Usually when you hear the phrase “local music video,” you think of a group of musicians with a shoe string budget (mostly to buy beer) and a borrowed digital camcorder. But local artists of all stripes greatly surpassed our expectations when it came to their music videos this year. At a time when visuals to a song are just as important as ever, we see OC acts continually rise to the occasion and use plenty of balls, guts and imagination (and in some cases, lots of weed) to come up with a concept that will bring their songs to life. Though there were probably too many videos to mention in a single post, these are the handful that were funny, creative, and daring enough to make our list of the 20 Best Orange County Music Videos of 2014.
20. Matt Allenn, “MURSE”
Matt Allenn delivers his bass rattling banger Murse that should definitely be tagged as one of the year's best, if for nothing else for the sheer amount of tagging that goes on in this video. Between that and all the intimidating stares given by him and his crew–including members of local Santa Ana hip-hop collective Get Money Boys–this is one hard-ass video.
19. Max and the Moon, “Crazy”
In case you're not quite sure what Max and the Moon's indie pop gem “Crazy” is about…they went ahead and spelled it out for you. This fun lyric video showed up in February with the arrival of their Crazy EP.
18. Hero For Today, “All You Wanted”
Glad to see that in addition to making buoyant, pop punk anthems, Hero For Today apparently gave no fucks if all their equipment got wet during this summertime video for “All You Wanted.” Way to live in the moment, guys!
17. Ariano, “Armor”
What's a girl to do when she's starved for cash and low on options? She shows you her tats to pay the bills. This is one of a handful of videos rapper/singer Ariano made for his 2014 EP Sad Songs Make Me Happy.
16. Empyrean Throne, “Lachdanan's Curse
This is a black metal song about a video game character named Lachdanan from Blizzard's Diablo franchise, which the band submitted as part of 2014's Blizzcon Talent Contest. Black metal and video games inspired by Satan? Sounds like a match made in hell. Even their cello player scares us.
15. Kadillak Kaz ft. Cake Boi Sav and Deuce, “I Got a Secret”
Here's a lesson from Posse Video 101: Combine Blunts, booze, fine ladies, everyone whose available to show up on top of a store building on a Saturday. Then add a plot twist that ends with your posse getting arrested while you manage to outrun the cops. Kadillak Kaz gets an A for all of the above while managing to dole out some slick West Coast rhymes with his shades firmly in place.
14. Pecks, “A City Kid”
If you get motion sickness easily, proceed toward this video with caution. The camera angles flip and cut quicker than one of Peck's deftly-delivered bars on his 2014 EP A City Kid. It might shake your eyes up to pay attention for the whole thing, but it gives you a colorful glimpse into the life of the young tagger/rapper we've been mildly obsessed with this year.
13. The Garden, “Surprise!”
Moral of the story in this video from The Garden: Anytime you gamble with the Grim Reaper while sitting in a canoe, be ready for some crazy shit to happen.
12. Seedless, “Reggae Party”
This video proves that Seedless' fan base will follow them anywhere during the summer–or anytime of the year for that matter. Especially when singer/ beefcake Matt Liufau sports his trusty pink tank top.
11. Tomorrow's Tulips, “Baby” and “Glued to You.” (NSFW)
This clip has double the video, double the boobies, and double the weirdness. What's not to love about this Tomorrow's Tulips highly polished attempt to grab your attention (even if the music is calming enough to put you to sleep)? If you're at work, we suggest you wait till you get home for this one. Though it might qualify as art, it's definitely NSFW.
10. Supreme Cerebral Feat. Tristate, Banish Habitual, and inDJnous, “Forbidden Cloth”
Sometimes you go to Downtown Santa Ana on a weekend to buy fresh produce or a brand new tejana. Sometimes you go shoot a rap video. In this soulful, head bobbing joint, Supreme Cerebral chose to film his video while he and his cohorts Tristate, Banish Habitual, and inDJnous make use of their local stomping grounds. At the same time, they were careful not to trample innocent bystanders with their barrage of intellectual rhymes. Or in Banish Habitual's case, not hitting strangers in the shins with one of his swinging dreads.
9. Time and Energy, “Formula One”
It's interesting how Time and Energy's video for a song named after a race car championship could be so focused on slowing down to enjoy the glorious golden hours of mundane, everyday life as an artist doing creative shit.
8. Tapioca and the Flea, “Take It Slow”
We never considered Tapioca and the Flea to be break up music before this video. But it turns out watching the destruction of two people's relationship in slow motion is surprisingly entertaining with a sparkly hybrid of indie synth pop in the background.
7. Stick to Your Guns, “Nobody”
In this video from Stick to Your Guns, a blurry-faced loser kid gets picked on, degraded and fired from his shitty minimum wage job. Then he discovers a mosh pit and suddenly finds himself (and his face). Ah, the healing powers of hardcore.
6. Terminally Ill, “Living the Dream”
OC's self-mocking, punk/rap weirdos have released plenty of entertaining videos in their day, but this is one that best describes the IDGAF mentality that makes their engine run. Look forward to smashed TVs, beer swilling madness, gloriously low budget stunt work and a performance Anaheim's storied punk rock dive bar the Doll Hut.
5. Rival Sons, “Open My Eyes”
Few bands in the US are representing classic rock with the force and tenacity of Long Beach's Rival Sons. In this video for “Open My Eyes,” time-honored tropes like woozy double vision, flying sparks and an abhorrent amount of facial glitter only add to the larger than life sound when it comes to performing one of the best songs on their latest album, Great Western Valkyrie. It's also pretty emblematic of the band's electrified energy on stage. Kudos, boys.
4. The Growlers, “Good Advice”
Although we probably wouldn't advise The Growlers' frontman Brooks Neilsen to play with his snake in public, we know better than to tell him that. After all, he and his band are one of the few acts that have enough hypnotizing grooves to actually charm the slithery devil. The church setting is fitting given all the worship they've received since blowing up over the past few years. And adding a little shiny pop sensibility to their music on their latest album Chinese Fountain has only increased their flock of followers.
3. Phora, “The Root of All Evil”
Even on its own, Phora's fire on “The Root of All Evil” made it one of the hardest tracks the Anaheim rapper put out all year. Add to that a gripping video inspired by a “true story” (and maybe the film Dead Presidents?) and you have a recipe for some memorable gangsta shit.
2. Kiev, “Be Gone Dull Cage”
We're glad to know that if Walking Dead did nothing else this season, it inspired a whole crop of TV viewers to check out the video for Kiev's “Be Gone Dull Cage.” Even if the fantasy world in the video skews more towards Lord of the Rings-meets-Flash Gordon. This is one of those times when you look at the screen and go “whatever these guys were smoking to come up with this idea…I want some.”
1. Well Hung Heart, “Big Plans”
Well Hung Heart are experts when it comes to making great, expensive-looking videos. But few big budget tricks can match simple joy of watching a police pursuit using Power Wheels. Guitarist Robin Davey and vocalist Greta Valenti even got punk legend Exene Cervenka to join in on the tire burning, Nerf gun fighting, donut throwing fun. Of all the videos we saw this year, this is the set we'd actually want to be on.