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Skies Are for Flying

Connan and the Mockasins, Music Video, 2005

Wellington trio Connan and the Mockasins spent much of their time channelling 1960's blues pop/rock — but this brief, sparse outing from their debut EP Naughty Holidays sees them tapping into a more ethereal strain of pastoral pyschedelia from the same era. Director Sam Handley’s clip (shot at Mangakino near Taupō) places the band on board an enchanted river boat, spreading delicate notes like pixie dust along the way under the watchful eye of one of the cliff faces. Connan, not unreasonably, plays a wind-up clock complete with lamps.

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Bat Fly

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2007

The Listener called the kids music of Fatcat & Fishface “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard. The perfect antidote to Barney”. This ditty (from 2004’s Pretty Ugly album) came from a collaboration with the Department of Conservation and bypasses the cuddly usual suspects — kiwi etc — to celebrate the unlikely charms of the bat fly. The blind, flightless fly lives symbiotically on the native short-tailed bat: “So what if I like guano … I like it for a snack / There’s nothing like guano … from a bat!” The stop motion animation by Carlos Wedde is suitably Tim Burton-esque.

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Palm Singing

Bressa Creeting Cake, Music Video, 1997

Bressa Creeting Cake's jaunty calypso romp, described by the band as "a very happy holiday song full of gaiety, summer, and love for one's fellows", gets a suitably madcap treatment in this video directed by Michael Keating and band member Edmund McWilliams (aka Ed Cake). Actor and comedian Jonathan Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows) gets to mug for the camera while the band lurks in the background in their "sinister suits". Auckland's Little Shoal Bay, near the Harbour Bridge, is the opening location, and elsewhere, a guitar is used as a percussion instrument.

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Kaleidoscope World

The Chills, Music Video, 1982

This was the iconic Dunedin group's first music video. Directed by Peter Janes, the promo for the song roams around an aptly chilly looking attic while the band performs. As soap bubbles float towards the rafters, there’s fog on the breath of singer Martin Phillipps, who lulls the listener to swim into space with him … “come along baby we'll live in our kaleidoscope world”. The early Chills song was from Flying Nun’s seminal Dunedin Double EP. It was later featured as the opening (and title) track on The Chills’ debut LP, a 1986 compilation of early career songs.

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Stumpy

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1997

In 1994 Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate decided they needed more dwarfs. Having released dozens of songs as duo Tall Dwarfs, they asked fans to send in rhythm tracks, then used selected results as creative fuel for their 1997 album Stumpy. This short film brings the Dwarfs' gleefully low-fi approach to the world of album promotion. Knox and Bathgate alternate performances of various tracks from the album (including some naked keyboarding from Knox) with appearances by various offspring, mates and musicians, free-associating on the word stumpy.

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Afternoon in Bed

The Bats , Music Video, 1995

The Bats in a suitably enigmatic mood in a video directed by John Chrisstoffels that is as mysterious as the song itself. What was said that is causing the protagonist so much reflection is never really clear - and neither is the reason why the unidentifiable figure with the spade is burying cutlery and a barometer on a hillside high on Godley Head overlooking Pegasus Bay. Elsewhere the band perform at King Edward Barracks (now a parking lot in central Christchurch) and in their practice room, as well as with some of their favourite toys.    [This video is made available by The Film Archive]

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Tally Ho!

The Clean, Music Video, 1981

This video marked the directing debut of the multi-talented Chris Knox. Capturing the energy of The Clean's legendary first single, the clip memorably broke with local music promo standards (lip-synching, filming inside a studio etc) and set the template for Knox’s cheap but effective DIY method. He shot the band walking (and lying) on the street using a borrowed 16mm camera, set at a slow frame rate. He also played around with negative reversal film, to obtain some of the more distinctive images. 'Tally Ho' got to number 19 in the local charts; the band were "shocked and delighted".

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Alligator Song

Bill Direen, Music Video, 1985

With its mysteriously instructive "do the alligator" lyric, 'Alligator Song' is still a crowd-requested favourite at Bill Direen's live shows. The song is taken from the Flying Nun LP CoNCH3 that featured a new line-up of the Bilders, including bassist Greg Bainbridge and drummer Stuart Page. The video's moody feel and emphasis on the physical movement of an exotic dancer in the back alleys of Christchurch reflect Direen's previous projects with Blue Ladder Theatre. The location was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and is now in the red zone.

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Hail

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1988

The title track and first single from the debut Straitjacket Fits album displays the trademark epic, brooding menace they did so well. An old brass tap dripping rust (or blood) and a plumber threatening with a wrench are among the disquieting scenes in the accompanying video; there is also a reaper figure running through the tunnels on Waiheke Island. The video effects of the period get a good workout, as do the carnival/merry-go-round images which graced the cover of the original record album (but not the subsequent CD versions, which used completely different artwork).  

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Hold Me 1

Able Tasmans, Music Video, 1990

This Able Tasmans single starts with a piano intro from Graeme Humphreys (aka Graeme Hill ) — the so-called baroque popsters really loved their keyboards. The clip goes on to showcase the instrumental prowess of a band who weren't afraid to throw horns, bagpipes, and strings into the mix. The first vocal doesn't arrive until almost two minutes in! Director Phillipa Anderton captures the energy of the playing by weaving the camera above and around the musicians. The clip's use of colour is also distinctive: most obviously in a set which is revealed to be yellow and deep blue.