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 Prolific Mr. Reznor

I’ve been on about the debut EP from Trent Reznor’s new band How to Destroy Angels for most of May now, and finally you can download the whole record for free from the band’s website! A tangible, hand-holdable copy will be available to purchase on July 6. This is what the electronic copy’s cover art looks like:


This is what the physical copy’s art will look like:


In other Reznor news, he’s apparently working on new NIN music, and has also just released (rather late) a theme for the newest addition to the metallic and violent Japanese cult-horror franchise Tetsuo, this time called Tetsuo: The Bullet Man. You can download it here. Trailer below. Probably not suitable for the kiddies.

How To Destroy Angels Debut Video

Not for the faint of heart, the first music video the new post-NIN band How to Destroy Angels is quite disconcerting.


The problem is it’s got a vaguely familiar visual style similar to a post-90s Depeche Mode video, and then the whole burning-people-in-slow-motion concept just reminds me of that Spike Jonze Wax video. What HDTA needs here is some Mark Romanek back on the job. Or just for the sake of “angelic” irony: Peter Christopherson.

First Track from Reznor & His ‘Angels’

As I’ve previously reported, Reznor’s got himself a new band and it’s got his new wifey in it too. They’re called How to Destroy Angels (a reference to a band that inspired him: Coil). Anyway, for a while there all that was being made available was some 40 second teasers of their new sound and glimpses of the members. Now we have a whole song!

Pitchfork got the exclusive and is streaming it here. You can also buy it from Amazon for $.99 here. Reznor has stated the track will not be made available in a physical copy. Their new six track, self-titled EP though is set to drop later this summer in the… package, so to speak.

From the 40 second clips, I was under the false impression that this was a new sort of sound for Reznor, but after listening to this great, mellow electronic track from How to Destroy Angels, I now think it sounds a lot like a new NIN song only with female vocals. This is not a bad thing, I’ll be the first to admit, but I guess I was excited at the prospect of the unknown. Honestly, I’ve never disliked a piece of music I’ve heard was attached to Reznor somehow.

The cover art for the new track is a diversion from NIN though, that’s for sure. Never before did I think I’d find a woman’s face adorn a sleeve of a Reznor record. Especially not a face that looks oddly close to Catholic religious iconography. This makes sense on one level though since Maandig is Filipino and therefore it’s highly likely that if she follows a religion, it would be Catholicism.

Need I Say More?


Nine Inch Nails may be dead as of 2009, but Reznor is alive an well and that’s really all I care about. A long-standing fan of literally everything Reznor has ever created (yep, even down to that stint in Light of Day), I was excited to discover that the reason he was back in the studio again was to record what is to become music for his latest project How to Destroy Angels (later referred to here as HTDA) with his new wife (and frontwoman of West Indian Girl) Mariqueen Maandig.

Without assuming too much, I’d like to think this is homage (or direct reference actually) to the early album and 17 minute song of the same name by the band Coil, which when their “HTDA” was recorded Peter Christopherson had just come on as a member (after being part of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV). Christopherson later went on to collaborate with Reznor (John Balance of Coil also did as well) both musically as well as visually. By the debut of Coil’s first LP, they had also picked up J.G. Thirlwell (who once again went on to collaborate with Reznor). Christopherson certainly isn’t working with Reznor on visuals anymore, that’s now in the capable hands of Rob Sheridan who Reznor seems to have employed since as long as I can recall. Sheridan is clearly behind the artwork surrounding HTDA given the signature style he’s developed.

All that’s been made available in promotion of HTDA is the following (with the exception of a couple cryptic photos of broken glass and uneaten rice with roses. (Find those at Twitter). These are only 40 second teasers, but man do they make you want to hear more. Let’s review…

“01”

This may be the coolest instrument I’ve heard Trent Reznor break out yet, and the teaser of it just makes me want to hear more. I have absolutely no idea what it is, other than something that obviously is pitchshifting. Apparently, I’m not alone in my quest to uncover the secrets of Reznor’s new sound though, on HTDA’s new Facebook page there is actually a discussion on this very topic. Though not definitive by virtue of the discussion thread, the speculation is that the instrument is “rare.” I’m not so sure about that since Mariqueen recently Tweeted about playing Reznor’s MS20 (the keyboard in the video) and something called a “Dewanatron Swarmatron,” which he had just purchased from Big City Music. So I Google search this instrument and voila!

“02”

So this installment of the teaser series gives more than just a sneak peek at a woman’s hand (assumed to have been Mariqueen’s), and reveals a face! The face of Atticus Ross I believe? (I don’t know, I haven’t seen Ross’s face enough to recall – sorry.)

“03”

Teaser #3 invites us to sneak peek at Reznor’s part in some of this, tearing up and down the fret giving us the shiny fuck you slide finger. This is great clip of a classic sounding, textural guitar FX. It almost makes we want to go back and re-listen to the “Fixed” EP. But first…

“04”

Number four is a very cool clip indeed. Finally, some light is shed on what the combination of Mariqueen + Atticus + Trent equals. If this is a highlight into a final cut of one of their EP tracks, this album will be pretty awesome. At this point, adding up all that I have heard (the four pieces above, that is), it’s almost like a new updated Coil album, if Coil were to ever make industrial or EBM music that were more repeat-listenable like this.

I’ll update this blog (and repost) as new materials are made available.

Summer 2010!