Engineer Records: Building on Sight and Sound, Tier 1: DVD

I don’t know if it was the DVD or what, but the “play all” option refused to cycle normally through the videos. At the end of one song, it would go back to a random video that had already played. Plus, most of the text on the screen was so tiny that I could barely read it. Aside from technical difficulties, this was an interesting collection of punk and hardcore videos from Engineer Records (previously Ignition). Naturally, with an indie label collection like this, you’re going to run into videos that are seriously DIY (and not always in a good way). Music videos that consist simply of a band performing on camera need to be shot and cut really well to be interesting. It helps if the band is especially engaging to watch, too. Otherwise, why bother? Most of these videos, sadly, fell into this category, or were inexpertly cobbled-together live performances. A few standouts were well done: Cashless’ video for “Take Away” was enjoyable mainly because the song was awesome and the footage well shot. The No One’s “Sensaziones” video had a well-shot “live performance” with a bit of storyline that didn’t overwhelm the band footage. Red Car Burns’ “Regrets and Memories” had the best concept: the band performed in the inner-workings of a variety of alarm clocks, stereos, and iPods. Sometimes Why’s “Bitter Pills” video won for most professional appearance; this baby could easily be seen on MTV… and I swear I mean that in a good way. Worst video candidate: Catalyst’s “This Heart Won’t Heal on It’s Own” (sic). The music was hardcore, but the content was painfully emo—a poorly acted, poorly shot story that seems to cover a guy who catches his girlfriend cheating on him, then kills her. Half the video is the guy ineffectively strangling the chick in melodramatic slow motion. The best video is probably the last one: The Fire Still Burns’ “Insert Motivation Here.” Clean, professional production with well-shot band footagealf the video is the guy ineffectively  interspersed with interesting and not-too-esoteric imagery. –Sarah Shay (Engineer, 210 William St., Boonton, NJ 07005)