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

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Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! This week I went with pretty. Just pretty little music videos like Bob Ross paintings. There’s beautiful impressionist stuff, the abstract, the pop art, and even a little gritty urban landscaping if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s one of those weeks that shows off just how well what pleases the eye mixes with what pleases the ear. Pop them peepers, and let’s go.

Octave Minds, “Anthem”

Octave Minds, the collaboration between Boys Noize & Chilly Gonzales, has become a consistent source for mind-bendingly brilliant and beautiful music videos. It was only a month ago that they showed off “Symmetry Slice”, and that was fine and all, but “Anthem” is magic.

Director Rolf Bremer takes us through a highly stylized adventure with an intrepid woman explorer who seeks the peak of a mountain just to jump off of it. It’s like a living slice of 19th century pulp fiction, a breathing tale of an Edwardian adventuress. The concept is simple, but it’s masterfully done and presents the wordless song like a daring short film.

Dee Sada, “Bells and Ships and Songs”

Normally I have this thing against music videos with no narrative. Boring performance-based vids are the worst, but completely random image dumps are a close second. Dee Sada’s “Bells and Ships and Songs” is an exception to the latter.

It’s little more of an exhibition of running yellow paints, which is a little boring, true, but unlike most videos of this type it’s so artfully tied into the progression of the song that it inspires a hypnotic state. You really can just lose yourself in the bright and the black of the image.

Free Time, “Guess Work”

Much as it pains me to admit it down here on out oft-forgotten third coast, the country really can be divided up into New York people and Los Angeles people. Both places have their lights and darks, but they’re different kinds of lights and darks.

“Free Time” is an ode to New York, and New York’s particular brand of rot. It’s a collection of city scenes directed by Johann Rashid where every type of person is pressed up against the lives of their neighbors, up to and including what may be a corpse in a nearby park. It’s dismal fare, but it keeps a kind of hopeful grimness. His is just what happens when there’s no escape. Deal with it.

The Killbirds feat. Intergalactix “My Name is Simon”

When I was a kid I would dance around the room singing Guns n’ Roses tunes pretending to be Axl Rose because my parents were really crappy at policing my pop consumption. Still, it was fun, but it’s nothing compared to the kid in this video. He gets cardboard cutouts and decks them with feather boas, builds backing amps, and even forces his little sister to come sing back-up. Plus, it’s got to be the first kid that played rock star while imagining himself as the keyboard player. That alone deserves full marks!

Tacocat, “Bridge to Hawaii”

Tacocat is one of the most prolific music video bands around, and while what they make is rarely a piece of cinematic genius it is always amusing. In many ways they are the new B-52s, and like that band if you’re willing to open up a little bit on what they’re saying they’ll take you to places you weren’t expecting.

“Bridge to Hawaii” follows the band as they seek to escape from a black and white city full of dull people and boring lives. Unable to afford a real vacation they hold a luau in their tiny jeep. Tome goes to slow motion as they drink and revel themselves into a hyperactive fugue state.

It’s lighthearted, but there’s this intense desperation on the faces of the band as they seek for sun and frivolity while parked on a sterile concrete rooftop. You could look at it as a condemnation of the mass-production mindset that we’re all living in. Or you could just drink from coconuts and play with Silly String. That works, too.

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.