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

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Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! I have some real treats for you goodie bags this week. Just for fun I present the absolute best music video 2015 has yet to produce, and also the worst video probably ever made for you to point and laugh at. Everything else is terrifying. Sorry about that. Put on the phones and lets roll!

Mount Eerie, “This”

It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s depressing as hell outside even for a cave troll like myself. If you could take all the genetic memory of the dread of winter and shove it into a three-minute music video “This” would be it.

Directed by Peter J. Brant it’s largely a collage of cold, unsettling images. There are gourds shattered on rocky hills and samurai swords being cleaned in icy-looking streams. Underneath that is the sinister and unnerving music of Mount Eerie. I was looking forward to picking up their new album, Sauna, but I’m not sure I can take an hour of scarab beetles clawing out my soul like this video does. Beautiful, brilliant stuff, but it’s not comfortable art.

Rebekka Karijord, “Use My Body While It’s Still Young”

There’s a Rodin statue called She Who Was Once the Helmet-Maker’s Beautiful Wife (Celle qui fut la belle heaulmière) that is a nude of a very old woman. It’s breathtakingly beautiful because it shows us that no matter how battered and bruised and broken our bodies get in life somewhere inside is youth and perfection and a frightful fire. If that statue could be sung into life then Rebekka Karijord’s new video would be that existence.

“Use My Body While It’s Still Young” features an aged dancer played by Siv Ander. Though wrinkled, she’s still strong and graceful, losing herself to a primal dance as Karijord furiously plays her organ behind her. Karijord, who also directed the video, has a tremendous eye for shooting human flesh, lingering on shots of the iron muscles of Ander’s exposed back and the soft, unmarked skin of Karijord’s own. The result is a maenad frenzy that feels like you’ve just had a stiff drink. It’s early to say, but “Use My Body While It’s Still Young” is already my favorite music video of 2015.

 

Mike Mictlan, “so so Straynge”

In 1987 unknown persons managed to crash television signals in Chicago and deliver a famously unhinged and bizarre broadcast dressed as Max Headroom. It’s one of the better know mind fucks in broadcast history, but if you’ve ever actually sat down and watched the footage it feels less like a prank and more like an insane cry for help from someone clearly going mad.

Mictlan’s “so so Straynge” is a lot like that. He and director Adam J. Dunn expertly use cuts and effects to filter Mictlan’s impressive rap skills through a terrifying collage of chopped shots and death images. It’s creepy as hell, and feels more like a terrorist manifesto than a song, which makes it unique and daring as a video.

 

Baby Alpaca, “Roller Coaster”

Baby Alpaca always puts out great work, but “Roller Coaster” might be their finest ever. It’s a pretty basic setup. A young man gets picked up after being stranded by his car on the road and ends up being brought into a strange cultish family dedicated to nature rituals and sex.

You can probably guess the ending just from that description, but Aaron Maurer and Zach MacMillan have a great knack for capturing heat and blood. The key to a great video like this one is the little things that seem out of the ordinary; inconsequential props and oddities scattered around that slowly build an ever bigger picture of the surreal. “Roller Coaster” pulls it off magnificently, and is the best music video of this type since Ulver’s “Magic Hollow”.

 

Dead Cold Inside, “Not Really Living”

I don’t usually do this, but every once in a while a video comes along that is so bad it actually breaks my brain. Coming out of Dayton, Ohio is one of those videos courtesy of Mssrs. Rob Scot and Vincent Nightbane. Dead Cold Inside describes themselves as “nu metal-core industrial experimental metal rapcore”, a description as accurate as calling a drone strike a long-range freedom delivery courier.

“Not Really Living” is filmed at night in a field and apparently edited there as well. Occasionally it takes the daring choice of wildly thrashing around the camera for an effect that is special in the other meaning of the term. On the one hand it’s adorable. Nightbane awkwardly waiting for his cue in the beginning to make rap hands and then utterly failing to sync his flow with the lyrics. There’s also Scot rocking back and forth playing the same riff again and again in a weirdly hypnotic way that feels like time travel because surely no one would just keep doing the exact same thing over and over again for that long.

I freely admit to be a rabid music video hipster. I sneer at the mainstream and applaud the folks with less than 5,000 views as the true geniuses. But you know what? Sometimes I am wrong.

Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called “Sleepers, Wake!” available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.