Out of Focus: Riders Against the Storm, Troller, Lench and More


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.

Riders Against the Storm- “RE:AL”


This might be a symptom of an overworked critical brain, but Riders Against the Storm’s new video for their Alabama Shakes remix track “RE:AL” has the look of an Afro-Pan’s Labyrinth at times. Chalk it up to Chaka’s headwear, those shell strands covering the top half of his face like bone dreads. All I’m saying is that Guillermo del Toro should maybe call the group up about a collaboration. There’s also a confrontational intensity to this “RE:AL” clip that I don’t think was as obvious to me when we premiered it in single form. The video is simple but vivid, Chaka and Qi DaDa making slow, mannered movements, holding back on the dance moves that dominate most of their other videos in order to express frustrations at the inadequacies of the modern world. Maybe this is a sly commentary on the way a certain section of local media continues to not give RAS proper acclaim?


Troller- “Not Here”


Austin has a dearth of truly erotic music acts. This is pretty troubling when you think about it. Imagine all those bearded folksters and grungy throwback acts and the kind of sex they must have. Turbo hamster thrusting, done in a minute or two. Chronic whiskey dick problems. The kinkiest thing probably the use of a man bun as a makeshift g-spot stimulator. Thank the kink gods for Troller and Melissa Cha, then. Cha’s new video for Troller’s “Not Here” is kinky and mystifying, set in a cabaret where Ms. Louisianna Purchase stands in for Troller and then gets strapped into a torture device and flogged and paddled and clamped until everyone is moaning along with the song. It’s hot and weird, the darkness of its start a red herring as the final message appears to be “Troller might sound scary, but trust us, they’re going to turn you on more than anyone else in Austin ever has.”


Lench- “What Happened to Austin?”


Last month, Lench unveiled his incendiary gentrification track “What Happened to Austin?” detailing the upheavals and cultural conflicts that have changed the city over the decades, and the video adds further weight to the already heavy track, set in the sections of East Austin that don’t seem to get as much attention whenever the condo debates spring back up. Those familiar with Austin’s history have likely found it depressingly ironic that whenever the arguments emerge about the evils of gentrification in regards to hipster enclaves, they seem to ignore the communities that were themselves gentrified out of those areas. As Lench points out in the track, much of Austin was blatantly segregated until relatively recently and as the city grows, the Latin and black communities are being forced out altogether. But Lench isn’t here to complain about how things were, stating midway through the song “Have you thought that/If we fought back/Finally all came together, man/We could stop that” clarifying that “What Happened to Austin?” isn’t a history lesson but a call to arms. As such, “What Happened to Austin?” is powerful stuff, Lench’s crystal clear machine gun flow perfectly set to cut through the bullshit and think pieces and get right to the heart of the matter.


Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice- “Blend (Moonwalk Don’t Run)”


Veteran musical mad scientist Chief and TheDoomsDayDevice sent over his video for “Blend (Moonwalk Don’t Run)” and it’s a surprise on a lot of fronts. The track itself is more groove oriented than Chief’s recent material has been, seemingly picking up some lessons from his collaborations with Butcher BearWhere a lot of Chief’s ouevre is densely packed with verbiage, “Blend” keeps its lyrics to a minimum, pitch shifting them to demonic lows or placing them so far back in the mix they’re ghostly. That’s fitting considering the video is like a miniature found footage masterpiece, starring Chief as his cartoon-masked counterpart, skulking around a derelict house, fading in and out of rooms with TheDoomsdayDevice in tow. Whatever spirits are possessing Chief, I’m curious to hear how else they manifest on his new instrumental album Slow Burnout.

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