August 2009: David Dallas, Deja Voodoo, Dimmer, Erakah, Gemma Russell, Gin Wigmore

Ddot takes Manhattan, fun on the seesaw, good hair, life rhymes with hideous car wreck, and the hotel lobby.

David Dallas “Life Is”

I love David Dallas, but then he breaks my heart with lyrics like this: “They just real gay pricks” (attempting to insult his foes by implying that they’re gay, like that’s a bad thing) or this “Ain’t in no fraternity they probably in sororities” (implying that a brotherhood is superior to a sisterhood, that a man who is friends with women is contemptible). It just makes things harder, less enjoyable. The video, however, is grand, There’s David standing on a rooftop in Manhattan with the pink sunset sky looking all amazing and New York behind him. The song ends with a sample of David Brent talking about peaks, troughs and Dolly Parton. Let’s be glad that there were higher peaks to come.

Director: Tom Gould, Alexander Richter

Deja Voodoo “Empire” – missing

Deja Voodoo have “Empire”, an extravagant ode to a pub frequented in “the winter of ’92”. I believe this is referring to the Dunedin pub that was the birthplace of “the Dunedin sound” rather than the one in Auckland across the road from TVNZ where all the media people go for drinks after work. But sadly the video is missing, the last of Deja Voodoo’s funded vids.

Director: Matt Heath
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Dimmer “Comfortable”

It’s a delightful surprise to discover a Dimmer video that isn’t an animation. “Comfortable” is directed by the artist Greta Anderson, and some of the scenes showing a hooded figure riding a seesaw also feature in her film “Hood”. As well as the ominous playground scene, there’s also Shayne Carter perched on an amp in a red studio. The song is simple, repetitive and soothing, and the video captures that feeling, as well as giving it a slightly sinister edge.

Director: Greta Anderson
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Erakah “Wonderful”

The “Wonderful” video begins with Erakah getting her hair done, which seems to only exist as product placement for the salon. The rest of the video features Erakah – with different hair styles –  wandering around Kingsland, being all emotional about her relationship. There’s a strangely gloomy feeling to both the video and the song. What’s supposed to be a joyful love song has a dark undercurrent, a feeling that things aren’t necessarily going to work out.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Gemma Russell “On a High”

“On a High” was the debut single from former Invercargillite Gemma Russell. The former netballer (she’s from Southland – of course she plays netball) had given up the sport in favour of music, debuting with the very polite “On a High”. The video is based around a car crash, implying that Gemma has died and is fondly looking back on her life. It’s a somewhat morbid treatment, but then the song is all about that exact concept.

Director: Logan McMillan
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Gin Wigmore “Oh My”

“Oh My” might best be known for the 30-second excerpt that was used as the opening theme song for The Almighty Johnsons, the TV series that imagined what it would be like if men were really powerful, lolz. Wigmore’s video has a strangely low-budget feeling. It’s set in an old hotel, where various weird things happen, culminating in a tarot/voodoo/witchcraft/seance/all of the above where more weird things happen. The video feels like it’s trying to cram in so much weird stuff that it forgets about the song.

Director: Stuart Gosling

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