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.
Curbside Jones- “Pink”
Curbside Jones is by no means a nerdcore artist, but he is a dude who puts his interest in all things anime and video games front and center in his music and persona, so obviously the video he and The Lower Class’s Kartune developed for his song “Pink” after a successful Kickstarter campaign would show off that element of his personality. Granted, “Pink” doesn’t look like most anime (except maybe FLCL?) thanks to Kartune’s scratchy, organic aesthetic, but there’s a meditative hero tracking down a mystical lady dressed in ribbons while flying a Neverending Story-esque dragon through towns that look like they’d fit right in with locations in Chrono Trigger. “Pink” looks unlike anything else, a perfect representation of Curbside’s interests and a breezy introduction to Kartune’s dynamic style.
Milezo- “Kiss You All”
On “Kiss You All,” Milezo sound like a less insane Brian Jonestown Massacre, but the video seems to be designed to put the insanity back in the mix. Set in what appears to be a talk show hosted by a cosmic deity with a fondness for puppets, the video fits the band’s spacey sounds and nebulous melodies, coating everything in stardust and galactic matter so that what is at its heart a straightforward performance clip blossoms into something much weirder. It’s a Raw Paw production, so there are also lots of purposefully lo-fi video effects and by the time the band hops in a bright yellow VW Thing, you’re left wondering if the video is still going on or if you’ve started to hallucinate. Mission accomplished, team.
Shakey Graves- “If Not For You”
Admittedly, I took a while to warm up to Shakey Graves. Something about his indie folk hobo bio and the way he extends that faux-hobo talk over to his publicity rubbed me the wrong way, like he emerged fully formed from sections of John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise. But And the War Came and the build up to its release has officially forced me to come around to the guy. There’s also the matter of Shakey’s performances, which make it hard to ignore his obvious talent. The people at Newport Folk recently offered up this live clip of Shakey Graves performing inside a section of Fort Adams, and while it’s not really a music video, per se, it’s an ideal way to view Shakey. The natural reverb of the old brick structure and the beauty of the backdrop frames “If Not For You” wonderfully, with Shakey’s guitar and voice harmonizing with themselves through the depth of the reverb. It’s not hard to buy into the Shakey Graves myth building when you can view performances like this.
Comforter Live at KVRX (Featuring Victor Steele)
I try to stay abreast of local music (it’s sort of my job I guess?) but I’d never encountered Comforter until someone they know put up a post on the Austin subreddit showing off their recent KVRX performance…a performance they were so psyched about they hired someone from Craigslist to come dance while they played. The man who answered the ad was Victor Steele, and while he’s an important part of the video (I’m not the only one who was lured in by the premise), the band’s sound ensured everyone stuck around for more than the novelty. While Comforter fit in comfortably with the general sound emerging from local collectives like Raw Paw and Vagabond, hearkening back to peak era college rock, they’re uniquely groove oriented, each instrument arranged in a way that expands on the overall bed of sound without getting in the way of the group’s killer harmonies and surprisingly delicate guitar work. Victor Steele’s walking Egyptian dance move may have gotten thousands of eyes on the video, but Comforter offer plenty of reasons to stay for the whole performance.
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