March 2011: Jesse Sheehan, K.One, Kimbra, Ladi6, Leno Lovecraft, Little Bark, Luke Thompson

Man vs gran, the sponsor’s logo, a pop of colour, water and desert I, a hairy beau, and water and desert II.

Jesse Sheehan “Grandma’s Cookies”

Jesse Sheehan was the 2009 winner of the Rockquest, the first solo artist to do so. He had funding in 2009 as part of the prize package, but it doesn’t look like a video was ever made with that. Instead his debut came a couple of years later, with “Grandma’s Cookies”. It’s a jaunty tune about the perils of living dangerously. Jesse is rocking a giant ginger Afro (channelling Th’ Dudes era D. Dobbyn) and he takes charge of a pastel-toned domestic setting. Jesse is joined by a backing band who look smart in suits, and he torments the titular grandma as she’s tied up in a chair. It’s nice to come across a musician who isn’t afraid to be a bit of a showman, to put himself in the video and not be a self-conscious cool-dude hiding behind sunglasses.

Director: Anthony Plant

K.One “She’s a Killer”

A YouTube comment sums up this video: “hahahahahaha acting famous in front of some shitty vodafone logo”. Much of the video is K.One, J Williams and other members of the Illegal Musik family randomly posing in front of boards emblazoned with their sponsor’s logo. I know that part of Illegal Musik’s gimmick is that their stars all appear in each other’s videos, but after a while it starts it feel a bit samey. Does Brooke Duff and the lead singer of Junipah really need to make an appearance in this video? It makes their universal feel very small.

The other part of the video is the “she” of the title, a catsuit-wearing woman looking and acting like a character from a Tarantino film. It all feels a bit cheap, but it also feels like they had a lot of fun doing it, being rock stars and acting a cinematic interrogation scene. By the way, the best line from the song: “I’m going straight like GHDs”, a perfect metaphor using the key hairstyling tool of the 2000s.

Director: Anthony Plant

Kimbra “Cameo Lover”

“Cameo Lover” was the last single Kimbra released before “Somebody That I Used to Know” happened, which changed everything. “Cameo Lover” led Gotye to Kimbra — it was shortlisted along with a Gotye song in an Australian songwriting competition. Kimbra won it, but she also grabbed the attention of Gotye who asked her to sing guest vocals on his new song. Et cetera.

But back to “Cameo Lover”. It’s a cheerful, upbeat love song. Kimbra dances with a number of pastel-clad women, and one by one they transform a panel of black-suit-wearing blokes into bright colours including matching nail polish and lip colour. It’s a relentlessly cheerful song and there’s a strangely emotional pull to it.

Director: Guy Franklin

Ladi6 “Like Water”

“Like Water” uses the central metaphor of comparing a relationship to H2O, “clean, clear, crisp”. So what does the video do. It puts Ladi6 in the middle of a desert, signifying that the water quenches her even if life feels difficult and hot and dry. The desert is played by the Te Paki sand dunes, which explains why Ladi6 doesn’t look bothered by the desert “heat”. The video was nominated for Best Video at the 2011 New Zealand Music Awards.

Director: Faye McNeil

Leno Lovecraft “Princess” – missing

The “Princess” video was on YouTube, but it’s since been made private. All that remains is this screen shot. The Corner wrote about it at the time, and noted that the video was animated and directed by Leno Lovecraft himself.

Director: Leno Lovecraft

Little Bark “Party”

It’s strange to listen to songs like this now because they sound so dated. It makes 2010 seem like a time that was totally beholden to electropop trends — but in reality it’s no less trend-focused than popular music is today. The “Party” video tells a love story between Little Bark and her werewolf lover. The video is full of quirky touches. Some of them, like the ironic brick cellphone and the cassette tapes feel as dated as the song, but other things transcend that with their weirdness.

Director: John Lake

Luke Thompson “Water”

Well, this is curious. Just like Ladi6’s “Like Water”, Luke Thompson is offering a song about water with a video filmed at a sand dune standing in for a desert. The fact that it’s shot at a New Zealand sand dune is evident when most of Luke’s band are wearing trousers and long sleeves. This is a mild New Zealand coastal environment, not a scorching hot desert. But regardless, the video uses the stark sandy setting to deliver some nicely composed shots.

Director: Luke Thompson
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

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