Acid Carousel’s video for “Killer on the Moonbeam” from its EP Street Cowboys is filled with irony and satire, sending up politics and culture to tell the story of life as seen from the background.
“The story is that of the killer on the moonbeam,” singer and guitarist Gus Baldwin says, “the one who's there, just checking out life but making sure everyone's doing all right. We all know a few killer on the moonbeams, or we may be one ourselves, but there’s always one lurking about.”
Only the second video from a band that has been prolific in its record production, “Killer on the Moonbeam” marks the directorial debut of Baldwin and guitarist Lucas Martins, working under the pseudonyms Hollywood and Donnie Trundle. The video is filmed in the band’s house and several other Denton locations, including the University of North Texas, the “Spot” and Cool Beans.
“I'm not really sure why we decided to make a video for this song instead of the singles,” Baldwin says, “but we felt like this song was more of a saga than the others.”
He says making a video for this song served as a way to show the band’s breadth of talent because it differs from “Higher Than the Beatles,” which KXT plays regularly.
“Musically, it's different from most of the songs we get played on the radio and people come see us play live,” he says, “so we thought it would be cool to showcase a side of us some people might overlook.”
Guitarist and singer John Kuzmick agrees.
“I feel like it was the song that fit more with a video,” he says. “Everybody's seen a video about whatever so-and-so girl.
“We could make a video for [the first single from Street Cowboys] ‘Spaceships' if there's anyone out there whose down to animate one,” Kuzmick continues. “That would be lovely. As of now, we don't have the budget to go to space.”
The video came together organically, with an idea leading the way and not much thought wasted on how exactly it would come together.
“We just came up with an idea for it one day and started filming,” Baldwin says. “We've never taken videos seriously cause its all just pageantry, but we just wanted to have fun.”
Throughout the video, we see the band roaming aimlessly through streets and protests, showing the kind of darkness that exists in world craving positivity. At one point, the video shows Kuzmick standing in front of a sign that reads “Got Aids Yet?”
“It should be mentioned we never made or held any of the signs in the video,” Baldwin explains. “Rather, there were a series of protests going on at the UNT campus by some right-wing group at the beginning of April that we thought should be documented.
“Being massive fans of music from the '60s and that era,” he continues, “we're used to always seeing forms of political protests and music walking hand in hand and living in a highly political day in age. We feel we should bring to light all the negativity out there in the world today, so we can acknowledge it and combat it with love, baby.”
Adding to the band’s wry takedown of the negative powers that be, we see flashes of cultural icons like Barney, Dora the Explorer and Snoop Dogg laid over the band’s antics.
“Snoop is more relevant to our culture than any politician,” Baldwin teases.
Martins says these cultural icons were “thrown in there to mimic the effect of political figures and how we can’t seem to overlook them as they're always around in media like the bozo who runs our country.”
In a moment of seriousness, we see Baldwin sitting calmly upon the concrete near his house in Denton next to the spray-painted lyrics, “And he'll lie that he's alright, too scared to try, cause he's a killer on the moonbeam."
Those lyrics, Baldwin says, are “meant to describe the state of being when you're too scared to try anything so you'd rather not try at all and trying to motivate yourself to keep on truckin’.
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“I feel [the lyrics] can be applicable to a lot of different people out there,” Baldwin continues, “especially ones who resonate with the song.”
With the release of the new video, Acid Carousel will join garage punk band The Coathangers as they make their way through Texas, ending Saturday at Club Dada along with The Bralettes.
Although their styles are different, Acid Carousel loves playing with The Coathangers.
“They've always been some of the sweetest and most talented women on the road today,” Baldwin says. “The best part about playing with them is that they've always appealed to true rock 'n' roll fans. … Their fans get that we're just a rock 'n' roll band at heart, no matter what fancy clothes we wear.”