This week, on a personal note, edged towards excess. There was a lot of food, painful bouts of laughter with friends and a lot of new music videos. Before I sat down to write this week’s column, I came home to a full house with my entire family invariably sitting around chatting, running up and down the corridor and eating. I’m yet to mention the Christmas dinner volume of starters, main courses, sides and desserts that covered every available surface in the kitchen. It was a fitting (and filling) end to the few days that led up to this incredible feast. At times during the week, an onlooker would have thought that I was storing up for the winter especially if I had of been caught with two slices of cake savoured well before the allowance of elevensies. Filling my belly with even more goodness was the amazing wave of new music videos released in the space of a few days. There wasn’t a morning or afternoon where I wasn’t scribbling down announcements of Blood Orange, Parquet Courts, Aesop Rock opening up their metaphorical pantry and adding to a smorgasbord of musical delicacies.
Angel Olsen – ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ (Jagjaguwar)
I was in the car on the way home from the airport when I heard Angel Olsen’s music for the first time. That raw feeling of deflation to return to reality was overwhelming. ‘The Wanting’, from Olsen’s 2012 record, Half Way Home played on a mix cd compiled by my brother, and suddenly I felt really happy. Today, listening to her music awakens that feeling of contentment, and also she shares emotions and conflict ions that are relatable. The day that I watched the video for ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’, from her forthcoming album, My Woman due this September, I become so distracted and enthralled by the fuller, electric-folk melody that I had the song on repeat for such an extensive timeframe that the lyrics became engrained in my mind. Several accidents ensued, whacking my head against a brass lampshade and not paying attention when crossing the road. The video is pretty spectacular, Olsen makes you want to put on a silver wig, don a Varsity jacket and gallantly skate down dark roads.
Parquet Courts – ‘Human Performance’ (Rough Trade)
Directed by Phil Collins, Parquet Courts (nice bit of P.C. acronym twinning there, from this perfect collaboration) thrill and terrify with their latest music video for the title track of their already beloved Human Performance album. Puppets are always fun to watch and in their simplicity can add so much to a visual story. The band are immortalised as foamy figures, it’s alarming how eerily accurate Andrew Savage’s doppelgänger is. As the puppet Parquet Courts give a great non-human performance of the single, there is a side story of unnervingly realistic puppets engaging in a strangely sophisticated orgy.
of Montreal -‘It’s Different for Girls’ (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
Kevin Barnes makes a very alluring lady, dressed as a more sophisticated and collected blonde version of Mac Demarco’s bedraggled attempt in his ‘My Kind of Woman’, video from a few years ago. As you would expect from an of Montreal video, there is an obnoxious display of colour, people are having a lot of fun and the song will leave you a little confused as to whether you really like it, or totally loathe it. Some of the lyrics do raise an eyebrow, one that was without contention is that ‘Some women are demons, some demons are women’, we can be awful sometimes, that is true but it’s different for us.
Aesop Rock – ‘Kirby’ (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
“Look in her eye like she might be a wizard.” If someone was to lovingly pen those words in a rap about me would be the highest honour and show of true affection. The lady in Aesop Rock’s life inspiring his music and helping him feel at ease is his kitten, Kirby. Coincidentally, a puppet is the protagonist in this video too, baring a remarkable likeness to Aesop. He got the kitten upon the suggestion of his therapist and from the lyrics it seems that Kirby has provided Aesop with a sincere outlet to channel his emotions and, consequently write some of his finest pieces on The Impossible Kid. The video features a very cute cat (and I’m by no means feline inclined) called Dina who was a rescue cat that has since been adopted to a loving home.
The Strokes – ‘Threat of Joy’ (Cult Records)
“Due to circumstances, we are unable to present the music video for ‘Oblivious.’ Instead please enjoy a presentation of the Strokes in… ‘Threat of Joy.'” Once the lazy guitars kick in, an exalt of relief can be felt amongst fans of the New York band, something that hasn’t happened for them in recent years and past albums. I really like the latest single from The Strokes, I don’t particularly like the video. I felt like the noir, and obvious political message came across as forced and tried, and Julian is just looking a little comical of late, which is off-putting. That is until he adorns tropical attire.
Blood Orange – ‘Augustine’ (Domino)
Until I watched the video for ‘Augustine’, from Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange outfit, I had been dismissive and sceptical of his intentions. It has been five years since Blood Orange’s debut, and six since Lightspeed Champion (Hynes’ previous project) and the stark contrast in both sound and vision with these guises had me question his transformation from NME indie golden child to Prince reincarnated. I was wrong to be so judgemental, and I’m glad I finally realised this after listening to, and watching Blood Orange’s latest video. As an aside for those of you who enjoy some trivia, St. Augustine is the patron saint of brewers (how trendy), he is known for transforming his life from one of “loose living” filled with parties and worldly ambitions. His transformation has been a constant source of inspiration to those struggling with a vice that may not be of great benefit. Another weird act of serendipity in the world of music videos this week was a brief cameo from Julian Casablancas chowing down on jerk chicken and looking rather content. So, if we are to take anything from this week’s releases it is that puppets and Julian Casablancas were in fashion.