It’s the middle of the year and everyone seems to be making mid-year “best of…” lists; Top 10/ 20/ 50/ 100 songs/ albums/ shows etc.

You can either ignore a bandwagon and get run over by it, or jump on board. So, in the spirit of contributing more completely subjective and totally unnecessary mid-year lists PopLib will compile a few over the next few days.

To start off, here’s PopLib’s “Top 5 Videos” so far in 2015. Of course “Top” is meaningless. These are just 5 videos I’ve watched a lot and have enjoyed. They are all made on a budget, some are quite simple ideas, but all are compelling and interesting.

“Hickford Whizz” by Day Ravies

Can’t get enough of the latest Day Ravies releases at the moment. This Sydney, Australia 4-piece band have a new album out in July. But already this year they’ve released some of my favourite music. There’s a brilliant 7″ single – which “Hickford Whizz” here is from – and a 4 track cassette EP called “Under The Lamp” which is dazzling and a fresh blend of styles and sounds and ideas. This video is a mix of stop motion live action and animations. A reminder in here of the stop-motion creativity of Chris Knox on Tall Dwarf’s “Nothings Going To Happen”.

“Dear ___ ” by Death And The Maiden

Dunedin doom-wave/ post-punk/ electro-trance trio Death And The Maiden released their debut album a few months ago. It is a special record and one that takes a while to reveal it’s secrets and take a grip on your heart. I’ve had a head start over everyone else, but the compelling, soothing but slightly disturbing video for “Dear ___ ” is your chance to catch up. There’s a sense of existential reflection about most Death and The Maiden songs and the video by Erica Sklenars raises its own ambiguous questions in a very subtle way about reality, image, decay.

“Actually” by Rozi Plain

English musician Rozi Plain has an album out on a small Scottish label Lost Map and “Actually” was the song I discovered Rozi Plain through (having been found the Lost Map website looking for a Tough Love release). The hint of Robert Wyatt in the song, words, phrasing and non-conformist pop spirit of the song was enough to hook me. This simple video is perfect for the song.

“All The Stars” by The Shifting Sands

Port Chalmers trio The Shifting Sands are lucky to have a creative partner in visual artist and video-maker Veronica Brett. Her three videos for songs from The Shifting Sands first album “Feel” were animations. But this latest video combines a bit of everything – live action puppetry, stop motion animation and computer generated animated backdrops. A perfectly intriguing video for this song, which is on their 2nd album “Cosmic Radio Station” scheduled for release in September. It was also featured on last year’s compilation album “TEMPORARY – Selections From Dunedin’s Pop Underground 2011 – 2014”

“Our Names” by Shunkan

Shunkan combine the considerable talents of relocated Los Angeles musician Marina Sakimoto, her Invercargill flat-mates, and Christchurch based drummer to produce some of the best hook-laden noisy pop the south has experienced in recent years. “Our Names” is from a debut album out sometime this year on UK label Art Is Hard.

[Disclosure: The Death And The Maiden video and The Shifting Sands video are from releases on the label I run, Fishrider Records, but I’m sure you’ll excuse a bit of self-promotion when it involves recognising the creativity of some very talented video makers].

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