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.
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.
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.
Flying Nun supremo Roger Shepherd says this 1991 single release saw the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience further develop its sound and push it to a poppier place. And the sweeping melody of the chorus supports that. Largely shot in a derelict pub in central Auckland (that was subsequently demolished to make way for a high rise building), the video uses a constantly moving camera and primary colours to back up the lush sound. By now the band had shortened its name to JPS Experience and added keyboard player Russell Baillie.
‘Doomsday’ was initially released as a 12 inch 45. The video is shot in a room similar to the one featured in their classic Death and the Maiden (but the bay window isn’t quite as grand, and there are no rabbits). A blue wash runs through the first three quarters of the clip, as Graeme Downes sings off to one side — his lyrics a bleak portrayal of a doomed relationship that could end at any time. (But when?) The instrumental final minute is in full colour, with Downes back in the midst of the band. The homespuns have come off and there are smiles all round.
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]
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".
This song from Flying Nun stalwarts The Verlaines comes from their 10 O'Clock in the Afternoon EP — the follow-up to their signature single 'Death and the Maiden'. The video was made at TVNZ's Avalon Studios where more than a few clips were marred by inappropriate treatments in the early-80s — but The Verlaines were spared unnecessary trickery, props or actors. With a simple set and an all but imperceptible transition from black and white to colour as the only effect, the focus is on the burning, claustrophobic intensity of song and performance.
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.
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).