Liam Bachler

Filmmaker Liam Bachler’s videos are gloriously soft focus 70s throwbacks with pretty women doing mischievous things… What’s not to love!? Check out the best below and as soon as I can find his short film Time Machine I’ll be sure to put up a review and/or post it here.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Little Blu House”

Computers Want Me Dead “Letters and Numbers”

Still from Time Machine

The State of Music Videos Today

I can’t wrap my mind around this new music video. The artist’s name is SBTRKT and the song is titled, “Wildfire.” It’s stylistically like a blend of Asian horror and David Lynch, topped with homages to Barton Fink and Apocalypse Now. I want to like it, but I feel like maybe I’ve just been tricked when it’s over. Music videos these days all have this thing now where they want to build you up to something without ever giving you a payoff.

On the other hand, not too long ago there was a superb video which had much of the same style and feel (maybe even storyline?) which also had a pretty big (however, depressing) payoff.

Next up is Zola Jesus’ “Night.” Let’s be honest, this is essentially a music video remake of Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet crossed with Orpheus (oh, if he only had access to color film back then).

Lastly, there’s the new video for the Girls’ track “Vomit.” Seriously? I shot stuff like this when I was in high school and first started driving – I just didn’t have the HD camera and rock music score. How is it that a music video for a rock band can actually be boring? Don’t get me wrong, I like a shiny ’68 Mustang just as much as the next guy, but I don’t need three minutes of slow dolly shots around the fender. This is just an abomination. Hey Christopher Owens, next time you want a music video, give me a call and I promise I’ll give you something more exciting and original than whatever this drivel is. It almost hurts me to repost it here, but here goes…

Why does nobody make music videos that are original or inspiring anymore?

The Work of Eran Hilleli

Israeli filmmaker and animator Eran Hilleli has an interesting animation style which seems inspired by various other artists, but never imitates them. Much of Hilleli’s early work can be found online, but below are some of the best.

Knowledge of the Cone is a student project that was directly inspired by a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of the same name.

We Used to Call People Late at Night is another student project that Hilleli admits to having been inspired by the film Persepolis when creating; however, it reminded me of another animator which I greatly admire, Dustin Grella, who works in a similar styled medium and uses telephonic voice recordings as the basis for some of his work.

Close to Home is a short film / music video for Ori Avni. Avni’s music is a sort of perfect blend of ethnic and shoegaze, and fits the shooting style of Hilleli well. Incidentally, Avni’s music appears in many of Hilleli’s works. The one-take shooting style of this piece is uniquely paced and the movement of the camera is just superb, it almost has this elastic quality about it which I’ve never seen on a dolly or tracking shot executed so well in an indie production.

Here’s another video for Avni in which Hilleli created an installation piece which appears to be a compendium to the above short.

Inside_Out feels like it should be a Radiohead video, as it has all the right qualities to be such. This short shows a heightened sense of style in the progression of Hilleli’s animated work.

Three and a Half Seconds About Life is a short animation which, while maybe not intentionally on the part of Hilleli, seems directly inspired by the Alan Clarke short Elephant from 1989 (which then directly inspired filmmaker Gus Van Sant to “remake” it – in very much his own way, mind you – in 2003).

Finally, there’s Between Bears, Hilleli’s film which won Best Animation at Vimeo’s first film festival. Polygonal art and the whole bear theme just makes me think of the band Grizzly Bear and their LP Veckatimest, but other than that, I think this short again shows the impressive and ever-evolving style of Hilleli’s work. I look forward to what’s next from this filmmaker.

As an added bonus, do yourself a favor and check out the videos Hilleli’s shot for singer Daniela Spector. (I’ve embedded my personal fave below). There’s a subtle dreamy quality to Hilleli’s live performance video shoots, and even though the whole back-and-forth soft focus style is used by many a handheld HD video filmmaker these days, Spector’s songwriting and music is incredibly enchanting. You can download her album here if you dig it as much as I do.


So in my neverending search for something audio/visual that inspires me, I ran across this short animation from a London-based filmmaker and animator Andrew Gibbs. Can’t seem to find much more fully realized work of his online, and this appears to have been completed when in school, but it’s well worth it’s short running time.

The music by CocoRosie is a great touch, but it’s the cut-out, choppy, animated style that I find always appealing. Watching this, made me think back to the last interesting animator I ran across a few years ago, Andy Smetanka.

You may be more familiar with Smetanka for his videos for The Decemberists, and The Tain is one which will always be my favorite. If this short film by Smetanka was being distributed, I would have it sitting here on the shelf next to me. Alas, maybe I need to start my own distribution company though, because nothing I like ever quickly makes its way to a collectible format. Anyway, even if you’ve seen it before, check out The Tain in its 20+ minute entirety below. It’s Tim Burton at his peak in late 1920s Germany – channeling the best bits of Murnau and yet making the whole film seem like you just read a novel when it’s over – it’s a journey.

Just for good measure, here’s one more, The Bachelor and the Bride, from 2003:

The Kills “Blood Pressure”

The single “Satellite” from The Kills new album “Blood Pressures” has a vocal melody that will likely not leave your head after you hear it once. The video is pretty nice too. It’s a creative blend of archival footage of a car accident and the band members running about the seaside streets of Europe doing some lightly mischievous things for a band by such a dangerous sounding name. Check out the video below and after that, check out a similarly shot short doc on the making of the new album including the inspiration for the new single.

Grinderman, Part Deux

Some of the best news I’ve heard this week (yes, I’ve been out of touch for a while) is the re-occurrence of Nick Cave in the world of media. While always delivering new material in various formats (film, music and literature), his Grinderman musical work has been one of my favorites.

The first Grinderman album was like beautiful little knives being slid across your ears, but so softly it nearly tickled.

Their new LP is simply titled “Grinderman 2” and is set to release on September 14th. Apparently the first cut from the album will be released on August 31st as well. In the meantime, there’s always this:

New Menomena

“This is a play that takes place in your freezer.” These are hilarious and austere opening vocals on the new track from the new LP by the sludgy-sounding, Muppet Show-inspired indie band Menomena. If this is your first time listening to Menomena, give them a listen – there’s plenty wobbly-vocaled and clean-rhythmed tracks to go around. Otherwise, submit your email address below for a free download of the new track and when you get it, play it loud.

Straight from the band’s website here are “five little facts about ‘Five Little Rooms:'”

  1. It’s the ninth track on our new album
  2. It started out as one song a few years ago and ended up an entirely different song a few months ago
  3. It prominently features the words “prostitute”, “children”, “hung”, “bridegroom”, “suburban” and “mcdonalds” (we’re edgy now, haven’t you heard?)
  4. It was the last song to be chosen for the new record, which, in our perverted world, somehow makes it the most appropriate choice for the first single
  5. It’s either the best or the worst song we’ve ever written; you decide!

Their new album “Mines” is set to drop July 27th and apparently there’s also a limited edition seven-inch that will contain non-album tracks coming soon.

If you haven’t had enough, you can watch their Pitchfork TV ATP Surveillance episode where they previewed another track from the forthcoming album way back in 2007. It’s called “Queen Black Acid.”