Friday, April 27, 2007


While Depeche Mode will always be best-known for their grandiose, cinematic brand of synth-pop, a little-known facet of these rock stalwarts is their ability to craft a good, old-fashioned rock and roll number. This aspect is nicely depicted in the stripped-down version of the rare B-side "Surrender", which not only displays Dave Gahan's expressive baritone and Martin Gore's eloquent, bluesy guitar licks, but also Andy Fletcher's surprisingly competent bass-playing abilities. Check out the in-studio performance here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sunset Grill

While it might not have the major-hit status of other popular favourites like "The Boys of Summer" and "The End of the Innocence", Don Henley's "Sunset Grill" is still a detailed but thankfully non-mawkish anecdote of dead end lives in small-town America. Check out a stellar, sturdy live take on this classic by Henley and his old comrades in the Eagles during the Melbourne leg of their infamous "Farewell Tour 1" in 2005 here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Get Yourself High

The Chemical Brothers scored a minor hit in 2003 with the hip-hop-influenced "Get Yourself High", but what is otherwise a straightforward electronica track is turned into a whimsical anthem of sorts, thanks to its cleverly made video clip. Appropriating selected scenes from the classic martial-arts flick "Two Champions of Shaolin", the promo has the characters from the film mouthing the words to the song, courtesy of some brilliant CG manipulation. Have a veritbale head trip with the clip right here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Whip It

And now, for something completely different, comes this groundbreaking video clip by new-wave weirdos Devo, who made a woefully brief but strangely memorable appearance in the early 1980s with their brand of wigged-out synth-pop. Causing no small amount of controversy, the jaw-dropping promo for "Whip It" has become one of the more enduring clips on MTV and other music channels, on perpetual heavy rotation, especially popular during special 1980s-nostalgia shows. Laugh yourself silly here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Telephone Call

In a historic back catalogue replete with pivotal standards, Kraftwerk's "Telephone Call" from 1986 remains their most whimsical and accessible (not to mention humorous) moment to date. Check out the stylish expressionist-influenced video clip right here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Easy Rider and Scoundrel Days

One of the most iconoclastic films ever made for mainstream audiences, Dennis Hopper's 1969 anti-establishment classic "Easy Rider" has easily stood the test of time as one of the most culturally and socially relevant flicks of modern times. Simultaneously promoting and decrying the vagaries of a turbulent American society ravaged by a rampant drug culture and the horrors of the Vietnam War, "Easy Rider" is a cinematic experience that should belong in any self-respecting film critics' top ten list. Check out an insightful montage video clip of scenes from the film, appropriately set to a-ha's angsty 1986 existentialist rant "Scoundrel Days" right here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Craig Armstrong

A singular talent that easily stands out from the many hacks littering the soundtrack-composing field, Craig Armstrong started out as string orchestrator and arranger for Massive Attackā€™s trip-hop masterpieces of the 1990s. It wasn';t long before he started getting commissioned as soundtrack scorer for a variety of feature films, including "Romeo + Juliet", "The Bone Collector" and "The Quiet American". Armstrong's own solo career comprises a mishmash of styles and approaches that has encompaassed trip-hop, ambient, minimalism and solo piano. Check out his spacey, cinematic "This Love" from 1998, featuring the impossibly ethereal soprano of erstwhile Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser. View the video clip here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Harvest for the World

Originally a R&B hit for the legendary Isley Brothers way back in 1976, "Harvest for the World" was given new life in a rustic folk-rock makeover by The Christians in 1988. What is most remarkable about the Christians' cover is its accompanying cleverly made, topically aware claymation video clip, which tackles socially conscious topics like Third World poverty and hunger, capitalist greed and rampant war-mongering. Check out the promo here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pandora's Box

Latter-stage Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark, while not as celebrated as the time when Paul Humphreys was with the band, nevertheless still proves that Andy McCluskey could carry the OMD banner on his own, and not without some class and substance too. One of the more worthwhile singles from this particular era of OMD is 1991's "Pandora's Box", a brightly coloured, heartfelt love letter to little-known silent-movie star Lousie Brooks. Check out the atmospheric, stylish black-and-white video clip here.