Hey, no new Beyoncé video this week! Actually, this week’s list is pretty much entirely comprised of inventively low-budget indie rock videos (or, in a couple of cases, indie-dance videos that might as well be indie rock). They’ve got plots and costumes and ideas, and at least a couple of them were probably released right around Halloween on purpose. Each of them is essentially as good as all the others, so ranking them wasn’t easy, and there were a few — Mister Heavenly, for instance — that are practically as good but still couldn’t squeak into the list. Nice work, indie rock (and indie-dance) directors of the world!
1. Real Estate – “It’s Real” (Dir. Weird Days)
Dogs! Dogs are the best. That one with the underbite? The chihuahua who stands on its hind legs? Those three with the bow ties, all looking up expectantly at the same time? Forget it. Game over. So good. My only real problem with this video is that the members of Real Estate are in it, hogging up valuable camera time that could’ve been given to more dogs.
2. High Places – “Sonora” (Dir. Keith Musil)
I can’t believe I didn’t realize this until commenter Josh Diesel pointed it out, but this gory, surreal spectacle of a video appears to be a live action Fangoria-ready retelling of the popeye story — the spinach, the grotesquely enlarged forearm, the tattoo, the daring rescue of the tall and skinny person, everything. Other than the gender reversal, the head-squishing, and the total absence of corncob pipes and hah-kuhkuhkuhkuhkuhs, it’s really exactly the same. Pour out a little for Bluto.
5. Seventeen Evergreen – “Polarity Song” (Dir. Terry Timely)
The ski-masked figures seem like they’re terrorizing the thrift-shop denizens at first, but it turns out they’re just letting them into their everything-knitted Etsy wonderland, and when they get back to the thrift shop, things get a lot more fun. Timely’s video does much with an unacknowledged reality of hipster-kid life: Thrift shops are dank, lightless, ugly, fucking depressing places, and great thrift scores are only really impressive because you managed to stay in the store long enough to find something.
4. Soko – “I Thought I Was An Alien” (Dir. Soko)
In recent years, we’ve seen an overabundance of low-budget indie videos with Instagram-style fake-vintage cinematography, winsomely cute romantic storylines, and bad masks. This is all of that, but it’s done with a light touch and a sense of humor, and that’s enough for it to completely transcend its milieu. I mean, that sex scene? Very funny! Not a huge surprise that Spike Jonze is somehow involved.
5. Modeselektor – “Shipwreck” (Feat. Thom Yorke) (Dir. Tony T. Datis)
Tough little bastard survives zombie apocalypse, outruns and then befriends Great Dane, MacGuyvers together an electric light for no discernible purpose. You really need more than that?