Goodnight Nurse “Loner”

2003-goodnight-nurse-lonerIf I’d come to this video a year ago, I’d have noted that the band split up in 2010, with the guitarist forming electro-pop group Kids of 88 and the lead singer co-writing and producing the Kids’ first album.

But now the skinny-arse lead singer is best known for being Lorde’s songwriting partner and producer. The young dude who sangs lyrics like “I shit myself whenever I see you!” is now the man with the richly earned Silver Scroll and Grammy for Song of the Year.

It’s fun to revisit Goodnight Nurse. The “Loner” video is a simple performance video, with the band on stage in front of a small group of enthusiastic fans, carefully shot to look bigger than reality. The video is bookended by a couple of stereotypical sexy nurses (it’s always classic nurse tunics, never modern scrubs) opening and closing the doors on an ambulance full of smoke.

The band’s sound is almost cookie-cutter pop-punk, but despite the shitty lyrics, there’s something infectious about the song’s chorus. There’s potential there, but there’s potential in a lot of New Zealand bands that never end up getting Silver Scrolls. In this video profile, Joel talks about his work with Lorde, and the importance of hard work. Is that the secret? He just keep working, from pop-punk to electro-pop and eventually to the top of the Billboard charts.

Best bit: the amazing fireballs, oh so casually whooshing up the back of the stage.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… domestic terrors.

Goldenhorse “Northern Lights”

2003-goldenhorse-northern-lightsThe video that’s been uploaded to YouTube is very dark. I don’t know if this is deliberate or whether something has gone wrong somewhere, but combined with the vintage scratchy styles of the film, the end result is like an old film that’s been rescued from a sunken ship.

Goldenhorse seem to make two types of videos – weird ones and winery tour ones. “Northern Lights” takes the same sort of winery tour approach that “Maybe Tomorrow” did. There’s the band performing and enjoying the great outdoors on their tour.

But the difference is the aforementioned vintage styles. It seems to have been shot on film and then hand-coloured, Len-Lye-style with all sorts of layers. And this is where the video seems to run into trouble with darkness. I looks like there are too many layers and when the song is reaching its peak, there’s a murky shot of Kirsten. Maybe it’s a comment on the song’s title. We’re in the south – ain’t no light here?

“Northern Lights” was the group’s last single from their debut album. The song and the video capture them in peak pleasantness, but I wonder if the literal darkness of the video is their weirder, darker side trying to come through.

Best bit: the layering that combines a live performance with scenic New Zealand.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a medical immergency.

Fast Crew “I Got”

2003-fast-crew-i-gotOh hey, it’s Fast Crew! We’re introduced to their fast and furious world as the group and their posse are hanging out in the brand new Britomart Transport Centre. That area has previous been seen in Dei Hamo’s “We Gon’ Ride” video, and even earlier Semi Lemon Kola were running around the old bus depot that was demolished to make way for the new. But for the first time, the Fast Crew ventured inside, all the way down to the train platforms.

Dane Rumble kicks of the song with a performance style that reveals he has a very very wide mouth and a piece of chewing gum in it. At this stage he was using the name Kid Deft, which I don’t fully understand because Dane Rumble – his real name – is the most perfect pop star name ever. He’s easily the most charismatic of the group’s three MCs, with the other two almost blending in with the posse.

After Britomart, the group do a bit of breakdancing down a cool looking brick alley, then move on to that Housing New Zealand housing on Great North Road on Grey Lynn – before the posh apartment block was built next door. The one thing that unites the different locations in the video is some black and white check vinyl, laid down for the Crew and friends to bust a move. Things are going well, until a limo full of the Crews rivals turn up, blasting their next single, “The Incredible”. “To be continued”, a graphic threatens.

This is the second Fast Crew video (the first was for “Mr Radio”), but in a way this feels more like their debut. This song was the first of the group’s run of three top 10 hits, and it established them as a goofy yet street, nerdy but hot hip hop/pop crew that had some business to do.

Best bit: the manic face-in-camera style for the rapped bits.

Director: Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a dark light.

Fang “I Can’t Help It”

2003-fang-i-cant-help-itFang was led by Arch Hill label boss Ben Howe, and these cool indie grown-ups produced cool indie pop. “I Can’t Help It” was the first of their two NZ On Air-funded music video.

We find the band playing the song in an old villa. The walls are draped with colourful hangings and it’s all very boho. A mysterious furry figure quickly passes in front of the band. The version of the video that’s been uploaded to YouTube is very pixelly – looking very much like a product of the ’00s – which just makes the furry figure seem more mysterious. A Grey Lynn yeti?

The band plays on, then the furry figure reappears. It’s… a person in a novelty pink gorilla costume, just like the one seen in Voom’s “King Kong” video. And I like to think there’s some sort of narrative going on here, like a scene girl who likes hanging out with indie Auckland bands.

The band put down their instruments and take a seat, watching Pinky as she has a go on all the instruments. She even gets behind the drumkit, predating the Cadbury drumming gorilla by three years.

The band aren’t impressed with this furry newcomer and send her away, returning to their rightful places on stage. While they continue to pop-rock on, the gorilla is seen slouching down the road, seemingly saddened by her failure to become Fang’s new member.

The gorilla is important. The video would be pretty uneventful if the gorilla didn’t appear. I mean, if you were sitting in a living room watching Fang play, you’d want something eventful to happen.

Best bit: the enthusiasm the gorilla has in her performances.

Directors: Richard Bell, Stephen McCarthy

Next… big mouth strikes again.

Evermore “It’s Too Late (Ride On)”

2003-evermore-its-too-late“It’s Too Late” was the first Evermore single to chart, but here’s the thing – it only charted in Australia (#16), not New Zealand. It wasn’t until 2006 that the Hume brothers began charting in their home country. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that this video was filmed in Australia – Brisbane to be precise.

But the video doesn’t take advantage of the tropical Queensland climate. Instead the video is shot at night, set in a spooky enchanted forest type location. There’s the moon and a mysterious clock and not a pineapple in sight.

While the brothers are performing the song inside the trunk and/or above-ground roots of a giant tree, another guy wanders around the forest. He seems to be involved in steampunk treasure hunt happening, with cogs and other clock components being collected to make a clock. Maybe this is some kind of initiation ritual, casting for an extra guitarist to take on tour.

The wanderer collects all the clock pieces, assembles the clock and presents it to the moon. The moon, strangely enough, doesn’t respond.

Yeah, the video is a little bit silly, but the song is strong and by this stage Evermore were very experienced performers, so it all works. There aren’t many videos that can get away with a guy presenting a clock to the moon.

Best bit: skilful lighting that turns tropical flora into a Disney-quality haunted forest.

Director: Sarah-Jane Woulahan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… big pink 2: the return.

Emma Paki & Dam Native “Stand Alone”

2003-emma-paki-stand-aloneEmma Paki’s song “Stand Alone” was remixed by Dam Native, adding some hip hop sounds and rapped verses. It’s a long track – over five minutes – and it seems like it could have easily had 90 trimmed from it and still had its epic sound.

The video sees Emma outside at a beach and in some woods. She’s wearing a kind of lavalava/sarong, like a funky mermaid. We also see her inside, in front of a wall hung with all sorts of artworks. It all has a really relaxed feeling, like visiting a hippy artist friend who lives at the beach.

We also meet the guys from Dam Native. They’re sitting in a really brightly lit room. There’s a problem with the way the shots are lit because the performers are seated in front of a large window with a carved piece on it. So either the background is bright white and the performers look regular, or the background is regular and the performers are shadowy.

As it is, much of the indoor scenes feel like a bunch of friends making a lip-dub video on their couch at home. Emma and the Dam Native guys are great, but the video (and the XXL song, to a certain extent) feel like they just need to be tightened up a bit.

Best bit: Emma in the ocean, like a mermaid of the south seas.

Director: Rongotai Lomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… by the light of the silvery moon.

Dimmer “Come Here”

2003-dimmer-come-hereI think this video counts as an animation. It consists of hundreds of Polaroid photos. They photos are filmed in sequential groups, creating a sense of movement, which is pretty much film-making 101.

Sometimes there’s a number of Polaroids being dropped in a stack on a table. Sometimes they’re filmed in close-up, giving a sense of jerky, slightly fuzzy film, rather than a series of photos. And things get really meta when people in the video hold up a Polaroid of themselves – a video of a Polaroid of a Polaroid.

Everyone in the photo is beautiful – Shane Carter, guest vocalist Anika Moa and the various model-like extras who wear clothes well.

It’s a cool, saucy song (well, it is Dimmer). The video gets that. Instead of taking a lazy route and having generic sexy antics, instead it creates a sexy vibe. What’s going on in the crimson-curtained room? Is it some sort of pervy audition or fashion shoot? Whatever it is, the video gives us a chance to flick through a fat stack of Polaroids and pretend we’re part of that world.

Best bit: the hand-numbering on the photos.

Directors: Simon Oosterdijk, Kelvin Soh
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… home by the sea.

Brooke Fraser “Saving The World”

2003-brooke-fraser-saving-the-worldThis song feels a bit out of sequence, like it should have been released a couple of years later, but all evidence points to it being from 2004. Ok.

Brooke has got her tongue pierced, which changed the way she sung – a bonus for fans of acquired lisps. She also has a smoky eye thing happening, which I think is when the “set Fraser to stun” phase kicked off.

The video follows the journey of a toy squeezy ball globe of the world. It’s sitting in a rubbish bin and gets kicked and jostled around the city, including hitching a ride on a truckload of manure.

It’s also used as an impromptu rugby ball, manhandled by a dog, and just generally gets kicked around a bit. Oh, won’t someone save the world? Where is Brooke when we need her?

She’s singing at a bus stop, on a very rainy day. With water bucketing down around her, it’s not going to be good situation to busk in. It reminds me of the leakiest bus stop ever, which is Stop B outside Petone Station, in case you’re wondering.

As it happens, the toy globe ends up making its way back to the rubbish bin from the beginning, but this time it crosses Brooke’s path. Oh look – she has saved the world from ending up in a rubbish truck. Hooray!

The comedy antics of the globe aside, the scenes of Brooke at the bus stop are really lovely. They’re shot in a cool blue palette, and Brooke and her cool blue top and the falling rain all making being stranded at a bus stop on a rainy day look awesome and sexy.

Best bit: the dog perfectly dropping the ball out of a moving car.

Note: this video has fan-made Portuguese subtitles, which is pretty cool.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Amber Claire “At Seventeen”

2003-amber-claire-at-seventeenAmber Claire covers Janis Ian’s outsider anthem “At Seventeen”. The original reached #37 in 1975, while Amber Claire’s cover made it to #28. In case you’re wondering, Janis Ian was totally down with Amber Claire’s version, and even did an impromptu duet with Amber Claire on a visit to New Zealand in 2005.

But back to Amber Claire’s version. The video is very simple. It sees Amber Claire performing the song on a grand looking stage area, along with her band.

But there’s something a bit weird about the band – the accordionist looks like Clayton Weatherston. OMG. He has the same shaggy blonde hair, the same light beard, the same narrow glasses. Of course, the video was made four years before the murder, and I’m sure this musician no longer styles himself that way, but it’s uncanny watching the video now.

If you ignore that and party like it’s 2004, you’re left with a rather restrained music video. The song is long – four and a half minutes – and the video doesn’t do much in that time. Just lots of different angles of Amber Claire and her band. Oh look, there’s the guitarist plucking the guitar strings.

The song is an ode to high school outsiders who go on to blossom into kick-arse adults. The lyrics have a strong a tension between the dorky teenage self and the successful adult self. But we just see Amber Claire looking glam in a pretty gown. How’d she get there? What was high school like for her? The video doesn’t care.

Best bit: the accordionist’s ability to also play a keyboard while the accordion rests on his lap.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… rainy day woman.