Editor’s note: Despite our best efforts, two of the links wouldn’t produce thumbnails of the video. The videos for BenCJones and Phantomello are linked in the body of the text. Enjoy!
20. “You Don’t Write,” Cut Throat Finches
Originally their submission for KXT’s Tiny Cake Contest, this vid for the roots-rock five-piece’s latest single just flat fittingly captures the group’s sense of fun. The band is set up for an outdoor show behind a table offering free “Cut Throat Cupcakes.” It’s not long before those in attendance taking advantage of the confections begin hurling the desserts at the players, eventually covering them in pink and green icing. The touching vignette is almost as sweet as the song’s sugary harmonies.
19. “The Bad,” Henry the Archer
Made by video producers Make Something Beautiful, “The Bad” is a handsomely baroque spin on the “band plays in a house” music video trope, hinting at the emotional turmoil of an unnamed woman in the crowd. As the song’s angst starts to boil over, jump cuts of other people freaking out lend an air of disjointed intensity.
18. “Black Smoke,” Dead Vinyl
Dead Vinyl’s fuzzy, classic-rock crunch gets a stylishly no-nonsense visual polish –– reductively, it’s a heavy-contrast black-and-white video of the band rocking out, but it packs a lot of eye-popping punch, thanks to fluid production, courtesy of Clayton Coblentz, Jake Hill, and Brandon Shwindt. If anything, the “Black Smoke” video is a hard-hitting calling card that effectively translates what Dead Vinyl does best –– loud, tight, balls-out rock ’n’ roll.
17. “Dial Tone,” Pinkish Black
A literally slow-burning nightmare shot in the gloom of a (wait for it) crappy, low-rent motel room, Grant Ring’s vision for the first single off the art-doom duo’s newest album, Concept Unification, puts keyboardist Darron Beck and drummer Jon Teague in a pair of high-backed rattan chairs, motionlessly observing a phone catch fire and melt into slag. The song’s chilly majesty and the phone’s inexorable immolation make for a hypnotic experience that seems to freeze time itself.
16. “The Aftermath,” Senta the Artist
If there’s a group of artists whose voices need to be amplified, there are perhaps none more underrepresented than women rappers. In that regard, there are few locally who deserve a solid bump as much as Senta the Artist. The trap diva’s Cali-vibed vid for “The Aftermath” showcases her anthem of growth after the end of a relationship clouded by drug abuse. The lady MC delivers her plucky message of self-empowerment with enough swagger to make her male counterparts cower.
15. “Built for the Tilt,” Meach Pango
The pop-punk-leaning quintet’s radio-baiting single superimposes them breezing through the song’s jilted-lover subject matter over busy, brain-zapping graphics and local scenery, giving this already energetic band an effervescent visual buzz.
14. “State of Need,” Joseph Wayne Miller
The introspective singer-songwriter has never wanted to be boxed in as a just another guy with an acoustic guitar. This synth-driven pop track pushes his genre-abandoning tendencies further than he’s gone before. The impressively choreographed pro wrestling concept makes for an interesting contrast to the song’s dark, predatory subject matter.
13. “Saylah Song,” Renizance x Zakara
Renizance has been a fixture in Fort Worth’s rap scene for ages, but in contrast to his career’s characteristic bombast, the video for this song, a touching tribute to his daughter who passed away, is simple –– just him and R&B singer Zakara performing in front of a video projection of scenes of his little girl’s life. The song is short, sweet, and heartbreaking, and the video’s stately grace underscores Renizance’s love.
12. “Two-Way Street,” Jakob Robertson
This ambitious debut video is composed of a pull-back single-shot which that follows the charming singer-songwriter from the door of a Fairmount neighborhood home, down the street, out toward recognizable Magnolia Avenue, and then back down an alleyway in the reverse angle. To add to the stakes of the broad daylight one-take, Roberston is performing his hummable Dylan-esqe ditty live as well.
To everyone’s benefit, the indefinable multi-instrumentalist re-launched his stagnant music career with his debut album, Just One Gun, over the summer. This video for the self-produced 10-song record’s first single shows a scorned bride left at the altar exacting comical voodoo revenge upon the unwitting singer. Perhaps more importantly, it features top-notch product placement with an extra flipping through a copy of the Fort Worth Weekly!
10. “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Yokyo
Director Will Von Bolton puts Yokyo and a pole-dancer in a foggy, slow-motion dream sequence for the electronic pop singer’s downtempo trip-hop cover of the Joy Division classic, giving the song’s ubiquity a fresh identity, backlit in gauzy vibes and Yokyo’s measured, gorgeous delivery.
9. “No Exit,” War Party
War Party petered out this year, and longtime video collaborator Jerrod Costa’s “No Exit” video bids them farewell in an amusing retrospective, featuring faux-bitter interviews and a montage of live shit, studio antics, video outtakes, and a pie fight that appears to have dragged on for weeks. “Nobody cares about War Party,” claims Son of Stan’s Jordan Richardson, a lie since this video triggers nostalgia for one of this city’s most beloved bands.
8. “Mr. Wolfy,” Garage Barrage
What this surfy Halloween party track lacks in lyrical variety (“I am Mr. Wolfy” is pretty much the song’s only line), the accompanying video makes up for with Garage Barrage’s signature never-take-it-too-seriously sense of humor. Created by singer/guitarist Ian McKenyon’s own video production company, Coffee Pot Films, the vid nods to Little Red Riding Hood with a wolf-masked man chasing a girl in a red hooded sweatshirt through downtown Dallas before a surprise ending, which takes place in the band’s namesake garage.
7. “Colorful City,” Dru B Shinin’
The veteran MC’s riff on the cacophony of a destitute city is brought to life with some genuine professional polish. The vid’s abandoned industrial location filled with garbage and graffiti is beautifully shot. Jump cuts, floating crane shots, and clever focus shifts all expertly edited by Chris Complete capture all the frenzied tone of Dru’s observational lyrical musings.
Phantomelo’s take on illicit, luggage-borne transactions puts the band in a crappy motel room anxiously waiting on a suitcase that, when opened, bathes them in a beneficent light before erupting in geysers of candy. The color palette saturates the band in drugalicious pastel hues, while the uptempo, jangly pop hits you like a sugar rush’s peak. Credit director Anthony Milton and videographer/editor Ian McKenyon for crisp production and a giddy aesthetic that candyflips Phantomelo’s post-punk into pure fun.
5. “Gutterboy Blues,” Mean Motor Scooter
Another product of Coffee Pot Films, the video for this angst-ridden anthem shows singer Sammy Kidd trying desperately to escape door-to-door salesmen, bike-pedaling missionaries, and black-and-white-striped burglars while he “just wants to be alone.” Campy fishing line effects, stop-motion animation, and hilariously cheap costumes uplift the song’s otherwise misanthropic message.
4. “Deez Daze,” Son of Stan
What better way to illustrate the wholly unique marriage of yacht rock and indie-punk sonics that defines Son of Stan than with the bizarre Video Toaster aesthetic of this video for “Deez Daze.” The mind behind SoS, Jordan Richardson, appears to be employed (enslaved) in the kitchen of a restaurant that serves only heads of lettuce before some of the product is exposed to a toxic slime, creating silly rainbow-colored lettuce monsters. Amazing. The superimposed multi-images of our own Steve Steward dancing and plucking a high-slung bass in a hazmat uniform is just the icing on the synthy-sweet cake.
3. “Suit in the Back,” Quaker City Nighthawks
Directed by Los Angeles-based artist Kilby Rodell, the “Suit in the Back” video is a mini-movie about a drug-running biker who ultimately gets jacked by a crew of heavily armed cholas. Filmed in and around L.A., the video’s scuzzy scenery –– secret Valley airports, seedy strip clubs, and the claustrophobic walls of graffiti-blasted alleys –– is pretty on-brand for QCNH’s stoneriffic Southern rock, and it goes well with a song about the interest due on the borrowed time of outlaw livin’.
2. “Eat, Shit, Die,” Duell
Duell’s video for their nihilistic party anthem is as much a showcase for spent Silver Bullet cans as it is the band’s full-throttle, amp-mountain-avalanche assault, but it also makes some subtle jokes about people confusing frontman Belvedere for drummer Nick Russo and vice versa via some clever member switcheroos and guest appearances by the members of Sub-Sahara. Shot by Dustin “Plastik Object” Schneider, the video practically splashes you with Coors Light.
1. “Confessions,” Steve Gnash
If you’ve ever done psychedelics in a low-rent motel room by yourself, this video will look pretty familiar. Rickey Kinney’s drippy, trippy editing and Gnash’s obsession with advertising constructs puts put you in the room with delightful weirdo Ultramike as he melts into a spirit world of scrambled TV broadcasts and the (Northeast) mall of the past, buoyed by the song’s jangly, percolating funk.