Translating a song into a video is a challenge in-and-of itself. Not only do you have to first compose music, but then you have to channel its message and spirit into a visual piece. We appreciate all of the hard work, both physically and conceptually, that goes into making a music video go from “good” to “great”. Feast your eyes on some of the best Midwest-made videos 2014 had to offer, and share some of your favorites in the comments section below.

“Casino” by Calliope

“Easily one of my favorite psych bands to come around in the last few years, Milwaukee’s Calliope have put out an incredible album this year. ORBIS is a great listen from start to finish, but the track “Casino” is a standout. The video starts simply enough with a young girl dropping the needle onto the record in question and soon she’s sent on a psychedelic trip. The general idea is nothing groundbreaking in the realm of music videos but the visuals in “Casino” are simply stunning. Trippy effects and grainy desert scenes are cut together with plenty of energetic shots of the band and this young girl’s new shamanistic persona. A perfect pairing of great music and gorgeous imagery, if you ask me.” -Dan Jarvis

“Holes” by Archie Powell & the Exports

“Produced by Audiotree and shot at Emporium Arcade Bar, easily one of coolest places Chicago has to offer, the music video for ‘Holes’ by Archie Powell & the Exports for bound for greatness from the start. Pepper in some 8-bit graphics, beer, arcade games, lip-shaped sunglasses, and a red feather boa, and you’ve got one hell of a music video.” – Eric Slager

“The Bus” by Blizzard Babies

“Their gorgeous vocal harmonies and power pop guitars sounds as if they sprung right out of the Kill Rock Stars scene in the ’90s. The new video for “The Bus” is part statement and part performance. A bearded hipster slips on a banana peel strategically placed by singer Pamela Joy and the song kicks in. The ensuing video depicts some of your stereotypical city “dudes” creeping on the bus or trying to carry a hi-hat only to get shot down by the Blizzard Babies. It’s got silly string, skateboards, and even a guy losing a finger. The song is damn good too. Keep an eye out for the bands first full length LP coming soon via BLVD Records.” -Dan Jarvis

“Slow Motion” by Phox

“It was cool to see a ‘Slow Motion’ music video released in 2013 as part of Phox’s video EP, Confetti. It’s even cooler to see it fleshed out into an extremely well-produced and delightfully nostalgia-drenched production. Warm tones and outdoor party scenes make me feel like I’ve been there myself, or like I am there as we speak. Cinematography in this video is tops, using visual cues to mimic or enhance the music for no other reason than for fun. All in all, Phox is a fun-loving band, and they’ve released a video that echoes that sentiment entirely.” -Alyssa Lee

“Soul Love” by Julie Meckler

“Airy vocals and strumming guitar backing the images of Julie herself dancing through black and white images of the past just makes for an excellent video. Calming and clever this video is very simple yet stands apart form many releases this year. You can go the whole video just watching Julie slink around the screen and miss all the background, repeat, and get a whole new video focusing on the backgrounds which gives you two very different experiences. It’s for this dichotomy of simplicity and complexity that makes ‘Soul Love’ stand out this year. ” -Patrick David

“Social Mediasochist” by Common Shiner

“As a huge horror movie fan, Common Shiner’s video for ‘Social Mediasochist’ immediately stands out as one of the most meticulously planned and executed things I’ve seen. The video, shot by Low Carb Comedy, is literally overflowing with horror references creatively wound into a relatable narrative about the struggles of awkward high-school romance.” – Eric Slager

“Tammy” by Soul Low via Prop-a-ganza

“Each month, one band and one filmmaker are paired up. They are given $100 to spend on props and one day to create a music video. Soul Low was the first (and, as far as I can tell, only) band involved with Prop-a-ganza, and I wish there were way more! The concept behind the proposed series is really original and fun to see done on a local scale. This video is entertaining to the highest degree, and in the age of OKCupid and Tinder, I think we’ve all been there. Maybe not with a saxophone-playing, banana-faced monster, but… well, maybe the video isn’t too far off after all.” -Alyssa Lee

“Road Warrior” by The Noise FM

“With what might be one of the best intros to a video ever, The Noise FM’s ‘Road Warrior’ kicks things off with a dude eating pavement while skateboarding down the street. Hilarious. Comprised of live footage and edited by the band themselves, the video is a perfect compliment to the track and one of my favorite videos of the year.” – Eric Slager

Best of 2014
Favorite 7 Vinyl Releases | Favorite 5 Chicago Venues

Calliope | Archie Powell & The Exports | Blizzard Babies | PHOX
Julie Meckler | Common ShinerSoul Low | The Noise FM