Tag Archive | Music

Video Clip of The Week: Dandy Warhols, “Be Alright”

Happy New Year, Bitches — and welcome to the first Video Clip of the Week for 2019! It’s going to be a great year for some-extra cool songs and clips, I promise. It’s good to be back, though I admit that I am still a little woozy from the Holidaze. For the first three or four days after I returned from a fabulous Christmas vacation in Southern California, I felt like I was completely hungover with jet lag. And during that necessary reintegration into the New York City atmosphere, I had an unusually high number of vivid, hallucinatory dreams that seemed to segue loosely from one to another and another, which left me foggy and disoriented upon wakening, but nevertheless kept me wildly entertained. Dreaming is free.

And it is this desirable feeling of existing in a dream-like state that sealed the deal for me when choosing this week’s clip, which is called “Be Alright” from the Dandy Warhols — a band that managed to cling tenaciously to their major label record deal longer than I think anyone imagined possible. Kudos! Starring actress Jessica Paré, who played Megan Draper on Mad Men, and featuring cameos by all band members plus an assorted mix of their extended entourage, “Be Alright”  opens on a scene of Paré seated alone in a dimly-lit restaurant and symbolically squeezing the last drop of wine from the bottle before before she saunters off to the bar for more champagne, and then proceeds to journey from room to room, encountering  a formal dinner party, concert, photo shoot, and a recording session. Or something like that. Imagine if David Lynch directed an alt-rock version of Alice in Wonderland.

It turns out that the clip was shot entirely in one location, which is a a ten thousand square foot building purchased by the Dandy Warhols back in 2002 in what was then industrial NW Portland. The Odditorium, as it is now known, is the band’s headquarters, recording studio, and hang out for them and all their friends and fellow artists. The video was written and conceived by the award winning creative mind of Kevin Moyer, who explains, “I’ve been there many times and it is such a cool and ethereal place, full of psychedelia and gothic touches and auras. It just makes your head spin trying to take all of it in as you walk through the unique rock n roll space. What better way [to capture the essence of this music] than to use a head spinning media format to take the viewer on a magical journey through the Dandy Warhols‘ own space and sound, with the new single ‘Be Alright’ making things exactly that along the way.” Well said!

“Be Alright” can be found on the band’s new album, Why You So Crazy, due out on January 25th, 2019 on Dine Alone Records. Preorder the album via their Pledge Music campaign, and receive extra goodies, at This Link! Enjoy!

Dandy Warhols

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Video Clip of The Week: Elton John, “Step Into Christmas”

Back in the ’70s and ’80s, when Rock & Roll was still chart-topping genre rather than something that people over age 40 get nostalgic about, popular bands doing Christmas-themed songs was a thing that I enjoyed. While many of my holiday favorites fall into the pop-ballad category — the gloriously maudlin “Merry Christmas, Darling” by The Carpenters, or Emerson Lake and Palmer’s appropriately stoic “I Believe in Father Christmas” spring instantly to mind — there are a few modern standards that truly rock out. Which brings us to this week’s Video Clip, Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas” — a song that John recorded with his original band in 1973! You probably weren’t even born yet.

This extremely rare performance footage was originally broadcast in 1973 as part of The Gilbert O’Sullivan Show. After its original broadcast, the footage was lost in the ITV archives and has only recently been unearthed. Featuring Elton alongside his classic band line up of Davey JohnstoneDee Murray (RIP) and Nigel Olsson (with a rare cameo appearance from Bernie Taupin on percussion) in all of their Glam Rock glory, the clip has not been seen since it was first aired.  The “Step Into Christmas” single originally charted at No. 24 in the UK single charts, and  reached a peak chart position of No. 11 again in 2017. As you can hear, the song simply refuses to date.

“Step Into Christmas” is available now as a three track digital EP featuring both the original single and its  B-side of “Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)”,  plus the audio performance from the Gilbert O’Sullivan Show. Enjoy!

Video Clip of The Week: Westerman, “Outside Sublime”


Adult Contemporary Electronica: Yes, it Exists. This week’s Video Clip comes from Westerman, an artist who’s flown under my radar until the link to his latest single, “Outside Sublime,” arrived in my email box. Lucky me, lucky you!

With a penchant for creating songs that explore and interrogate the nature of personal connection, Westerman’s new visual is a soothing, ethereal look at the fantasy world one escapes to when opening up to another person. Aurally, “Outside Sublime” is not just easy listening, it’s completely effortless. This is the soothing break your mind needs after a long weekend spent holiday shopping and hanging out with your family, trust me.

Director Beatrix Blaise shared a creative insight on how the video for “Outside Sublime” came together: “When I first heard it, I instantly imagined glistening watery scenes, fireflies and some sense of harmonious escape. Out of that came a kind of visceral world, where each thing in it was trying to mirror a human softness and duality.”

“Outside Sublime” can be found on Westerman’s just-released Ark EP, out now on Blue Flowers. Enjoy!

Westerman

Video Clip Of The Week: Chris Cornell, “When Bad Does Good”


I never felt the urge to embrace “Grunge” as a fashion trend or social movement, but there is no arguing the fact that a number of the bands associated with that era remain favorites of mine to this day. The music of Soundgarden, in particular, was life-changing for me, and was a huge influence on my early writing career. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had a ridiculous crush on vocalist Chris Cornell — but who didn’t? He was truly beautiful — the definition of a Rock God, if you ask me – and his sudden passing in May of 2017 was devastating on many levels. This week, we will pay homage to Chris with the new Video Clip for “When Bad Does Good,” which provides the soothing comfort for a heartache that you may not even realize you had.

“When Bad Does Good” is a previously-unreleased song that appears on the new box set, Chris Cornell: An Artists Legacy, which was also released this past Friday. Shot this fall, the video features Chris and Vicky Cornell’s son, Christopher playing a young Chris Cornell as a paper boy in Seattle, representing who Chris was and where he came from, and paying tribute to his hometown of Seattle. Song lyrics from Cornell’s illustrious career are hidden throughout the video, showcasing the breadth of his songwriting as a poet and lyricist. The video for “When Bad Does Good” features mementos and places that played a part in Chris’ life and was directed by Kevin Kerslake, who also directed Soundgarden’s videos for “Loud Love” and “Hands All Over.” “When Bad Does Good” was produced, recorded, and mixed by Cornell and was found in his personal recordings archive. We still miss you, Chris. Thank you for the music. Enjoy.

Chris Cornell Box Set Artwork
Chris Cornell Box Set Artwork (Image Source)

Video Clip of The Week: Neko Case, “Last Lion of Albion”


At a time when the reigning administration has zero regard for the environment: dismantling the EPA, selling off our public lands, aggressively polluting the water and air through the abolishing of regulations meant to protect the health of all citizens, and expediting the extinction of endangered species, this week’s anthemic Video Clip, “Last Lion of Albion” from Neko Case, is a call to action, in case you aren’t paying attention.

Brough to life visually in an animated clip by artist Laura Plansker, “Last Lion of Albion” is a requiem for the magnificent landscapes and creatures that have been erased from our planet by the effects of humans. Case explains, “I’m very honored and excited to debut this video by one of my very favorite artists. I’ve loved her work forever; she‘s so skilled at using handmade figures and props to create surreal worlds. Her work perfectly balances humor and darkness in a way that breaks my heart. Laura has a way of making something so artificial [feel] so very alive. The turning of the lion’s head to look at the sky, or its own reflection, makes me cry my eyes out. There is so much straight ahead compassion in Laura’s work, there’s no need to manipulate emotion of the viewer, it is the perfect balance. I’m so happy to share it here with you!“

“Last Lion of Albion” can be found on Case’s recently released album, Hell-On, which includes contributions from some three dozen guest performers, including k.d. Lang, Laura Veirs, Beth Ditto, and Robert Forster on backing vocals, Joey Burns of Calexico and Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices on guitars, and Barbara Gruska and Matt Chamberlain on drums. Enjoy!

Neko Case Hell On Cover

Video Clip The Week: Jon Spencer, “Do The Trash Can”


My favorite memory involving Jon Spencer (he of the eponymous Blues Explosion) goes back to the time that I was assigned to write a cover story about him for a now long-defunct Rock magazine, whose editors would not allow writers to use the word “that” in any articles. Just being serious. For the interview, I arranged to meet Spencer at a Starbucks in the neighborhood where we both live, assuming it would not be impossible to settle in at an empty table and just chat over the reasonable din of people getting coffee and taking up space. When no tables were free at Starbucks, we attempted to find another nearby restaurant or bar to duck into, but there were no viable options, for some mysterious reason. I then suggested that perhaps we could just go to his apartment that he shares with wife Cristina Martinez, but Spencer said no way in Hell was that going to happen. Lovely. We ended up doing the interview while sitting on a bench in Union Square Park. Whatever. He was a decent interview, and now I have been able to share this fun story with you, so it all worked out.

This brings us to our featured video clip, with Spencer flying solo for “Do The Trash Can” – which was described to me as being “a Molotov cocktail of sound,” so I am just going to go with that.  If you are already a fan of the kind of take-no-prisoners,  eardrum-excoriating noise rock that Spencer is, dare I say it, the absolute best at churning out, then you will go crazy over “Do The Trash Can.” It’s a Jon Spencer song, what can I say? If you have no previous exposure to this true garage rock legend, consider this a test drive. Your mileage may vary.

Visually, “Do The Trash Can” is a bit of a softer sell, because this video ranks as a Work of Art.  “Do The Trash Can” rates up there in the top five or so “most fun to just look at” video clips I’ve featured in five years of running this column. With Spencer dressed up as a vendor of the kind of fast food that you might find at, say, Coney Island, the video focuses on artfully directed images of him interacting with hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, french fries, and pop corn, while also introducing The Trash Can as some kind of minimal dance, and of course playing guitar. This is all presented against the most highly-saturated palette of primary colors that I can recall seeing in a video since DEVO’s “Whip It,” which everyone agrees was ahead of its time. I’m hungry and I want to go to an art gallery, just thinking about it.

As an aside, it has also never dawned on me how much Spencer’s guitar playing sounds to have been influenced by that of the late, great George Harrison. For a point of aural reference, revisit the breakdown in The Beatles’ “Tax Man” and tell me I’m not on to something. “Do The Trash Can” can be found on Spencer’s first ever (no kidding) solo album, Spencer Sings The Hits!, which is out on November 9, 2018 via In The Red Records! Enjoy!

Spencer Sings The Hits

Video Clip of The Week: Wallows, “1980s Horror Film”


Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, which just feels wrong. But you know what is just so right — your Video Clip of the Week: Special Halloween Edition! You’ll never believe what I found for you, because this clip for “1980’s Horror Film” from Southern California-based rock trio Wallows is just too perfect! Not only is the song a spot-on homage to classic ’80s MTV, when keyboard-driven New Wave bands ruled, but the visuals also provide an era-appropriate flashback. The fun video for “1980’s Horror Film” finds Wallows‘ lead singer Braeden Lemasters donning a Robert Smith fright wig as he recalls an elaborately romantic seduction scene waylaid by a girl who would much rather watch a horror movie than make out with him. Check it out now to relive all of your bittersweet memories of a summer romance that never was, because “1980’s Horror Film” (available via Atlantic Records on the band’s Spring EP) is just scary great! Enjoy!