In 2013, as we watched the Blazers soar to heights they haven’t seen since I was in high school, we watched Portlandia branch out from city satire into more diverse storylines, and we also watched some great videos for songs by Portland bands. Here are my favorites.
Typhoon - Dreams of Cannibalism Director Matthew Thomas Ross casts Typhoon lead singer Kyle Morton as a scapegoat pariah in a mysterious and insular group, filmed at a location you might recognize by the end of it.
Nick Jaina - Don’t Come to Me Not unlike Thom Yorke before him, Nick Jaina isn’t the most obvious candidate to star in a dance-centric visual piece. Yet, the video for Jaina’s catchy “Don’t Come to Me” is a stunning blend of his own untrained moves and choreography by Candace Bouchard of the Oregon Ballet Theatre, and is beautifully shot by director Seth Whelden. As for the song, we liked it so much we nominated it earlier in the year to NPR Music’s 5 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing and talked about it on Morning Edition.
Pure Bathing Culture - Dream the Dare Animator Hayley Morris creates visuals for Pure Bathing Culture of a bird in flight over ethereal landscapes and textures which could almost be a dream-sequence outtake from Coraline.
Old Light - Trenchcoats Director Inger Klekacz works here at OPB, and has photographed dozens of our in-studio sessions over the years. Her skills and her great sense of humor are exactly why we like to have her around, and you can see both those attributes in Old Light‘s video that she created for their song “Trenchcoats.” It features a brilliant performance by opbmusic host Jeremy Petersen, as well as some other recognizable faces of Portland’s music scene, including Anne Adams (aka Grey Anne) and Michael Lewis of Blue Skies for Black Hearts. The video has a bit of innuendo, but I promise you that ultimately, the only thing you’ll be exposed to is art.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - So Good at Being in Trouble Christopher Mintz-Plasse, known for his roles as McLovin in Superbad and Red Mist in Kick-Ass, stars in “So Good at Being in Trouble” as a man looking for his girlfriend, who, as it turns out, has been taken into some sort of Venice Beach hippie cult. Attempted heroics ensue. Danny Perez directs.
Another excellent video is UMO’s “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark).” And though it’s populated only by marionettes, it addresses some adolescent issues in a more NSFW way than, say, Judy Blume might, its main message is ultimately very life-affirming, and could be summed up as “be the one you want.” It can be seen here. If you’re looking for more, I rounded up the best videos from bands of all locales in 2013, as well as Portland bands videos in 2012, 2011, and 2010.