One of the problems I have with the YouTube era of music-video distribution is the way that the period between a video’s debut and a video’s disappearance from the landscape has diminished to something slightly more fleeting than the blink of an eye. Sure, when videos dominated MTV’s programming, there were quite a few clips that got a play or two on one of the specialty-video shows and not much else in the way of airtime; I’d argue, though, that the difference in the way those clips were disseminated and consumed—broadcast to a bunch of households that were tuned into a channel at a specific time, as opposed to being the pot of gold at the end of a series of clicks that represent discrete decisions on the part of viewers who are probably distracted by ten billion other things going on in the background of their browser—resulted in memories of those bands/videos that did break through (which was itself, obviously, something of a trick) sticking around in a more prominent way. (Surely those of you who watched a lot of MTV at a formative age have a band or two in your memory bank who only appeared on 120 Minutes or Headbangers’ Ball once or twice.) What winds up sticking, instead, is the already-familiar, or the cheaply eyeball-grabbing (seriously indie bands, enough with the “NSFW” videos, you’re all starting to look sorta pathetic); meanwhile, bands that have the gall to “only” put out high-quality songs with videos that are visually appealing can get overlooked in the wake of the screamingly obvious grabs for attention.
All of which is to say that the Joy Formidable, a corking Welsh trio who meld the squawk of shoegaze with the sweet melodies of early indiepop, have released a clip for the pealing, gorgeous “A Heavy Abacus,” off their long-in-the-works Stateside debut The Big Roar. Watch it below.
So good, right? I’m telling you, this band would have so had Buzz Bin status back in the day. Now it has to jockey for headspace and clickthroughs with boobs-and-gore clips. Not to sound all jaded-old-lady, but the warped conservatism (the same old successful shock tactics working again and again even on people who should know better; constant reinforcements of already-strangling gender roles; etc., etc.) that results from the self-directed cultural consumption patterns established by online media is very distressing to anyone who examines this stuff up close on a daily basis. At least this song and video cheered me up! Perhaps it’ll do the same thing for you.