Mixtape, Keith Meatto: Five Frontier Favorites

Keith Meatto is a writer, teacher, editor, and musician based in Brooklyn. His short story “Seven Missed Connections” appears in Artifice #2.

Last year, a friend and I started Frontier Psychiatrist, a web journal of music and culture. Running the site has given me an excuse to watch new music videos, something I haven’t done with any consistency since the ancient MTV days, back when the Jersey Shore cast were still in short pants. Here are five favorites from 2010:

Glasser, “Mirrorage”

Cameron Mesirow, a.k.a. Glasser, made one of most chilling albums of 2010, with songs that fuse pop, electronica, and Eastern influences. “Mirrorage” is a spooky and sexy song; the video’s 360-degree pans over Mesirow and Co. on a checkerboard floor only make it more so.

Active Child, “I’m In Your Church at Night”

Another one-man band, Active Child, a.k.a. Pat Grossi, is a former choirboy whose haunting electro pop sounds like a cross between Bon Iver and Midnight Mass.

Sun Airway, “Put The Days Away”

Sun Airway is a duo of computer nerds who make catchy, sing-along pop. The video for “Put The Days Away,” from their debut Nocturne of Exploded Chrystal Chandelier, is a voyeuristic paean to urban cycling.

Vampire Weekend, “Giving Up The Gun”

Few contemporary bands have as many lovers – and haters – as Vampire Weekend. Their sophomore album, Contra, was slighted on many year-end appraisals, perhaps due to a combination of its January release and hatred from a vocal minority. Whatever. These preppies can sing, play, and write songs and Ezra Koenig has a vocabulary that would make anyone besides The Decemberists nervous. (Koenig’s first songs derived from short stories he wrote as an undergraduate at Columbia). In the video for “Giving Up The Gun,” the celebrity tennis match with Li’l Jon and Jake Gyllenhaal speaks to the band’s playful irreverence and semi-satirical stance on class and privilege.

Janelle Monae, “Tightrope”

Janelle Monae exploded in 2010, with her sci-fi soul album The Arch Android and opening slots for Prince and Of Montreal. “Tightrope” is James Brown for the 21st Century, and features Big Boi in all his post-Outkast glory. Dear Wallflowers: Try to watch this video and not be moved to dance.

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