Riot Squad

The Newmatics, Music Video, 1981

This song is from New Zealand’s troubled winter of 1981. The Springbok Tour gave the term “riot squad” currency throughout the country — but the Auckland live music scene and the police were already enduring a very fraught relationship. This number from Auckland ska/soul band The Newmatics, released on the band’s Broadcast OR double 7" EP, was actually written about a 1980 police raid on XS Cafe in Airedale Street. The Keystone Cops music video is classic early 80s TVNZ Avalon and features actors Ross Jolly and Michael Wilson as two thirds of the 'blue shadow'.

Serenade

The Naked and Famous, Music Video, 2008

The lyrics detail the intensity of thwarted love, and the accompanying video is a DIY delight — mixing an origami fortune teller concept with back-projected Animalia-style shadow puppets. From the 2008 EP This Machine, this video marked the first collaboration between design studio Special Problems (Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali) and the band. The fertile partnership would go on to yield multiple music videos (including the breakout promo for ‘Young Blood’), plus the artwork on a number of their releases.

Bad Note for a Heart

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1990

Filmed at Bethells Beach and in a tunnel somewhere in the Auckland suburb of Ellerslie, this award-winning video from future Whale Rider director Niki Caro traces a sea nymph, a beating heart and an elderly gentleman's struggle with his hat. Clearly reluctant to move into the 90s, the eternally rock Shayne Carter looks splendid in dark eye shadow — a look he later told RipItUp was "definitely a low point in rock". Bad Note for a Heart was judged best music video at the 1990 New Zealand Music Awards.

AM Radio

Lucid 3, Music Video, 2004

An ode to the retrospective joys of listening to AM radio from this Auckland three-piece who mix elements of folk, funk and blues on this smooth pop song written by front person Victoria Girling-Butcher. Richard Bell’s video was shot at the train station at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch; and his army of loners emerging out of the shadows - drawn in by the music on the radio - underlines the song’s promise of finding companionship from the airwaves. (The Wave Master valve radio was made from the early 1940s by Dunedin company Radio Services Ltd.)

Done

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1992

The first single from the final Straitjacket Fits album features a typically oblique Shayne Carter lyric hinting at despair and defiance  possibly touching on the departure of founding member Andrew Brough. The overcast lyrical content and lurching, hard edged guitars find their match in this black and white video from director Andrew Dominik, which shrouds the band in studio shadows. Dominik went on to direct lauded films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly (the latter two starring Brad Pitt).

See What Love Can Do

Annie Crummer, Music Video, 1992

Annie Crummer came to attention with her cameo in ‘For Today’ in 1985 and she was a member of the high profile late 80s act When The Cats Away — but her debut solo album Language didn’t appear until 1992. This cover of a song originally recorded by Eric Clapton was its first single. It features Pacific reggae band Herbs (with the late Charlie Tumahai as duet partner). Fred Renata’s stylish video is a study in monochrome as it alternates black and white backdrops (and wardrobe for Crummer), and augments them with photos of loved ones and shadow play.

Maxine

Sharon O'Neill, Music Video, 1983

"If you don't like the beat, don't play with the drum." 'Maxine' was a single taken from O'Neill's 1983 album Foreign Affairs, about a King's Cross prostitute — "Case 1352, a red and green tattoo" — and based on a woman who worked the streets nearby. The song charted at No. 16 both here and in Australia. The clip starts with Sharon arriving at the airport; look out for leopard skin print tights and a dress straight off Logan's Run. Other highlights: a steamy sax solo, heavy eye shadow and backlit silhouettes in "rain-slicked avenues." Nice.

Husband House

Sneaky Feelings , Music Video, 1985

"The season's old and the leaves have turned to gold / And the wind blows cold from the south ..." The song is mournful, dreamy and elegiac, and so is the music video, from Steve Young. The clip features amiably laidback performances by the band members, hanging out in various Dunedin locations — including synchronised guitar dancing (a la the Shadows) on a wintry-looking beach: grey clouds, pale blue sky and a charming "out now on Flying Nun" drawn in the sand as the closing shot. The orange $50 note in the busking bowl is a notable 80s relic.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1984

The video for this track from the Slugbucket Hairybreath Monster EP features expressionist shadows, odd science experiments in the basement, Frankenstein-like freaks, a flickering TV set, and an amateur brain transplant — demonstrating clearly that grunge-master Chris Knox is a major horror fan.

Calliope!

The Veils, Music Video, 2006

This performance clip for The Veils is given a distinctive edge using various effects that add a moody, jittery vibe. The overlaid animations — moths trace arcs in the air, shadows move in the background, and the moon and stars make an appearance  — add a mood of underworld ethereality, and an echo of the silent movie era. The clip was made by the Brownlee brothers (not the English triathletes). It was nominated for video of the year in the 2007 Juice TV awards. The song is taken from second Veils album Nux Vomica.