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.
Why Bonnie “Practice”
On “Practice,” Why Bonnie perfectly evoke the stomach drop of budding love through the use of some Stiff Records appropriate rhythm guitar and layers of heartstring tugging vocals and instrumental shimmer. For the video, Kayla Galang leans into the feeling of the song rather than anything narrative, following the band while they frolic in nature and look forlorn in their practice space under mood lighting. It’s simple but delightful, with long, slow pan outs of random nature scenes adding to the charmingly slack mood.
Continuing that outdoors theme, Mélat presents “The Now” as a vivid tribute to the natural splendor of Texas, with the gifted singer framing her voice and moves within a field of wildflowers. Within the context of Move Me II: The Present, “The Now” is a dynamic showcase of Mélat’s vocal abilities, as producer Jansport J chooses to keep the instrumentation sparse and lackadaisical so Mélat has ample room to flex her technical chops. The video is similarly simple in construction and just as effective, driving home the clear thrill Mélat gets out of sharing her voice with the world.
The Austin hip hop scene never looks as big and exciting as it does in RobG‘s videos, and that’s even truer than usual in ByPass’ “Don’t You Know” clip. A joint effort between Austin and French emcees and producers, ByPass is an ambitious collision of worlds and styles and “Don’t You Know” is perhaps the definitive example of that, combining a loose and limber jazzy beat with a cavalcade of vocalists. For the video, RobG has the ByPass crew tour some of the less explored areas of Austin with an entourage in tow, hopping on Texan flag clad riverboats, squatting in colorful East Austin buildings with bars over the windows and rapping in front of the graffiti’d walls of burned out husks. In some ways, it hearkens to the videos of the g-funk era, but it never feels like a throwback, instead it’s a chill yet reflective look at Austin’s expansive present and the increasingly international vibe of the city.
Max Wells “Fantasy”
Like a lot of Austin hopefuls, young gun Max Wells has relocated to LA, and the new climate seems to suit him pretty well. “Fantasy” stays true to the sound he developed in Austin– moody, propulsive club rap with a surprising amount of depth– but Nicholas Jandara’s video for the track is the most LA Max Wells has ever been. A dizzying mix of VHS footage of the city, tricked out space effects and Max Wells’ now traditional “I’m in a dark room with lights on my face” scenes, “Fantasy” has the imagination and immediacy of a kid playing make believe. Except in Max Wells’ case, all that make believe seems to be becoming reality.
Kydd Jones “War Paint”
Props to Fresco Filmz for having the idea to shoot Kydd Jones’ “War Paint” like a Collateral-era Michael Mann work. The song itself is Kydd in peak seductive mode, talking up a night where he ends up covered in lipstick like it’s war paint, so Fresco goes all out with soft neon lighting, shadows and close-ups that linger up and down bodies in motion. The twist in the lyrics is that Kydd is trying his damnedest to resist the seduction and that internal conflict is represented here by the decision to keep Kydd’s face mostly covered in darkness, signifying both the guilt and allure he feels over what’s going on.
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