I had the recent misfortune of witnessing the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards last week. Yes, the channel which now focuses on pregnant teens and slutty Jersey numpties is still running their annual celeb and musicfest backslapping event. This year, Beyoncé announced her pregnancy and 17 year-old Justin Bieber was interviewed by his teenage girlfriend Selena Gomez in front of an audience of millions and they talked about his “wooden snake called Johnson”. Gross.
MTV may no longer be at the cutting edge of the music video visual world but these internet folks certainly are. Here are some video producers restoring my faith in the format:
Yours Truly (http://yourstru.ly)
If you ever needed a prime example of how the internet, free of editorial constraints can benefit creativity in all its forms, San Francisco’s Yours Truly is it. Imagine No Discocrossed with Other Voices with added artist-penned letters. The site showcases independent artists with proper talent like Little Dragon, Villagers, Twin Shadow, Lissie, Austra and tUnE-yArDs in magnetising technicolor.
Black Cab Sessions (http://www.blackcabsessions.com)
It began with a simple concept. Take a trademark London black cab, put some performers in it, drive around and film the whole thing. Since 2007, Daniel Johnson, Lykke Li, Flaming Lips, Weezer, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver and lots of others have performed solitary in the back of the taxi. Next stop: Black Cab Sessions USA. Road trip!
Arbutus Yarns (http://www.arbutusyarns.com)
Myles O’Reilly’s camera work has been mentioned here before and with good reason. His monochrome videos with a stunning eye on the little details of nights out soundtracked by music have already brought him many plaudits, but lately O’Reilly has been moving into short documentary and music videos with his captures of Lisa Hannigan, Villagers and soon, a James Vincent McMorrow music video.
Watch, Listen & Tell (http://www.youtube.com/user/watchlistentell)
Another London-based site which manages to separate itself from the pack with vivid cinematography and colour palette. Watch, Listen & Tell also manages to coax superior acoustic performances from its guests, which have included Young The Giant, Alex Winston, OK Go, Florence & The Machine and Two Door Cinema Club.
If it’s the spirit of early ‘90s auteur music videos you’re after Antville is the ultimate place to find the kind of music videos which blow your mind upon first viewing. The site is curated by aspiring and working music video directors along with those interested in the form and as such, the natural selection of videos is always pulled from the creative barrel rather than the soul-destroying pool. There’s always a pleasant and unknown surprise waiting.
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