Out of Focus: Riders Against the Storm, Wild Child, Christeene and More

by Nick Hanover

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

Riders Against the Storm “Same (ft. Flavor Raid)”

Don’t call it a cover. Riders Against the Storm’s “Same” is more of a love letter to Talking Heads’ timeless hit “Once in a Lifetime,” utilizing the backbone of the track and its visuals to comment on the anxieties of 2018 and how they show that as much as we like to think we’ve come far as a culture since the ’80s era that spawned the original, things are the same as they ever were. RAS are aided in this by Flavor Raid’s Joseph Gardner in the David Byrne role both as vocalist and flop sweat drenched co-star, with the trio giddily acting out the original video’s mixed media shenanigans with help from director Jacob Weber and veteran local producer Adrian Quesada. Talking Heads were early embracers of hip hop sounds so “Same” is a perfect fit and though RAS’ updated lyrics don’t shy away from confronting the often exclusionary weirdness of places like Austin, the song ultimately feels optimistic and hopeful, even more so in the wake of recent local events.

Riders Against the Storm play Empire Control Room on Friday, April 6th as part of a tribute to Erykah Badu, and Flavor Raid plays the Blackheart on Saturday, April 7th

Wild Child “Think It Over”

Rob Wadleigh’s video for the new Wild Child single “Think It Over” isn’t as specific in its time traveling as RAS’s “Same,” focusing instead on ’70s disco culture via a fictional dance show. The kitschy aesthetic fits the throwback beat of the song, with its four-to-the-floor beat and upstroke rhythm guitar, giving the band a chance to ham it up in pastel suits and hideous wigs. The melody itself has a subtly tragic air, though, making for a bit of an odd experience whenever the video zooms in on the band, grinning like mad. But the video is too fun and infectious to make that a sticking point. Dance party all night, y’all, indeed.

Tres Oui “Seance”

Shoegaze resurrectionists Tres Oui have differentiated themselves from similarly minded local acts with their of rhythms and tempos that lean closer to the early days of Creation Records than what sustained the label at its peak. The band’s new track “Seance” encapsulates that nicely, with a snare-heavy punky beat and a positively uplifting chorus full of skyreaching nasally vocals and bright guitars. Austin Landon’s video for the song is similarly twisty in the styles it embraces, mixing traditional shoegaze shadow and light show effects with a twee portrayal of the titular seance. It’s disarmingly charming and goofy, a fitting visual representation of a band that continues to surprise as it strays further from its original sound.

Christeene “Aktion Toilet” (NSFW)

Christeene continues her quest to create the most unsettling audio-visual experience imaginable with “Aktion Toilet,” where she takes her writhing self out of her usual environment of burned out warehouses to explore the great outdoors. But don’t let that fool you into thinking Christeene is going to provide a leisurely pastoral trip. Director PJ Raval might fill “Aktion Toilet” with lush greens and wide open air but Christeene and her band of “mystics and queerdos” have a talent for making you feel trapped and claustrophobic no matter how expansive a space is. The effect here is like Matthew Barney and Peaches teaming up to remake The Witchwith beady eyes and muddy bodies peeking out from foliage, decked out in  body paint and baffling costumes, spasming to the industrial grime of Christeene’s music. By the end, you won’t be able to stop yourself from bowing down to the queen of the septic orgy underworld.

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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