Category: lyric video

Lyric Video: FACS Share Brooding “Slogan”

Back in 2013, Chicago-based post-punk act Disappears — founding member Brian Case (vocals, guitar) along with  Noah Leger (drums), Jonathan van Herirk (guitar) and Damon Carruesco (bass) — released two related yet very different efforts that are among some of my favorite albums — the atmospheric and tempestuous Kone EP and the tense, raging Era.  

In 2017, Carruesco left the band. The remaining members — Case, Lager and van Herrik — eventually decided to continue onward, but under a new name, and new sonic direction and songwriting approach as FACS. With 2018’s full-length debut, Negative Houses, the trio quickly established themselves as a heavy band, although they don’t necessarily feel like one.

Since Negative Houses, the Chicago-based outfit has released three more albums, including 2021’s Present Tense. Each of those albums have seen the members of FACS perfercting their unique brand of intense, catharsis-inducing art rock/post-punk, while pushing their sound and approach in new directions.

The Chicago-based outfit’s fifth album, Still Life In Decay was recorded by Sanford Parker at Electrical Audio Recording and is slated for an April 7, 2023 release through Trouble In Mind Records. Bassist Alianna Kalaba, who took over for founding member Jonathan van Herik after the release of Negative Houses makes her amicable last stand with the group. Alongside Leger, the band’s rhythm section dance and twist around each other like double helix in which collectively they approach rhythm from outside the groove, rather than inside it, creating a lattice in which Case can weave his guitar lines in an around, like creeping vines. 

Reportedly, Still Life in Decay is a decidedly focused effort that sees the band at their most solidified. The apocalyptic chaos of that defined their previous album is pushed away in favor of examination with a remarkable clarity — while being a sort of addendum to Present Tense

Last month, I wrote about Still Life in Decay‘s first single, the uneasy “When You Say.” Built around the propulsive lockstep rhythm between Leger and Kalaba, and Case’s reverb-drenched, guitar slashes, the song sees Case shouting repeated phrases with a desperate agency, as though desperately trying to hold on to something — anything, really. The song’s freeform lyrics touch upon themes of resignation, cynicism, classism and search for identity and meaning in a crumbling society. The song is a primal, forceful meditation on the exposed ugliness, divides and inequities within our world — both pre-pandemic and post pandemic.

“Slogan,” Still Life in Decay‘s second and latest single is a brooding track rooted in shimmering and meditative guitar, a forceful rhythm section paired with Case’s reverb-drenched vocal and a soulful yet buzzing guitar solo. The song narrators meditates on identity and memory — repeating one phrase “I had it in the palm of my hand,” much like a slogan.

Directed by the band’s Brian Case, the lyric video for “Slogan” features the song’s lyrics floating on top of a geometric field.

Lyric Video: dayaway Shares Breezy and Hook-Driven “hot blue summer”

Acclaimed duo Brooklyn-based indie CLAVVS — Amber Renee and Graham Marsh — can trace their origins back to a chance meeting after they both separately decided at the last minute to attend a random house party.

Renee’s background is in Americana. Marsh cut his teeth working on Grammy-winning hits by Bruno Mars and Gnarls Barkley. But with CLAVVS the pair weave together the organic and synthetic in a way that brings comparisons to Sylvan Esso and Maggie Rogers — but with a glossier, mainstream sheen. And as a result, the pair has landed placements on MTV, PBS, a number of tastemaking playlists and played in stores like Urban Outfitters.

The duo are also behind the rising indie pop project dayaway. Renee is a water sign — and naturally she has an obsession with the ocean. Fittingly, the project was conceived over countless summer afternoons at Rockaway Beach. The songs she writes for dayaway frequently tell stories about love and loss, detailing heartbreak in summertime snapshots paired with hazy dream pop/New Wave-inspired soundscapes.

Last year’s self-titled dayaway debut EP was released to critical applause from the likes of Under the Radar and Earmilk. EP single “cool water” amassed millions of streams across the digital streaming platforms while landing on Spotify’s New Music Friday, Good Vibes and Golden Hour playlists among others. Follow up singles “beach 90th” and “desert island” landed on Apple Music’s New in Indie and Spotify’s Surf Rock Sunshine playlist. Material from the EP were also featured on Netflix’s Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between, and ABC’s A Million Little Things.

The duo’s latest single “hot blue summer” is a breezy and summery bop rooted in Renee’s achingly tender and ethereal delivery paired with buzzing and reverb-drenched guitars, bubbling electronics, twinkling keys and a razor sharp hook. The song evokes the blissful buzz of summer afternoons at the beach — but the uptempo poppiness of the song is a bit deceptive: The song actually acknowledges that despite the hopes and playfulness of summer and summer love, heartbreak is always around the corner.

Lyric Video: Eyes of Argus Share Sludgy Dirge “From The Dark”

Currently split between Providence and Salem, MA, emerging doom metal duo Eyes Of Argus — Guitar Hero and Rock Band co-creator and member of Megasus, Ryan Lesser (guitar) and Sam (vocals) — can trace their origins back to the bleakest days of the pandemic when Lesser began crafting tracks rooted in the concept of ugly/pretty: Lesser specifically plays fuzzy, down-tuned sludgy power chords while Sam contributes ethereal vocals and magical lyrics. 

Lyric Video: L.T. Leif Shares Lush “Gentle Moon”

L.T. Leif (they/them) is a Canadian-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, who has spent stints residing in the Canadian prairies, Finland, Iceland and the Pacific Northwest — and is an adopted member of the Scottish DIY music scene. Their life and work is rooted in the self-sufficient spirit of the Canadian prairies and is informed by their travels.

Leif first cut their teeth with Calgary-based orchestral pop outfit The Consonant C. Since the group’s split back in 2011, Leif has explored different configurations and approaches, including experimental noise collaborations with the Bug Incision crew, playing sold-out shows with punk-hearted OK JAZZ, drumming with slacker-rock bands Hex Ray and Hungry Freaks, playing synths with Astral Swanns’ Matt Swamn, and even singing in a witch choir, Hermitess. Leif’s admirers including K Records founder and label head Calvin Johnson — they toured together with The Believer Magazine.

As a solo artist, Leif has collaborated with a collection of friends, releasing 2016’s double album Shadow on the Brim/Rough Beasts and her first release on Lost Map Records, last year’s Lost Cat cassette compilation of live and unreleased tracks, Introducing L.T. Lief. Throughout each of those releases, Leif’s spirit is collaborative generative, experimental and kind. The band members and the parameters of the project are ever-evolving, but as Leif says of the overall project, “to the friendships and the moment, we are grateful and stay true.”

Leif’s recently released album Come Back To Me, But Lightly was demoed in a room on Glasgow‘s Great Western Road and made intercontinentally with contributions both remote and in-person from pals near and far. The album features lush and sensual songs about “the body, loss as a decision, and knowing your own desire as a radical act,” the Canadian artist says. “It has a lot of imagery and thought from the northern places I’ve been living, and takes inspiration from minimalist writers, painters, and thinkers. This album comes from a six-year long space of change, from a life I was living as someone afraid of my own brain and body, into someone a lot more openly unshiney. Painful and seeping. I think that distance and decisions and loss and conflict are all things that can birth you into a different kind of being.”

Come Back To Me, But Lightly‘s latest single “Gentle Moon,” is a lush and beguiling tune rooted in a gentle, kindly spirit paired with an arrangement featuring glistening pedal steel, twinkling keys, strummed guitar and Leif’s expressive vocals singing lyrics that make references to the cosmos, the human body and longing. The song feels warm, deeply-lived in and unabashedly earnest.

Lyric Video: Eyes Of Argus Share Sludgy “Honey’d Dreams”

Currently split between Providence and Salem, MA, emerging doom metal duo Eyes Of ArgusGuitar Hero and Rock Band co-creator and member of Megasus, Ryan Lesser (guitar) and Sam (vocals) — can trace their origins back to the bleakest days of the pandemic when Lesser began crafting tracks rooted in the concept of ugly/pretty: Lesser specifically plays fuzzy, down-tuned sludgy power chords while Sam contributes ethereal vocals and magical lyrics.

The duo’s full-length debut is slated for a February 23, 2023 release, and was recorded and mixed by Lesser, after he studied the techniques of Steve Albini, who he recorded with several years earlier.

Clocking in at about 8:20, the album’s latest single, the expansive “Honey’d Dreams” begins with a brooding “Planet Caravan“-like introduction with glistening and reverb-drenched guitars and then quickly turning into a doom metal dirge featuring sludgy power chords, thunderous drumming paired with Sam’s ethereal crooning. Lyrically, the song is rooted in seemingly Norse-inspired imagery and mythology. The end result is a song that balances brooding sludge with a hazy, nostalgia-tinged dreaminess.

Lyric Video: Matt Corby Shares Strutting “Reelin'”

Matt Corby is a multi-award winning Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Since the release of 2018’s J Award-winning album, Rainbow Valley, the acclaimed Aussie artist and producer has been busy: He launched his own independent label and loaned his production expertise to material by JOVM mainstay Genesis Owusu, Jack River, Great Gable, Bud Rokesky and most recently, his award-winning collaboration with Budjerah. And back in 2020 he released two standalone singles “If I Never Say A Word” and “Vitamin.”

Corby’s highly-anticipated third, full-length album Everything’s Fine is slated for a March 24, 2023 release through UK-based Communion Music.. Marking his first album in five years, Everything’s Fine vividly captures the personal and creative growth of the acclaimed Aussie artist and producer, who like many of us, had life tip him upside down and downside up.

On the day Corby was going to start recoding his new album, he and his family were rescued by a neighbor. Their home had been engulfed by floodwaters that raged through Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. After nervously watching his very pregnant partner and young son be whisked away in a small, inflatable dinghy, he got to work ferrying provisions to stranded neighbors and locals and digging rotting mud out from beneath his home. 

With their home inundated by floodwater, the whole family was forced to move into Corby’s Rainbow Valley Studios, during the album’s recording process. Juggling familial responsibilities with his creative and professional pursuits was a one-of-kind pressure cooker circumstance that helped galvanize his artistic evolution.

Firmly fixed on seeing the best of things, Matt reveals “I’m at a really beautiful point in my life. I’m accepting all this stuff: the good and the bad, but particularly the bad. Which is kind of great. It’s a good thing to come to that point. Life isn’t always magical, but the moments that are, well you really value them. I think this record is about that, about managing your actual reality. Sometimes I have those moments when you realize: well I’m still breathing, you still have the gift of life, so everything is fine I guess?”

Within a week of the flood, Corby returned to the studio, and wound up writing and recording “Problems,” a funky R&B-inspired bop centered around a strutting bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like drumming paired with the Aussie artist’s plaintive crooning and his unerring knack for well-placed, razor sharp hooks. Sonically, “Problems” sounds indebted to D’Angelo and Mayer Hawthorne — but while rooted in personal, lived-in experience and astute observation of human behavior and character. The song’s message is a simple and profound one: While maybe your own world is on fire or about to sink under water, the most important thing is that you and your loved ones are alive — and mostly well. 

“It’s about how funny humans are creating our own problems and issues that we then have to solve. Or creating problems so difficult we then can’t solve,” Corby says. “And how people talk so much shit and don’t do anything – how we’re setting ourselves up for failure. People want to point the finger but nobody wants to carry anything themselves.” 

Everything Fine‘s second and latest single “Reelin'” is a strutting bop featuring light yet propulsive percussion, twinkling keys and warm horn bursts paired with Corby’s effortlessly soulful crooning. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Reelin'” is rooted in lived-in personal experience and astute observation. The new single sees Corby reflecting on the inherent push-and-pull dynamic of long-term romantic relationships. Throughout the song, the acclaimed Aussie artist makes the observation that the cornerstone of every successful committed relationship is communication, compromise — and a bit of forgiveness and healing, too.

New Audio: McKenna Michels Shares Jason Nevins’ Psych Blues-Tinged Remix of “Born to Die”

McKenna Michels is an Austin-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of her vibrant imagination and love for music to her grandmother, who surrounded a young Michels with classical music, Broadway tunes and Disney musicals. Michels discovered her own musical talent when she would sing along to her personal favorites, like The Phantom of the Opera and Aladdin.

The Austin-based artist’s musical universe was expanded when she was introduced to Lady Gaga, Adele, and Japanese pop/Vocaloid, Against the backdrop of an abusive environment in her mother’s home, Michels began to formally study piano and voice, joining the choir in middle school — and building a foundation as a songwriter by spending hours each day experimenting with keyboard melodies and writing poetry that helped her make sense of the complicated emotions she felt at the time. When she was 16, she wrote her first song.

Interestingly, Michels developed a reputation as a talented opera singer, who performed at The Kennedy Center back in 2017. She wound up stepping away from music temporarily to study technology. But feeling overwhelmed and desperately in need of a way to come to terms with her childhood experiences, the Austin-based artist sought refuge in songwriting. The songs came pouring out. From that point onward, she stared writing vulnerable and earnest stories rooted in her own journey through heartbreak and abuse, and coming out of the other side resilient, hopeful and rediscovering the beauty and need for human connection. This is paired with a vocal delivery informed by pop, R&B and rock.

After performing her original songs at a local club, Michels fully committed herself to pursuing a career in music, and to using her music to continue to heal herself and others. Her debut single. the Jon Muq-produced, Lauren Michels co-written “Tired” appeared on her debut EP Renaissance. “Tired” debuted at #30 and peaked at #21 on the Mediabase chart.

Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based released her full-length, Jon Muq-produced debut Enlightenment earlier this year. Enlightenment‘s lead single “Broken Like This” landed at #20 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. The album’s second single, the slow-burning and sultry, murder/revenge ballad “Born To Die” was released this past June and debuted at #25 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

The Nick Peterson-directed video for “Born to Die” premiered as a short film on and amassed over 60,000 views during the first three days of its release, with the video eventually earning over one million views overall. The video was an official selection at this year’s Shockfest, Deep Focus Film Festival, and Screamfest. It won Best Music Video at this year’s California International Shorts Festival and landed a Best Music Video nomination nod at Filmquest.

The Austin-based artist celebrated the success of “Born to Die” with a Jason Nevins-produced remix of the song that pairs Michels’ sultry vocals with tweeter and woofer rattling, industrial-like thump, bluesy, reverb-drenched bursts of guitar, twinkling keys and bursts of soaring, cinematic strings. While retaining the brooding and eerie air of the original, the remix turns the song into a timeless, stormy psych soul bop that pulls out the bluesy elements into the forefront.

“My message in ‘Born to Die’ is for people to never give up because there is life at the end, no matter how many people it feels like are against you or don’t believe you,” explains Michels.

Directed by Nick Peterson, the accompanying lyric video deconstructs the imagery of the original and turns into a horror-themed bit of pop art, centered around the themes of the song and its original video.

Lyric Video: Caroline Loveglow Shares Woozy and Atmospheric “Patience, Etc.”

Caroline Loveglow is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who specializes in a meditative dream pop informed by long nights spent at home getting lost in her own head. Sitting in front of her computer, she’d spend her time twisting and contorting familiar sounds into something otherworldly and surreal — pianos could be stretched out into an eerie drone or swirling guitar parts are played through clouds of distortion and reverb. Her dreamy vocals float over the song’s arrangement in an ethereal haze.

Thematically, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work sees her pondering the big existential questions, her own innermost turmoil and what it really means to be human in a mad, mad, mad world.

“Patience, Etc.” appears on Loveglow’s self-produced, full-length debut, Strawberry, which was released earlier this year. Featuring woozy synth arpeggios, a tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like breakbeat, distorted and reverb-drenched guitars paired with the Los Angeles-based artist’s ethereal cooing, “Patience” sonically brings The xx, The Horrors, Amber Arcades, and others to mind — but while rooted in yearning and heartbreakingly lived-in lyricism.

New Audio: Belgian Duo Portland Releases an Atmospheric Ode to Heartbreak and Resolve

Belgian indie pop duo Portland — Jente Pironet and Sarah Pepels — can trace their origins back to when the duo lived at the same student housing unit while studying at Hasselt, Belgium‘s PXL Music School. The duo also a shared the same love of music with a specific soft spot for Elliott Smith. In fact, the project’s name is a nod to Smith’s hometown. From the start, it was clear that the duo had a palpable chemistry: Their voices blend and complement each other perfectly.

The duo took part in and won several local talent competitions before signing to [PIAS] back in 2018. Their full-length debut, 2019’s Your Colours Will Stain was released to critical and commercial acclaim with the album peaking at #6 on the Belgian album charts, thanks to success of the melancholy and dreamy sound of singles like “Killer’s Mind, “Ally Ally” and “You Misread Me.” Adding to a growing profile, the Belgian pop duo made the rounds of the national and international touring circuit with sets at Rock Werchter, Pukklepop, and The Great Escape, as well as several festivals across the Benelux region (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) and France.

Earlier this year, the duo relocated to the UK to record their highly-anticipated, 12-song, sophomore album Departures with Oliver Baystom. Slated for a March 17, 2023 release, the album reportedly sees the duo growing into their own as performers and songwriters. The material is more direct and to the point, while displaying more intricate melodies and arrangements. Casting aside the need to show off their vocal range or tricks on every song, the duo let the songs guide them to find the perfect tone and harmonies to complement the melodies and rhythms. The end result is an album of moving, beautiful and dream-like music.

Departures‘ latest single, the Sarah Pepels-penned “Stardust” is a slow-burning and beguiling song featuring an atmospheric and brooding arrangement of organ, keys and woodwinds. Pepels’ delicate vocal gently tiptoes through the arrangement, with the song and vocalist slowly growing louder and gaining confidence while getting to the song’s chorus. The song is rooted in deeply personal yet universal experience: lost love, lives turned upside down and putting the pieces of a broken life and heart back together while being a celebration of one’s inner strength and resolve.

“In January 2021, I was heartbroken, I had to leave a lot of memories and a part of my life, my love, behind,” Portland’s Sarah Pepels explains. “I didn’t know where to go, but I knew, I had to write music to put those thoughts and heavy emotions into. I needed to be alone, so I went cat-sitting at my niece’s apartment. I locked myself up for four days with nothing but the warmth and company of the furry kittens. It turned out to be a very intense and cathartic journey. And so ‘Stardust, a song that means the world to me, was born.”

Lyric Video: Magi Merlin and Fernie Team Up on Sultry and Laid Back “DOLLA BILL”

With the release of her first two EP’s 2019’s On My Way to the Listening Party and last year’s Drug Music EP, along a handful of standalone singles, the rising Montreal-based artist Magi Merlin (pronounced MADGE-eye) exploded onto the Canadian national scene: Her work has received praise from from CRACK Magazine. She has opened for Lido Pimienta and played at Osheaga Festival alongside ODIEJessie Reyez and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you might recall that the rising Montreal-based artist released the Funkywhat-produced “Free Grillz,” a track that featured Merlin’s mix of fiery, self-assured bars and sultry crooned hooks gliding over icy, trap hi-hats, skittering snares, glistening synth arpeggios and a tweeter and woofer rattling bass line. “Free Grillz” found Merlin hoping to aspire to at least some of the tropes of hip-hop fame while simultaneously reflecting on a series of bitterly harsh and seemingly inescapable daily realities — including having obvious and clueless people carelessly mispronouncing your name, casual misogyny, and kicking clingy, stupid men out of your life with a mix of humor and world-dominating swagger.

You also also recall that Merlin’s third EP Gone Girl was released through Bonsound/AWAL earlier this year. The EP’s material may arguably be Merlins most personal and audacious effort to date: Merlin grew up in Saint Lazare, a suburb of Montreal, created by Canadian Nixon types in 70s. A place for white folks by white folks. Much like here in the States, the suburbs are viewed as the epitome of all that’s good “right and “normal.” Of course, unless you’re a young Black, Queer women — and suddenly that perceived, long-held normalcy is challenged. Thematically, the EP’s material draws from this personal experience, and sees the rising Montreal artist talking about casual racism, fake friends, generational angst and more.

Sonically, the EP continues her ongoing collaboration with Funkywhat and is informed by 90s house, drum ‘n’ bass, Motown and acid flecked hip-hop to create a sound that evokes smoky, after hours clubs — but with rumbling bass lines and thunderous 808s. EP single “Pissed Black Girl” was a perfect example of the EPs themes and overall sound with the single being a sleek and hyper modern bop featuring Merlin’s assured delivery gliding over icy synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats and a sinuous bass line. The song is rooted in the familiar pent up frustration with fake white progressives and phony liberals — but while playing with the cliched, racist trope of the angry Black woman; the song is a dance floor friendly banger that sees its narrator telling those fake, closet racists to sit down and shut the fuck up, while the rest of us take our rightful place on the dance floor.

“I wrote this song summer 2020,” Merlin says. “I was made to really look at my identity as a Black woman and what that identity means to the people I surround myself with. I didn’t realize a lot of the people I had around me at the time that identified as progressive, leftist and ‘allies’ were not as supportive as they made themselves out to be. Talking with them just resulted in arguments instead of compassion and understanding. This made me very angry and the only thing I was able to do to vent my frustrations and arrive at some form of catharsis was by singing about it.

“The title of the track references a story an ex-friend recounted to me as well as what I and many other black women who speak their minds are reduced to: an ‘angry black woman.’ This ex-friend told me about a time they went to a predominantly white party in the suburbs and one of the party-goers, while staring out onto the front lawn of the house, said: “wow, there’s a N***er on the lawn” – one of many atrocious acts that go unchecked in white suburbia and various other white spaces. If there is anything I’ve learned from my experiences with ignorant and bigoted people, it is how unapologetic I need to be about my existence. I’m a girl; I am pissed and I’m Black. What about it?”

Merlin’s latest single sees her collaborating with longtime collaborator Funkywhat and rising Montreal-based Brazilian-Canadian, queer artist of color, Fernie. Last fall, Fernie released their critically applauded, full-length debut, Aurora, an album that featured a blend of emancipatory soul, melodic R&B and vulnerable lyricism paired with subtle nuances of 90s melancholia. Fernie worked on the album over the course of a three-year period, in which they also sought to be perceived as a whole person. The music they were working on created a safe space for them to reveal, share and affirm themselves.

Over the past few months, Merlin and Fernie have run into each other quite a bit: They’ve played some of the same festival lineups, and have attended the same shows and parties. Interestingly, they’ve often talked about collaborating on working on a song together. So when Funkywhat sent his longtime collaborator an unfinished version of “DOLLA BILL,” which he recorded with Fernie — and she immediately jumped on board. The end result is a soulful and strutting bop centered around skittering trap-inspired beats, atmospheric synths, a supple and propulsive bass line serving as a silky, grown and sexy, two-step inducing frame for two rising artists to push each other to new territories.