Viewer Discretion Advised: Philadelphia Slick

Philadelphia Slick, the hip hop band from”you guessed it”Philadelphia, are no strangers to visual stimuli. If you don’t believe us just check out their wacky music videos, the vibrant and creative photos on their OurStage profile or the live performance footage on their YouTube channel. They also have a Web site riddled with cool merch and videos along with witty blog updates. Needless to say, when they gave us the heads up that they just wrapped yet another music video, we were pumped.

Check out their new video for “Everything Must Go” the new single off of their latest release, the EP Everything’s Game. We may not know exactly get what’s going on, but the cool characters and costumes and slick beats were enough to make us hit repeat.

Viewer Discretion Advised: Greg Lato

Artists wear many hats here on OurStage. From singing to songwriting to performing to producing…the list goes on and on. Often times, artists are so good at multi-taking it can make our heads spin. It’s not easy to be a Jack of all trades, and artists often take many detours on the way to the finished product. OurStage artist Greg Lato started writing melodies at the tender age of 7 and went on to release his first EP to rave reviews which was followed by college tours, record store signings and television and radio appearances. But as to be expected with our musical magicians, his career took a detour.

Greg began writing for other artists and his time was consumed with traveling across the country. He decided to get back on track and record Monday Morning Breakdown, an album chock full of influences including late ’70s/early ’80s tunes and modern pop.

But despite all the writing, singing and recording, its his “acting” chops in the music video for “Monday Morning Breakdown” that makes us think he should to head to Hollywood next. The video (directed by Ryan Gibeau for Rock It Films) is cheeky and charming, and leaves us all longing for 5:00 PM. And while we can’t put our finger on exactly what it is, there’s just something about it that makes us think he could be a bit of Michael Bublé in training. Check it out below.

Viewer Discretion Advised: Slashed

Every once in a while a group of truly cool people come together in a cosmic collision of rock ‘n’ roll and sheer lunacy that cannot be ignored.  Back in 2002, such an event occurred when Irish alternative rock band Ash was on tour in the US supporting English alternative rock band Coldplay. Back before the invention of the FlipCam, Ash took to the streets to record an indie slasher movie with nothing more than a personal video camera. And a little help from some friends they met along the way.

Over the years there has been much hype around the release Slashed. The narrative opens as a mockumentary following Ash on tour, but soon an ax murderess swathed in a bloody white dress appears and chaos ensues. Originally due to be released in 2004, rumors resurfaced in 2007 when Ash bassist Mark Hamilton claimed that the video would be uploaded to YouTube with “I’m sure some people would want to see Chris Martin (name drop!) getting murdered.” Clips have mysteriously surfaced over the years, but have often been thought to be a hoax.

Slashed stars a slew of our favorite big names, including Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland as FBI agents and Dave Grohl as “Hysterical Dave Grohl” (we can only begin to imagine what that means). So, when our friend Kate over at Warner recently brought to our attention that the Slashed footage is finally being slowly let out of the vault, our excitement was matched with skepticism. But sure enough, Ash announced a few weeks ago that such footage would start to be put to use, and on May 24th a music video was released doing just that. Kate also happens to make a cameo in the film as “Angel #2”. Doesn’t it help to have friends in “high” places?

You can watch the first of 2 videos featuring Slashed footage below, set to “Binary” from Ash’s A-Z Series. In addition to Ash and Coldplay, Matt Sharp, Ben Kweller and Charlotte Hatherley all make appearances. We just hope it doesn’t take another 8 years to see the Part 2.

Viewer Discretion Advised: A Slice Of Piebald

A little over 2 years ago, a band called Piebald performed a farewell show in the dark basement of The Middle East Rock Club in Cambridge, MA.  The fallout was monumental”old people danced, girls wept and all the while a camera was rolling.

“Nobody’s Robots: A Farewell To Piebald is a  3 hour plus DVD that includes an hour long documentary highlighting the band’s career and offering a behind-the-scenes look into their lives, music, friends and beloved fans. The DVD also includes the band’s final Boston show filmed April 19, 2008 at the Middle East Rock Club in Cambridge, MA”in it’s entirety. Piebald will forever be remembered as a pioneer of the hardcore / indie rock crossover genre, and this DVD encapsulates every bit of sweat, blood,and used vegetable-oil that helped kept them going since 1994.”

Nobody’s Robots: A Farewell To Piebald was officially released by Sidehatch Entertainment on May 11, 2010. Fans can find exclusive packages and deals on Sidehatch’s Web site. You can check out the goosebumps-inducing trailer above. But wait, there’s more! You can ALSO view video taken by yours truly at Piebald’s reunion show this past month at Bamboozle. Performing “Long Nights” in true Piebald form, the set turned into a giant rock and roll party. If that’s not enough Piebald yumminess, you can also refer back to Internet Warrior’s interview with the band at the New Jersey festival. Just skip to 03:13 of the video to get the details on the making of the documentary straight from the band.

Viewer Discretion Advised: Tops In Pop, Rock and Hip Hop

Well it’s arrivedthe end of the month here on OurStage. The time when fans make a mad dash to the Internet to put their 2 cents in on their favorite artists. On Tuesday we entered the sacred quarterfinals of judging, just 2 days left before the Top 20 are locked in and your fave artists are closer to being Number 1. So we thought we’d take this opportunity here on “Viewer Discretion Advised” to show you just what’s out there in terms of top music videos on OurStage. Think you’ve seen something better? Let us know! Check out the top contenders below, and judge now or forever hold your peace!

Off their fourth album Oh Boy, Stampead‘s “Red, Green, Yellow” has jaunty vocals and an upbeat, quaint tempo. But don’t let the cheery sound fool you, the song is actually about a relationship ending. The video for the song has the same deceptively rosy vibe, incorporating bright colors, sunshine and rainbows. But pay attention, heartbreak is in the air. “Red, Green, Yellow” is currently a finalist in Pop Videos.

Click To See More Of May’s Top Music Videos

Viewer Discretion Advised: "Mocking" The Video

It’s important to keep a sense of humor when dabbling in the deep dark depths of music-related video content. In an age where producing a music video can sometimes resemble the set of a Tom Cruise movie (remember MTV’s Making The Video) we sometimes have to bring these heavyweights back down to Earth. Luckily, the funny guys and girls of Key of Awesome have gotten off to a pretty good start.

Key of Awesome is a weekly musical web comedy show that spoofs our favorite artists and celebrities. No one within the pop-culture realm is safe. The web series is produced by Next New Network‘s Barely Digital, an online video site launched in 2009 that strictly satires the technologies we all know and love so well. Barely Digital in itself is actually a spin off of the NNN’s Barely Political Channel, which is responsible for 2008’s viral sensation”17 million YouTube hits strong””Crush On Obama.”

Just this past January, Weezer paired up with Key of Awesome to scour the Internet for the funniest (web) music videos of 2009 that mocked or parodied a current music video. Winners Rhett and Link won a cameo in Weezer’s video for “I Want You To” thanks to their submission “Fast Food Folk Song“. In their video they poke fun at the drive-thru raps in commercials by singing their order at a Taco Bell drive-thru. And despite the almost 3 minute song naming off multiple fast food Mexican snacks, the Taco Bell employee totally nails the order. We highly recommend you check it out.

But we digress. Like we said, no one is safe from the clutches of Key of Awesome. They’ve parodied everyone from Metallica to Adam Lambert to Lady Gaga. So it comes as no surprise that their latest victim is none other than tween/web/soccer mom sensation Justin Bieber. “Lil Wayne” even makes a spoof-tastic cameo from behind bars. Check it out below!

Viewer Discretion Advised: EXCLUSIVE City City Behind The Scenes

We’re very excited and proud to announce that one of OurStage’s own, City City, recently wrapped their first music video for the track “The Network.” As many of you surely know, the trials and tribulations of a talented yet “undiscovered” band are nothing to be dismissed. Hard work, strong bonds and a little bit of craftiness go a long way on the road to stardom.

Our friends in City City love us just as much, so they’ve given us the exclusive on the behind-the-scenes footage that went into making this killer music video. The band teamed up with the very talented director Bo Mirosseni, the man behind some of the hilariously viral Skittles, Starburst and Virgin Mobile commercials (see below). “The Network” includes everything we think a good music video should have, right down to the ironic mustache. The entire video was shot for $1,500, and when you see the finished product below, we know you’ll be blown away. When starting out, its important to rely on the kindness of others, and the band experienced this first hand with a camera rental hookup by a friend (normally this would cost $1,000 a day).

Jeff Kirchner (keyboard, programmer) is a teacher by day, and schools his students in Pro-Tools and audio production. Vocalist Dan McCollister works as a counselor for inner-city gang members. No doubt karma was in full swing as Jeff’s skills doubled their workload for this music video’s efforts, and locations were shot pro bono through McCollister’s non-profit.

Editing on the video was done for free and another friend worked on set as a production assistant, doing everything from running errands to making sure the floors were shiny enough for the performance shots.  But connections and relationships only bring you so far and shooting a music video is a lot of work. Originally intended to be a 2-day shoot, rain set in on the second day and band had to scrap the intended outdoor performance shots for inside scenes.

“We had to be up at the ass crack of dawn figuring out what the f*** we were going to do…where we would shoot. The liquor store in that video? Normally a location like that would cost like $500. Jeff goes there like every day and talks to the owner. They let us shoot for a while. We had to do a third day (about 2 months later) because we were poor…it would cost more…camera rental…and we had no prospects. We FINALLY got an opening with our “hookup” and he let us do it for $450. It was stressful. It was like a giant stink smog cloud that always followed you around.

“Not having done much as a band yet, taking months off to make a video was a thrilling but completely ignorant decision. We had no idea what this all entailed. All the people involved. It is still a bit unreal but exciting as I’m just now realizing that it’s finished. Lots of band meeting nights. Coffee Bean. Driving here and there. Location scouting. Awkward phone calls with the producer and director about budget…..”

Luckily all their hard work paid off. You can find City City‘s official video for “The Network” below, as well as on all of their networking sites. Go ahead and give these guys some love, they deserve it. You can also find the Bo Mirosseni-directed commercial for Virgin Mobile below (simply because it makes us giggle).

Viewer Discretion Advised: Catching Up With Ryan Stober

Last week we paid tribute to an OurStage original, Ryan Stober.  After showcasing the director’s videos for Brent Shuttleworth’s “When I Reach California” and Nell Bryden’s “Second Time Around”, we caught up with Ryan to get a more in-depth look into his directing style and motivations. And what we found was a thoughtful and passionate artist whose satisfaction is derived purely from creating wonderful work. We’re proud to have you on board, Ryan!

OS: What kind of collaboration was involved in determining the concepts for these videos?

RS: Both ideas were pretty collaborative. Nell and Brent had some ideas of what they wanted to see and do. Once budgets were sorted and we came up with a rough schedule, it became easier to mold the concepts to fit our parameter’s. Its funny that these 2 videos are being showcased because I shot them back to back. I figured I’d schedule the shoots back to back so I could make the most of my resources. It almost killed me, but it worked out in the end. The 2 artists were very open and allowed me to work and really push them toward the best product we could manage. Its important to me to make videos that have as professional a feel as possible. Production value is key. I worked on TV shows and movies when I started out, so I had a taste of how a real production works….what kind of crew you need and a sense of reality in terms of what I could or couldn’t do with an idea. It taught me how to prepare. Without that experience I don’t know how I would ever direct anything without crashing and burning. I have to mention the additional collaboration from my DP, Blake Eichenseer. He is a great DP with a lot of talent. He also shot my video for Derek James, “Free Love”. He was a huge reason for the videos’ success!

Continue Reading Viewer Discretion Advised with Ryan Stober

Viewer Discretion Advised: Three Dimensions of Phish

There’s no arguing the current phenomenon sweeping our nation.  No, it’s not the KFC Double Down, or even Bieber Fever. It’s 3 dimensional viewing. Why watch anything in boring, old 2D like our parents when we can enjoy viewing everything from cooking shows to cartoons with an additional dimension.  Three is better than 2, right? Luckily, we’re not limited to fuzzy children’s monsters and larger-than-life bugs to feel out of this world anymore.  Musical acts of all varieties are  jumping on the bandwagon, and this year a slew of HD 3D concerts will be assaulting your senses. And we’re not talking Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers.

Now, there is one band that comes to mind when mulling the unlimited possibilities of 3D concert experience. Known for musical improvisations that  ensure no two shows are alike and a fan culture that arguably surpasses any other following of its kind, jam band Phish are the perfect candidates. And wouldn’t you know, PHISH 3D premieres tomorrow (Friday, April 30th) in theaters across the country ” 3D glasses included.

The concert film features footage shot by AEG Live and Action 3D over the three days of the band’s Festival 8, which took place last Halloween weekend in Indio, California. We were lucky enough to catch an early screening of the movie on 4/20 (when else?) and we can promise you, this isn’t your little sister’s animated Pixar film.

The movie opens on the last night of the festival, November 1st, while the band is playing “AC/DC Bag.” The first thing you notice is the giant balloons bouncing throughout the crowd, nothing out of the ordinary for a Phish audience. However about a minute in you find yourself dodging one, and the stage is set for you to feel as if you are right in the middle of the awesome assemblage.

Continue Reading Three Dimensions of Phish

Viewer Discretion Advised: Stop-Motion Stops Traffic

As we all know, there is a ton of great and note-worthy music here on OurStage. But we hate to think that the other talents in our community who go unnoticed, like the many directors and producers that have made OurStage home for their video creations. So it’s time to give credit where credit is due. We first came across the coolness that is OurStage member Ryan Stober when we fell in love with the music video for Brent Shuttleworth‘s “When I Reach California.” Stober uses a stop-motion effect to bring some pretty heavy emotions to the forefront of the viewer’s mind. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “stop-motion” in this digital age, stop-motion (or stop-action…or frame-by-frame) is a technique that makes a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own.  This technique is often used with clay objects ” remember Gumbi everyone? You may have also heard the term most commonly referred to as “clay-mation,” though Stober only uses real life subjects in this video.

But Stober’s brilliance doesn’t end there. Luckily he’s lent his talents to a slew of other incredibly talented up-and-coming artists.  In Nell Bryden‘s “Second Time Around,” Stober channels film noir, complete with smoke and mysterious shady characters. Film noir is most commonly defined as a low-key black-and-white visual style which pairs well with Bryden’s powerful, old-timey vocals.

There’s no doubt that we’ll see more from Stober in the future. This 2000 graduate from Montana State University at Bozeman, started the Team of Scientists production company in New York in January of last year. You can view his web site here, which boasts an impressive array of music videos, including his latest for Casey Shea‘s “Elephants,” which we also highly recommend you check out.