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8.5.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week

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Top Video: Lowell, “The Bells” Director Norman Wong and Lowell have teamed up to put out arguably the most fun music video of the year. Shot on a football field in one long take, you just can’t help but smile at a video that everyone clearly had so much fun making.   Lowell herself skips throughout the action in a dirty school uniform swinging a baseball back, flanked by corpse-faced break dancers. All of the sudden, there are cheerleaders, roller derby girls, a marching band, and more in a parade of lighthearted whimsy that plays like a less creepy version of “Mr. Krinkle”. It’s a pretty silly affair, but one that undeniably entertains.


Favored Nations, “The Setup” It takes a little bit to really understand what is happening in “The Setup”. The video features only one character, a middle aged man in an old, empty, impossibly clean house. Over the course of video he dances, plays cowboys and Indians, and eats dinner. Eventually, you realize that he’s sadly living out all the roles of a traditional nuclear family by himself, right up to pretending to be his own forgotten, wheelchair-bound grandfather in the attic.   It’s a bit repetitive sometimes, but the overall vision is powerful and compelling. There’s also a twist ending that will jar you out of your seat, so make sure you go all the way with this one.


Above & Beyond feat. Alex Vargas, “Blue Sky Action” Some serious work went into “Blue Sky Action”. Director Ken Clark pulls out all the stops on this wastepunk masterpiece. A lone garbage man Wall-E’s his way through life on a trash-ridden, empty Earth. He collects whatever odds and ends he finds that amuse him, but otherwise life is empty and unchaning.   Until a woman lands in her gleaming white spaceshit looking for plant life (Seriously, this whole thing is Wall-E). The man tries to interest her in hopes of finding companionship, but seeing that there’s nothing left on Earth worth scavenging the woman leaves, pursued on motorbike by our tragic hero.   It’s not quite “Knights of Cydonia” or anything that grand, but it’s a small epic, for sure. It’s so rare these days to see a band attempt a video on this scale, and such efforts are usually wasted on mainstream pop that almost never does anything worth mentioning with their resources. Good on everyone involved.


Rubblebucket, “Carousel Ride” I’m an eternal fan of factory videos where strange bosses craft weird products. Things like Sponge’s “Wax Ecstatic” or that stripper-tastic one someone did for Alice Cooper’s “Clones (We’re All)” for example. “Carousel Ride” deserves to be way up on that list as well.   Alexis Boling takes us into an industrial facility where Kalmia Traver and her bandmates stage a rebellion against the company because they are exploiting what looks like a big furry lamprey with hands that is desperate to no longer be tortured and receive hugs. It’s like a Saw film with the Muppets, but it’s pulled off nicely.


“The Raveonettes, “Endless Sleeper” The last video this week is NOT safe for work, and may also be dangerous is you have photosensitive epilepsy. Be advised of that before playing.   Sune Rose Wagner’s video is disturbing and strange. Two women make love on the beach until one of them draws a knife and attacks the other. That’s pretty much it, but between the lyrics and the effects there is a lot more than that going on.   Have you ever had a dream where you did a truly terrible thing to another person? Like, you murdered your spouse or your kids or something like that? Watching this video was exactly like that. The strobe effects and strange time distortions through the footage lend a panicky sleep paralysis vibe to the mess, and you feel intensely worse for having watched it.   That’s why it’s brilliant.


Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.