(PC) Described as a 'a raw, gonzo-style film' that captures an of-the-era slice of life in a legendary, internationally touring psych-pop band, a previously lost documentary following Super Furry Animals around the US and beyond has been unearthed and heads for YouTube premiere on Fri 15 September 2023 at 20:00 BST. Band members are set to join the online event, preparing to join discussion and comment alongside fans.
American Sasquatch, originally a near hour-long DVD-only extra, filmed throughout the period of recording and touring their sixth album, Phantom Power - reissued last week on BMG -offers a fly-on-the-wall view into the chaos, beauty and intransience of life on the road and in the studio with the band. Now newly digitised for the modern world, it will be available for fans to delve into for one month only. The documentary was originally released as part of the band's 2004 compilation Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1.
Directed by Dyl Goch, the band's projectionist and an award-winning director, the documentary was shot over two years on a single camera. Providing an unrivalled, insider's perspective into a world that has created wonder for fans unable to gain such intimate access to a band that preserved significant mystery in a pre-social media age, the film captures key moments on American tours, TV appearances, and recording sessions between 2002 and 2004.
The documentary, unseen online to date and unseen by the band themselves for two decades, offers glimpses of musical peers like Dead Meadow, Four Tet and Grandaddy, memorable encounters with figures such as 1960s icon Wendy Flower (who sings in Phantom Power's opening track, Hello Sunshine) and a cameo from Newport rappers Goldie Lookin' Chain. A crowning performance of The Man Don't Give A F*ck, cut from a performance in Rio de Janeiro builds a monument to the band's awesome live fire power and legacy.
Likely to, once again, be consigned to band archives for the foreseeable future, American Sasquatch will be hosted on the band's YouTube channel from this Friday and disappear again in early October.
Phantom Power, the band's 2003, 14-Track album was reissued in remastered form last week on double heavyweight vinyl, as well as deluxe CD and high-definition digital formats. Featuring the singles Hello Sunshine, Golden Retriever, Slow Life, the album stood up, and stands today as one of the defining artistic achievements of their nine-album journey together. Band archivist, Kliph Scurlock, reprised his role in delving into the tape cupboard to gather a comprehensive collection of unheard mixes, demos and out-takes, with the final mixes being polished to a high shine by Donal Whelan at Hafod Mastering.
Phantom Power's cultural significance was deepened beyond its musical brilliance as they once again courted the music press with iconic imagery, this time emerging as yeti/dog hybrids for the Golden Retriever promotional video. Collaborating with hair designer and video director, Peter Gray, the tailor-made suits followed the band right through to their most recent tour in 2016 as encore stage costumes, as well as strands of original fur being embedded in vinyl copies of their 2019 Super Furry Animals at The BBC box set.
Yielding some of Super Furry Animals' most saleable songs, advertisers and television makers put in calls to try and use many of Phantom Power's richly melodic, heart-filling songs. Bleed Forever scrolls through on the closing credits for 2010's biographical take on Facebook's creation, The Social Network, while US teen drama, The OC, soundtracked a tender kissing scene with Hello Sunshine. Coca Cola's well-reported attempt to adopt Hello Sunshine for a global advertising campaign with a multi-million-pound offer, was rejected by the Furries.
Unimpressed with the initial approach anyway, band members, Gruff Rhys and Guto Pryce, later visited Bogota to witness, first-hand, the effects of Colombian paramilitaries reportedly working on behalf of the manufacturer's local franchisees to violently put down workers' rights movements.