Sex and Agriculture

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1984

Dance Exponents were the crown princes of NZ pop when they released this left field follow-up to their very successful debut album. ‘Sex and Agriculture’ introduced new guitarist Chris Sheehan and marked a major departure from hook-filled pop songs into harder, noisier territory. A rhythmic, driving soundtrack punctuated by Sheehan’s atmospheric guitar undercuts lyrics that could describe a rural idyll. Jordan Luck grows increasingly desperate in this shadowy, constricted TVNZ video which echoes the song’s dark claustrophobic sense of rural dread.

F.R.E.S.H

Scribe, Music Video, 2007

The promo for F.R.E.S.H. ("Forever Rhyming Eternally Saving Hip hop") is set 'Somewhere in Canterbury' and sets off a breakneck clip: around 100 cuts in the first 60 seconds. The costuming, set changes and colour palette are dynamic; the nods to Scribe’s mainland hometown are many. How many times do you hear the director namechecked in a song? Not many. Chris Graham's sense of pace, timing and cheeky lightheartedness — there's even a coconuts-as-horse-hooves rhythm section — propel the hip hop crusader and his horsemen into the stratosphere.

Phil's Disease (Day 4)

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1984

Being one of Tall Dwarfs’ more experimental tracks, it probably makes sense that the accompanying video would be as perplexing. Chris Knox shows his penchant for bizarre DIY animation as line drawings of creatures morph into lines of lyrics, then into human figures who keep losing their heads. The song itself does little to provide any easy answers, the minimal vocals rumbling out of a swamp of muddy riffs. Both 'Disease Day' songs appeared on 1984 EP Slugbucket Hairybreath Monster, which website All Music called "another chillingly perfect gem". 

Under the Milky Way

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1994

Stephanie Tauevihi (Shortland Street) was vocalist of choice on this cover of Australian band The Church's biggest hit. Strawpeople founders Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney cast themselves in unlikely roles as guitarists, and share the directing duties on this typically stylish video. It captures the song’s sense of emptiness and disconnection in its tale of an astronaut’s love (although the song’s original inspiration was an Amsterdam club, not the astral Milky Way). The woman in spectacles with the mysterious office machine is played by DJ/actor Phoebe Falconer.

Taller Than God

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1996

Director Justin Pemberton takes this love song by Paul Casserly and Fiona McDonald (from fourth Strawpeople album Vicarious) and transforms it into an exercise in noir influenced, brooding unease. His video takes place over a night at a rural motel (with McDonald as a receptionist, and Casserly up to no good with a range of medical equipment). A tarot card-reading, yoga-practising new-ager, a traveller with unexplained cages, and random appearances from stringed instrument-playing senior citizens contribute to the growing sense of disquiet.

Beth

Voom, Music Video, 1994

A song about how hard it is to say goodbye, 'Beth' became a student radio fave and has been known to make some listeners feel a little teary. Perhaps sensing the potential for emotional meltdown, the makers of the music video introduce a touch of the oddball, with Voom long-stayer Buzz Moller flying to the moon in his pyjamas and meeting the rest of the band in an underground cavern, all the while addressing his beloved, “who went to Australia”. Moller finds his guitar in time for the amped up, I still care about you climax. The track is sometimes titled ‘Beth’s Song’.

Unity

Nesian Mystik, Music Video, 2002

In this Dave Garbett-directed Nesian Mystik music video a secret force of Polynesian Grey Lynn agents work to unify the community by taking their message to the streets, then to a television station. In scenes that showcase the band's sense of humour — and echoing a real-life 1995 takeover of One Network News by Māori protestors — the boys manage to take over the airwaves, where they transmit their own brand of 'Nesian programming: from master-chefing taro and bully beef to bro-senting the news. ‘Unity’ was a Top 10 single from the hit Polysaturated album.

Fool's Love

Misfits of Science, Music Video, 2003

‘Fool’s Love’ was a chart topping debut for Misfits of Science — Auckland hip hoppers who were determined not to be carbon copy gangster rappers (and possessed of a sense of fun that wouldn’t let them). This song about “people in love with themselves” (complete with Doris Day sample) gets an award-winning (Best Video at the 2004 bNets and Juice TV Awards) treatment from directors Shane Mason and Mark Trethewey. The stock hip hop clichés (cars, booty girls and cash) are present but undermined by those oversized heads and the natural humour of the Misfits.

Su'Amalie / Ain't Mad at You

Tha Feelstyle, Music Video, 2004

Shot on location, this gleeful clip could double as a travel promo for beautiful Samoa. In the absence of special effects, the video radiates warmth and sincerity, aided by remarkably slick editing and a cheeky sense of humour. Director Chris Graham also helmed clips for hip hop classics 'Brother' and 'Not Many'.  

The Physical You

Knightshade, Music Video, 1987

Recorded at the Galaxy in Auckland for a Radio With Pictures special in May 1987, Hamilton rockers Knightshade perform ‘The Physical You’. The song made it to number 14 on the New Zealand charts as part of an EP of the same name. Soon after, the band signed an ill-fated deal with Australia's Mushroom Records, before finally releasing their self-titled debut album — featuring this song — in 1995. The band’s performance is archetypical 80s hard rock — which makes sense of their long list of support slots for acts including Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Barnes.