The Feelers “Space Cadet”

1998-the-feelers-space-cadetThis is possibility the first video that’s not just inspired by the style of Quentin Tarantino’s films but also the non-linear storylines. The “Space Cadet” video is all about a briefcase which surely contains an antique McGuffin.

The story begins with James Feelers playing an assassin type, accompanied by a lady assassin. Both are wearing sleek black outfits and eyeliner, so obviously they don’t stand out or anything. The assassins retrieve the briefcase from the boot of a car and return to a sleazy hotel room.

We also meet James Feelers playing a crazy type person, holed up in a grimy lair, dressed in shiny black, wearing heavy eye makeup and being all crazy. And just for contrast, there’s the full Feelers experience, just three dudes in a band.

Ok, so let’s have some plot. The two other Feelers go to the lair of the crazy Feeler (he must be sleeping) and take the briefcase. The assassins later come around and are angered to find the briefcase has been taken. No worries – they find the two Feelers sitting in a car and shoot them nine times, take the briefcase and – whoa, etc – that’s the car and the briefcase from the beginning of the video.

Back in the hotel, the lady assassin shoots the James Feelers assassin, but yet we don’t ever find out what happened to the crazy James Feelers. I like to think he’s still there in his lair, caked in greasy black eye makeup and real stressed over his long missing briefcase.

Best bit: Assassin James’s “FUUUUUUUUUUU” moment.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… short popstar, tall girlfriend.

Sina “Don’t Be Shy”

1998-sina-dont-be-shyPreviously known for being “sweet Sina” singing the chorus of “How Bizarre”, Sina went solo with the sunny “Don’t Be Shy”.

The video is very simple, with Sina in an almost empty, windowless room, accompanied only by a chair, a bed and a guitar. This could be really dull, but the video was directed by Mark Tierney so it has style. It’s nicely lit, with some of that high-contrast lighting that was cool in the ’90s.

Though strangely enough, some of the camera angles aren’t so flattering. Sina’s wearing a halterneck top, and – as any disciple of Trinny and Susannah knows – a halterneck top on a larger-bosomed woman can look like a giant monoboob extending from the neck. This happens in a few shots and I’m surprised these made the final cut.

But monoboobs aside, this is a good, simple video that is a fine introduction to Sina as a solo artist. And indeed this piece of summery South Pacific pop made it to #2 in the charts.

Best bit: the brief glimpse of Sina’s jandal-clad feet.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the assassin, the crazy man and the rock star.

Head Like A Hole “Comfortably Shagged”

1998-hlah-comfortably-shaggedIn 1998 HLAH released “Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It?” aka HLAH: The Sex Years, on account of all the singles released off it being about sexy sex. There’s something cutely adolescent about it, like someone who’s figured out what sex is and wants everyone to know about it.

The video itself isn’t especially erotic or even sexy. It’s based about the very masculine, sweaty, smelly enviroment of a HLAH gig, alternating with Booga Beazley in a silver room. The lyrics speak of a man who’s in bed with “mirrors above my head”, but the bedroom presented is a mundane hotel room, with a chaste peach interior.

Then it’s time for some outdoor fun, with various outdoor high jinks, including the drummer drumming/hooning around a roundabout in Invercargill. The video then finishes with scenes from an outdoor concert in… oh crap, it’s Christchurch. No matter what HLAH’s sexy intentions were, seeing the dearly departed rose window of the Cathedral lurking in the background is an instant boner killer. *sad face*

Best bit: scenic Invercargill!

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… from bizarre to sweet.

High Dependency Unit “Lull Dark Restart”

1998-hdu-lull-dark-restartVideos like this are difficult to write about. This is not an especially commercial music video. It’s not playing by the same sort of rules that most other music videos use. If every music video sits somewhere on the continuum of art and advertising, this video is far down the art end.

“Lull Dark Restart” is mainly an instrumental track, with an ambient feeling. Most of the video is made up of micrograph footage of the workings of a watch. There’s a combination of traditional watch elements like cogs, as well as modern electronic bits.

Amid all this is occasional appearances from a guy wearing no shirt. He walks back and forth, looking meaningful, occasionally lip-synching the indistinct vocal samples.

This reminds me of the video for Cicada’s song “Winter”. Like Cicada’s video, “Lull Dark Restart” feels like it’s only meant to be a visual accompaniment to the song and isn’t fussed with selling records. And so I feel that the video isn’t really intended for me, but rather just for those who already enjoy HDU’s music.

Best bit: the gleefully implausible lip-sync.



Directors: Jason Kerr, Constantine Karlis
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… getting high on artificial grass.

Graham Brazier “Long Gone For Good”

1998-graham-brazier-long-gone-for-goodGoing solo after the world of Hello Sailor, Graham enters a stylish, noirish world of the night, where three bad people each end up dead in the boot of a car. But is this the real life or is it just a revenge fantasy?

Guided by the lyrics, there’s Shorty, who “thinks he’s a big man”, but meets a grisley fate after drugging a woman; Nancy the lurex-clad stripper who throws a jiggling client (eeeew) out of a high building; and a salesman (played by Paolo Rotondo) whose manic sales pitch ends with his beheading.

During the instrumental break, the screen splits into thirds and all three stories are simultaenously shown again, each ending with the same car in the same dark alley.

It’s left unclear whether there really are three murders or if it’s just a dark fantasy of stressed out individuals living tough lives.

This grimy world is left behind with Graham finding a smashed bottle of milk on his sunny suburban doorstep. Hey, that’s milk in bottles, even though back in 1998 milk was widely available in cartons and plastic bottles. But was it really smashed? Perked up by a cup of instant, Graham finishes the video by just playing the song, then he’s gone.

Best bit: the salesman’s glamorous mannequin prop.

Director: Marek Sumich
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… micro tick, macro tock.

Missing videos from 1998

February 1998

Bike “Take In The Sun”

Bike have the rather Fits-esque sounding “Take In The Sun”. The video was shot on Super 8 film in Mexico.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Coelacanth “Never”

Coelacanth return with “Never”. The Kiwi Hit Disc likened this song to Bailter Space and quoted Tearaway magazine enthusing, “Their music is to die for. We like them very much.”

Lole “Take You Higher”

Another track from Lole. This time she has “Take You Higher”.

Salmonella Dub “Loletta”

Back before Salmonella Dub were the kings of barbecue reggae, they had “Loletta”, an askew jazzy number. From memory, the video was a studio-based black and white job. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform in monochrome while the subject of song is in colour in backstreets”.

Director: David Reid
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1998

Bailter Space “Argonaut”

“Argonaut” is an epic instrumental from Bailter Space.

Director: Alistair Parker
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Barry Saunders “Colour Me Blue (Song For Jas)”

The Kiwi Hit Disc noted that “Colour Me Blue” was a “heartfelt ode” to Barry’s “globetrotting son”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Barry walking on rural road as cyclist passes. Cyclist seen in various rural locations interspersed with Barry singing in one room then another.”

Director: James Cowley
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Started Something”

“Started Something” is another video from the early days of Breathe. The track has an epic film montage sound to it. The Film Archive describes the video as, “Band perform in leaking warehouse/ garage.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Outer Space”

“Outer Space” is an upbeat pop-track, produced by Eddie Rayner. The Split Enz connection continues, with Bryan Bell saying that the song was “‘Loving The Alien‘ meets ‘Poor Boy‘”.

Michelle Rounds “Culture Cross”

Singer Michelle Rounds had the song “Culture Cross”.

Muckhole “Lie”

Auckland punks Muckhole had “Lie” from their “Fresh Muck” EP. That video ain’t nowhere to be seen. But instead here’s “Cool Guy” from 1997. It reached No.48 in the singles chart. The video was made without NZ On Air funding for a mere $2000.

Southside of Bombay “Say”

“Say” was produced by Ian Morris (who had previously produced “What the Time Mr Wolf”). The Kiwi Hit Disc quoted band member Kevin Hodges saying that the love song, “just felt like a good summer single”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1998

Dave Dobbyn “Hanging in the Wire”

“Hanging in the Wire” was a track from Dave Dobbyn’s album “The Islander”.

Freaker “All Alone”

“All Alone” was the second of Freaker’s two funded videos. An album was planned but it didn’t get released due to the closure of record label Deepgrooves, so it’s likely this meant the “All Alone” video wasn’t made either.

New Loungehead “Ike Just Do It”

New Loungehead subvert a corporate slogan with “Ike Just Do It”, from their album “Came a Weird Way”. New Loungehead were another signed to Deepgrooves.

Pause “Jana”

Pause’s second funded song is “Jana”. Dub Dot Dash has more about Pause and their never-released album. Pause were also signed to Deepgrooves.

August 1998

Ma-V-Elle “Love Is”

Vocal trio Ma-V-Elle were back with “Love Is”, the soulful closing track from their debut album.

Mary “Bigger”

Girl band Mary have the track “Bigger”. Nga Taonga offers this rather comprehensive description of the video: “A woman sits at night in a green corner diner/coffee bar with large windows (which recalls the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks at the Diner”). A car approaches with the guitarist in the back seat. Mary perform “Bigger” on a TV screen in the diner. The car stops for the singer/ guitarist.”

Director: Peter Bannan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

NV “Don’t Make Me Wait”

Wellington trio NV have “Don’t Make Me Wait”, described by the Herald has having a “bitter brand of bubblegum”. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Woman sings on roadside with warehouse, pedestrians and traffic – and later rioters – behind her.”

Directors: Wayne Conway, Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist “Superkool”

Named after the last Dutch governor of New York and/or an international cigarette brand, the Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their entertaining loungey grooves. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Four office workers in a pub sing karaoke to the Peter Stuyvesant Hit List’s “Superkool”. The Peter Stuyvesant Hit List are seen performing on the karaoke screen.” Ah, the old “music video as karaoke track” treatment.

Director: Carla Rotondo
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sina “Boy”

Another solo track from Sina. “Boy” was from the soundtrack of “Once Were Warriors” sequel “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”, but was never actually released as a single.

Stereo Bus “Hey Thank You”

The Stereo Bus have the rather cheerful “Hey Thank You”, sounding like The Cure on a happy day.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1998

Ardijah “Silly Love Songs”

Ardijah bring a Pacific flavour (i.e. ukulele) to the Wings tune “Silly Love Songs”. The song went to No.1 in January 1999. Here’s Ardijah performing the song at a Polynesian music festival in Hawaii. In 2015, Ardijah offspring Beau Monga covered “Silly Love Songs” on The X Factor, which he later went on to win.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bailter Space “Big Cat”

“Big Cat” was the penultimate video that Bailter Space had funded in the ’90s, before returning with “World We Share” in 2012.

Leza Corban “Comfort & Joy”

Debbie Harwood put her coordination skills to good use with the album “Angels”, featuring New Zealand singers (Hammond Gamble, Rikki Morris, Mika) and TV personalities (Willy de Witt, Leanne Malcolm and Nick-bloody-Eynon) covering classic Christmas songs. Leza Corban, who had previously sung with Strawpeople, had the first single “Comfort & Joy”.

December 1998

Brett Sawyer “She Came Along”

The video for Brett Sawyer’s song “She Came Along” was filmed at St Leo’s school hall in Devonport.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Eye TV “Doo Song”

Eye TV have the comedically named “The Doo Song”. The Kiwihits entry notes it was rerecorded and released in 2000, and the database note that the funding was changed to the “Doo Song” from their song “Ditch Witch”.

NV “Unlikely”

“Classy come-down band” NV have the single “Unlikely”, which was a nominee for Best Video in the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards. Nga Taonga describes the videos as, “Singer in Queensland lakes setting and on jetty”, by which I think they mean Queenstown.

Directors: Wayne Conway, Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Paua Fritters “Her Story”

Paua Fritters are (were? I think they’re still together) an acoustic folk-pop group with busking roots. “Her Story” was a finalist in the 1998 APRA Silver Scroll awards.

Pause “Kronos”

“Kronos” is another track from Deepgrooves artist Pause.

Instead…

In the world of non-NZOA-funded videos, 1998 saw Neil Finn contending with a 50-foot woman in the video for “She Will Have Her Way”. Neil is expertly integrated with footage from films “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock”, making him the beau of the towering heroine, a height pairing reminiscent of the golden days of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision