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.
Ghostbunny- “Get Closer”
Yesterday we premiered Magna Carda’s entry in the annual Music Video Race, but theirs was just one of the many excellent clips made for the competition. One of the other standouts is local “dark disco” group Ghostbunny’s “Get Closer,” which functions like a dance-crazed update on Falling Down. The video has Ghostbunny frontman Nick Hanson quitting his job not with a string of profanities but with some fabulously fancy footwork, eventually exiting the office to take his dance gospel to the masses. He stops to turn the rhythm on a mugger, who is so flummoxed he hands over his own wallet. The track itself is hard for feet to ignore, so it’s easy to see how it would inspire people to ditch the drudgery of their day jobs and start a neverending dance party.
Recent Beaumont expats Purple just unveiled their new video for “Target,” which has the snarling schoolyard brawl of a track paired up with a forced intervention for drummer frontwoman Hanna Brewer. Both the song and the video have the vibe of early Be Your Own Pet, especially when Brewer sabotages the amateur alcoholics anonymous circle by tossing cans of cheap beer out to her fellow delinquents as the band launches into a sleazy, ramshackle jam. Purple may be from Beaumont but they seem to already understand that the way to any Austinite’s heart is through mass consumption of alcohol, so I expect they’ll fit right in. Lord knows they’ve already inspired me to break out the Lone Star as I desperately try to crank this feature out before the deadline.
Kenny Gee- “Hieroglyphics”
Taking the “Yonkers” approach to his new clip, Kenny Gee’s “Hieroglyphics” is an over-saturated, mostly black and white representation of Gee himself. Except instead of eating Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches or throwing up or hanging himself, Gee equates himself with the pharaohs, Rap Game Ramses II, if you will. The simplicity of the presentation is what makes it work– Gee holds himself with the confidence and swagger of someone who’s already got pyramids to his name and he doesn’t need flash or cash to drive that point home. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that “Hieroglyphics” the track barely scratches the surface of Hieroglyphics the album, making this just a tease for whatever’s on the horizon for “the hardest working young man” in Austin.
Read Richarts- “Dear Chance”
Also taking the stark, smoky, over-saturated black and white route is Read Richarts’ “Dear Chance,” albeit with more social consciousness thrown in. “Dear Chance” has Richarts standing square in the spotlight as clips of underdog film figures are projected against him, making for a juxtaposition between the song’s chorus of “Chances are, you’ll never beat the odds” and the representations of those who did. Richarts’ ultimate question to his similarly ambitious peers, though, is whether they’re doing it for “the fame or the art,” and his rejection of any flashy status objects in the video drives home his emphasis on the latter end of that equation. 2014 has undoubtedly been the year of Austin hip-hop, not just because of the milestone of the inaugural Weird City festival, but because artists like Richarts are deadset on elevating the art of the scene, forcing naysayers to take stock of the evolution of the city’s artists and their unwillingness to continue to go overlooked.
Megafauna- “Haunted Factory”
Something about Megafauna’s “Haunted Factory” video has me reminiscing on the late ’90s and the oeuvre of Garbage. It’s not that Megafauna sounds like Garbage– though Shirley Manson and Megafauna’s Dani Neff do share a certain kind of sinister swagger– it’s just that Brad Linton’s video for the band has the grimey, post-industrial feel I always associate with whatever the hell was going on in that “Push It” video. The difference here is that instead of creepy nun costumes and people made up of tv static, the secret ingredient of “Haunted Factory” is the choreography, from Neff’s own feline moves to the background work Stephanie Chavez of Woven Feet provides. Woven Feet have been making quite a name for themselves thanks to their collaborations with artists like Sorne and Walker Lukens, but I think the ghostly ballet of “Haunted Factory” is maybe their best collaboration yet.
Megafauna are playing Gypsy Lounge this Saturday, September 20th, with Ghost Wolves, Hooka Hey and Opposite Day.
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