Just a couple of weeks before an extensive national tour that will keep them on the road for two months, the Jacuzzi Boys released a new video for their song "Smells Dead." In a sign of the band's growing national cred, the director here is John McSwain, a young filmographer who has created for outlets such as VBS.tv but, perhaps more impressive, recently authored a series of four clips for Yo La Tengo.
Although McSwain resides in Brooklyn, he's a Florida native and longtime friend of Jacuzzi Boys bassist Danny Gonzalez. McSwain approached the band to shoot last December, when the group was slated to play the temporary Art Basel incarnation of Max Fish. It's from there that the swirling, low-fi, psychedelic live scenes in the video are shot.
Where things get trippier, though, is in the more recent footage, taken mostly of the band wandering around Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne. "[The director] wanted to go for a dark, creepy kind of vibe, so we spent the day fucking around and taking shots of us dressed all spooky, hanging out at the park," frontman Gabriel Alcala says.
The location wasn't chosen randomly. Gonzalez lives on the park property (his parents run restaurants on the grounds), and the band practices at his home. And sure, the lyrics of "Smells Dead" can sound sort of abstract and mystical: "No matter what I do or what I try/These walls keep haunting me." But they're inspired by something much more prosaic from the house/practice space.
"The song is actually about dead animals," Alcala says, "or actually animals that crawl into Danny's house. It's a trailer home, so they come up through the bottom and die in the walls and stink up the whole house." Well, we like a band that says what it means.
Check out the Jacuzzi Boys during their tour kickoff this Friday at Bar, and click here to watch the video.
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