Out of Focus: Magna Carda, Matthew Squires, Que Pasa and Ian McKinney

Out of Focus

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.


Magna Carda- “Juice”


We’re not exactly secretive about our love for Magna Carda here at Ovrld, their content pops up on more or less a monthly basis at this point. It’s not just our critical crush on the group that is the reason for this, though. The truth is Magna Carda hustle fucking hard. There are a lot of hardworking bands and artists in Austin, to be sure, but in 2014 Magna Carda seem to have been incapable of pausing, and their new video collaboration with Mud is just the latest example of that. More than just a clip for “Juice,” a stellar track from their upcoming new mixtape, the video is a minimalist modern dance epic, featuring the band doing their thing up against an ominous neon-lit screen until a dancer ushers Megz Kelli into some kind of atomic epiphany. It’s a strong image but it also manifests a feeling about Magna Carda, that they’re about to explode in a very big way.


Matthew Squires & the Learning Disorders- “Echo”


Speaking of hard working hustlers, Matthew Squires & the Learning Disorders have had a very busy December, releasing their new album Where the Music Goes to Die and also crafting two music videos for a pair of standout tracks. The first is “Echo,” my personal favorite moment on the album, a slinky, verbose little indie pop gem. The song itself is a pretty sunny, clever look at the courting process and specifically the need to not seem totally into someone right off the bat, but the video looks a bit like Primer if it was a short in the V/H/S anthology series. At the start, our anonymous hero wakes up in a shallow grave with a tombstone spelling out the credits. He emerges and ends up on a treasure hunt, unknowingly watched via video by a shadowy presence. It climaxes with some fitting digital echo, and though Erik Gatling’s direction never makes the ominous nature of the video explicit, it still has a nice, unexpected spookiness to it.


Matthew Squires & the Learning Disorders- “A Strange Piece”



The second video from the Squires camp is for the more somber, reflective track “A Strange Piece,” and Patrick Nichols’ resulting clip for it is fittingly melancholy, working its way backwards from the present day to the past. At first the video seems to be a static display of a man in a room anxiously waiting for someone, fidgeting with the devices around him, but Nichols’ pulls back the curtain before too long, revealing the man is perhaps waiting on a spirit who bypasses time. The devices transform from digital gadgets to turntables to transistor sets and the video itself changes along with it, from a smooth HD presentation to the scratchy faux-film textures of a silent movie until it goes down in a nitrate blaze without providing any kind of romantic conclusion.


¿Qué Pasa? – “Kaleidoscope Jungle”


Similarly abstract and hazy is Que Pasa’s “Kaleidoscope Jungle” video, where the song’s hallucinogenic mystique is ably translated to film by Federico Moreno and Vanessa Pla. The band is decked out in a hybridization of ’60s hippie attire and gypsy garb, the camera rotating around and above them as they state their intentions to sleep their lives away. Admittedly, “Kaleidoscope Jungle” is among my least favorite tracks on Big Mistake, but the video does an excellent job emphasizing the dreamy psychedelic vibe of the song and if nothing else makes you inclined to join in on that hippie slumber party.

Ian McKinney- “Good Times”



Ian McKinney is quite a bit more action oriented on “Good Times,” making his video a fun tonic for the lethargic adventures of Que Pasa. Comprised of ’80s ski videos, “Good Times” gets a lot of mileage out of the juxtaposition between that Chic-infused good time music and the decidedly not so good crashes all these skiers are experiencing. The bassline is the most stable element of the song, so it makes sense that McKinney would give the song a glitchy video, where the VHS degradation on display is locked into a groove with the knob turning modulation that provides a subtly off-kilter vibe for the music. Any video that manages to sync up a flaming skier with one of the greatest basslines ever created is guaranteed to be good times.

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