Home Video | 06.20 | New York

Words by: Nell Alk | Images by: Pearse Daly

Home Video :: 06.20.09 :: Santos Party House :: New York, NY

Home Video :: 06.20.09 :: New York, NY
Another rainy night in New York. The combination of hot temperatures and dreary droplets makes for an especially unappealing product. We Manhattanites are ready for monsoon season to subside and make way for the summer weather we've been waiting far too long for. Despite the disgusting outdoors, inside at Santos the forecast proves more promising. I know nothing about the headliner, let alone the opener. But, I do know one thing: the middle band, opener number two, if you will, book-ended by Kittens Ablaze and Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, is a ray of sunshine amid the myriad Brooklyn bands competing for attention these days. They're known as Home Video and, unlike America's Funniest, they're no-nonsense, serious musicians, intended to be taken seriously.

Originally from New Orleans, extraordinary electric-rock savants Collin Ruffino (lead vocals, guitar) and David Gross (bass, keys, backup vocals) relocated to the honorable borough post-college in 2003, with high hopes of making an impression with their moving music. They've made waves here and there, ahead-of-the-curve press outlets sitting up and taking notice, but their magnificence remains a mystery to too many, for my taste anyway. (4,721 MySpace friends are simply not enough for talent of their caliber. Come on, kids, get with the program!) Then the hit TV show Gossip Girl featured "I Can Make You Feel It," a pulsating number characterized by solid drumbeats, killer keyboard, tambourine accents, haunting harmonies and an eerie electro current. This special primetime appearance in "The Grandfather" (season 2, episode 20) was no small thing and is admittedly how I came to initially know them. Plucked from their recently released EP, It Will Be Okay (you can download the EP for free through homevideo.fm), this song, heard in headphones or at a live venue, wins. And, as usual, the GG soundtrack does right by fans. Peep their Edward Gorey-esque music video (see below) to better grasp from whence my high opinion derives.

Home Video :: 06.20.09 :: New York, NY
At Santos this super duo (joined on stage by their trusty drummer Jim Orso) closed their eight-song set with this stellar track, and the modestly sized, comfortably filled room erupted in applause. The entire experience lasted no more than 45 minutes, but a quality time it was. The atmosphere was relaxed, the early show (think 9 p.m.) audience appreciative and respectful save for a drunken couple throwin' shapes front and center. (Maybe they imbibed one too many $1.50 Colt 45s available at the bar?) They and their shameful moves (no wonder they sported disguises/sunglasses) were harmless and hardly distracted from what everyone within earshot was evidently engrossed in – Home Video's enthralling rhythms and beats. If nothing else, the intoxicated groove sesh reinforced the fact that HV's music runs the gamut, from dark to danceable.

The late-twenties twosome and their praiseworthy percussionist performed under colorful lights, flashing from red to yellow to green to blue to purple. The slowly spinning disco ball added a certain something, a glint amid their oft-forlorn lyrics and equally melancholy instrumentals. Somewhat ironic was their equipment casing; everything was haphazardly decorated in either stars or sunbursts or smiley faces. The juxtaposition of these designs mixed with their mournful music was an interesting sight, but probably unnoticed by most. What may have garnered a tad more attention was the subtle incorporation of multimedia. Projected on the white pillars was footage showcasing everything from IMAX-like nature panning to buildings being demolished, collapsing in a cloud of dust and debris. This specific description, however, hails from my eyewitness account at a past performance, held at the 92Y Tribeca in mid-May. To be clear, because Santos supplied no backdrop, the Attenborough-worthy imagery was barely discernible. It's unfortunate, as this alternate element makes their collective delivery that much more powerful with its ability to arouse several senses simultaneously.

Home Video :: 06.20.09 :: New York, NY
Visual setbacks aside, the sound was superb and their energy - complete with intermittent jumping up-and-down - was encouraging. The general momentum, textured with maracas and tambourines, was something to behold indeed. Outfitted in all black except for a red hoodie that he soon shed, Ruffino looked the part of tortured artist, whereas Gross dressed casually, almost toddler-like, in his blue jeans and striped tee. The former, shy by appearances, maintained exceptional eye contact, that is when his peepers weren't closed, caught up in the vocal execution. And the latter, well he was the object of some enamored fan's (friend's?) affection, the proud recipient of an "I love you, Dave!" Much as I may have been tempted, it wasn't I who let it slip, I assure you. Bottom line: definitely catch them live if you can.

When, you wonder, will New Yorkers have another opportunity? Home Video plays the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival on August 8 at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus. People outside Gotham should check their JamBase page often. Bask in their intoxicating tunes, which range in personality from somber and minimalist to hopeful and sublime. Listening to their debut disc, No Certain Night or Morning, one thing's for sure: their aesthetic, whilst evidently developing, is timeless yet perpetually modern. Every single track gives off an impression that these songs may very well have been laid down last week, when, in reality, they hail from the year 2006. More recently, It Will Be Okay provides an audibly delicious preview of their forthcoming sophomore full-length, due to drop – fingers crossed – in early 2010. And, if you're a sucker for remixes, the guys do a fantastic job re-jiggering Bang Gang's "The World is Gray" as well as "Only for You" by The Naked Hearts. Prepare to be impressed.

Home Video moves listeners; be it elevating them to a state of ecstasy and dance or driving them to despair, face buried in a pillow. They're capable of molding mood, taking a rainy summer morning and transforming it into a downright depressing but unequivocally beautiful flourish of sick synth and ambient tones. However their righteous instrumentals and addictive vocals penetrate you, please refrain from merely taking our word for it; expand your ears and indulge in the next big – but still seemingly oh-so-subtle – thing. Sure to give you nightmares and dominate your dreams, Home Video is something discerning music connoisseurs will not want to miss. Listen up!

Home Video :: 06.20.09 :: Santos Party House :: New York, NY
That You Might, Every Love, Sleep Sweet, You Will Know What To Do, Gas Tank, Maybe What You Need, Business Transaction, I Can Make You Feel It

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http://www.myspace.com/homevideo

[Published on: 7/31/09]

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