The director: The video was filmed by Nathan Christ, director of the documentary Echotone, a survey-in-motion of the drastic and fundamental changes taking place within and around the Live Music Capital, Austin, TX. Christ’s film garnered praise from reviewers around the country. That prompted him to expand the premise into a six-city series, the first of which was filmed in July in White Mystery’s hometown, Chicago.
The song: If a video means it’s a single, then this could be brother and sister duo White Mystery‘s first from their April-released Blood & Venom. The choice makes sense. “Birthday” is on the looser edge of the retro, fifth-gear sonic acreage that Blood & Venom occupies.
The video: Made up of short snippets from Nathan Christ’s recent live performance footage and romps in graveyards and playgrounds, the “Birthday” video is seriously playful (“Blow out your birthday candle!”). No one knows that better than Alex White and her brother Francis Scott Key White, as well as everyone involved in the production of this video.
Of note: Between Girls‘ recent video for “Honey Bunny” and this White Mystery clip (which seems at odds to the anti-snack politics of their song “Snack Culture“), could we be in golden age for the pallid male midriff?
White Mystery, who were on our Hive Five list of brother and sister acts, get compared to the White Stripes very, very, often. But other than the last names and the two-piece garage thing, there’s not much common ground here. Whereas the White Stripes looked to the blues tradition for inspiration, White Mystery only go back as far back as the Sonics, though they’re also clearly influenced by bands from later decades as well (the MC5 stick are a big one). Alex White’s Kathleen Hannah-esque vocals put them in a space never even ten-foot-poled by the Stripes, and Francis Scott Key White’s drumming is clean and precise compared to Meg White’s primal thumping.