August 2010: State of Mind, The Drab Doo Riffs, The Earlybirds, The Naked and Famous, The Phoenix Foundation, The Valves, These Four Walls, Tokyo Street Gang, Vince Harder

When television attacks, Spock ‘n’ roll, smoky desire, a recurring dream, the leisure club vs the egg, down by the water, serious rock, double disco ball delights, and back down by the water.

State of Mind featuring Thomas Oliver “Parasomnia”

The star of the “Parasomnia” video is a dude who is slumped in front of his TV, in front of a coffee table scattered with cigarette butts and empty bottles. You know, that guy you used to flat with until he had to go back to Dargaville to help his uncle. And it’s not just an ordinary TV – it’s one that spews forth a CGI alien monster type, probably the sort that is attracted to empty coffee mugs and chip packets. The alien transports the guy to a mysterious world of screens, then back on the couch. Dude, was it a dream? Or was it just the result of a faulty telly and too much Red Bull?

Director: Aleksander Sakowski
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Drab Doo-Riffs “Hot Tanya”

The Drab Doo-Riffs are a project of Supergroove frontman (and prolific film and television composer) Karl Steven, and he describes the band as “surf-noir weirdos”. The “Hot Tanya” video is just as weird, and animated job that takes inspiration from 1950s B-grade sci-fi films, Mexican calaca skeletons, and Mr Spock, among other things. It’s an intense experience, and the chaotic video reflects the chaotic ode to troublesome Tanya.

Director: MF Joyce, Chris Stapp

The Earlybirds “Low”

The Earlybirds are quite Stone Roses  on “Low”, but despite the great build-up in the verses, what sounds like a pre-chorus is revealed to actually be a really weak and repetitive chorus that kills the song’s momentum. The video puts the band in a smoky studio, and throw in a few oblique video effects. It all looks good – it’s the song that’s the big let-down.

Director: Tim van Dammen

The Naked and Famous “Punching in a Dream”

“Punching in a Dream” was the follow-up to the Naked and Famous’ international hit “Young Blood”. It didn’t have the success of its predecessor, but TNAF have never been a singles group so it doesn’t really matter. The “Punching in a Dream” video is another collaboration with Special Problems. It stars lead singer Alisa wandering around weird dream-like settings, such as a snowy mountain (barefoot!), flying in a giant paper plane, and being chased by dozens of manic ice hockey players. There is no punching, but the dreamy/nightmarish world packs its own punch.

Director: Special Problems

The Phoenix Foundation “Flock of Hearts”

“Flock of Hearts” follows the members of a weird cult, who materialise at the Breaker Bay headland in Wellington, and find a giant glowing egg. They roll the egg to their hall, it hatches and out springs the Phoenix Foundation dressed as love hearts, joined by various friends. A song like this could maybe have a totally straight video, but it’s so much more fun – and adds so much more to the song – by getting a bit weird.

Director: Sarah Jane Parton
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Valves “Sirens”

“Sirens” begins with scenes on board a yacht, which suggests that the video is going to be a New Zealand version of Duran Duran’s iconic “Rio” video. But no. The Valves be landlubbers, rocking out by the harbourside. So that’s the video – the Valves performing the song, and a few shots of Brent bobbing around in the water, trying not to swallow water while he lip syncs. It’s no “Rio” but it’s a decent enough low-budget rock video.

Director: Richard Bell

These Four Walls “One Moment In Time”

I am slightly disappointed that this isn’t an ironic cover of the Whitney Houston song, but These Four Walls still deliver a solid metal performance nonetheless. The video puts them in a bunker, and just leaves the band to rock out. It’s a very simple concept and certainly not the most ambitious of T4W’s videos. But the strength of the song and the energy of the video make it feel bigger than just the band playing the song.

Director: Anthony Plant

Tokyo Street Gang featuring Julia Deans “Only Thing”

Tokyo Street Gang get cool thanks to guest vocals from Julia Deans. She’s a perfect complement to the song’s 1980s synthpop sound, bringing disco, artpop, and indie rock sounds into the mix. The video also has hints of those styles, but never turns into a pastiche, totally owning its neo synth flavour. And most importantly: Julia Deans has the best hair. The video is worth watching just to admire her hairography.

Director: Faye McNeil

Vince Harder featuring Young Sid “Summer Days”

“Summer Days” is a dreamy, romantic tune and video captures the feeling by setting it at a west coast beach at sunset. The video follows a girl in a bikini as she wanders around the beach, flirting with the camera like those weird dating videos from the 1980s. Vince and Sid are only ever seen in a dark studio, sometimes blended with the beach scenes. It creates a fantasy that feels on the point of turning into reality.

Director: Askew One

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