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.
As we’ve documented all over the site, 2014 was a pretty damn good year for Purple, but 2015 is set to be even better, as their debut (409) will hit the UK in about a week and “Thirteen” has recently been resurrected as a new explosive single over on those shores. Though it’s under two minutes long, “Thirteen” manages to cram in pretty much all of Purple’s best qualities in one explosive burst, from the temper tantrum vocals to the punked up blues of the song’s structure to the video’s absurd, “don’t give a fuck” visuals. There’s even a food fight thrown in for good measure. A couple little birdies told us the new material Purple is working on is more influenced by hip hop and dance production, so this might be one of the last places to check out Purple’s harder material before they morph into whatever weird creature they’re about to become.
Big Bill- “Sweet Boy”
“Aren’t you a bad, bad man?/No, I’m a sweet boy!” that’s the central dilemma in Big Bill’s new single “Sweet Boy,” and it’s a pretty decent summation of Big Bill’s whole thing. The song’s video rightfully focuses on the band’s live presence, as the group’s mischievous call-and-response vocals, herky-jerky rhythms and flair for odd costuming is really just a distraction from the pop sweetness at the heart of their sound. Sure, there are some inappropriately aimed Roman Candles and ghoulish make-up, but Big Bill are already set to make 2015 the year they command widespread attention with their new EP, not because they’re an aggro-punk outfit that won’t stop screaming in your face until you’re listening to them, but because their take on weirdo punk places them squarely in the canon of other basically sweet art pop pranksters like the Talking Heads.
Dowrong- “Wake Up”
At the start of “Wake Up,” Dowrong shouts “I heard them niggas trying to sleep on me/Tell them motherfuckers to wake up!” and thanks to a weirdly “woe is us” cover story in this week’s Chronicle that prominently featured the young League of Extraordinary G’z associate, he might get what he wants. But if we’re totally honest here, Dowrong’s wake up call is pretty easy to hit snooze on, more of a throwback to the bleaker end of Houston lean rap (the hardcore kevlar and AKs imagery of which is kind of at odds with this high school film class-level of music video) than any kind of futurist introduction. Even the Chronicle focused their story less on Dowrong than on his producer Eric Dingus, who may or may not be doing work for Drake in the future. But for beat scene folk who have been paying attention to Dingus over the past few years, this ’80s action film score beat is down in the lower echelons of his canon. If Dowrong can add more flavor and character to his flow, maybe that Chronicle prediction of him and Dingus being a national breakout will be more accurate, but for the moment it’s probably safe to file this under “shows promise but needs improvement.”
Smoking White- “Noasana”
It’s odd that there aren’t more groups occupying the neutral zone between psych and shoegaze, but Smoking White prove they’re up to the task on “Noasana,” as the hazy androgynous vocals and slack beat merge with the dusty drony guitars and forceful bass to make a psych-gaze monstrosity, complete with trippy visuals and obligatory “here’s our singer standing in front of a wall with a bunch of projections on his face” segments. It’s a decent enough track, with a strong groove to it, but it’s hurt rather than aided by its video, particularly in the moments where the video focuses on how fucking bored and sleepy everyone in the band seems to be. I imagine on the other, more inebriated side of the week I’d be a bit more into this, though.
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