Found videos from 1998

A high street strip, a gothic seductress, a cultural lesson, a bomb threat, a photo booth, a photo shoot, a cruise down the main street, a broadcast from outer space, a floaty necklace, a Harajuku girl and a mysterious staircase.
Continue reading Found videos from 1998

Found videos from 1997

A fluffy bra, nightclub, a prison, a derelict swimming pool, three lifts and an escalator.
Continue reading Found videos from 1997

Dark Tower “Alright Now”

2001-dark-tower-alright-nowThe Dark Tower lads are back and this time they’re having an adventure in a central Wellington neighbourhood. Jody and Eli are cheerfully walking home, not realising that in their flat is the dastardly Mario. He’s eating their cornchips, drinking their beer, farting on their couch and macking on Jody’s girlfriend (as explained by on-screen titles). They walk in mid-mack and Mario makes a run for it, sparking off an epic chase on foot.

It’s not exactly a geographically accurate chase, more a patchwork of chainlink fences, narrow alleyways, paved backyards and bits of flat and hilly Wellington. At one stage the duo are overtaken by a jogger. This doesn’t stop them catching up with the corn chip thief, but he surprises them with a posse of thugs. Fortunately a deus ex machina arrives in the form of Jody’s mum, who flips off the goons and rescues the lads.

But is it too late? Back in the flat, Mario has returned to continue his dance of seduction. Jody’s girlfriend is enjoying herself as Mario shimmies, with his giant belly overhanging his giant Y-fronts. Aw yeah.

At this point I’m wondering what the motivation behind the chase was. Jody’s girlfriend seems much happier with Mario (and what woman wouldn’t want a bearded fellow who’s not afraid to dance in his undies?). Surely corn chip theft is a pardonable crime. But perhaps for Dark Tower, doing a curry fart into someone’s couch is the worst crime of all.

It’s a fun video with great editing, capturing the anarchic spirit of Dark Tower.

Best bit: the birthday boy who gets a face full of cake, thanks to the disruptive chase.

Note: there are two slightly different versions of this video. In one, Dark Tower are credited as Earl Deviance and Eel, in the other they’re Jody and Eli.

Director: David Stubbs

Wash “Who Am I”

2000-wash-who-am-iWash were another band jumping on the nu rock bandwagon. And while there’s scratching all over “Who Am I”, there’s no sign of a DJ in the video. Instead they look like a pretty ordinary four-piece rock band. The song itself sounds like a throw back to the sounds of a decade prior, with a very strong influence from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine.

The video is pretty simple. The band, dressed in black, play the song in a white studio. It’s a good low-budget way to present the band and, oh, how the lead singer’s crispy hair spikes stand out against the bright background.

Alternating with the band are shots of dudes skateboarding. When the lyrics are firing off lines about generic young-man anger, it doesn’t quite work showing clips of skilled skateboarders who appear to be really enjoying themselves, no doubt doing what they love.

That’s the trouble with skating. It’s fun. The dudes who do it love what they do. One video that uses skating well is Spike Jonze’s video for the Sonic Youth song “100%”. He basically shot a bunch of his friends (including a young, cheerful Jason Lee), and the laidback, stylish presentation of their street skating fits with the laidback, stylish song.

The “Who Am I” video, however, makes me want to see more of the skating and less of the band. This was the only Wash video that had NZ On Air funding. The band had a few years of success in the early 2000s (including a sweet Linkin Park support gig) before disbanding.

Best bit: the drummer’s serious drum face.

Director: David Stubbs
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… words and music.

Dark Tower “Baggy Trousers”

1999-dark-tower-baggy-trousers“Baggy Trousers” is an ode to large pantaloons, but rather than just focus on clothing, the video is styled as a parody of “The Blair Witch Project”. The groundbreaking horror film was released in New Zealand in December 1999, so it must have been very fresh in the minds of Dark Tower and director David Stubbs when it came to make their new music video.

The video starts with a title card, telling of “three baggily panted rap musicians” who went missing while on a music video shoot. We’re then treated to the “found” footage of their adventure.

The trio arrive in the “Dark Tower Mystery Machine” (hey, you might as well cram in those pop culture references) and they set off into the woods, kitted out with backpacks and baggy trousers. You know, baggy trousers aren’t really all that practical for a bush walk. The low hemlines are going to drag on the ground and get all dirty.

The group continue to explore, but there’s no sign of any strange goings-on. They’re content to revel in their baggy-trouseredness. A strange bundle of sticks is no cause for alarm. It turns out there’s a mic in the bundle, perfect for busting out some dope rhymes.

Just like in the film, the trio discover an old house in the woods. Could the Blair Witch be found inside? No? What about the Baggy Witch? No? Okay, how about peeing against a wall in a parody of the final scenes of the Blair Witch? Ah, there we go.

Best bit: the closing credits alarmingly thanking Search and Rescue and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Director: David Stubbs
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… sequins, eye shadow and glamour.

Breathe “Landslide”

1999-breathe-landslidedslAfter labouring in the world of indie, Breathe attracted the attention of Sony and emerged with the ambitiously titled second album, “Don’t Stop the Revolution”.

“Landslide” was the first single from the album and it has an epic sound, with both hints of the Beatles and Oasis (it is the late ’90s, after all). The video is just as epic as the song, shot in artistic black and white with the band playing inside a photogenic old warehouse.

The video is a perfect introduction to the band, making it all about the band and the performance. This is a serious rock band writing serious songs. Lead singer Andrew Tilby is given plenty of screen time, but never in an over-the-top rock star way.

Occasionally we see a long shot of the room with a man sitting at a reel-to-reel tape recorder, no doubt recording the band because they are so epic that their performance needs to be captured for future generations.

But here’s the thing – Breathe didn’t set the charts on fire. This song only made it to #28. And when I look at this video, it seems lacking in charisma. They come across as a very serious band who take themselves and their music very seriously, but I don’t think that’s entirely who they were.

Best bit: the mystery tape-recorder man.

Director: David Stubbs
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the corridor of obsession.