March 2010: Pieter T, Shapeshifter, Shotgun Alley, Steriogram, The Jury & The Saints, The Naked and Famous, The Phoenix Foundation

Tiny town, the god of earthquakes is annoyed again, down at the club, finger pops, an intense house party, island fans, huge and thrilling, and underwater adventures.

Pieter T featuring Vince Harder “As the World”

“As the World” makes frequent use of tilt-shift photography, presenting Auckland (particularly Newmarket) as a tiny model town. Pieter T and Vince Harder can be found around the town, each singing the song to their respective baes. The video gets repetitive fast – there are only so many variations on “R&B guy sings to his girlfriend in a scenic Auckland location” that can be used. The only thing that breaks the repetition is when one of the girls walks over and plays with a dangling rope that looks like a hangman’s noose (!), a memento mori on a scenic beach.

Director: Greg Buckley
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Shapeshifter “Twin Galaxies”

“Twin Galaxies” is an animated video that follows Ruaūmoko, the god of earthquakes, volcanoes and seasons. He lives on the snowy slopes of Mt Ruapehu. He’s restless, discontent, and goes on a journey in search of something better. The journey leads him past mountains, valleys and forests and into the big city, played by Wellington with a few shots of Auckland. Being a New Zealander, Ruaū craves the ocean, eventually jumping into Wellington Harbour, where he solidifies into a rocky island. So if you want to know why Wellington has so many earthquakes, this is why.

Director: Matt Pitt

Shotgun Alley “Give It All Up For Rock”

Strip clubs often feature in music videos, but they’re usually full of really skilled dancers with perfect bodies, watched by cool dude patrons. “Give It All Up For Rock” is a lot less polished. The strippers have a roughness to them, all tattoos, smudged eyeliner and fraying hair extensions. The bar patrons are lonely looking middle-aged men, the exact sort of person you’d expect to find at a strip club on a Monday. While all this is going on, Shotgun Alley (feat. Ric from Home and Away!!!!) perform their ’80s throwback song. While it’s still a music video fiction, it is at least the most joyful depiction of a strip club.

Director: Zac Blair
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Steriogram “Ready for Action”

Steriogram don’t feature in the “Ready for Action” video. Instead their parts are played by fingers – with wigs, instruments and tiny animated faces. Sometimes the finger band is rocking out in front of a giant computer monitor, other times they’re hanging out with bikini-clad women. But here’s the unnerving thing: sometimes the fingers look like penises. Especially the one with the blonde helmet hairstyle. With no size perspective, it’s very phallic.

Director: Rascals

The Jury & The Saints “Brand New”

The Jury & the Saints was the new project of Jesse from Streetwise Scarlet, delivering a heavier punk edge mixed with the ubiquitous electronic sounds of the late ’00s. “Brand New” sets out their new style, showing the band intensely performing the song at a house party. How intensely? The camera is shaking is how.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Jury & The Saints “Help Me Out”

Two The Jury & The Saints videos in one funding round! In this case “Brand New” was music video funding, while “Help Me Out” was the New Recordings funding, which included both studio recording and a music video. The “Help Me Out” video was filmed in Tonga – the band were apparently so popular in the kingdom that they were especially invited to perform. The video is a fairly ordinary Pacific island video: with shots of the band performing live, as well as exploring the island on a day trip. It even downplays the most interesting part of the experience: a punk band playing a gig on a tropical island.

Director: Haimona Ngata
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Naked and Famous “Young Blood”

Before Lorde and “Royals”, the international success of “Young Blood” seemed huge and thrilling. No.64 in the UK! 114 in America! But even better for the band, their iconic song was used in dozens on TV shows and ads, ensuring the bills will get paid for many years to come. The video is by Special Problems, who had been with The Naked and Famous right from the start. It’s set in Los Angeles and shows energetic twenty-somethings running, jumping, splashing and riding around, being all carefree and youthful. It’s a very low-key video, confident in the song’s power and ability to be amazing by itself.

Director: Special Problems

The Phoenix Foundation “Buffalo”

The “Buffalo” video follows a boy who is training himself to hold his breath underwater. His breath-holding practise seems to take him to a dream-like state where he’s swimming and exploring underwater with a sea maiden. The anthemic song builds to a dramatic scene in a forest, where a group of people (and a couple of dogs) gather to meet this strange boy. It’s a bit weird, but then the song is about an underwater buffalo. Btw, inspired by the video, I timed myself holding my breath. I got to 1:10 but I wasn’t transported to an underwater world. I just really needed to breathe.

Director: Nathan Hickey
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

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