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.
Melat- “Dance Olivia”
For her late ’80s pop influenced single “Dance Olivia,” hidden Austin gem Melat crafted a video that functions as a tease for what a Gregg Araki remake of Videodrome might look like. There are ghosts in the machines and fluorescent grocery store excursions and lush outdoor ventures and through it all Melat tows the line between playfully frolicking and aimlessly avoiding something sinister. Obey City’s dark, forboding production has us beyond excited for the singer’s new material, since “Dance Olivia” already showcases a more melancholic, wizened edge to the singer.
Stiletto Feels- “Steal Your Guitar”
Fucking friends, amirite? You give them your time and attention and help them out where you can and then sometimes they do shit like secretly move in to your home and then manage to not be able pitch in on rent for several months until you finally grow a spine and kick them to the curb. Or maybe you’re Stiletto Feels and they’re hawking your instruments for drugs so you get back at them by writing a song about it and turning that scumbaggery into a marketable PR hook. In video form, Stiletto Feels’ “Steal Your Guitar” is a bit more on the nose, following around said scumbag as he gets kicked out of a party and then goes down the street doing dickish things, accumulating pissed off followers like the world’s most irritating Pied Piper. And just when you think he’s going to get his comeuppance, the asshat takes it to a whole new level.
This has been sitting in my inbox for a while and I’m just now getting around to it since the Chronicle recently called Malik “the future of Austin hip hop.” I don’t think that’s all that fair to Malik (or his peer Dowrong, who the Chronicle have more or less also made the same declaration about, complete with a cover story) but I can see the appeal. Not even old enough to drink yet, Malik has an impressively confident flow that certainly stands out from the mush mouthed, generic talkers that make up the bulk of the Austin scene. But “Breakaway,” the main single from Malik’s ambitious debut The Principium, is still a little too generic to really stand out, a problem that extends to its message-heavy video. Starring Malik as some kind of anti-social media water nymph, the video finds Malik rising out of the shallow waters of Austin to steal people’s phones and throw them at various hard surfaces. Future of Austin hip hop judge Kahron Spearman once called out the Austin scene for not having a hard enough edge– not necessarily in terms of production but in regards to thick skin and competition and I think that’s worth considering here, because to my ears, Malik sounds like a lot of raw potential who hasn’t quite thickened up enough to have a discernible personality just yet. So whether he’s the future of Austin hip hop remains to be seen, but I’m at least looking forward to that raw potential shaping up more.
Big Bill- “Sweet Boy”
Our friend Will Campbell has been posting videos he made of performances at the Bill Ball we threw with Big Bill back in October. If you missed out on the event, that’s too bad, because it was a grand ol’ time that also felt historic in a weird way. Society says you shouldn’t toot your own horn too much, but fuck it, this clip of Big Bill doing “Sweet Boy” at the Ball deserves some extra recognition and I’m not going to apologize for a fond look back at one of the best events of the year.
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