Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brian's favorite music videos, Part 1

So if you have paid careful attention to this blog, you might recall that one of my initial posts was regarding an incredible video by That Dog. While I still maintain that video is one of the better things I have ever seen, a recent discussion had me thinking about my favorite music videos of all time. Since, arguably, that format is somewhat dead or at least dormant in lieu of MTV's refusal to play actual videos, deeming a particular video as my favorite "of all time" shouldn't be too damning due to lack of competition.

At any rate, here are my top 2 (for the time being).

First and foremost: Sonic Youth, 'Dirty Boots' from the album Goo (Geffen, 1990). The plot of this video is fairly predictable and yet there's something about it that solidifies it as my favorite video of all time. Let me paint the picture for you:

A young man attends a local "underground punk" show in his town. Whilst playing pool, the young man happens to notice the arrival of a young woman, roughly his age, wearing a leather jacket, Doc Martins, and a t-shirt by a young, upstart band of the time (that band, of course, being Nirvana...specifically, the "Fudge Packin', Crack Smokin', Satan Worshipin' Mother Fucker" t-shirt [white shirt, red print] sold on the Bleach still my beating heart!).
As the show progresses and Sonic Youth happens to bust into one of the finest singles off their newest record at the time, the two exchange glances whilst pogo-ing and continue to watch the band. Then, during a lull in the song, they catch the stares of the other from across the room (see 3:41 through 4:01 in the video for the BEST NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION EVER PORTRAYED THROUGH FILM) and decide to run onstage. They embrace, exchange a kiss that will be felt throughout the ages, and are rapidly forced to dive offstage by 1990's bouncer stereotypes (note that the dude has proper form in that he turns to his backside while jumping, whereas the young woman makes the unfortunate decision to jump FEET FIRST into the apathetic indie crowd [maybe she's more punk than we give her credit for, no?]), and the song/video comes to a rapid end.
We will forget about the weird subplot regarding the 2 "punks" in the other leather jackets who can't seem to get along the whole night until Steve Shelley miraculously throws a drum stick into the crowd, thus saving everyone's evening. It's not really important. What IS important, however, is that this video encapsulates a large amount of most of my personal fantasies to tape. It's mind-boggling, really.
I feel as though I was victim of some weird time-travelling scheme where someone from the past came into the future, found out all the things that I wished had happened to me in my adolescence, and put them to film in a 1990 music video (all of course while I was 8 years old and thereby unaware of my desire for such things). I must say, I feel slightly used.
In the meantime, you can enjoy this pleasantly dated romp through times past over and over again. See the video below for an inside look into my twisted psyche:

My second favorite video: Nine Inch Nails' 'The Perfect Drug' from the Lost Highway soundtrack. Whereas the Sonic Youth video was predictable and quaint, this video makes nearly no sense at all (much like the actual film, Lost Highway), and yet I am strangely drawn to it. To extrapolate further:

Let it be known that I generally LOVE Nine Inch Nails. Don't give me that punker-than-thou bullshit. Did you live in a cave with your hands over your ears for most of the 90's or something? My personal revelations removed, Nine Inch Nails videos ( in the 90's at least) were creepy. Not even creepy, but downright scary. Reznor and company simply didn't screw around. Did you ever see the original video for 'Hurt'?? I mean, its just atomic bomb blasts and dead animal bodies decomposing on fast-forward...pretty messed up if you ask me. And yet, somehow, the video for 'The Perfect Drug' surpasses that level of creepiness. Overcast skies, foreboding castles, and Trent Reznor in a sketchy goatee make for, ultimately, one scary video. The fact that 'The Perfect Drug' is, in my opinion, one of Nine Inch Nails' best songs, also helps this video's awesomeness factor. However, since it was seen by many as a mere soundtrack video, it was left to rot in the annals of YouTube, hoping that someone would stumble upon it. Thankfully, I have helped circumvent the process and thereby request that you do yourself the favor of watching the video below, if only to remind yourself of how incredible this song/video actually was/is:

Monday, September 1, 2008

obligatory Jay Reatard entry

Before becoming the darling of the indie world, Jay Reatard was a pissed off 16 year old, fronting his namesake band, The Reatards. Notorious for their confrontational and destructive live shows, The Reatards' blistering brand of rock and roll carried a heavy KBD influence. They were also a rather prolific band, writing and releasing a slew of albums before their eventual break up. While the recording quality on these recordings can vary, I personally find their album Grown Up, Fucked Up to embody many of the band's finer qualities. Gritty and rough around the edges, this record escapes the confines of much of the over-produced punk rock that was coming out toward the end of the 90's. Be sure to check out the track 'Saturday Night Suicide', it will melt your face off.

Blank Stare - s/t EP

About 5 seconds into Blank Stare's 'White Corpse', the bassline bends, drops out, and then the entire band presents the musical equivalent to a punch in the face. This musical pummelling continues for the next 3 minutes and 44 seconds, the running length of this far-too-short EP from one of Boston's best kept secrets.

I found recently that even those who have developed an unfortunate cynical attitude toward hardcore and punk can, at the very least, still appreciate a damn good band when they hear one. And for my assorted lot of hard-to-impress elder statesmen, Blank Stare is one of those bands. Unrelenting in their approach, impeccably tight in their execution, and lyrics so incredibly pissed off you'll wonder how these guys don't just walk around throwing haymakers at the nearest passer-by. Their scathing yet self-referential politics are at the very least intriguing, at the very best ingenious.

Word on the street is that this band might not be around for much longer (you can stay tuned to their blog for updates) so if you happen to hear about Blank Stare coming around to your area and/or you don't live incredibly far from the Boston area, I highly recommend you make the trip.

You can buy this record here
or listen to it here: