SHOWYOUSUCK – GIRLS, NACHOS
Directed by Aaron Perkins Jr
Produced by Stefan Ponce
I’m gonna come right out and say it. Chicago does video weirdness better than anywhere else. Everything is Terrible was born here; DJ Douggpound got his start at Lumpen art shows and loft parties before literally changing the face (and warping the face, and chopping and screwing the face) of modern comedy with the visual aesthetic he brought to Portlandia and Tim & Eric Awesome Show and The Eric Andre Show; our cable access network CanTV has always tempered it’s community forums with hipster puppet shows and green screen variety shows. It’s not that nobody else does video weirdness (check out LA’s Demonbabies for some of my favorites), it’s just that Chicago has always been really adept at producing artists who can buck trends and break brains in a way that doesn’t seem forced, contrived, pretentious or half assed. I’m not sure if it’s that we’re a city that’s rich with talent, but so many of our young video geniuses are making ends meet in really monotonous thankless unglamorous production jobs, if it’s the fact that we are a magnet for weirdos all over the midwest whose hometowns couldn’t handle them, or maybe something in the algae we’re drinking in our lake Michigan water. regardless, I think we can pat ourselves on the back.
As unabashed fans of ShowYouSuck, I’m exciting to see the visual aspect of his music evolving and devolving to match the intentional silliness of his lyrics. The video for “Girls, Nachos” evokes late night television as both the watcher and the thing being watched, images of Show leading a workout routine blur into QVC sales, empty Girls Gone Wild debauchery, cooking shows and test signals. The mind wanders. The images morph passively here and flash frenetically there. The girl watching the video is a video ho, a prom queen, and a vampire with Show as her saviour, corrupter, and spirit guide. Thick globules of neon orange nacho cheese drips onto money and drugs. It’s the loneliness and self-abuse of late-night TV cuz there’s nothing else to do. It’s the contentedness and self-pampering of me-time because I deserve it, even if it isn’t good for me.
The song, built around a sample of the Robin S classic “Show Me Love”, is fastpaced hiphouse with a wavey spacey cosmic bent. When Show was profiled in the Reader earlier this year, I remember one a northside backpacker I’ve enjoyed for years talking all sorts of shit on twitter because Show wasn’t rapping about “real shit”. I don’t think that Show doesn’t rap about real shit so much as he doesn’t rap about issues. A lot of Show’s raps are about fun, comeraderie, and the simpler things in life. It’s, to put it ineloquently, fun music to have fun to. It’s not more or less important, but it is different, so I think it’s a good thing that his videos look different.
NETHERFRIENDS (FEAT. CHANDLER LONDON) – SEX BEAT
Shot by Netherfriends and Whitney Peck
Netherfriends is a consummate collaborator. The producer, musician, singer and, I’m just learning, rapper, got a lot of press with his project 50 Songs in 50 States, a kickstarter-funded project that had him traveling to all 50 states, playing shows, building temporary bands, writing and recording a new song in each city (and Washington DC).
Compared to the ShowYouSuck track above, the song and its video are completely straightforward: a tale of ennui and frustration and bouncing from show to show and city to city and one-night-stand to one-night-stand. It speaks universally to twentysomething men and women who haven’t gotten a foothold in their station in life, and also specifically to this social media Millennial era where we can always be surrounded by people and still be lonely. I hope this sounds like I’m describing an early Atmosphere track, because that’s what it feels like. Sometimes the sex, the adventures, the fun stops being fun because that’s all there is. At the same time, there’s still sex. There’s still adventures, and the walk of shame is never more than a couple blocks. A routine is a routine, and he might not be happy but he’s comfortable and there’s a certain luxury in that. In mild hyperbole, he’s the guy everybody knows and he lives every day like he’s Dr. Dre.
One of my favorite tracks I’ve heard recently is Netherfriends’ collaboration with Fess Grandiose, Goosebumps, which is more of a 90s kid minimix than a single song as the music riccochets from Ace of Base to Blur to the Breeders and the verses range from cow-tipping to Huxtables to Lunchables to N64 Rumblepacks…
and here’s a track Netherfriends produced for our superhomie Jams Dean…
KID SISTER – BED BREAKER
It’s interesting to watch the trajectory of the crew from Flosstradamus’ wild Town Hall Pub parties. Hollywood Holt blew up early, only to have his career take off in fits and spurts (there was a time at a bar when he told me, charmingly self-effacing “people keep bringing me out to do cool shit, I don’t know why, I haven’t done shit in two years”) but his year started with a track on the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby where no less than Beyonce and Andre 3000 rapped over his production. Million $ Mano DJs for Kanye West, producing for Yeezus and a host of others. Mic Terror is working with Mano and Hollywood in Treated Crew and has a highly anticipated album coming out this Fall.
For a while it looked like Flosstradamus, the guiding force behind the initial crew, were going to get the short shrift because, despite being two of the best and most well-loved djs in the world, they didn’t have a product to sell, but since the explosion of trap (traprave, trapstyle, etc. whatever) wiped dubstep off the EDM kandikid map, they’ve become legit superstars.
Kid Sister on the other hand was poised to take over the world. Heralded in by Yeezus himself, she put out a debut album that was critically acclaimed and straight-up awesome but never took off. Her track Bed Breaker puts her in a landscape where she can fit alongside Major Lazer, Nikki Minaj, and Rihanna, without trying to clone them. It’s sexual, but not over-the-top, dancehall-by-way-of-Chicago, juke-able reggae. I could see Big Freedia appearing alonside her in a song like this, and I can see that twerking trainwreck Miley Cyrus doing the same. If there’s justice in the world (which obviously there isn’t but good stuff still does happen), this will be the start of Kid Sister as a household name.
JUICEBOXXX – NEVER SURRENDER FOREVER [CHIC-A-GO-GO]
WHITE MYSTERY – BUTTHEADS IN SPACE [CHIC-A-GO-GO]
People sometimes ask me who throws the best dance parties, and it’s always difficult to answer because the best dance parties aren’t thrown by the people who throw dance parties regularly, they’re thrown by punk rockers and noise kids who are used to getting in your face to draw out visceral reactions.
I try not to be an old-timer about shit about the ever-changing pop-culture landscape is that we don’t have that throw-all-the-ingredients-in madness of underground shows that we had in the electro/bloghouse/electroclash era where cool shit was cool shit and you could regularly see bills with synthpunk acts, rappers, djs, and avant garde artists and I don’t get to regularly see shows where Juiceboxxx brings his boundless energy into some bare storefront or factory or a basement with a halfpipe and just explode all over the place.
We’ve gotten to collaborate with so many amazing artists on parties but we still haven’t been able to do a proper Juiceboxxx or SSION show and that blows. Just above, you can see Juiceboxxx performing the inspirational Never Surrender Forever on Chic-A-Go-Go, CanTV’s own punk rock Soul Train. Below, you can see our ginger sweethearts White Mystery performing a song they wrote when they were kids in costumes designed by their Mom, alongside a little kid dressed up in a giant eyeball like The Residents. Because life is good.
ULTRADEMON + SHOWYOUSUCK – AUTOMATIC
Directed by Todd Diederich and Ellie Perkins
Because ShowYouSuck is the hardest working man in Hollywood, we like to bookend these posts with his videos whenever possible (which is usually). In this track, which is almost but not quite drumnbass, which may qualify as “IDM” if anyone was to still use that word, off the Japanese import of Ultrademon‘s album Seapunk, geometric vectors spill from Ultrademon and Show’s face, only to be sucked back inward, draging in the face, the body, the scenery, leaving only eyes and mouths floating in space, in a kaleidescopic tunnel, in Sun-Ra’s cosmic Chicago which obviously, ooooobviously has its own Sphinx. That’s really all there is to say for that, right? Sometimes the product has to speak for itself.