It may sound funny to hear, but we are in a true golden age of music videos. Sure it’s been at least a decade or two since MTV’s true cultural heyday, and years since they, or even VH1, have programmed much in the way of actual music. And yeah, all you seem to see on those channels now is celebrity reality shows and angsty dramas about teens...who are also, well, teen werewolves!
Yet online, the form continues to thrive. Every week we are treated to music videos -- professional, amateur or fan-made -- from artists with a new single, or a particularly artful glimpse at a new emerging band. Some are incredibly detailed productions, and some are intimate lo-fi efforts. And I’m constantly blown away by some really fun things to that makes me hear a song in a new way.
But it’s possible you might’ve missed a few of them, so here’s a few of our favorites from this past week.
Ben Folds Five + Fraggle Rock, "Do It Anyway"
Is there anything better than Muppet dancing? The frantic waving arms, the bopping head, the hyper bouncing up and down. Reunited punk piano trio Ben Folds Five used this adorableness to its advantage by teaming up with the vintage Fraggle Rock crew for their latest single, "Do It Anyway." And if you thought Fraggles were cute on their own, Fraggles headbanging in slow-mo are even cuter. Also, points to the band for not including Marjory the Trash Heap, who scared the bejesus out of me as a child. (Katie Bishop)
Cat Power, "Cherokee"
It opens with a thoroughly distressed woman alone against a stark landscape: It's a desolate Breaking Bad desert meets Mad Max post-apocalypse. But when the truck rolls up with the guys with the futuristic looking guns (or are those Supersoakers?) and the shambling zombie-like creatures pop up, you know the video for Cat Power’s "Cherokee" was going to be an otherworldly trip at the end of the world. The cinematic video was directed by Chan Marshall herself, and it’s a perfect and incredibly bizzaro backdrop for the serrated electronic beats and synthesizers that make up Cat Power’s reinvented musical direction on her superb new album Sun. (Mike Katzif)
Flying Lotus, "Putty Boy Strut"
When I hear the music of visionary electronic music producer Flying Lotus, I immediately try to deconstruct what he's doing. There are so many disparate parts, all working together like one of those Rube Goldberg machines to create something larger and grander. Flying Lotus’ jazz-inflected dance music can overtake you with mood and rhythm, it's a hazy and completely stunning with a set of nice headphones. Just like his tiny interlocking melodies, the animated video Fly Lo's song "Putty Boy Strut" (from his great new record Until Quiet Comes) perfectly captures that feeling. With imaginatively rendered cartoon machines begin eating other robots, quickly swelling into a larger and larger robot, it’s a lovely illustration of how electronic-based music can sound in your head. (Mike Katzif)
Want more? Here are three other videos you should be sure to watch:
-- Wilco, "Sunloathe"
-- Frank Ocean, "Pyramids"
-- Tame Impala, "Elephant"