Sound Tracks: "Highway Steam" by Hooded Fang

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Sound Tracks: “Highway Steam” by Hooded Fang

Believe it or not, music videos still exist. Sound Tracks trolls the internet to find the best and the worst of local artists’ new singles and the good, bad, or otherwise noteworthy visuals that accompany them.

It’s been a while since Hooded Fang‘s first video—you know, that clever and catchy little satire that skewered Stephen Harper’s galas gaffe? But while “Arts Gala” was composed and recorded by the band’s members, it wasn’t attributed directly to the band as a whole. You could argue that Hooded Fang haven’t really released a video for one of their songs until now.
“Highway Steam,” already released on the Friends in Bellwoods 2 compilation, is the first confirmed track from Hooded Fang’s upcoming LP. (The band still doesn’t have a release date or title, but is planning a release party for September, and hopes to have something to hawk on an east coast tour in late July and early August.) The video, shot on Super 8 mm, with animation done in 16 mm, is the work of Craig Orrett, who’s been working with the anachronistic format for some time. The band members were mostly filmed in two early morning sessions against a white sheet taped to a garage in Forest Hill; there was a wrap time of 11 a.m., when sun reflecting off neighboring houses would ruin the light exposure.
The landscapes the musicians are cut and pasted into are pure Canadiana: there’s footage of the Canadian International Air Show, with a stunt plane swooping through the air (though it appears to be an American Blue Angel, as opposed to a Snowbird); there’s a series of picturesque highway road clips, taken along Highway 89 and Highway 400; and there’s a back-seat ride on an old-school TTC bus (filmed recently, when the older models were pressed into service during construction of the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way).
The bus appears to weave through Toronto’s downtown core, with landmark buildings and exit signs off the Gardiner barely identifiable as red and black abstracts. The buildings gradually fall apart, like brilliant red fall leaves blowing along the highway. It’s details like these that evoke a vintage slice of National Film Board goodness, nicely matching the slightly grainy, feel-good strains of “Highway Steam.” As (qualified) debut videos go, this one is a real beauty, and a wonderful teaser for the upcoming album.

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