by Nick Hanover
There are a lot of videos coming out of Austin these days, so we’ve decided to make life easier for you by compiling some of the most notable into a recurring feature called Out of Focus.
Ringo Deathstarr- “Stare at the Sun”
It’s not too surprising that the most views I’ve seen on an Austin music video in recent memory is for a clip full of dogs acting like humans. What is a little more surprising is that Blackmagic Rollercoaster Pictureshow director Thomas Humphreys’ video for Ringo Deathstarr’s excellent single “Stare at the Sun” is not a cute viral effort. Instead it’s a grimy and disturbing miniature epic, like Gregg Araki ditching his stable of impossibly beautiful young LA types for a whole pound’s worth of canines. There is murder and intrigue, BDSM and inter-species sex, strip clubs and debauched banquets– basically everything you could ever want from the world’s first canine art film.
A Giant Dog- “Sex & Drugs”
John Valley is well on his way to becoming Austin’s first music video auteur, but it’s interesting that his trilogy of videos for Sabrina Ellis projects finally has an entry starring his frequent muse and it’s the most traditional effort from the director so far. That’s not to say “Sex & Drugs” isn’t remarkable– there’s a nifty Twilight Zone esque concept, and the band looks like castaways from a Venusian reinterpretation of Velvet Goldmine— but of all of Valley’s post-Valley Forge efforts, “Sex & Drugs” is both the most widely viewed and the most similar to the classic era of performance centered videos. The band performs within a snowglobe possessed by a temper tantrum prone child, their movements edited to seem particularly alien and unreal in order to match the glammy outfits. It’s a great fit for the song’s heady coke and orgasm fueled shenanigans, an unapologetically juvenile representation of rock star life that should serve as an excellent introduction to A Giant Dog for the uninitiated.
Alex Napping- “Trembles Part I”
On the note of A Giant Dog collaborators, Ryan Darbonne helmed the new video for indie popsters Alex Napping and while it may not have the unhinged action of “Cleveland Steven,” “Trembles Part I” is a sweet tour through cinema history that breezily conveys the charm of Alex Napping. Structured as a dream sequence from a spurned young man who has seemingly lost his girlfriend to another woman, “Trembles Part I” moves from vaudevillian kidnapping to expressionist horror to ’50s melodrama, each era showing the mysterious Amelia, rival to the kid’s affections, coming out on top.
Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice- “Chairs Missing”
I’ve been enjoying Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice’s descent into noise rap; the dude is currently navigating an intriguing realm between classic era Anticon shit and the more aggro sonic violence of current weirdos clipping. and Moodie Black. The video Chief put together for “Chairs Missing” is a little more laid back than its sonics, but the dichotomy of the grinding, sawtoothed beat and the ghostly backgrounds and editing is notable, a comment on the way a city like Austin can be full of the sounds of constructive progress but also the quieter sounds of erasure and disintegration. Still, I’d love to see Chief team up with some of the city’s talented directors and animators. I suspect a Ryan Darbonne + Chief collab would be particularly interesting.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover