Video Reviews

Video339-DarlingsideVIDEO REVIEWS 

by Max Bowen

(all the reviews that have run in the print issues over the last six months plus new ones)

DARLINGSIDE 

“Terrible Things”

The message I take from the video for “Terrible Things”—made by Crazy Lake Pictures—is that we may mess up from time to time, but there are those who will see past that. The character in this story is given physical reminders of his many, many misdeeds through Polaroid photos of all the people he has wronged. The list is lengthy, from teaching a kid how to swear, to giving a cashier false hope. This is a very well-produced video that provides a great visual presentation to this song, and it’s worth watching again just for the great ending. 

JOHN POWHIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT  

“Cover Me, I’m Going for Milk”

This video has a pretty cool flow, with the settings described in the song brought to life scene by scene, including some of a familiar political figure addressing a screen of white noise. It provides some solid commentary by a great musician.   

PUTNAM SMITH 
“Cast Iron Pan”

If there’s a cooking show out there looking for a theme song, I’d suggest this one. It’s a pretty funny 4:13, with a black-and-white opening, some comical scenes, and a great dance number at the end, each member brandishing their own skillet. The setting for this video—a rustic-looking cabin—is perfect for the song, with a good number of shots of Putnam in the kitchen and on his banjo. He’s got a very at-ease presence in front of the camera, and the videography is high-quality, creating a great visual for this high-tempo folk tune.

GEORGE WOODS

“Lucky One”

The camera is always on the move in this video. Whether it’s on folk artists George Woods and Blain Crawford or the instruments they use, there’s tons of action here, with different angles, distances, and some cool blurring used for a few shots. The entire video is filmed in black and white, and the white background lends a feeling of liveliness to the whole experience, one that’s reinforced with the energy in George and Blain’s playing. The audio and video quality is really great on this production, and all the different angles and creative use of the color scheme make the most out of the setup of two artists playing before the camera.

COUNT ZERO   
“My Mockingbird”

Visually, this video packs a punch from the very beginning, combining a great audio track to provide not only a look at the band live but the story behind the song. Like the song, this video is always on the go, oftentimes a flurry of action, with some cool effects used to heighten this feel. This feels almost like a musical, with those on screen telling as much of a tale as the musicians themselves-—definitely taking the concept of a music video up a few steps with an incredible creative flair. 

HEATHER MALONEY 

“Flutter”

Well, now I can say that I’ve seen a police officer wearing butterfly wings, and a welder, and a guitarist, and lots of other people. It’s hard not to laugh at all the folks that modeled wings for this high-quality production. The video for “Flutter” has a great, upbeat vibe to it, which matches the tone of the song itself. The settings range all over, from a butterfly garden to a machine shop, to a barn and lots of other places. I get a great sense of diversity in this video, but it doesn’t feel scattershot or slapped together. Rather, I get that this is a look into the places the band members go and the people they meet, a look at their lives and what they enjoy about them.  

LOVEWHIP 

“Let Go”

This video should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning—ass-shaking is a guaranteed side effect. This high-energy creation features endless gyrations of the gluteus, and such a display of spinning, shaking, sliding, colorful backgrounds. Anyone prone to seizures should keep the EMTs on standby if they decide to watch it. Seriously, though, this video rocks, and it’s over way too soon. Production on this was handled by Rory Gory Productions, with post production and animation by Jehanne Junguenet, and I have to say, damn good job by all. Now, if only I can get my vision to stop spinning. 

 

SQUIRTYWORM 

“Kiss a Car”

The latest creation of Squirtyworm is intriguing to say the least. A combination of black-and-white movies is played with their instrumental “Kiss a Car.” The scenes depict, among other things, an acrobat making their tragic final performance, and the music seems to blend well with it. As the music ratchets up in intensity, so too does the tension onscreen. At the very least, I’m curious to watch it again, just to see if I can spot something new.

THE FORZ 

”You’re On Your Own”

The video for “You’re On Your Own” has a mellow vibe to it, suitable given the laid-back tone of the song. The video, which has some pretty decent quality and good use of the camera, combines footage from the Mersey Beat-inspired rock band in a multitude of locations, including a brightly lit venue and what looks like their practice space. The colors vary, from black and white to a kaleidoscope of colors as The Forz play onstage. I’m seeing more and more videos like this, a sort of highlight reel or introduction to the musicians, a look at what their shows are like and how the band performs. Having watched the video, I’m definitely eager to see what they can do onstage.

RUBY ROSE FOX 

“Raggedy Ann”

Staggering audio and video quality marks the latest from lounge-pop artist Ruby Rose Fox. Roger Metcalf handled the production, and damn, did he do a great job. As the camera is centered on Ruby Rose playing her new track, “Raggedy Ann,” the emotion of this song pours from the speakers. The setting is a natural one—it could be an ordinary practice session or just Ruby Rose playing a few tunes to relax. Either way, the approach works. The video transitions smoothly to a closeup of the guitar and Ruby Rose’s hands during the brief vocal breaks, showing a great attention to detail and a focus on the music. The scene is constantly shifting to different angles and closeups, which goes well with the changing tones of the song. 

MAX GARCIA CONOVER

“Keep Us All”

The latest video from folk artist Max García Conover is pretty stripped down, but it works. Max plays an acoustic guitar in an attic, interspersed with footage from a countryside in winter. The audio could be a little better, but I can hear the music and vocals pretty clearly. It’s part of a weekly series of homemade video releases for potential songs for his newest album, and fans of both his music and the folk genre will want to watch them. The setting is rustic, mellow, and while this may not be the highest quality, I’m watching it through to the end. The scenery is well-chosen and beautiful to watch, and is matched well with the mood of the song. 

KANGARALIEN  

“Finale from Rossini’s William Tell Overture” 

Hiyo Silver, away! The video for Kangaralien’s cover of the finale from Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” (also known as the theme from “The Lone Ranger,” or in this case, the Ice Cream Cone Ranger) is a varied and well-produced feature with a variety of angles,  great split-screen shots, and some cool scenes filmed in black and white, reminiscent of the time before we had all those fancy colors in our picture boxes. Steve Belleville and Eric Clemenzi go acoustic for this one, paying tribute to one of the classics (of music or Westerns, you make the call!). 

MUY CANSADO 

“Acquaintances”

Muy Cansado’s music video for the song “Acquaintances” is stripped down, straightforward, and focuses solely on the music. Even the setting—an empty attic—is  reminiscent of this theme. The band plays a great acoustic set, with drummer Reyna Herrera trading in his kit for a kid’s xylophone and Lisa Libera (vocals, bass) on the tambourine. Recorded by Moving Exposure Films, this video has a great mix of camera angles, from straight-on shots of the band to close-ups of each member or their instruments. They don’t lag on any of the shots, either, providing a range of details and showing that even the simplest of setups can offer a lot. What I get from this video is that Muy Cansado doesn’t want to create an image any different from what they really are, and that’s a trio that likes to play music. 

TALL HEIGHTS 

“I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know”

This video captures one of the best parts of Boston—musicians taking to the streets to play for the people. The duo of Tim Harrington and Paul Wright head to what I’m pretty sure is Faneuil Hall, which is where they began their musical careers, playing for spare change. The crowd is captured at numerous points and they look captivated by the music. The videography feels natural, and I can even see a few camera flashes as people snap some photos. So too does the audio, providing a very realistic experience for the viewer.

DEFDEALER 
“How Low”

This video takes a great approach—rather than picking one or even a few locations, this video goes all over the place, piecing together concert footage, clips of the band just hanging out, and brief scenes of a very professional quality. This video shows the band in its natural element—playing shows, having a great time with the fans, and making the music that they love. It’s almost like a photo album, and those watching it will get a pretty good idea of what Defdealer is all about.

ALEX RAY O’VAQUE 

“Best Days of Our Lives”

This video is definitely an eye-catcher. A combination of different animation styles, split-panel views, and kaleidoscopic colors have created something pretty unique, and I’ve honestly never seen anything quite like it. The band’s featured in this one, in a sort of stop-motion format, and the different backgrounds make you want to watch it again and again, just to make sure you’ve caught it all. 

VENUS MARS PROJECT 

“Hands of Time”

This is a smash hit, blending great visuals and an awesome black-and-white setting. Time is well-represented in the fast-forward motion of the crowd while the band stays at their normal speed, sometimes moving with a halting step, and also in the hourglass shown at the outset of the video. Being shot in black and white means the lights play a bigger role, and the scenes of the band playing are a mix of light and shadowy figures, showing all the versatility in just two colors. 

GUILLERMO SEXO 

“Fall Lens”

I’m totally blown away by the visual presentation in this video. Every second is layered, whether in a bright neon box of colors, or footage of the band on the road or playing. It creates a dynamic blend that comes together perfectly, with great visual and audio quality. This isn’t a case of smashing two things together and praying they work—the video for “Fall Lens” is smooth, with the layers of footage and color not drowning out the rest of the video at all. They fuse together as if made to do so.

DYNASTY ELECTRIC 

“Supersonic Love” (featuring Julien Brasart)

I’m reminded of the old adage “I love it when a plan comes together,” and it’s clear after watching the video for “Supersonic Love” that a lot of planning went into this one. The lighting, creative visuals, and camera effects all blend together to create a high-energy production that really flows with the song. One of the lines goes, “When you get in the groove, let your body move,” and this is both a song and a video made to move to.

SUSAN CATTANEO 

“Lorelei”

This video has a lot of powerful imagery as it portrays the story of twin sisters with a tragic twist. Susan is shown in contrasting scenes, transposed between a sunny pastoral field and a dark, faintly candlelit attic. In each role she’s wearing the same dress, in both white and black, often standing before a mirror, which I especially liked as a means of showing both sisters. Despite the dark story that goes with the song, this video has a tranquil feeling. I like the use of locations, including a beautiful river in Medford.

ADAM JENSEN 

“The Kid”

I give high marks for an entirely original presentation by Adam Jensen in the video for “The Kid.” The song follows a kid making one bad choice after another, but rather than seeing people in the roles, a variety of toys and figurines play out the different parts, with all sorts of scenery being used throughout. It’s different, it sticks in the mind, and it’s a great way to visualize the song.

RUBY ROSE FOX 

“Neighborhood Watch”

A cool “video within a video” concept gets used here, chronicling a dancer becoming famous online, with all the perks and pitfalls that come with it. Indeed, the neighborhood is watching, and that’s not always a good thing. The video is soaked in a great color scheme of white, purple, green, and more. Ruby Rose Fox directed and wrote this video, which only makes sense—who better to bring this to visual life than the one who performed it in the first place?

If you’d like your video reviewed, send a link to max@citywideblackout.com. The only criteria for review is that your act be based in New England. Get those video cameras rolling.