Imagine Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Lane” re-imagined as a lullaby about an Interior Design Firm, and you might come close to this week’s video clip: The High Llamas’ “McKain James.” The song has a fascinating origin story, having been culled from the band’s newest album, Here Come The Rattling Trees, which is the soundtrack to a narrative-driven collection of stories first performed as a theater production. Pretty Cool!
“McKain James” is an album highlight, written from the perspective of the Decorator and centered on a fictional “creative care” company tasked with beautifying the rapidly developing neighborhood of Peckham. Overflowing with alluring musical flourishes and Sean O’ Hagan‘s gentled vocals, “McKain James” is typical of the impeccable arrangements and glistening production charms that unfurl themselves throughout Here Come The Rattling Trees.
For a video to highlight this special number, High Llamas enlisted the Magik Immoralist herself, Elisa Ambrogio, to create a stunning stop motion, animated video that compliments the song in a wonderfully unlikely way. Watch bunnies hold ritualistic meetings! Ordinary objects take new shape! Flowers bloom from dancing sugar skulls!
Here Come The Rattling Trees is out now on Drag City Records. Enjoy!
I’m always endlessly delighted when I can find an animated clip for the week’s featured video, because it reminds me fondly of watching my favorite cartoons on weekend mornings as a child (though I admit that this mostly took place on Saturdays). Nostalgia! This week’s video, “Sleepy Dog” is the masterstroke of a band called Wand. Directed by Meghan Tryon and Garrett Davis, the visual odyssey of this adorable little black dog comes on like a reined-in version of a monochromatic R. Crumb-induced hallucination. And since we already know that the dog is sleepy, it is pleasing to imagine that his many otherworldly adventures — which include a visit to an art museum — are, in fact, just a fever dream of sorts. There are also enough creepy, nightmare moments to make this choice appropriate for Halloween, which is just a few days off at this point. Nice.
Aurally, “Sleepy Dog” pays homage to the very best of ’60s garage rock psychedelia. Nothing more need be said. “Sleepy Dog” comes to us from Wand’s latest album, 1000 Days, which was released on September 25th, 2015Dragcity Records.