December 2009: Pieter T, Pistol Youth, Rob Vegas, Ruby Frost, Salvi Stone, Sarah Brown, So So Modern

The artist at work, dragged along, old house on fire, the busy Ruby, one-man band, animation and sparkle, and dance the apocalypse away.

Pieter T “Something Else”

Pieter T had his first brush with pop success in 2006, as part of the boyband Boyband, created by a radio station. Playing the part of “Hot Boy”, he contributed to the group’s cover of “You Really Got Me” which debuted at No.1. “Something Else” sounds strongly influenced by Justin Timberlake’s 2002 album Justified, but that gives it a dated sound, especially considering that three years earlier Mr JT had moved onto the avant-garde pop of FutureSex/LoveSounds. The video is based around Pieter T in the recording studio, seemingly self-producing his own track. Also at one point he is wearing indoors sunglasses. Justin Timberlake never wore indoors sunglasses in the “Senorita” video.

Director: Huia Hamon
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Pistol Youth “Frankfurt”

The “Frankfurt” video opens with Brad Pistol wearing a Love Hertz t-shirt (so retro!) waking up to discover his hands are bound and he’s tied to a van which is starting to move. But luckily for him, it travels along at a moderate pace, just leaving him to dodge all the household items being hurled from the back. Oh, it’s his ex-girlfriend (mainly filmed from the waist down, for some reason) disposing of the contents of their home because – we assume – he’s been a love fiend. The video seems headed for a dark ending, but the Weezer-esque song pulls it back into a more neutral place.

Director: Tim van Dammen

Rob Vegas “Boys Don’t Cry”

Rob Vegas was otherwise known as Robin Johnson who came seventh on the first series of NZ Idol, and the funding was originally given to his 2007 song “Keep It on the Low” featuring PNC. “Boys Don’t Cry” is a surprisingly slick piece of R&B. It’s another song that feels influenced by Justin Timberlake, but there’s enough original style to ensure that it works, along with a refusal to fill the song with tropes of the genre that spoil other New Zealand R&B songs. The video puts Rob in a rusty old car yard, cut with scene of Rob and his girl in unhappier times. The video ends with a dramatic scene of an old house on fire – a really nice change from the usual scenes of singers in recording studios or hanging out in suburban houses.

Director: Shae Sterling
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ruby Frost “Moonlight”

It always tickled me that of the judges from the first series of The X Factor, Ruby Frost was one of the two who were too busy to return for the ill-fated second series. Ruby comes from a musical family and is clearly a superior artist to many of the groups who were coming out of the Parachute scene at the time. “Moonlight” (or muh-hoon-light) is a slick piece of synth pop. The video is filmed in black and white (no hint of her pink hair), and surrounds Ruby with dreamy kaleidoscope effects, light and shadows. It’s beautifully shot, and seems to have been especially designed for black and white.

Director: Veronica Crockford-Pound

Salvi Stone “Stay Honey Stay”

“Stay Honey Stay” is a lively track, reminiscent of the sort of thing The Mockers did on their first album. The video sets up Salvi Stone as a one-man band, which each instrument played by a different version of Salvi. It’s like the “Hey Ya” video, but without the interaction between band members that “Hey Ya” managed. The song is very full-on but the old-timey black and white video lacks the boldness of the song.

Director: Mark Robertson
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Sarah Brown “That’s the Thing”

Sarah Brown has the sweet song “That’s the Thing”, her final funded video. With a quality Sia-style bob (pre Sia, though) and some heavy duty false eyelashes, Sarah gives good camera face. Sometimes she’s framed by quirky animations giving some sparkle. There are also a few shots of the band accompanying her, but the focus is on glimpses of the instruments, not the people playing them.

Director: Bradley Rogerson

So So Modern “Dusk & Children”

“Dusk & Children” was from So So Modern’s Crude Futures album, a collaboration with the photographer John Lake , whose same-titled photographic exhibition captured the unusual lives of Hutt Valley teens. Lake also directed the “Dusk & Children” music – as he did for the previous non-funded video, “The Worst Is Yet To Come”. “Dusk & Children” takes place at a dance marathon, starting off feeling like some sort of happy fundraising event, before it soon becomes apparent that this is going to be one of those They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? sorts of dance marathons. The star of the video is the young tap dancer Leslie Bowman, who has since grown up to become a professional dancer over yonder in London. In a cool red suit, he dances the night away, as his fellow contestants drop out one by one. And it comes with the knowledge that how ever strange this fictitious teen dance marathon is, it’s no match for the real scenes from the zombie roller disco in the photographic exhibition.

Director: John Lake

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