Music

Spotlight: Good Songs, Good Shred


Music and skateboarding have been making each other look good for decades. Skate videos became popular in the 1980s and much like the music video, drastically changed the way its industry worked. By the mid 1990s, crafting your own “part” in a widely circulated tape was crucial to a career in pro skating; it was essentially where reputations were built. And for teenagers everywhere, these clips were windows into an entire culture; not only did they offer a VHS full of idols to emulate, they supplied a playlist of songs to memorize, and bands to look into. These aren’t the most obscure examples (and they have a lot to do with age), but I can admit to never really hearing an Iron Maiden song until the infamous Jamie Thomas part in Welcome to Hell (a tape that also pulled from Sonic Youth, The Misfits, and The Sundays), or having my impressionable mind expanded by Herbie Hancock’s Hund Hunters until Guy Mariano’s masterful sequence in Mouse. Yes there are now millions more points of exposure, but here’s hoping that a 13 year-old can still be out there right now learning of Animal Collective through an Alien Workshop clip on YouTube. And in that spirit, here’s a few more current combinations of good song and good shred:

It doesn’t take much of a leap to find the slacker rock vibes of Beach Fossils getting along fine with this loaded Daryl Angel montage. The Brooklyn band’s self-titled debut (on which “Twelve Roses” appears) favors a detached delivery and surf-y guitar sound, which, not to encourage cliche, does evoke a certain demographic who probably appreciates the occasional skate sesh too. Scroll the comments (or take my word for it) and find a number of people asking who the song was by, so that’s a win.


Within a few seconds, “Lord of the Game” proves a solid soundtrack for this fireworks freakshow in an abandoned skate-park tunnel. The clip made rounds last week for obvious reasons, plus in the midst of a Death Grips double album announcement. And it’s sheer radness and relevance earned it an inclusion here, even if it’s not a proper part.


Same goes for this M83-featuring introduction, possibly the best intro of all time! Clearly cinematic and high-tech for previous standards, Lakai‘s Fully Flared was an instant game changer and won the year’s best honors at the Transworld Awards in 2007. With Spike Jonze directing and hopefully someone on the professional side of pyrotechnics present, the team pulled off a truly explosive segment, and chose just the right master of dramatic atmospheres to score it.


And we couldn’t just move on without showing what all that fuss was about. Mike Mo put together some amazing lines his Fully Flared part (note the 1:25 mark) and ends on a string of massive maneuvers, all very worthy of Arcade Fire‘s triumphant “No Cars Go” (or as they now say, “Mo Cars Mo”). And hey, if some dude ever watched this video and went on to discover the rewarding library of Arcade Fire, then that’s one less dude that might have tweeted question marks on Grammy night last year.


Back to that Habitat tape because they have great taste. Not one, but two excellent bands grace Austyn Gillette‘s part here. And thanks to some sharp editing (and Austyn’s super clean style, which is kind of calming to watch), the transition from shade to sun, or Walkmen to Woods, is a smooth one.


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