December 2008: Reb Fountain, Savage, Seth Haapu, State of Mind, The Black Dahlias, The Brunettes

A gloomy dell, Savage finds his groove, Seth vs the kid, robo-dragon terrorises Auckland, your auntie’s Keep Calm poster, love on skates.

Reb Fountain “January’s Well”

“January’s Well” is set in a lush, green glade, with Reb and her band performing the song. There’s a hint that the band is a dying dream of a girl collapsed in the woods, adding to the gothic, folky feeling. Much of the video takes place at night, and it brings more of that slightly sinister vibe.

Director: Anton Steel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Savage featuring Angel Dust & Baby Bash “Wild Out (Chooo Hooo)”

This was Savage’s first excursion into the hip hop meets electronic sound that was to become his defining style. It features California rapper Baby Bash and US-based Samoan rapper Angel Dust. The video is set on a beach, with a cast of dozens getting wild. It’s basically the three performers doing their parts in front of the enthusiastic crowd, but with shots of a guy getting a traditional pe’a tattoo, which seems to be tying the rhythm of the tapping chisel with the beat of the song. The video’s highlight is when Baby Bash delivers the line “She’s already got a Red Bull” while gesturing to the coconut with a straw he’s holding.

Director: Chris Graham
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Seth Haapu “Bones”

“Bones” is an unusual song is that it’s more like something from a musical than a standard pop track – especially not the sort of thing that normally comes out of New Zealand. The video puts the very talented Mr Haapu at a beachside location where he’s attempting to perform his song, all the while being bothered by a troublesome kid. It feels like it’s subverting the usual picturesque New Zealand landscape with a quirky song and action within the video that’s not all that concerned with the natural beauty that surrounds.

Director: Ed Coyle
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

State of Mind featuring PNC “City on Fire”

In this video, Auckland city is on fire because it is being attacked by a fire-breathing robo-dragon type of creature. This is shown in the style of a black and white comic book, but it looks like it’s been done quite cheaply, with rough filters applied to video footage, avoiding the smooth style of a hand-drawn comic. And then there’s the not entirely convincing reaction of PNC when faced with the monster – he just keeps swaying back and forth, like he’s trying to sooth himself, not giving any attitude to the robo-dragon. “City on Fire” was a nominee for Best Electronic Video at the 2010 Juice TV awards.

Director: Aleksander Sakowski
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Black Dahlias “Do You Wanna”

The Black Dahlias consist of a really energetic frontman and a much more subdued band. The video captures them playing in a grimy basement, decorated with a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster, just like your auntie’s coffee mug. The band never engages with the camera, making it look like they’re being secretly filmed. Then randomly, this footage ends up being played on screens all over the city. The band is going for that nu rock sound that was big in the early ’00s, but by 2008, 2009, it was sounded dated.

Director: PJ Venneman

The Brunettes “Red Rollerskates”

“Red Rollerskates” was the last funded video for the Brunettes, before things were getting tough for them, which led to their eventual split. The video is a low-budget green screen job, with Jonathan Brunettes uses a rope to pull along his sweetie on roller skates and his mannequin girlfriend in a shopping trolley. It’s a little bit creepy, concluding with the mannequin breaking up with him because she just wants to be friends. The sad ending of the video mirrors the Brunette’s fortunes. From the band whose Sub Pop signing saw them awarded the Outstanding Achievement of 2007 Award at the 2007 bNet awards, they ended up being neglected by their American team and eventually called it quits.

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