Let’s take a moment for Dave Brockie, better known as Gwar’s Oderus Urungus, who died suddenly earlier this week. For decades, Brockie helped to pioneer a distinctly DIY music-video aesthetic. With no YouTube and no TV channels willing to play their videos, Gwar went full-on disgusting, turning every video into a mini-Evil Dead video and gambling on the idea that people would buy their VHS tapes. People did. And for a long time, the band served as an underground inspiration, a grassroots cult phenomenon that showed other bands how they could build and sustain something out of nothing. That era of American underground music is effectively over now. None of this week’s videos bear the slightest trace of Gwar influence, and we’re the worse off for it. We still got some good videos this week, though. They’re below.
5. Vince Staples – “Nate” (Feat. James Fauntleroy) (Dir. Alexi Papalexopulos)
A slow, patient, and unflinching look at what it’s like to grow up in a fucked-up environment, with fucked-up parents. The kid’s utterly blank face tells as many stories as the song.
4. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Simple And Sure” (Dir. BANGS)
The whole film-looped-up-to-look-like-gifs thing has become a music-video cliche in recent years, but there’s something deeply endearing about seeing real people doing their best to recreate the effect, without looped film. Also, I like how this whole story starts out decadent and suddenly goes all Sartre on our collective ass.
3. Sylvan Esso – “Coffee” (Dir. Dan Huiting)
A set of smart, reasoned, varied arguments to support the idea that dancing is awesome, maybe even especially if you’re not falling-down drunk.
2. Small Black – “Real People” (Feat. Frankie Rose) (Dir. Nick Bentgen)
A creeped-out, atmospheric B-movie, delivered to us in jumbled, factitious, isolated moments, so that any sense of narrative disappears and all that we’re left is pure vibe. This is certainly one way to get rid of the clumsy exposition that drags down so many actual B-movies.
1. Garden City Movement – “Move On” (NSFW-ish) (Dir. Michael Moshonov & Lael Utnik)
An entire story of love and heartbreak, composed of nothing but lingering eye contact and carefully-composed establishing shots. A supremely stylized take on Blue Is The Warmest Color that plays out in three minutes rather than three hours.