It’s been three years since Appleton, Wisconsin punk trio Tenement released its sprawling, grandiose double album Predatory Headlights—and we would know, as we named it one of our best albums of 2015 so far in June of that year. The band has released another studio album, The Self-Titled Album, two movie soundtracks, a split single, and two collection albums since then. So why are we exclusively premiering the music video for “Garden Of Secrecy,” off of the aforementioned 2015 double album, today on The A.V. Club?
Well, besides the fact that it took three years to write the record on which “Garden Of Secrecy” appears, giving the whole thing a vaguely occult sort of symmetry, it’s also a rare opportunity to see new work from Mark Borchardt, Tenement’s fellow Wisconsinite and the subject of the cult-classic documentary American Movie (1999). Borchardt, who’s made (and cameoed in) a handful of music videos over the years, spent more than three years laboring away on the “Garden Of Secrecy” video in all of its 4:3 glory, and now it’s ready to be unveiled for the masses.
The video—which opens with the band members gazing into the distance while freezing their asses off in a snowy field as Borchardt recites spoken-word poetry in his distinctive accent—is a nostalgia trip for those of us who mail-ordered VHS compilations of indie music videos in the pre-YouTube era, particularly the nauseatingly rapid zooms in and out during the song’s chorus. Seems like the ‘90s never died, at least not in Wisconsin.