Headless Chickens were a rogue electronic act on the traditionally guitar-dominated Flying Nun label, so it makes sense that this Chickens video would be equally outlandish. Inspired by both the Mexican Day of the Dead and Eastern European circus traditions, it has the band dressed as gypsies, beckoning us towards the chaotic carnival which they inhabit. Accompanying the band are a brigade of performers, including knife throwers and stilt walkers, only adding to the surreal feel.
Ruban Nielson’s Portland-based Unknown Mortal Orchestra explores lo-fi, funk psychedelia on this bittersweet number from their second album. The video, shot by an American cast and crew at counter-culture hangout Venice Beach in Los Angeles, follows Chris Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick-Ass) as he attempts to extricate a loved one from the clutches of a panhandling, Manson Family style cult. Former Mint Chick Nielson (in black jersey and beanie) and his fellow UMO members have cameos but can’t compete with the family members dancing in the California sun.
This 2014 single comes from Nobody / Everybody, the sophomore album by Kiwi guitar pop outfit Clap Clap Riot. Coming a couple of years after ballet psychodrama Black Swan (2010), the video concentrates on a ballet dancer who eventually pirouettes into an alternative reality; from the dance floor to submarine world and a pine forest, where a prone Stephen Heard is doing the singing. The promo was created by director Karlie Fisher and cinematographer Jeremy Toth. Kody Nielson (Mint Chicks, Opossum) produced the song.
For fourth album Belle (2011), Bic Runga found new collaborators, including brothers Kody and Ruban Nielson (The Mint Chicks), with Kody becoming Belle's producer and Runga’s partner. ‘Tiny Little Piece of My Heart’ was the first result, and opening track; The Herald's Lydia Jenkin called the girl group style number "an irresistible piece of pop, deceptively effortless in its spacious groove and sweet keyboard riffs". The black and white video for the jaunty song about moving on, sees Runga lolling about on a bed with a vintage camera. It was directed by fashion photographer Oliver Rose.
A sometimes pink-haired Boh Runga looks like one very stroppy rock chick in her performance for this punchy video, directed by Jonathan King. And just what is she doing approaching that man on an operating table with a big needle?
A compilation of four short ditties from the Tall Dwarfs’ Fork Songs album - ‘Wings’, ‘Lowlands’, ‘Oatmeal’, and ‘Two Humans’. The linked clips all feature assorted forms of stop frame animation and film scratching - Wings has a hand-drawn animated border; Lowlands uses the phone book as a background for a range of animated doodles; Oatmeal does unspeakable things with two raw chickens and other meat products; and Two Humans flickers through what seems like hundreds of different human faces. Simple but clever, as is the Chris Knox way.
A man lies under a tree, a guitar chimes, the music grows in intensity, the song becomes an impassioned declaration of love ... and people start falling from trees. Was he a daydreamer or did he fall too? Frantic animation follows, more bodies fall - with respite only from a dancer in a Warholesque sequence. HowYe was made by the Special Problems team of Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali (makers of notable videos for Naked and Famous, Mint Chicks and Dimmer) and shot in Cornwall Park and Pt Erin Park in Auckland. The dancer is Benny Ord (formerly of the Royal NZ Ballet).
This single for Mint Chick Kody Nielson's solo project possibly takes its name from the music-hating creatures in Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, or a Balinese mushroom with mind-altering properties. Or both. Director Sam Kristofski's video for this shimmering neo-60s pop song — captioned a "Sci-Fi-Delic Experience" — is in the ‘hipster surrealist’ mode (typified by Spanish collective CANADA). Model Zippora Seven hikes in the woods, overseen by a golden Buddha with laser beam eyes worthy of Flash Gordon. The trippy animation is by Daniel Foothead.
This heartfelt 1981 hit was the first song sung in te reo to top the NZ singles chart. It was written by Te Arawa elder George Tait for his cousin Deane Waretini, who recorded it with musicians he could only afford to pay in fried chicken. Tait based the melody on Italian Nini Rosso’s 1965 hit ‘Il Silenzio’, but the lyric refers to the linking of Pākehā and Māori cultures at the time of the construction of the Mangere Bridge. The TVNZ video features the less imposing but rather more picturesque valve tower turret, at Wellington’s historic Karori reservoir.