Category: art rock

New Video: Warhaus’ Cinematic and Slow-Burning Ode to Denial and Heartbreak

Maarten Devoldere is a Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being one-half of the songwriting and vocalist duo of critically applauded, indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar — and for his equally acclaimed solo project, Warhaus.

With Warhaus, Devoldere cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literature and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility: Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And naturally, the material on the album thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and aching regret with the deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring their soul.

Interestingly, the material on Devoldere’s sophomore Warhaus album 2017’s self-titled album saw the acclaimed Belgian artist moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and even harder-won love with some of the songs being influenced by Devoldere’s relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. The recording sessions for the album was a much more spontaneously affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period: Throughout the album, there are nods to voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t technically known for being jazz musicians.

The slow-burning “Open Window” is the first bit of new Warhaus material since 2017’s self-titled album. Centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement, “Open Window” is the sort of song meant to gently sway along to with eyes closed, drifting off into your own nostalgic dreams — or perhaps delusions.

In fact, the song is rooted in delusion — in particular, the delusion that the breakup isn’t permanent, that she (or he) will return soon enough. But it’s all just vapor and denial.

“Open Window is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the accompanying video for “Open Window” follows Devoldere as he eats steamed mussels alone at a table for two. About half way into the video, we see what appears to be Devoldere’s possessions being tossed out into a window and smashing to the ground behind him. All of this occurs in a surreal, dream-like slow motion.

New Video: The Smile Shares Menacing and Uneasy “Thin Thing”

The Smile features a collection of England’s most accomplished musicians — and some extremely familiar names: Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner. 

So far, the trio have released five critically applauded singles throughout the course of this year, including three which I’ve written about. 

  • The Smoke
  • You Will Never Work in Television Again
  • Skirting On The Surface,” a meditative slow-burn centered around Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful saxophone and Yorke’s weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating impermanence and mortality.
  • Pana-vision” a cinematic, Amnesiac era Radiohead-like song centered around a mesmerizing piano line, jazz syncopated drumming, a supple bass line and Yorke’s imitable falsetto. 
  • Free in the Knowledge,” a sparse and brooding song that seems to capture the desperation, uncertainty and madness of our uniquely troubling moment.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you might recall that all five of those tracks will appear on the acclaimed trio’s highly-anticipated Nigel Godrich-produced full-length debut A Light For Attracting Attention. Slated for a May 13, 2022 digital release and June 17, 2022 physical release through XL Recordings, the album features strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra and a full brass section of contemporary British jazz musicians that include Bryon WallenTheon Cross and Nathaniel CrossChelsea CarmichaelRobert Stillman, and Jason Yarde

A Light For Attracting Attention‘s sixth and latest single, the frenetic and uneasy “Thin Thing” is centered around wiry guitar riffs, off-kilter percussion, and angular bass lines and fluttering synths paired with Thom Yorke’s imitable falsetto doused in a bit of reverb and delay. “Thin Thing” may arguably be the most menacing song on the album, evoking a creeping and unsettling existential dread.

Directed by Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña, ten accompanying stop-motion animated video for “Thin Thing” follows a frenetic fluid that swallows up everything within its path — machinery, human body parts, plants, etc. “Hearing the song for the first time, we imagined a frenetic fluid that carries machines, pieces of human bodies and carnivorous plants,” León and Cociña explain. When presenting the idea to the band, Thom told us about a dream that made him write the song. We believe the video is the conjunction of these two things.”

New Video: The Smile Shares a Gorgeous and Unsettling Visual for “Free In The Knowledge”

The Smile features a collection of England’s most accomplished musicians — and some extremely familiar names: Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner.

So far, the trio have released four critically applauded singles, including two which I’ve written about.

  • The Smoke
  • You Will Never Work in Television Again
  • Skirting On The Surface,” a meditative slow-burn centered around Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful saxophone and Yorke’s weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating impermanence and mortality.
  • Pana-vision” a cinematic, Amnesiac era Radiohead-like song centered around a mesmerizing piano line, jazz syncopated drumming, a supple bass line and Yorke’s imitable falsetto.

All four of those tracks will appear on the trio’s highly anticipated debut Nigel Godrich-produced full-length debut A Light For Attracting Attention. Slated for a May 13, 2022 release through XL Recordings, the album features strings by the London Contemporary Orchestra and a full brass section of contemporary British jazz musicians that include Bryon Wallen, Theon Cross and Nathaniel Cross, Chelsea Carmichael, Robert Stillman, and Jason Yarde.

A Light for Attracting Attention‘s fifth and latest single “Free In The Knowledge” is a sparse and brooding song centered around atmospheric synths, strummed acoustic guitar, a cinematic string arrangement and Yorke’s imitable falsetto singing lyrics that captures the desperation, uncertainty and madness of our unique and troubling moment.

Directed by Leo Leigh, the accompanying, cinematically shot visual that captures a collection of characters in the throes of an inexplicable and desperate mania in the English woods. The end result is a video that’s unsettling, haunting and full of existential dread.

New Video: The Smile Returns with Cinematic “Pana-Vision”

The Smile features a highly accomplished collection of familiar names and faces — Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (maybe you might have heard of them?), and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner. The Radiohead and Sons of Kemet side project has released three critically applauded singles this year “The Smoke,” “You Will Never Work in Television Again,” and “Skirting On The Surface,” a gorgeous, meditative slow-burn centered around Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful saxophone and Yorke’s weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating impermanence and mortality.

The Smile’s fourth single, “Pana-vision” is centered around a mesmerizing piano line, jazz syncopated drumming, a supple bass line and a gorgeous string arrangement paired with Yorke’s imitable falsetto singing the refrain “like a newborn child” throughout the song. While sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to Amnesiac era Radiohead, “Pana-vision” possesses a remarkably sublime, cinematic quality.

The accompanying visual features Stanley Donwood‘s haunting artwork coming to life through Sabrina Nichols‘ gorgeous animation.

New Video: Radiohead and Sons of Kemet Side Project The Smile Share Meditative Visual for “Skirting On The Surface”

The Smile is a new act featuring some familiar names and faces: Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (maybe you might have heard of them?), and Sons of Kemet‘s Tom Skinner. The act has released two critically applauded singles so far this year — “The Smoke” and “You Will Never Work in Television Again.”

The alt-rock All-Star act’s third and latest single together, “Skirting On The Surface” is a stunningly gorgeous and meditative slow-burn centered around Jonny Greenwood’s looping and shimmering guitar lines, stuttering jazz syncopation, a supple yet propulsive bass line, mournful sax and Thom Yorke’s imitable, achingly weary falsetto singing lyrics contemplating human mortality and impermanence.

The accompanying video was shot in the depths of the disused Rosevale Tin Mine in Cornwall, UK on 16mm black and white film by BAFTA-winning writer/director Mark Jenkin. The visual follows Thom Yorke, as a cart-pushing miner through the mine’s narrow passageways and tunnels. He sees water go about strange, almost supernatural phenomenon. And at one point in his journey, the exhausted miner stops, dumps his load and begins filling in a passageway. It’s as gorgeous, meditative and as surreal as its accompanying song.

New Audio: Portland’s Lore City Releases a Mesmerizing New Single

Although formed in 2011, the Portland, OR-based art rock duo Lore City — Laura Mariposa Williams (vocals, keys, guitar) and Eric Angelo Bessel (percussion, keys, guitar) — can trace their origins to when the duo met in 2003 while attending Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts. Williams and Bessel manned to reconnect years later, formed Lore City and got married shortly after that.

As the duo explains their music is “born from the transformational power of sound. We hand over words, instruments, and rhythms; trading back and forth until everything belongs to both of us. Until we are distinguishable. We create from the belief that we all are one, and that we’ve been here before. Song fragments are shimmering all around us, ready to transport. We tune in and transcribe. Deep knowing, alongside the unfathomable unknown, is where we reside. Sonic soundscapes give way to archetypal figures and voices materialize. Sometimes we are just singing along with the ghosts that emerge from our chorus of effect pedals.”

The duo’s fourth album Participation Mystique is slated for a July 23, 2021 release through the band’s own imprint. Sonically the album finds the duo meshing elements of psych rock, post-rock, krautrock, post-rock, dark wave and dream pop into a difficult to pigeonhole, mesmerizing sound. Thematically — and perhaps even sonically — Participation Mystique is inspired by a once every 500 year celestial occurrence that happened in early 2020: Saturn directly aligning with Pluto within the constellation of Capricorn. According to astrologers essentially hard lessons joined forces with transformational evolution when it came to the infrastructure between the spiritual and the material.

Participation Mystique’s latest single “I Know You Know” is a brooding and cavernous mix of krautrock and psych rock centered around propulsive and blown out tribal beats, chanted vocals drenched in copious reverb, droning synths. The end result — to my ears — is a song that evokes a trance-inducing shamanistic ritual, meant to bring you closer to both one’s ancestors and the universe.

The duo describe “I Know You Know” as “a trait drone-rock anthem vibrating with tension between material and spirit.”

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a “Saturday Night Fever” Inspired Visual for Dance floor Banger “I Am The Dance Floor”

The mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco is a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett; but in 2018 he emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rocker with the release of that year’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser.

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

The forthcoming, Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic pushes the boundaries of glam rock, as it draws draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

So far, throughout the year I’ve written about two of In Standard Definition’s previously released singles:

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths.
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Man That Sold The World and Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths.

“I Am The Dance Floor,” In Standard Definition’s latest single is a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock centered around a rapid-fire four-on-the-floor, fluttering synth arpeggios, a funky and propulsive, dance floor friendly grooves, a regal horn sample and an enormous hook that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Directed by Wai Sun Cheng, the recently released video for “I Am the Dance Floor” features d’Ecco and his backing band under a glittering disco ball and on a giant, patchwork light up floor, made famous in Saturday Night Fever, beckoning the viewer — and of course, the listener — on to the dance floor, where there’s true liberation, if only for a three-minute song.

“I was picturing this alt version of Saturday Night Fever where the lead is this aging loner obsessed with dance, who every weekend shows up at different clubs around town and just murders the dance floor, and then disappears out the back door,” d’Ecco says. “There is a person from my home town who sort of fits this description quite well. I think every scene has their own version of Random Dancing Dude.”

In Standard Definition is slated for an April 23, 2021 release through Paper Bag Records.

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a Strutting Glam-Inspired Ode to Nostalgia

Although he’s a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett, the mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam and art rock-inspired presence with the release of 2018’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser.

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Sonically, the forthcoming, Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on 2-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

Last month, I wrote about “TV God,” a shimmering and strutting synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. In Standard Definition’s second single “Head Rush” is a shimmering and strutting boogie that owes a sonic debt to Man That Sold The World and Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. Directed by Avi Glanzer, the recently released video for “Head Rush” features the Canadian art rocker in a sleek leather jumpsuit and acoustic guitar in a stylish, slick and trippy visual.

“It’s a song about the head rush of our youth – nostalgia is a powerful drug, it distorts and reframes the past, often reconciling our memories into one place for easy access and to better suit our current disposition or state of mind,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted all the hallmarks of a classic rock song – the kind of music that used to blast from the kitchen radio at the summer jobs I’d worked at as a teen. Guitar solo? Check. Drum solo? Check. Big horns and sparkly synths? Check.”

In Standard Definition is slated for an April 23, 2021 release through Paper Bag Records.