The Key's Year-End Mania: Julie Miller's Top 5 live sessions of 2013 - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Sam Cook-Parrott of Radiator Hospital

Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Julie Miller shares her favorite video sessions of the year.

Live session videos are great because they give the musician a chance to experiment with their music and perform it in an unusual setting or surprising way.  From Out of Town Films to La Blogotechque’s Take Away Shows, there are more and more series popping up each year that put unique spins on the music video art-form.  These are five of my favorite live session videos of 2013:

1. Radiator Hospital – “Our Song” Piss Couch Session, filmed by Maggot House Records.  This is one of the most honest break-up songs since Bob Dylan’s demo recording of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and the guys over at Maggot House got an incredibly intimate and vulnerable recording of it.  Sam Cook-Parrott released a studio version of the song on his Something WildLP a few months after the filming but this version is still my favorite.

2. Delicate Steve – “Afria Talks to You,” filmed by Out of Town Films.  OOTF caught up with Delicate Steve during their soundcheck before a show at PhilaMOCA and captured the band in their element, bathed in multi-colored lights.  When we can’t see our favorite bands in person, videos like this one help us take in everything great about the concert experience.

3. Ed Askew – “Blue Eyed Baby” and “The Boy With Brown Eyes” Take Away Show by La Blogotheque.  Ed Askew was a nice discovery I made this year by way of Folkadelphia.  The sixties folk singer has a subtle and humble demeanor when performing and this Take Away Show conveys the poetic nature of his music.

4. Hop Along – “Sister Cities” Shaking Through Session.  The Weathervane Music-produced web series continually creates quality content by bringing in bands to write, arrange and record one song in two days.  “Sister Cities” was one of my favorite songs of the year and getting to see the work that went into it and the transformation it went through of it is really cool.

5. Night Beds – “Ramona,” Live at Ocean Way Studios.  This is the kind of video that makes you want to go see the band in concert ASAP.  Winston Yellen’s dreamy Americana compositions are equally, if not more, sublime live than they are on his 2013 record Country Sleep and the black and white video is really nice to look at too.

Honorable Mention:

Kurt Vile – “Down In It” by Nine Inch Nails for A.V. Undercover.  This is what I was talking about when I said “surprising way.”  The A.V. Club has been getting great footage of bands doing cover songs for a few years now, giving them the space to get creative and a little bit silly like Kurt Vile doing a scuzzy, pedal-heavy cover of Nine Inch Nails.

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