Ah, the music video: In three decades, these modest clips went from insider promo tool, to prime-time TV staple, to Internet meme-generator. And despite all the online noise and bustle of 2011, a good music video is still a fantastic way to grab eyeballs and turn people on to something they didn't know about. There were dozens of excellent music vids released this year, but here, we've narrowed it down to the 10 we remember best from Bay Area artists. In no particular order, our favorite local music videos of 2011:
Any music video that matched half of the freewheeling creativity of this Oakland outfit's breakthrough sophomore album, w h o k i l l, was going to be a blast. And with singing schoolchildren, facepaint galore, and a lot of funky dancing, this Mimi Cave-directed clip made for a dazzling accompaniment to the album's lead-off single.Seventeen Evergreen, "Polarity Song" This S.F. electronic rock duo recruited quite the crew to make the video for "Polarity Song," including Oakland production outfit Terri Timely and Mills College MFA student Sarah Applebaum. The result is a yarn-bombed alternate universe of musical joy somewhere inside a Bay Area thrift store. That colorful world isn't CGI'd in this video -- people actually made it. DJ Shadow, "Border Crossing" DJ Shadow. But the video sheds some light on the aggressive tendencies of the song: If you were one of the Latinos seeking a better life and finding yourself being chased down by the U.S. Border Patrol, you'd be pretty agitated, too. The Limousines, "Very Busy People" the Limousines shows you while the video itself is happening. Pretty meta work from producer-director Mathieu Wothke. Even if the song "Very Busy People" wasn't already crack for your ears -- good luck hearing it just once! -- this would be a mesmerizing video to watch.