Enjoy the Least Metal Video Ever Made

If you don't remember Chris Holmes from his stint as lead guitarist in W.A.S.P., you may be forgiven. They were, after all, just another hair-metal act and not one whose work has particularly stood the test of time. On the other hand, if you don't remember Chris Holmes from his interview in the Penelope Spheeris documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, then you might have brain damage.

Who could ever forget Holmes floating in a swimming pool on an inflatable chair, swigging vodka from three separate bottles and babbling incoherently as him mom looked on worried? It's arguably the greatest interview in music-documentary history.

His latest video is the music-video equivalent of that interview. Oh. My. God.

More »

Mac Sabbath Is McMetal for the Masses

Photo by u2canreed/Flickr Commons
I don't know why, but novelty tribute bands melt my butter. It's not enough for me that four guys learn reasonable facsimiles of the Townshend-Daltry songs to fumble through them at Concert Pub or Sherlock's. No, I want them to do more, like dressing in New Orleans Saints gear, singing "Baba O'Riley" with Cajun accents and performing as "De Who Dat?"

My favorite cover band for Coachella darlings AC/DC is Hell's Belles (hot women). For Bruce Dickinson and company, it's Iron Maidens (more hot women). Best KISSers? Definitely MINIKISS (hot little people).

So, when Mac Sabbath began repeatedly appearing on my Facebook feed, I got a little giddy. As advertised, the band covers Black Sabbath with a twist. They perform parody Sabbath songs, retooling lyrics to make every offering fast food-related. In their hands (or what passes for hands in Grimace's case), "Sweet Leaf" becomes "Sweet Beef." The antiwar anthem "Children of the Grave" is breaded, deep-fried and served as "Chicken of the Slaves." You get the picture.

More »

Hearts of Animals Tells a Dark Fairy Tale in "Sea Babies"

Director James Templeton had already made a few music videos for his own band, LIMB, as well as one for B L A C K I E, but it's looking like his collaboration with Mlee Marie and her project Hearts of Animals that will fully secure him as one of Houston's best up and coming music video directors.

"Sea Babies" is an incredibly dark but gripping fairy tale that stands out even in a city known well for its morbid music videos by folks like Jerry Ochoa and Randall Hopkins. It's a common story of baby snatching, with Marie playing the part of a water witch that rises from a woman's bathtub to steal away her daughter. Marie is a powerful presence on screen, decked out perfectly in an otherworldly costume that includes face paint and spurs of children's teeth growing out of her forearms. She's a very scary ghost.

"The concept was all right there in Mlee's song," says Templeton. "I think it's referencing women who go a little crazy for a baby, who will do anything to have one. We took a little run at that to see how far it would go."

More »

Ranking ZZ Top's '80s Videos

Screenshot via Locke Bryan Productions
Those seeking a tasty holiday treat need look no further than Billy F. Gibbons' new Fiesta ads; our favorite is the one where the ZZ Top singer/guitarist breaks down his recipe for homemade tamales while wearing an adorable "BFG" apron. It's obvious the camera loves the right Reverend, and it's not exactly shy about winking at his bandmates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, either.

The Top has been laying low while Hill recuperates from the fall that sidelined him with an injured hip last September, a few days before the band was scheduled to play the Cynthia Woods Pavilion with Jeff Beck. (Make-up date is May 2, by the way.) Anyway, all of this is to say that those Gibbons spots -- we just caught the new "Christmas" one typing this Wednesday night -- got us thinking about all those great videos ZZ made back in the '80s. From there it was a short hop to all the ones that maybe weren't so great, but have retained a certain hairspray-and-Velcro charm. So happy holidays, all you sharp dressed men and women.

More »

The Five Best Houston Music Videos of 2014

I feel bad that I don't make it to more live shows here in the city, but try very hard to make up for it with my lightning focus on the art of the music video. Houston produces extremely high-quality music videos, and if 2014 didn't compare to last year in terms of quantity, it did so in quality. So here's the cream of that particular crop.

More »

Human Behavior's Soul-Searching Via TV Screens

Photos courtesy of Human Behavior
L-R: Human Behavior's Parada, Pattowitz, Strange and Anderson
Tucson's Human Behavior asks you to peer deep into your soul and examine its makeup through the one conduit they're certain you're comfortable looking through: the TV screen.

That's just part of the premise behind the band's captivating video for "Chapter 1" from its forthcoming album, Bethphage. The video is enthralling for a few reasons. It supports an excellent song, built from intriguing lyrics and a deep musical groove. It's ten minutes long, including an extended musical break, the sort of stuff omitted from modern music videos. There's a quality to the production that is frequently absent from the low-budget efforts of most folk-punk bands.

And there are the TVs, as present in the video as they are on Human Behavior's tour stops.

More »

Songs to Remember #GamerGate By

Global Panorama via Flickr
Anita Sarkeesian, a central figure in the recent #GamerGate controversy.
#GamerGate is dead, and Allah be praised that it is so. Oh, there's still some twitching, of course. Cockroaches can live a week without a head, I'm told, and the same generally holds true of lame Internet "revolutions." In the end the whole writhing mess got dragged into the daylight of the mainstream media, where it promptly died its vampiric death -- the messy one from True Blood, not the poofy one from Buffy.

It died because the people involved missed some very simple concepts, most importantly that you can't be a martyr and also hold the hammer. You can't claim to be a victimized minority when everything you support is already slavishly catered to in a ridiculous degree. More than that, you're never going to convince regular people that don't know what 8chan is (Many of whom also play games, you know) that ethics in video game journalism is worth tweeting threats to people over.

But credit where credit is due, The GamerGaters took things super-serial, and while they only imagined themselves as brave warriors carrying out military-grade operations when some of them did take the time to go out and create actual battles songs. Is it glorious? Of course it is! Today we salute you, the Joe Hills and Francis Scott Keys of #GamerGate, and the stirring tunes you left behind in your stupid, stupid war.

More »

Linus Pauling Quartet Brings Cthulhu to Life

Ramon Medina of Linus Pauling Quartet has over the years proven himself a music-video visionary. Increasingly his work in stop-motion animation has shown a depth and nuance that is edging him into Tool-level of brilliance. That said, when I heard that he was doing a live-music video premiere I thought it was a bit pretentious. Jerry Ochoa doesn't do that, and he's at least Medina's equal in local music-video filmmaking.

Now I see why Medina is insisting on a big shindig. "C is for Cthulhu" is a monumental work that deserves to be seen bigger than a laptop or smartphone screen. It's definitely his masterpiece.

To start, the video is essentially a short musical film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's famous short story "Call of Cthulhu." Most of Lovecraft has been wisely deemed unfilmable, and only a handful of really great adaptations of his works have ever been completed.

More »

The 10 Scariest Music Videos Ever

Listen, are you throwing a Halloween party? Are you going to have music on in the background? Splendid. Just so you know it was recently made legal in Texas to beat people that play "Monster Mash" at Halloween parties to death with frying pans [citation needed]. Few areas in the world need updating more than Halloween party music.

Luckily, the world now allows you to stream a YouTube playlist through a video-game console in your living room, and what that means for you, dear readers, if that you can finally have some action on in the background that will rock and destroy the sanity of your guests. The good way, not the "this is the 15th time I've heard 'Purple People Eater' and I'm going to drown my host in the punch bowl" way.

Want some scary music videos? Let's start with...

More »

Milk Is Better Than Drank, Thanks to Beaumont's Purple

Photos courtesy of Purple
I saw Purple perform live recently and was blown away by their relentless energy and bombastic garage rock. So I was pretty happy to find their video for "Leche Loco," which is so new I was only the fourth or fifth person to "like" it on YouTube.

I had a watch party of three later that evening with my son and a friend, Justin Paxton, from the band Two Buck Drunks. We tried to pinpoint some Purple influences, and heard some Blood Brothers, CKY, bygone locals the JonBenet, and most definitely Kathleen Hanna when the drummer sang. Her name, coincidentally, is Hanna. Hanna Brewer.

More »