Tennis – Mean Streets

Tennis is at its heart a nostalgic band. Their catchy surf pop hearkens back to ’60s girl groups, sure, but the music itself should remind the listener of lazy drives to and from the beach, perhaps family vacations with the radio scoring the scene. It should come as no surprise then that the new lyric video for single “Mean Streets” encapsulates this aesthetic visually. A woman stands in the center of the screen with a red curtain in the background. The set up seems to refer to recording karaoke at the mall, or something similarly kitschy. As she calmly mouths the lyrics, they appear under her, white lettering in black bars like closed captioning. The little touches here make all the difference: the occasional distortion of the image, the delay in the appearance of the lyrics, and the click of the video tape at the end of the video. Who knew it was possible to miss VCRs?

Rewind to a simpler time with “Mean Streets” above, and pick up Tennis’ Small Sound EP, available now. All of you here in Washington can catch the band at the DC edition of Communion’s November tour, which includes support from ON AN ON, Savoir Adore and more. More details at the links below.

Tickets: Communion DC
RSVP: Facebook

STREAM: Tennis – “Mean Streets”

CHVRCHES – Lies

CHVRCHES‘ music video for “Lies” makes cultural criticism sexier than it’s ever been. The band stands in a dark room with flashing rotating lights behind them and digital lines obscuring their faces. Different scenes are intercut as a couple watches TV from point blank range over dinner, Mad Men like executives discuss business over the phone and a man is strapped into a virtual reality helmet. CHVRCHES are talking about everyday lies: false intimacy, consumption of products and the growing presence of technology in our lives. If the band are liars too, well, so be it, because the truth is that CHVRCHES are selling lies that we can’t get enough of. Check out the video above.

STREAM: CHVRCHES – “Lies”

Dirty Projectors – Impregnable Question

Dirty Projectors‘ new video for “Impregnable Question” opens on beautiful scenes of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. When coupled with the melodious guitar strums and piano chords, it’s downright transcendental. Then the video changes to shots of a man running along the highway by that same landscape in an obvious homage to Forrest Gump. Being obvious doesn’t make it any less beautiful, and his imagined visions of his far flung sweetheart tug at the heartstrings just so. The harmonies of David Longstreth and Amber Coffman can only stand to be enhanced by the visualization of all that longing. See it for yourself above.

Small Black – Breathless

Earlier this year, Small Black, the Brooklyn synth-poppers who emerged from music’s Chillwave phase a few years ago, released their sophomore record for Jagjaguwar, Limits of Desire. It’s a solid, if not spectacular, effort. While the fuzz and haze are toned down a bit, all the hallmarks of the band’s late-night, laconic drone-pop remain: the hiss and reverb, the breathy vocals, the mid-tempo beats, and the dreamy wash of synths. It’s the same Small Black, maybe this time with an ironed shirt and a clean shave.

But while Small Black’s sound seems to have stagnated, its new video recalls the quality that has, from the beginning, set Small Black apart from its peers — a certain uneasiness lurking beneath the blissful sonic veneer. The video for “Breathless” highlights that angst behind the nostalgia by juxtaposing the longing memories of good-times-had with the darker, chaotic moments from those same flashbacks — parties spun out of control, relationships on the fritz, etc. The video offers a glimpse of the emotional power Small Black might wrest if they pushed more confidently into uncharted territories.

The Colourist – Little Games

ATG Records artist The Colourist have just dropped an alternate video for their infectious single “Little Games.” The video is directed, edited, and produced by the band, and features a grizzly slo-mo battle between a leather jacket-clad man with a bamboo spear and Hulk Hogan-lookalike wielding nunchucks. Turns out, the only solution is to jam out on guitars and laugh menacingly, or so The Colourist have taught us. Check out the video above, and grab a copy of the Little Games / Yes Yes 7″ over at the ATG Records shop.

STREAM: The Colourist – “Little Games”

Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air (Ft. Purity Ring)

Three paths converge in a deciduous forest: that of a plaid-clad truck driver, the doe (a deer) he recently recently hit with his truck, and a skinny-dipping doe he’d really like to slay. At first glance unrelated, these three story lines that make up the video for Jon Hopkins & Purity Ring collab “Breathe This Air” ultimately converge in one climactic, defining moment. As any good music video ought, the Anthony Dickenson-directed film closely mirrors its auditory component, combining the EDM-based Hopkins’s danceability with Megan James’s ethereality, a fusion that is at once disruptive and soothing, and slightly NSFW.

This is far from Hopkins and Purity Ring’s first meeting of minds: Hopkins recently remixed the song, “Amenamy,” off of Purity Ring’s Shrines, and they spent much of August performing together in LA. The creative symbiosis and mutual respect the artists feel for each other is tangible, resulting in an unexpected but welcome overlapping of talents.

Check out the rest of Hopkins’s June-released Immunity and watch the video above…just not in front of your boss/mom/kids.

STREAM: Jon Hopkins – “Breathe This Air (Ft. Purity Ring)”

Portugal. The Man – Atomic Man

Portugal. The Man has just released a music video for “Atomic Man,” the new single from their forthcoming album Evil Friends. The video is captivating, featuring black and white still photo portraits of the band members strung together at high speeds so as to create the illusion of motion.

More intriguing than the video’s cinematography, however, is the fact that Danger Mouse produced the new album. The taste of Evil Friends that we get from “Atomic Man” suggests that the Mouse has brought to the table the same accessible rock production value that garnered Grammy’s for the Black Keys’ El Camino.

Post War Years – Glass House

British synth-pop quartet Post War Years recently released a video for “Glass House,” the title track from the band’s upcoming EP.  The follow-up to 2011′s “All Eyes” video, “Glass House” picks up where its predecessor ended. Director Tobias Stretch once again creates a beautifully nightmarish world in which disfigured puppets have seemingly inherited the earth. For those who haven’t seen the ”All Eyes” video, imagine watching a Jim Henson marathon while tripping your face off. The puppets chase the heroine in a car until she inevitably joins them on a joy ride. “Glass House” is even more cartoonish, with its brighter color scheme and oversized clown villains. This time, the girl is chased through a glass house — the only literal element in this video — by said clown villains and falls in love with a Technicolor robot creature. This dizzying scene is perfectly set to Post War Years’ driving, dreamy acid-pop. The results are just as one would imagine: terrifying, confusing and enthralling.

Post War Years’ Glass House EP is set to drop July 16 via Chess Club Records.

MP3: Post War Years – “Glass House”

Sigur Ros – Eg Anda

Sigur Ros tend to match their beautiful, surreal compositions with equally stunning videos. The Icelandic dream weavers’ visual treatments for songs like “Glosoli” and “Hoppipola” rank, at least personally, among some of the best videos produced in recent years. The band’s latest for “Ég Anda,” a track off their new album Valtari, takes on a far more experimental tone. Directed by Ragnar Kjartansson as the first of a 12-part “mystery film experiment,” the video is an odd, disturbing, but ultimately educational primer on how to save a choking victim. Check out the strangeness above.

James Blake – A Case of You

In a live session for BBC Radio 1 last February, James Blake took a break from his warped electronic modus operandi and stunned the music world with a soulful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” The track has since garnered all sorts of critical acclaim and found a place for itself in the classic covers hall of fame, a position cemented by the striking new video accompaniment. Shot in London last week and directed by film-maker Seb Edwards, the visual consists of actress Rebecca Hall (best known for her roles in The Prestige, Vicky, Cristina Barcelona, and Frost/Nixon) in a dramatically-lit bedroom pantomiming the gamut of intense relationship-related emotions. Hall’s heartrending performance is simple enough to shine in its own right without overwhelming the original achingly beautiful poetry and cover vocals, preserving and complementing the power of each. Watch it below.

“A Case of You” is now available on Blake’s Enough Thunder EP and the deluxe edition of his self-titled debut, both via Atlas.

MP3: James Blake – “A Case Of You”