Out of Focus: Gary Clark Jr., Belcurve 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

Gary Clark Jr. “This Land”

At less than a month into 2019, Gary Clark Jr. has already set the visual standard against which all other local artists will be judged in “This Land.” The Savanah Leaf directed video is a statement on American heritage in all its forms, bluntly commenting on the white bigots who flock to Clark’s genre of choice in the grand tradition of Lee Atwater while providing a no holds barred flip of racist images from the Confederate flag to rope laden trees and plantation mansions. “This Land” is uncompromising and bold to match Clark’s newly furious sound, full of buzzsaw synths and block busting beats to match that blues guitar, but it’s also serene and beautiful, predominantly focused on black children trying to just live amidst all the hate, shouting “this land is mine” to anyone who tries to take that from them. It’s an incredible powerful piece that serves to remind us how necessary music is to revolution.

Belcurve “Strangers”

It’s a tale as old as time: paperbag clad boy falls in love with popular girl, only to be bullied by a pack of varsity jacket wearing thugs until, well, the world explodes. Okay, so maybe Zack Scott’s video for the potent Belcurve single “Strangers” isn’t your traditional romantic comedy set-up, but I’d still wager that if you aren’t rooting for its black hole brain underdogs, you’re a heartless creep, especially with local cinematic genius John Valley playing the lead bully with such oily gusto. And hey, about that ending, I’d rather have the planet blow up than live under the tyrannical rule of some privileged sociopathic bully anyway. Oh, wait.

Wallaby & Bobbes “Day in the Life”

With its simple breeziness and emphasis on the thrill of performance, Wallaby & Bobbes’ “Day in the Life” video offers a better representation of the appeal of the local super duo than the boats, babes and bills aesthetics of their peers ever could. It’s just Wallaby & Bobbes doing what they do best, making boom bap hip hop with mystical samples and wordy verses as the camera moves around them, filtering them down to spectral versions of themselves, like some classic Native Tongues clip.

Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice + LoPhi “Crying Freeman”

Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice and LoPhi pull from the same timeframe as Native Tongues in the Jeffrey Garcia directed “Crying Freeman,” but their creation is more Butthole Surfers than De La Soul. Avant filmmaker Garcia matches LoPhi’s beat with some visual freewheeling of his own, leaping between acid tinged visuals, Harmony Korine like trailer park characters and, uh, muppets to bring “Crying Freeman” to trippy day-glo life. The result is something better suited to a Levitation Fest screening than Yo! MTV Raps.
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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