New Video: Introducing the Post Rock/Post Punk Sounds of San Francisco’s The Soonest

Led by San Francisco, CA-based singer/songwriter Young Lee and featuring a rotating cast of collaborators including members of indie rock bands such as WATERS, Hazel English’s backing band, Doe Eye, There’s Talk, and Elsa y Elmar, The Soonest have released a handful of EPs at traditional recording studios that have won attention both locally and regionally for a layered and moody, 80s post-punk/post-rock leaning sound; in fact, Lee was asked to write the score to the documentary Weaving Shibusa.

Mixed by Greg Francis and mastered by TW Walsh, the project’s recently released full-length debut effort, Doors to the City was recorded in an empty Bay Area church, and the high wooden ceilings helped create the enormous, wall of sound like sound that you’ll hear on Doors to the City’s first single “Start a War,” a single that pairs Lee’s lilting and dramatic vocals with layers upon layers of angular guitar chords, a forceful, motorik-like groove consisting of a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming, and an anthemic hook. Sonically, the song manages to channel Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen — including deeply urgent and visual lyrics that describe an uneasy and fraught relationship.

New Video: Check out the Surreal Animated Video for Kool Keith’s Collaboration with MF Doom and Madlib

“Super Hero,” Kool Keith’s latest single has the renowned and prolific emcee teaming up with MF Doom to trade incredibly visual and narrative bars full of surreal and disconnected pop culture and comic book references over a Madlib production consisting of wobbling and undulating synths, stuttering drum programming and looped chimes around the song’s infectious hook to create a warped comic book world of anti-heroes being incredibly eccentric and badass.

The recently released animated video pokes fun at old cartoons while employing neon bright stop motion animation and Claymation to a trippy, mind-blowing effect.

New Video: The Playfully Retro-Futuristic, Videogame Inspired Visuals for Kishi Bashi’s “Say Yeah”

Interestingly, Ishibashi’s recently released, third album Sonderlust was produced by Grizzly Bear‘s Chris Taylor and co-engineered by Pat Dillet, who has worked with Angelique Kidjo and David Byrne, and drummer Matt Chamberlain, who has been a member of Morrissey‘s and Fiona Apple’s backing band and a member of Montreal, and the album finds Ishibashi expanding and playing with the sound that won him acclaim across the blogosphere — thanks largely in part to the fact that the album’s material didn’t come about immediately or through his usual creative process. “As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes,” Ishibashi explained in press notes. “I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assume were my forte, and in turn, I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights.” This period of creative uncertainly, along with significant changes in his personal life, led him experiment with a new musical direction. “I questioned everything about what it means to love and desire…the difference between loving someone and being in love,” Ishibashi says.

The album’s first single “Say Yeah” has Ishibashi pairing twinkling and shimmering synths, lush string and wind arrangements, propulsive drum programming, an incredibly infectious hook and the renowned violinist, vocalist and producer’s tender and aching falsetto in a swooning yet dance-floor friendly song that interestingly enough sounds as though it were indebted to disco and both electro pop — all while still possessing a swooning Romanticism. Lyrically, the song can be seen as a plaintive and urgent plea to a lover to try to make their relationship work, as a charmingly flirtatious come-on to an object of affection in which the narrator is trying to get his lover to finally just be with him — and in another way, as an admission of the sort of perceived (and sometimes real) wrongdoing and misunderstandings that can break up a relationship, and the continued desire to makeup and get it right, even if just for a little while.

The retro-futuristic and charmingly playful take video-game inspired video manages to capture the spirit and tone of the song as it follows a couple, who meets cute, fall desperately and madly in love, and through chance or fate, they’re separated with the male character going through a variety of obstacles to reunite with his love. Twice within the video a timer appears to remind the video’s central character of how much time is left for the song, and during two other points, the protagonist has instruments miraculously appear that he plays — as part of the game.

New Video: Dinowalrus Returns to Pair Trippy, Psychedelic Visuals with Their Manchester-Channeling Sound

You may have become familiar with Brooklyn-based psych rock act Dinowalrus, an act that I’ve written a bit about quite a bit over the past few months. Currently comprised of frontman and guitarist Pete Feigenbaum, who has spent some time as a touring guitarist in Titus Andronicus; Max Tucker; Meaghan Omega; Dan Peskin; and John Atkinson, who joins the band as a touring member, the members of the Brooklyn-based band have developed a growing national and international profile for a sound and aesthetic that draws from post-punk, krautrock, shoegaze, synth pop and psych rock as you’ll hear off “Tides,” the first single off the band’s recently released full-length effort FAIRWEATHER. Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though the band had been listening to Join The Dots-era Toy, Primal Scream and the Manchester sound as the band pairs shimmering and undulating synths with a driving, motorik-like groove, guitar chords played through delay and other effect pedal and Feigenbaum’s plaintively cooed vocals.

The recently released video for the song is appropriately psychedelic and begins with Feigenbaum tripping on hallucinogens in a forest, when he stumbles upon four strangers, his bandmates in a variety of situations, and they unite on a singular purpose based on the fact that each of the members of this crew have a portion of a larger piece of art scrawled on their arms. And while in a cemetery, they encounter a guitar pick, which may have mystical powers. Trippy, indeed.

Comprised of founding members Erin Jenkins and Mathieu Blanchard and recent recruits Chris Dadge (bass), who has had stints in Lab Coast, Alvvays and Chad VanGaalen‘s backing band; and renowned singer/songwriter and guitarist Samantha Savage Smith joining a guitarist, Canadian band Crystal Eyes can trace their origins to the melancholic dream pop the duo wrote while nomadically bouncing back and forth between Tofino, British Columbia and Halifax, Nova Scotia — dream pop that the band’s founding duo has claimed has drawn from Francoise Hardy, Guided by Voices.  As a relatively constituted quartet, the band has continued to tour across their native Canada, including consecutive appearances at Pop Montreal.

The band’s latest effort The Female Imagination was written while the band spent time on a lake island in rural Ontario and was recorded on a Tascam 388. And according to the band, the album thematically focuses on and explores the other side of ourselves that we can never quite seem tor reach. The album’s latest single “Already Gone” consists dreamy and ethereal harmonies with layers of shimmering guitars played through copious amounts of reverb and delay pedal and a persistent, driving rhythm and in some way, the song sounds as though it were equally influenced by 60s garage psych — i.e., much like contemporary acts like Raccoon Fighter, The Black Angels, early Dum Dum Girls, Death Valley Girls and countless others but with a moody and sensual feel.




New Video: Introducing the Cinematic Sounds and Trippy Visuals of Sudden Beach’s “The Beast”

Sudden Beach is Guren’s solo side project of sorts and as he explained to me by email, the music he has created with the project, evokes suddenly coming upon a beach while traveling on a desert road. The project’s first single “The Beast” reminds me quite a bit of John Carpenter’s retro-futuristic soundtracks and Pink Floyd’s “On The Run” as the single consists of layers of undulating synths, cascading shimmering synths and samples of children yelling and talking.

As Guren explains of the video, “To feed the feeling of the music I’ve created, I’ve manipulated the footage taken from the cult documentary Koyaanisqatsi, the pictures of empty buildings without any human. I’ve added some sounds from the amazing Stranger Things, like human breath or playing children to this unmanned atmosphere and tried to emphasize to the past and the memory; to the life before the buildings were demolished. ”

Comprised of Griffith Synder (vocals), Charles Kern (guitar, programming) and multi-instrumentalist Julia Mendiolea, the Denver, CO-bassed indie electro pop/dream pop trio Inner Oceans formed back in 2013 over a mutual desire by each of the band’s three members to create music that’s personal while embodying a spiritual mystery and elegance that’s just out of touch. And with the release of their early singles “8 Cousins” and “Everything’s Alright,” the Denver-based trio received both national and international attention as both singles landed on several high-profile Spotify playlists, and have opened for the likes Tennis, Wild Nothing, Hundred Waters, Big Data, Moses Sumney, On an On, Holy Fuck and Shigeto among others. And of course, since the release of those singles, the trio have received quite a bit of attention from major media outlets and the blogosphere alike including Westword, who named the trio 2014’s “Best New Band,” Idolator and No Fear Of Pop and others.

Earlier this summer, the duo released two singles “Wild” and “Apparition,” which revealed that the trio has increasingly moved towards an aesthetic that’s difficult to pigeonhole or tie down. Interestingly, the trio’s latest single “Call Through The Wire” is a slow-burning bit of synth pop in which Snyder’s plaintive and tender falsetto floats over atmospheric and shimmering synths and a simple yet propulsive rhythm — and in some way, the song nods at Quiet Storm-era R&B and Tame Impala‘s psych-leaning pop.

The recently released music video employs a fairly simple concept –the trio’s frontman Synder singing the song in front of a psychedelic background and in some way, it nods at Michael Jackson‘s “Rock With You.”





New Video: Haunting Visuals and Sounds of Tinariwen’s “Tenere Taqqal” Captures a Rapidly Disappearing Way of Life

Interestingly, Tinariwen’s forthcoming full-length effort Elwan (which translates into English as The Elephants) is slated for a February 10, 2017 release, and the album thematically focuses both on the disappearing traditions of the Tuareg people and of being forced into exile — oddly enough as the members of the band were touring the world. And the album’s gorgeous first single “Tenere Taqqal” possesses an understated longing for a way of life and for a home, which as Thomas Wolfe wisely suggested they can never return to and will never get back. And yet there’s a tacit acknowledgment that life must continue onward and that they have a profoundly important duty of ensuring that something of the old traditions can be preserved and passed on to future generations. As a result, the single while being slow-burning and brooding also manages to possess an understated, quiet urgency — all while feeling older than time itself. Every time, I’ve listened to this track I can picture sitting among the Tuareg or the Bedouins at a campfire, as they tell tales of creation or of the great mystics and teachers, who have led flocks of faithful . .

The recently released animated video was directed by Axel Digoix and it vividly depicts the desert’s harshness, cruelty and beauty, and the profound spiritual and physical connection that the Tuareg people have towards it, while pointing out that their traditions and their world is being violently torn apart.

Earlier this year, I wrote about San Diego, CA-based indie electro pop/dream pop project Inspired and the Sleep. Comprised of signer/songwriter Max Greenhalgh, multi-instrumentalist Bryce Outcault and a revolving cast of musicians and collaborators, the Southern California-based duo received attention both locally and regionally with the 2014 release of Eyelid Kid, an album comprised dream pop-leaning material. Now, as you may know, with the release of “Sweet Company,” the duo turned towards a breezier and lighter sound with the duo returning to self-production, while combining electronic production techniques with live instrumentation; in fact, the duo revealed that they specialized in crafting buoyant hooks with  a wistful yet deeply appreciative feel.


The band’s latest single “Getting Through” is arguably their most upbeat and dance floor friendly song, and it sounds as though Greenhalgh, Outcault and company had been drawing from St. Lucia as they pay a buoyant and rousingly anthemic hook with layers of staccato synths, propulsive drum programming, bursts of live instrumentation featuring shimmering guitar, swirling electronics and a sinuous bass line paired with Greenhalgh’s sultriest vocal turn yet. And while seeming upbeat, the song manages to have a much deeper message as the duo informed me by email. As the band explains: “‘Getting Through’ is a tune that takes a third party view of the walls we put up against the people we hold the closest. It seems so obtuse to shut out the ones we, at one point, held so dearly. You can’t help, but ask yourself why.” As a result, the song possesses an underlying irony at its core.