With the DIY ethic naturally comes a tiny, if even existent, music video budget, but songwriters of all levels of fame and fortune are still expected to deliver songs that are aesthetically, as well as aurally, pleasing.
If they chose not to bestow their record with an eye-catching visual accompaniment, the consequences can be huge – after all, it means they’re automatically excluding a nameless, faceless mob of people who use YouTube, Vimeo and other video-sharing sites to listen to music. If you think that sounds a little alarmist, consider the findings of AdAge, who suggest that 40% of YouTube users, or at least 320 million people per month, use the site this way – that’s more than Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Lastfm put together, and more users than MySpace had in its heyday.
Luckily, the Irish have never been slackers when it comes to telling stories, so we generally fare quite well in the art of putting pictures to music.
To prove it, here’s a couple of the most striking homegrown music videos I came across in July…
Bonus points if you can spot the following;
- a pineapple
- a plane in flight
- Belmont Laundry
- an original Playstation console
- Brian Lenihan
- the delightful Mark O’Brien of Enemies fame
- a phone box
No Monster Club – ‘La La Land’
Picking up where Outkast left off, the idea for a seemingly lo-fi depiction of a singing dog must have sounded completely preposterous coming out of the mouth of whoever dreamed it up. In the end, the result is freaky, hilarious and effortlessly bizarre – in fact, it’s probably my favourite Irish music video in years.
Directed by Ged Murray. See Vimeo for the full credits.
Orquesta Feat. Jape, Katie Kim & Kathi Burke – ‘Kokomo’
Thanks to some fanciful vintage clips of people-strewn beaches and grinning hula dancers, the video for Orquesta’s dreamy, star-studded Beach Boys cover will almost certainly make you long for an island paradise to call your own.
It’s been lovingly cobbled together by designer and illustrator Fatti Burke.
Elaine Mai – ‘Live’
Taken from Elaine Mai’s debut EP Dots, ‘Live’ features a whole lot of instrumental and vocal manipulation, so it makes perfect sense that the accompanying video exercises some equally fancy editing techniques. Part home movie, part Brady Bunch intro, the result it nothing short of head-spinning.
Video by Bob Gallagher. See Vimeo for full credits.
Eatenbybears – ‘Simple As Hell’
Orchestral rockers turned bongo pop outfit Eatenbybears appear to have taken their own advice with the video for ‘Simple As Hell’, forgoing any kind of heavy lifting for a frolic about on the beach. In fairness, if I was asked to make a music video, I’d probably try to combine it with a holiday too. Approach with caution; the tropical melody on this track is beyond catchy.
Filmed and Produced by House11 Productions.
SertOne Feat. Young Wonder – ‘Breath’
Fans of Cork electronica duo Young Wonder will recognise Rachel Koeman and her signature Indian headdress from previous Feel Good Lost-produced material, but oddly enough, the video for ‘Breath’ might be the first opportunity for SertOne followers to get a long, hard look at the Portadown groovemaster (provided they’re handy with the pause button). Perfectly befitting of the Feel Good Lost style, this one’s murky, trippy and something I can totally see the guy from SBTRKT being into.
Directed by Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson of Feel Good Lost.
Heathers – ‘Forget Me Knots’
Taking inspiration from the lines, ‘lying on the floor/think you can’t take it any more’, the video for ‘Forget Me Knots’ features a cast of pretty young things, who, for one reason or another, have fallen down and can’t get up. Paired with the song’s infinitely uplifting chorus, it’s pretty powerful stuff.
Directed by Hugh O’ Conor. See Youtube for full credits.
Jambo Feat. Willa Lee – ‘The Human Condition’
Granted, the video for ‘The Human Condition’ trots out every rap trope in the book, from housing estates to hoodies to gun crime, but, for an independent production, it’s remarkably well done. Plus, the lad who plays wee Jambo is totally adorable. Stay with it ’til the end for an Ill Manors-style climax.
Directed by Jambo.
Terawrizt – ‘Unlimited Limitations’a
Featuring a surprisingly convincing parody of a Sky News bulletin, the feather-ruffling video for ‘Unlimited Limitations’ sees Terawrizt take a pop at everyone from NAMA to the Tri-Lateral Commission to the president of the IMF. Don’t let the newsy nature of the thing put you off; it’s all in the name of a good choon. For extra convenience, the lyrics are tickering across the bottom.
Video directed, filmed and edited by Jebus.
Sunken Foal – ‘Drain the Dropsy’
Taken from the atmospheric first installment of Sunken Foal’s Friday Syndrome trilogy, ‘Drain The Dropsy’ has absolutely nothing to do with the medical practices depicted in Downton Abbey, but that hasn’t stopped filmmaker Anita Delaney from getting her shock on with this video. Featuring a sabre-toothed ceramic cat and a bloody-mouthed vampire, it’s not for the easily-spooked.
Directed and produced by visual artist Anita Delaney.
King Kong Company – ‘The Sins Of Freck’
Operating from the years 1996 – 2001 and 2011- present, Waterford dance poppers King Kong Company boast a somewhat confusing history, and similarly, the video for new single ‘The Sins Of Freck’ doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A tale of love, loss and dried up bits of grass, it follows a human scarecrow as he battles a gang of ginormous birds to a bloody end.
Director: Alan Aylward. See Youtube for full credits.
Panama – ‘Safe Inside’
Another music video-cum-thriller, ‘Safe Inside’, this tidy three-and-a-half minute clip from Dublin rockers Panama mixes performance footage with, assuming I’m reading the metaphors correctly, the story of a man’s descent into madness. There’s also some tasteful nudity for all you creeps-in-training.
Cinematographer: Art Scheunert. See YouTube for full credits.
Heritage Centre – ‘Oldest Friend’
How pop rockers Heritage Centre managed to score themselves a sunny day in Dublin for this video shoot, I’ll never know. Still, brimming with shiny, happy people, the video for ‘Oldest Friend’ features lots of impossibly clever twists on the classic lyric video format. Another one to test the pausing muscles.
Le Galaxie Feat. Elaine Mai – ‘Love System’
Featuring the aforementioned Elaine Mai on vocals, ‘Love System’, the opening track from Le Galaxie’s Fade To Forever EP, is straight-up Drive soundtrack material, so nothing less than a work of pure surreality with a healthy nod to the 1980s (hint: it’s in the mask!) will do. The resulting romp is so good, it practically calls for the song to be renamed, ‘American Presidents Gone Wild’.
Directed by Mark Duggan. Edited by Ross Bradshaw.