Veronica Vařeková, it's Video Vriday!
Wampire have a very good new video for their song "The Hearse," which appears on their album Curiosity, released on Polyvinyl earlier this year. The lurid, mood-evoking clip was directed by Raphaël Pfeiffer and stars Amélie Escourrou, Christophe Réveille, and Eric Kailey. There's definitely a Euro-arthouse vibe going on here, with echoes of Italian giallo thrillers and the French interpolation of film noir as demonstrated in the films of Melville and Clouzot—but the overriding style here feels connected to the '80s, with soft focus and bright red blood. It's a perfect match for Wampire's gauzy pop, an intriguing and solidly re-watchable video.
Here's the equally good video for Leigh Marble's "Pony," the title track from his new EP. The song, which originally appeared on Marble's Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows album, is the story of a whiskey-fueled hookup that goes where all the best hookups go: with one of the parties in a pony mask and the other wishing he hadn't drank so much whiskey. Starring Marble and Cora Benesh—who seems to be appearing in every other music video to come out of Portland these days—the Robin Washburn-directed video received its premiere at Kelly's Olympian last night.
The video for Vikesh Kapoor's "Bottom of the Ladder" was shot during a lightning storm in Hudson, New York, on black-and-white 16mm film with all the effects and editing done in camera. Directed by Randy Sterling Hunter and shot by Zia Anger, it's a spare, stark representation of Kapoor's haunting ballad. The Portland-based songwriter is currently touring the eastern seaboard on his brilliant debut album The Ballad of Willy Robbins.
At first blush, the Moonshine appear to be a plucky, full-throated bluegrass band, complete with string bass, clawhammer banjo, and merrily strummed autoharp. But there's more of an emphasis on songwriting than instrumental prowess here, especially when you consider that's Michael Gerard writing the songs—indeed, that's Michael Gerard Levasseur, perhaps better known to Portland audiences as Michael the Blind. This "Backyard Sessions PDX" video features two tunes—"Flood" and "Hard Times"—performed near a broken-down bus and roaring campfire in an idyllic spot called Shady Grove. The Moonshine will release a new album in January, with a record release party on Saturday, January 18 at Alberta Street Pub. In the meantime, they host a long-running Monday night series at the Elixir Lab (next to Al Forno Ferruzza pizzeria on Alberta).
Faux Science are the "psychedelic sex dream" band formed from the remnants of Cat Stalks Bird, and sound markedly different from that band. As far as psychedelic sex dreams go, this one's pretty smiley and upbeat. The band performs "I'm Only Happy" in someone's backyard, near what looks like a big, beautiful oak tree (or possibly a beech) festooned with balloons. The band promises an album and live shows to come.
Here's the next installment in Broken Bells' After the Disco film, a long-form work meant to accompany the upcoming album by the same name from the duo of the Shins' James Mercer and Danger Mouse's Brian Burton. I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, although we see Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara onboard a spaceship with Mercer and Burton, some sort of space-prom, and lots of retro-cool sci-fi design work. That's presumably music from the upcoming Broken Bells album on the soundtrack; the new single "Holding on to Life" is featured. Like I said, I don't really know what to make of this, but I certainly enjoy watching it, and the music sounds terrific, especially the squawking guitar that comes in for the closing credits. Following the release of the After the Disco album on January 14, Broken Bells embark on a short concert tour, although no Portland date is currently scheduled.