Category Archives: Video Clips

Flaming Lips Perform Eight David Bowie Classics

On Monday night, Lady Gaga took to the Grammy stage and performed a series of David Bowie songs. She put her best effort forward, but the performance as a whole felt discombobulated due to whirlwind medley and Gaga’s distracting theatrics. I don’t necessarily blame Gaga for this disappointing display; the Grammys have always tried to squeeze as many performances into the music industrie’s night of self congratulations, but it might have been wiser to have simply performed one or two classics and given them the time and focus they deserve.

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Top 10 Music Videos of 2015

Untitled-110 years ago, the art of the music video seemed on the verge of extinction. With MTV’s move toward more mainstream programming, the music format that propelled the careers of artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Britney Spears seemed to be a thing of the past. President Van Toeffler pronounced that, “The novelty of playing music videos has worn off,” and with that, the MTV generation died. Music videos lived on via video websites like YouTube and Vimeo, but the big budget endeavors of the 80s and 90s were far less of a common creation in a time of uncertainty in the music industry.

But in the past few years, the music video has found a rebirth. To compete with music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, YouTube has advertised its self as a free alternative and even went so far as to create their own music awards show.  The result of this move has been staggering with more and more music fiends turning to YouTube for their listening experience. Some of the artistic music videos created in 2015 show what a resurgence the art form has had as of late. Here are my 10 favorite videos of the year.

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Video Clip of the Week: PWR BTTM “1994”

For avid BDWPS Podcast listeners, I want to let you know that this month’s episode was recorded last night, but I ran into some technical issues afterward. Today, those issues continue, and it may not be another week until I’m able to publish the episode. To help fill the void until I’m able to resolve this issue, I decided to post my favorite song of the moment, PWR BTTM’s “1994.” Musically, the song hearkens back to the sounds of my youth (the 90s), and the video is just as nostalgic in its imagery. The only issue that I have with this garage-pop gem is that it’s over way too soon. I’m sure you’ll find yourself hitting the replay button just as much as me.

Podcast returns later next week.

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The Replacements at 7th Street Entry in 1981

This past Thursday I rode my bike to downtown Minneapolis so that I could catch post-punk outfit Ought perform at the 7th Street Entry. Since moving to the Twin Cities a couple months ago, this would be my third show at the club that plays little brother to the more famous First Avenue, where Prince filmed “Purple Rain” and an incredible list of artists have performed.

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Epic Dancing Guy at Willie Nelson Concert

For those that are avid BDWPS readers, I want to apologize for the lag in writing as of late. If you listen to the podcast, you know that I recently moved from San Antonio to Minneapolis. This past few weeks I’ve been getting acclimated to my new job, and as you may suspect, I’ve been pretty stressed out. As a result, it has been ten days since my last post, a major no-no considering I make it a goal to have a post a week. The video below is not earth-shattering and it’s likely you’ve seen it before, but if you enjoy watching people make fools of themselves as much as I do, it will suffice for this week’s post. I promise to get back to my writing schedule once I’m all settled in here in Minnesota. Thank you for your patience.

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Marissa Nadler covers Black Sabbath

Okay, so right off the bat I should warn that this isn’t actually a video clip (as advertised above). Today I’m going to highlight a couple audio clips from Marissa Nadler’s SoundCloud page, and I didn’t know what category to put this under. I could have created a new category called “Audio Clip of the Week” but that has the potential of never being used again.

The other day while I was perusing Twitter (you can follow us: @BDWPS), when I stumbled upon a post by Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drops fame. I follow Fantano because he has his finger on the pulse of new music, sometimes alerting me to artists I may not have heard of.  Personally, I find his YouTube video album reviews to be a little too much about promoting himself and not enough about promoting great music, but I digress.

His ear for music can not be discredited, as seen in a short post he put up this week with a link to Marissa Nadler’s Soundcloud page, saying that she’d covered Black Sabbath’s “Solitude.”  As a longtime supporter of Nadler and her unique brand of doom folk, I had to give it a listen. I’m not always a fan of covers because in most cases, artists just do their best impression of the original. This is what makes Nadler’s clip so amazing. Instead of trying to do some acoustic take on Sabbath, Nadler makes it completely her own and the result sounds almost nothing like the original. While the original version is calm and regal, Nadler’s version is a haunting dirge.

As I perused her Soundcloud page, I discovered that she’s been posting gems for the past year, including a fantastic cover of Elliot Smith’s “Pitseleh,” an ironic take on Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings,” and an epic vocal arrangement of the Game of Thrones theme song. There’s also tons more goodness to be had, including covers of Radiohead, Daniel Johnston, and Townes Van Zandt. Check it all out here: https://soundcloud.com/marissanadler

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Brian Wilson “Smart Girls”

Earlier this week I saw the Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy and was blown away by the films ability to capture Wilson’s struggles with mental illness. I’m usually not a fan of biographical films because the filmmaker feels like they have to tell every moment of the person’s life. Instead, Love and Mercy focuses in on two key moments in Brian’s life: the birth of Pet Sounds and his struggles with mental illness in his later life.  The two time periods are inter-spliced, parallel storylines that bounce off each other and cover the spectrum of Wilson – his brilliance and his insecurities.

I like to consider myself an expert on Brian Wilson (okay, I read a biography about his life – it counts!), and I went into the film with a skeptical eye but left the theater blown away by director Bill Pohlad’s ability to truly capture what made Brian tick. Don’t wait to see this movie on DVD/Netflix; the surround sound audio experience alone will help you to understand Brian’s way of hearing the world around him. Perhaps the most captivating moment is early in the movie when the screen goes black and you hear the ideas of a song growing around you, each speaker playing a melody, all eventually melding into one.

Everything about this film is perfect, especially the acting. John Cusack may not look much like an elder version of Wilson, but he sure captures the nervous ticks and internal struggles of the brilliant musician. Perhaps even more impressive was Paul Dano as a younger, more upbeat Wilson. Based off his performance, this kid has a bright future ahead of him.  But my favorite performance of all had to be Paul Giamatti as Wilson’s controlling therapist, Dr. Eugene Landy. I love Giamatti in everything he does (even the horrible films), and he doesn’t disappoint in Love and Mercy, viciously tearing down Wilson throughout.

The only part of the Wilson/Landy storyline that I felt needed a bit more development was their songwriting relationship.  Briefly, the film shows Landy forcing Wilson to write music, but it doesn’t truly capture the all-encompassing approach Landy had with Wilson’s music. In the biography Catch a Wave: the Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Brian Wilson, Peter Ames Carlin reveals the crippling effect Landy had on Brian’s creative process. He tried to push Wilson into writing more pop songs rather than his lush, unpredictable arrangements. Landy included himself as co-writer on all of his songs during that time period. He even took over writing many of the lyrics, often resembling the poetry of a 12-year old.

Perhaps the most appalling creation to come out of those Landy/Wilson sessions is a song called “Smart Girls.” The song that was to be featured on Sweet Insanity (an album that the label refused to release for obvious reasons) is a rap song. Yes, a Brian Wilson RAP SONG! While the story behind the disastrous track is not clear, it can be assumed that Landy’s yearning for hit songs influenced the creation of this atrocity. I think the inclusion of this song in the film would have really showed viewers what a horrible influence Landy had on Wilson. You can listen to this song in two ways. One, you can feel sorry for Brian for lowering himself to this abysmal track. Or two, you can enjoy the song in all is ridiculousness.

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