October 2007: Blindspott, Collapsing Cities, David Dallas, Die! Die! Die!, Goldenhorse

Blindspott’s last stand, Goldenhorse’s final ride, options for school leavers, coloured dots, and tower blocks and CCTVs.
Continue reading October 2007: Blindspott, Collapsing Cities, David Dallas, Die! Die! Die!, Goldenhorse

August 2005: Elemeno P, Goldenhorse, Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Kimbra, My Life Story, OG

A diabolical casino, teen romance, a shady lady (and man), bad suits, a tropical winter, a punk house and a wander in the countryside.
Continue reading August 2005: Elemeno P, Goldenhorse, Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Kimbra, My Life Story, OG

Goldenhorse “Out of the Moon”

2005-goldenhorse-out-of-the-moonGoldenhorse’s early videos were deliciously weird – the proto Twilight romantic vampire angst of “Golden Dawn” and the surreal sci-fi caravan of “Baby’s Been Bad”. Then the band went through a period of making very straight pop videos. But with “Out of the Moon”, the band have returned to their weird roots. Or have they?

Singer Kirsten is sitting inside a house, the epitome of quirky glamour in a corset top and fur stole. Outside, the suited men of Goldenhorse are working hard on a DIY project, which turns out to be a wooden moon which they hoist up into the sky.

It’s weird, but not weird enough. It’s like the band wanted to return to the surreal fun of their earlier videos, but also didn’t want to scare of their winery tour audiences by making something too strange.

Nah, it’s one or the other. Either go for a spooky romantic video like Evermore’s “It’s Too Late” or go for something really weird. But when it’s somewhere in between, it just ends up being dull.

Best bit: the DIY montage, stylish yet productive.

Director: Adam Jones

Next… take it to the bridge.

Goldenhorse “Run Run Run”

2004-goldenhorse-run-run-runGoldenhorse return with the first single of their second album, Riverhead. The song is a bit rockier than the band’s previous singles, but it still has the melody and the sweet lyrics the band became known for. But the star of the song is the layers of guitars, chiming and overlapping and threatening to dominate Kirsten Morrell’s vocals, but still managing to perfectly fit together.

The video puts the emphasis on the musicianship by shooting the band using lots of close-ups. It’s a similar technique to the Kitsch video for “Eleven:Eleven”, but while the punk dudes seemed like they were hiding from the camera, “Run Run Run” draws us into the world of Goldenhorse.

The camera provides wider shots as the video progresses, showing the band bathed in red light and Kirsten in a red dress. The band are pretty sedate in their performing, providing contrast to Kirsten’s tense movement. I like this. So many bands do an over-exaggerated kind of rocking out in music videos, but sometimes it can be more effective just to play your instruments like you would when you’re actually, er, playing your instruments.

Previous Goldenhorse videos have tended to be either enjoyable weird or very commercial. This one goes in a different direction with the way it very strongly works with the sound of the song itself. The song didn’t chart, but who cares when the video is a good one.

Best bit: Geoff Maddocks’ fierce strumming.

Director: Adam Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision


Goldenhorse “Northern Lights”

2003-goldenhorse-northern-lightsThe video that’s been uploaded to YouTube is very dark. I don’t know if this is deliberate or whether something has gone wrong somewhere, but combined with the vintage scratchy styles of the film, the end result is like an old film that’s been rescued from a sunken ship.

Goldenhorse seem to make two types of videos – weird ones and winery tour ones. “Northern Lights” takes the same sort of winery tour approach that “Maybe Tomorrow” did. There’s the band performing and enjoying the great outdoors on their tour.

But the difference is the aforementioned vintage styles. It seems to have been shot on film and then hand-coloured, Len-Lye-style with all sorts of layers. And this is where the video seems to run into trouble with darkness. I looks like there are too many layers and when the song is reaching its peak, there’s a murky shot of Kirsten. Maybe it’s a comment on the song’s title. We’re in the south – ain’t no light here?

“Northern Lights” was the group’s last single from their debut album. The song and the video capture them in peak pleasantness, but I wonder if the literal darkness of the video is their weirder, darker side trying to come through.

Best bit: the layering that combines a live performance with scenic New Zealand.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a medical immergency.

Goldenhorse “Wake Up Brother”

2003-goldenhorse-wake-up-brotherKirsten Morrell is the only member of Goldenhorse to appear in this video. At the time I remember the band saying it was due to the song being a personal ode to Kirsten’s brother. But it also means that Kirsten gets to be the glamorous star of the video (her hair and make-up is fabulous), leading to such YouTube comments as “Kirsten Morrell is absolutely gorgeous alright. She has a wonderfull voice though which matches her looks” from riddicus14. (Though this person also commented, “Just hope they don’t become too mainstream”, so it looks like they got their wish.)

“Wake Up Brother” is based around Kirsten riding in the back of a car, at night. The video seems to be shot with a still camera bolted to the side of the car, and the video has been filmed slower and sped-up in post-production.

There’s not a lot that can be done in the back of a car, but Kirsten removes a coat, nibbles on some red liquorice (and biffs it out the window), waves at some passersby, and applies some lipgloss. Also – I don’t think she’s wearing a seatbelt.

The only time the video doesn’t quite work is during the non-vocal bits of the song when Kirsten is nodding her head along with the music. In real-time, with the slowed-down song it probably looked gentle. But sped up she looks like a cross between a headbanger with a neck injury and someone who is really really really agreeing with you.

For a song that’s about the joy of having your overseas sibling come to visit, the video also captures another joyful activity – driving around at night with the window down.

Best bit: that the red liquorice might be a Wayne’s World reference.

Director: Rachel Davies
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… hitting the road.

Goldenhorse “Maybe Tomorrow”

2002-goldenhorse-maybe-tomorrowThe “Maybe Tomorrow” video takes us deep into the world of Goldenhorse at the peak of their winery-tour powers. “Maybe Tomorrow” was their highest charting single – peaking at number 10, and the video is their straightest. There are no vampires or caravan curiosities. Instead the video is just Goldenhorse being elegant an New Zealand pop band.

It’s shot in grainy old film (I don’t know much about film formats, but I’m going to guess it’s Super 8). It gives it a cosy, nostalgic feeling, as if this song has just always been around.

We see Goldenhorse performing at a small venue. Rather than bold rock lighting, their stage illumination is provided by the glow of domestic lamps. (You know who else had tons of lamps in their music video? The Holiday Makers.) Sometimes it has a sophisticated ambience, other times it’s just a bit gloomy.

We also join the band down at the beach, where they’re frolicking in the sea. It’s very New Zealand – or at least how homesick Kiwis on their OE, stuck indoors on a miserable winter’s day in England like to imagine things are back home.

It’s a lovely video for a lovely song, and normally that’s where I’d end thing. But a couple of years later – 2004 – the world of “Maybe Tomorrow” got more interesting. First the song was used in an ad for instant jelly, running with the feeling of New Zealand outdoorsy joy. But then a few years after – around 2006 – a second video was made for the song, this time without NZ On Air funding. And this time it was back to the slightly askew world of the earlier Goldenhorse video.

This time Kirsten plays a perfect housewife who is preparing snacks in her kitchen. We also see the rest of the band playing the song in a dark room. It turns out – gasp! – Kirsten is holding the band captive in her house. Was this dark video treatment a reaction against the very nice world of the earlier video and the even nicer world of the jelly ad? I like to think so – an inherent weirdness in the band that cannot be suppressed.

Best bit: Kirsten’s head-bang finale.

Director: Rachel Davies
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… fish and chips as a metaphor.

Goldenhorse “Baby’s Been Bad”

2001-goldenhorse-babys-been-bad“Baby’s Been Bad” is a cheerful ska number, but like the group’s previous video “Golden Dawn”, this one gets a bit weird. It’s like Goldenhorse are slightly afraid of the straight pop songs they’ve written and have to do something to warp them a little.

This time the video gets a bit sci-fi and a bit surreal. Starting with a dystopian, black and white world where Geoff Goldenhorse climbs into a giant drawer which starts to transport him somewhere. We also meet Kirsten Goldenhorse who’s in a colourful caravan in the desert, mixing up crazy potions, involving a human heart, paper dolls and pasta.

It seems Geoff is visiting the desert to put a mysterious canister down an equally mysterious metal tube. But is he going to go back to the dystopian world? No, he is drawn to the caravan atop the sand dune.

The video doesn’t quite work for me. The song feels a bit weak from all its repetition and so the video seems like an attempt to distract from that. I’d be much more impressed if Goldenhorse could just make a straight video for their pop songs.

Best bit: the most important ingredient – a house made of macaroni.

Director: Marek Sumich

Next… ladies, beware.

Goldenhorse “Golden Dawn”

2001-goldenhorse-golden-dawnGoldenhorse had previously enjoyed some success with campus radio hit “American Wife”, but “Golden Dawn” was their first video and the track that started to get them noticed. With two members of the band coming from Bressa Creeting Cake (one of their videos featured a tale of the love between a lady and a weta), it’s not surprising that Goldenhorse have a bit of that art-weird.

The song is a fairly pleasant love song, which manages to have that instant coffee advertisement vibe. But the video takes things in a different, more complicated direction. There are vampires.

As anyone who’s watched “TrueBlood” or a “Twilight” film will know, human-vampire relationships are fraught with all sorts of complications. Lead singer Kirsten plays the vampire. She comes home, pets her dog and removes her robe to reveal all sorts of scratches and bit marks on her back. She snuggles down in bed and dreams of the cute guy she saw in a passing car.

Her fantasies are troubled. An attempt at a doorstep snog is messed up when her urge to bite takes over. Dreams of a romantic rose petal bath are similarly disrupted by her yearnings for his sweet tender neck.

But finally it happens. She manages to dream of having a good snog with the guy and doesn’t sink her teeth into his neck. She wakes up happy and gives her dog a scratch. Maybe now if she can dream it, she can be it.

It’s a fun video, and refreshingly removed from the winery-tour style that Goldenhorse would settle into.

Best bit: the splash war in the rose-petal bath.

Next: worst birthday ever.