Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Diplo - F1ORIDA (documentary)

This came out at the beginning of the year, and I should have posted about it then.  10 years ago Diplo released the seminal album F1ORIDA and with it there was an amazing 30+ minute video mash-up that accompanied the CD on a DVD.  The video was a product of System D-128, and remains one of my favorite visual explorations.  To accompany this year's reissue of F1ORIDA, Duey has once again composed an assemblage of video that titillates the eyes with Diplo's early music as the soundtrack.  This time the label applied to this video mix is "documentary", and it is indeed a document of a time, but stretches the definition far beyond the typical.  Part music video, part mix-tape, part documentary and all good, this 20 minute joint is worthy of watching.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"To Die in L.A." - Lower Dens (video)

Cody Critcheloe (of SSION fame) directs this 80's wet dream of a video for Lower Dens.  The song "To Die in L.A." is silken and neon, with singer Jana Hunter's voice more prominent and clear and the band sounding more like synth-pop than ever before.   This video is an arresting, hypnotic rush of glam-pitched iconography and the freedom of doomed youth.  Lower Dens' new LP Escape from Evil is out the end of March.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Roomrunner - Karn (video)

This video is ridiculous!  The second video for Baltimore grunge-rockers Roomrunner by director Peter Binswanger is another serving of blended pop culture references and amusing animation.  Starring David Plascencia, this mash-up of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Bill & Ted set to grunge is a 90's kid's dream come true.  The song Karn is off of their 2014 EP "Separate" out on Accidental Guest Recordings.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wye Oak - Live Summer of '14 (video)

Its cold outside, so let us warm ourselves with memories of a warm Summer gone by.  Wye Oak, a phenomenal band from Baltimore, played a hometown show outdoors at the end of their tour supporting 2014's LP "Shriek".  On a warm night in July they performed a great set next to the Metro Gallery in Station North.  Tom Kessler uploaded video of the whole evening already, but I recorded some alternate camera angles and Dave Carter recorded Adam Cooke's awesome mix right off the board.  If you put all of the elements available together you get a pretty strong product, even if it is 6 months later.  Featured in this video are the songs "Sick Talk", "For Prayer", and a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill".  Wye Oak is Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner, and they continue to be a major creative force.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Year in Videos...

Normally at the end of the year I post a "top Baltimore music videos" list.  Frankly, I'm not as up to date these days as I used to be, and do not believe I could make a comprehensive list I'd be happy with later.  Here's the stuff I know should be mentioned...

Wing Dam made a lot of noise-pop fuzz and riffs this year.  After releasing the album Shifter Bliss in the Summer the band also put out a few music videos.  The best arguably is by T.J. Domingue and is for the track Software.  They happen to be on tour opening up for Future Islands on a short domestic tour right now.

The video for Ping Pong by Mighty Mark and TT the Artist is a gem.  With art direction by Felipe Goncalves.

The Sterling Sisters released their first and probably only LP Hale in 2012, and it is an incredible album of dark post-punk-inspired country.  In 2014 there were a couple of uploads of videos of live performances, and one by Nick Hansen-MacDonald of the band performing Shallow Blood is especially good.  While the future of the band is uncertain, as Scout ParĂ©-Phillips has moved on to other projects, I for one will always remember their music fondly.


Baltimore rapper DDM put out an amazing video for Come Thru.  Directed by Funzito, it is one of my favorites of the year.



George Cessna, the former front-man of the Sterling Sisters, released his first solo LP Sincerely Yours in 2014.  A few of the tracks made their way into his short film I'm Not a Very Good Cowboy.  In the short, Cessna ruminates on what makes a good cowboy and reflects on his writing process.  In a real way he is trying to redefine his sound and understand its place within country music.  Also for the holidays he released a Christmas EP with Maxime La called I Can't Make It Home for Christmas which you should check out before it gets warm again.

George Cessna - I'm Not A Very Good Cowboy from George Cessna on Vimeo.

Dan Deacon has yet to release Gliss Riffer, his fourth LP, due out late February.  Domino did upload a video for Feel the Lightning, directed by Andrew Jeffrey Wright.  The video is a colorful and fun look at the parties your living room throws when you aren't home.



What would a year be without an amazing Bosley video?  The Digital Cave production for the track Just Like You took a ton of time to make and it was worth it all.



Dope Body dropped the album Lifer and with it a video for the track Repo Man.  The hard-edged, spastic thorns of rock thrown in the song are reflected by the hard-edged, threatening face tattoos and thin lips of some male protagonists in this skillfully composed video by Theo Anthony.  Anthony, who has done work for Future Islands and Dopy Body before, manages to make the video an expressive cry of angst and loathing, largely with found VHS footage.


I wrote about Wye Oak's video for The Tower when it was released last April, and in my mind this video hasn't been topped since.  Produced by A&B Solutions, this video is a well-choreographed wonder.


2014, in terms of Baltimore-based music, will be looked back upon as the year Future Islands broke.  They broke BIG.  Along the way all year they left behind a great trail of moments on video starting with their now-legendary appearance on Letterman, to their last show at the Floristree possibly ever (can you imagine the logistical nightmare that would be now?) to their video for Seasons and A Dream of You and Me.  We'll just wrap this list with the recently released short documentary Road Dawgs.  The short, shot by Jay Buim ( a  favorite of the band), reflects upon the road the band has been traveling lately.  There's no telling how far it will take them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Lottery - Afghan Whigs (video)

The Afghan Whigs are not from Baltimore, but their monitor engineer Ryan O'Hara is.  Now O'Hara is also the star of the Whigs' newest video for the track The Lottery.  The video is made up entirely of footage of Ryan dancing to the music behind his audio consoles.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ryan professionally over the last couple years and he is always a positive and knowledgeable guy.  That energy he brings with him often turns into him dancing and really enjoying the bands that he is working with. It is easy to see why that infectious energy is featured in this video.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Unedited Footage of a Bear (Adult Swim)

AB Solutions, a division of WHAM City and the creative team of Alan Resnick and Ben O'Brien, uploaded their second installment of shorts for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.  Unedited Footage of a Bear is a truly dark journey into a drug-addled mind, and a searing indictment of the modern medicinal mentality.  It is also a highly entertaining and challenging effort that should be watched more than once.



Resnick and O'Brien, already having started to define their aesthetic of cultural riffing in previous efforts such as Live Forever as You Are Now, hone in quickly on their artery of madness.  Unedited Footage of a Bear blows through the walls of its television commercial conceit quickly and in ten minutes will go further with its reality construct than the viewer will believe possible.  Skillfully the team directs the protagonist (played with a virtuosic range of emotion by Kerry and Jacqueline Donelli) through a series of obstacles of the mind that is sort of like watching Luke Skywalker see himself as Darth Vader in that cave on Degobah but way more frightening.  If you watch closely you'll see a number of our favorite local-types making brief appearances in the short, including Whammers Connor Kizer and Dan Deacon, as well as M.C. Schmidt of Matmos, Robby Rackleff and a tune from Ed Schrader.  To further confuse casual observers there's a website.  In short, this spectacular effort raises the bar yet again.  I absolutely can't wait for their first feature.