Out of Focus: Purple, Big Bill and Secret Levels

Out of Focus

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.

Purple- “Beach Buddy”


You could have every song from Purple’s debut album (409) get a beach-set music video and it would work. But I suspect that Purple held off on any beach appearances until now because it would steal the thunder of their explicitly beach-themed song “Beach Buddy.” Like the Strokes and the Go-Gos joining forces, “Beach Buddy” rocks a sexy strutty guitar lick and a vibrant, poppy melody, with guitarist Taylor Busby moving into the vocal spotlight in place of nominal frontwoman and drummer Hanna Brewer. Busby’s real shining moment is in the telephone breakdown at the middle of the song, though, as he calls Brewer’s beach bunny character to sound off with his thoughts on her beach cheating. The breakdown references the New York Dolls referencing the Shangri-La’s, or maybe it’s referencing the Big Bopper and his conversation with the mischievous Chantilly Lace. Actually, judging by Brewer’s zebra stripe bra outfit, maybe it’s more accurate to read it as a callback to True Romance’s equally sexy and funny phonebooth scene. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Alabama Worley was Hanna Brewer’s spirit animal, now that I think about it.

Secret Levels- “Alright, OK”


Austin itself makes a starring turn in a number of music videos, and it’s not hard to figure out why: the city has a distinct personality, full of characters and style, extending beyond and before Slacker. So it’s no surprise that local emcee Secret Levels would make his latest video a tribute to the town he calls home. Largely set in longstanding Austin punk venue Trailer Space Records, “Alright, OK” is your standard Austin travelogue, but its grainy aesthetic and clever pacing and editing make it more lovable than “day in the life” videos normally are. There’s a big skateboard video influence here too, which is emphasized even more once Secret Levels and crew break out the boards.

Big Bill Tiny Mess Concert


This isn’t a music video, but fuck it, this is my column, I’ll make the rules as I go along. A while back, we rounded up Austin’s entries for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest and after NPR crowned a non-Austin winner, Kevin Curtin had the great idea of launching a response series called Tiny Mess Concerts, featuring local artists. First up was Big Bill, a band I will never stop demanding you listen to, so I am basically legally obligated to point you towards their Tiny Mess Concert. In my humble opinion, this is actually the best live video Big Bill has done so far, capturing their full on embrace of their endearing weirdness, from frontman Eric Braden’s fake unibrow to the moment where drummer Alan Lauer reaches over and grabs a slice of pizza to eat in between drum fills. However, my favorite part– outside of the incredible performance Big Bill put on– is actually Kevin Curtin’s stoic, arms-crossed refusal to participate in his own video; dude gives Eric the evilest of evil eyes every time he approaches the fast food table he’s camped out at. Quick, someone make a Grumpy Kevin Curtin tumblr.

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