Let it rain 1995! There’s Supergroove on bikes, funk at the Civic, Lionel’s disappearing act, mean streets, tropical lolz, music with a message, wide lapels and an Auckland story. Continue reading Found videos from 1995
New York, just like I pictured it: backwards. Bailter Space are in the Big Apple again, this time in a reversed, slowed-down, one-take video. So this means they would have learnt to play the song backwards and sped-up. Spike Jonez’s video for The Pharcyde’s song “Drop” packs in more amazing stuff, but “Splat” is a visual extravaganza.
Like most backwards videos, it is a bit gimmicky, but the laidback, meandering style of the video suits the song, complete with the grungy slacker kids hanging out.
Other highlights include a man un-eating an apple, and a laughing couple who appear to throw a bucket of paint at a wall, but the camera doesn’t manage to capture the splat itself.
Best bit: John Halvorsen actually backwards-playing his bass notes in perfect time with the music. Whoa.
As Failsafe Records explains on their YouTube channel, this video was made by Greg Page at The Waikato Polytech’s film school. This is very exciting to me because I was doing the exact same Media Arts degree as Greg Page at the time, just a couple of years before him. (And like him, I didn’t graduate either…)
The video is a claymation animation, which was the main style of animation taught in Greg’s year. So he was putting his education to good use.
Failsafe also notes that the band was absent due to having disbanded. Their plasticine doppelgangers are much more interesting to watch than the band’s previous performance video. When the rockier chorus kicks in, the band get wild, acquiring claymation eyeliner, a shirtless drummer, and an impaled drumstick.
It’s still not quite as cool as having a good video made with the real band, but for a low-budget weekend effort, it’s a not bad at all.
Best bit: the bucket of water being kicked over, leading to a claymation electrocution.
I’m getting a very strong Urge Overkill vibe – probably the suits, the hair and the theatrics.
The scene is set in a ballroom on a boat. But it’s a shipwrecked boat at the bottom of the sea, so therefore Aucklandic cool dudes Thorazine Shuffle are all ghosts, singing of the one thing that is haunting them in the afterlife, right?
In their finest suits, the band play up on stage, while in front of them the dancefloor is filled with guests in their finest eveningwear. Joel Tobeck plays the featured guest, jauntily dancing with a blonde-wigged woman.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! We can have an affair!” sings the flame-haired eyeliner-wearing Josh Thorazine. He is doing his very best to tempt the object his desire into having an affair.
But who is this mystery person? It the blonde woman dancing with Mr Tobeck? Is it the goth chick who stares out from under a face full of hair? Or is it the dreadlocked barman who exchanges a few meaningful glances with the energetic lead singer?
Well, if they’re all ghosts, they’ll be trapped in this neverending nightmare forever, with the affair never happening until Ghost Joel learns that affairs are wrong.
Best bit: Joel Tobeck’s manic performance on the dance floor. He can dance, for inspiration.
And what a night out it is. Jon Shihad starts out sitting in the back of a car with a middle-aged couple. Those two are having a jolly old time, laughing and getting pissed on wine, while Jon sulks like a teen who’s being forced to attend his dumb uncle’s dumb 50th birthday. He doesn’t want to go; there’ll only be old people there.
The car drives around the streets of what I think is Wellington. It’s dark and I can’t quite pick any familiar landmarks, but it feels like Wellington. And if it is the capital, there was a lot more neon and less street lighting back in the ’90s.
Finally the car arrives at a hall in the suburbs where a party is in progress. “And I pray for a rain to wash you far away,” Jon sings. Steady on, Jon! It’s just some oldies having a knees-up.
At the hall, everyone is having a good time. The oldies are enjoying tasty wedges, and young ‘uns are rock-and-roll dancing. Finally old misery guts gets up on the dance floor and has a good old kanikani, with the rest of Shihad enjoying themselves.
This is the first Shihad video that features Shihad not playing as a band. It suits the mellower, more atmospheric song. I’m sure the suburban shindig setting was used to be edgy and ironic, but 16 years on, it’s a lot easier to believe Shihad enjoying themselves at such an event.
Best bit: the platecam capturing the look of glee as the oldies grab the wedges.
Almost 10 years after storming the charts with “Nobody Else”, Rikki Morris finally released his solo album. “Word Stand Still” is a brilliant pop song, without a dull moment.
The video is another work by Mark Tierney, and has his signature urban style. The band perform on a building rooftop in Victoria Street West, but not in a “Where the Streets Have No Name” kind of way. Playing on the rooftop takes them up to be amongst the highrise buildings. The street is only glimpsed from a distance.
The video is stylish and urban and cool and really rock, but it can’t be a Mark Tierney video without a slightly dark twist. At near the end of the video, Rikki is suddenly gets his hair shaved off. A person stands behind him and shears his already short hair with an electric shaver. Rikki then runs his hands over his head, examining his new do. It’s strangely… sexual. I don’t know why the shaving happens, but it’s enough to tip the video from quite good pop-rock vid into WTFWTFWTF.
Best bit: The quick cameo of the half-built Sky Tower.
It’s sad that this is Purest Form’s last song, because it really feels like they’ve hit their stride and would have been ready to slot right into the late ’90s boy band scene. All four band members are back. “U Can Do It” is a positive, upbeat pop song, and the video illustrates this perfectly.
There are two sides to the video. It starts with Purest Form in a bleak setting – the kind of place where “people give us on their hopes and their dreams”: a suburban cul-de-sac. The old Auckland CPO, pre-Britomart renovation, also stands in for urban desolation, with its boarded up doors and smattering of tagging.
But don’t worry – a better life is just around the corner: the choruses explode with an amazing Polynesian beach party.
Fires burn, palm trees sway and masses of Pacific performers dance in a mix of traditional and modern styles. And the four lads have a twist on their trademark matching suits: instead of trousers, they wear white lavalava with their baggy red and white jackets.
It feels like Purest Form were on the verge of greatness, but then they went their own ways, never to see the charts again.
Best bit: The a capella breakdown outside the old post office.
Another track from Eye TV’s acoustic album. This time the video star is a little girl whose costume seems to be inspired by Blind Melon’s Bee Girl. But instead of a bee, she’s a Ronald Regan with fairy wings. Watch out, Johhny Utah!
The band are also joined by an TV-watching elderly couple and a young woman who may represent Regan Girl as a grown-up.
The video seems like it’s trying to evoke the glum theme of the lyrics, but the world it’s set in isn’t all that depressing. You could watch some telly with the old couple, play games with Regan Girl or hang out with the older woman. They all seem like they’d have stories to tell.
Or maybe Eye TV are in such a permanent state of malaise that everything seems awful, all the time. Aw, cheer up, guys!
Best bit: the young woman subverting stereotypes by wearing a pig nose.
Mink was a collaborative Dunedin group including vocallist Dermania Lloyd, who now performs as Cloudboy. The “Mr Creepy” video, directed by Robert Sarkies, is another fine example of Dunedin gothic.
Dermania plays a woman in the midst of a nervous shower, protected from the stream of water with her yellow raincoat, and watching as a lizard crawls around the very shiny stainless steel shower base.
Meanwhile, the titular Mr Creepy is seen creeping around, sneaking up some stairs, while the freaky inhabitants of the house’s rooms are revealed. There’s a Frankenstein creature ready for an operation, white-robed holy figures, a trio of messy ice cream eaters.
Finally Mr Creepy finds Dermania in a bedroom, looking wide-eyed and innocent. He does something unspeakable to her, leaving her huddled in the shower, where she finds her reptilian friend. Or perhaps the lizard is really Mr Creepy? Either way, he’s going in a jar.
The video uses a house full of cinematic creepiness tropes, but eventually it reveals the most creepiest thing of all is a woman huddled in a shower, singing to a lizard.
wiltThe jordanreyne YouTube account explains that this video involves “A rock band imitating Jordan and the instrumentalists that played on her album. This video is full of evil twins from a past everyone denies.” Whoa.
And indeed the song is played by a black-clad band, with a singer who looks like Jordan Reyne. Without this knowledge, though, the video would pass for a fairly standard music video for a female-fronted rock band. And indeed, the video uses filters to give the effects of video lines as well as jumpy editing. Very rock.
The only hint that something is up is the slightly folky tinge to the song. That makes it seem like the song is actually a traditional Celtic folk song that Jordan’s given a rock edge, but in doing so she has actually triggered an ancient curse that will turn her band into evil twins.
Or maybe the “evil twin” story explains why Jordan made such a conventional rock chick music video. It wasn’t her – it was her twin.