The Vanderbuilts release new single, music video

Review: Syracuse-based band The Vanderbuilts released "I Wish I Was a Saber-Toothed Tiger" Feb. 14 via their website and YouTube.

"I Wish I Was a Saber Tooth-Tiger" starts out slow and melodic, a guitar progression accompanied by a few plucked banjo notes. But much like its accompanying video, it quickly morphs into something imaginative and upbeat, fluid vocals layered over guitar riffs, piano and violin.

If it's any indication of what's to be expected on The Vanderbuilts' second album, we can expect something great.

The Syracuse indie rock/baroque pop band plans to release their second LP What We Forget on March 1. The band, comprised of frontman/vocalist Sam Kogon, multi-instrumentalist Dave Riddell, violinist Aya Yamamoto, bassist Max Newland and drummer Grennan Milliken, formed in the fall of 2010 and have since released an EP titled Far From Here and their full-length debut Miguel's Orchard (February 2012). They have been featured in the SXSW showcase the past two years, and have shared the stage with bands like Titus Andronicus and Cults.

Werner Herzog's 2010 documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which examines the Chauvet cave paintings in Southern France, influenced What We Forget's theme, according to Kogon. Like "I Wish I Was A Saber-Toothed Tiger," the rest of the album plays with "ancient themes, sounds and images."

As for the song's origins, "I dreamt that I was listening to the radio and Paul McCartney and an old '70s song was playing, and I woke up with a melody," Kogon said. "I woke up, sang it into my phone, and then basically we worked on it the next day and it just came to life from there."

The video is a perfect mirror to the imagery of Kogon's lyrics and the band's musical backing. Multimedia artist Sessa Lund created it, mixing stop motion animation, claymation and photographs from Kogon's own taxidermy collection. The video is animated, but feels life-like. The combination of medias and textures give it a very real tangibility.

Much of the video starts out looking kaleidoscopic, a misshapen ball of orange-brown clay appearing on a black backdrop. As Kogon's vocals begin, so does the clay's manipulation. It travels through a desert-like landscape, watched by disembodied chalk-drawn eyes. The clay takes many forms—including what looks like a scaly bird and a piranha with a fingerprint-like texture—but it never quite reaches its desired mold: the saber-toothed tiger.

"I Wish I Was A Saber Toothed Tiger" is currently available for free download on The Vanderbuilts' website. The band's other music is available on iTunes, but is also streaming free on Spotify.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.