Category Archives: Best Of

Top 5 Videos of 2019 #1: Honest Haloway – Atonement

We meet again, Honest Haloway. The synthrock band fronted by Tim Kratzer, formerly of The Vita Ruins, landed in the top spot of our favorite #DCmusic videos of 2013 with the unforgettable thriller “Psycho Bitch”. After some time off to regroup and retool the lineup, Kratzer returned in 2019 with two new studio-recorded singles, “Atonement” and “Twisted Eye”, both with music videos directed by Kratzer’s partner, photographer Sara Nabizadeh. While “Psycho Bitch” had a quintessential mid-teens DC feel, “Atonement” takes us to the far-flung desert of Namibia with a mysterious narrative and breathtaking camerawork. Bravo to Honest Haloway for creating art like this that keeps us excited to share the music videos of DC for 8 years running.


Top 5 Videos of 2019 #2: Lisa Frank & Rez Ekbatan – Whisper (Outputmessage Remix)

This video from electronic music producer Bernard Farley’s moniker Outputmessage is joyous and menacing and clubby and revelatory. What started as a remix for Lisa Frank and Rez Ektaban‘s debut single Whisper on their ROAMANCE label turned into this piece of edgy performance art at Grace Reformed Church. Here’s Farley’s own words about the importance of this video: “The song itself is already crazy, but to perform to it in a church meant a lot to me. The last time I performed in a church, I was closeted and afraid to be my true self. Now 22 years later, I’m in a completely different place as an artist where the main goal is to be the MOST myself. And so I couldn’t help but have some fun and be crazy and free on my own terms. My good friend and collaborator, Nigel Lyons, filmed the whole thing in one take! This one is not to be missed (look out for the reveal toward the end!)”.

The DIY warehouse party ROAM celebrates their 6th anniversary on New Year’s Eve with Outputmessage and Blinkhorn hold down the ambient room while DJ Lisa Frank, TonalTheory and others man the main decks. Grab yer tix now, prices go up at the door.


Top 5 Videos of 2019 #3: Oh He Dead – Show Me Love

We snarked when posting this lo-fi smartphone collage music video from indie soul band Oh He Dead last month. But the truth is, we adore the vid for “Show Me Love” because it shows the silly fun of being in a touring band with your friends. Oh He Dead aren’t afraid to get goofy, flip the bird A LOT and assemble it into a music video to share with the world. Plus, doesn’t hurt that the song is a straight up groove banger, either. Tix are going going going for Oh He Dead’s “Fancy” New Years Eve Celebration at Pearl Street Warehouse with Color Palette, so solidify those plans now.


Top 5 Videos of 2019 #4: Dove Lady – Can’t Be Sad

“Can’t Be Sad”? In 2019 the ultra-creative duo of Dove Lady, Andrew Thawley and Jeremy Ray, decided to press pause and go on hiatus, so forgive us for feeling wistful and somber. Dove Lady’s two music videos, this one and 2017’s “Ferbalicious”, take us to a dream-like other dimension where things almost make sense but completely unravel upon close inspection. Director Bucky Illingworth prefaces the visual treats of the two gents with a strange sequence from a late 90s TV show called Bibleman. And the rest, including the low key coda involving chakras and tossing a tree stump, are up for you to internalize. Grab Dove Lady’s 2017 EP E for whatever price you like.


Top 5 Videos of 2019 #5: Ex Hex – Rainbow Shiner

Welcome to the annual review of our favorite DC music videos of 2019. It’s so tough to pick, but these 5 videos really grabbed us and and reminded everyone how vibrant and relevant the music video art form remains.

Classic stadium rock band Ex Hex landed a spot on our best music videos list from 2014. In 2019 they roared back to stages all across the country with album It’s Real, five long years after their debut album Rips established the veteran trio of Mary Timony, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris. “Rainbow Shiner”, a mid-tempo song fronted by Wright, turns the sour subject of domestic abuse into a visual feast worthy of the song’s title by underground cartoonist and animator M. Wartella.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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!