If tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus wasn't touring the country with her pretty-darn-successful band, she would make the raddest third-grade teacher ever. In the new video for "My Country" -- the third single off of last year's mega-lauded w h o k i l l -- Garbus recruits an army of shorties to stand in as her musicians, signature face-paint stripe and all. (In real life, the children came from S.F. K-12 school Brightworks and the San Francisco Rock Project. tUnE-yArDs has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help the latter build a library of instruments.)
The Oakland-based figurehead herself doesn't even appear until about a minute into the video, instead having the kids lip-synch and play the instruments through the song. (And the girl who portrays Garbus is Madeline O'Kennon, who also played her in the "Bizness" video.) This is a subtly brilliant move: Focusing on the children makes the song's message of political uncertainty and skepticism seem all the more emotional and urgent. The image of the mass of children scowling straight into the camera underscores the idea that they're largely the ones who'll have to reckon with whatever this country becomes.
But that makes this Mimi Cave-directed video sound all serious, which it isn't totally. By the end, Garbus is goofing around with her younger double, and the clip closes with an image of freedom. It's a very good music video; watch it after the jump.