Video Catch-Up Time: Giant Kitty + Oceans of Slumber + Second Lovers + Keeton Coffman

Over the past year, I’ve missed and/or dropped the ball on a whole bunch of stuff, I seriously have. I’ve got a to-do list like you wouldn’t believe. And one of the things I want to punch myself in the face for most is all the awesome, excellent, strange, quirky videos from Houston bands and musicians I’ve let slip past these past 12 months (or more, honestly). There’s a lot of good stuff out there, and dangit, you need to be watching it.

So here I am with my first stab at catching up a wee bit on some very cool local music videos; here we go:

Giant Kitty, “Don’t Stop That Bus”

I’m going to kick things off with something pretty damn new, from Giant Kitty. It’s the first single off the band’s brand-new album This Stupid Stuff, and it’s the best freaking song I’ve ever heard about Keanu Reeves.

No, seriously; the Giant Kitty ladies & man are apparently big fans, and this is their honest, heartfelt (I think?) homage to Reeves’ work, bits and pieces of which they’ve painstakingly recreated using cardboard figures. I’m both cracking up and pretty much in awe of the little dioramas they’ve made for movies like The Devil’s Advocate, Point Break, Speed, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (among a bunch of others).

I absolutely love the way this is all put together, especially the cardboard-cutout version of the band themselves on stage — it makes me think of when I was a kid, and my friends and I re-enacted the scene in Julius Caesar where Caesar’s assassinated using G.I. Joes taped to pencils, with tissue paper taped to them for togas. For crying out loud, Cardboard Cassandra even has a cardboard set of guitar pedals down by her feet. Wow.
 

Oceans of Slumber, “Suffer The Last Bridge”

Okay, now this video’s less about cute, quirky production and more about the band itself. I caught Oceans of Slumber a couple of years back and was kinda “meh” on ’em; they weren’t good or bad, really, just kind of there. Since then, though, they’ve changed singers, and that’s made a massive difference.

New singer Cammie Gilbert has taken a generic prog-doom metal band and turned them into something completely different; they’re a lot more melodic and soulful, and surprisingly, also a lot more intense than they used to be. It helps, obviously, that Gilbert’s got an excellent stage presence, but it’s her voice that does it for me — it’s powerful as hell, and far, far better than most metal bands can boast these days.

I was torn which video from the band’s forthcoming Winter album to put up here, by the way; there’s this one, which I like, but there’s also a cool one for the album’s title track, except that it’s 8 minutes long, so y’know. I went with the shorter one this time around.
 

Second Lovers, “Hold On”

Damn, how I love this band. And beyond that, damn, how I love this song. It’s such a buoyant, energetic steamroller of a song that I literally cannot comprehend how somebody could possibly not like it, y’know? Second Lovers have grown these past couple of years to be one of the best damn live bands I’ve seen in this town, and they’re pretty impressive songwriters, to boot, with this right here as proof.

The video I’m liking both because of the song and because it’s trying to shine a bit of a light on the plight of homeless, jobless people in this city, how they’re viewed by far too many of us — me included — as just, well, part of the landscape. Even if you give somebody a dollar or some change, that’s the furthest you’re willing to go; the recipient of that little bit of generosity, kind though it is, is still not really a person, not really a human being.

Here, though, the person giving money to the guy on the corner (they’re both actors) decides to go back and make an actual connection to that guy. They bond in a way that goes beyond somebody giving somebody else a dollar for a burger or a beer or a coffee, and that bond gives the guy who’s been out on the street a reason to keep going. It’s a nice message, and one I wish more people would listen to.

It’s telling, by the way, that the first shot of the video is of a sign for City of Houston Ordinance 2012-269, the now-infamous (and rightly so) law that makes it illegal for everyday people to provide food to the homeless. Welcome to Houston, where we’ve made person-to-person charity against the law. Fuck. This city, sometimes…
 

Keeton Coffman, “The Prayer”

Last but certainly not least, here’s the barebones-yet-mesmerizing (to me, anyway) for Keeton Coffman‘s “The Prayer,” which is one of my absolute favorite songs of the past five years or so. The song builds so nicely, starting off slow and low-key and steadily ramping up until the end, when Coffman is howling, Springsteen-style, the pain, doubt, and fear plainly evident in his voice. It’s a bitter song, but also a thoughtful one, with a man examining his faith, and it’s pretty amazing.

If you’ve never seen the guy live, you really should; he’s even more magnetic there than here. Why he hasn’t won a ton of Houston Press Music Awards, I’ll never understand. Oh, and he’s currently working on a new album(? EP? not sure), so keep an eye out.
 

Alright, y’all; that’s all I’ve got for now. More of these to come, for real…


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