Vote or Die: The Last VJ's Top Five Videos of the Week

Welcome back to The Last VJ, music fans. The music video as an art form is as unique and brilliant as it is now once again underground. To perfectly mesh music with a film director's vision is to empower both of those forms beyond the sum of their parts. If you can't see the live show, then at least you can see the movie that it inspired. That's what we celebrate here in our weekly showcase of the best of the best. Think that the music video died when MTV realized that audiences would watch drunken orange people at the beach? Think again.

Here come the heroes.

Worhol, "The Darkness" Man, the Katy goth-metal act simply cannot be kept down! They enter the third week of being featured, tying them for the longest running holders of the title in the short history of the column. I received word from singer Ashley Worhol that "The Darkness" is building a worldwide audience, being played all across America and now on stations in Europe. Part of that is undeniably that this video kicks ass.

REWIND: Last Week's Music Video Roundup

Baby Alpaca, "Wild Child" Speaking as someone who has trod that path before himself, it is really, really hard to make a video comprised mostly of someone just walking and turn out a good product. Even Leonard Cohen barely managed it. Chris Kittrel and his mates in Baby Alpaca pull it off nicely.

What differentiates it from your average "Passionate artist wandering in search of meaning" trope is the sheer brilliance of some of the shots. Kittrel trudges up a sand dune that slowly and almost impossibly crumbles beneath each step. Bit he never stops, never breaks stride, even as the Earth itself threatens to cast him down, a sentiment that echoes among the track perfectly.

There's also growing, sentient shadows and a frightening eyeless woman to show off the special effects mastery of Aaron Maurer's post-production magic, but the powerful journey is what really sets "Wild Child" apart.

Daughn Gibson, "Phantom Rider" "Phantom Rider" is a video I would normally hate. It's a narrative-less character focus that has nothing going on but some stark, black-and-white cinematography and a constantly shifting set of ofttimes amateurish skull and death effects of Gibson's solitary, singing form.

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That said... Goddamn if it isn't haunting as hell. That's all Gibson, who is like some sort of working-class reincarnation of Peter Steele, full of deep menace amidst an odd sort of elegance. Just him alone on screen is absolutely captivating, what with that devil's voice and the specters of mortality that play across his features.

I'd still like to see something more epic and in-depth to match what is obviously going to be a very impressive artist, but even the bare bones of "Phantom Rider" earns high marks on his sheer awesomeness alone.

The countdown continues on the next page.

My Midnight Heart, "Chest of Hearts" I'm not even sure I can adequate describe the video director Doctor Robert has crafted to accompany My Midnight Heart's latest song. It owes an awful lot to Akira: there's no argument there, but beyond that is something both remarkable and inexplicable.

To my head, the video is the story of either a serial killer or vigilante who wields a katana against religious authority in a dystopian city. Everyone bleeds strange geometric shapes, and for reasons probably known only to God and David Lynch a topless blonde woman is smoking in bed.

I'm quite good at recognizing weird imagery gobbledygook in music videos, but I can't help but feel that there is honestly some strange message in "Chest of Hearts" that I will have to deduce through repeated viewings. It's not an easy video to like, but it's certainly a masterpiece of something.

REWIND: Music Video Roundup From Two Weeks Ago

Ghost Atlas, "Elixir of Life" Ladies and gentlemen, I present the music video they should have showed kids to keep them off drugs rather than that frying-pan thing. If you do heroin, scarecrows in the woods will drag you to be drowned by a strange animal-head cult. That's where we went wrong in the '80s... they should have counted sex, drugs, and rock and roll by taking it even further.

Kudos to Ghost Atlas for leaping off the deep end without a single backwards glance.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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