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.
Our experience seeing Mantler (a.k.a. Chris Cummings) live around Toronto has been mostly of him solo, playing his Wurlitzer, singing something soulful (as exemplified in his Southern Souls session). But for his latest single, “I Guarantee You a Good Time,” he’s enlisted some crackerjack backing musicians to give the tune a bigger sound—though the video is still all Mantler, all the time.
“I Guarantee You a Good Time” comes on the heels of Mantler’s 2010 album, Monody; it’s set to be released as a single in the United Kingdom on Tin Angel Records in April, and you can also hear an excellent live version of the song (recorded at the Tranzac Club last summer) over at Mechanical Forest Sounds. It was a long gap between Monody and 2004’s Landau; now, Cummings seems to have been invigorated, and this tune, recorded with Sandro Perri and Steamboat, hints at the bigger and bolder direction his music is taking.
For the video, Cummings and Hank Collective bandmate (and frequent collaborator) Jeremy Charles Singer went old school DIY, grabbing a MiniDV camcorder and heading out into deserted industrial and public areas of the East End and Scarborough to film Cummings dancing to the joyful tune in the bitter cold. Much of the video was shot at the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant; other locations include Neville Park, Scarborough Civic Centre, and the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. (The odd sculpture in the video’s screengrab is out front of 895 Eastern Avenue.)
Cummings traded in Mantler’s signature white tuxedo for a more high-loft and climate-appropriate snowsuit for the video (which immediately made us think of Nite Owl’s arctic costume from Watchmen). It might have been a far more obvious route to show Cummings enjoying a good time in the company of other people, but the choice to film him alone in isolated locations is a great one: we see the obvious pleasure he gets from listening to the song and from his collaboration with other talented musicians.
Mantler plays a brief set at the Bell Lightbox this Wednesday, March 9, as part a special presentation entitled “Mantler’s Visual Music“; see this week’s Movie Mondays for more information about the whole program.