Living on Video is a weekly column that unearths forgotten VHS gems, Vimeo obscurities, and YouTube oddities from the musical ether—all obsessively curated by Weird Canada music editor Jesse Locke. 


This week’s selection of videos travels from coast to coast with pit stops in American Primitivism, New Weird America and the latest dance music mutations. There’s a bit more animation than usual, including melting faces, UFOs and anthropomorphic strangeness straight out of Howard the Duck. Space rabies!


Babysitter – “Cemetery House”

Victoria, B.C.’s road warriors Babysitter are on tour yet again this month, so there’s no better time to share their latest video. This zorched tune appears on a recent split with Stockton, California’s Monster Treasure and is matched up with (literally) face-melting visuals from artist Phil Osborne, who spends his days kickin’ it in the crypt.


Devendra Banhart – “Mondo Taurobolium”

I have to admit I haven’t thought about Devendra Banhart in a dog’s age, but his first few albums on Young God were a big fave way back when. Lots of things have changed since 2004, yet the bearded weirdo has kept on doing his thing with a new album on Nonesuch earlier this spring. Now, he’s delivered this awesome animated video that fellow AUX head Josiah Hughes aptly described as a “Ralph Bakshi take on Howard the Duck” (right down to the creepy anthropomorphic bird boobs.


Jack Rose – “Kensington Blues / The World Has Let Me Down”

To mark the anniversary of fingerstyle guitarist Jack Rose’s untimely passing in 2009, filmmaker Jesse Sheppard has released this previously unseen clip. The footage comes from Sheppard’s documentary, The Things That We Used To Do, and features a stirring performance from the one and only Dr. Ragtime.


Cousins – “Khyber”

Halifax’s Cousins first recorded this song for a comp benefitting the beloved Khyber art centre, a long-running hub of musical activity. Two years later, the same stomper anthem has a video superimposing images of the Vancouver aquarium with city streets from the opposite coast. It may not make a lot of sense thematically, but these well-traveled touring machines have spent so much time rambling across the country that we can allow it. Plus, jellyfish are real pretty.


Factory Floor – “Turn It Up”

London’s Factory Floor have been mangling the forms of dance music for a few years now, culminating in a debut LP on DFA this fall. This seizure-inducing clip from director Dan Tombs uses an advanced method described as “video synthesis” to animate each separate vocal blurt and 808 beat. It may be the trippiest test pattern of all time.


New Chance – “Freedom ~ I Do It For Fun”

Finally, if you’re reading this on Friday, Dec. 6 in Toronto, local lovers Healing Power Records are hosting their annual Festive Fest. In their words, the event features “ART // MUSIC // CLOTHES // JEWELRY // FOOD // TAROT // WREATHS // KNICK-KNACKS // OBJECTS OF DESIRE // ETC ETC.” The shebang goes down at the Tranzac Club from 1 pm into the night, with a live music line-up left to surprise. For a fitting introduction to the genre-warping sounds this camp is kicking out, check this vid by New Chance. I’ll let it speak for itself…

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