Going Going Gondry


I became aware of Michel Gondry around 1994 when I became obsessed with the video for "Lucas with the Lid Off." It's single-take, in-camera effects blew my mind and I then found out Gondry was the director of Bjork's "Human Behavior." Then I became obsessed with Gondry's work in general. I actually saw Human Nature in the theater! (Not that good.) It wasn't until getting his volume of the Director's Label DVD series back in 2003 that I knew he played drums in Oui Oui, a band he started with Etienne Charry that existed from 1983 – 1992. I'm not sure that Gondry had a whole lot to do with the band's sound (cute, catchy Franco-pop) but it was the music videos he made for the group that made them stand out — and gave him a career after Oui Oui broke up.

The group released two albums, both of which fell out of print soon after their release and have remained that way. A bit surprising, given Gondry's success. Neither are Lost Masterpieces but if you have a fondness for jazzy chords, whistling, cheery melodies and the French language, they're worth seeking out. Here are a few MP3s:

Ouioui-chacun_tout_le_monde Chacun Tout le Monde (1989)

 MP3: Les Cailloux

 MP3: Ma Maison (different version than is used in the video)

Ouioui_formidable Formidable (1991)

MP3: La Ville

MP3: Formidable

More_Videos_DVD-2 Lots of other Michel Gondry news. His second DVD collection of music videos, short films, etc is now available through his website. In addition to videos made after the first collection (like Steriogram's "Walkie Talkie Man") it includes some of Gondry's work that was left off the first time, like The Black Crowes' "High Head Blues," Radiohead's "Knives Out" and Donald Fagen's "Snowbound." It's also got some of Gondry's viral videos, like the one where he solves a Rubiks Cube with his feet. Also available through his website: If you email Gondry a picture of yourself, he'll personally draw a sketch of you based on it. For $19.95 which seems pretty reasonable to me. He's also got toilet paper, comics, callendars and other quirky, creative stuff. 

On the feature front, Gondry is one of three directors behind Tokyo! The Movie, described as "an omnibus triptych examining the nature of one unforgettable city as it's shaped by the disparate people who live, work (and even run amok!) inside one enormous, constantly evolving, densely populated Japanese megalopolis – the ravishing and inimitable Tokyo." It's currently in limited release in the U.S., including the Sunshine Theatre here in NYC. His next major film is directing Seth Rogen in comic book flick The Green Hornet.

Some Oui Oui and other Gondry-related videos after the jump.

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Video Roundup: Amazing Baby, BPA, Camille, Violens

I used to do a Music Video of the Week feature, and not sure why I stopped. So here's a bunch of new videos, complete with random thoughts from me.

Amazing Baby – "Pump Your Brakes"

Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Basketball, teen witchcraft, Egyptian gods, rocking out? Can't say I'm a fan of this style of "whatever everything" videomaking popularized the by the MGMT boys, but I am an Amazing Baby fan and like the song, which is available on their free Infinite F**king Cross EP.

BPA feat. Emmy the Great — "Seattle"

Brighton Port Authority is Norman Cook's new project which purports to be some sort of secret, "lost tapes" kind of thing in hopes of distracting us from how boring the last couple Fatboy Slim albums were. But the BPA are better just by the nature of the project, which are all collaborations.  I was kind of hoping that this would be a cover of PiL's "Seattle" because I couldn't imagine Emmy singing it. But no, it's an original and quite lovely, actually. As for the video itself, Cook has always made clever ones and this flip-block concept is pretty cool.

Camille – Money Note

I can't say this song by French singer Camille does much for me but the video, directed by Paf ! Le Chien (yes that's a person's name) is pretty great in a Nagi Noda-meets-Gondry-meets-Mummenschanz kind of way.

Violens – Doomed

Typical of their art collective background, Violens' video for the Aztec Camera-ish "Doomed" features no lip-synching, or even the band at all. Instead, we get a bunch of pretty young girls in a nice old house with a surprise, creepy twist ending featuring high thread-count linens.

New YACHT Video Pay Tribute to Cube Squared

I haven't seen Tapeheads in a long time, but it only took about three seconds to get it when I saw this new Yacht video on Idolator (which they thought was a J. Geils tribute):

MP3: YACHT – Summer Song

Here's the original:

YACHT just signed to DFA and "Summer Song" EP is their first release on it, with an album due in 2009. Rent Tapeheads if you've never seen it.

Also: is it coincidence that YACHT and BOAT both spell their names in all-caps?

I could’ve directed it: New Mystery Jets Video

I’ve waxed enthusiasic about the new Mystery Jets album, including the ’80s-sax-laden "Two Doors Down" which will be the album’s next single, and probably huge summer UK hit. But the video’s a bit obvious, isn’t it? The "Young Love" video was really clever, I thought, and this was just puts the band in dayglo shirts, skinny ties, pastel jackets… plus other vintage MTV trappings. Yawn. But the song remains irresistible, with one of my favorite lines of recent memory: "I hear she likes to dance ’round the room/to a worn-out 12" of Marquee Moon." I’d just better not see them wearing a graduation cap and a Beat t-shirt when you make a video for "MJ."

MP3: The Mystery Jets – Two Doors Down (Buy Twenty-One from 7 Digital)

Richard Hawley at Other Music | The Video

Are there awards given for web video? If so, The Other Music Instore Concert Films should win one. They’re all worth watching. And if you look close at this one, you might see the back of my head. Here’s my report from the event which took place in early December.

New Ida Maria Video: “Stella”

As far as songs about prostitutes go, and there are lots of them ("Roxanne," "When the Sun Goes Down" come to mind immediately), "Stella" is a pretty good one. I’ve been high on Ida Maria since seeing her at CMJ back in October, and actually had video of her performing this song… but Sony/BMG has had it pulled from YouTube for "Copyright Infringement." Oh Well. I wish I could have both of them here on this page to show the difference between them. Her studio recordings so far have been much slicker and slower than how she plays live or than any of the demos that have been floating around.

I’ve got nothing against sonic clarity, but I wonder if these aren’t taking some of the energy out of them — the thing that drew me to her in the first place. Maybe it’s just a case of listening to those so much that I just want the record to sound like them too. (I suffered similarly after falling for Maximo Park’s demos before their first album.) With time I guess I’ll get used to it. She’s getting a LOT of press in the UK, it’s rather amazing how much she’s blown up in less than a year.Here’s another of her demos…

MP3: Ida Maria – Louie

If you’re going to SxSW, I highly recommend you catch one of Ida’s shows — she’s something else. There are two official SxSW shows and hopefully she’ll play some parties as well. And if we’re real lucky, she’ll stop in NYC again on her way to or from, though I haven’t seen anything yet.

Ready for Hot Chip?

Hot Chip really like teasing us. About three weeks ago, they added new single "Ready for the Floor" to their MySpace player. But, initially, when you clicked on it, all you got was Alexis Taylor chanting "Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it now." Then every few days it got a bit longer, adding "say it say it say it say it say it say it say it now."

Well, you can finally hear it hear it hear it hear it hear it hear it hear it now. Well, about half of it at least, on their MySpace player or the whole thing on various BBC radio stations. It’s actually going to be reviewed on BBC 6music’s Roundtable tomorrow, which airs at 2PM EST but ut the show is archived so you can listen later. It should be a good show as the guest reviewers include curmudgeon David Quantic and Norwegian soon-to-be-big-deal Ida Maria. They’re also reviewing new singles by Supergrass, Malcolm Middleton and, er, Madness.

I’ve heard "Ready for the Floor" a few times now  and think it’s really good, definitely in the "Boy from School" brand of Hot Chip singles. It’s officially out January 28. The SoulWax remix, however, has hit the web:

MP3: Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor (Soulwax Dub) (via Distortion Disco)

And now a music video… sort of. They’re up to their old two-faced tricks:

Meanwhile, Headphone Sex went to see them recently and they were giving away a limited edition 7” with two demos/leftovers, which he promptly ripped and posted. They’re both worth checking out, and one of them is basically just Alexis and his guitar.

Hot Chip’s new album, Made in the Dark hits stores February 4 in the UK. Not sure of the American date. Taylor dishes on the new album at their website but we’ve yet to see an official tracklist. The album art, however, looks like this:

Young Knives on Solid Ground

Youngknives_terrafirmaWhile on Ollie Evans’ page on the Partizan Pictures website, I saw that they had just posted the video for the new Young Knives single, "Terra Firma."

I was expecting the first new single from the Hartnol brothers to be "Fit for You," which they’ve been playing at live shows for some time. Maybe they’re saving it for when the album is closer to release, as they don’t even have a title yet. (I don’t even think they’ve finished recording with producer Tony Doogan [Belle & Sebastian, Delgados, SFA]).

Nonetheless, "Terra Firma" is more friendly than almost anything the Young Knives have released before, yet there’s no question whose song it is.

MP3: Young Knives – Terra Firma

Sorry you didn’t win the Mercury, guys. Oh, here’s the video:

New Roisin Murphy | “Let Me Know”

I saw Moloko almost exactly ten years ago at Knitting Factory when they toured for Do You Like My Tight Sweater? — I went on a whim and was blown away by their roof-raising abilities. Above all else, I remember singer Roisin Murphy  holding court over the totally-into-it crowd, wearing a big, flap-eared fur hat. She was pure sex and it blew my little mind.

I never liked Moloko quite as much as that night, but her solo career has been more interesting to me. Her 2005 solo debut, featuring blippy jazz courtesy cut-n-paste wiz Matthew Herbert, was pretty genius, and felt like a step forward for Murphy in every way. The follow-up, Overpowered, looks to be a little more normal — straight-up disco — but that is a relative term with Murphy. The title track was my personal 2007 Summer Jam, and I’m still not tired of it. We’re still a month off from Overpowered‘s release (Oct. 15) but Murphy has just released the second single, "Let Me Know," which was co-written by Groove Armada’s Andy Cato. It’s another ridiculously catchy slab of first-class dancefloor fodder. Resistance is futile… if you like this kind of stuff.

MP3: Roisin Murphy – Let Me Know

Please enjoy the video, too, where Murphy turns a late-night diner into a disco paradise, as only she can. As you can see, her love of hats remains…