So Good at Being in Trouble

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Music Video, 2013

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. 

Beers

Deja Voodoo , Music Video, 2004

Life imitated art when Matt Heath and Chris Stapp transformed their Back of the Y house band into a real act. Here they make a determined bid to wrest the drinking anthem crown away from Th’Dudes’ Bliss with their own ode to the amber liquid. Heath and Stapp’s video takes the tribute to the six pack from pained conception through live performance to post gig acoustic sing-along by way of a hail of beer cans. It’s also a chance to revisit tried and true Back of the Y favourites: from flaming helmets and wrestling masks to dodgy stunts and pyrotechnics. 

Beings Rest Finally

Beat Rhythm Fashion, Music Video, 1981

‘Beings Rest Finally’ was the A side of the first of three singles released by Wellington post-punk outfit Beat Rhythm Fashion (the single shared its initials with the band’s name, as did the flip side ‘Bring Real Freedom’). A product of early 80s nuclear dread — the “disaster day” in the lyrics might refer to the death of millions — the band nevertheless saw it as a “happy sort of lullaby” rather than a sad song. The TVNZ video captures this combination of innocence and terror as children paint a colourful mural over news footage of war, unrest and a mushroom cloud.

I Can't Stop Being Foolish

The Mint Chicks, Music Video, 2009

Do robots dream of mechanical owls? A young woman in distress wakes up to find she has a 'robot problem' in her apartment. As the wee ‘bots (resembling animated cuisenaire rods) cause mayhem, she calls for help on her rat-phone. Roused from the Winter Gardens, an exterminator and his giant caged owl come to the rescue. The promo was one of several shot for The Mint Chicks by Crystal Bear-winning short film director Sam Peacocke (Manurewa). To create the miniature robots, life-size puppets were shot in front of a green screen, then composited into the action.

Squeeze

Toy Love, Music Video, 1979

"I'm a fraud / I'm a sham..." The debut single from this influential Kiwi band introduced New Zealand television audiences to Toy Love's recipe of pop riffs and punk sneer. Although the group only existed for 18 months, they charted three times and made a lasting impression on the live scene on both sides of the Tasman. The single 'Squeeze' (backed by B-side 'Rebel') was recorded after a one-off deal with WEA. Vocalist Chris Knox is front and centre, crackling with malevolent energy in a video that mixes kids' toys with some gross out performance art.

Stuck Here for Days

The Datsuns, Music Video, 2006

The Datsuns make international touring look so easy. Sporting a home movie look, Stuck Here For Days kicks off with a blues slide guitar riff as Dolf, Christian, Phil and Mat Datsun travel to new, exotic locations via vans and planes. A slightly sped up travelogue follows them around international cities, as the boys check into their rooms, set up their instruments and play frenzied gigs in sweaty venues and packed festivals. Look out for Dolf, cool as a cucumber, emerging from a beer fridge.

Spooky

The 3Ds, Music Video, 1993

Spooky. Indeed. In this 3Ds clip a psychedelic kaleidoscope of distorted images collapse in on each other. It feels something akin to a video recording of an experiment to capture dreams ... being played out on your eyelids: astronauts, staircases, kung fu, beards, lolling tongues, guitars being smashed with an axe ... a therapist would have a field day. But then again it's the 3Ds. And what's with the gurgling water sound at the end?

Inside Out

Avalanche City, Music Video, 2015

A lone boy in the wilderness and a mysterious airborne menace feature in this evocative, NZ Music Award-winning video for Avalanche City (aka musician Dave Baxter). Discovering a stag who’s fallen victim to the abstraction from the sky, the boy takes it upon himself to fight back, before it can inflict more damage on the forest’s residents. Despite the song being a last minute inclusion on Avalanche City’s second album We Are for the Wild Places, it later became the only Kiwi song to hit number one in 2015. An earlier video for the song was shot in one extended take on Raglan beach.

Lovers +

Hallelujah Picassos, Music Video, 1992

After releasing a couple of cassettes and EPs, Hallelujah Picassos unveiled their debut album Hateman in Love in 1992, which included this single. Their genre-bending sound, incorporating elements of ska, hip-hop, punk, and indie rock made them a staple of the Auckland live scene. Frontman Roland Rorschach takes centre stage in the Bruce Sheridan directed video, performing over images of the band playing while being observed by men in white protective suits. Also featured are the talents of Greg Johnson on trumpet, and Alice Latham on saxophone.   

Sierra Leone

Coconut Rough, Music Video, 1983

'Sierra Leone' was one of those songs that quickly stood out from the pack. Andrew McLennan's synth-pop track won his new band Coconut Rough a deal with Mushroom Records, then became a runaway hit in 1983. The video, slick for the time, features bright colours, a running motif, and African imagery. But the pressure of being in demand for a single song became an albatross around the band's neck. As McLennan told website AudioCulture, "‘Sierra Leone’ became the only song from our repertoire that people wanted to hear and no matter what we did we couldn’t follow it up."