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Aside from being three of my own personal most eagerly anticipated releases of 2011, Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring for My Halo, Fleet Foxes’s Helplessness Blues, and Cass McCombs’s Wit’s End don’t have any overt stylistic connections—other than qualifying as the proverbial “good rock music,” that is. Vile’s sound reeks of the stoned, hazy dude next door who’s actually a virtuosic guitarist with an unconscious knack for melody; Fleet Foxes’s hauntingly gorgeous harmonies float along like a choir wandering through the woods; and McCombs’s cryptic confessionals chug to a sparse, Motown-esque groove. But based on the evocative videos accompanying the first tracks from their new records, an aesthetic spiritual kinship does emerge. Each video incorporates different blends of archival and/or shot-to-look-archival documentary footage that brings the nostalgic elements of the music to the forefront. The results are impressively cinematic. Witness for yourselves (and be sure to take my warning about the Cass McCombs video to heart):

Kurt Vile “Jesus Fever” (dir. Ricardo Rivera)

Kurt Vile

Fleet Foxes “Grown Ocean” (dir. Sean Pecknold)

Cass McCombs “County Line” (unofficial video ???)

WATCH IT RIGHT HERE [***WARNING: Though we’re talking about a music video here, this is a truly harrowing depiction of the hopeless pit of drug addiction that conveys a lifetime of sorrow in five minutes, so proceed with caution. For my money, it’s the very best of the bunch.***]

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Michael Tully was born and raised in Maryland and now lives on Tennis Court in Brooklyn. His most recent narrative feature, Septien, world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sundance Selects. In addition to directing Cocaine Angel (2006) and Silver Jew (2007), he is also a proud alumni of Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film" club (2006). Visit his indieWIRE blog Boredom at its Boredest——for more sporadic personal updates.

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