by Adam Gold
Here’s a fresh reel of moving, gender-bending local-rock imagery to keep you entertained on a mid-week afternoon. It’s the brand-spankin’-new video for The Ettes' latest single, “Teeth.” It premiered on YouTube this morning, and it features Turbo Fruits frontman and Bruise Cruise Cap’n Jonas Stein and Useless Eaters’ frontman Seth Sutton putting on wigs, applying makeup with slow, concentrated sensuality and putting toilet paper in bras as they dress in drag.
Perhaps as creepy to the more socially conservative viewers among you as it is clever to others, the clip captures Stein and Sutton as they travel into transgender territory for art, not pleasure — flexing their acting chops and assuming the roles of Ettes singer/guitarist Coco Hames and drummer Poni Silver, respectively. Meanwhile, the role of Ettes bassist Jem Cohen is played by … Ettes bassist Jem Cohen. Local musicians might recognize the clip's shooting location as that of Cannery Ballroom’s green room.
The video has uncannily topical timing as much of it is shot from the perspective of the green room’s makeup mirror. It’s not totally unlike a recently yanked-from-airwaves New Zealand tampon commercial that, also filmed from mirror’s eye, shows a glamorous transvestite and a comely blonde freshening up side by side in a public bathroom before the latter takes a tampon from out of her purse to the chagrin of the former. Thus suggesting that tampons are for “real women.” The ad spot — for Libra tampons — has been rightfully blasted as both transphobic and misogynistic.
While attentive viewers might naturally see The Ettes' “Teeth” clip as a commentary on — or at least as a commentary inspired by — the controversial commercial (below), the similarities between the two are merely coincidental, as the music video was conceived and shot months before the Libra-sparked uproar.
The Ettes clip — which was directed by the real Poni Silver and filmed and edited by Trevor White — is for the Stone-y Spaghetti Western folk dirge “Teeth,” the latest single off the band’s 2011 full-length Wicked Will. A 7-inch for the track has a Feb. 7 street date. But you can pre-order it here. The vinyl is available in either gold or red (pressings limited to 150 copies) or black (pressing limited to 400 copies). The digital version of the single and its accompanying B-side “Safely Down the Road" is, as of today, available on iTunes.