The Dead Ships. (photo by Robin Laananen)
When Devlin McCluskey, the frontman of Los Angeles trio the Dead Ships, was in need of a space cadet outfit for their new sci-fi-themed video, he found the bare minimum in a hopeless place: a motorcycle helmet with the face guard sawed off, and a pair of women’s red tights. McCluskey’s task was to recreate costumes from a pair of vintage sci-fi films he had found while searching for space-related footage in the public domain: an Italian sci-fi film called Cosmos 2000, and a Soviet film about a mission to Venus. His band’s goal: to fit themselves into these absurd scenes via green screen, with slapstick results.
“Growing up I loved watching old Twilight Zone, Mystery Science Theater 3000, or anything you’d find trolling local channels at 3 AM,” Mcluskey says. “In college I wasn’t a great video editor, but I always liked recutting found footage into new weirder stories.”
Flavorwire is pleased to premiere the video for “Big Quiet,” an infectious nugget of jangle pop off the Dead Ships’ EP 1. The recent release is the first outside production effort from Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, whose band’s influence is apparent throughout the Dead Ships’ repurposing of ’60s sounds in service of indie rock.
The Dead Ships, who recently toured with Two Gallants, have been kicking around the LA scene for some time. But they seem to have hit a streak of momentum — much like their city and its music scene.
“LA has always been more Bukowski and Waits than beaches and walk of fame,” McCluskey says. “They might only keep the Hollywood sign up to keep snobs out. It seems as other cities get more challenging, LA keeps becoming a better option. It’s a versatile city that gives shitloads of people a bit more time and space so the music scenes are fairly diverse. Ty Segall has been putting on garage shows at the Griffin, we got to play there with the Coathangers a few weeks back. There are a bunch of more personal spaces like that that have been popping up in recent months. Plus there are five music venues on my block that have a ton of great local bands every night. Everyone seems to have wide music tastes so we’ve been lucky to play with a lot of different bands.”