by / March 12th, 2017 /

State's Videos of the Week: Kool A.D., P.O.S, Cameron Avery & More

There are few bands that have an immediate impact on me in the same way that The Walkmen do. Hamilton Leithauser’s ability to write lyrics about endurance – of life and love in states of change and stagnation – proffer reassurance without condescension. There are often stories told through his songs from both his time with The Walkmen and in his more recent solo work that are familiar, almost too familiar and relatable. Whether he is singing about relationships, friends, place, time, figuring yourself out with perspective and the knowledge of the present you begin to feel a weight lifting. You feel less alone in a thought that is filling every corner in your head.

The first song that The Walkmen ever wrote together as a band was ‘We’ve Been Had’. I only found this out recently and it was one of those ‘I nearly fell off my seat moment’ when I heard that because it holds more meaning to me than any of their other ones. It’s also one of my favourite songs of all time. I listen to it when I’m feeling happy, when I’m feeling sad and when I want to listen to something but can’t quite decide what kind of mood I’m in. There isn’t a line in that song that I can’t relate to (apart from the moving to New York bit, unfortunately) and it was this track that would then lead me to go straight to The Walkmen and Hamilton Leithauser’s music if I ever felt like I need to talk to someone but can’t articulate exactly what I need to be answered.

Next time you need some sound advice or views on life then stick on The Walkmen. Here are some of my favourite lyrics from them and Leithauser’s solo material to ease you out of the weekend fear.

“I see myself change as the days change over
I hear the songs and the words don’t change.”
‘We’ve Been Had’ – Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone

“Sometimes I’m just happy I’m older
We’ve been had, I know it’s over
Somehow it got easy to laugh out loud.”
‘We’ve Been Had’ – Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone

“Because I see, it’s easy to be so blind.”
‘That’s The Punch Line’ – Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone

“Your head is bent out of shape
But your feet are on the ground.
But, more and more, the ceiling’s coming down.

I take my time to face the day,
It’s good to hear you talk this way.
So we’ll keep this up as friends this time,
Nothing’s wrong.
I’ll stand up as I shake your hand
We’ll be alright.”
‘Bows + Arrows’ – Bows + Arrows

“I don’t get some people
But I don’t really try.”
‘Good For You’s Good For Me’ – A hundred miles off

“I’m looking out on the world
I see it through your eyes.”
‘Brandy Alexander’ – A hundred miles off

“You’ll miss me when I’m gone
But the happy music will carry on.
You are the morning,
I am the night.
I was the only one left at the right time.”
‘Canadian Girl’ – You & Me

“You keep replaying through the days
That have brought you to this place.”
‘The Blue Route’ – You & Me

“My head is all full of dreams,
It’s nothing new.
But, baby, dreaming is all a man can do.”
‘If only it were true’ – You & Me

“But all that I have is this old dream I’ve always had.”
‘A 1000 Times’ – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

 

Kool A.D. – ‘Lapsang Souchong’

Kool A.D. released fifteen albums last year and a novel. He has started 2017 by unveiling another book and a new album, Sky Ladder which features the current single ‘Lapsang Souching.’ As well as being an incredibly prolific and uninhibited writer and lyricist, Victor Vazquez’s visual representation of his music signifies how he considers every aspect of his creative output. The colours used throughout his videos and album artwork are striking but never feel over thought out, it’s all very natural. It’s fitting then that he named one of his most recent records, The Natural. As Kool A.D. music videos go, ‘Lapsang Souchong’ has footage of Vazquez surrounded by family and friends layered with really beautiful colour combinations, my favourite ones happening between 1min 43 until 1min 48, and again at 2 mins 59 to 3 mns and 03.

-Zara Hedderman

Cameron Avery – ‘Dance With Me’ (Anti)

It’s hard not to feel uncomfortable watching Cameron Avery dance with Alexa Chung in this video, as implied violence is made aesthetically pleasing. Beginning with Avery crawling away from a car before turning to an inert Chung lying on the ground, with rivers of red silk flowing from her body, it’s evident that Chung has just been crashed into.

Avery carries Chung’s body away from the scene of the crime, and the shots turn to Avery gazing at Chung’s body on the floor before flicking a finger to manipulate her body as if she is a puppet. As Avery dances with Chung’s body, she has had all agency removed, and exists merely as the physical embodiment for his fantasy.

Alarmingly, when Chung is portrayed as living and breathing in the video, it’s wrapped up in this fantasy as the dance is full of locked gazes and hands brushing up thighs – it’s a sexual dalliance with a dead woman, even if it seems like she might be enjoying it.

As the video finishes, Avery is standing over Chung’s body with a long-held touchstone of phallic imagery – a cigarette – in his mouth as he shrugs at the camera. It’s all fun and games, it seems.

-Grace de Blaca

P.O.S – ‘Faded’

Four years have passed since P.O.S. shared new material after his We Don’t Even Live Here album. His return is one that many have been looking forward and his latest video for ‘Faded’, featuring the distinctive vocal of Justin Vernon has been welcomed with open arms and ears. Vernon is just one of many artists that made guest appearances on  P.O.S.’ most recent album Chill, Dummy with Astronautalis, Open Mike Eagle and Lady Midnight lending their talents.

-Zara Hedderman

Notable Mention…. 

Paul Shaffer feat. Bill Murray – ‘Happy Street’  

The Technicolor animated world that Paul Shaffer has created for this video is unnerving because of its relentless optimism. Paul runs after the infamous Bill Murray, and suddenly everything in the world is okay.

Alcoholics leave the bar they’re haunting to dance down the street and a robber holding bank tellers at gun point reveals it’s a toy gun and goes to dance. There is a cyclist who has crashed, and is still holding his crushed bike but is then scooped up and carried as part of the happiness parade, and then there’s some fun dancing graffiti.

Frankly, this world terrifies me, especially when a newspaper reveals that people being happy and nice resolved political disputes in Washington. Don’t be happy and nice, guys. We have a lot to be angry about.

-Grace de Blaca