The music-video universe took a bit of a week off this week; Labor Day, I guess, will do that. But there was still plenty of good stuff out this week; the relative scarcity just meant that I didn’t have to cut anything deeply awesome to put this list together. Check out this week’s list below.
5. DIIV – “Doused” (Dir. Z. Cole Smith & Ian Perlman)
The idea of this one is a bit goofy, with Smith so busy building an army of model soldiers that he almost misses his band’s show. But it’s all in the execution, and this video, with the sweaty and chaotic live-performance footage and Smith’s mad lip-sync sprint, brings an urgency that the song demands and that dreamy guitar-rock videos so rarely even attempt.
4. Azealia Banks – “1991” (Dir. Justin Mitchell)
It’s always interesting when someone manages to revive an aesthetic that nobody else has yet revisited, that the world at large may have forgotten even existed. In this case, it’s the stark lines and deep blues of early-’90s dance-pop videos, especially the video for Crystal Waters’ Baltimore house classic “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless).” And seeing that style back again punches me in the nostalgia bone like I’d just walked out on the In Living Color set.
3. Swans – “No Words/No Thoughts” (Dir. ?)
This is live footage of a song that’s a couple of years old, but I’m counting it as a music video. That’s partly because it’s not just one live performance; the footage clearly comes from a bunch of different settings. But it’s also because the thing just knocks my head clean off.
2. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes Short Film (Dir. Khalil Joseph)
Again, this might not strictly qualify as a music video, but it’s shot like one. And FlyLo tracks tend to sound randomly patched together anyway; might as well post a video that actually does patch together a bunch of his tracks anyway. In any case, Khalil Joseph puts together an artful and, at times, deeply disturbing series of images about ghetto fatalism. The scene where the dead guy lurches up and dances into a lowrider will remain deep in my brain for a while.
1. David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who” (Dir. Martin De Thurah)
David Byrne’s dancing. Really, nothing else needs to be said.