Another track from the elusive Brett Sawyer. His single “Supercool” has almost no digital traces, but there is a brief review by Graham Reid in the NZ Herald, where he accurately describes Sawyer’s album When It Happens as being “Not bad, but over the long haul not gripping.”
Joshna’s single “Anything” notably was written by New Zealand songwriter Pam Sheyne, best known for co-writing Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”. The song has a cool housey sound with undeniable pop chops.
Mary “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)”
Mary contributed the gentle track “Big Boy (Santa’s In Town)” to Christmas on the Rocks a yuletide compilation of New Zealand indie artists. (It’s actually quite a good CD, by the way.)
Moana and the Tribe “Speak To Me”
Moana, having ditched the Moahunters and rebranded to Moana and the Tribe, has “Speak To Me” the first single off her third album “Rua”. It was, as Graham Reid noted in the Herald, a departure from the hip hop sounds of earlier albums and a move to the world music sound she’s known for today.
Suzanne Neumann “Lose Control”
Suzanne reports that the video for “Lose Control” was released and was played frequently on television. Unfortunately the video is not currently available online.
Before Friday “Now”
Before Friday were a duo of Dean Chandler and Ben Bell-Booth. They had a few singles – including “Now” – before deciding that it would be better if Dean went solo with Ben as his manager.
Carly Binding “We Kissed”
“We Kissed” was originally intended as the first single off TrueBliss’s second album, and indeed the funding was originally given as a TrueBliss single. But but eventually Carly Binding left the group, taking her pop with her. Carly’s first solo single was “Alright with Me (Taking it Easy)” had its video funded in 2002, leaving the funding for “We Kissed” on the books for later use.
Confucius was the work of Christchurch electronica musician Nava Thomas. Director Gaylene Barnes intriguingly describes the “Roll Call” video as “Confucius and MysteriousD become trapped in a drum and bass time warp, in this sepia toned music video which incorporates archive footage.” The video was also a finalist in the 2001 New Zealand Music Video Awards.
Sola Monday’s second and final funded video was “All For A Dance”, a sweet folky, jazzy number.
Splitter “Supermarket Girl”
August 2000 is proving to be not a particularly fruitful month for finding music videos online. Joining the missing persons line-up is Splitter with “Supermarket Girl”.
The Nomad “Life Forms”
There’s no sign of The Nomad’s second video, “Life Forms”.
DNE “The Cause”
DNE’s second and final video is for the upbeat dance-pop number “The Cause”. “We are bound to see this group do great things,” says the equally positive bio at Amplifier.
Goldfish Shopping Trolly (GST) “Hey You”
Goldfish Shopping Trolley (or GST for short) was the original name of Opshop. “Hey You” was their first single and has the classic Opshop anthemic sound. At the time, GST were threatening to release the alarmingly titled album “Homo-Electromagneticus”, which promised to capture “the turbulent etheric renderings and solid earthy rhythmic growl of the native New Zealand west coast”.
Breathe “She Said”
After a run of 10 videos, Breathe go out with “She Said”. They just seem like a band that – for whatever reason – never quite lived up to their potential.
Loniz “Child Street Blues”
Loniz were a Tauranga-based trio who later became Pacific Realm. “Child Street Blues” was their first single, which the Kiwi Hit Disc says was playlisted on iwi and b.Net radio stations.
Weta were one of those bands who seemed hovering on the verge of greatness, but for whatever reason, things didn’t happen. (But things are very much happening for Aaron Tokona’s new band, the psychedelic AhoriBuzz). This is Weta at their best, getting series amongst shipping containers.
Wash were another band jumping on the nu rock bandwagon. And while there’s scratching all over “Who Am I”, there’s no sign of a DJ in the video. Instead they look like a pretty ordinary four-piece rock band. The song itself sounds like a throw back to the sounds of a decade prior, with a very strong influence from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine.
The video is pretty simple. The band, dressed in black, play the song in a white studio. It’s a good low-budget way to present the band and, oh, how the lead singer’s crispy hair spikes stand out against the bright background.
Alternating with the band are shots of dudes skateboarding. When the lyrics are firing off lines about generic young-man anger, it doesn’t quite work showing clips of skilled skateboarders who appear to be really enjoying themselves, no doubt doing what they love.
That’s the trouble with skating. It’s fun. The dudes who do it love what they do. One video that uses skating well is Spike Jonze’s video for the Sonic Youth song “100%”. He basically shot a bunch of his friends (including a young, cheerful Jason Lee), and the laidback, stylish presentation of their street skating fits with the laidback, stylish song.
The “Who Am I” video, however, makes me want to see more of the skating and less of the band. This was the only Wash video that had NZ On Air funding. The band had a few years of success in the early 2000s (including a sweet Linkin Park support gig) before disbanding.
So, this is an interesting video. “As Good as it Gets” was a non-album single, the first new release after the run of singles from their debut album “Supersystem”. The song addresses “my honeymoon child”, but it very much feels like the honeymoon is over.
“As Good as it Gets” is laden with digital effects. The video is colour graded to the notorious teal and orange palette, but this was years before teal and orange was a big annoying thing. So there’s some cutting edge visuals from the Feelers.
There’s also lots of CGI with a the video being set in a stylised high-rise building with each room containing an interesting person from the world of music videos. Let’s do a roll call: interpretive dancer, schoolboy writing lines, hula hooper, a tap-dancing amputee, a mechanic working on inflatable pool toy cars, an aerial silk performer and a martial arts practitioner. All that’s missing is an old person doing something outrageous.
Whereas previous videos put the Feelers at the centre of all the action, it seems like this video marks the point where the Feelers have given up trying to do the big sexy rock star thing. The energy of “Pressure Man” is a distance memory. In this video they’re wearing sensible jumpers and all look like a band of dads, leaving the crazy to the hired hands. This, the Feelers are declaring, actually is as good as it gets.
Best bit: the giant orange shorts the interpretive dancer wears.
“There ain’t enough to go round in this world. It’s alright!” sings Renee. Is this an upbeat anthem in favour of inequality? Well, kind of. It’s not on a world scale. Instead it’s intended as the voice of wisdom for a younger woman worried that her boyfriend doesn’t love her as much as she loves him. That situation, it seems, is alright.
It’s an energetic tune that makes conscious use of a DJ, putting it bang on trend in the world of nu metal. The video goes with this energy, staging it as a live performance. It’s a slick but simple video, keeping things basic but making it look good. It reminds me of Stellar’s “Bastard” video but with an audience.
The video opens with a doorman sliding back a metal door where an audience moshes in slowmo. Then it all kicks off. The first band member we meet is the DJ, just to make sure we know that Tadpole have DJ. And he is scratching.
Eventually Renee appears, with exotic makeup that includes rectangular eyeshadow with little pearl beads glued to the corners. I blame Bjork for this alien chic look that invaded fashion at the turn of the millennium.
To help illustrate the song, we also see young couples at the venue who are having issues in their relationship which conveniently enough match the theme of the song.
We also see the rest of the band, each shot as individuals. This might actually be because they’re not playing on a full width stage. I mean, we never actually see the band together as a full group. Maybe it was a conceptual performance art piece where each member played his or her part individually. Or perhaps this also ties in with the theme of unequal relationships. Whoa.
Best bit: Renee’s eyeball acting, emphasised by her exotic makeup.
cI wish I knew more about this video because it’s intriguing. The video looks to be a remix of an Indian film (or TV show) from the early 1970s. The beginning of the vid announces it’s “In association with Indian TV Nayan”, but all I can find about Indian TV Nayan is that they were, er, struck off the companies register in 2002. But I’m going to assume they provided the vintage footage to be chopped up for the Kiwi Eurohouse anthem of the new millennium.
There are scenes of groovy band playing in a groovy nightclub. A smiling go-go dancer – who has awesome hair – shakes her boobs, wiggles her bum and thrusts her crotch at the camera. And we see these bits over and over. It’s all very Austin Powers.
There’s also some action at an outdoor party, with elegant guests gathered around a pool. It turns out it’s a wedding. But this ain’t no high-drama “November Rain”-style nuptials. It’s a traditional Indian wedding, with all the colour and bling that brings. The bride and groom take their vows, then enjoy a dance together.
And that’s about it. The song is a lite, feelgood track and the video takes a similar path. It’s not trying to make any deep statements about Indian culture or weddings or the depiction of women in music videos. It reminds me of the sort of practice edits we used to do in film school. It’s just a bunch of visually interesting stuff cut together to accompany the song.
Best bit: the groom arriving on bedazzled horseback.
“Sport and Religion” was the fourth video from “The General Electric”, but it wasn’t accompanied by a single release, and the vid feels like a cheapie promo.
The video was directed by Aaron Dustin of Morse Media (who were also behind the late great NZmusic.com) and the video is filmed at a live Shihad performance. I’m going to assume it was at the Wellington Town Hall. The venue is packed the the audience is surging with energy.
But despite Shihad’s fierce live reputation, the video is an awkward combo of the performance and the song. The song has processed vocals and is layered with electronic sounds. The live performance isn’t a lip-sync and only roughly matches the song. The video editing does a good job of getting around this, but it still doesn’t quite work as a concert video. But if you consider the video on its own, it’s a brilliant visual record of Shihad kicking arse at their peak.
The song, a call for there to be more to life than just the double pacifiers of sport and religion, has a feeling of both hope and despair. And that’s kind of what the video has too. Here’s a band rocking out, but it feels a little gloomy.
Along with label mates Deep Obsession, Nicolette was another part of the Christopher Banks dance pop universe. Her debut single was a cover of “Blue Day” (video currently missing), and “Harden Up” was her first original single.
The song is an angry tirade (“I’m in a bad bad mood!”) about a man who done her wrong and the video starts off with Nicolette working out her anger in a kickboxing class. She’s joined by a group of people who actually look like the sort of people you’d expect to see in a kickboxing class. Everyone’s wearing ordinary gym gear, rather than any kind of fancy music video threads. There’s lots of formation kickboxing, and Nicolette does a few Sporty Spice kicks at the camera.
We leave the gym and get a series of fun “Harden Up” lessons, where Nicolette uses some self-defence techniques on four man-pests, including a guy in a rabbit costume who’s bothering her in bed. If some of the moves look impressively smooth, that’s because Nicolette’s day job was as a stuntwoman, famously playing the stunt double of Gabrielle in Xena.
Back in the kickboxing class, there’s an alarming sequence of three ladies rhythmically kicking three guys in the balls. Whoa.
The crazy thing about this video is that the while the gym class ‘nad attack is a fantasy, the four self-defence lessons actually use real techniques. Even though Nicolette is fending off comedy sex pests and love rats, the techniques she’s using are based on tricks that would work in real life. The song might tell the rogue lover to “harden up”, but the video is also encouraging women to harden up their self-defence skills. But don’t go attacking a nerdy workmate just because he spilled a drink on you.
Best bit: Nicolette’s perfect rockabilly chick look, pre-empting the mid ’00s revival.
“Cut to the Chase” is a delightful pop song, Greg Johnson doing what he does best. I think it was used on a TV commercial, giving the chorus an extra familiar punch.
The video opens with the lights flickering on in some sort of high-ceilinged space. Greg leans towards the ring-flash-lit camera and his face is lit with the warm, even glow of the ’90s. And very slowly, he moves along the centre of the room, with the fluorescent tubes on the ceiling passing behind him.
But things get a little edgier in the video’s other setting. He’s sitting on a stool in front of screen with a back projected film of a dashboard view of a drive through pleasant greenery plays behind him. There’s no attempt to pretend he’s somehow in this setting. It’s purely decorative. It’s not unlike Madonna’s “Don”t Tell Me” video from much much later in 2000, or, indeed like One Direction’s “Kiss You” video. The background changes, also including scenes of a motorway and an aerial exploration of Auckland at night.
Greg is mostly on his own, but occasionally he is joined by a lyrically relevant prop – map, a table cloth, and a glass of orange juice with a cocktail umbrella. And we also see a few dark silhouettes passing in the background.
Then, at the end of the video, there’s an enjoyable twist of sorts. The camera pulls back and the fantasy of the music video ends. There’s the ceiling with the fluorescent lights, the screen and the dolly track used to make the video. And it’s no fancy television studio, but an ordinary community hall. In the background, a brass band strikes up, reminding the Greg Johnson party that they’ve got the hall booked next.
Best bit: the fruity drink, inelegantly missing a bendy straw.
Ok, let’s kick off 2013 with not just another new year, but a new millennium. We resume our journey in the year 2000. DLT’s album “Altruism” was the follow-up to his 1996 debut solo album “The True School”. While his first album had the massive number one hit single “Chains”, the first single off “Altruism” only charted at 19. But here’s the kicker – “Altruism” charted higher than “The True School”.
And where “Chains” featured the mighty Che Fu, “I’m Your MC” had guest vocals from two previously unknown American female MCs, Sage and Gravity. The song takes its inspiration from Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman”, by way of Ice T’s “I’m Your Pusher”.
But anyway, to the video. Despite being the central focus of the song, the two MCs are absent from the video, and DLT is depicted as a shadowy, limelight-avoiding figure. Instead the video focuses on people who move, with a broad selection of dancers and martial artists doing their thing in front of flaming fiery flames.
The only person not moving is a pregnant woman who stands still, contemplating her swollen belly. Hey, that baby is now a 12-year-old.
Nothing much happens in the video. Once we’ve cycled through the collection of movers kicking, swaying, flipping and breaking, it starts to feel quite repetitive. The song and the video suffer not having the MCs present. If this was a showreel for a performing arts school, then it would make sense, but the visuals feel disconnected from the song. And that’s a pity because it’s a brilliant song.
Best bit: the middle-aged woman with a sword. Fear her.