Why indie rock videos are suddenly very NSFW

The Flaming Lips music video for “Watching the Planets” depicts naked frolicking in the park.

There’s a new four-letter word in indie rock. With increasing frequency, videos are popping up online with the letters NSFW next to their listings. For the uninitiated, this stands for Not Safe For Work, which is a warning that you probably don’t want your co-workers to catch you watching something like a few hundred nude bikers cavorting with Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, who is also nude as he sings “Watching the Planets.”

“Well, I think it depends on where you work,” jokes Coyne before considering his honest answer. “What we do was always geared toward hip adults anyways — we’re not really trying to make kids’ videos — but when you’re stuck with the rules of TV, that would take an element of the ridiculous out of it. … No one is telling us what to do anymore, so let’s not worry about it.”


Michael Reich, who has directed several NSFW videos, mostly for the band Yuck, seems to share Coyne’s sentiment.

“It’s awesome that you can basically do whatever the f— you want on the Internet right now,” he says.

Zac Pennington, singer from Parenthetical Girls, says he was intrigued by the racy videos he was seeing his peers make, which led to the single-shot video in which Pennington is shown singing while lying in bed. The screen only shows the top portion of his naked body, while a woman offscreen works on the lower portion. The song is called “The Pornographer.”


“We’d been sort of fascinated with the recent glut of ‘NSFW’ music videos ourselves — wondering how far otherwise innocuous indie rock bands were from becoming propagators of outright pornography,” he says. “‘The Pornographer’ video was in some ways a comment on the phenomenon, removing the barrier between band member and actual pornographer.”

Pennington says that while it’s new for these “otherwise innocuous” groups to express themselves in such an uncensored manner, it is a successful selling point reminiscent of an earlier brand.

“I think what the NSFW label suggests at this point is similar to the implied danger that a parental advisory once held,” he says. “It’s as much a means of selling the product to a certain audience as it is a detractor to another.”

Reich says bands have sought him out to direct his videos because of his previous NSFW vids, but he doesn’t believe in doing nude or crude for the sake of it.

“I think you should come up with the idea and if it happens to be a little scandalous or not safe for work that’s cool,” he says, “but you can’t seek out shock value because that’s all it is. It’s just gratuitous and shocking.”

How much more shocking will it become?

“I think it’s trend that will kind of die down a little bit,” he says, “just because it’s so oversaturated in the past couple of months.”

Below are some of Reich’s videos that he did for Yuck. Needless to say, they are not safe for work.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.