A luxe teen goth fantasy, men on a mission, a cat in a hat, the club where there are more women than men, and the club with an equal gender division and everyone goes home happy.
Black River Drive “Down By The River”
“Down by the River” is a luxe teen goth fantasy. It involves a mysterious goth girl who is in the process of burying a box in a garden, containing a note labelled “find me”. While that is going on, Black River Drive can be found rocking out in a concrete bunker. They’re quite a lowkey band and it always feels like their videos have to work a bit harder to make them feel like rock stars. “Down by the River” does that well, putting both the goth chick and the lead singer at a gothic table setting. Though I’m totally pretending it’s a plate of chocolate pudding and not raw organ meat.
Director: Amber Beaton
Blacklistt “From the Blind Spot”
If there’s one thing that can be said for Blindspott, it’s that they treat their fans well. So when the group reformed as Blacklistt, they had a loyal fanbase ready to support the band under its legally required new name. Even the “From the Blind Spot” video was partly crowdsourced. The band filmed the first two minutes (the group track down someone who did them wrong and drive out into the woods) and let fans decide the conclusion (the group smash up the guy’s car). It’s a good looking video with a clear storyline. Blindspott were always strong on visuals and that aesthetic has carried through to their new incarnation.
Director: Bryan Lee Hudkins
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Cut Off Your Hands “Fooling No One”
The energy of the “Fooling No One” video is intense, bouncing along with the song, creating an unusual gravity-defying world alongside shots of very ordinary scenes. The peachy colour of the wallpaper in the video thumbnail above is just too perfect and the rest of the video is full of that sort of detail.
Directors: Luke McPake, Philip Rosieur, Ben Ward
David Dallas “Take a Picture”
There’s a lot going on in the “Take a Picture” video, David Dallas’ (accurate) declaration that he’s about to be massive. It involves quirky objects, Ddot and a burlesque dancer, Ddot with a kitten (!!!), line drawing illustrations, surreal black and white bath scenes, stop motion tableaux of random objects, black and white geometric illustrations. Honestly, I would be happy with a video that was just David Dallas playing with a kitten, but the rest of the “Take a Picture” video is just as good. It is perhaps an insight into the rise of Instagram, providing a whole lot of things that are quite good to take a picture of.
Director: Luke McPake
DJ CXL featuring Young Sid, Ethical & Vince Harder “Let’s Just Celebrate”
It’s apt that the last Illegal Musik video from the $5000 era was a group effort. Indeed, it doesn’t feel like a proper Illegal Musik release if there aren’t at least two featured vocalists credited. “Let’s Just Celebrate” is a chill track about just celebrating one’s successes in life. And it comes with the killer line from Young Sid, where he brags about “pulling pussy in Piccadilly”. Righto, lad.
The video features each of the key performers in a different locations, most of which involve a club. Sid also features in that blessed music video trope: the night club where 90% of the patrons are young women. I’m kind of obsessed with what this would be like in real life. You’d show up there with your friends, then after about 15 minutes and one Red Bull and vodka you’d be all “Wait, where are all the guys?” and you’d leave. Unless you were into girls, in which case it would probably be quite good.
Btw, one of the best things on Illegal Musik’s YouTube account is label boss Patriarch’s cooking series Taste Illegal. OMG. It is the best thing to watch, a total antidote to all those 30 second sped-up cooking videos people share on Facebook. He makes the most delicious looking stuff, really nicely presented and not at all impossible to recreate at home.
Director: Mark Arona
4DG featuring PNC “Get Away City”
“Get Away City” imagines a perfect nightclub where everything is fine and where there is an even gender mix of patrons. It plays out as a fairly standard club video, but for the rest of 4DG taking turns to lip sync the guest rap from the missing PNC. The video ends with a group of clubgoers leaving. One of them turns to pop back in the club, but as she opens the door the club has vanished, and as she head back on the street, her posse is gone too. It’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone without a heavy moral message.
Note: This video is blocked to viewers in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Mexico and South Korea aka the Axis of Awesome.
Director: Greg Buckley, Scott Kelso