Even if we seem a bit out of tune with the ongoing soundtrack of our Champaign-Urbana lives, we find no harm in revisiting cool examples of local music artists set to full-motion visuals! Therefore, we restack the deck of melodious streaming content in an “Images of the Week” that will provide you with an aesthetic range from something old (in historical content) and something new (rendered with charming animation) to something borrowed (in the non-political plundering vein) and something Blue (in both the song’s reason for being and the singer-songwriter herself.) Scroll away and press “play,” dearest listeners!
Unleashed last week by the C-U garage rock combo, The Underwerewolves, this self-produced video for “The Aliens Work for the Evil Boss” finds our heroes performing in a partly shorn cornfield – it is, perhaps, a crop circle? – to warn the world of extraterrestrial invasion. Intercut is black-and-white public domain footage from Japan’s STARMAN featurettes from the late Fifties that depicts bizarrely-costumed space people, wire-hung model rockets, and Earth’s bombardment via exploding miniature sets! This track appears on their upcoming EP-with-comic book, Adventures in Time, which will be released at a Cowboy Monkey show on Saturday, April 8. Acme Principle and Lonely Trailer are set to join Jeremy Pessin, Jay Creek, Will Arnold, and Conner Buenting in downtown Champaign for the cosmic festivities.
Taking its music cue from the “no-collar country” album Bramble Patch Blues by The Fights, released back in October, the following CGI video for “Self Helpless” (despite the onscreen title) relays “a short fable about how things we don’t understand can be beautiful if we only take the time to learn about them,” told with a sleepy brown bear, busy little caterpillars, and a colorful polygon countryside. Florida-based firm 7×6 Design, operated by former C-U music scene contributor Chris Eitel, lovingly crafted the spot and premiered it in late February, while The Fights – Clayton Deering, Nicholas Stine, David Pride, and Cole Rabenort – performed this past Monday night with Rebecca Rego & Eric Fitts and Dewclaw as part of the fifth anniversary Urbana Hootenanny show at the Rose Bowl Tavern in our other downtown.
We pay mind and listen up with our next video, the first of several to accompany the EP Another Angry Woman by Champaign-to-Chicago performer Emily Blue. A stark reminder that sexual assault affects thousands of individuals daily, this minimalist expression produced by Wave Upon Wave alternates between slow-motion “limbo” vignettes of Blue, a survivor who is using the track “No Pain” to call direct attention to a society-wide problem, and anonymous women and men depicting their traumas and defiance on a marker board. Both made their debut in August and attracted nationwide press for their timely messages as well as for Blue donating her proceeds to help Rape Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services (RACES) in Urbana, a vital regional agency only beginning to rebound after losing all its state funding.
Finally, we check in with Urbana filmmaker John Isberg of Swede Films, whose output dominated our last Tour and recent portfolio includes videos for Elsinore, We the Animals, and Sunset. Just returned from South by Southwest in Austin, TX, Isberg will resume work on his massive national-to-local documentary WHERE IT BEGINS: 1977-2000; here, we share a teaser trailer filled to the brim with ephemera and familiar faces that will register with long-term fans of Champaign-Urbana rock history. Veteran talents also taking part include Adrian Belew, Kim Deal, Jon Ginoli, Ian MacKaye, and Steve Albini as interview subjects and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Jeff Schroeder as score composer. An Indiegogo push to afford post-production costs has just been extended to Saturday, April 22, coinciding with the annual Record Store Day.
~ Jason Pankoke
p.s. Not unlike in our review post from last week, we have most likely seen the last of a department as we begin to retool what we do on C-U Blogfidential. “Images of the Week” hasn’t been employed much lately, as it is pretty well understood that a forum about movie media would be illustrated, and we never seemed to build up enough steam to offer it weekly without fail. Maybe it could use a more autonomous voice in a column format similar to what we think might benefit a fresh round of “Flicker of the Week.” We’ll see.