The Best Videos Of June According To PlayGround

Ten pearls from last month’s audiovisual crop

We have gone through the ten most outstanding videos of June: the most original ones, with the greatest impact, the most seductive, counting them down from 10 to 1. It’s been a good month (once again).

July has arrived, so it’s time to review what last month offered us as far as audiovisual productions go. Here is the chart of June’s best clips in PlayGround’s opinion, counting down from 10 to 1, and with our comments.

10. Beach House: “Lazuli”

Just as they are about to pass through Oporto’s Optimus Primavera Sound, Beach House premiered the first visual episode from “Bloom” (Sub Pop/Bella Union, 2012). In spite of some close-ups that make one think of a cinematographic video with a certain air of social realism, it’s about strange energies and paranormal occurrences. Directed by Allen Cordell.

9. Baio: “Sunburn Modern”

Wherever we find them, they surround us with that impassive look and their unmoving poses. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings and can’t try their luck, like any of us, in the game of seduction. That is what happens to the plastic-coated star of Baio’s “Sunburn Modern”, also the bass player of Vampire Weekend.

8. Tyler, The Creator and Domo Genesis: “Sam Is Dead”

The video for “Sam Is Dead” is the ninth directed by Wolf Haley and it is, without a doubt, his most cinematographic to date. After the deliriously surreal clips for Rella and “NY (Ned Flander)”, in this case we are submerged in the depths of the jungle to witness a series of battle scenes starring a large number of the crew. As could be no other way, the main character is played by Tyler, who in one of his usual split-personality situations, ends up also being his nemesis. The song forms a part of the compilation “OF Tape Vol 2”, already available via Odd Future Records.

7. Lana Del Rey: “National Anthem”

Remember what A$AP Rocky said a little before releasing the video? “I play JFK and she plays Jackie O. It’s some cool trippy shit, some real 2015 shit. The people will get it in like three years, and that’s the point”. Well, we beg to differ. The clip, with spectacular vintage photography, is more faithful to the official history of John F. Kennedy than Rocky would have us believe; only the roles change. We don’t want to spoil it for you, so we’ll just tell you how it starts: Lana Del Rey with hairspray, like Marilyn Monroe in 1962, sings “Happy Birthday” to her own special Kennedy. And… action!

6. Danny Brown: “Grown Up”

In March, strident rapper Danny Brown showed us his lighter, more retro side with Scion A/V in “Grown Up”, a song in which he recalled his childhood and adolescence in Detroit. Now comes the video to that song, a piece in which Brown shares the starring role with his “child-sized” likeness. Have you ever wondered how Danny Brown messed up his teeth? You have the answer in this video directed by Greg Brunkalla.

5. Beirut: “The Rip Tide”

“The Rip Tide”, the title song of Beirut’s last album to date, already has an official video. One with a simple approach and an unexpected ending. Zach Condon referred to the piece like this:

" I always felt that "The Rip Tide" wasn't fully able to project its own ambitions in song form… no matter how it was performed or recorded, it felt contained by sound alone... I wanted more, as I often do with my music, and this is not a bad thing. Growing to accept a song's limits is part of the process of creating and loving them. Which was why I was so excited to see what Houmam had dug into when he picked "The Rip Tide" out of all others for a video. The concept fit, and the product brought the song somewhere that I had only been able to describe to myself, now available for others to see and feel it much more as I had in the process of writing it." Directed by Houmam Abdallah.

4. Twin Shadow: “Five Seconds”

At the beginning of June, we let you know that Twin Shadow already had the first video clip from “Confess”, “Five Seconds”, ready. This will be the first episode of a series that is expected to be developed over the coming months. It premiered on no less than a giant screen in New York’s Times Square. Since we imagine that most of you didn’t have the opportunity to stop by (nor did we), here is the video; George Lewis Jr.’s idea, developed from a novel by the musician and Eric Green, “Night Of The Silver Sun”. The story could be summarised as “Drive” with Lewis as the star on the back of a vintage motorcycle, instead of driving a Chevy Impala. So there is plenty of violence and gang fights with a touch of pulp. The continuation will be “Patient”, another of the songs included on his second album, on sale starting 11th July. Directed by Keith Musil.

3. Killer Mike: “Big Beast”

R.A.P. Music, the acclaimed collaborative album of Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and El-P (he produces all of the music), is already available via Williams Street. In the video for “Big Beast”, the album’s new single, Thomas C. Bingham does something like the zombie flip side of the renowned “Drive”, with the accent on the gangster factor. The result is just as sharp and intense as the song.

2. Sigur Rós: “Fjögur Píanó”

Sigur Rós’ “ Valtari Mystery Film Experiment” comes to its third episode. The starring song is “Fjögur Píanó” and it is directed by the Israeli Alma Har'el, whom you might know as the winner of last year’s prize for the Best Documentary in the Tribeca Film Festival, for Bombay Beach. Alma has chosen to choreograph the passionate relationship of a couple and their experiences with altered states of consciousness. After seeing this, something tells us that Sigur Rós are going to end up with more than one entry on our list of the best videos of the year.

1. Die Antwoord: “Baby's On Fire”

“Baby's On Fire” is the song chosen by Die Antwoord to get back in front of the cameras. This time, in their twisted minds, with the help of added twist from the artistic team, they have once again set it on the outskirts of a South African city. In this setting, Yo-Landi tries to find love –or a dealer– while her big brother Ninja doesn’t approve of any of her friends. Summing up, it’s the Zef version of Juani. Directed by Ninja and Terence Neale.

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