Music Archive

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    Every time a new music video by Us (AKA Chris Barrett and Luke Taylor) is sent round the studio I find myself stubbornly insisting that they can’t possibly have topped their previous efforts, and every single time the London-based directing duo seem to prove me wrong. Their latest creation for British singer-songwriter and producer Labrinth is potentially the finest yet in fact, combining what is becoming their trademark one-shot effect with a brilliantly simple storyline. The video follows Labrinth through the ups and downs of making a record, from TV interviews and squabbling record label execs to shooting videos in flash cars and performing onstage, exposing a side that usually remains concealed. It’s a natural fit for Us’ pared-back aesthetic, where cameras, ladders and extras are all included in the shot. Have they upped the stakes again? We reckon so.

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    “Can I email you back on Monday? I’m actually in the desert this weekend,” was the reply we got from Tom Gould when we got in touch to see what he was up to a couple of weeks back. It might sound like the filmmaker’s equivalent of the dog eating your homework, but in Tom’s case it’s a wholly credible excuse, and even more so now that we can see the fruits of his labour.

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    How refreshing to see a music video that isn’t three minutes of slowly buffering and ultimately mind-bending CGI. The videos we cherish are always a combination of great idea plus low budget – which is what makes this new one for White Fence so perfect. Why has no one thought about putting a lead singer of a band in a prison for a music video before? I love the idea that no matter how much we worship bands and frontmen, if you threw them in the clanger for even an hour they wouldn’t last five minutes.

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    This is great! Haim have actually had a really great back catalogue of videos so far, proving to everyone that this medium is still mega-important as to how a band is seen (Metronomy also do this well). Now I may not recognise many (any) of the trendy music names that star in this video, but what I do know a lot about is chat shows. The whole video is a pastiche of ubiquitous telly fodder like Jerry Springer, Jeremy Kyle and Oprah – the gross chairs, beige set-design and on-screen graphics that remind you of Saved by the Bell that we all know and love.

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    You know how it is; you’re filming your latest music video, taking instructions from cue cards administered by an overbearing director when suddenly he’s distracted and is no longer showing you what to do. Do you stop what you’re doing and risk looking like a chump or just keep on dancing until the next cue card flashes up? This is the great existential debate at the heart of Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace, which sees him taking this line of inquiry to extremes; crashing cars and terrorising families in the process. Fun times!

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    Is anyone else slightly unnerved by how happy Bill Callahan has been of late? His songs no longer deal with loneliness and somewhat terrifying obsession and now dwell on nicer, every day things such as driving in the car with your loved one as a snoozing pillion passenger. Yes I know it’s nicer to listen to songs about that sort of thing, but I kind of miss wigging out to some of his earlier classics where he would, for example, go into stark lyrical detail about arranging a woman’s lingerie into the shape of a little dolly on the bed while she’s out.

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    Pretty much anything created in the style of an old video game is fine by us. This partiuclar pixel art music video created by animator Mattis Davier is a thrilling, erotic voyage into creepy suburbia where we’re faced with a Twin Peaks style horror story and a lot of visuals that kind of remind me personally of the Are You Afraid of The Dark? intro.

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    It’s not jolly, but it’s pretty darn good. Daniel Wolfe’s short film for Paolo Nutini’s Iron Sky starts with what looks like grainy documentary footage accompanied by a low ringing sound. Don’t worry, you probably haven’t just developed tinnitus; I think he’s making a point about the unnerving, grating, inescapable difficulties faced by modern society. If this sounds poncey, listen to the lyrics – “in this harsh reality, mass confusion” – and watch the montage; a man beating an octopus against a concrete floor, an Orthodox priest breathing deeply, a young girl smoking, a man swinging incense, a power station, a man writhing in pain covering his ears. And drugs, lots of people taking drugs.

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    On 25 August 2014 XL Recordings launch Pay Close Attention, a one-off compilation album that spans the London label’s 25-year history. Over the years XL have worked with everyone who’s anyone in the industry, starting with underground electronic acts like The Prodigy (at one point they weren’t famous) and Hip Hop artists like House Of Pain, as well as Adele, Radiohead, Dizzee Rascal, The XX, Ratatat, Vampire Weekend and MIA. See why we’re getting excited?

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    We love an underdog over at It’s Nice That, and what better way to source one and plant them in front of your eyes than with a handy website designed for that express purpose? Forgotify takes songs which have never ever been listened to on the go-to music provider and puts them in the limelight for their moment of fame, whether it’s Young Person’s Guide to Rachmaninoff, the Mini All Stars with You’re My #1 or a banging tune by the Bopcats.

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    Lana Del Rey is something of an opinion splitter in the studio, so it’s with great relish that we’re posting her highly-anticipated new video for Ultraviolence. In a glorious twist from the super long epic Tropico that she released in December, it’s incredibly lo-fi and brings to mind that first video for Video Games. Directed to feel like a home video made by her husband on their wedding day, it focuses pretty heavily on Lana herself; putting her veil on, eating an orange and walking to the church. Whatever you think of it, it’ll likely make you long to whack out a Super 8 camera and start writhing around in a wedding dress. Which, let’s face it, we all want to do secretly.

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    I love how Beck is always pushing the boat out and doing something that bit more creative than other recording artists. Remember when he released stickers with his album so you could design your own CD artwork? Or that time he discussed the meaning of creativity with Doug Aitken for his show at the Liverpool Biennial? Or his astonishing Song Reader? Exactly.

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    Err, where has Jenny Lewis been for the past few years? She could have been running some sort of underground, political guerilla group, or designing jewellery, or maybe she was just locked in a cupboard. What I’m getting at is that it just doesn’t matter in the slightest – because she’s back with a totally killer video that she’s directed, and we all know that 99.9% of the time a brilliant, timely music video is the perfect solution to a difficult comeback.

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    If you’re working on your summer bod right now then you can either look away or take some inspiration from the guys in this music video. Some people are into the whole muscle thing, but I can tell you now that for me this is way more terrifying than it is a turn-on, I mean look at them! The shoulders of these muscle-men are the width of a small truck and their waists are teeny tiny, giving them a strange Donkey Kong look about them. Odd, but intriguing.

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    The description of this video reads: “A dancing egg wreaks havoc when people can’t take their eyes off him.” I mean as far as concepts go, that’s pretty strong. Basically a guy in an egg costume (note to self: purchase an egg costume) goes around distracting people as they get on with their day. It was created by directorial duo A Very Successful Business quite literally for a laugh. “We created it just for the fun of making it, and to add a bit of surreal silliness back into the world,” co-founder Dulcie told us. Sure, this isn’t a video that’s going to go down in the top ten music videos of all time lists, but it made every single person in the It’s Nice That office laugh, and surely that counts for something. Well done, egg-lads!

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    There are some people in the world who just ooze coolness and FKA twigs is one of them, who knew Gloucstershire was able to produce such fine specimens of slick elegance?

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    Say what you like about music videos, for me the most successful have to be two things: simple and cool. Sound easy? It’s not, but when you think of any fantastic music video that’s stuck in your mind for years afterwards, it’s usually both those things combined seamlessly to create something magic (see Michel Gondry’s famous Chemical Brothers video). Back in the present day, this video for Uumellmahaye (gesundheit!) by Lithuanian artist Manfredas ticks the boxes perfectly. Director Ruta Kiskyte assembled some enormous inflatable letters in a disused plaster dump in the middle of Lithuania and got a guy to take his clothes off. The question is, is the naked man going to pop the smoke-filled letters we see before us? Wait, what’s that in his hand? Is he? He’s not…Oh yes, he’s going to bloody pop the letters! Perfect.

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    I love how OK GO just drop a sensational new music video every now and again like it’s no big deal. If you haven’t seen their insane back catalogue of music videos so far (come on, keep up) then go to YouTube and watch so you don’t sound like a total noob when everyone’s talking about this in about there hours time. If you have then check out this brand new video created by Special Guest and directed by Aaron Duffy, Damian Kulash Jr. and Bob Partington.

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    I’m going to admit to a certain bias towards Nicos Livesey’s latest animation before I say anything more about it. As a teenager every bag and garment I owned was plastered with patches that I’d picked up in Camden – or at a horrible little shop in my hometown called Tiger Lily – paying homage to any number of death metal bands I was obsessing over at the time (and some embarrassingly poor nu-metal ones too). I couldn’t get enough of them. But in spite of this penchant for embroidered badges I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Tharsis Sleeps will appeal even to those who don’t like to wear their bands on their sleeves.

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    Olimpia Zagnoli is an illustrator we’re fond of. Her application of bold shapes and bright colours to elucidate the subtlest of social observations is right up our street, and it turns out to be exactly the kind of work which translates easily to public places, as she proved last year witht his cool project. So what happens then when an illustrator this talented turns her hand to art direction, and applies the same rules to moving picture?

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    Here’s an exclusive for all you lucky lunchtime lurkers, the premiere of We Were Evergreen’s brand new video Belong is happening right here, right now. Rather than a smörgåsbord of poignant close-ups and intricate instruments, We Were Evergreen has kicked it up a notch by joining forces with the ever brilliant, Kate Moross for the visuals.

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    Basement Jaxx are currently teetering on the cusp of releasing the first new music that they’ve made in absolutely ages, and I’m sure it won’t dampen anybody’s excitement to know that the visual accompaniment to their new song Unicorn does indeed feature a unicorn. It’s one that’s been magicked up by video artist and animator Tomek Ducki, who’s responsible for no small number of mind-bogglingly good animated shorts. This one is a true tribute to the 80s soulful disco culture that Basement Jaxx value so highly, with flashing wormy creatures, dancing under spotlights, and unicorn horns with minds of their own running riot all over the place. I think you have to see it to believe it.

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    Four years ago designer and photographer Anna Brooks was one of our Graduates class of 2010, wowing us in particular with her twist on the familiar class portrait. It seems apt that just as we launch this year’s graduate scheme we find out there’s a new string to her bow. In this music video for Isabel Broox’ single Sleep we follow a couple through the course of a day – so far so standard.

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    Metronomy frequently astound us when it comes to producing videos and album artwork – it was only a heartbeat ago that they had Michel Gondry direct this absolute stonker of an audio-visual offering – so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that their latest one is so good, but we are anyway. Directed by Daniel Brereton and animated by Matt Lloyd, the video for Reservoir uses felt-tip animation in what might be the best way we’ve ever seen. Watch out for the band’s voiceover towards the end and just see if you aren’t utterly won over. Can’t wait to watch this one in all its analogue, homemade glory on an actual TV screen, speakers blaring.

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    It’s always a joy to hear from filmmaker, photographer and long-time friend of the site Thomas Brown, especially when he comes bearing glad tidings of a new project. This time he’s created the video for Alex Banks’ new single All You Could Do, alongside set designers Lightning and Kinglyface, and their visual treatment fits the urgent, slightly unnerving music perfectly. There’s lots of imagery that sears itself onto the brain and Thomas has the confidence to disorientate the viewer from start to finish. Typically he wears his talents lightly; so while on the one hand he describes the work as “an embodiment and exploration of energy and light,” in the same breath he admits it’s “bonkers…It involves a Burroughs-esque dream machine, truly trippy visuals and Brighton going apeshit.” He’s not wrong.

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    It’s always nice when two of your favourite artists are brought together in some way, when one kind of art form inspires another. Great collaborators often produce great work: I’m thinking of Michael Gondry’s music video for Björk, or Dali’s dream sequence for Hitchcock, or Keith Haring painting Grace Jones. So I was very excited to see Markus Hofko, a.k.a the Bow, a.k.a Rainbowmonkey, a New Zealand based graphic designer and digital artist, making a video for Flying Lotus’ shimmering track Phantasm (feat. Laura Darlington).

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    There’s a reason why everyone stopped watching Pimp My Ride and that’s because the before-and-after process isn’t as effective when you’re making something look fundamentally worse. In this much more appealing makeover tale, director Laurie Lynch has taken a vehicle and transformed it into something inexplicably better, and used it the new video for I Wanna Feel by Second City.

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    Sure the branding for Daft Punk’s merchandise leans towards the more sexist types of adverts from the 70s, but boy is it done well. The tongue in cheek posters that look like something out of an old copy of LIFE magazine are promoting the French duo’s latest range of merchandise, which in itself is as cheesy as the ads.

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    Bankers have been the butt of a number of jokes over the past few years. They’re easy prey for satirists, what with their wholesale destruction of the global economy and flagrant disregard for fiscal responsibility. But Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace’s Money adds a whole new level of surrealism to banking satire. In it we see an upwardly mobile yuppy climb the city ladder by unusual means. You see it’s not through tidy hedge fund management that he gains the respect of his bosses, it’s his badass dancing skills, and they gain him entry into a weird and wonderful finale that I really don’t want to spoil for you. See for yourselves…

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    As far as we can tell the only criteria Leif Podhajsky has for collaborating with a musical artist is their current level of cool. A swift scroll through his now expansive portfolio reveals nothing but exquisite imagery for the very finest artists of the moment. Usually he seems to work for musicians on the cusp of global success (Foals, Tame Impala and Lykke Li being perfect cases in point) but his latest collaboration is with someone much more established; Kelis.

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    Beautiful video here from the mystic Brooklyn siren that is Sharon van Etten. It was directed by Michael Palmieri whose impressive back-catalogue of music videos includes the likes of The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian, Foo Fighters and Beck. In this video for Sharon he’s taken her song title Taking Chances quite literally, setting her in a spiritual environment surrounded by smoking cups, plants, and classical, illustrated tarot cards. “When I first heard the song the lyrics immediately made me think about the opening sequence to the great Agnes Varda film Cleo from 5 to 7, one of my favorites,” Michael says of the video.

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    Nothing fails to warm my cockles and get the loose change in my wallet dancing about to be spent quite like Record Store Day. If the whole festival wasn’t good enough, Secret 7" is in their third year of bringing together a holy union of artists and musicians and have just announced some big-name creatives who have contributed artwork for this exciting project.

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    We can all get pretty wrapped up in process, but even the most mindbendingly unusual approach can be considered a failure if the final piece doesn’t stand on its own two feet creatively speaking. Young directorial duo Santiago Carrasquilla and Joe Hollier – who work together as Santiago and Joe – have shown they understand this with their new video for Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s single Everything is Everything. The process is certainly noteworthy as the pair filmed hours of live action footage and uploaded it onto an iPad, which they then scanned as the films played out.

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    I have a reputation here in the It’s Nice That studio for being somewhat conservative so excuse me if this is a little awkward. The Jullien brothers aka Jean and Nicolas have produced a new video for The Cowards’ new single Statues and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty smutty. But you know what? These guys can make even the most filth-tastic act seem kind of charming, such is their animation prowess. So sit back and submit to the naughtiness and let’s never talk of this again.

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    I often feel that lyric videos were made for me and my fellow kids of the 80s and 90s . If you turned teenager in Smash Hits’s heyday then you too will recall tearing eagerly at the perforated edges of the lyrics to various Sean Paul belters and trying desperately (but to no avail) to learn every word so that you could sing along to Top of the Pops come Friday.

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    This week’s music video gush is from director David Wilson. He’s made unforgettable videos from this saucy banger for the Arctic Monkeys, to this even saucier one for Tame Impala. His knack for taking a good idea and injecting some sexy weirdness and alluring visuals into it is making him in very high-demand at the moment. Who better to tell us about his favourite ever music video? Here he is…

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    On the weeks that NTS Radio don’t do our mixtapes for us we do them ourselves in a cheerful attempt at looking cool. People still like Dire Straits, right? So let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that NTS have taken the helm once more and treated us to a very, very good pile of music. This time they’ve got electronic music producer Lukid to collate some of his favourite tracks. Fancy a listen? There is literally nothing stopping you. Here he is to introduce this spectacular Friday mixtape:

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    We like Cass McCombs. For his name, mainly, then his music, then for his ability to make powerful songs like this one that pay tribute to spectacular actresses like the late, great Karen Black. Karen was one of those oddly sexy women who commanded every film she was in with a magical kind of electricity and force, she was a mysterious dark horse that never really got the level of notoriety she deserved. Cass penned a track with Karen, then asked her husband Stephen Eckelberry to help make an extraordinary video to accompany it.

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    King Krule has blown up over the past twelve months. The 19-year-old one-man band has smashed into music’s collective consciousness with a decidedly arrogant swagger and a selection of tunes that belie his tender age. In fact he’s so popular that even the late, great Alfred Hitchcock wants to appear by his side, topping and tailing his gravity-defying new video in which the young south Londoner (with the help of director Jamie-James Medina) pays homage to the legendary British director’s infamous cinematic quirks with a video that plays out like one big MacGuffin.

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    Fancy taking a walk through a fuchsia world of palm trees, ancient runes and digital architecture? Follow us, friend. The soundtrack to this journey will be a thrilling, shiveringly good cover of Animal Collective’s worldwide party hit My Girls. As well as being a song that will easily soundtrack any good memory you have stored in your brain at any time, it’s also a treasured amulet of modern music and cannot be covered or remade without some kind of fuss being made. In my opinion, both the cover and video of this remake are spectacular. 80s crooners Tears for Fears have done a smashing job on the vocals whilst American musician and artist Vinyl Williams (real name Lionel) has made a very impressive if mildly headache-inducing video for it. Also, turns out they do say “adobe slats”.