If You've Got a New Video, Who Needs the Real World?


Remember when music video debuts were Events? The big ones (like that cinematic epic for Michael Jackson's "Black and White" that left us confused and uncomfortable) had commercials leading up to their unveiling and choice post-Super Bowl slots. But even the minor bands were graced with MTV's grand "World Premiere Video" intro. That phrase—"world premiere"—carried the implication of global unity. We, the people of the United States, Hong Kong, and Botswana, will all enjoy this Alice in Chains video together. It was a beautiful thing.

Now bands announce their new videos via a message to the e-mail list that says, "Hey, check it out on our website." How boring. For that first viewing to be an Event, you have to make it one. That seems to be the Icy Shores' plan for "Backseat," a video I'm not sure I'm allowed to talk about: The burned copy I received (only after asking nicely) is labeled "Top Secret." But I will say that I've always thought the local band's slick but powerful melodies sound a bit like those of the Foo Fighters, and now they have a video to strengthen the comparison. The quartet star in an everyday scene, complete with poorly fitted wigs and hilariously hokey "acting." The video was shot in Los Angeles by director Sara Hegarty (who's also the sister of singer/guitarist Nick. Talk about a talented family; you may already be familiar with another Hegarty sibling, the eponymous leader of Antony & the Johnsons). The band will unveil the video at the 400 Bar, where it might not unite bickering countries but could bring, say, Fridley and St. Louis Park together.

On a side note, while you're in the mood for homegrown music vids, head over to MikeGunther.com and check out "Walk All Over It," directed by Restless Souls drummer Suzanne Scholten. Try to spot members of Valet, Thunder in the Valley, and the Get Up Johns among the video's tap-dancing devils and baptismal pool-dunked churchgoers.



Quietdrive and Motion City Soundtrack contribute songs to the, uh, soundtrack for John Tucker Must Die, the latest in forgettable teen sex romps. MCS dole out shout-outs to the CC Club and Triple Rock on the crisp, pounding "Better Open the Door" from last year's Mark Hoppus-produced Commit This to Memory.

Meanwhile, Quietdrive turn out a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" from When All That's Left Is You, and manage to subtract every last shred of sympathy from one of the best ballads of the '80s. Blistering with artificial angst and a wall of guitars, the song sounds as if it could've been recorded by hundreds of other faceless emo bands. Is it too much to ask that kids (by which I mean people who are maybe a year or two younger than I am) make music that's fun or moving or not completely swallowed up by its genre? I thought kids these days were all about individualism. Oh well, guess I'll go back to knitting teapot cozies, listening to Descendents records, and complaining about my aching joints.



Party Killers
If ever there were a credible concept on which to base a rock album, it would be the scene's never-ending string of destructive, all-night house parties and the characters who thrive on them. From the sinister bass line that kicks off Party Killers to the adrenaline-fueled "This is the way victory sounds!" that closes it, Superhopper prove they're one of the best (and most overlooked) rock bands in the Twin Cities. The disc's should-be hit, "When You're Down and Out (in Minneapolis)," gives a tongue-in-cheek endorsement to our hot DJs, scenester boys, and hipster girls. And being part of that reckless scene has never felt so comforting. When the track threatens to fade away, the kick drum just keeps thumping, pushing it past the five-minute mark and well into the night. Following the theme, should-be second hit "All Tomorrow's After Bars" eases concerns about partied-out friends with handclaps and the sing-along chorus, "I don't want any of ya cocaine/I just wanna know you're okay." At four o'clock in the morning, that may be the most resonant and meaningful lyric a club kid, schmoozer, or hoodrat could ask for.

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