Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why music videos have never looked so good

I have already written about my reluctance and general confusion regarding memes and "tags." What generally happens is someone tags me, I don't do the meme, and then I end up feeling like an asshole who thinks she's to good to do a meme. (Do you do a meme? Is this the correct verb? Do you perform a meme? Do you tackle it? And my meme confusion continues to grow...) However, it's not out of high-and-mightiness that I tend to abstain from the meme game, but rather that a) I am lazy and b) I generally lack the neuronal connections necessary to create witty and clever responses to canned questions, which leads us to c) I am afraid people will think I am boring and dumb. I usually manage to cover this under a thin veneer of self-deprecation and the occasional big word thrown in here and there, but in the meme, this will not fly. The meme is ruthless, the meme will expose you for who you really are; the meme will bare your soul! Ahem. So when Jane tagged me, I was all prepared to feel like an asshole again, which is something I've become accustomed to, because after all, I'm the asshole that picks her unsuspecting dates apart and posts their foibles on the internet for all to see. And then ever so maturely quashes their burgeoning hopes in the time-honored fashion of never responding to their phone calls, texts, and e-mails again. But! And however! All of this is to say, of course, that I will not feel like an asshole today! Today I reform my assholish ways, or at least where memes are concerned, anyway. (Because actually telling a guy that I'm not interested in seeing him ever again? Why don't you just kill me now. Seriously, that shit is awkward). The rules of the meme of so simple that even I (hopefully) cannot mess them up: post five songs that you like. Hey! I thought to myself. I like songs! Hey! I can count to five! Plus this gives me the opportunity to introduce you to an amazing website that, if you're not already familiar with, you should definitely check out. It's called La Blogotheque, and they do something called Concerts à Emporter, or Take Away Shows, and the best part is, they have versions in French and English. Here is a description of what they are about from their about page:

The Take away shows are la Blogotheque’s first video podcasts.

Every week, we invite an artist or a band to play in the streets, in a bar, a park, or even in a flat or in an elevator, and we film the whole session. Of course, what makes the beauty of it is all the little incidents, hesitations, and crazy stuff happening unexpectingly (sic). Besides, we do not edit the videos so they look perfectly flawless, instead we keep the raw sound of the surroundings. Our goal is to try and capture instants, film the music just like it happens, without preparation, without tricks. Spontaneity is the keyword.

I can't tell you how amazing it is to see some of your favorite bands in such a raw, uncensored format, and to discover some great new bands along the way. In fact, I'll admit that most of the music I'm listening to at the moment, I discovered via this website. Plus, it doesn't hurt that most of the videos are shot in Paris, so for me there's the whole hey, I was there! aspect to it as well. So, without further ado...

Voilà, the video that started it all for me. I fell in love with the spontaneity of this video, the charming Parisian apartment courtyard, the people peeking out their windows. And no matter how many times I watch it, those crazy dancing babies make me so damn happy, every single time.

This video shot on a café terrace near Oberkampf is pure joy. Horns, strings, accordion, tambourines, and trash cans; need I say more? Plus, Zach Condon could sing the phone book and I would pay money to hear it. Watch this video and then go download their album, The Flying Club Cup. Do it now.

I love so much about this next video. The apprehensive resident they interview at the beginning, the unsuspecting man who walks in on an impromptu concert in the vestibule of his building, the group of tourists who edge suspiciously away, followed by the band, like a pied piper in reverse. If you watch towards the end, there's a woman in a pink poncho who makes a break for it, and flees the crazy, wandering musicians.

They manage to fit ten people, a guitar, two violins, a bass clarinet, and a xylophone in an elevator. Plus it's the first time I've ever seen ripped magazine pages used as percussion. So cool.

And, saving perhaps the best for last, here the Fleet Foxes play both in front of Invalides and inside the Grand Palais, which I imagine acoustics-wise must be like singing in the shower, times a million. Plus, I have a secret. You see those beskirted girls glued to the wall in the background? I kind of want to be them. Yes, some people dream of being rockstars, and others aspire to be a band girlfriend. To each her own, right?

Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Et voilà, c'est fait. I hope you enjoyed the show. And now, tag! You're it! Yes, you, that is, if you're up for it. If you decide to join in the fun, leave a comment here and let me know. I can't wait to check out some new music and maybe discover some new bands in the process.


  1. I always feel guilty tagging people, because really, who needs the pressure, you know? But this one was so easy and fun... I'm glad I tagged you. I think those dancing babies made my week.

  2. You and I are strangely on the same page today regarding facing our fear of meme's. Sadly, instead of cute videos by awesome bands, I posted about getting tested for HIV and hating sea lions. You've won this round, Frency, but I'll be back!!! Muhahahaha.

  3. De-blurking to tell you how much I love your blog AND your answer to this meme (I'm not crazy about them either - I always feel guilty tagging people). Those babies just killed me!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. WOW, that's so cool! I LOVED the one in the elevator. In fact, I very much like your taste in music and would like you to send me a list of your favorite songs. I also loved it when you did the post on Beta Band.

    Thanks for sharing!!