IOW: Musical Menagerie Treat!

With colder temperatures rolling in to remind us Old Man Winter is finally on his way, the best thing we can do for our dearest readers is to heat things up with the gift of song! Instead of the expected Yuletide standards, we’ve brought together a few fresh compositions by the Champaign-Urbana music scene’s younger generation who follow in the footsteps of those trailblazers featured in the documentary, OUT OF NOWHERE. (To quickly ramp up your knowledge of the ground covered in NOWHERE, be sure to check out this feature article and this collection of rock show remembrances published recently by the University of Illinois’ alumni magazine.) Let’s get to the A/V action, then!

Performers gracing C-U Blogfidential in the past via their video work have released new shorts in recent months. First up is a whimsical WIZARD OF OZ inspired accompaniment to the Megan Johns song “Sunday Drive” which appears on her springtime EP release, Hey Lonely. After strumming an initial verse in a loft, Johns becomes a Dorothy surrounded by those amber waves of Illinois grain as well as new friends: the Cowardly Lion (Mikael Brackett), the Scarecrow (Morgan Orion), the Tin Man (Shannon Swords), and Glinda the Good Witch (Daniella). Even the proverbial Flying Monkey (Erin Gillis) catches a break and joins the fun! Video director Garrick Nelson unveiled SUNDAY DRIVE in September.

A few weeks earlier in August, The Dirty Feathers unleashed their second self-produced music video to go with the title track of their EP, Midnight Snakes, with help from globetrotting media producer Chris Green (who also helped with SUNDAY DRIVE) and Josh Black. The concept is simple – outlandish outfits, candy-colored lighting, gritty photography, rear-projected psychedelia – but the output is as visceral as one might expect from this band!

Returning to September, Georgia art students Alessandra Hoshor and Addison Adams brought the surrealism in a short set to the synth-heavy tune “Gonna Get Her,” recorded by Urbana pop trio Psychic Twin and released as a 7-inch by Lefse Records. Featuring singer/keyboardist Erin Wraight, the clip combines stop-motion animation, superimposition, and color saturation in a mélange reminiscent of early Eighties lo-fi videos; we’re elated Adams and Hoshor chose to shoot this with dreamy Super 8 film stock.

Psychic Twin – Gonna Get Her (Official Video) from Alessandra Hoshor on Vimeo.

Finally, our visual set list concludes with an untitled piece performed by singer/guitarist Vivian McConnell of local groups Grandkids and Santah, captured by entrepreneurs Jake Metz and Jack Maples as a promotion for Grandkids’ appearance during the Pygmalion Music Festival in September. This collaboration with Smile Politely is an outgrowth of their pet project called Urbana Basement Sessions, a (literally) underground “live studio” recording series documenting our scene’s brightest talent.

Smile Politely Series – Vivian McConnell from Urbana Basement Sessions on Vimeo.

While most existing clips created in the Basement would not fall under the loose definition of “music video” that we might normally feature, we did glean evidence from their Web site and a previous SP feature that Maples and Metz may be leaning towards conceptual or narrative work in the near future when not sticking to the bread-and-butter Basement style.

~ Jason Pankoke

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