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.
A Giant Dog “Bendover”
It may have come out just before 4th of July, but Eric Dougherty’s video for A Giant Dog’s new single “Bendover” provided all of the fireworks I needed yesterday. The song itself is split between a section cheekily referencing Sparks’ “Angst in My Pants” (which the band has made a staple of their live sets) and the more raucous, glammy style that is their trademark. But the video is a send up of LA rock videos, complete with dancers in fishnets and corsets, pyrotechnics and erotic car scenes, all filtered through the band’s grinning deconstruction of rock tropes. While I’ve been missing A Giant Dog’s usually more narrative video approach, the Atomic Blonde-esque costume design and ’80s throwback imagery is a nice touch that bodes well for their upcoming new Merge album Toy, due out next month.
Fort Never “Paradigm”
Like Fort Never itself, Shattering Society’s video for “Paradigm” is a dizzying collission of styles and aesthetics, bringing together Alice in Wonderland creatures and Trainspotting grime. In a loose sense, it’s a video about transformation, focusing on Chantell Moody’s evolution from wandering rabbit girl to trip hop debutante, with some of the most striking moments coming not from the impressive costume design and staging but from the extreme close-ups on Moody’s highly expressive face. But there’s also a playfulness to the product that suits Fort Never particularly well since the band’s live shows are always a blast and far more goofy than you’d expect from a group making a serious bid at being a successor to Massive Attack. Shattering Society deserves major credit for succeeding at bringing both sides of the band to life so effortlessly.
One of the surest signs that an artist is on their way to becoming a superstar is an ability to enrapture an audience by just being themselves, without distraction or gimmicks. Mélat’s track “Negn” accomplishes that by removing nearly everything we think of when we think of a beat, making her voice the only point of focus while losing none of the magic listeners associate with this commanding performer. Director Deer Daniel was clearly aware of that potency while making the video for “Negn” because it carries that effect over visually, mostly eschewing distracting visuals or narrative to just present Mélat as she is. The shots are largely static, the differentiation coming from the color filters and Mélat’s restrained but intense expressiveness. It’s a bold move but it’s unquestionably successful, and serves as further evidence that 2017 is going to be remembered as the year audiences could no longer ignore Mélat.
Branden Rex’s “50 Cent Wings” might begin with the declaration that “life is pretty fucked up right now,” but that’s not going to stop him (or you) from making “happiness his own.” And in the case of Americo Siller’s video for the song, that comes in the form of his friend De’von Harley taking over a basketball court Rex and his buds are playing on for some impromptu roller disco choreography. The song’s catchy as fuck playground chime melody only sinks its hooks in deeper when it’s presented to you via Harley’s slick moves, his enthusiasm for the material and his DIY approach to it pretty damn hard to resist. That makes it all that much easier to take Rex at his word when he tells you “I’m gonna be on television,” since his friends are clicking with his song like he’s already too famous to be contained by this town.
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