I bet director Carlos Lopez Estrada is currently on vacation doing one-handed pushups at the mouth of a volcano somewhere because he’s continuously carving out a “busiest guy in the biz” name for himself in music video world. His latest effort is alongside notable multi-genre bass player/oft-sought after session musician Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) for the smooth as funk number “Them Changes”. In it Bruner himself dons ancient Japanese samurai armor and takes to the basement to battle his opposer in a hazy existential daydream or flashback depending on your ability to suspend disbelief. Something about a rack focus to the guinea pig (her name’s Christine) heightens the wholly heartbreaking albeit charming narrative.
It was Full House’s Aunt Becky who really put Nebraska as a whole on the map for me, but Omaha has earned its notoriety reigning supreme with its decades-long nest of indie rock activity. Landlocked four-piece Twinsmith are the latest to emerge and have teamed up with director Gabriel Younes for their latest surfy single-cum-video, “Said And Done”. Together they dip their toes into classic slasher waters with your standard “Jeep full of horny teenagers breaks down in the middle of nowhere” scenario with amusing results. And as an added bonus there’s a special appearance by Whitney Moore of Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die.
The indubitably earworm-y “Norf Norf” is plucked from young Long Beach-based MC Vince Staples’ debut studio album Summertime ‘06, a concept/coming of age rumination on the year he reveals his boyhood was irrevocably stripped away. The monochromatic, topical visual for Staples’ jarringly frank flow serves as an introduction to the stoic artist who began gang banging at the already innately prickly age of thirteen. For further insight on how he “keeps it real”, here’s an eye-opening interview from which the following significant quote was pulled: “People are rapping about killing niggas and selling fucking drugs all day, but it sounds happy—that’s bullshit. That shit’s stressful: You’re not going to make no fucking money, somebody’s going to end up dead, and you’re not going to be able to pay for his funeral because his mom probably don’t fuck with him like that, and he don’t got health insurance. So now you have to do a fucking car wash to pay for somebody’s funeral and bury him in some cheap shit. Where’s that song?”
This week’s bonus video is from chamber-pop trio Gem Club, a group I’m just now realizing I heard first on one of many impassioned, tear-burgling episodes of Parenthood. Emotive and heavy-hearted as the latter is their year-old tune “Braid” set to a phantasmagorical tale helmed by filmmaker Christian Palmer. Difficult is the encapsulation of bizarre events as they occur in the video, but I’ll tease with the phrase “Taxidermy Cat Piano” to properly pique your curiosity.