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.
Walker Lukens- “Kindle to Your Fire”
You see a lot of gimmicky dance videos these days, but rarely are any as well executed and fun as Walker Lukens’ “Kindle to Your Fire.” Aided by avant dance collective Woven Feet, Lukens makes his way through Austin’s South Congress area as though he were living out a Broadway scenario, complete with interruptions of traffic, an impromptu bit in a yoga studio and a mass dance number on a hill. It’s a cheerful, giddy interpretation of Lukens’ yearning love song and I’d even argue it has the effect of improving the song by making it synonymous with such ecstatic grace.
BUHU- “Get Down”
I covered BUHU’s 4-Track Cinemat a while back and one of the songs I singled out was “Get Down,” calling it “an especially krautrock-y tune that features a Battles-like approach to melody and a chirpy synth lead” while applauding its embrace of silliness. So it’s good to see that the video for “Get Down,” which is one of four videos as promised by the EP’s title, continues that silliness. A mixture of Harmony Korine avant-pranksterism and Octopus Project’s enthusiasm for masks and day-glo, “Get Down” in video form doesn’t take itself very seriously and that’s to its benefit, because if BUHU were to play up the creepiness of all those animal masks they’d be giving an entire budding hipster generation a lifetime of nightmares.
TasZ One- “Sex Drugs and Hip Hop”
That Throwback Thursday shit is popular these days so we decided to partake with the title track from Culture Sounds Records’ reissue of TasZ One’s Sex Drugs and Hip Hop. Who’s TasZ One, you ask? More than half a decade ago, TasZ One was one of Austin’s most promising rappers, opening for the likes of the Pharcyde, Dead Prez and Busdriver while working with producer Jaz Infinite to craft a sound like a more laid back Rakim backed up by Pete Rock. “Sex Drugs and Hip Hop” has TasZ reminiscing on how three of those subjects have touched on his life while Jaz Infinite carves up Betty Wright’s “I’ll Love You Forever, Heart and Soul” to express the desperate need TasZ has felt for each at some point, Wright’s declaration of “I’ll love you forever” seeming more sorrowful than romantic, particularly when paired with TasZ’s admission that at “Age 17 I was doing coke smuggled outta tires.” Jaz Infinite’s crafty use of samples of tremolo guitars and other hard funk sonic staples give “Sex Drugs and Hip Hop” a West Coast feel and the video itself has the distinctly New York vibe of Spike Jonze’s She’s Gotta Have It, but TasZ One’s suitably slack flow and narcotic focus makes it fit right in with the ATX. Now, of course, TasZ is out there expressing anger as an energy, making this a jarring but appropriate throwback.
By saying TasZ is out there expressing anger as an energy I am of course referring to his new group BLXPLTN, who are putting that energy front and center in the video for their new track “Pressure.” Set in Hotel Vegas and featuring that hang out’s regular crowd as its extras, “Pressure” makes its young working person’s perspective impossible to ignore. “Pressure” notably begins by declaring “Every day/Minimum wage,” going on to detail the minutia of the labor life, but the song and video both call for letting that frustration vent by acting out with a little disobedience here and there. There’s a lot of fun to BLXPLTN and that’s on prominent display in the video, with the trio sitting around a pool table, goofing off and exaggerating their lip syncing while the Hotel Vegas crowd bops around. The promise of fighting back against the work day with “The pressure/The pressure/The pressure/Of my fist” still makes it a political fight song, but BLXPLTN are the kind of band that don’t see the need to separate fun and politics.
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