Category Archives: Best Of

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.


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.


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.

Tagged ,

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.


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.


Top 5 Videos of 2016 #1 American Television – Explosions In This Guy

Here we are folks, this is big finish to our year in music videos, and taking the 2016 crown is American Television. These guys charmed the hell out of us with their 2015 debut music video “Optimist”, and their 2016 EP Reaction showed that 90s style pop-punk can still be relevant and fun as hell. “Explosions In This Guy”, a play on the bro-approved post-rock band (so much fist-pounding when I saw them at 9:30 in May), is our favorite music video of the year, and it’ll only take you a minute and a half to find out why. Director Brad Howard, who also gave us the recent romantic video by Cinema Hearts, presages the ridiculous creepy clown scare of Autumn 2016 with this brief tale of a bad day in the life of a children’s entertainer.

There’s going to be a lot more benefit shows in 2017 as DC struggles to adapt to the changing atmosphere. Start making plans in 2017 with American Television’s show to raise money for the International Rescue Committee at the Velvet Lounge on Saturday January 14th with Railsplitter and Washers. And we’ll be back in January to continue our mission to show you and everyone how DC rocks. Thanks for listening!


Top 5 Videos of 2016 #2: Wylder – Bitter

Indie folk band Wylder, and their debut full length album Rain and Laura, was my favorite find of 2016. They display a delightful mix of youthful exuberance and impressive pop music chops that really should land them on FM radio and select Pandora stations. Their debut video “Swells” is a ridiculously catchy earworm, but it’s the irresistible follow-up “Bitter” that lands as our #2 music video pick for 2016. Director Samuel Rogers delivered such a charming tale of singer Will McCarry’s quest for the last relic of a lost relationship. Bands like Near Northeast, Handsome Hound and Wylder are giving DC’s typical angular and moody sounds a refreshingly positive spin, and we are going to need that in 2017 like we never have before.


Top 5 Videos of 2016 #3: Ras Nebyu – No Love

Washington Slizzards crewleader Ras Nebyu made his musical mark on 2016 with his excellent third mixtape Slizzatrism. His music video highlight “No Love” originally surfaced back in 2015 as a SoundCloud single produced by Casito Del Frisco. Chop N Shoot Films, the studio responsible for a string of DMV hip-hop vids from Lightshow, Phil Ade, Godsilla and others, touches on Nabyu’s Ethiopian heritage and family in the “No Love” video, our pick for #3 DC music video of the year. Nebyu channels two alter egos, Malcolm and Drew, in singing the harsh breakup song and throwing a party to forget the heartache.


Top 5 Videos of 2016 #4: K.A.A.N. – Phoenix

K.A.A.N. – Knowledge Above All Nonsense. Columbia, MD rapper Brandon Perry has delivered anything but nonsense in his prolific output this past year. He kicked off the year with a 5 song EP called Eclectic Audio with epic and cinematic production work from ORBT. Since then he’s posted new songs to his SoundCloud at a rapid clip, mirroring his signature nimble vocal delivery. Many of the songs have been filmed as music videos, unmatched in quantity by any other in our area. The best of the bunch is the first one we featured, Perry’s violent and surreal tale “Phoenix”, with direction by Josh Sallee and Logan Meis. KAAN stands apart in the DC hip-hop scene, and is bound for rising fame in 2017.


Top 5 Videos of 2016 #5: Wall of Trophies – Never/Always

There are a handful of blogs that write about DC music, but only Hometown Sounds exhaustively covers all the music videos from any genre. We’re giving our last week of coverage in 2016 to our annual countdown of favorite DC music videos from the past year.

Will Copps and Brittany Jean Valint, together as Wall of Trophies, are greater than the sum of their parts. The tension between Valint’s warm and powerful vocals with Copps’s sinister production is best expressed on “Never/Always”, the second single from their debut full length album Heliograph. The song’s music video, shot and visually manipulated by the band in Amsterdam back in October 2014, is deceptively simple, reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers’s masterpiece “Star Guitar” by visionary director Michel Gondry. “Never/Always” is beautiful, mysterious and psychedelic, drawing viewers into the song and taking them on a meditative and hallucinatory journey looking out a car window at the city scrolling past.