Yesterday, we shared our favorite Milwaukee music of 2023; today, it’s our favorite Milwaukee music videos 0f 2023. Settle in and enjoy some funny, weird, creative, and impressive clips.

2Hi – “Captain Kirk”

Milwaukee-by-way-of-Nashville rapper 2Hi goes where no Milwaukee-by-way-of-Nashville rapper has gone before! If you’re in the mood for a trippy, goofy, and infectious trap tribute to the galaxy’s finest starship captain, look no further than the WAK-directed video for “Captain Kirk.” It was…fun… [Matt Wild]

Avenues – “Straight Jacket”

If you know Avenues, you’re probably aware they like to take their time when it comes to releasing, well, anything. You probably also know that when the long-running Milwaukee punk project finally puts something new out, it’s always worth the wait. In 2021, the band released We’re All Doomed, their first new material in more than five years. It was great! In early 2023, close to 15-months removed from that record’s arrival, Avenues gave the viewing public a music video for a We’re All Doomed single. That “Straight Jacket” video masterfully blends creepy and campy, as an unappreciated homemaker enacts revenge on a series of unsuspecting men. Director Brian Theisen and effects/makeup artist Shane Klukaczewski worked together to skillfully toe the line between humor and horror in this cannibalistic punk rock premise. [Tyler Maas]

B~Free – “iProduce My Own Shit”

If the message of B~Free’s 2023 single “iProduce My Own Shit” wasn’t clear enough—she produces her own shit, thank you very much—the video makes it crystal clear. One guess who handled the filming, editing, and creative direction! (The custom hoodies, however, were made by Quality Prints MKE and Chase My Creations.) [MW]

BLAX – “Intelligent Beings”

Shot at one of Milwaukee’s most Wes Anderson-y locations—The Daily Bird, a.k.a. the old Fuel on Center—BLAX’s Anderson-inspired “Intelligent Beings” clip finds three different versions of the Milwaukee rapper 1.) ordering coffee with a deadpan expression, 2.) reading W.E.B. Du Bois in the kitchen, and 3.) rocking a Nirvana T-shirt. Also, the Maryland Avenue Montessori tracksuit is perfect. Deftly directed by Dave Miller of Thousand Clicks Media. [MW]

Brave You – “Sold Out Reunion Tour”

One-off 2023 single “Sold Out Reunion Tour” revisits a familiar Brave You theme of seeing the past with new and improved perspective, but makes sure to offer a more forgiving view of past behavior this time around. Co-vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Alex Meylink brought in his Stillwave Studios partner Erik Atwell, who is also his bandmate in Telethon, to help Brave You shoot a self-described “lyric video” for the single…with a unique twist. Instead of simply applying text to video footage or animation, Brave You quite literally took a hands-on approach with the lyric video format by holding up pictures of band members and friends along with scraps of paper with the words of “Sold Out Reunion Tour” printed on them. It’s pretty darn clever if you ask us! [TM]

Buffalo Nichols – “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond”

There are no special effects or pyrotechnics in the video for Buffalo Nichols’ take on Blind Willie Johnson’s “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond.” Instead, director Samer Ghani matches the song’s haunted/haunting vibe with a hypnotic pulse of warm light. It’s a deceptively simple concept that’s mysterious, mournful, and otherworldly. [MW]

Bunk Bed – “Bum”

Remember The Guy On The Couch in Half Baked? We’ve all had a Guy On The Couch in our lives, haven’t we? Hell, maybe we’ve been The Guy On The Couch. A version of The Guy is front and center in the video for Bunk Bed’s “Bum.” Played by singer Nicholas Ouchie, he’s the cereal-eating, CPAP-wearing bane of bandmates Chris Ouchie and Bob Schaab. “So when will you give up and stop living life like a bum?” the song asks. Come on, Guy! Get it together! [MW]

Garden Home – “Past Life”

While the subject matter of Garden Home’s 2023 song “Past Life” is serious, the accompanying music video for the standalone single is decidedly lighter. Directed by Milwaukee videographer, photographer, local music champion, and frequent Garden Home collaborator Samer Ghani, the video finds the band “breaking into” Music Go Round Greenfield after hours to browse the suburban music store’s massive selection of instruments and amps before setting up for an impromptu and illicit live performance of the new song. Wait, is that my old Epiphone SG in the background? [TM]

HOSTS – “Marginal Man”

HOSTS offsets the lyrical depth of “Marginal Man”—a song about “how small of a speck we all are relative to time”—with a music video that has a far more straightforward concept. Directed by Bailey Fiste, the song’s visual pairing finds the Milwaukee-based Americana outfit performing at the legendary West Allis bar/former fish fry staple Randy’s Neighbors Inn. While the band plays, some bar patrons (ably portrayed by members of HOSTS) get a little too rowdy, which leads to a full-on bar brawl complete with broken bottles and flipped tables. The fracas ends as fast as it began, with the quarreling customers returning to their bar stools to enjoy another round together because, well, life is too short. [TM]

IshDARR – “6”

If you ask us, there’s no such thing as too many Milwaukee Bucks-related hype songs. Among the latest and best Bucks-themed bangers to be released is one by none other than local hip-hop legend IshDARR, who is as smooth as ever on “6” (as in “Bucks in 6”). Adding to the song’s sports-centric focus is a sleek video directed by Wolfgang Lee that shows IshDARR delivering lines while lounging in Fiserv Forum’s stands, sitting on a ball at center court, and basking beneath the flashing lights of the arena’s scoreboard. If this song isn’t already on DJ Shawna’s playlist for next spring’s Bucks playoff run, it really should be. [TM]

Long Mama – “The Narrows”

Long Mama’s Poor Pretender album standout “The Narrows” chronicles “The Mad Trapper Of Rat River,” a fugitive who led authorities on a 33-day manhunt through 150 miles of brutally cold Canadian wilderness in the winter of 1932. The song—sung from the perspective of the trapper known as Albert Johnson (whose true identity remains unknown) during his month on the lam before being killed in a shootout—gets a fitting visual pairing. Kati Katchever’s grainy Super 8 footage of snow-swept landscapes combines with swirling camera work and erratic editing to give us what could’ve been the Mad Trapper’s perspective as he was tracked through the Northwest Territories and Yukon. [TM]

Munch Lauren x Mula Mar – “Shake It”

Every year needs at least one standout “summertime in Milwaukee” video; in 2023, our favorite is “Shake It” by Milwaukee rappers Munch Lauren and Mula Mar. Dancing at the (currently defunct) Swing Park! Riding around on those (currently paused for the season) electric scooters! Short shorts! Directed by the prolific RayShotIt, the video even includes some bonus TikTok dance footage. [MW]

Oak You – “Successors”

Oak You—an ambitious project featuring Cole Quamme of The Fatty Acids and Liam O’Brien from Holy Sheboygan!—is in the process of releasing a five-EP/video project called PANGEA. The second installment, entitled Successors, was released earlier this year and its title track has inspired a downright gorgeous music video. The “Successors” video was directed by Quamme and it features dancers Monica Endres and Micah Hall bounding, whirling, and twirling through a rural field and a wooded area. Between the dazzling footage of nature, the impressive dancing (with choreography by Endres), and Oak You’s futuristic folk backing, “Successors” is an all-around success in a multitude of creative avenues. [TM]

Resurrectionists – “The Ghost This Time”

The fine folks in Milwaukee doom chamber/Americana outfit Resurrectionists didn’t just release one video in 2023—they released nine videos, one for each track of their fantastic Now That We Are All Ghosts. It’s hard to pick a favorite video, but if pressed, we’d have to go with the one for “The Ghost This Time.” The cliche of debauched rock stars partying in pools gets a moody twist in this terrific TW Hansen-directed clip. [MW]

Rustbelt – “Oh My God Here It Comes Now”

Directed by Milwaukee native Sam Macon, the deceptively lo-fi video for Rustbelt’s “Oh My God Here It Comes Now” depicts John Chiaverina—a.k.a. the Artist Formerly Known As Juiceboxxx—occupying several layers of reality at once, watching different versions of himself play out on a TV screen or through a suburban window. “We talked about our lives and the kind of confusion that comes from continuing to strive for something without completely knowing where it is going or why it matters,” Chiaverina told us about his collaboration with Macon. “Like the song itself, it imagines different narratives—alternate timelines.” [MW]

Snag – “On The Human Condition”

It’s a real “gestures broadly at everything” time in human history. For Milwaukee climate-anxiety punk band Snag, that chaos is both global and personal. The video for “On The Human Condition” (from Snag’s split LP with Indiana screamo band Coma Regalia) deals with “the internal chaos and despair of a young person who feels powerless amid the endless parade of crises and horrors that pervade daily life in 2023.” It’s bleak stuff, but, happily, there’s some hope in the end—in the form of a good old fashioned basement show. Directed by Ian Johnson of Out There Studios. [MW]

Social Cig – “Hot Red”

Released in the waning days of 2022 (December 29, 2022, to be exact), the Austyn Meyer-directed clip for Social Cig’s “Hot Red” deserves inclusion here simply for its colors. Look at those colors! The video opens with frontman Parker Schultz playing with some dinosaur toys in a Royal Tenenbaums-esque blanket fort. From there, Schultz daydreams about a color-matching picnic date complete with kite-flying, that Breakfast Club shuffle dance, and a cigarette or two (natch). Things soon get prehistoric and animated—the latter courtesy of animator Ryman Lollar. Do the animated dinos also enjoy a smoke? You bet they do.

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Milwaukee Record’s favorite Milwaukee music videos of 2022

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