Category: OK Go

Flux Screening Series kicks off third season with OK Go, Liars and more

Liars' "Scissor" from A Bruntel on Vimeo.

You've no doubt heard a lot about OK Go's elaborate video starring a paint-splattering Rube Goldberg machine that puts the treadmills from "Here It Goes Again" to shame. If you haven't watched it dozens of times on the Internet already, or if you want to watch it on the big screen, the Flux Screening Series gives you the chance to peep at it nice and large at the Hammer Museum.

But there are other offerings as well, including a moody video from the Liars, a little like something dreamed up by Joseph Conrad if he were an art rocker. Directed by local artist Andy Bruntel, who has many uniformly excellent videos on his website, the video is for the first single from the Liars' new album,  "Sisterworld." Part haunting chamber piece, part tense guitar attack, "Scissor" reflects the dualities constantly in battle throughout the Liars' fifth effort.

"Sisterworld" is heavily inspired by Los Angeles, where the band lived and recorded the record, and where Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill originally met as students at CalArts. One of the strongest tracks on the album is "The Overachievers," a teasing ode to the hipster set driving their bio-cars, abandoning their jobs to walk in the forest and settle down in a house with cats. It's a fiery but lithe beast of a song; you've never heard the phrase "we settled down -- with cats!" delivered with so much venom. And, in a beautiful bit of irreverence, Devendra Banhart and the Grogs cover it on "Sisterworld: Reinterpretations," a supplemental set of remixes and covers the Liars also released.

-- Margaret Wappler

Flux Screening Series at the Hammer Museum, Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. (310) 443-7000. Tonight, 7 to 11 p.m. Free.

OK Go's Damian Kulash on leaving Capitol Records

Damian

On Feb. 20, Damian Kulash of OK Go published an op-ed piece in the New York Times expressing annoyance at his label, Capitol/EMI, that his band’s wildly popular videos are forbidden from being embedded on sites other than YouTube. He’s not going to have that problem in the future -- the band officially announced today that it's parted ways with Capitol to go it alone on its own label.

“Major labels are facing a difficult future,” Kulash told Pop & Hiss. “The conditions we were signed under have passed, and we were likely to wind up funding ourselves anyway. I just didn’t think we were going to be able to do this so quickly. I don’t feel bilious about it. They’re not bad people at Capitol. They’re really doing us a favor.”

Kulash stressed that there was no tension between band and label over the op-ed piece. He said that OK Go had been more or less seriously planning to leave Capitol for months, and that the New York Times just happened to schedule his piece at a moment when the band had begun earnestly pursuing a dissolution of its contract. His list of difficulties with the label was more prosaic -- slashed budgets for the band’s much-beloved videos, less tour support and small, infuriating gestures such as unembeddable videos. (A representative for EMI was unable to comment yet.)

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OK Go: New music video can be embedded from YouTube. 'Woo!' [Updated]

After a public rant, OK Go got its way with the band's new music video. Bloggers can freely embed the Chicago power pop group's new video for "This Too Shall Pass." (Not to be confused with the old one for the same song, which can only be viewed on YouTube's website.)

The band unveiled the new video in a live Webcast on its official site. It shows a four-minute Rube Goldberg machine that starts off with dominoes and eventually cannons paint onto the band members.

OK Go's Damian Kulash Jr. celebrated in Monday's broadcast that the video could be displayed in blogs, Facebook pages and MySpace profiles. "It's going to be available on our website, and it's going to be posted on YouTube," he said. "And it'll be embeddable. Woo!"

We've embedded the clip above. Woo!

(Though, our excitement is lessened by the blaring emergency-alert-like tone that permeates the first few seconds of the video. Music doesn’t kick in until about the 1:54 mark, and the band added the following statement to its official YouTube page: “This video is still being processed but we wanted you to be able to see it anyway so we turned it public. Hold tight for the sound to finish processing.”

[Updated, Mar. 2, 11:10 a.m. OK Go's video initially had some problems. We have updated the YouTube embed code with the working clip.]

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A walk through OK Go's new music video death machine

GiantBall A fiendish contraption that may well send Damian Kulash to his death lies in the basement of an Echo Park warehouse. The OK Go singer has spent the last month as part of a dozens-strong team designing and building a giant, convoluted contraption for the band’s new video for “This Too Shall Pass,” whose reason for existence is succinct.

“Its only purpose is to be awesome,” Kulash said while leading a tour of his two-story Rube Goldberg behemoth. “When I was a kid, all I did was play with Legos and Transformers. This isn’t Optimus Prime, but it’s cooler.”

OK Go has made other charmingly homespun videos in its career – perhaps you’ve seen them? On the Internet?  But this second version of “This Too Shall Pass” (one was a goofy live take) looks to break ground in its nerdily stylized clips.

It starts on the outdoor stairwell, with bassist Tim Nordwind soaked in red paint knocking over a chain of small objects (dominoes, steel balls, etc.). That eventually coalesces into car tires, skateboards and pianos on pulleys all flinging about the warehouse and triggering new gadgetry. The machine takes a turn for the perilous with the introduction of a crossbow and a volley of rat traps, but gets downright harrowing once it descends an elevator shaft and culminates in a wayward car careening about and Kulash being launched via slingshot across the entirety of the warehouse into a waiting mattress. Banana Republic is probably glad it got to his great bone structure first.

The video’s full of sly little allusions to the band’s other videos -- its famous “treadmill” clip is playing on a TV that meets an untimely end. But Kulash said the biggest obstacle wasn’t surviving the slingshot, or the physics of the whole thing.

“Thinking of 700 different objects for a five-minute video has fried my brain,” he said. “The whole time I was telling the team, ‘No, this is too good. You have to theoretically be able to build this at home.’ ”

We promise to keep you posted on the progress of the official Pop & Hiss Blogger Catapult, Damian.

-- August Brown

Photo courtesy Big Hassle Media

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