from his recent full-length release Can’t Wake Up, available now on Dualtone. The sub-consciously aware track takes on physical form in this satirical video where Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, taps into the psyche of rockstar imagery in a way that mirrors and parodies his own shift as an artist. The video, which was directed by Jeremi Mattern, premiered on CONAN’s Team Coco column Fresh Noise.
The video begins at a campfire setting, with Shakey in a cowboy hat and suspenders with acoustic guitar in hand; a past trademark for Shakey, and also a commonly applied, if not pigeonholed, stereotype of Americana. Suddenly, the scene changes and he’s seen with a pink electric guitar in hand, and everything begins to change. The sharp yet contemplative lyrics “maybe I should give up the good fight and change my image overnight” come into play as Shakey morphs into a raging hair metal rock icon, then transforms again later into the SoundCloud rapper. Though comedic in onset, the video takes a deeper look into dealing with identity versus speculation, while both lyrically and visually also capturing the essence of Shakey’s progression sonically which, though subtle and warranted, may seem drastic and unexpected to those who’ve grown accustomed to the primary origins of “the gentleman from Texas.”
“I knew the “Kids These Days” video couldn’t take itself too seriously,” says Shakey. “The song itself is partially about the way that every generation inevitably rebels against the one before it and in turn is baffled by the generation that follows. The feeling of growing up is always framed by the unconscious costumes we all wear throughout our lives and our goal with the video was to show cycles of the past and present. I am so grateful to all the incredibly talented people who jumped in to shoot this ridiculously fun video in such a short period of time. Kick back, put on your favorite wig, and enjoy.”
Mattern playfully adds, “I learned two things while making this video:
1. When you combine long hair, guy-liner, and a leaf blower blasting someone in the face, you are instantly transported back to the 80’s.
2. When you pack 25 people into John Denver’s old tour bus, it’s gonna be a hot, damp, and sweaty party.”
As with the rest of the album, Can’t Wake Up veers from the inevitable to the revelatory, its thirteen songs teeming with jarring musical and thematic collisions and thrillingly seamless intersections, gnarly psychological hornswoggles and ecstatic resolutions. Central to the prevailing sense of disorientation are the lead vocals, none of which is purely solo. Instead, each lead performance is shadowed by a queasy harmony or slightly out-of-sync unison part, giving the sense-especially on headphones-that these voices are emanating from inside the listener’s head.
“Armed with new instruments and a lifetime of dreams, he forgoes his boot-stomping, cheeky folk for a sound that fluctuates between finely-tuned rock and full-band pop,” comments NPR’s Nina Corcoran. “Alejandro Rose-Garcia pulls it off in large part due to his storytelling prowess; these songs would be welcoming, even enthralling, in any style.”
Shakey Graves is currently in the midst of an international tour (known as The Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour Tour) with special guests Twin Peaks and The Wild Reeds. Future dates also include support from Jose Gonzalez & The Brite Lites, Rayland Baxter, Lauren Ruth Ward, Paul Cauthen, The Band of Heathens, The Sheepdogs, and Blitzen Trapper, climaxing in August with a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison (Denver, CO). Next weekend he performs at Arroyo Seco Weekend, and will also appear at Newport Folk Festival, Pickathon, and Austin City Limits Music Festival.
For more information and concert tickets, visit shakeygraves.com.
November 17 – Belfast, UK – Elmwood Hall