10 February 2010

Beach House "Teen Dream" DVD

Teen Dream, Beach House's third album and first one for Sub Pop, was a hotly anticipated release for many folks, including yours truly here at No Gift for the Gab. As a firm believer in the sanctity of the album release, all sneak peaks and album streams were ignored by this website so that nothing would be tarnished. Gorilla Vs. Bear was debuting new vids for the record every day leading up to the official release, but I steadfastly avoided them which is kind of funny since a bulk of the hype I was placing on Teen Dream was a result of what I had read on GVsB, most notably the time when they said they hadn't been this affected by one record since Person Pitch came out. Anyway, cooler heads prevailed and now weeks later it seems as if at least a morel of the album has been digested and is now ready for public consumption.
The record included a companion DVD, which had music videos for all ten tracks and each one was done by a different director. Due to the absurd amounts of snow that are falling outside right now, today seemed like an ideal day to tackle ten music videos all done by different directors. The song order on the DVD is different from the track listing, but for this exercise they will be in the DVD order.
1. "Used to Be" directed by Sean Peckold
This vid is shot to have the appearance of a fish-eye lenses, but upon further review it may just be a circle in the center of the frame. It's sorta hard to tell. The video begins with a face that has glowing red eyes, and when the song starts the face begins mouthing along with the words. This leads to what appears to be a futuristic graveyard in another galaxy or it could be a futuristic town square or perhaps a futuristic shopping mall. There are these mangled figures there that look like Barbies after a bout with a magnifying glass and the August sun. So, there's the one head that sings along and then there are a group of other ones who do a coordinated routine with their arms, similar to a cheer squad but in the future. This video was directed by the brother of one of the guys in Fleet Foxes. He also made that one crazy Grizzly Bear video a couple months back. This video isn't as wild as that one, but Teen Dream is just about every bit as great as Veckatimest.
2. "Better Times" directed by John Leone
There are clouds and splashing water and little girls playing dress-up in the backyard. A lot of random images, but they all seemed to represent the same vibe. In the second half of the song, there is some sweet, shaky percussion work and in the video when that part happens the images shake accordingly. The new album more drums involved, and this video kind of shows it as the images almost move in accordance to the percussion work.
3. "Walk in the Park" directed by Allen Cordell
The protagonist of this video is a guy whose beard starts at his eyebrows. He's either a some kind of caveman living in modern times or he might be a hyrbid of a raccoon and a person. It starts off ordinary enough, as we watch this bro wake up and eat cereal. He walks out his front, and lights his cigarette and then he starts walking. A lady catches his eye, and smiles at him, but then an even uglier dude steps up and starts tongue kissing this broad hardcore. Then this gang starts laughing at the dude who kind of looks like a raccoon. So, RaccoonBro goes home and eats a marshmallow or two but then the same gang is in his kitchen and they are laughing at him again. This nasty group follows him around some more, and until they eventually beat his ass. There are lots of flashing colors at this point. RaccoonBro then pulls a sandwich out of his chest, and gives one to each member of this gang. The gang then proceeds to barf like they're having a bad trip. This makes RaccoonBro dance. The 'what-the-fuck' factor gets so high that this video becomes kind of great.
4. "Zebra" directed by Mark Brown
Double negative footage of animals played at a fast clip, all under a heavy mat of colors. Very understated, but it really works for this song.
5. "10 Mile Stereo" directed by Kari Altmann
I dig this song, but as far as the video goes, your guess is as good as mine.

6. "Silver Soul" directed by Victoria Legrand
The absolutely gorgeous voice that is heard on every Beach House song is Victoria Legrand's, so
in addition to doing that she hops into the director's chair for this. When the video starts, everything is really hazy/smokey/steamy.eve
Then there are people painted silver, and they have hula hoops. Two people make out briefly. There's also slo-mo skateboarding and an umbrella. Mainly hula hoops, though.
7. "Lover of Mine" directed by Sean Honey
Literal backyard wrestling. There's this one guy with a mane of curly, dark hair and a mustache to match. He wears a blue speedo. There's also a guy who wears a baby bonnet, and another guy who is kind of dressed like a biker. There's also girls in bikinis...I almost forgot about the guy dressed in attire that calls to mind an indian chief casino owner who has his own tribal dancers, who jump through flaming hula hoops. Quite possibly, my favorite video out of the bunch.
8. "Norway" directed by Showbeast
It's the puppets from that Dan Deacon video that was posted on this space a few weeks back. This might be a MICA collective, which would explain their appearance in both this video and Deacon's. This one has a girl with a fake mustache, and subtitles with money lines such as "The apocalypse ruined my dream Jenga." Everyone in the house is awakened by a disturbance, and they become concerned that Mr. Westby didn't wake up because of the commotion. When Snow Beast tries to wake him up, he gets sucked into Mr. Westby's nose, but they're not in his nose, they're in his dream. Then a deranged Abe Lincoln, or possibly a chimney sweeper, chases after them. Maybe the whole thing is a metaphorical representation of Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper" and I'm just not getting it. Anyway, this strategically bearded bro is trying to stab Snow Beast and the puppets. It starts to look pretty grim, until Mr. Westby sneezes and they all come flying out.
9. "Real Love" directed by Matt Amato
The insert for the DVD says that footage for this video is compiled from Arthur and Maria Benassi's visits to St. Louis, New York City, Yosemite National Park, and Rome, Italy circa 1946-1956. It starts out with clips of boys chasing girls at a picnic, and proceeds on through the years, leading up to a wedding. Love?
10. "Take Care" directed by Kevin Drew & Co.
Broken Social Scene alpha leader, Kevin Drew, is responsible for this video which depicts an old woman swaying and singing along. As a viewer, you almost get the sense this woman didn't know the words when they started filming because when they get to the point where says she will take care of her lover forever, you can see in her eyes the magnitude of a commitment like that. The woman sways some more, until she is in a garden with a huge cross in the middle of it. At first, it reminded me of that part in Dirty Harry where Clint Eastwood is the bag man and Scorpio has him running all over the city to prove that he isn't being followed. Eventually, Inspector Callahan ends up at a gigantic cross in a park and that's where Scorpio attacks him and Chico Gonzalez gets shot. Anyway, back to the video. After dancing in front of the cross for awhile, the old woman opens up some parallel dimension and now she is dancing next to a much younger woman who is dressed exactly the same doing the same dance. The younger woman runs through the portal, and is now the one dancing in the garden. Fin.

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