Out of Focus: A Giant Dog, Leopold and His Fiction and more

by Nick Hanover

Out of Focus

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 “Jizzney”

I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to terms describing A Giant Dog’s whole thing, hedomism is closer than melancholy. But for the sweetly low key song “Jizzney,” Daniel Ralston appeals to the latter quality, depicting the song’s oddball title as a worm-like human being whose chief quality seems to be ruining good times. Ol’ Jizzney at least seems somewhat aware of this, though not enough to work towards minimizing the amount of time he spends icily staring down audience members at Hotel Vegas or improving his eating habits at Star Seeds Cafe. Instead he floats through the video, lurking in the background like an It Follows extra, until he decides to remove himself from the equation in truly melodramatic fashion. Ralston has a great eye for framing and while his narrative work and color use could still use some development, “Jizzney” still manages to succeed as a weirdo melodrama in miniature.

Leopold and His Fiction “I’m Caving In”

Classic rock revivalist Leopold and His Fiction has been ramping up promotion and releases lately and while his newest single “I’m Caving In” has a less ambitious video than the Quentin Tarantino indebted “Cowboy,” I think it’s a better marriage of sound and vision. Featuring the newly platinum blond Leopold preaching in a glam church amidst a backdrop of tvs starring his more Freddie Mercury-like prior incarnation, “I’m Caving In” sells the confessional aspect of the song. As simple as its camera work is, the elaborate backdrop and multimedia aspects of the video work well with the amped up ’50s vibe of the song, and alongside the more blockbuster “Cowboy,” it works well to sell Leopold and His Fiction as an arena ready act.

RF Shannon “Had a Revelation”

Not much happens in Daniel Hill’s new video for RF Shannon but that’s fitting. “Had a Revelation” is a mood piece, musically and cinematically, giving a third person account of RF Shannon’s awakening, split between hyper clear pastoral segments and blurrier night time sequences in bars and fairs. The effect is more There Will Be Blood-era PT Anderson than Terence Malick, effortlessly communicating the hazy, languid tone of the track without coming off as too grandiose or meandering, particularly when the editing plays with expectations by cutting on off beats and holding shots for longer than music videos have taught us to anticipate. Even the climax of the song is presented in a slyly relaxed manner, simply showing RF Shannon dancing in a dimly lit club with no fanfare or jump cuts.

Buhu “Youth is Breaking”

This could serve as either a compliment or a criticism, depending on where your loyalties lie, but Zachary Parks’s clip for Buhu’s “Youth is Breaking” looks like something I imagine Bret Easton Ellis would have directed had he decided to go the MTV route after Less Than Zero. It’s absolutely not a nostalgic video but it has all the flash and superficiality and accidental surrealness of early MTV, presenting a number of random images that add up to not much of anything but sure look nice. You’ve got some JG Ballard crash eroticism, inexplicable animal masks, extreme close-ups of partygoers, haphazardly objectified limbs and a color scheme that goes from Kraftwerk to Duran Duran with no warning. I don’t know whether I should hate it for being such a hodgepodge of commercial imagery or love it for its absolute lack of awareness or tact.

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