Category Archives: Best Of

Top 5 Videos of 2018 #1: Flasher – Material

Flasher‘s refinement of DC’s angular aesthetic of post-punk feels welcome and inevitable. The trio’s 2018 full length album Constant Image on Domino Recording Company is one of DC’s finest this year, spawning no less than four music videos ranging from dour to garish to inscrutable. But the big finish is “Material”, a video artfully designed to both delight and frustrate the large market segment that listen to music via YouTube. If you’re one of the lucky few who’s watching this for the first time, we’ll kindly let you enjoy director Nick Roney’s wild ride unspoiled. Congrats to Flasher for making our favorite music video of 2018, and for all their huge success in a breakout year!

And with that we’re putting the lid on 2018. See you next year DC!

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Top 5 Videos of 2018 #2: Black Masala – Trains and Moonlight Destinies

Coming in at #2 in our 2018 music video countdown is the debut vid from high-energy gypsy brass band Black Masala, the title track from their glorious new album Trains and Moonlight Destinies.

In our original post we wrote: “We’ve been fans of this high-energy group for many years now, easily recommending them for fans of Gogol Bordello and Rebirth Brass Band. This vid by Eyelum does a fantastic job of capturing both the mystery and surreality of their lyrics and the punk power of their live show. Co-signers Mike Ounallah and Kristen Long each take parallel Lynch-ian journeys, with camera jump cuts mirroring the song’s brass cadence. Bravo!”

Come to Black Masala’s Holiday Party Friday night at The Wharf’s Union Stage, and you’ll also see Philly’s Swift Technique and our own Shamans of Sound and then you will go home very happy. Pro tip: buy tix right now!

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Top 5 Videos of 2018 #3: SHAED – Silver Knife

ICYMI, the polished dreampop of singer Chelsea Lee and twins Spencer and Max Ernst as SHAED is blowing up nationally. “Trampoline”, the monster new single from their 2018 EP Melt, has about 9M plays on Spotify thanks to its prominent feature in the newest MacBook Air campaign from Apple. But we have to give our #3 music video pick of 2018 to the EP’s first single “Silver Knife”. The crisp finger snaps, rolling bassline and high falsetto put us in an MJ kind of mood. The mysterious Max Haben-directed video features mesmerizing choreography from dancer Anna Pinault, who bears a startling resemblance to Lee. SHAED bring their Trampoline tour to the hometown on Saturday March 2nd at U Street Music Hall, and we’ll eat our Santa hats if this doesn’t sell out in advance.

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Top 5 Videos of 2018 #4: Bacchae – Dig

Feminist punk band Bacchae had quite a year, with tons of support for their 2018 self-titled EP released on cassette on Get Better Records. The theme of its first single “Dig” is toxic relationships, so its accompanying band-directed music video sends up video dating, a horrific and real life way people used to meet before the heavenly era of smartphones and swiping. We love the video’s kitschy VHS effects, 80s-era graphics, on-point costumes and delightful cameos, while the song barrels through tough guitar riffs and catchy lyrics. Bacchae kick off 2019 with an opening slot for T-Rextasy at the Pie Shop on Wednesday January 16th, so open that Facebook event link and click Interested like you know you should.

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Top 5 Videos of 2018 #5: The CrossRhodes – Praying Prayers

If you happen to be a new friend of ours, every year we count down our favorite music videos of the year. Kicking off the top 5 is this powerful and emotional video from hip-hop and R&B icons Wes Felton and Raheem DeVaughn, aka The CrossRhodes.

“Praying Prayers”, from their comeback 2017 album Footprints on the Moon, uses the familiar names of black victims of police violence as emotional punctuation marks. “When the video was shot, 667 people were reportedly murdered by police officers since January 2016”, and the number is surely higher now. As we wrote in our original post back in March, “With so many huge problems besetting Americans of all races, creeds and orientations, we crave art to show us what’s important and the consequences of inaction, even if solutions remain elusive.”

DeVaughn next headlines the Kennedy Center’s festive New Year’s Eve Show with Backyard Band, so buy your tickets now while you can!

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Top 5 Videos of 2017 #1: Bumper Jacksons – I’ve Never Met A Stranger

All this week we’ve done our annual countdown of the best #DCmusic videos of 2017, and now it’s time for the big finish. And there weren’t any videos bigger than the title track from the new Bumper Jacksons record I’ve Never Met A Stranger. Even though the sprawling hot jazz ensemble led by Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley have released multiple albums over their 5+ year history, this was their first music video, and it’s unforgettable. They started with the simple idea of playing the ode to drunken good times while riding bikes and followed it to the logical conclusion of a colorful and costumed mass ride through the city led by songwriter and video director Ousley. Washington Pedicab and BicycleSPACE provide transportation for the small musical crew that eventually grows to huge proportions as it winds through some of the most beautiful spots in DC. The visual feast rewards multiple viewings, especially on a living room sized TV, with new joyous and whimsical touches you hadn’t noticed before. This crazy, messed up, emotional and trying year of 2017 should go out on a high note, and for us there’s nothing better than this. Cheers.

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Top 5 Videos of 2017 #2: Humble Fire – Taliesin

Dream pop band Humble Fire brought much needed beauty into 2017. Their long awaited album Builder dropped back in July, and we were honored to feature the quartet in our Kennedy Center Millennium Stage #DCmusic series in October. We also got two music videos, and our #2 pick in the Top 5 Videos of 2017 is the first, “Taliesin”. Dancer Sadie Leigh choreographed, directed and performs in this poignant tribute to the late father of singer Nefra Faltas. He was an architect and Faltas wrote the cathartic song on a journey to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Taliesin West, Arizona. The lyrics, sounds and movement combine to create transencent grace.

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Top 5 Videos of 2017 #3: Bad Moves – The Verge

Baby Pony Food Productions are masters at crafting great music videos. The directing team of Ben Epstein and David “Spoonboy” Combs showed up in the #3 slot in our Top 5 Videos of 2015 with “Sun’s Early Rays”, the first in the action-twisted trilogy by The Max Levine Ensemble. For 2017 the duo used a simple and mesmerizing motif of pouring water for the debut single “The Verge” by Combs’s pop supergroup Bad Moves. The waitstaff at Torrie’s diner in Shaw handle the refilling chores in gorgeous slo-mo, giving the viewer ample opportunity to contemplate what the hell is going on in this establishment. The quartet of Combs, Daoud Tyler-Ameen, Katie Park and Emma Cleveland head to the studio early next year to lay down a full length album for Don Giovanni Records, and we simply cannot wait.

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Top 5 Videos of 2017 #4: allthebestkids – DreaMastR

Number 4 was a real tough choice this year. “Confetti”, the infectuous single by hip-pop band allthebestkids, is our fave single of the year, and the video that the band shot at this year’s Funk Parade on U Street is a fun and worthy accompaniment to earworm’s big marching band style. But earlier this year, the band seized on a golden opportunity to craft a video for “DreaMastR” from last year’s full length album Go Out With A Bang, and totally captured the year’s zeitgeist in town. In the spring of 2017 everyone in DC either flooded social media with selfies taken in the Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn, or grumbled at the near impossibility in acquiring tickets. Cody Valentine, frontman for the bestkids, not only got in but managed to film an entire music video surreptitiously in it. As an exhibit staff member confronts the cosmic rapper, the lyrics “What you can’t do is what you can’t prove” let us in on the secret.

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Top 5 Videos of 2017 #5: The Deadmen – Everything

2017 was the year The Deadmen gave it their all. Justin Jones took time out from leading his own backing band to join Justin Hoben (aka John Bustine), John Scoops and DC/Gypsy Eyes expat Josh Read to finally release the long awaited full length follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut EP. Local label 8 Gang Switch handled the release of the album, also self-titled, and commissioned filmmaker Patrick Mason for two music videos to promote it. The first was “55 Days”, a beautiful and dark narrative video of an escaped convict attempting to return home, but the second caught everyone’s attention immediately. “Everything” is simplicity in filmmaking, showing nothing but the faces of the singers belting out acerbic lyrics of the pointed and anthemic song. Brash, frank, sardonically joyous in rage: this is the mission statement of The Deadmen. Climb aboard.

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