By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 27, 2012 at 12:04PM
In case you missed it, we resurrected our old Videodrome column a month or so ago (first installment here, second here): our semi-regular showcase for the best music videos around. Since the form has given the world game-changing helmers in both the blockbuster and arthouse realms, it's always important to keep an eye on promos, and indeed, one could argue that there's more invention to be found in the short-form than there is in features. So, with no further ado, the five best music videos we've seen in the last few weeks. As ever, any tips and suggestions are more than welcome.
Niki & the Dove - "Tomorrow" (dir. Nadia Marquant Otzen)
Excited about "Prometheus?" So are we. And, it would seem, Swedish electro outfit Niki & The Dove, as the video for the lead single off their imminent album Instinct, has an appealing retro sci-fi feel that's undoubtedly reminiscent of Ridley Scott's "Alien" (thanks in part, to a natty spacesuit from London designer Mrs. Jones) -- squint, and the singer could almost be the star of Scott's prequel. Directed by relative newcomer Nadia Marquand Otzen, a London-based Dane who got her start in photography, it's beautifully lit and shot with some impressive effects for what we can't imagine was a bank-breaking budget.
The Shins - "The Rifle's Spiral" (dir. Jamie Caliri)
As videos move away from television and begin to appear primarily online, we're seeing more and more innovation, and the latest clip from Zach Braff's favorite band The Shins is a good example: it premiered in a 3D version designed to be watched on the glasses-free Nintendo 3DS. We have to confess we haven't seen that take, but the stop-motion clip by director Jamie Caliri is impressive enough in only two dimensions. Influenced by "Hugo" and by cult illustrator Edward Gorey, it's a beautiful surreal few minutes of sinister magicians and their vengeful rabbit. The video suggests that Caliri is ready to move into the feature world, and indeed, that's what he's planning.
Liars - "No. 1 Against The Rush" (dir. Todd Cole)
Brooklyn's ever-shifting dance/punk/math-rock/whatever band Liars have always been on the darker side of the equation, and that's encompassed in the video for the first single of their next record, "No. 1 Against The Rush," which follows a deeply sinister middle-aged man who drives through LA and kidnaps young men, sticking them in the back of his dry cleaning van. It's not the most uplifting video you'll see all year, but the clip, from director Todd Cole (who's worked with No Age and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the past) is a perfect match for the bleak sound of Angus Andrews' band. NSFW for brief language.
tUnE-yArDs - My Country (dir. Mimi Cave)
There are few videos that can't be improved with a brace of incredibly cute kids, and the latest from the brilliant tUnE-yArDs only goes to prove this. The video for album opener "My Country" sees Merrill Garbus rocking out in some kind of art installation with a group of precocious, hilarious pre-teens, and it's endlessly, rewatchably charming, and certainly makes us want to be in the gang, or at least watch some kind of "School Of Rock" remake starring the kids. Between this and her video for the same artist's "Bizness," director/artist/choreographer/dancer Mimi Cave is someone to keep an eye on.
Mark Foster, A-Trak & Kimbra - Warrior (dir. DANIELS)
Combining the guy from Foster The People and the girl who guests on Gotye's "Somebody You Used To Know" would seemingly be designed to create some kind of perfect storm of irritating, inescapable omnipresence, but actually, the latest track from Converse's 3 Artists, 1 Song project (which has previously featured lineups like Best Coast, Vampire Weekend and Kid Cudi, and Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000) is actually pretty decent. Seeing the duo team up with DJ A-Trak, it's a bouncy electro number, and the video sees them drawn into a world of Lucha Libre wrestling. It comes from DANIELS (aka Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), and their impressive, 'Scott Pilgrim'-esque camera work helps show why they're one of our favorite rising stars in the promo world these days.