Found videos from 1996

Loads of found videos from 1996, featuring cameo appearances from three bright young actors, Stella as a grunge band, double Annie Crummer and Strawpeople, and some political pop.

Continue reading Found videos from 1996

Garageland “Beelines to Heaven”

I like to think of 1996 as the golden age of Garageland. Every one of their videos from this era is a mix of cool and naivety, like they knew what they wanted to be, but weren’t quite sure how to get there.

“Beelines to Heaven”, which is ever so slightly reminiscent of Buddy Holly’s “Every Day“, is given a classic 1960s television pop treatment. Taking its cue from legendary New Zealand pop show “C’mon“, Garageland play their song surrounded by go-go girls in silver boots and cool beatnik youth.

But looking back at an old episode of “C’mon”, one thing is clear – the go-go dancers were there for the up-tempo numbers. A song as slow as “Beelines to Heaven” doesn’t quite work with the go-go girls shakin’ it in slow motion. What would “C’mon” do? Well, one slow song had the singer reclining in a chair, taking off his shoes. Er…

Ok, it’s the ’90s, not the ’60s. Garageland aren’t gunning for historical accuracy. The video is simple and visually interesting. It lets the sweetness of the song stand out, and thankfully doesn’t involve literal use of honey.

Best bit: the la-la-la beatnik at 1:52. He’s well in character.

Bonus: A second video for “Beelines to Heaven” was made in 1997 as part of the group’s big UK push. Using a tszuj’d up version of the song, it was directed by Gina Birch and uses a similar split-screen technique that she later used for her second Garageland video “Feel Alright”.

Director: Carla Rotondo, Peter Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the worst fizzy drink brand name ever.

Crash “Castrato”

1996-crash-castratoThis is the last of Crash’s funded videos and it’s a strange video to go out with. It’s shot in a continuous take, and seems to also have been shot at a faster speed and slowed down a little, which is all perfectly fine for a music video.

The trouble is, the camera operator doesn’t seem to be able to guide the camera to where the action is. Lowlights including an extreme close-up of a comedy sticker on the drum kit, and a lingering upside-down, out-of-focus shot of random band action.

The lead singer, who has a perfect music video pale face and power bob – spends most of the time lurking in the corner, either as a blurry blob, or with her face blown out by the bright lights in close up. The camera operator seems to be more comfortable shooting musical instruments, walls and floors. People are hard.

I feel like maybe I’m missing something. Maybe it’s meant to be this messy confusing world. Maybe the floor is deliberately given as much screen time as the band members. Maybe it’s all a trick to distract the viewer from thinking of the titular castrated male.

Either way, even though this is a great mid-’90s pop-rock song, the video doesn’t sell it as well as it should.

Best bit: The “Alien Detection Unit” stick. El oh el.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… buzzy bee indie pop a go-go!

Bic Runga “Bursting Through”

1996-bic-runga-bursting-throughBic is back with her second single, “Bursting Through”. The video is much more sophisticated than the previous “Drive” video. A line has been drawn and Bic is now very much on the grown-up, sexy side of it.

The video seems to be all about introducing Bic Runga to the world (or at least New Zealand). The video is all about her, as she elegantly poses in a couple of glamorous white outfits. She’s exposing about as much flesh as Britney Spears did in her later videos, but somehow Bic seems quite modest.

The video works as a 1996 introduction to Bic Runga, but how does it hold up now that Bic is a New Zealand music icon? Well, it feels a little empty. There’s Bic on a couch, with a dove, in a corner, underwater, but there’s more to this song than Bic Runga’s youthful elegant face.

Looking at this video in 2012, it feels more like the sort of thing a record company would stick up on YouTube in advance of the proper video being release. It’s perfectly all right, but just seems a bit lacking by today’s standards.

Best bit: the white dove that wouldn’t fly away, but that’s cool.

Directors: Melanie Bridge, Mark Lever
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… they’ve got a Steadicam and they’re not afraid to use it.

Snort “Poison”

1996-snort-poisonSnort are an all-girl grunge rock band, ticking all the mid-’90s boxes. “Poison” is a crunchy, sneery attitude-laden song that seems to signal the arrival of a key bit of the ’90s.

The video is a lot of fun, starting with some “Prisoner: Cell Block H” style. The band is in jail and they pour a noxious black liquid over a cake, which they use to poison the evil screw (guys, that’s prison slang for warden).

The band escapes to a beach, where they attack a guy who looks like a Mexican Ray Columbus. I don’t know why he is the victim of their kicking. Perhaps they didn’t like his hat.

The video is at its best when it dispenses with plot and we just see the band rocking out in an old garage. The lead singer looks proper ’90s cool with her dyed red hair and nose ring.

The prison escape plot slowly fades away, leaving us with the band rocking out, surrounded by various rogues stuffing their faces with the poisoned cake. It’s a much stonger ending, and I reckon the video would have worked better if it had focused on the performance.

Best bit: the prison guard’s finger-licking icing appreciation.

Director: John Chrisstoffels
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the elegance of the wide-legged trouser.

Martin Phillipps and the Chills “Dreams Are Free”

1996-the-chills-dreams-are-freeThe Chills return with a cheerful two-minute punk-pop love song. Only because it’s the world of Martin Phillipps, it’s a song of forbidden love. Nonetheless, the rollicking organ and crunchy guitar make it a feelgood pop tune that’s begging to be danced to.

The video sees the Chills dressed in white, performing the song in a dirty white room. It cleverly reflects the lyrics – not-quite-pure-white meets not-quite-pure-love.

But just in case things got too close to the world of commercial pop, there’s a bit of weirdness thrown in for good measure. Martin Phillipps is shown with his face covered in some sort of white goop, looking like a cross between The Moon from “The Mighty Boosh” and some sort of Leigh Bowery performance art. It almost seems like a deliberate act of sabotage, as if making a more sunny video could risk the single becoming – gasp – popular.

Best bit: What looks like a hopscotch grid on the ground.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… those girls are poison.

Missing videos from 1996

February 1996

Dei Hamo “International Whirl Rocker”

After making his mark doing the guest rap on Nathan Haines’ “Lady J”, Dei Hamo went solo with International Whirl Rocker (or “Rocca”, as it is listed in the NZOA database. The song was due to be released on Papa Pacific Records, but the label folded before this could happen, with Phil Fuemana eventually including the track on the groundbreaking Pioneers of a Pacifikian Frontier album. Here’s Dei Hamo performing the song live on Mai Time.

Teina Benioni “Gone Fishing”

Teina was nicknamed “the bard of Otara”. He played all the instruments and sang all the vocals on his song “Gone Fishing”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1996

Eye TV “Immaculate”

Another track from Eye TV. “Immaculate” was a return to a more electric sound for the group. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Eye TV perform “Immaculate” in white room under flashing lights.”

Director: Sharron Ward
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moana and the Moahunters “Prophecies”

“Prophecies” was a track on Moana and the Moahunter’s second album, Tahi. It’s a gentle soul ballad, and Moana’s website says it touches “on more spiritual matters”. This looks like a case where the video was never made.

Splitter “What You Know”

Splitter had “What You Know”, described by the Herald as “XTC-meets-powerpop”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The Splitter singer sings “What You Know” strapped to a chair in an interrogation room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1996

Bike “Old & Blue”

Bike’s first single, “Save My Life”, is afforded digital immortality due to its inclusion on the Flying Nun “Very Short Films” compilation, but second single “Old and Blue” isn’t so lucky.

Director: Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dam Native “Top Notch Vocalist”

The only mention of the Dam Native song “Top Notch Vocalist” is in the NZOA funding list. It seems like the sort of funding that might have ended up going to a different song.

Future Stupid “Greed”

Christchurch band Future Stupid were causing a ruckus with “Greed”. While the music video isn’t online, you can take your pick of 1997 live performances at the Summer Series, the Big Day Out or a DIY music video.

Lodger “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me”

Another song from Lodger, aka Damon from Dead Flowers’ side project. I assume that “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me” is a cover of the Small Faces song.

Second Child “Prove You Wrong”

“Prove You Wrong” is the sixth funded video from Second Child.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Splitter “Tremolo Panned”

Splitter was an Andrew Thorne project and “Tremolo Panned” was a nice piece of mid-’90s rock. But best of all, the Kiwi Hit List noted that the song features “Graham Brazier on electrified harmonica”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Do You Feel In Love”

The Exponents said farewell to Warner Music with a final single, “Do You Feel In Love”. Nga Taonga’s description suggests the video is a classic style Greg Page animation: “A claymation Exponents perform “Do You Feel In Love”.”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1996

Breathe “Smiley Hands”

Breathe debuted with “Smiley Hands”, giving just an inkling of the major label excitement they stirred only a few years later. The olden internet has revealed this short but amazing article about the Smiley Hands EP. Taken from a December 1996 issue of RipItUp, it’s the kind of music writing that’s so scarce in this digital age.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Igelese “Emotions”

“Emotions” was Igelese’s second funded video. There’s no sign of it ever having been made, which might be tied to the end of Igelese’s record label, Papa Pacific. But he went on to compose music for Lord of the Rings and Moana, so it turned out well.

Lole “Feel Like Making Love”

Lole covers “Feel Like Making Love”, that’s the safe Roberta Flack song, not Bad Company’s rock classic.

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Go”

OMG, Peaches?! Wait, it’s not the Canadian performance artist, but a Debbie Harwood project. She got her musician mates to cover classic New Zealand pop. “Go” is project’s one original track, penned by Rikki Morris.

Seven a Side “Running Back to You”

Also from the Rockquest is Seven a Side, winner of the Tangata Pasifica Beats category. A funded video for “Running Back To You” was part of the prize package. The track also featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Supergroove “5th Wheel”

“5th Wheel” is an attempt at a sweet pop song, complete with flute, strings, and ah-ah-ahs. I believe vocals are by Joe Lonie, and the video involved him sitting on the back of a ute.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The 3Ds “Vector 27”

“Vector 27” was from The 3Ds final album, Strange News from the Angels. It was also the final 3Ds video to be funded. Nga Taonga enticingly describes the video as, “The 3Ds go for a drive in the countryside and encounter flying saucers and aliens.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1996

Ardijah “Oh Baby”

After returning from five years in Australia, “Oh Baby” was Ardijah’s new single. The video isn’t online, but here’s a short clip of a live performance from the era. Nga Taonga describe the video as “Ardijah perform “Oh Baby” in cabaret setting.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bobby Owen “Falling”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described 18-year-old Bobby Owen’s single “Falling” as a “moody soulful ballad” that was recorded at Fuemana Studios.

Dam Native “Extremities”

Another cool track from Dam Native. “Extremities” was produced by Zane Lowe.

Greg Johnson “Softly On Me”

“Softly On Me” featured Boh Runga and was produced by Dave Dobbyn. Jonathan King directed the video, filmed at a Tongan church in Auckland.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Mary “Golden Halo”

Mary was an all-girl band, and they were a very all-girl band. Check out this profile in the Herald – about half the article is about aspects of their all-girl-bandliness. Their sweet, girly song “Golden Halo” was the first of many funded videos. I’ve heard from a performer in the video who says she wore a halo, naturally enough.

Stellar “Real”

It’s cool seeing signs of Stellar’s early work, putting in the hard yards before they were snapped up by Sony and became pop icons. “Real” was another early single.

December 1996

Ardijah “Bad Buzz”

More Polyfonk from Ardijah, this time with “Bad Buzz”, a Bob Marley tribute. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Ardijah sing “Bad Buzz” walking through sideshows / amusement park.”

Director: Neil Cervin
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Brothers & Sisters “Parihaka”

Like both Tim Finn and Jacqui Keelan Davey, the young Maori band Brothers & Sisters pay tribute to the pacifist Te Whiti with their song “Parihaka”. The track featured on the Tangata Records compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

DLT “Black Panthers”

The instrumental “Black Panthers” was the second single off DLT’s album “The True School”.

Fat Mannequin “That Matters”

Fat Mannequin deliver “That Matters”, a very ’90s rock ballad.

In The Whare “Sister Dread”

According to NZOA, In The Whare’s music was a mix of reggae, hip hop, funk and metal. Their song “Sister Dread” also featured on Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision