Gasoline Cowboy “I Hear You Call My Name”

2003-gasoline-cowboy-i-hear-you-call-my-nameGasoline Cowboy originally came from Christchurch and was made from ex members of previous Canterbury bands Slim and Fuce. The video takes inspiration from the band’s name, and casts singer Jolyon Mulholland as a cowboy, wandering the countryside.

Most of the video is sepiatone, giving it that ye olde wild west feel, but Jolyon is shown in black and white, with a fuzzy watercolour-style filter. He looks like he’s escaped from the magical hand-drawn comic world of A-ha’s “Take On Me” video.

I think the idea is that this is some sort of robot or hologram cowboy. Because after things going in a very ordinary direction (man rides horse), suddenly they get a bit sci-fi. He stops the horse at a petrol station and fills up the horse with quality Europa fuel. But then this raises the question – if the horse runs on gasoline, what’s all the hay doing in the barn? And what happens if you accidentally give the horse unleaded petrol? Will it run wild? This point should actually be covered.

The video feels like someone’s come up with the “Gasoline Cowboy = petrol-powered horse” gag and constructed the entire video around it with nothing much else in the video either side of the gag. So it ends up feeling quite slow and empty.

Best bit: the horse’s elegant side-on pose for the camera.

Director: Richard Bell

Next… colour me prickly.

Concord Dawn “Don’t Tell Me”

2003-concord-dawn-dont-tell-meThis is an angry dude anthem. On the main refrain, Tiki Taane snarls, “Don’t tell me what to do! Don’t tell me what to play! I got my own idea and I don’t give a care!” Which makes it seem like he is incapable of saying no, that if someone tells him to do something he doesn’t want to do, he feels compelled to do it anyway. Dude, this is all you need to do. Just say in a really whiny voice, “Oh, I’m gonna have to pass this time. I’ve had a rough week and I need rest. And I have a headache. I’m just gonna have a bath and go to bed.”

“Don’t Tell Me” takes the angry vocals of Tiki and combines it with the angry music of Concord Dawn, and I can imagine this song being popular with 15-year-old boys whose mum has just reminded them again that the lawn still needs mowing.

The action begins in a stark old warehouse. A guy in a white top pulls himself up off the ground and starts sprinting through the warehouse, shot in slow-motion with an bleak blue-grey colour palette. He’s soon joined by two others wearing black. They seem to be in a race, with the coveted leading position being most important at all times.

We then meet Tiki, standing in the same warehouse, being angry by himself. He’s also joined by Concord Dawn, with the three of them standing around while they’re covered with mysterious indoor rain.

I feel like I can’t fully embrace the world of “Don’t Tell Me” because I’m waaay outside the target audience, but eventually the white shirt guy wins the race and Tiki is smiling as he performs, so maybe things aren’t all that bad in angry dude land.

Best bit: the indoor rain – where does it come from?

Director: Andrew Morton
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… fill ‘er up.

Betchadupa “Move Over”

2003-betchadupa-move-over“Move Over” was the first single from Betchadupa’s second and final album “Aiming for Your Head”. It reached #14 in the New Zealand charts and it has the sound of a band becoming even better at songcraft and performance. It has bit of a Pixies loud-quiet thing, and some classic Finn melody, as well as generally awesome pop stylings.

The video is shot in black and white, and is based around the band performing the song in a grungy old room. But not everything is as it seems.

The room appears to be all walls and no floor or ceiling. There’s Liam’s standing against a wall, next to a window… except he’s actually lying on the floor, with a bandmate stepping over him. Whoa.

But the weird room and crazy gravity situation isn’t played for laughs, like the upside-down antics of Goodshirt’s “Green” video. It’s more used to create a sense of unease, that something isn’t quite right with the world.

The video is directed by Greg Page, and it’s another example of his ability to capture the live energy of a band. Here’s Betchadupa going crazy with their performance – and maybe they’re rocking out so hard it’s making the room spin. Awesome.

Best bit: the drummer’s horizontal drumming, neatly keeping his hair out of his face.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the anger games.

Baitercell & Schumacher “What’s Down Low”

2003-baitercell-and-schumacher-whats-down-lowAccording to the duo’s bio on Amplifier, “What’s Down Low” was “the #2 most played track on NZ Alt Radio for 2004”. Well, that’s something.

This “cult breaks track” (says the YouTube description) features guest vocals from Miss Bex Bexasty, but the video features neither Bailtercell, Schumacher or Bexasty.

Instead it features footage of urban scenes, both indoors and outdoors, with the images sliced into smaller boxes on screen. It’s like that trend for 1960s-style overlapping boxes, but stripped of its humanness and given a cold, hard computer personality.

“Show me hell,” the lyrics implore. And we’re shown a deserted road straddled by big power pylons, shot in black and white footage that’s more a depressing grey than sharp black and white.

Then things get micro with a close up of some fat raindrops, and we see them falling down onto the city streets, filmed like falling bomb rather than delicate droplets. It’s obvious that a lot of stuff in the video is computer generated. But is all of it? It’s hard to tell, with the low-ish res version on YouTube and the greyness of the footage. But I like that – an uncanny valley city.

Best bit: the star-shape formed by the upwards camera angle through the city buildings.

Next… off the wall.

Augustino “Going Downtown”

2003-augustino-downtownIt’s another Augustino song that’s an ode to the high life. “I’m going downtown! I wanna get high,” sneers Sean on the chorus. But being a music video, there’s no graphic depiction of drugs. Instead the video opens with series of empty shot glasses, with the drinkers signalling for more. They never feature again in the video. Oh, so with all those unfilled glasses, maybe the band is just high on life.

“Going Downtown” is bright, energetic rock song with never a quiet moment. The video goes with this, depicting the band performing outside in Auckland at night, with the illuminated shaft of Sky Tower popping up in the distance. It’s all looking very sexy, with great lighting. The camera work does much to capture the energy of the song. It runs around the band as they’re playing, with good rock video editing getting the rhythm.

Sean is a fantastic frontman and works the camera with his great rock swagger. In fact, The rest of the band are looking cool, but there’s also a vibe like a bunch of guys who work in advertising who’ve decided to form a band. There’s a lot of coolness, but it always seems to feel like it’s being done because that’s what you’re supposed to do in a rock video.

Best bit: the “I wanna get high” sweep up the Sky Tower.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Next… chubby rain.