The video: So many videos these days overreach, operating off of some high-flown concept that as often as not leaves the artist looking a little clueless if not completely pompous. Those kinds of concerns don’t even enter into the picture here. Instead of putting San Antonio band Hacienda in werewolf costumes and riding around on impossibly large iguanas in some sort of Dadaist nightmare, the “Savage” video goes for a classic, in-the-studio approach. We watch the guys bearing down and doing their thing, while producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys sends encouragement from the other side of the control-room window. As long as the song is solid (see below) it’s tough to go wrong with this type of route.
The director: Rather than reeling in a director-to-the-stars type to helm their video, Hacienda went with a guy who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Reid Long works out of Nashville, and while he’s done some work with the Black Keys before, the cottage industry he runs in Music City handles everything from live shoots to electronic press kits, and he’s as experienced with mainstream country acts as he is with indie rockers, which might account for the agreeably no-nonsense approach he took to putting together this clip for the San Antonio boys.
The song: With Dan Auerbach producing, you might expect Hacienda to have something in common with the garagey, guitar-based, blues-rock crunch of the Black Keys. But Hacienda backed Auerbach on his ’09 solo album, Keep It Hid, which diverged from his day-job style, and their own approach couldn’t be further from the Keys’ kind of sound. “Savage” moves sinuously over a loping, almost leering bass groove, while quirky keyboard lines squiggle across the top, with only the most minimal guitar presence. And the tune’s hook is the kind of thing you might need to get surgically removed from your head, but don’t worry — we hear it’s an outpatient procedure.
Hacienda is a family affair, consisting of three brothers – Abraham, Jaime, and Rene Villanueva – and their cousin, Dante Schwebel. The San Antonio clan has already released two albums; their third, Auerbach-produced record, as-yet-untitled, is expected out in the Spring on the Collective Sounds label. They’ve been out on the road with the Black Keys (Auerbach says, “I’ve been a fan of Hacienda ever since the day they gave me their first demo.”), Dr. Dog, and My Morning Jacket, and now they’re hitting halls across the U.S. opening for Heartless Bastards. But if the rest of their upcoming album is as infectious as “Savage,” their next trip around the country just might be a headlining stint.