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. This week we’ll also be showing off a few live performance videos.
Alex Napping- “Catcalls”
We singled out Alex Napping’s “Catcalls” a few weeks ago over in The Latest Toughs, so we were of course excited to see the band had made a video for the track. A mixture of twee happiness (it starts with cat paws clicking off the song, after all) and communal punk living, “Catcalls” is nothing if not an advertisement for the Alex Napping way of life, which seems to center around odd brunches, freeze frame high fives and of course plenty of van drives to gigs. Carmen Hilbert directs the clip like an absurdist sitcom, following the band from their drowsy morning rituals to their adventure to a talent show watched over by some stern looking judges. Luckily for Alex Napping, the competition is full of miscreants and weirdos, and they seem to have it in the bag until a very special guest appears. I’m not going to ruin the surprise, so let’s just say the twist is foreshadowed by the video’s beginning.
The Ghost Wolves- “Shotgun Pistol Grip”
Operating on the darker end of the indie spectrum, The Ghost Wolves showcase their stylishly macabre aesthetic in “Shotgun Pistol Grip,” which has some sinister looking dudes in wolf heads following the duo around in a hearse loaded up with gear and who knows what else. When we recently covered The Ghost Wolves, we highlighted the grimier end of their aesthetic and “Shotgun Pistol Grip” has that in surplus, looking like a reel of film recovered from a warehouse fire. We’re getting dangerously close to Halloween, so you know I’ll have this on repeat for the next month just to get into the spirit of things, but it’s a fun track regardless of the season.
Big Bill- “Don’t Try to Run”
Austin’s premier weirdo punk purveyors Big Bill just got back from a West Coast tour and along the way they stopped by Tucson, Arizona, where they took part in a Trundle Session. The video has the band performing a unique (mostly) acoustic twist on their recent release “Don’t Try to Run.” In its studio incarnation, the song has more of a prime era power pop feel to it, but stripped down to just acoustic guitar, bass and harmonies, it skews more towards Violent Femmes territory, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Though the band is all seated in the clip, Eric Braden still gets in some unique stage moves, mostly involving hand masks and a beard that makes his “Am I coming for you?” question more sinister.
Golden Dawn Arkestra- “Osaka”
When it comes to stage moves, though, Golden Dawn Arkestra might just be the group to beat. The futurist jazz funk all-stars did a KUTX session recently, fresh off a hugely successful record release and a venture out to UtopiaFest. The Arkestra is best experienced live (and they don’t have any music videos just yet, anyway), so if this KUTX video is your introduction to them, you’re in for a treat. “Osaka” is one of their poppier numbers, taking an approach to blending genres and cultures that recalls Kid Creole and his various incarnations (“Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy” specifically comes to mind, or maybe “Don’t Take My Coconuts“). But the Arkestra is their own special thing, an exotic sonic world full of costumes, hip quaking bass lines and a plethora of instruments. Trust me, it’s a world you want to visit as soon as possible.
Roger Sellers- “Waves”
Using projections by Topher Sipes to augment his live performance rather than costumes, Roger Sellers has been out there turning his shows into full sensory experiences. He posted a video of a performance of “Waves” at the Museum of Human Achievement last week just in time for the release of his new album Primitives. Sellers brings a theatrical flair to his shows, gesturing wildly as his loops hit their beats, hunching over in emotional turmoil as he creates sonic beds made up of vocal fragments and wordless melodies. “Waves” is a particularly powerful track from Sellers, and it’s a great introduction to the new album, packing a visceral punch with its booming drum loops and the distorted, carnival barker tone of the vocals. If you have’t checked out Primitives yet, be sure to rectify that immediately.
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