Experimental Dental School Featured on Dig for Fire

  • Posted by
  • on August 6, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

The Portland experimental rock duo Experimental Dental School was recently featured on Dig For Fire, decease which is quickly becoming one of my favorite music series. This was shot in New York while XDS was on a 6-week tour with Deerhoof.

Here is a quote from the video: “Greg from Deerhoof, anaemia he’s worked on a couple of records and has helped us from time to time. He called up and said “do you want to go for 6 weeks with us” and we jumped around for like half an hour all excited. Then we got scared. Then we went down in the basement and practiced for like 3 months.”

Dig for Fire’s videos are a great mix of interviews and live footage, check out their stuff on Vimeo. Indie music videography is alive and well.

The Builders and the Butchers’ “Golden Green”

  • Posted by
  • on July 17, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

I said it once but it’s so true I’ll say it again: Portland is in a golden era of rad music videos. Our stable of local directors continue to up the ante and the Builders and the Butchers new Henry-Darger-inspired track from Salvation is a Deep Dark Well is no different. Local booker, public health photographer and music video director Alicia Rose brings us “Golden Green.”

Blue Horns at Backspace

  • Posted by
  • on July 12, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

This is a show I filmed from a while back at Backspace – a night with 4 awesome bands: Patterns, order Inside Voices, treat Blue Horns and Church. I’ll be putting out more videos as time passes I spun the wheel and today you get to enjoy a song by Blue Horns.

If you’re digging this one, there is another Blue Horns track from the same show over here.

Episode 7 of Truckerspeed in 3D

Check out episode 7 of our public access TV show (in Portland) where I’m joined by my friend Jon Hurst. We talk about beer, otolaryngologist dancing, abortion show some music videos and even give shout outs…to a lady! Filmed in our greenscreen basement studio in Southeast Portland.

Blitzen Trapper Release Black River Killer Video

I’m a big fan of Portland’s Blitzen Trapper – and weighing in at 37 iTunes plays I’ve listened “Black River Killer” more times than any other track on their most recent release “Furr.” While the band has always been a purveyor of fine music videos, therapy this creepy murder ballad takes the prize.

The Making of Black River Killer

You might have noticed some seriously awesome effects in there and the filmmakers were kind enough to give us this minidocumentary about the making of. I’m impressed by the production value: real sets and actors, tuberculosis camera cranes, underwater freaking greenscreen – this is for real. According to the story from Spinner where I nabbed this video, there were at least 120 people involved in the making.

Explode into Colors Explodes in the Portland Art Museum

As we started to polish up the next episode of the Penny Jam (our ongoing video series), order it occurred to me that we hadn’t posted the most recent episode, pregnancy number 24 featuring Explode into Colors.

It’s been getting some loving on the internet, ambulance and for good reason. Explode into Colors brings the energy like a bobcat in a burlap sack – and in this case they brought it four or five times over the course of the shoot – and from what they told us it’s one of their more technically and physically challenging songs. We filmed it in the Grand Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum, where just the night before John Scofield played during the Portland Jazz Festival. I couldn’t help feel really lucky to have access to such a great space. Then I cried. Then I stopped and we filmed this great video. Enjoy!

Ben Folds’ A Capella Odyssey

  • Posted by
  • on June 30, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

So last night I was poking around on Youtube looking for something to tuck me in and I stumbled accross this well-shot, clinic 15-minute documentary. Ben Folds Presents: Unviersity A Cappella!.

I’m no aficionado but I do enjoy A Capella quite a bit. I think my appreciation comes from living with a guy in college who was in a group that proved just how awesome the form could be by attracting huge crowds for their free outdoor performances and busting out songs by unlikely groups like Radiohead and yes, Ben Folds. Here is a quote from Mr. Fold’s site:

Do not underestimate the genre. These vocal bands tour the country. They’ve performed on The Late Show With David Letterman, on Saturday Night Live, on The West Wing. They record albums (some costing upwards of $30,000 to produce). And in unbelievably large numbers, they’re covering the songs of Ben Folds.

Aside from tapping into a creative base that embraces his music, I think that what Ben Folds has done here is an awesome direction for the music/video relationship. As someone who shoots a fair amount of music related video (i.e. http://thepennyjam.com) I’m always in deep thought trying to hatch new projects that are neither 1) run of the mill or 2) gimmicky. By taking the reins he’s achieved a grand scope, maintained quality control and provided a built-in story. And if you’ve ever been a music writer you probably relate to that – having a story keeps things colorful, and helps you from infusing too much snarky, self-important, music-writery prose to carry your writing.

And it’s working. Some of the publications that’ve picked up this story: The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, NPR Music, Baltimore Sun (lots more) and most likely the college publications of every group involved. So my hat’s off to you Mr. Folds – a classy move indeed. I’d love to see more video projects such as this one, focusing confidently on an artist-centric catalog. The album is available now.

Adam West is “Lookwell” in this 1991 pilot episode from Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel

I’m glad to live in a world where awesomeness can still lurk quietly nearby, side effects only to be discovered through chance occurrences. While on a IMDB vision quest in search of the works of prolific writer/actor Robert Smigel (who among other things, healing plays Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) I stumbled upon Lookwell, the pilot episode of a 1991 TV show written by Smigel and Conan O’Brien and produced by SNL maestro Lorne Michaels.

The show follows a washed up TV actor Ty Lookwell (played by Adam West) as he attempts to solve real crimes. During the course of the episode he teaches acting classes, bothers the real cops and justifies his daydreaming: “Sorry, used to play a detective. Mind can’t help but make deductions.”

Smigel and O’Brien’s unique wit is on obvious display here. And their use of Adam West as a kitschy cult icon foreshadowed West’s role as a caricature of himself in shows like The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy. From what I read, the Youtube version posted above is slightly different than the original, with some alternate jokes and music. But considering how hard it is to find an original version online, I’m pretty damn fulfilled by this one.

The Beatles Rock Band Cinematic Trailer

  • Posted by
  • on June 18, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

Check out the cinematic trailer for what may be one of the most serendipitous cross-platform experiments to date, food Beatles Rock Band. The game is well into development and slated to come out this September – ushered into existence by Dhani Harrison, son of George Harrison. The game is a complete retooling of the Rock Band franchise, with 45 Beatles songs, historical venues and previously unreleased bonus materials, like studio chatter of the gang just hanging out.

The animated trailer was crafted by Passion Pictures, a shop in London’s West End best known for their video’s for Gorillaz. It’s a gorgeous animated short, check it out.