Our obsession with the medium of music videos remains as strong as its ever been, and we've done our best to bring as many of the best of the newest releases to you in the digital pages of Rocks Off over the course of the year. We're pleased to round up the cream of the crop as we did this time last year, so please put your hands together for proof that even though MTV is dead as a doornail, the internet is keeping music videos alive and well.
One of the many great music videos brought to our attention by Mick Cullen and his team at Subterranean Radio, Erland and the Carnival's "Map of an Englishman" is an imaginative journey into the sum and substance of man himself. Shot with some brilliant black and white photography and amazing animation it perfectly matches the empty, haunting tone of the song.
For our money, Evan Cassidy of the Dudely Jones Comedy Tribe is the hardest working comedy rapper in America today. His videos are consistently high quality, and it was very difficult to pick just one t feature this year. In the end, a guy crowing about his humility was just too much irony to pass up.
What "Bela Lugosi" lacks in professional filmmaking techniques it more than makes up for in a healthy dose of unhealthy sex and violence. We get a lot of music videos with deep plots and introspective artist ideals. This is not one of them. The Town Monster keeps it nice and R-rated, just how we like it.
O'Death almost beat out Grinderman for creepiest video with "Bugs," but still fell just short. You still have a hell of a Southern Gothic tune and a grainy, Wicker Man-esque look into some sort of backwoods paganism, and just because you can't out-creepy Nick Cave doesn't mean that you're not still extremely freakin' creepy.
Of all the videos we got from Mick Cullen over the course of 2011 this was our favorite. The underwater photography is so stellar and amazing that we refused to believe it had been shot in a swimming pool. It's just so wonderfully abyssal.
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Our only Houston entry on the list because apparently only The 71's, Listen!Listen!, and us make music videos in this town. Consider this a call to arms, we want to see more local work. You'll have to do pretty well to beat this catchy pop rock track sung for the pleasure of a creepy guy in a bear suit, though.
Of all the people we met this year we are happiest to have made the acquaintance of Terrance Zdunich. If nothing else for this epic video depicting him as a Russian superman who kills yetis, drinks hard, and punches women all while singing a They Might Be Giants song. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the man who gave us Repo: The Genetic Opera will make the adventures of Count Tarakan his next musical film project.
In terms of epic scope, only Dani Filth and crew could top Zduncih, and if "Bela Lugosi" brought us an unhealthy amount of sex and blood then "Lilith Immaculate" might actually be fatal. We love that music videos are made now without any thought about their appropriateness for television. It gives Cradle of Filth carte blanche to paint their own deformed, murderous bunny.
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Last year the number two spot was held by our favorite English act the Irrepresibles and their musical film "The Lady is Dead." That production was so achingly sad and beautiful we doubted it would ever be topped. Gem Club is close with "252," maybe even a solid tie, but when you're immersed in feelings so raw and real it's not about who wins. It's about who survives.
We finally got to see Murphy live this year, and we can think of no other artist whose later career we have enjoyed more. He continues to innovate and entertain with skill and innovation that remains inspirational and amazing. Peter Murphy doesn't still have it. He never lost it, and the animated masterpiece that is "I Spit Roses" deserves the top spot of 2011.