Low Cut High Tops "Typical" Music Video Is Anything But!



Music videos are expected to be mini-movies, at this stage, dramatic epics with high-gloss production values. This is as true for indie artists as Top 40 artists like Beyoncè and Janelle Monae.

This is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, we love the ambition, the high style, interesting ideas, and cultural relevance that these mini-movie music videos offer. Anything that gets people to take indie music more seriously is alright with We Are: The Guard. It has a certain Procrustean influence on music and culture, on the flipside, however. Rather than bigger artists coming down to real life, instead we have up-and-coming underground musician pretending that they've already arrived. It can get a bit "same-same but different," after a while.

This is what makes Low Cut High Tops so relevant and refreshing in a music industry that takes itself so, so seriously. David Burns has been straddling the divide between serious style and chops and a truly demented, contrarian spirit, punk as razor blades yet elevated like a Louis Vuitton pop-up.

The brand-new video for "Typical" begins like one of these gritty, dramatic music video mini-epics, with a Japanese-looking safecracker being interrogated by a dough-faced investigator. The seriousness doesn't last long, as the subtitles are subverted to surreal, nonsensical, hilarious effect.

The action cuts away to the safecracker's brother, a clueless, hapless skater/slacker. The music gives way to a sharp, spiky punkish indie rock that perfectly matches the lo-fi skater vibes.

Every single aspect of Low Cut High Tops echoes this duality, stylish and sarcastic, sharp but loose. This duality is even reflected in his origin story. David Burns had never even sang or played guitar before beginning Low Cut High Tops. The motivation behind Low Cut High Tops is decidedly punk - of having something distinctive to say and not wanting to wait until you're already a master to say it.

What separates Low Cut High Tops from his safety-pinned peers is an exorbitantly high style and a snarky sense of humor, which is present in the Spirit Of '77 but is often misplaced or overlooked in the all-too-earnest post-Hardcore Punk Rock that's dribbled out of basements in the decades following the 1980s.

Low Cut High Tops raised a lot of eyebrows with the filthy, obsessive, emotive video for "Red Lipstick." He's likely to arch a few more with "Typical," but for different reasons. Some will be confused, others delighted. Most will be rolling on the floor while uncontrollably nodding their heads to the beat.

That's the thing with boundary-pushing indie music, why we love it so at We Are: The Guard. There's really something for everybody. Everybody that likes good, interesting music with something unique to say, that is.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.