The 16 Best Music Videos Released by Metro Phoenix Bands in 2016

10. Seven Trill - "I Hate Mondays ft. Louie Poison"
Jakob Owens doesn't do a lot of conceptual music videos, which is a shame. When he does stuff that goes beyond the "rapper in an alley surrounded by homies" thing, it really pops off. Take the video for Seven Trill's "I Hate Mondays ft. Louie Poison." Don't be fooled by the Garfield-esque song title, nor the goofy hook whose lyrics are about as deep as the chorus for Rebecca Black's "Friday." This is actually a pretty serious song about the soul-sucking grind of blue-collar work. There are some serious lines, like when Trill ponders if the inanity of working a job you hate is what caused his mom to start abusing prescription drugs. Owens shoots the song showing Trill going to work and hating it, shooting a mattress warehouse in a way that looks depressing as hell. And when Trill gets home, he gets a phone call — from work, of course.

9. Captain Squeegee - "Dually Noted"
The first of two Freddie Paull-directed videos to make this list features Captain Squeegee's Danny Torgersen in a scenario that recalls the Twilight Zone episode "A Nice Place To Visit." It's an unsettling reality show from hell (kind of like the presidency, amiright?). There are nice touches in this throughout, such as when a chase scene ends with a security guard knocking Torgersen out, just as the music drops for a second. The production value is high and was money well spent. This is another great Captain Squeegee music video, and we expect nothing less from of the most visually creative bands in Phoenix.

8. Fairy Bones - "Notes From Wonderland"
There's a lot going on in this music video, directed by Brandon McGill. There's a gender-bending portrayal of Alice, who is the spurned lover of the Queen of Hearts. There's also some fantastic body art and eye-popping visuals each second of the way. Fairy Bones usually delivers with music videos, and this is no exception.

7. KONGOS - "Take It From Me"
One of the most underappreciated aspects of KONGOS is their lyrics. "Take It From Me," which was the first single from the band's long-anticipated sophomore record Egomaniac, offers a lot for those who delve into the brothers' words. The band deals with issues of egomania throughout the record, and the music video shows the four self-aware dudes literally getting their heads inflated by beautiful women. It feels unfair to include KONGOS on this list, given their major label deal and the Youtube view counter that reaches into eight digits on some of their videos. But they still live here, so here they are.

6. MRCH - "Glitter McQueen"
MRCH is no stranger to our best music video lists, and for good reason. The band's dedication to visuals is rarely surpassed in the local scene. This is a band that did a stop-motion origami video, after all, and the members' former band, Prowling Kind released one of the best music videos to come from Phoenix in recent years, period. So it's no surprise that "Glitter McQueen" is such a polished effort. The colors, the cinematography, the story here are all executed at a high level. Plus, is it kind of funny to see singer Mickey Pangburn wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt? Yes, it is.

5. Okilly Dokilly - "White Wine Spritzer"
The Ned Flanders-based metal band Okilly Dokilly's the only Phoenix band to legit go viral in the past year, and they scored another hit with the video for "White Wine Spritzer," a track from their debut EP HowdillyDodilly.  Director Justin Humbert packs the band into a Quickie Mart-colored living room and packs as many visual gags and property destruction as possible into the three minutes and 10 seconds of the song.

4. Haymarket Squares — "Let's Start A Riot"
Director Matty Steinkamp has a knack for broad, intricate story-based music videos (like this one or this one), but seeing him direct the video for Haymarket Squares' "Let's Start A Riot" shows that he knows how to dial it back and adapt to what the song naturally demands — a sign of a truly talented director. There's no need for a literal portrayal of the song's lyrics, in which a frustrated office worker fantasizes about going Milton Waddams on the entire system. Instead, he just shows increasingly pissed off singer Marc Oxborrow smashing his hands on a keyboard, eventually balling them into fists. It's simple, direct, and effective, a perfect match for the song.

One of the rules for this list was that no band could be on it twice, but Haymarket Squares is the only band that really tested that edict this year. That's because the music video for "Heaven" is almost as good as "Let's Start a Riot," so we figure it's worth a mention here. Director Cory Davis has the band dressed as angels, and they leave church and go for adventures around Phoenix. The video is again just a perfect match for the atheist gospel of the Squares.

3. Injury Reserve - "All This Money"
"Oh Shit!!!" might have been the first single from Injury Reserve's album Floss, but for our dollars, "All This Money" bangs harder. And the music video is just as good as the song. It starts out with a group of girls swagging in a white Mercedes G-Class SUV as the wipers push dollar bills off the windshield. Then a man wearing just white underwear and a set of matching angel wings does a headstand. It's a jarring set of images that sets up the gender reversal for the rest of the video. Instead of appearing in the video themselves, the emcees of Injury Reserve enlist two women to take their places, and the ladies perform the song with all the masculine cockiness we've come to expect from the group. See if you can make it through the video without questioning some assumptions you might not have realized you held about hip-hop and gender.  Producer Parker Corey also directed the video, so props to him for pulling double duty.

2.  Emby Alexander - "In Your Doorstep Bleeding"
Self-directed by the band and shot by Shannon Alexander, this video is straight-up gorgeous. Everything from the opening shot is tasteful and artful. The way the video makes a car wash from the interior of a van look so beautiful is a spectacular accomplishment. The song itself is somewhat dark and violent, told from the perspective of an unhinged, emotionally stunted lover ("You can't ignore me now / I'm in your doorstep bleeding"), and I'm frankly not a huge fan of it. But the video does what all music videos should do: It enhances the song a forces you to experience the music's art it way you otherwise wouldn't have.

1. Blissing Room — "Know You"
There's something absolutely entrancing about the actress' face in the music video, something pained and unnaturally aged, a credit to the makeup work done by Susie Moore. There's something captivating about how the actress – a Phoenix-area sex worker named Indica Greenly – and singer Dane Jarvie interact during the video, parts of which were shot in a condemned meth house in Tempe. This is probably the most ambitious video on this list, in both conception and execution, and for that alone it gets the top spot.

Honorable Mentions

Harrison Fjord - "Approximately 906 miles" 
Harrison Fjord released this video in late 2015, so it didn't technically qualify for this list. It also came out after we published our 2015 list, so it didn't make that one, either. So here it is — a live performance video that actually works. Great job to the band and to director Freddie Paull.

Maya Spectra - "Music Box"
The Maya Spectra recently relocated back to Phoenix from New Mexico but were not residing in the Valley when this video was made. Had they been, it would have made the list. Just watch it. Director Amy West has made a thing of real beauty here.

decker. - "The Holy Ghost"
Matt Steinkamp delivers another excellent video for decker, even if the visuals don't exactly match the song.

Playboy Manbaby - "I'd Like To Meet Your Parents"
Directed by Ryan Riggs and Jordan Pillar, this video puts Playboy Manbaby as mimes in a French restaurant. We're just not sure why.

HotRock SupaJoint/W.A.S.H.  - "Light Em Up"
Directed by Marlen Adams, this video is as fun as it is dumb. Which pretty much applies to the song, too.

Divided Minds - "Fine With It"
Holy production values, Batman. And holy aliens, Batman.

Youceff Kabal - "Strange Tones"
The video is a travel diary, essentially, but most of the footage is shot out of moving vehicles. That said, the way the video paces with the song is quite well done, and it makes for a pretty hypnotic watch.

Deebo Lotti Maserati - "Never Enough ft. Kevin Gates"
The whole "stalker-nerd taking pictures" thing is really weird, but Deebo Lotti Maserati did get Kevin Gates to do both a verse and a music video, which is pretty cool.


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