Fistful of Fives: Videos

OK, so the Fab Five Friday for today involves music videos. Always hard to narrow it down to just five great ones, but I've tried to avoid the most obvious and oft-mentioned and celebrated and notoriously batshit insane candidates in order to bring to light some that you may not have seen before. Keep an eye on Half Deserted Streets and Your Beard is Good for more on this topic. 

Roots Manuva - Witness (1 Hope)

Like Roots, I wasn't too good at sports as a youngster. Unlike Roots, I have never - yet - showed up to my old school in an expensive car and won all the events at sports day. Great video, really funny, low budget, and the song is STILL unimpeachable.

Royksopp - Remind Me

OK, some people might think that this is just a glorified Microsoft Access demo, but it's more fun than that. A series of presentation graphics undercut by the old Geico commercials music. Haven't given the new Royksopp the attention it deserves. Soon!

Bjork - Bachelorette

I figured, I could get away with one Michel Godrey video in here. There's a trillion to choose from. (Close runners up: Come into my World and Star Guitar. Obviously the well-choreographed, meticulously arranged ones do it for me). Bachelorette is just so ingenious that Stephen Hawking watched it and got jealous. (This may not have happened). One day, Bjork found a book in the woods, and then shit got real.

Pulp - This is Hardcore

Some days, you wake up and think, "I've gotta shoot a seven minute film noir with fantasy dance sequences, lots of shadows, screaming, plaintive glances towards something off-camera, and at least one murder routine, all to accompany a song about men that are addicted to pornography." This was one of those days.

P.J. Harvey - Good Fortune

Maybe this video isn't too remarkable to anyone else, but I really love it. Something about Polly walking around east London singing directly to camera and being really carefree.. It's sexy as hell. And the song, from her career-best 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' album, isn't bad either. Even though it's about New York, and not London. Pfft.

She used up all her lives

People that are better informed than I am assure me that summer is almost here. I wouldn’t know, since I’ll be studying for the Bar Exam without relent from May to July, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. And since the summer is – allegedly – imminent, it’s time for songs that are seasonally appropriate. I don’t know why summer jams always bring to mind cars without tops, but for some reason they do. Also, Los Angeles has always seemed a very fitting place for this kind of hot weather tune, that’s probably just because Entourage is set there. Sure enough, today’s video is from Army Navy, an L.A. band. I didn’t know of them before, but apparently they had a couple of songs on the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack. Was that movie any good? The tune is fun, light, bubbly, and has bits where it gets quiet, so the fast bits seem faster. I’m great at description. Here’s the video, featuring Paul Scheer from the Human Giant and Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, the world’s greatest paintball movie. Put on your suntan lotion and enjoy.

[download Army Navy - My Thin Sides] from

[Army Navy myspace / buy their s/t album]

Declining society and over-saturated culture

This incredible year for Scottish music* rolls on, and this time, it's the return of the Incredible Sulk. Stereogum are giving away a new track, 'Carry Me', from Malcolm Middleton, so I strongly suggest you go over there and listen to it. Great to be writing about Malky again on AYGH. 'Waxing Gibbous' is out on June 1st, and according to one early review, it's more 'Into the Woods' than 'A Brighter Beat', sadly for me. 

And here's a Girls Aloud cover to sweeten the deal. And he's got some other girl band songs on the website

* Phantom Band, Aidan, Lord Cut Glass, Broken Records, My Latest Novel... That'll do for now.

I know my own worth

My two favourite songs of last year, 'Kriss Kross' and 'Constructive Summer', were both opening tracks on their respective albums. There's clearly something about front-loading a much-anticapted new-release with a stone-cold stunner that really appeals to bands. (Four hyphen-linked words in one sentence? I'm a genius.) Clearly hip to this technique, Future of the Left are back, and their song 'Arming Eritrea', which kicks off new record 'Travels With Myself and Another' (out in June) has made it to "Samir's favourite song of 2009 so far". 

'Curses' was certainly not a shabby record, but new tune shows a noticeable progression. Also, they aim to mislead, beginning all quiet and noodly. But close your eyes, count to twenty, and sure enough, Falco's bark will bring you back down to earth. There's a chorus, some melodies, more structure than many of the 'Curses' songs, and a killer outro. I listened to this seventeen times in a row on headphones yesterday. Listen to the song, and a couple of other newies, in raw live session form at The Futurist here

God, it's good to have them back. 

[Future of the Left official / myspace / buy 'Curses']

Oh, and single 'The House that Hope Built' has a video. Here it is. Falco ditched the beard.

Character work

I don't watch a lot of television, but in order to keep up with the sites Half Deserted Streets and Your Beard is Good, I've been asked to come up with a list of my five favourite characters currently in shows currently airing. Turns out: 

a) I don't watch many dramas.
b) I watch a lot of shows that don't have characters. (The Cougar is not a character).

So here's my list. 

1. Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock: Who Dat Ninja? The character has nothing at all to do with the actor. Nothing at all

2. Maurice Moss, The I.T. Crowd: It's not currently on, I know, but it will be back. And Moss is the flippin' greatest. One time, when expressing surprise, he said "Chairman Wow!" And Richard Ayoade is also great as Sabu on the Boosh, or as a music video director

3. Ron Donald, Party Down: Party Down airs on the Starz network, so nobody watches it. Pity, because it's really, really funny. And Paul Rudd is involved! Ken Marino plays Ron, the boss, who would rather open a sandwich franchise and is by some distance the least functional of the entire group. I especially enjoyed the time he set an American flag on fire.

4. Kenny Powers, East Bound and Down: Again, this show has been picked up for a second season, so it'll be back. Danny McBride brought a great mix of sadness and insanity to the past-his-prime baseball star demoted to teaching school kids physical education. The intro alone is enough to draw you in. 

5. Nelson Muntz, The Simpsons: Schadenfreude. 

I laughed like a dog with glee

Short post today: Here's a new song from Lord Cut Glass' upcoming debut album. This song, along with another from LCG, was featured in the newest Chemikal Underground podsketch. The song is ace, a barnstormer with quiet parts too, and brass and pianos and a lyric about a drag queen. 

Did I mention that Lord Cut Glass is Alun Woodward? The singer from my favourite band ever, the delgados? Perhaps I should have. 

[Lord Cut Glass mypsace / Chemikal Underground]

A person of interest

As the former Marshall Mathers ably demonstrates in his new video, making fun of ubiquitous celebrities doesn't really take a whole lot of skill, and has surely reached fish in a barrel status by now. This is why I didn't like the show Best Week Ever for a long time. A bunch of comedians I've never heard of making Lohan/Spears jokes? No thanks. This is why I was so impressed when I heard Paul F. Tompkins on The Best Show, and then on his album 'Impersonal', and became a big fan. And now, very similar lightning has struck twice, with the very funny new CD from BWE contributor John Mulaney, entitled 'The Top Part', which just came out last week. 

He takes in a lot of topics, and is consistently funny, especially when nerding out with his Law and Order routine, a story where he chases a woman through a subway tunnel late at night, and best of all, the closing anecdote about playing Tom Jones on a diner jukebox. His delivery reminds me of Michael Ian Black's, but Mulaney has a more easygoing manner. The anecdotes flow naturally, and he's likeable enough to make you want to listen. The only celebrities that get a mention are Donald Trump and Jerry Orbach, so there's no hipper-than-thou pop culture snarkiness, which suits me just fine. Instead, he talks about the Biblical story of King Solomon, which is much funnier. Go to John's site and watch the clip of him on Conan for a good summary of jokes that made the CD, and you'll enjoy it. 

On Wrestlicious

You know when you see a video and it leaves you with far more questions than answers? If you make it past the fake quiz thing at the beginning, you're in for a treat. After seeing this, I had to do some research, and found out that: 

- Wrestlicious is coming to Fox in the fall of this year. 
- Hey, it's Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart
- I always love it when rap songs have the most contrived lyrics ever. Cf.
- The guy behind Wrestlicious is a 19 year old, that won the lottery in South Carolina, and this is what he wanted to do with his money. 
- This is a direct quote
As reported over the weekend, the new Wrestlicious promotion is being funded by a 19-year-old by the name of Jonathan Vargas that won the $35 Million Powerball Jackpot this past May. Following his momentous triumph, Vargas opted to take the lump sum payment of $17.3 million. Vargas has plans to appear on the all-women's wrestling show as a character by the name "JV Rich", the laid back and affable Rapper/Owner of Wrestlicious. Regular features on the program will include "JV's CRIB", a look at the goings-on inside JV's mansion frequented by the girls of Wrestlicious. 
- Based purely on this demo reel/music video, my early favourites are the army girl and the fifties diner girl for no reason other than they are the most insane.
- Draculeta is scary.
- I'll probably watch at least one episode of this when it comes out. 

- I can't wait.

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