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The 5 best music videos of 2014

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Over the past few decades, music videos have gone from promotional larks to a nascent cable network’s cornerstones to relics of an old promotional strategy to perhaps the single most important element of an artist’s rollout plan. A good music video can completely make an artist, or turn a song from a mild hit into a phenomenon. And since most of the Billboard charts now take streaming numbers into account when making calculations, a well-watched clip can be the difference between a write-off on your business expenses and chart dominance.

This was a pretty excellent year for music videos. Though there are only five picks below, they were culled from a list of several dozen, many of which served not only as vessels for excellent songs but also as gripping short films.  READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Future Islands deliver their own brand of art-pop

Thursday night at SXSW, scores of badge-less festivalgoers could be seen lingering on the curb outside of Stubb’s, craning their necks to catch a mere glimpse of Lady Gaga, the ARTPOP diva who was playing the (ahem) Doritos Bold Stage. Which is a shame, because for a just few dollars those fans could’ve walked 20 feet up the street to Cheerup Charlie’s and seen Future Islands, the Baltimore trio that’s been making waves with their own brand of synthy, deliriously fun art-pop.

Without a doubt, Future Islands was the name I heard most often when I asked people what they wanted to see this week. And it’s no wonder: The group’s hypnotic performance on Letterman last week quickly propelled them to famous-on-the-internet status, just in time for their big week in Austin. The level of excitement at their 4AD showcase last night was appropriately high.

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