In our Video Surveillance series, we comb through hours of footage to gather the most eye-catching visuals and unique storylines and bring you the best music videos of the month. Happy watching.
10. Hardkiss “Cameras Are Watching”
In celebration of the 20-year anniversary of seminal electronica album Delusions of Grandeur, Bay Area legends Hardkiss return with a revision of album cut “Cameras Are Watching.” Despite being two decades old, the single’s Orwellian theme is more relevant than ever as it makes a comment on public surveillance.
Directed by Mark Dadlani, the visual interpretation of the single is captivating, making use of an elaborate art installation that features a number of stacked TV sets. The camera pans over the installation as it displays images of surveillance footage, giving the video its voyeuristic, Big Brother feel. Dadlani brilliantly contrasts the present with the era of the single’s original release, using props like outdated computers juxtaposed with shots of millennial babies holding iPhones. He also plays homage to the original LP, referencing its cover with repeated footage of an atom bomb explosion.
9. Traffic Signs & Jake the Rapper “Cookie Jar”
Berlin legend and Poker Flat Recordings mastermind Steve Bug steps back into his moniker Traffic Signs to team up with fellow German beat freak Jake the Rapper on “Cookie Jar.” The result of this pairing is something to sate our sweet tooth and boggle our mind. Calling on French-Swiss visual talents Ben&Julia, “Cookie Jar” comes to life in a twisted, surrealist vision of we’re not quite sure what, but we can’t look away.
Loaded with bizarre CGI effects that include a 3D-animated belly and mesmerizing cookie dancers, the spellbinding cinematography paired with Jake the Rapper’s fuzzy tummy is enough to keep our eyes locked and hitting rewind. Whether you love it or hate it, by the end you will be saying, “Put your hand in the cookie jar” over and over again. Who’s got the E.L. Fudge?
8. Jamie xx ft. Romy “Loud Places”
The long-awaited return of Jamie xx is finally upon us. After taking a hiatus to work on various side projects with the likes of Drake, Rihanna and Alicia Keys, Jamie is preparing for the release of his debut LP, In Colour. To quench our thirst until the album’s late spring release, his first LP cut—“Loud Places,” featuring the vocals of his xx bandmate Romy—has been illuminated for our listening and viewing pleasure.
Directed by Simon Halsall and JB Babenhausen, the video for “Loud Places” takes us on a laid-back skateboarding journey through the London streets with Jamie and Romy. The simplistic nature of the feature allows the viewer to feel like they’re actually hanging out with the pair, giving a true window into their personalities like they’re homies you just met at the skatepark. Halsall and Babenhausen successfully tap into the audience’s relationship with the piece, ultimately creating a deeper connection between fan and artist. In Colour is out June 1 on Young Turks.
7. NERVO “It Feels”
Our favorite Aussie twins, NERVO, act as the ultimate PLUR ambassadors in the new clip for the single “It Feels.” Out via Ultra Records, the video showcases Mim and Liv charming the streets of L.A. as they champion the cause for equal love. The video doesn’t shy away from any form of pairing—gay, straight, family, music, pet, and even bro love get a moment in the SoCal sun, thanks to the dynamic duo. The use of slow-motion effects allows the viewer to really soak up the single’s feel-good message. Plus, seeing the twins twirl around with special effects is always a welcome sight.
6. Étienne de Crécy “You”
French OG Étienne de Crécy, one-half of Motorbass, has captured our Walkmans, CD players and dancefloors for the past two decades. With his video for “You,” Crécy lays on heavy throwback vibes of the ‘90s rave scene with a candid look into the underground. Directed by Helmi, we get the nitty-gritty of the club scene with montages of clubbers breaking a sweat, swapping spit, and ultimately ending up in the inevitable NSFW after-hours. You’ll get a large dose of nostalgia for Justin Kerrigan’s Human Traffic, an essential electronic music film for ravers of all generations, which depicts raw insight into the UK rave scene. If Étienne and Helmi’s vision doesn’t make you want to let loose in a seedy warehouse, nothing will.
5. TCTS ft. Leo Kalyan “Thinking About You”
Manchester producer TCTS already won over our eardrums with the house-heavy single “Thinking About You,” featuring vocalist Leo Kalyan. Now, TCTS has recruited fellow Manchester up-and-comer Wvlfcvb to weave a visual tale of the ultimate workday fantasy, lending the single a whole new dimension.
The video follows our protagonist as he struggles through his workday, until an enchanting redhead catches his eye. The thoughts of this temptress end up ruling his imagination and lure him away from his duties as he embarks on a string of bizarre fantasies. Ultimately, he gets a little too caught up with his primal urges and has a break from sanity that leads to a (likely) termination from his job. Moral of the story: Don’t get too fixated on those daydreams, kids, because you might lose yourself in them.
4. Scuba “All I Think About Is Death”
London producer Scuba has taken a break from his heavy dub sounds for the ambient single “All I Think About Is Death.” Off his new album Claustrophobia, the moody track is translated into a chilling music video with a jaw-dropping and disturbing message. The director, Sam Greer, sets the scene with a suicidal patient haunted by a shadowy specter. As an otherworldly doctor doses the patient, the imagery takes a turn into a segment of trippy kaleidoscope visuals and eerie crosscut shots to create a spine-tingling atmosphere.
Although the video is the second installment in a to-be-continued series, the director gives us a slew of clues via the use of visual allegories that are jam-packed with subconscious triggers. Hint: Pay close attention to the dark figure’s similarities to the doctor, especially as the doctor leads her into the light. Stay tuned as this tale from Scuba unfolds.
3. N.A.S.A. ft. Sean Paul and Lizzo “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”
We’re all about music with a message, and N.A.S.A.’s latest offering is as hard-hitting as they come. Making a political statement about the police brutality movement #HandsUpDontShoot, directors Chip Yamada and Sam Spiegel use a montage of found footage to hit their point home in a big way. This video is not for the faint of heart, as the brutal images set before us are not easily shaken off. Producing a piece of art that is meant as a call-to-action is no easy feat, but Yamada and Spiegel’s work resonates so deeply, you’ll be protesting in the streets before the song’s climax.
2. Gramatik ft. Eric Krasno “Torture”
Gramatik’s “Torture” takes on new life thanks to an elaborate, Kill Bill-inspired music video directed and produced by Leo Marthaler and Alban Delachenal. Their vision takes shape with a hilarious journey featuring a 73-year-old Gramatik tasering an evil nurse, breaking free from a nursing home, and embarking on a cross-country odyssey with a stuffed cat. The high-budget feature, which feels more like a short film than a music video, employs a large cast, aerial shots, fish-eye lenses, and a Harley-Davidson bike fleet. If ever there were a music video we wished were a full-length feature film, this is it.
1. Axwell / Ingrosso “On My Way” / “Can’t Hold Us Down”
It is no secret that Axwell and Ingrosso are the quintessential trendsetters of the EDM world. Now, they’re out to change the game yet again, but this time via visuals. The official music video for “On My Way” sees a beefed-up Ax and Ingrosso pitted against each other in an underground fighting ring and throwing some mean hooks at one another. What is so progressive about this music video is that it spans two Axwell / Ingrosso tracks in a multi-part feature. Part two, “Can’t Hold Us Down,” sets us up for the ultimate dance-off that, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the third single to feast our eyes and ears on. Directed by Christian Larson, Axwell / Ingrosso’s segmented video series reflects a trend we’ve seen lately via Martin Garrix and Usher’s two-part feature for “Don’t Look Down” and Hot Since 82’s “Restless” / “The Core” combo.