The summer was a slow time for new music releases, but it proved a spectacular time for new music videos. There were so many outstanding releases over the past two months that we had to exclude clips from site favorites like St. Vincent, Fucked Up, and Bon Iver. Given that we did not publish a column last month, this month’s entry includes ten videos. The entries below feature religious cults, sock puppets, cherry-red Mustangs, and post-modern literary references. Watch and enjoy.
10) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Little Blu House”
Portland’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra is one of dozens of young bands cranking out psychedelia-inspired pop music in 2011. Their self-titled debut, released this summer on Fat Possum, will make you nod your head, dance seductively, and wish you had some drugs. The video for album-highlight “Little Blu House” is exactly what you’d expect it to be.
9) EXITMUSIC – “The Hours”
Another exciting new band to emerge this year (this one without an official release), EXITMUSIC is the Brooklyn-based duo of Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church. The pair only has a few recordings to its name right now; below you’ll find “The Hours,” a haunting, ethereal number with a correspondingly haunting video.
8 ) Lucinda Williams – “Copenhagen”
There’s nothing new about Lucinda Williams. The country crooness has been recording since the late 1970s, but despite her bountiful discography, “Copenhagen” is her first music video. The clip takes an introspective, philosophical look at the emotional consequences of immortality. But with robots.
7) The National – “Exile, Vilify”
“Exile, Vilify” was recorded for the soundtrack to the blockbuster video game Portal 2. The makers of Portal 2, Valve Software, held a public contest to create the best video for the song, with the members of The National sitting as judges. The second-place winner won’t make much sense to you if you haven’t played the game, but the gorgeous animation alone is worth your time. The first-place winner is a rather wry take on the band’s melancholy ethos.
6) Girls – “Vomit”
I’m a 32-year-old man with two external hard drives on which I store music exclusively, so I find the concept of “my favorite band” rather ridiculous. And yet, Girls is my favorite band. The band’s second full-length record, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, will be released on September 13th, and it marks a major step forward. The song begins on a morose, distressing note but concludes on an uplifting wave of gospel faith. Fear not: rock n’ roll music is still here to save you.
5) Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”
You’re about to hear way more about New York songwriter Lizzy Grant, aka Lana del Rey, than you could possibly tolerate. With only this single to her name, Grant’s sultry voice and flair for nostalgia are already garnering truckloads of hype web-wide. Only time will tell if the hype is merited, but she’s certainly off to a good start: the song below is both catchy and moving, and the video does a remarkable job of making the present feel like a longed-for past.
4) Cults – “Go Outside”
This song just won’t go away. Nor should it. A highlight from Cults’ excellent debut, “Go Outside” has been making internet/record store round for over a year. It finally receives video treatment with the clip below, an eerie juxtaposition of the band’s bubblegum and Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid.
3) Bjork – “Crystalline”
Bjork. Directed by Michel Gondry. No further explanation needed.
2) Warpaint – “Warpaint”
Excellent LA-based quartet Warpaint turn in this spectacular clip, courtesy of director Ted Newsome. Dynamic visual shifts, a clear storyline, precise characterization: this video has it all. Any other month it would have been #1.
1) The Decemberists – “Calamity Song”
But not this month. Why? Because of this video, which is based on a scene from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I think that’s all you need to know.
Every 30 days we bring you our five favorite music videos of the month gone by (ok, sometimes 2 months); if you missed any previous entries, click here.