Ellen Siberian Tiger distills frustration into dance for the “Grinding My Teeth” video

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Ellen Siberian Tiger | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Philly trio Ellen Siberian Tiger ended their week by releasing a music video for “Grinding My Teeth.” The self-proclaimed feminist indie rock group began as Ellen Tiberio-Shultz’s solo project in 2009, evolving through various configurations and ultimately landing on the three-piece it is today. The band prides itself on its use of punk and orchestral influences, and when combined with Tiberio-Shultz’s breathy yet powerful vocals, their overall sound becomes instantly enticing.

“Grinding My Teeth,” found on last year’s Red Blooded Woman EP, is a song of not feeling enough, of that forceful letting go, which is a persistent theme throughout this EP. Just the name of the song itself — “Grinding My Teeth” – evokes frustration, the lyrics are counteracted by a beautiful acoustic guitar and strings. The contrast makes the song a little more settling than if the music behind the lyrics was also intense.

The video for “Grinding My Teeth” plays with contrasts. Visually, it’s stunning. It only features one person on screen the entire time – a dancer. And as the song plays, the setting shifts back and forth between a dark empty room and a bright green outdoor space surrounded by trees. As the setting changes, the dancer’s routine — choreographed by Adrianna Amodei — remains fluid and uninterrupted. This isn’t an uncommon technique in shooting music videos, and it really works with the tone of “Grinding My Teeth.” The movements are emotional and exaggerated, which helps to emphasize the sadness of the lyrics.

Ellen Siberian Tiger takes advantage of how powerful of a tool a seemingly plotless video is. The dancer on screen doesn’t detract from the song, and the lack of any real visual storyline lets the music and lyrics do all the talking. All that matters is whether or not the dancer can convey the emotion she needs to, and she does. This video is a piece of performance art at its best. Watch it below; you can find Ellen Siberian Tiger at Johnny Brenda’s on October 20th, and keep up with their fall schedule of shows here.

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