My favorite musicians tend to have an equally appealing visual style to their covers, their videos, their overall image.
The Eels, masterminded by a man called E, use a lot of quirky humor and deadpan delivery mixed in with tales of loneliness, suicide and cancer. Frequent appearances by strange characters- the Dog Faced Boy, the Bus Stop Boxer, an old railroad man- instantly pop in my mind as interesting visual references. His videos contain all these elements and are so simple in their portrayal of E as a sad sack who can’t get a break because his date pays more attention to the dog. Another video is a simple document of purchasing dogfood, another involves teenagers challenging E at every turn. These are lo-fi ideas that have easily relatable scenarios with dark humor.
Another favorite of mine is Mutemath, whose music uses energetic cut-up rhythms and warped vintage guitar and organ sounds. As much as they are a product of the digital era, they lean heavily on analogue sounds, and their video presence is much the same- the breakthrough video, “Typical,” was shot entirely in reverse, and “Blood Pressure” uses unusual editing that reacts to the music to teleport band members around and make them appear to fly.
Other musicians who left an unforgettable visual impression on me? U2 as photographed by Anton Corbjin, all of Bjork’s videos and covers, Richard Avedon’s Beatles. All are great examples of something starting as sound inspiring a visual image- evidence of how ideas translate from one sense to another.