This week’s clips from Arcade Fire, Rokysopp, Simian Mobile Disco, No Joy, and White Lies show off what’s possible when your videos don’t have to fit particular television formats and time limits. The suburban dystopias in Rokysopp’s and Arcade Fire’s extended videos are a little long and a little much for TV, especially with the shot of a horse’s head — skin stripped off, with chunks of flesh visible — in the Rokysopp video. Same goes for Simian Mobile Disco’s slow-motion clip of a pig being butchered (no one likes to know how their sausage — or dog food – is made). But other artists and directors don’t seem to care if their video is even accessible online, let alone on television. The Klaxons video has so much nudity and viscous fluid that YouTube won’t even put it behind a age verification wall.
Röyksopp – “Senior Living” (Dir. That Go)
This clip has a few bits from Senior, Röyksopp’s darker companion record to Junior. And this is a darker companion video: Three airbrush-t-shirt-wearing teens explore abandoned neighborhoods and charred houses, discovering, besides the horse’s head mentioned above, dogs liking human skulls clean, assault weapons, and other horrors.
Simian Mobile Disco – “Sweetbread” (Dir. Hans Lo and Jose Otero)
There’s a butcher’s near my house called Meat Hook where every employee is delighted to recommend cuts and to get their hands on meat. Judging by their Twitter, this video — featuring a butcher in almost religious ecstasy over his pig — is kind of what I think happens there after hours. Also, according to a recent Tweet, Deerhoof just shot a video at Meat Hook, so we may have another animal-cutting video to look forward to in the near future.
Bernard Sumner, Hot Chip, & Hot City – “Didn’t Know What Love Was” (Dir. Andreas Nilsson)
Brandon wrote that this Converse-funded video “… suggests it’s worthwhile making videos with sneaker money.” The walking shadow following Bernard Sumner is very Michel Gondry, but the rest of this just proves that it’s worthwhile making videos with Andreas Nilsson, who’s directed some of the best clips of the last couple of years, including MGMT’s “Flash Delirium,” Yeasayer’s “Madder Red,” and most of Fever Ray’s visuals.
Klaxons – “Twin Flames” (Dir. Saam Farahmand) (NSFW)
Farahmand’s directed six other music videos for Klaxons, so they’ve worked together for years. But since then it seems like Farahmand’s developed a style that is striking but muted and emotionally distant. See also: his recent clips for Mark Ronson and The xx. Visit NME to watch his “Twin Flames” video.
Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs” Video (Dir. Spike Jonze)
Spike Jonze’s admiration for the band is clear, and it’s clear that he hears something inherently young and rebellious in Arcade Fire’s music (kids don’t like control, parental or political). The rest of his video is up for argument.
White Lies – “Bigger Than Us” (Dir. Jonas & François)
I like the nod to E.T. here — the scene where Elliott and E.T. are separated in the medical tent, and I like the weirdness of the giant candy bar standing in for E.T., though the video loses focus once it starts focusing on the band. Jonas & François have also directed videos for Sebastien Tellier and Kanye West.
Radio Freq – “Turn on the Radio” (Dir. Joel Knoernschild)
It seems like there are a million videos of pretty girls driving down desert roads, and a million others that nonsensically cut away to the band or artist performing somewhere else. I like this video because it shows what happens when the video star and the band finally meet.