29 November 2011

Dillard and Fullerton's Traveling Circus

A tune that might just as well have been from the 1920s. It isn't, though. 'Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn' was created a year ago by Evelyn Evelyn.
Evelyn Evelyn is a cirque-cum-cabaret band of two twin sisters, who were conjoined at birth. They make original compositions on piano, ukulele, guitar and accordion. Prior to forming Evelyn Evelyn, they traveled with the Dillard & Fullerton's Illusive Traveling Show.

Have you seen my sister Evelyn?
Dang she's gone and wandered off again.
I've been looking high and low,
Where oh where'd my sister go?

Now relax and put all those recurring Fellini images to rest. You will be relieved to learn that beneath the smoke and mirrors the twins are not real. They are fictional characters acted out by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley.

Is my floozy sister with the doctor,
Or the drummer,
Or the dentist or the handyman?
Did that ho-bag quit her job and run off
with that dickhead Mike,
To Indio, Guantanamo,
Or Panama or Disneyland.
Is she studying Kabbalah?
Did she win a million dollars?
Or is she dead in a ditch somewhere?

The endearing music video was directed by Hoku Uchiyama (lead animation by Adam Bolt). Betty Boop era cartoon characters are finger-drawn onto the frosted store window: the entire animation is running on frost. Sort of an animated 'Harold and His Purple Crayon': only much, much crazier.

Who framed Willy Moon

baby girl who's playing seek
all them things that you do to me

what I got to oh so near
things you do to send me there

"What the hell was that?" were my precise thoughts as I finished watching this video. For the performer, the song and the music video each appear other-wordly. Is it because the song, delivered on 21st century keyboards and urban beats, at the same time resonates with early 1950s Motown? Or is it due to the rockabilly singer who arrives onto the stage more a Toon than a man?
I'm referring here to the cartoon characters generally (and Jessica Rabbit specifically) starring alongside Bob Hoskins in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. (If you are not familiar with the velvety stage performance by Jessica Rabbit, press here.)
Note how the performer comes up and departs as in a cartoon. Watch him being shot at by the instruments at 1:11. "Hit me now," he invites and the shooting ensues. "Enough," he commands moments later, and the shooting ceases.
Around this time, the song and the lyrics intensify, bringing before you the blue velvet stages of David Lynch. 'Dance music dark enough to block the sun at high noon", as some reviewers described it.

hey pretty baby it's me and you
I'll be your house and only you (...)

hey when the people comes around
just kick me down in a hole in the ground

The moonish 'toonish performer is Willy Moon (21), an indie songwriter and singer from New Zealand, who bought a one-way ticket to London when 18. Part in Berlin and part in London is where he wrote and recorded 'I Wanna Be Your Man', his debut single.
“It took a long time to record because I’m doing it all on my own and I had to work out how to use the recording software,” he explained.
Made on a budget of £150, this minimalistic music video stands out: it's simple, inventive, playful (if a bit eerie), surprising and completely blended with the style of the performer and the mood of the song.
And it's nice and short, just like they used to make 'em.
An unexpected pleasure, this find.

28 November 2011

Be God

Dance, dance where the saints all come to play
And the angels dyed their feathers cool, cool decay
And if you're judging by the shoes you'll think God is gay

Saul Williams is an American poet turned hip hop artist. The track here featured is 'Dance' from Williams' latest album (Volcanic Sunlight, 2011).
The music video was directed by C├ędric Blaisbois.
This is disco inferno at its best. Abba gone all macabre on you.
Lyrics matter here: this song is also a poem. It is being narrated to you by the one who's inviting you for a dance.

Dance, dance where the streets are paved with gold
And the angels and the gods do what they're told
Hey, hey, everybody, come and dance with me
Leave your fears at the door carved from the tree

You must know by now which tree he's referring to.

You wanna kiss
You wanna get into
What the preachers and the teachers
Told you not to do
If only for tonight, sweetheart
Be God

You must know by now who you're dancing with, too.

27 November 2011


'A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted', a vignette created by Miranda July that didn't make it in the final cut of The Future (which premiered at Sundance 2011). Now go and take your hostages for tomorrow: for distractions are on the attack more on Mondays than on any other days in the week.
For those of you who are not familiar with Miranda July: Gem has featured her a few times before. Our radar has also caught her in a recent UK performance. We would have loved to outbid the audience.

26 November 2011


You will be amazed to learn that this music short was made on a tiny budget of £160 in an abandoned house in East London. The eerie track is 'House', by Cool Fun. Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond, a lady macabre from Wales.
Deliciously eerie: a gem and a personal favourite.

17 November 2011

Other Lives

The official music videos for 'Tamer Animals' and 'For 12', by an American indie band Other Lives. In order to watch 'For 12' in a higher resolution and interactively, try here.
The word is that 'Other Lives' will tour with Radiohead.

04 November 2011

Cottage Town

'Cottage Town' by Ontwerpduo: a mini village in your potplant. "Ordinary plants," is written by Ontwerpduo, "will be turned into huge trees or fields."
The constructions are also water resistant.