A few weeks ago the MTV Video Music Awards took place, and to be honest, I didn’t watch. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I viewed the yearly event (probably in a dorm room over a decade ago). I hate to play the “back in my day” card, but I do feel that there was a time when the VMAs were legitimately about rewarding great music videos and not just a popularity contest. Big winners in 2014 include former child stars like Miley Cyrus and Drake, and Lorde was awarded the “Best Rock Video” of the year for her song “Royals.” You know, THIS SONG that doesn’t feature any guitars and is built around a looping hip-hop beat? Can we all just agree that rock (at least the popular variety) is dead?
On social media I’ve seen some bemoan the age-old complaint that MTV doesn’t even play music videos anymore, but I think it’s time to get over the fact they haven’t been a music channel for over a decade. Some have suggested that music videos don’t matter anymore. However, I think they are more important than they have been since their explosion in the 80s. Young people have turned to YouTube as a major source of music listening, often playing the same video multiple times just to re-hear their favorite OneDirection song. The highest rated videos on YouTube aren’t of people on fire, or people getting hit in the nuts, but music videos of teeny-bop stars (hence why YouTube has now started its own music awards).
I am still old-fashioned in my listening habits, predominantly purchasing LPs and CDs with the occasional MP3 when I can’t wait until my next record store visit. Despite my out-of-touch approach to music, I do still check out new music videos on occasion. I’m not spending hours online watching videos, but I do have some new videos that I’ve watched several times. Here are some of my favorite videos as of late.
I’m not sure if it’s a known fact here on BDWPS, but I’m a huge San Antonio Spurs fan. My obsession with Spurs basketball rivals my enthusiasm with indie music. Needless to say, I’ve been in full celebration mode since the Spur dismantled the Miami Heat a few weeks ago. After the Spur’s game 3 victory, I was checking my twitter for news updates and snarky comments from fellow fans. Amidst my state of bliss, I came upon the following tweet from indie rocker Mikal Cronin.
Last Saturday night I found myself caught up in one of those time-wasting YouTube loops that usually spiral into another wasted evening. It all started with me searching out the 90s MTV show “Squirt TV,” a late night talk show that was filmed in the bedroom of teenager Jake Fogelnest. What originally started as a cable access show was turned into an interview show that brought the likes of GZA, Liz Phair, and Sean Lennon into Fogelnest’s bedroom. I thoroughly enjoyed this shortly run program. Maybe it was because I was around the same age or maybe it was because I liked the idea of having my music heroes visit my bedroom. Whatever the case, that strange little show has stuck with me after all these years (as a side-note, Fogelnest is a great follow on Twitter: @JakeFogelnest).
As I prepared for my podcast where I revisited the year 1971 (check it out here!), I came upon a band named Lindisfarne from Newcastle, England and their album Fog On the Tyne. Despite being the first time I’d ever listened to the prog-folk band, I’d quickly realize that I didn’t discover some forgotten gem from the 70s (Fog On the Tyne would be the best-selling album in Britain during that year). Regardless of their success across the pond, I still felt like I’d stumbled upon some unappreciated band, and I began scouring the internet for videos of them. My Lindisfarne binge made me quickly realize that this wasn’t some too cool for the room, hippie-folk outfit. These guys were a bunch of goofballs! No video better captures the band’s inability to take themselves seriously than a clip I found of them performing the title track to Fog On the Tyne.
A few years ago I read Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One, and I found the chapter on Dylan’s approach to live performances to be pretty polarizing stuff. Dylan discusses the boredom and monotony that comes with performing the same songs every night. On his 1987 tour, Dylan opted to change his live shows to a more organic experience, and he’s hasn’t altered his live show methodology since. Instead of giving the fans what they what, Bob and his ever-changing band take Dylan standards and flip them on their head. Some tours have interpreted his songs within the style of blues while other times his touring band can resemble a bluegrass outfit. I’ve seen Dylan perform twice, and during both shows I had the same guessing game experience where half the time I wasn’t quite sure what song he was performing. It doesn’t help that his voice is almost unintelligible these days.
Technological innovations over the past 10 years have changed the entire concert experience. There was a time where filming or tape recording a concert were frowned upon. In fact, there was an entire episode of What’s Happening? in the mid-70s that focused on the perils of bootlegging concerts (featuring The Doobie Brothers!). But in today’s concert setting, people pull out their phones to live tweet, take pictures, and film with nary a glance from security or venue staff. I myself get annoyed by the iPhone Army present at most shows, many patrons spending more time checking their Facebook status update about seeing the band than actually watching them. I don’t mind patrons taking a moment to snap a picture, but when it turns into a photo shoot, I have a problem.
Several years ago I saw Broken Social Scene at SXSW and before even playing a song, front man Kevin Drew gave a speech along the lines of “Instead of trying to capture this concert through videos and photos, let’s just enjoy the moment and let our memories encapsulate it.” This was a big moment for me since I’d spent the past year filming a lot of shows for this blog (one look at my YouTube page and you’ll see there’s been a major falloff in video posts since that show). Up-and-coming British post-punk band Savages have taken it a step further, requiring all patrons to turn off their phones or the band won’t play.
I’m currently sitting in a Jiffy Lube somewhere south of Omaha, Nebraska, prepping my car for a two week road trip through the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Not wanting BDWPS.com to go stagnant during this trip, I decided to make a quick post before hitting the road. This post is being composed via my phone (a first for BDWPS) so please excuse any grammatical, format issues.
There was once a time where I posted a video clip once a week, but once it became a chore, I ditched the Video Clip of the Week concept. For this special, last minute post, I couldn’t think of a quicker, easier way to kick off my hiatus than with the latest METZ video for the song “Get Off.”
For this video, METZ brought in fellow Sub Pop label artist Chad VanGaalen, who might be more well known for his artwork than his music. A few years ago I obsessed on here about his video for his song “Peace On the Rise” and once again he’s brought the goods for METZ. Enjoy this trip through the mind of VanGaalen…and the song is not too bad either.