Most big indie types knew better than to release videos this week, seeing as how the entire music internet is raging out in Austin and the blog-feeds are slowing to crawls. But this week saw plenty of striking videos emerge from unusual suspects, be it Korean pop superstars (that’s right, BigBang sighting #2 in two weeks) or chaotic Brooklyn internet-rap insurgents. Check below for our picks, and please note that the Shoes’ video with all the Jake Gyllenhaal throat-slashings fucked me up too much for me too include it. Your mileage may vary.
5. Joey Bada$$ – “Survival Tactics” (Feat. Capital Steez) (Dir. Creative Control)
The hilariously named Joey Bada$$ is a 17-year-old Brooklyn rapper, which means he wasn’t even born yet when Nas’s Illmatic came out and perfected the sort of forbidding, incisive slow-lope boom-bap he’s doing on breakout track “Survival Tactics.” But Joey and buddy Capital Steez do that style with an infectious youthful immediacy, and the grimy video plays around with Occupy Wall Street signifiers and generally makes for a crazy-striking debut.
4. Diplo – “Express Yourself” (Feat. Nicki Da B) (Dir. @LILINTERNET) (NSFW-ish)
Diplo’s inevitable trip into the New Orleans sissy bounce scene is harder and more aggressive than most of the stuff we’ve heard from scene crossover stars like Big Freedia, and so @LILINTERNET makes the wise decision to highlight that hardness by turning this ass-shaking marathon into something less inclusive and more borderline-threatening. It’s fun and intense at the same time, and New Orleans just always looks awesome on camera.
3. Flatbush Zombies – “S.C.O.S.A.” (Dir. The Madbury Club)
I am constitutionally partial to dudes-rapping-in-abandoned-warehouses videos, and this is about as good as one of those videos can get in 2012. After this and the equally great “Thug Waffle,” this Brooklyn duo has shown that they know how to look freaky-insane on camera, and that is a valuable skill. (They are also good at rapping.) Bonus points for somehow making the act of smoking weed look ominous.
2. Orbital – “New France” (Dir. Ian Bucknole)
Some next-level stuffed-lion puppetry went into this video about a toy who tries to break away from its kid and ends up wanting desperately to get back home. It helps that the lion’s night out with his buddies just looked extra-squalid and depressing. And as a father, I am absolute mush for anything about the bond between little kids and their toys. You should’ve seen me at the end of Toy Story 3; I was a mess.
1. BigBang – “Fantastic Baby” (Dir. Seo Hyun Seung)
We used to make things in this country. Among those things were nonsensical high-gloss music videos that made your brain explode in another way every five seconds or so. Not anymore. We’ve totally given up worldwide-leader status in that department to South Korea, where incredible stuff like this comes out all the time. BigBang, almost certainly the greatest boy band on earth right now, came close to topping this list last week with their breezily ridiculous “Bad Boy” video. That was awesome, but this — a candy-colored dystopia of dancing dragons and gas-masked rioters and hairstyles that laugh in the face of God — this is another thing entirely. If you’re in an indie band, please watch this and thing long and hard before releasing another Instagram-looking mediocrity into the world.