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2020 Music Videos in Review

We can just brush past the obligatory "2020 was a crazy year" part of this intro and go right into the meat: this was my first full year working at Topshelf after getting hired on last Fall, and it's been fantastic for me getting to work with all of the artists we worked with this year, artists I so deeply admire. We did everything we could in 2020 to facilitate great music to reach your ears, and in this case eyes 👀 ~ I thought it would be fun to look back on this year in music videos, thinking we must have had a hand in releasing 9 or 10..... little did I realize that my fragile grasp on time has erased large swathes of the last year selectively (is this relatable?). I now chronologically present the 19 music videos that Topshelf artists put out into the world in these last 12 months, compiled with much love:


JANUARY

Track: “I Go Out at Night” - Ratboys

Release: Printer’s Devil (out February 28, 2020)

Who made it: coool (John TerEick + Jake Nokovic)

Our take: The most wholesome Halloween romp featuring very sick and cool Old Hollywood thriller lighting, impeccably made. Reminder: don't fear your friendly neighborhood witch, she rocks.



MARCH

Track: “PRNDL/DR. CALL” - Alfred.

Release: One Trick Pony EP (out March 27, 2020)

Who made it: Connor Barrett

Our take: Alfred. makes everything they do look effortless and unreasonably cool at the same time. This video is so stylish, sleek, mind-bending, and cinematic, I humbly assert that it's one of the coolest videos that came out this year, even up against artists with 100x the budget, plus I'm a total sucker for saturated red light so they got me with that one.


APRIL

Track: “KIND” (full visual album) - Thanya Iyer

Release: KIND (out July 31, 2020)

Who made it: Bucky Illingworth

Our take: A magical, mystical ride. Premiering this visual album on youtube with a crowd all viewing at once and discussing it live in the chat was a 2020 highlight for me. Thanya takes such care and intention with everything she does, and with every person she collaborates with, there were dozens of people involved in the making of KIND and every little detail and caveat adds up to an immersive and completely unique experience.


MAY

Track: “Surprise" - Crisman

Release: Crisman S/T (out April 3, 2020)

Who made it: Boone Patrello

Our take: I love the mixed-media world this VHS adventure brings you into. Unexpectedly eerie and sinister, but simultaneously cute, the combination is mesmerizing. I love the way they play with texture with all the framing effects.


Track: “Ping Pong" - Harry the Nightgown

Release: Harry the Nightgown S/T (out August 7, 2020)

Who made it: Owen Summers

Our take: "Ping Pong" is one of my favorite tracks of the year, I listened to it on repeat all summer. This video was my introduction to Harry the Nightgown, and what made me want to work with them so badly. I love how playful and colorful this duo is, on and off screen.


JULY

Track: “September" - Del Paxton

Release: September, Bedtime, Ontario EP (out August 19, 2020)

Who made it: Greg McClure

Our take: I miss touring so much :( and this video just makes it a million times worse but also feels so good to watch. I can't wait to hang out with these guys as soon as possible. A collection of past tour footage and band shenanigans perfectly cut to this absolute banger. All brought to you by Greg, Del Paxton drummer extraordinaire.


Track: “Babbling" - Harry the Nightgown

Release: Harry the Nightgown S/T (out August 7, 2020)

Who made it: Starring Madison Crossman & Lucy Ashton, Shot by Russ, Assisted by Walker Doven

Our take: I want to live inside this music video. The soft and lovely gay renaissance painting of my dreams.


Track: “Fit Into" - Alexia Avina

Release: Unearth (out October 9, 2020)

Who made it: Dan Criblez

Our take: The first of 3 music videos that accompanied Alexia's first release with us, this stop motion animated video will get under your skin, while her angelic vocals somehow simultaneously soothe you. The result is honestly mesmerizing.


AUGUST

Track: “Forget (Friendly)" - Gulfer

Release: Gulfer S/T (out October 16, 2020)

Who made it: Dominic Fontaine and Jean-François Dubé

Our take: The triumphant return of Gulfer \m/ similar to how that Del Paxton video just makes me yearn for tour, this one hits hard. I long for the late nights in Montreal, post-show, stumbling over to the closest place that will sell you vegan poutine after midnight and just sitting on the sidewalk to eat it with my buds, that's the good stuff. I love watching the dudes in Gulfer interact with each other, they're sweet and funny and rock very hard.



SEPTEMBER

Track: “Cups" - Alexia Avina

Release: Unearth (out October 9, 2020)

Who made it: Yoon Rachel Nam

Our take: Soothing natural imagery that perfectly reflects the centering feeling at the core of this album. Layers of light/shadow, foliage, waves, and other natural textures weave the comforting shroud delivering the message: "you can say what you want to but that won't make you listen", a beautiful reminder and aid to slow down.


Track: “Bedtime" - Del Paxton

Release: September, Bedtime, Ontario EP (out August 19, 2020)

Who made it: Doug Gurr and Del Paxton

Our take: A perfect, simple video. I love to watch this video and say "just guys being dudes", it's just these three lovely guys chilling around a campfire making s'mores and goofing off. Wholesome, and still really visually compelling, they honestly crushed the lighting. We did a behind the scenes feature on this video including film photos from the making of which you can check out here.


Track: “Coupon" - Gregory Uhlmann

Release: Neighborhood Watch (out July 24, 2020)

Who made it: Unlimited Time Only

Our take: Just so fucking cool. I don't think I've ever seen this specific style of animation, especially not this sleek. The colors kill me, and so does this track. Much like the full album, which "Coupon" is the opening track of, the beginning of this video only barely hints at all the wonder to be found. An existential, psychedelic journey beautifully packaged and delivered in under 2:30.


Track: “Horse's Mane" - Alexia Avina

Release: Unearth (out October 9, 2020)

Who made it: Jessica Alexía

Our take: A kaleidoscopic, psychedelic, visualizer worthy of this dazzlingly ethereal track. Pure bliss.


Track: “Days" - No Vacation

Release: Phasing (out October 18, 2019)

Who made it: Boredom (click through for BTS)

Our take: No Vacation always knows how to deliver sleek, compelling visuals. I particularly love the animated break away sequence in the middle of this video, and the way they were able to seamlessly stitch together so many distinctive aesthetics to create one cohesive and beautiful video. Also there's one short short little sequence around 0:08-0:12 that reminds me of Wong Kar-wai movies and that's enough to sell me :)


OCTOBER

Track: “Dear Humans" - Elephant Gym

Release: Dear Humans (single) (out October 19, 2020)

Who made it: 許睿庭 RAY

Our take: Elephant Gym only know how to churn out the sleekest hits. We're constantly surprised by their evolution, and how effortlessly they seem to be able to move between funk, jazz, math, pop, and any number of other genres with precision and ease. This new single and accompanying video are no exception to their catalog of excellence - I'm in love with this color blocked dream world they've crafted and inhabit, and would love it if KT Chang would give me a tarot reading please.


Track: “Nature Kids" - Gulfer

Release: Gulfer S/T (out October 16, 2020)

Who made it: William Mazzoleni

Our take: Sun-soaked dreamy, last days of summer vibes make this video just irresistible. Gulfer (both adult and tween versions) remind you what's most important in this world: hanging out with your buds, skateboarding, jamming, and just having a damn good time! This video is so well put together though, don't let the laid back description undersell just how much attention to detail went into putting this beauty together.


Track: “An Explanation" - Record Setter

Release: I Owe You Nothing (out November 6, 2020)

Who made it: Record Setter

Our take: You know them, you love them: Record Setter. This video is unhinged, unsettling, and incredible. The first time I watched this one it was one of those "this is really getting under my skin, but I cannot look away" moments. I love thoughtful collage, and the way this has been spliced together is so clever, thank you Judy <3


DECEMBER

Track: “Rain" - Crisman

Release: Crisman S/T (out April 3, 2020)

Who made it: Alex Montenegro

Our take: Comfort food video for sure. Shot on super 8 footage and spliced together with care, this video feels imbued with the energy I most closely associate with DIY. The simple production showcases the band with friends, at shows, and out and about hometown Denton, TX, but it's clear what this music and community means to all involved. I'm so glad we have these heartwarming visuals to pair with "Rain", a stand out track from their record that deserves all the love you can give.

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