10 Best Music Videos from Phoenix Musicians in 2014
This sequence from Prowling Kind's music video for "Melted Together," was one of the best to come from Phoenix music videos in 2014.
Music videos have been standard-issue props for bands for decades now. Every band in the world has a standard-issue video in which the lead singer lip-syncs lyrics into the camera while the band pretends to play their instruments. Sometimes the backgrounds in front of which they're playing change. Other times, outfits do. Generic music videos are fine, sure, but throughout the years, directors and musicians have elevated the idea of a music video to art, and Phoenix produced some great ones in 2014. Here are the 10 best, presented in no particular order.
Captain Squeegee -- "The Factory"
This was a big year for creepy circus videos. Director Matty Steinkamp created an entire world of fire-breathers, dancers, mad scientists, evil military officers, and more to match the intricacies of the Captain Squeegee song. The video is a madcap of eye-popping visuals and even includes a choreographed dance sequence. The band held nothing back with this one; it's going to hard to jump higher than the bar Captain Squeegee set with this one.
Prowling Kind -- "Melted Together"
Some music videos focus on music -- shots of the band performing, someone lip-syncs into camera -- while others ignore it entirely. Frank Thomas took the moody ambiance of a track from Prowling Kind's debut album and directed a short film about it, and the result is enchanting. The "Melted Together" video follows the band as they seek refuge from a storm in an eerie-looking vintage that appears to be in the middle of nowhere. Singer Mickey Pangburn opens an old book of fairy tales and gets transported into another world. As the other band members make their way through the store and diddle with the curios, they inadvertently shift things in Pangurn's alternate reality. The video contains some gorgeous, melancholic cinematography, and the sequence at 3:00, where Pangburn plunges into water wearing an Alice in Wonderland dress, is one of the most striking from any video on this list.
Andrew Jackson Jihad -- "Coffin Dance"
OK, so we're not sure what this music video is about, but it sure is arresting. AJJ tapped skateboarding video directors Jackson Casey and JJ Horner of Pyramid Country to direct this video, and the result is one of the strangest videos Phoenix bands produced last year. It's fitting, because the song itself is unlike any other in the AJJ catalog. The tune features Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu on the middle verses, and lyrically, singer Sean Bonnette opts for cryptic opacity as opposed to his trademark bluntness. So combine a confusing, two-chord song with an equally confusing yet somewhat charming visuals, and you get one interesting, if befuddling, video.
Luna Aura -- "Too Young to Die"
Aside from Jordin Sparks, Phoenix doesn't produce a lot of pop starlets, but Luna Aura is far more than a recycled lip-syncing contest champion. Aura not only writes her own songs, she has self-produced her self-titled Columbia Records EP. Her mix of indie hooks with Top 40 charms places her in a league somewhere between Lorde and Katy Perry.
Her video for "Too Young To Die" (Directed by Matty Steinkamp of Sundawg Media) features bear people wearing Zorro masks in a swamp, while Aura, dressed as an ice queen, softly sings about partying all night long. Phoenix may not do pop often, but when it does, you can be sure it'll be bizarre, fun and catchy as hell.
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