Club Fonograma's Best Music Videos of 2013

12. NYSU ((Guadalupe Plata)) 
For the last couple of years, Spain's Guadalupe Plata has been a band that’s been on the verge of attaining relevancy. Their latest clip “Milana” has done the job of internationalizing them. In this video, the host of a restaurant/bar introduces the band as American. But that’s nowhere near the astound we get when a seemingly psychotic woman (actress Silvia Vacas) synchronizes her high-heeled steps to the drums of the song and takes over the stage. What follows is a very memorable performance from someone who seems dangerous and unstable. Ecstasy can be as brutal as it can be fun. The woman overwhelms the frame with her moves and terrifying transformation, confronting the audience (and the camera) with more fervor and gore than anything found on Hedwig and The Angry Inch- Carlos Reyes

11. José Vera Matos 
((Eva & John)) 
It's always puzzling to consider not-made-from-scratch footage videos for this list. But considering 2013 wasn't a particularly strong year for music videos, it's not surprising to see a clip like that for "Ciempiés" making the cut. If merely for its charm, it's one of the most memorable visual contributions to any band's aesthetic profile this year. José Vera Matos embedded Eva & John's song to footage of a Church in plain pastoral festivities. The result is risky, bold, and hilarious. Peru's most promising rock act Eva & John can be added to the line of introspective revivalists placing urgency at the center of their melodic core. The overwhelmingly sweet "Ciempiés" was presented as a b-side of their catchy single "Cesar Gutierrez," and came with this fascinating clip that's sure to get a laugh or two from you. Eva & John carry sensibility on every dusty chord of their near-religious composition –the content is idiosyncratic but so heartfelt that it becomes universal. - Carlos Reyes

“La Iguana en 
la Ventana”
10. William Rosario, 
Kemel Jamis 
((Alegría Rampante)) 
Alegría Rampante's new single “La Iguana en la Ventana” is in contrast to first single "Un cuarto más pequeño," a hard-hitting number whose bold composition is more assaultive than calming. It’s a major change in tone and structure, but the outcome is equally intriguing. The single’s video (directed by William Rosario and Kemel Jamis) starts off with terrifying riffing despairs that eventually stumble upon marching drums and dramatic strings. In the frame, we see a distressed man reviving his lover, who lies in bed in an apparent vegetable state. The man holds his immobile partner close and lays his head on his chest as he croons about the man he loves (also breaking the fourth wall and confronting the intolerant and fractured society they live in). He drags him, bathes him and offers him the affectionate care and rhythmic stimulation that will return the man his own voice. - Carlos Reyes

“Separate Leaves”
09. Sefárdico ((Memo)) 
Memo's "Separate Leaves" video directed by Sefárdico, keeps a cheeky eye on death, religion, and a bad sell. The protagonist self-deprecatingly becomes the guru of his own expectations. Through the mumbled, layered chanting, you hear phrases like “false starts” and “second time”—echoes of a romance or a life that he wishes he could rewrite, but still can't clearly articulate. Maybe he's embarrassed, or the pain of separation still needs to subside. The tinkering of a piano and lush organs offer a solvent to the distorted, white noise pulse of the track, which underpins the ethereal loops and sitar, skipping like the mantric, disillusioned thoughts of the singer. In turn, these sounds are mirrored by the play between the Jodorowsky shaman, psychic hotline, and introspective variety hour imagery of the video. Memo is seeking a balance between despair and hope and where one finds it. They say depression is just frustration with not being the person you want to be. By the end of the video, this incarnation of Memo has been reborn a man, taking control of the cross he bears. - Sam Rodgers

“Ciencias Naturales”
08. Ouchal ((Matilda Manzana)) 
“Ciencias Naturales,” off Matilda Manzana’s Conjuntos Cartográficos, has been materialized by artist Ouchal, with some help from his cybergang. Ouchal stays true to the bedroom pop’s natural habitat, but explores a blog-fi fantasy: What if boys ruled Pinterest? Wood could become plastic. Cats may be overshadowed by dogs. Kitsch would become our generation's source of aesthetic capital. In this plastic-based afterlife of found and lost and found items, the value of objects rise and fall in a rich granular synthesis either through a process of interior design exercises (i.e. splashing paint about) or through an animated process of replacing and re-situating objects. Meanwhile, a product's newness might guarantee spectacular value in this bedscape. As a personal reaction to the video's content, I love my Tony Gallardo II cassette, I really enjoyed Ouchal's "Cuchillo" illustration as a t-shirt, and yes, I would totally buy that Andrew Jeffrey Wright pin, "Look At Your Stuff," for free. - Adrian-Mata Anaya

“Te Vi”
07. Hernán Marcelo Corera, 
Luciano Benjamín Cieza,
Oscar Héctor Fernández, 
Sebastian Sutton 
((Julieta Venegas)) 
Can we talk about a grower without mentioning how progressively well “Te Vi” has sounded throughout the year? Julieta’s best single since “Lento” deserved an equally enchanting clip. There are four names under the directing credit of this video: Hernán Marcelo Corera, Luciano Benjamín Cieza, Oscar Héctor Fernández, and Sebastián Sutton. I’m not sure how they negotiated the theatrics behind this assembly line, but the clip for “Te Vi” is as visually coherent and melodically fluent as they come. “Two eleven-year-old boys spend a vacation alongside a girl. When one of the boys kisses her, the other boy feels distanced.” The premise sure sounds like Y Tu Mamá También if it was rated PG. But any references aside, this clip captures the turmoil of pre-puberty in a coming of age gem that uses imagery to encapsulate the dualistic beauty/angst of first love (the sea monsters behind the glass), and the discharge of childhood via fireworks. - Carlos Reyes

“Vamo A Ve”
06. Stanley Sunday ((Meneo)) 
Though it’s pretty straightforward music, Meneo is still sounding as impenetrable to our staff as it did four years ago. Where the Spaniard via Guatemala producer Rigo Pex has gotten pretty good at is at selling Meneo as an experience. And so it’s not surprising to see the initial credit of the “Vamo a Ve” music clip announcing it as a MeneoScope production. It's a glorious, in super widescreen piece directed by Stanley Sunday (who had an active year also directing videos for La Bien Querida and Doble Pletina), “Vamo a Ve” is the year’s most superfluous, most hilarious, and ultimately silliest montage of the year. When Rigo Pex opens the clip breaking the fourth wall (justifying it as an eye exam), it’s only the first of many structural, cultural, and medium barricades that are demolished in an audiovisual offering that proves to be -pardon my conservative word choice - earnest- Carlos Reyes

05. Tomás Peña ((BFlecha)) 
Being a music blogger is in a certain way a little like being a futbol fan: surfing through the anarchy of social media and blogs during countless hours just to find that one track that turns your world upside down is at times so similar to watching 22 players tumultuously chasing a ball for hours just to catch a glimpse of some stroke of genius. Those glimmers of brilliance (musical or footballistical) are few and far between, but once they materialize in front of you, they are the one reminder of why you really dedicate your time to it. Which is to say coming across BFlecha, moniker of Belén Vidal, electronic musician from Vigo, Spain, felt like one of those glorious moments. Her latest single, “B33,” is a romantic slice of retrofuturism that speaks volumes about the breadth of BFlecha's musical and lyrical spectrum: 808 percussion, synth pop, and auto-tuned R&B vocals getting together for an interstellar tale of finding lost love in the fourth dimension. With a video that’s remarkably shot by Tomás Peña, space exploration is given the retro treatment, while the loneliness of BFlecha’s character feels both liberating and claustrophobic amidst a scenery of grandiloquent nature and alienating technology. - Pierre Lestruhaut

“Lluvia, Diente, Lluvia”
04. Merced  ((Gepe)) 
The news of Gepe releasing a music video for “Lluvia, diente, lluvia” (one of the less memorable numbers from GP) raised some eyebrows, but the visual offer turns out to be nothing short of a slice-of-brilliant. Helmed by Chilean production/publicity house Merced, “Lluvia, diente, lluvia” embraces the song’s smallness and offers it the right frame and proportions for a narrative bloom. Daniel Riveros’ dynamic self sits in bed looking exhausted, unresponsive, and soulless. The camera pans like a bobblehead yearning for the slightest gesture, as does the sexy girlfriend who penetrates the miniature canvas and gives it her all. The caffeinated Gepe stays seated, comatose and unimpressed. Victorious, perhaps. It’s small and calm, but carries a comedic rhythm in the pulse of Jim Jarmusch, Fernando Eimbcke, and Noah Baumbach. It’s not even two minutes long, and yet it hits you deep. Perhaps Gepe's most memorable clip yet. - Carlos Reyes

03. Nicole ((Nicole)) 
I can still feel the goosebumps I got from the deep collective gasp that was heard during Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, when Dr. Ryan Stone curled up in fetal position inside a spacecraft. Hopefully I’m not spoiling it to too many of you. The proposal of rebirth is also present in one of the year’s most beautiful music videos, Nicole’s visual attachment to her comeback single, “Baila.” Directed by the pop diva herself, this is a commercially-aware and artistically gleaming video that shows the Chilean chanteuse immersing back to the womb. It's beautiful in its concept, and divine in its execution. “Recuerdo cuando niña en medio desperte con mis pies bailando,” sighs the singer as she negotiates her musical comeback underwater. The purple hues of the water and the penetrating sunlight (perfectly synchronized with the lullaby's escalating drums) mediate Nicole’s proposal, cleansing the waves ahead and showing her the light to her own renaissance. - Carlos Reyes

“Morí Viví”
02. Engel Leonardo 
((El Gran Poder de Diosa)) 
Throughout the years, Eddy Nuñez (member of Rita Indiana y Los Misterios) has earned the respect of musicians in the Dominican Republic as one of the individuals that has succeeded at offering an alternative delivery to the island’s popular music. Following the success of El Juidero, Nuñez unveiled demo recordings of a solo project that has now evolved into the collaborative effort El Gran Poder de Diosa. The act’s introductory single “Morí Viví” is a pulsating, groovy tune that’s more meticulous than revelatory. While they keep things somewhat conservative, they’re still pretty refreshing. The track comes with a lovely, folk-magical audiovisual companion helmed by Engel Leonardo, director of the stunning (and controversial) “Da Pa Lo Do.” Leonardo offers a contemplative frame where seduction (of religious, sexual and intellectual natures) is lived through a subliminal journey. Self-reflection, self-destruction, and a taste of the forbidden fruit are only a few of the images captured by Leonardo’s transfixing lens. It’s tragic and poetic—like Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady, but more magical than psychological. - Carlos Reyes

“Revista de 
01. Bernardo Quesney 
Music video director Bernardo Quesney opens Dënver's “Revista de Gimnasia” with a long shot of a gym court where a gymnastics coach is left with the job of picking up the remains of an earlier basketball practice. The lack of a comprehensive infrastructure for his sport seems to frustrate him, and things escalate even higher when his gymnast shows up late to the practice. Quesney goes on to frame the emotional turmoil of the art and the brutal physical pain of the discipline. “Como el surfista que no lo pudo hacer bien, pero su entrenador le hace fortalecer.” The storyline borrows from “Diane Keaton,” as Quesney’s impassive lensing goes on to juxtapose the mismatched relationship of the two characters, with the carnal motivations of each. The gymnast (Jill Bergenfreid) fills the screen with beauty, but it’s her mentor that steals the show. The old man (played by Eugenio Morales) brings up a sort of grotesque spectacle (in the best of Pablo Larrain’s disco-homicidal Tony Manero), especially when the camera affixes to the coach and registers his morbid ways and mundane brutality. When they become victorious, the camera shows a triumphant athlete holding a gold trophy. The coach stands behind her, barely sustaining a smile. Quesney’s gaze shows more sympathy towards the old man than to the inexpressive muse —converting the clip into a character study that induces us into a one man’s outpaced, private hell. - Carlos Reyes



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