8th Annual Indie Video Music Festival 2009
published: 27 /
Fiona Hutchings finds the contents of the short list of 8th Annual Indie Video Music Festival, which is currently touring and will shortly be released on DVD, to be a decidely mixed bag
The blurb promises these videos will be eye popping, jaw dropping and mind blowing. That is some big claims for the "first and only international grassroots indie music program." Now in its sixth year according to the DVD (no I am confused too), the festival brings together artists from the UK, USA, Canada, Argentina, Sweden, and Spain. Originally 265 videos were selected, over sixty screened and now we have the crème de la crème.
The problem with reviewing videos is that the visuals can totally sway your opinion on the music. An outstanding video can rescue a mediocre song (until you buy the CD) and visa versa. With nineteen tracks to get through it is going to be a whistle stop tour so all aboard.
Bend Sinister – The Same Things
The video is set in a library with some nice stick figure animation. Its indie with by turns funk and rock flavours but ultimately delivers nothing new or exciting.
Ha Ha Tonka – Caney Mountain
The video is like a gothic horror interpretation of 'The Kingdom Under The Sea' by Jan Pienkowski. It's hard to look away and pay any attention to the song.
Clue To Kalo – Infinite Orphan
It feels like this video is a black and white nod to the Smashing Pumpkins' 'Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness'. The contrast between the male and female vocal and odd hammond organ interlude give the number its only real texture.
Davide Di Saro – We All Belong To Our Before
Nearly all these videos employ animation of some kind, often of the superimposing/collage/cheap Terry Gilliam type. Sadly no matter how hypnotically freaky Davide Di Saro gets it doesn't change the fact this is another repetitive shouty number with too many discordent guitars and not enough soul to grab your attention.
D.O.A – Human Bomb
The video's pretty cheap, mostly concert footage and blue screen with the band in front of press clippings etc. The lead singer looks more like a Status Quo fan than a scary rocker. This makes his claim to be a human bomb a bit like your mum telling you she's a bad mofo. That said it's angsty, fast and catchy, even if they obviously picked up their guitars in 1977 when anyone who could play 3 chords and scream formed a band.
Hayden – More Than Alive
Even though the 360 degree spinning opening documenting the passing of time and seasons from a mountain top makes me a little dizzy, this is a beautiful and understated track. The video complements its pensive and reflective vibe perfectly.
Thaykhay – So Close to the Sunday
Another Pumpkins inspired, animated, colour wash over layered mini film. This one has subtitles, robots, revolutions and new world orders. It is saved from the fast forward button by the choir of red smash alien robots with devil horns. The song itself is the heavier side of indie and puts me in mind of 'Lincoln Park'.
The Hermit – Si Vous Me Quittez
This one's a bit different. Visually it looks like its been shot in a Second Life sort of virtual reality world. The vocals feature the almost ethereal tones of a woman, a welcome change after so many angry men. Hypnotic visually and musically.
Immaculate Machine – C'mon Sea Legs
The band assume 2D paper puppets for this story of murder and treachery on the high seas. A real Belle and Sebastian vibe and I love the video, technically very clever and an actual story that draws you in. I suspect the band had a lot of fun making this one and it shows.
International Jetsetters – Inside Out
International Jetsetters are appropriately enough on a jet but one that goes to outer space while they play the sort of indie we saw first time round with the Stone Roses/Shed Seven. It's not bad. It's just not new.
Karkwa – La Facde
Visually a Manga-ish Gorillaz and inked over filmed footage hybrid, this video is quite arresting. The song less so.
Neko Case – People Got a Lotta Nerve
Knitting school girls being shot out the waterhole of a whale about sums it up. The song is a light melodic number, heavy on acoustic guitars and stands on its own perfectly well.
Nutmeg – Ohohooh
If you want my honest opinion, I'd give my mother for a straight forward music video about now. More shouty, more Gilliam-esque animation......
At least it's short.
Pol Arida – One
Composed of old news footage of dictators, world events and foliage the lyrics are lip-synched by a young girl. A song about freedom and changing the world its nothing new but it's so stripped down and haunting that it succeeds where more overblown numbers fail.
Roots Manuva – C.R.U.F.F.
An actual video – I'll try not to get too nostalgic.... I am not sure this is indie. Actually it sounds more like rap to me. Lots of children dressed as everything from Little Red Riding Hood to a caveman in a field of sunflowers killing each other with a toy plane. And a song that's going nowhere. Okay, back to the animation videos.
The Summerlad – City of Noise
Stop frame video animation reminiscent of Split Endz. Its like a demented fun house ride and very satisfying to watch. The song is upbeat, lots of jangly guitars with an undercurrent of menace, my favourite type of indie.
Vancougar – Distance
Trees, a lot of trees, including a sad man dressed as a tree who cheers up when he meets a happy girl tree. He flirts somewhat awkwardly and its all going swimmingly but, oh wait, here comes a woodcutter. Look away, children! This love story will not have a happy ending. Sad man tree watches no longer happy girl tree get felled and, as the lyrics mourn, we couldn't see the wood for the trees. Fin.
Violadores Del Verso – 8 Lineas
Right I will stick my neck out. This is rap. It goes nowhere but despite being orange the video reminds me of the Paddington Bear style of animation so I like that at least.
Winston Ackland – Little Fishies
We end with an actual Second Life video, very post modern. Quite a jaunty little number with a catchy chorus. Winston's adventures seems to involve a lot of ladies and circus freaks. A rarity where the video and song are equally entertaining.
Animation awards would have been more accurate perhaps. A mixed bag but some hidden gems.
233 Posted By: Fiona, UK on 27 Oct 2009
I am sorry you didn't like my review but it is after all just my personal opinion. I have made videos in the past so I do have some idea of the work that goes into them.
Sadly you can't please all the people all the time, I think we both know that.
228 Posted By: Michael, Siattle on 08 Oct 2009
try making a video music working over 2 months for no money, not to mention writing songs and struggle to make some video happening, and than yes, you can criticize other works,
Before that, you don't sound wise or credible at all.