my 4/20 extravaganza (the music mix is available over on Good Weather For Airstrikes here). As some of you may know, pretty much the only thing better than listening to music high is watching music videos high (trust me, I've tested this hypothesis countless times). So, too celebrate this theorem, below is the inaugural Videoteque Videomix, and these are ten of my favorite videos of all time (sober or otherwise), so even those who aren't down with illegal drug use (props) are sure to enjoy. Obviously, every video below comes [highly recommended] and as always, every one is [iPod Compatible].

1. "Dayvan Cowboy" - Boards of Canada
{Director: Melissa Olson}
What better way to embark on your consciousness-expanding journey than to start with Boards of Canada's "Dayvan Cowboy" video, in which man journeys from outerspace, through the stratosphere and towards the earth at mach speeds, before plunging into the ocean and being reborn as a surfer. Yeah, it doesn't exactly make total sense or deliver any over-arching artistic message, but it's 4/20, it doesn't have to.

2. "Staring At The Sun" - TV On The Radio
{Director: Elliot Jokelson}
Here's an instance where, thanks to the music video gods (or Elliot Jokelson), a song that's amazing to listen to high in the first place gets an equally-amazing video to accompany it. Just try to watch those bright dreamy colors or Tinde Adebimpe's dematerialized body getting pulled around the screen on green threads and tell me your mind doesn't melt a little bit.

3. "Smile" - Mad Action
{Director: Jonas Odell}
Trippy-ass shit.

4. "Human" - Carpark North
{Director: Martin De Thurah}
One of the best videos of the new millenium, Martin De Thurah's clip for Carpark North's "Human" boggles the mind and defines the word awesome. Every shot in this video is so flawlessly timed with the music, it's just incredible. Two crucial scenes make this video (from a high perspective that is); the first coming at the beginning, when the girl pounds the desk and the room explodes around her at the same time the driving synthesized guitar line comes charging into the song. The second scene comes just after the middle, when the two girls run towards each other during a momentary lull in the instrumentation, jump, are momentarily suspended in air, and fall to the ground in conjunction with the return of the song's crushing rhythm section. Both scenes, and the video as a whole, are absolutely breathtaking.

5. "Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes [link fixed]
{Directed By: Alex & Martin}
I'm just gonna come out and declare this video the best video for high viewing ever. Nothing else comes to matter as the video just keeps charging forward in one continuous motion, literally sucking you in, as you're assaulted with a full-fledged rhythm section assault and a literal infantry of skeleton soldiers. I can't even begin to explain what this video will do to you when watching it in an altered state.

6. "Fortress" - Pinback
{Director: Elliot Jokelson}
This video is the only music video in my Top 25 Most Played playlist on my iTunes, and only for the reason that my friends and I hook the 'pod up to the TV and watch it every single time (without fail) when we're high. The bright colors, that old man and the aquatic monster pulling his boat, the soldiers' flawlessly choreographed dance routine and that big flower that breaks through the darkness and ascends to the heavens at the end; this video's just fun.

7. "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" - Her Space Holiday
{Director: Marc Bianchi}
I absolutely love the animation in this video, which was directed by Marc Bianchi (Her Space Holiday) himself and the way one environment fades into another as animated flourishes frolic in the background. However, the highlight comes during the chorus, when the environment fades to black and some iPod commercial-inspired figures rock out in perfect time with the barrage of crushing guitars.

8. "Only This Moment" - Royksopp
{Directed By: Brendan McNamee & Robert Chandler}
I think the only reason this video got such a mixed reception was because not enough people took the time to watch it high. Seriously, the after-effects in this video are astonishing. Everything in this video is captivating and overwhelming in its grandeur, but one particular scene stands out that boggles one's mind more than nearly any other on this mix. The scene in which crowds gather below a flying airplane spelling words in the cloud flawlessly gives way to the mob scene with one of my favorite transitional shots in any music video, in which the camera pans up to the sky and a flock of birds flies in seemingly every direction, before the camera itself turns upside down and takes you into the town square (it's hard to explain, but trust me, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when it happens).

9. "Star Guitar" - Chemical Brothers
{Director: Michel Gondry}
In my opinion, this is perhaps the single best video of all time. Michel Gondry is an absolute mastermind of cinema, and his brilliance absolutely shines on this video. It takes a few times to realize exactly how brilliant this video is, as it's not until after a few listens that you realize that everything (everything) in the song is perfectly timed with the fast-moving environment that passes by the train window. Literally every single part of the song is, every little synthesized drum beat and synth line, is reflected in the changing environment outside the window, resulting in one of the most brilliant videos in music video history. I love how the only presence of humans in the video coincides with the only human presence in the song (the unintelligible vocals during the train station shot)

10. "Glosoli" - Sigur Ros
{Director: Arni & Kinski}
Sigur Ros never disappoints with their music videos, as they’re always cinematic masterpieces, usually centered around children and youthful innocence and bliss. “Glosoli”, directed by Arni & Kinski, is no exception, depicting a young drummer boy gathering up the other denizens of what appears to be an adult-free utopian land, and leading a revolution to freedom. When I bought Takk…when it first came out as a promotion I also received a DVD with this video on it, which I value as much as the CD itself. I immediately rushed back to my dorm room and put it in the DVD player, turned off the lights and sat on the floor Indian-style too close to the TV like an 8 year old watching cartoons after school. After it’s conclusion I nearly passed out, then later I watched it when I was high and thought that maybe I had just been reborn. The shot when the children (most beautiful children ever by the way… not in a creepy Devendra Banhart way I promise) are running up the cliff as the birds fly over the ocean is perhaps my favorite scene in any piece of cinema this year. When I originally posted the video on the Good Weather For Airstrikes I likened watching it to a life-changing experience “on par with losing your virginity or seeing Garden State for the first time” and I still feel the same way. This video, which was my clear-cut favorite of 2005, doesn't wow with special effects or perfectly-timed shots, but it's just an absolutely stunning piece of cinema, worthy one thousand times over of a spot on your hardrive or iPod.

Finally, one of the most amazing videos for high viewing ever is sadly not available in any kind of downloadable format. Ratatat's "Cherry" video, directed by E*Rock, is available for streaming only on the XL Recordings (Ratatat's label) website, but I can't highly recommend enough that you overcome any streaming video bias you might have and view it here.

The Superimposers: "Heavy Sigh"

Simple in both design and song, "Heavy Sigh" is a very pleasant song - as I've written about on my MP3 blog, their sound is very 1960s-tinged lo-fi sound. It's beautiful music and the video itself is quite simple. It's animated and even seems to be in a bit of a loop, but that's okay - the animation is similar to the style that was used in "Float On" by Modest Mouse in that it's not your typical animation - computers were used, and it's very realistic looking. Anyhow, it's worth watching and, while I'm not out-and-out condoning it, watching it while you're a bit high.

YouTube Link:
"Heavy Sigh" - The Superimposers
.MP4: "Heavy Sigh" - The Superimposers [iPod-Compatible]
{Director: ???}

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Boards of Canada: "Dayvan Cowboy"

The first-ever official video from those mysterious Boards of Canada fellows gets their music video career off to a great start, as their hotly-anticipated video for "Dayvan Cowboy", directed by Melissa Olson, is incredible and certainly one of the very best of 2006 so far. "Dayvan Cowboy" is my favorite Boards of Canada song, and it always evokes a strong feeling of exploration for me, and the video embodies this exact same feeling. Compiled of brilliantly-composed stock footage (why am I not surprised that Boards of Canada are collectors of stock footage), everything really works well together in sync with the song. Antville user vidbot puts it best in his response to the video: "There is no overarching artistic message in this video, you're just meant to go with it. Its about pure sensation - visceral, tactile real world input that overwhelms the senses and goes beyond verbal or written explanation. Consciousness-expanding euphoria". Sounds good to me, check it below for yourself in .mov or .mp4 format.

Video: [highly recommended]
"Dayvan Cowboy" - Boards of Canada
.MP4: "Dayvan Cowboy" - Boards of Canada [iPod-Compatible]
{Director: Melissa Olson}

Also, Warp has made the video available in wmv format as well, for those who prefer Windows Media Player, and you here's the download link for that as well: "Dayvan Cowboy" (WMV)

Also, tomorrow the first-ever Videoteque Videomix is released, in commemoration of the 4/20 national "holiday". "Dayvan Cowboy" is prominently featured on the mix, which also features some of my all-time favorite videos, so prepare your self for some serious "consciousness-expanding euphoria" once again.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy"

All things considered, "Crazy" is one of the most soulful tracks I've heard in years. It's funny because the recent Cee-Lo album itself was very good and was getting play on my iPod for a long time - but Danger Mouse's production really takes control of the quality of Cee-Lo's work. I have a bit of a confession to make - I thought DM was a flash-in-the-pan. Honestly. I still don't think much of "The Grey Album", mostly because I've heard many more mash-ups that were better, and I thought he was getting undeserved attention for something pretty mediocre. Heck, I still basically think that. However, between the Gorillaz, Danger Doom, and Gnarls Barkley, he's proven me wrong - which I am very happy to admit.

As for the video for "Crazy" - it's gorgeous. The ink-blot animation is just unbelievable. The style is just beautiful. There's really no way to describe it otherwise - this video recalls the "Seven Nation Army" video in how it keeps rolling forward. There isn't much else to say about it.

Video: [highly recommended]
.MP4: "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley [iPod Compatible]
{Directed By: Robert Hales}

Update: Alright, we were able to clear up the mystery behind who directed this clip when Robert Hales himself contacted us yesterday. This is the second video for "Crazy" - the first being a less impressive animated video. The second video, as suggested by a comment, was created by Blind, an animation studio that also worked on the Jet videos for "Look What You've Done" and "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?", also both directed by Robert Hales.

The first video was directed by Mina Song, however.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sigur Rós: "Saeglopur"

After waiting on pins and needles for months, my eyes were finally graced by the beauty that is Sigur Ros' latest video two weeks ago (I'd meant to stop the presses and post it immediately, but I got caught up in other endeavours). "Saeglopur" marks the first time Sigur Ros, a band who clearly values their music videos and cinema as an art form - as is evident by the extremely high standard all their videos uphold, directs their own video, with help from animation specialists The Mill. The video for "Saeglopur", which translates in English to either "lost at sea" or "sea-wanderer" was described as a "sea-faring epic" by the band on their site months ago and the clip is just that. The video opens as a mother watches her son wading into the ocean from the shore. Once in the water, the boy dives under and discovers a lush underwater environment rife with intimidating sea creatures, and he's chased by a tentacled creature to what he presumes is safety, only to get tragically tangled and caught in the seaweed.

The entire video has a wonderfully ominous, murky and grainy feel, and the animation is superb on The Mill's part, all adding up to the sad atmosphere in which the video takes place. Everything is timed perfectly with the rhythm of the music - the boy's submergence underwater as the percussion comes in, the uplifting strings as the bubbles rise up and clear to reveal a scuba diver in the water, and the video just works really well as a whole. While many have expressed disappointment with this, Sigur Ros' first foray into the technical side of music videos, but I feel it's easily in the top ten videos of the year so far.

For much more specific information and insight into how exactly the video was created, hit up this article posted on The Mill's website here.

Video: [highly recommended]
.MPEG: "Saeglopur" - Sigur Ros
"Saeglopur" - Sigur Ros [iPod Compatible]
{Directed By: Sigur Ros}

John Vanderslice: "Exodus Damage"

One of the best and most overlooked videos of 2005 was Brent Chesanek's beautiful video for John Vanderslice's "Exodus Damage", which was the best song on the man with the best name in indie rock's 2005 release, Pixel Revolt. The video garnered the #34 spot on my Top 65 Videos of 2005 list, and is a beautifully-shot, low-budget masterpiece. Chesanek's stirring clip revolves around a boy walking through America, with poetic shots of the industrial and natural beauty of America spliced throughout. I really like the washed out, retro feel of the cinematography, and the still shots of the US are just breathtaking. The 9/11 theme of the song is reflected beautifully in the video, but I can't figure out if the kid's a terrorist and he's plotting things to blow up or if he's trying to solve a mystery or what. I just really love the look of this clip, and I think it represents the song perfectly. Head over to Good Weather For Airstrikes for lots of mp3s from Vanderslice (here), or just download the video below.

Video: [highly recommended]
"Exodus Damage" - John Vanderslice
.M4V: "Exodus Damage" - John Vanderslice [iPod Compatible]
{Director: Brent Chesanek}

According to Vanderslice's website, Chesanek has just completed another "mind-blowing" video for "Trance Manual", the other standout track on Pixel Revolt, which V-Slice said he will "post as soon as [he] can" a week and a half ago. Color me excited.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The New Pornographers: "Sing Me Spanish Techno" & The Knife: "Pass This On"

After their horrendous last video for "Use It", the first single off of last year's fantastic Twin Cinema, The New Pornographers return here with their second video off of that album, for "Sing Me Spanish Techno". Gone are the low-budget bumblings of "Use It" in favor of a much more polished, more clever video for "Spanish Techno" starring a drunk A.C. Newman along with Juanita More and Michael Venus, legendary drag queens from San Francisco and Vancouver, respectively. Mildly disturbing and somewhat unsettling, you're all "Omg does that guy know that shez a drag queen?!1!?!" thinking he's going back to "her" place to hook up with her, but then in actuality he's just getting an extreme drag queen makeover.
.MOV: "Sing Me Spanish Techno" - New Pornographers
"Sing Me Spanish Techno" - New Pornographers [iPod Compatible]
{Director: Michael Palmieri}

This idea has been touched on before in music videos, most notably in Johan Renck's incredible video for The Knife's "Pass This On", which utilizes this concept to a much more jarring and intense effect. In "Pass This On", Renck directs a mesmerizing clip that revolves around a singing drag queen performing at a depressing and dingy Stockholm rec center, full of men who appear to be on the verge of breakdown. Renck does a wonderful job creating tension between the audience and the performer, and "Pass This On" ultimately comes across as a more intense (and better) version of Michael Palmieri's video for "Spanish Techno". For a great interview with Renck, in which he discusses the filming of "Pass This On", as well as a downloadable videography of his work, check out Director File's Q&A with Renck here.
"Pass This On" - The Knife [highly recommended]
"Pass This On" - The Knife [highly recommended] [iPod Compatible]
{Director: Johan Renck}

The Album Leaf: "On Your Way"

So this is the first in what will most likely become and ongoing series of cross-promotions with my other site, Good Weather For Airstrikes, in which videos will be posted here in conjunction with mp3s and profiles of the same artist over on GWFAS.

First up is The Album Leaf, the blissful electronic project of Jimmy LaValle. You may remember The Album Leaf's "Twentytwofourteen" from the All Things Go's much-loved Sleep Mixtape and as a recurrent musical theme on the final episodes of The OC's second season last year, but "Twentytwofourteen" only scratches the surface of LaValle's musical ability. Those who are familiar with the rest of The Album Leaf's recorded work, especially last year's In A Safe Place, are aware of the extent of LaValle's creative brilliance, and for more convincing evidence of this just check out the downloadable content in Everett's artist profile of The Album Leaf here.

The video for "On Your Way" is nothing amazing, but it's a well done, well-animated, adorable video that perfectly fits the song. The animators from Fluorescent Hill do a nice job of timing the beats within the music to the animation, something I always love to see in videos, and create the lush forest environment that is always evoked (for me at least) by The Album Leaf's pristine music. Remember to check out Everett's artist profile on The Album Leaf for info and more mp3s for download!
.MOV: "On Your Way" - The Album Leaf
"On Your Way" - The Album Leaf [iPod Compatible]
{Directed By: Fluorescent Hil}

...and, since it wasn't posted on GWFAS, here is the mp3 of "On Your Way" for you to download if you's so inclined.

MP3: "On Your Way" - The Album Leaf

Between these two posts they've got the majority of the Spoon videography covered (if anyone has any Spoon videos other than the four they have and "I Turn My Camera On", I'd love for you to send them my way), so be sure to check them out.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kanye West: "Jesus Walks" Videography

I know it seems odd that I would post a videography of one video, but bear with me. Kanye's whole thing with "Jesus Walks" was that he basically shot three videos for it - two by professionals, and the third was shot by Kanye himself, which is easily the least controversial of the three. To this day, "Jesus Walks" is still one of the most powerful, thought-provoking songs I've ever heard. It's Kanye at his very best, which is pretty impressive considering how incredibly talented the man is.

"Jesus Walks" (Version 1) - Kanye West

The first, and most expensive, of the three videos shot was directed by Michael Haussman, who also shot the "La Tortura" video for Shakira. A definite narative, especially compared to the other two videos, we follow three people suffering from various problems (alcoholism, prostitution, and gangbanging) as they make their way to church (where Kanye is preaching) and fall to their knees over their sins. Despite this being the video that got the most airplay, Kanye was not happy with this version, and decided to cut a 2nd video, hiring Chris Milk (who later directed the "Touch the Sky" video for Kanye) as his man.

"Jesus Walks" (Version 2) - Kanye West

By far, the most controversial of the three, Chris Milk's clip features drug dealers, a chain gang, a KKK member burning a cross and then getting lit on fire by it, and other pretty 'difficult' subjects. It's a truly visually stunning video, both for it's content and how it interacts with the song.

"Jesus Walks" (Version 3) - Kanye West

While it's a good video, it's really nothing special. I think the best part of it is that the Jesus in the video looks just like the King from the Burger King ads - it's downright scary how much they look alike. It was shot on one day in Chicago and follows Kanye from his home, through the 'hood, to the church. It really is just something to see - you'll dig it, probably, because there are some genuinely funny moments in it. Still, it's nothing compared to the first two videos in terms of power and impact.

Video: [iPod Compatible]
"Jesus Walks" (Version 1) - Kanye West
{Director: Michael Haussman}

Video: [iPod Compatible]
"Jesus Walks" (Version 2) - Kanye West
{Director: Chris Milk}

Video: [iPod Compatible]
"Jesus Walks" (Version 3) - Kanye West
{Director: Kanye West with Coodie & Chike}

Friday, April 07, 2006

Three New Franz Ferdinand Videos!

Franz Ferdinand are back with their latest offering, The Fallen EP, which features two new songs, "L. Wells" and "Jeremy Fraser", the first new material they've released since You Could Have It So Much Better dropped last fall. However, not only is this great news for FF fans, but it's also great news for videophiles like you and I, as the group have not only released a video for "The Fallen", but they've also released brand new videos for "L. Wells" and "Jeremy Fraser" as well. You can download them as .mov files below directly from the Domino Records site, or you can scroll all the way to the bottom and grab the videos in iPod compatible .m4v format.

Alex & Martin's clip for "The Fallen" is the only one of these three videos that's not new, as it was released last year in conjunction with Franz Ferdinand's release of "The Fallen" in the US as their second single from You Could Have It So Much Better. Interesting idea, but the video, though watcheable, gets old quite quickly, and I think the idea of the band walking in front of the video screen could have been utilized to a much better effect.

.MOV: "The Fallen" - Franz Ferdinand
{Directed By: Alex & Martin}

This is my favorite of the bunch, despite it's straightforward concept and simple execution. In Blair Young's video for "L. Wells", we follow a pretty indie girl, presumably Lynsey Wells herself, all around Glasgow as she frolics about the town. The video, shot entirely in black and white, is wonderful and fun to watch, and the way it's shot you really get the feeling that the camera crew is getting run ragged just trying to keep up with this whirlwind of a girl.

.MOV: "L. Wells" - Franz Ferdinand
{Director: Blair Young}

Scott Lyon, who also directed FF's excellent clip for "Walk Away" last year, returns to direct a very dark and creepy clip for "Jeremy Fraser", which feels much more like a Sigur Ros or Decemberists (see: "16 Military Wives") video than a Franz Ferdinand clip, what with the washed out color, it's focus on children in the schoolyard, the animal masks, and the generally creepy subject matter.

.MOV: "Jeremy Fraser" - Franz Ferdinand
{Director: Scott Lyon}

For MP3s of all of these songs and more bonus FF goodness, head over to Good Weather For Airstrikes to download them.

Videos: [iPod Compatible]
"The Fallen" - Franz Ferdinand
{Directed By: Alex & Martin}
"L. Wells" - Franz Ferdinand
{Director: Blair Young}
"Jeremy Fraser" - Franz Ferdinand
{Director: Scott Lyon}

Also, unfortunately our ezarchive account is still not back up and running again(these files are being hosted on my Good Weather For Airstrikes account), so we ask you to bear with us during this period. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, and I assure you we're doing our best to solve the problem.

"Download This Song": MC Lars feat. Jared Reddick

MC Lars, hailing from Berkeley, California, is somewhat of an oddity - he's a rapper who thrives on using references to 18th-century Literature, Crunk Rap, Internet Relationships, and the term "iGeneration". He's not exactly Jay-Z in terms of flow, but he's doing things that no one else does as the father of the "Post-Punk Laptop Rap", creating entire albums (mostly his early work) using just his home computer. Early work of his sampled Brand New's "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Doesn't" and Piebald's "American Hearts". As you'll see in this video, he samples Iggy Pop's "The Passenger" (he also samples Supergrass on his new album). The song is a battle cry of sorts regarding the state of the music industry, and how music is distributed - and how his method is part of the future. It also has Bowling for Soup's Jared Reddick on the hook, a nice bonus.

The "Download this Song" video, directed by Frank Borin, is simple enough - we follow a bunch of people around as they listen to MC Lars rap his song to the Iggy beat. In fact, all the people watching the video are doing so on non-television devices - a video iPod, a cellphone, a PSP, a computer, and so on - part of the movement in how the ways that music is promoted, distributed, and listened to is changing. One of the more clever moments in the video is the use of making fun of the iPod commercials, as you can see from the screencap.

All that aside - the video is clever and well done. MC Lars has worked with Borin before, on the video for "Signing Emo", and their obvious artistic connection has shown itself again in this video.

I actually had done an interview with MC Lars for this video, but in the last few days my computer has had a major meltdown (on the main hard drive - I still have my music), and I lost the interview, which really stinks. I had recorded the entire interview plus written it down, but the crash forced a lot of files to be corrupted.

Video (via Rapidshare): [iPod Compatible]
"Download This Song" - MC Lars feat. Jared Reddick
{Director: Frank Borin}

Monday, April 03, 2006

Director Profile: Elliot Jokelson

One of the greatest and most-promising directors in the music video industry right now is Elliot Jokelson, best known for his work with TV On The Radio on "Staring At The Sun" and "Dreams". He also directed Pinback's wonderful video for "Fortress" last year, which garnered the #8 spot on my Top 65 Videos of 2005 list. However, you'd be hard-pressed to find recycled techniques or even any similarities between the three videos, as they all function in completely different cinematic mediums, a testament to the innovation and originality of Jokelson. "Staring At The Sun" is a synthesized post-production masterpiece, "Fortress", on which Jokelson teamed up with animation team Loyalkaspar, is one of the best animated videos of recent years, while "Dreams", his third and most recent clip, is a narrative-driven video with great special effects, his first to use a professional actor.

"Staring At The Sun", which Jokelson directed in 2004 for TVotR, relies heavily on video synthesizers and employs the use of a wobbulator, but aside from being a funny word I don't really know what that last term means. However, the most incredible effect achieved in the video is the - for lack of a better term - "green thread" effect, in which the band member's bodies are dematerialized and reduced to green threads, which are then manipulated to create a very cool effect. Easily one of my top five favorite videos of 2004.

.MOV: "Staring At The Sun" - TV On The Radio [highly recommended]

I've spent hours debating in my mind (not really) over which video, Jonas Odell's "Smile" or Elliot Jokelson's "Fortress", featured the best animation of 2005, and I still can't decide, but I do know that Jokelson created an absolutely stunning clip for Pinback's finest single, my favorite of his work yet. I love the beautiful opening scenes with the prince and princess frolicking about in the meadows, but the whole thing's wonderful really. I also like the whole crazy eyes thing with the soldiers, but the highlight has to be the choreography scene with the dancing knights. Beautiful animation.

.MOV:"Fortress" - Pinback [highly highly recommended]

In this video, a Easter Island-esque (only a lot meaner/scarier looking) head descends from the clouds on a city to more or less engage in a staring contest with a homeless man standing on top of a skyscraper (yeah, don't ask). Another way one could summarize this video is with a simple "What the fuck?", as that's pretty much what's going through the viewer's head the entire time. However, it's a beautifully done clip, and check out the incredible reflection rendering at about the halfway point, remarkable considering this entire video was filmed on only a $31,000 budget. Overall the video just features wonderful cinematography and photography direction, and after a couple views the meaning becomes clear and proves it's rich in that department. Reader Neville provides an astute (and accurate - it was affirmed by Elliot himself) analysis:

The whole thing sums up to be a representation of a momentary elevation of state of mind whereby the homeless guy can look at himself, and underneath the horror (screaming head) is a compassionate understanding of all the mistakes and flaws (not just his own, the whole city's) that brought him to the point of homelessness...

.MOV: "Dreams" - TV On The Radio [highly recommended]

Spot on, then. You can download all three of these videos as good quality .mov files, courtesy of direct links from Elliot's site, or you can grab them in iPod format below. Whatever you do, make sure you watch these.

Videos: [all iPod Compatible]
"Staring At The Sun" - TV On The Radio [highly recommended]
"Fortress" - Pinback [highly highly recommended]
"Dreams" - TV On The Radio [highly recommended]