by Nick Hanover
There are a lot of great videos coming out of Austin these days, so we’ve decided to make life easier for you by compiling some of the best into a recurring feature called Out of Focus.
Twin Vision’s “I Believe in Drugs” is a track I’ve had on steady rotation since February, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that the band unveiled their video for it at Cheer Up Charlie’s. I unfortunately missed out on that show because I was doing critic things (re: watching boring ass television) and now I’m even more disappointed because it’s punk as fuck, like some revved up Bolex filmed spin on Roger Corman’s biker flicks. It’s simply and crudely shot but that’s what makes it so fun; it’s clearly just the band and their friends running around some central Texas pasture while wearing leather and ski masks and wielding machetes. There’s even a punk performance angle as the bikers swarm around Twin Vision and spit at them as the band does its best to keep these rowdy bikers entertained. Maybe it’s just me, but kt seems like every other Austin music video is a bunch of swirly colors and scenesters auditioning to be American Apparel and I for one am happy to welcome our new biker psycho overlords.
Everyone loves puppies. Not everyone loves Austin hip-hop. Luckily Austin Mic Exchange teamed up with Austin Pets Alive! to kick off AMX’s new video cypher series, utilizing puppies to win over some new fans and alert everyone to the upcoming Weird City event, Austin’s very first hip-hop festival. Co-directors Ryan Darbonne and Adam Protextor are joined by local up-and-comers The Lower Class, Scuare, Mainstreem and their Space Camp Death Squad collaborator Secret Levels for an impressive display of homegrown talent that’s a bit epic at more than 10 minutes, but well worth it. Hades Theunscene’s beat is especially menacing and monstrous, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the puppies, but hey, opposites attract for a reason. And if you like what you see, be sure to stop by Austin Mic Exchange, which goes down every Tuesday at Spider House Ballroom at 11 pm.
Also on the hip-hop front, Sertified’s video for his new single “Where I Live” is a vibrant and exquisitely detailed visual love letter to the ATX. The track itself has a throwback sound, like a bridge between Biggie and the Pharcyde, so it makes perfect sense that its video would be a merger of animation and urban documentation. There’s bunnies smoking joints while deer walk by with thug life tattoos, but there’s also Daniel Johnston murals and skate parks and mini golf, all while Sertified memorializes his hometown with affection but no shortage of frankness. The mixtape it’s from, FilthyFckngHumans is a similarly intriguing mix of playfulness and honesty, and the LNS Crew guest spots and Heartbeatz production help show that Sertified is a force to be reckoned with, and not just on a local level.
When he’s not playing bass and synth in BLXPLTN, Jonathan Horstmann fronts the orchestral indie pop group Mighty Mountain, which released the video for “Your Last Breath” earlier this year. “Your Last Breath” is my favorite of MM’s tracks, a sweet yet melancholic slice of pop that recalls Canadian brooders The Dears and Arcade Fire in equal measure. The video, which was directed by Horstmann, rightly hones in on the band’s passionate playing against an atmospheric, foggy backdrop. The band has since switched up its line-up and their more recent shows have a punk edge to them that has slowly turned them into a more melodic Pogues, so this recording doesn’t quite capture their new energy, but it’s a beautiful example of what they’re capable of.
I already wrote about Tele Novella’s “Trouble in Paradise” video over at Loser City, but it’s such a great video I’m going to bring that blurb over here for double exposure:
With its ominous, swampy guitar lick and reverb drenched drums, “Trouble in Paradise” is as sweet and deadly as a poison apple, and its allure only grows stronger once Natalie Ribbons’ voice enters the fray. A mixture of Peggy Lee’s strength and Nancy Sinatra’s verve, Ribbons is the kind of vocalist who demands attention without being flashy, a perfect seductive front to the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins-esque menace provided by the rest of the band. And just as Hawkins was known to emerge from a coffin on stage, director Tina Rivera has Tele Novella emerging from the steamy depths of a creepy off road motel.
Rivera presents the band as connoseiurs of the macabre, from their touring vehicle (a hearse) to their post-show ceremonies (the delivery of ofrendas to some unknown deceased), but even the traditional shots of the band performing have a creepy glee, whether it’s Ribbons’ eyes going terrifyingly wide onstage or drummer Matt Simon’s werewolf-like sideburns. The band is seemingly unaware of the haunted figures lurking in their hotel room and within the pool, but maybe that’s just because they’re surrounded by the strange and unusual all the time anyway. Of course, as is the case with any good horror work, that lack of awareness is what consumes them in the end. But at least they went down with a great soundtrack.
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 Dylan Garsee on twitter: @Nick_Hanover