A big tip of the pimp hat to Sir Mix-A-Lot, the past week’s guest editor, for all his posts. Here’s the recent Burger King commercial featuring Sir Mix, SpongeBob SquarePants and the King. Not that King. Or that one, either.
Bishop Allen singer Justin Rice is following up the band’s appearance in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist with a starring role in indie film Harmony And Me. The movie’s director, Bob Byington, shot the video for “Shanghaied,” a song from this year’s Grrr… (Dead Oceans). Learn more about shanghaiing here and feel free to comment about your own city or town and the action associated with it. For example, you may get Denvered (ensnared in a hacky-sack circle at a jam-band event) or Clevelanded (trapped in a burlap sack and tossed on the sidewalk outside John Petkovic’s house).
Swedish indie-pop outfit Love Is All recently released the Last Choice EP (on What’s Your Rupture?), and here’s the art-camp (not like arty and campy, more like grade-school children making art at day camp) video for the title track. Notice that the talking cat has a Juno-like burger phone.
John Vanderslice recently performed “Too Much Time” with the Magik*Magik Orchestra on ABC’s Amplified, the network’s suddenly hip indie-rock video microsite. The video features a performance of the song, as well as some insight on the orchestral arrangement of “Too Much Time” with Vanderslice and Magik*Magik member Minna Choi. Vanderslice is currently on a month-long U.S. tour supporting Romanian Names.
Your music video may have only played once or twice on MTV, but it’s on permanent rotation on YouTube. We watch videos and TV performances—the good, the bad, the hilariously dated and the brand new—with musicians to find out what they were thinking. MAGNET’s Robert Ham gets the skinny on Matt & Kim‘s naked promotional stunt for “Lessons Learned.”
“In all of our videos, there’s some sort of surprise.” That understatement comes from Matt Johnson, one half of the indie-pop duo Matt And Kim. The two have been getting a lot of (ahem) exposure lately for the video for “Lessons Learned,” a track from their latest album, Grand. And, no, the surprise isn’t just that the two strip naked in the middle of Times Square. Johnson reveals that surprise (watch the video first if you don’t want it spoiled) and recounts the experience of being nude in the most public place in America.
Johnson: I came up with the idea for the video. The song has this kind of “I don’t give a fuck anymore” attitude, so I came up with this idea that’s us taking our clothes off in the most public place in America. I just had to convince Kim to do the video. It took a lot of talking and some foot rubs and back massages.
In all of our videos, there’s some sort of surprise. Kim came up with getting hit by a bus. Just to have something that gives you a reason you just watch through all the way to the end. I went to school for film and video, and my marketable skill was motion graphics and compositing, general after-effects stuff. We wanted it to be a taxi, but it was too confusing and the roll up on the hood didn’t look real enough, so we ended up going with a bus. We shot it in February. It was totally cold and not one of the most glamorous days for a man to be naked in public. I was really surprised none of the pictures that tourists were taking popped up online. We would Google “naked, Times Square” after we shot it, and all that comes up is the Naked Cowboy, the icon of Times Square nudity.
We had to shoot Kim standing in the road without her clothes on, jumping in different angles. It was generally confusing to people and embarrassing to Kim. She didn’t realize the nature of the tourist in Times Square. It’s not something you see every day. Watching back, you can obviously see who is going to work and who is from out of town observing this crazy goings on. People taking pictures and video and watching. But then the one shot, the Bad Boys/Michael Bay shot where the camera spins around us, there’s these women who do not get out of the way of the camera. You can see them if you watch it. Our assistant cameraperson had to bug them: “Can you move, ’cause we need to shoot this?!”
We had to decide beforehand about wearing clothes that we could throw off and not worry about or just get clothes that we don’t like and get rid of them. But we figured that people might actually see this video and we want to be wearing clothes that look cool. After the take, we just ran back to the van and someone had a couple of robes waiting for us. There was a clothing collector. Every once in a while, you can see him dart in and grab clothes.
We’re consistently asked now if we are going to get naked at our shows. I’m not sure if they’re asking for this because they want us to be naked or if they want to be warned so they can look away. But the question comes up once or twice a show. I usually respond that you can get naked and we’ll see what happens.
If you’re a fan of possibly ironic indie/folk covers of hip-hop songs, then this Peggy Sue cover of ’90s Missy Elliot hit “All N My Grill” is for you. With just a guitar, some simple harmonies and a black-and-white camera, this video looks like it could have been made on a whim. The minimalistic tone of this song completely transforms it for a different audience even as the lyrics maintain their hip-hop parlance.
Canadian Invasion, Philadelphia’s pre-eminent power-pop outfit, issued Three Cheers For The Invisible Hand earlier this year; the video for album track “Tomorrow And Tomorrow” is a glimpse into the concept: an unflinching look at the suburbia treadmill and the imperfect images you see in a family’s private viewfinder. Read the band’s explanation of things in our Q&A. “Tomorrow And Tomorrow” can be exchanged for the bag of money on the cover of Bandwagonesque at any Teenage Fanclub retail outlet near you.
Belle And Sebastian‘s Stuart Murdoch doesn’t just have a funny little frog in his throat—turns out he had a side project up his sleeve: God Help The Girl (Matador), out today. (Don’t despair, B&S fans. Murdoch’s blog promises a return to band work: “This is just what i did on my holidays. Term time will resume soon enough.”) Murdoch describes God Help The Girl as a story set to music: music that owes as much to ’60s girl groups as it does to B&S, on account of orchestral accompaniments and a whopping nine vocalists, some of whom were chosen from an online competition. That audition process is the subject of this video, set to “Funny Little Frog” (a song on both God Help The Girl and B&S’s most recent album, The Life Pursuit), sung by one of the winners, Brittany Stallings.
Cursive released its second video from Mama, I’m Swollen (Saddle Creek). Here’s “I Couldn’t Love You,” featuring actress Tania Raymonde (a.k.a. Ben Linus’ hot daughter on Lost) as a runaway bride. Read our Q&A with Cursive frontman Tim Kasher from March, and check out his subsequent posts as our guest editor.
Is “Boy Boy” the best gay-or-straight song since Josie Cotton’s “Johnny, Are You Queer?” Probably. Lissy Trullie looks like a Warhol Factory girl and sings like Siouxsie Sioux, but she’s still pining for a guy who might play for the other team. Trullie’s debut EP, Self-Taught Learner (American Myth), is out now.