It’s been an immensely busy and productive year for local music, and nowhere was this more evident than the amount of videos that came across our inbox in 2017. While it will be a long while before they match the ubiquity of the tried-and-true single as a promotional tool, the surge in the sheer number of productions over the past 5-10 years has been staggering. What once was reserved for artists with means or connections has rapidly evolved into a far more level playing field. And although there remain barriers to entry that need to be dismantled, the advent of cheaper and far more accessible expansions in technology has led to a wave of young filmmakers and D.I.Y. explorers looking to carve our their own niche and do things their own way within the local music scene and beyond. Here, we present you our 10 favorite local videos from 2017, ranked, as is our custom, in alphabetical order. Watch, listen, and enjoy.

Algiers – “The Underside of Power”
Directed by Henry Busby & Marcus Tortorici

Set in the secret lair of a group of underground resistance fighters, “The Underside of Power” is stacked with intent: between the archived clips of civil rights protests, a desecrated Nazi flag in the corner, and lines like “broken shards are all we are sometimes,” it’s understood that the real “crime” here has been perpetuated for decades against blacks and minorities in America and around the globe. But while Algiers bring back their sinister Suicide shuffle, “Underside” soars higher into Northern Soul than ever before; guitarist Lee Tesche tones down his snarling axe for some mega-soul power riffs to match Ryan Mahan’s groovy bass line. Vocalist Franklin James Fisher, too, sounds more determined, as if the rebels in the video could indeed tear down their oppressors: “It’s just a game that can’t go on / it could break down any hour.” – Lee Adcock

BOSCO – “Adrenaline”
Directed by Lacey Duke

Zone out to BOSCO’s dreamy video for “Adrenaline,” one of the strongest tracks on her September LP b. (Fool’s Gold Records). The noir-inspired clip warps reality as the R&B songstress is haunted by past loves. It’s not as much of a club banger as some of the artist’s other material, but what it lacks in memorable beats, it makes up for with shoegaze-y magic. Throughout the video, BOSCO is portrayed as divine yet vulnerable. She is both the untouchable queen reclining in wait for her prey and the sensitive chanteuse wandering through a gritty paradise. – Russell Rockwell

Cousin Dan – “Something in the Water”
Directed by Carl Janes

Directed and edited by Carl Janes, “Something in the Water” plays out like some sort of psychedelic fever dream populated by everything from a giant matchbox and gold idols to a topless mermaid and burning piano. Draped in ‘80s futuristic kitsch, Daniel Scoggins, a.k.a. Cousin Dan, plays the retro dancing, motorcycle revving, treasure hunting, jet ski riding protagonist making the most of his time on this mortal coil. Stringing together any kind of narrative is likely futile, but you have to applaud the visual efforts of this video, not only for the stylistic return of Cousin Dan, but also for the continuation of his wild imagination. – Mus Abubaker

Mattiel – “Whites of Their Eyes”
Directed by Mattiel & Jason Travis

As a classic barn-burner stomp of a gunfight, “Whites of Their Eyes” lends itself to dusty deserts and flashy sharpshooting. So Mattiel Brown, ever the savvy designer, tackles that aesthetic with a wide arsenal of clever props and poses. Sure, of course there’s a horse; of course sparklers shoot off into the night; and why, yes, if you had to sit in a chair and sing about a showdown, you’d sit with all the swagger of a master marksman. But the left-field moments thrown into the rapid-fire montage make this shoot-em-up stand out—like where Brown braces herself for a gooey egg barrage, duets with a skeleton, stretches out in a derelict house, or casually peruses a cookbook. None of this should make sense, but under the devil-may-care umbrella of “Whites of Their Eyes,” the whole sequence doesn’t come off as bizarre or artsy at all. It’s just cool—and, by extension, so is Brown. – LA

NAARC – “Camouflage Mesh”
Directed by Ian Cone, Michael Bremer, & Michael Patrick Keenan Jr.

When NAARC released their debut video in January, their dystopian vision could’ve been seen as heavy-handed. Now it seems almost prescient. Filmed in classic noir black and white, “Camouflage Mesh” is shot from the perspective of a powerless man, perhaps a political dissenter, who is being violently interrogated and assaulted. It’s not clear what the purpose of the interrogation is, or what alleged crime has been committed, but it’s evident that the police want or need something from the accused and are willing to go to extreme lengths to get it. Given the increasingly totalitarian climate of fear, violence, and hatred we find ourselves living in, it’s difficult not to see “Camouflage Mesh” as a harsh critique and dire warning about the then incoming administration. And in many ways, the song’s anthemic intensity feels like a call to rise up and resist. – GC

Nelward – “~zone squeeze!”
Directed by Nick Elward

Inspired by the boundless, ever-shifting world of the internet, no other local video in 2017 captured the essence of both artist and song as well as Nelward’s bonkers clip. Few were as fun or as imaginative either. An absurdist assemblage of hilarious clip art, floating emojis, adorable pet photos, technocolor backgrounds, Nick Elward’s nonsensical antics, and much, much more, “~zone squeeze!” is, above all, a manic celebration of online culture at it’s most gloriously weird with an equally zany soundtrack to boot. – GC

Sealions – “Climbers”
Directed by Jason Travis

Prior to creating the video, Sealions bandleader and director Jason Travis spent two years experimenting with drones, and on “Climber” he uses all that acquired aerial footage to create a series of gorgeously stunning visuals where each scene unfolds like a mini diorama, rich in mesmerizing detail. I could sit here and point out all my favorites—the waves lapping up the beach, the pier jutting out into the blue-green water, the kids playing dodgeball—but really this is something you need to watch for yourself to appreciate the vision and scope behind the work. – GC

TORO – “Painting with Shadows”
Directed by Solomon Chase

With vocalist Zackery Hembree announcing his departure from the band earlier this month, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen with TORO in 2018 and beyond. The local behemoths were one of the year’s best surprises, unleashing a blistering debut that blended searing metal riffs with pummeling hardcore intensity. But their defining moment was their bleak menace of a video for album standout “Painting with Shadows.” Complete with harrowing visions of grim forests, dark groves of discarded tires, and tattered monuments to urban decay, Solomon Chase’s towering clip is rife with ominous imagery, as stunning as it is sinister. – Avery Shepherd

The Whiskey Gentry – “Dead Ringer”
Directed by Matt Odom

Despite their well-deserved success, the Whiskey Gentry are a band that Immersive has failed to cover in any significant manner, much to our own detriment. But the group’s video for “Dead Ringer,” the title track from the their sprightly third album, is much too clever and fun not to include on this list. While some critics accused vocalist Lauren Staley Morrow of giving way to her insecurities on the track, the band turns those notions on their head with an inspired bit of country cosplay. The end result finds Morrow and her bandmates paying homage to greatness while simultaneously thumbing their nose at the preconceived prejudices that limit the genre. – GC

Wiley from Atlanta – “Paper Planes”
Directed by Ben Searles

Directed by Ben Searles, “Paper Planes” taps into the nostalgic glow of summer with Wiley and his crew cruising through suburbia on skateboards and BMX bikes, seemingly without a care in the world. The tone grows a shade darker when the group discovers a skull by some remote train tracks—a subtle nod, perhaps, to the coming-of-age classic Stand By Me and loss of innocence. But even in darkness Wiley from Atlanta is nothing if not a romantic, so while shadows may be falling, as long as those paper planes keeps flying back, everything will be okay. – AS