Category: music video

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Lake Jons Releases a Cinematic and Brooding Meditation on Life

Since their formation in 2014, the Helsinki, Finland-based JOVM mainstays Lake Jons, comprised of Jooel Jons and Mikko Pennanen have managed to walk a fine line between production tandem and full-fledged band, while crafting delicate, electro folk-leaning dream pop. Last year’s self-titled debut, which was released to praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere was written and recorded in an isolated cabin, deep within the Finnish forest. Thematically and sonically, their self-titled debut found the duo aiming to examine, capture, and represent the tenuous connection that still exists between the natural world and the human world.

Lake Jons’ sophomore album The Coast was released earlier this year, and the album finds the duo further reconnecting with their roots and delving even deeper into the Towars Forest. The album thematically is the duo’s attempting to dismantle life, space and time; but sonically, the Finnish JOVM mainstays radically reinventing their sound: the material is generally centered around rough instrumental parts, then layered with harmony-driven toplines, with the songs seemingly assembling themselves in seamless fashion. 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about three of the album’s previously released singles — “It’s Too Bright,” “Simone,” and “Human.” All of these tracks have managed to further cemented the duo’s unusual and forward-thinking approach to contemporary pop. “It’s Too Bright,” which was built around a sparse production  of twinkling keys, shimmering hi-hats, boom-bap like beats, a driving bass line and Jooel Jons’ plaintive falsetto was a seamless meshing of elements of R&B, electro pop,  jazz, folk and experimental pop while retaining the infectious hooks that won them attention across the blogosphere. “Simone” was centered around a hazy and dusty production of strummed guitar,  fluttering and arpeggiated synths, wobbling low end and stuttering beats. And while continuing  to be a perfect vehicle for Jons’ plaintive falsetto, the song was imbued with a sense of loss, longing and the acknowledgement that there are some connections that seem to transcend physical space and time itself. “Human” was a haunting and lingering fever dream, that found the JOVM mainstays walking a fine line between careful and deliberate craft and stream of consciousness-like improvisation. 

The album’s fourth and final single is the hushed  and haunting “Circle.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of strummed guitar, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Jons’ achingly tender vocals. But unlike its predecessors, the song is a brooding mediation on existence and its delicacy. “Circle is such a complete shape,” Jons says in press notes. “The essence of existence is so full of intricacies, both delicate and powerful, and the circle of life is among them. It’s something that is maintained, even through humanity’s efforts to break everything. The song tells a small story about a boy, who lived by the waters of Lake Jons, and one day decided to leave the words. It’s a letter to a  dear friend: life is a mysterious circle.” 

“Directed by Raimo Saba, the video does a great job of portraying the theme of the song,” Jons says of the recently released video for “Circle.” “I have my uncle Pekka, who is an actor, featured which makes this video a little more personal to me. Seeing the finished version for the first time, it almost allowed me to gain a new perspective and experience of the song. Raimo has managed to capture and convey the emotions interwoven in the song.”

The video’s director Raimo Saba adds,  “Thinking about freedom in itself brings with it subconscious limitations. I think the concept of freedom is more valuable than one can even understand. It is not just an external concept. It is bound to be a state of yourself and where outside factors have no effect on your state of being.”

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New Video: JOVM Mainstay Crywolf Releases a Haunting and Eerie Visual for “Adah [Fawn]”

If you’ve been frequenting this site for the past couple of years of its nine-plus year history, you’ve probably come across a post featuring  the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumetnalist and producer Justin Taylor Phillips — and his acclaimed solo recording project Crywolf. 

Phillips’ latest Crywolf album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. II] was released earlier this year to critical praise from the likes of The FADER, Alternative Press and idobi Radio. widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. II] finds the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer further cementing his growing reputation for pushing boundaries in every aspect of his art. The album’s latest single “Adah [Fawn]” is a haunting and gorgeous track, centered around a sparse arrangement featuring strummed acoustic guitar, Philips’ achingly plaintive and tender vocals. 

The recently released video for “Adah [Fawn]” continues the “WIDOW” short film series. The three part video series is built around a central narrative, the series’ videos have been released out of order, perhaps a way to reflect the chaotic, turbulent nature of the short film’s world — and they do so while also being surreal and gorgeously shot visual compliments to their accompanying song. “The series tells the story of a man’s descent into madness,” Phillips writes in a statement. “He loses his mind and, thinking he is being directed by an angelic force, ends up killing the very thing he loves most. When he realizes what he has done, he’s devastated and jumps off a pier to escape. It turns out [in the third video that has yet to be released] that he can’t die, and he is still haunted by the memory of his lover.”

“It’s a metaphor for my own struggle with mental illness, and the tumultuous realities of life as an artist,” Phillips continues. “Pursuing these ethereal and magnificent concepts is so captivating, but can sometimes drive you to the edge of your sanity, and can cause you to hurt the things you love most… whether that is people around you, or parts of yourself. But, as the third act shows, those things are never really gone. They live on and won’t leave until they are accepted and integrated.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Thyla Releases a Bold and Brightly Colored Visual for Anthemic “Lenox Hill”

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the rapidly rising Brighton, UK-based indie rock band Thyla. The act can trace its origins back to when its founding trio — Millie Duthie, Danny Southwell and Dan Hole — met while attending college. Bonding over shared musical interests, the band’s founding trio started writing material together. But with the addition of Mitch Dutch, the band began to reimagine their sound and aesthetic, centered around a general distaste of what they felt was the stale and boring state of the British recording industry.

Interestingly, during that same period of time, the members of Thyla have helped establish and cement their hometown’s reputation for production a music scene that features some of England’s hottest emerging acts — while playing shows with the likes of Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops and Lazy Day. They’ve also shared bills with  Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends while being spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

They’ve continued on the remarkable momentum of last year with their debut EP What’s On Your Mind, which was released earlier this year to reviews from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork. The EP also received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the band has spent a portion of this year on the road opening for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. And adding to a massive year for the band, they also went on their first national UK tour, which included their biggest show to date, at  London’s Electrowerkz.

And while it’s been an extraordinarily busy year for the band, they’ve managed to work on new material, which will compose their highly-anticipated sophomore EP slated for release early next year. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about the EP’s first, official single, the boldly ambitious “Two Sense,” a single centered around a rousingly anthemic, arena rock friendly hook, explosive power chords, thunderous drumming, earnest vocals and a slick, modern production that emphasizes a band that has grown more confident and self-assured. But along with that the song, featured a purposeful and defiant message about claiming your right to self-determination.

The EP’s second and latest single “Lenox Hill” continues in the same sonic vein as its immediate predecessor, as it features a driving groove, shimmering and angular guitar lines and a rousing hook. And while continuing a run of remarkably self-assured and ambitious songs — it may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written in some time, as it’s an honest and triumphant coming-of-age story that touches upon finding oneself again to figure out where you need to be and need to go.

“Lenox Hill is the hospital I was born in, with the track inspired by my early years as a kid living in New York City. It’s an honest and emotional coming-of-age tale,” the band’s Millie Duthie explains in press notes. “Life can take so many turns and you can forget where you came from and what makes you you. The important stuff like family can get set aside in the pursuit of whatever it is that drives you. ‘Lenox Hill’ is about realising you’re lost and deciding to go back to your roots to find the way again.” 

Directed and shot by the members of the rapidly rising Brighton-based band, the recently released video for “Lenox Hill” was filmed in the band’s hometown and stars the band’s Duthie in a series of brightly colored outfits. We follow her as she dances and runs around town. And while firmly following a DIY spirit, the video manages to capture the song’s immense and triumphant air. 

“The urge to put ‘Lenox Hill’ to video was too strong to ignore, so we decided to try and shoot something essentially for free,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie reveals in press notes. We bought a gimbal stabiliser off Amazon and used Danny’s iPhone to shoot the whole thing, turns out all you need is some outfits, a willingness to look a bit silly to passers by and a whole load of patience for editing in iMovie and you’ve got yourself a music video! We had a lot of fun making it and we hope it sheds some light on the song and how it makes us feel.”

New Video/New Audio: Two from Emerging San Francisco-based Indie Pop Artist ZOLA

With the release of her debut EP Everything I Know, an effort that has amassed over 500,000 streams, the San Francisco-based pop artist ZOLA quickly emerged into both the local and national scene for a sound and approach that effortlessly and seamlessly meshes genres, styles and languages.

Building upon a growing profile, the emerging San Francisco-based artist’s latest single, the Tim Vickers-produced “Crystal Floors” is a genre–blurring David Lynch-like fever dream as the track is centered around a breezy, Bossa nova rhythms, shimmering synths, a sinuous hook, and Zola’s alluring jazz-inspired vocals singing lyrics in English and French.

The recently released Andy Omvik-produced video for “Crystal Floors” possesses a surreal and dream-like logic as it features the rapidly rising singer/songwriter, a beautiful chestnut colored horse, an old fashioned telephone and a disco ball. 

Along with the release of the video for “Crystal Floors,” the San Francisco-based pop artist released “Telephone,” the second single off her soon-to-be released sophomore EP, an effort slated for a January 2020 release. While continuing a run of bilingual songs, which feature lyrics sung in English and French, “Telephone” is a straightforward bit of soulful pop, centered around a swaggering arrangement of twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, boom bap-like beats and Zola’s jazz-inspired delivery. Both tracks reveal a young artist, who’s not only self-assured beyond her years, but has one of the most unique voices in contemporary indie pop. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sofi Tukker Releases a Wild Party Themed Visual for “Purple Hat”

Acclaimed New York-based electronic duo and longtime JOVM mainstays Sofi Tukker — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — have been widely celebrated for an inclusive, global take on electronic music that’s thematically centered around self-empowerment, unity and liberation. 

“Drinkee,” the duo’s debut single received a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance Recording — and they continued an extraordinary run of early successes with their full-length debut Treehouse receiving  a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Adding to a growing profile of success, the New York electro pop duo’s releases have gone gold or platinum on every continent on the planet — with the exception of Antarctica. They’ve also played sold out shows and festival stops across the planet, and performed on some of the world’s most popular late night talk shows, including Italy’s X-Factor, the UK’s Sunday Brunch, Russia’s Late Show and Japan’s BuzzRhythm, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and most recently Good Morning America.

Released earlier this year, Dancing on the People is Sofi Tukker’s much-anticipated follow up to their highly-successful full-length debut. “Purple Hat,” the EP’s latest single is a joyous and ebullient track with a breezy Brazilian/Tropicalia-like intro that quickly turns into a thumping banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking low-end, a funky Nile Rodgers-like guitar line, Bhangra-inspired percussion and a rousing and enormous hook while Hawley-Weld and Halpern trade vocal lines about a wild party in which the attendees let go of all pretense and facades and let their freak flags proudly fly. And as long as no one is getting hurt, be yourself, “shake that ass and show ’em what you’re working with!” Considering the hatred, opposition, thievery and bullshit we’ve been inundated with during this current administration, the song is absolutely necessary. 

“We wrote ‘Purple Hat’ the day after our first Animal Talk party,” the duo explains. “We started throwing these parties to bring back the wild and inclusive dancing vibe to the nightclub experience. Tuck was literally wearing a purple hat and a cheetah print shirt, people were climbing on top o people, it was over-sold and sweaty, our favorite people were packed in the booth, everyone was loose AF and feeling themselves. It was wild. Every Animal Talk party since then has been like that, and we wanted to capture that raw feeling in a song. If there was a song that included everything we are about, this would be the one.”

Directed by Charles Todd, a frequent Sofi Tukker collaborator, who also filmed the videos for “Fantasy” and “Swing,” the recently released video for “Purple Hat” was filmed during the duo’s sold out, homecoming show at Avant Gardner earlier this fall. Naturally, the video is split between excited Sofi Tukker fans arriving in cheetah print and purple hat gear, live performance shots and the concert crowd getting sweaty and wild, which further emphasizes the song’s spirit and feel. “This song was literally written about the energy of the crowds at our shows so we wanted to literally capture that energy for the video too,” the duo says of the video.  “It’s always so special playing back in New York, where everything started for us and we thought it would be the perfect show to film the video at. We didn’t want to get actors and have a fake party to recreate the energy — we wanted to do it in real life with real people, like we do most nights of the year. Really happy to relive that night over and over again.”

New Video: Kill Your Boyfriend’s Horror Movie-Inspired Visuals for “Elizabeth”

Since their formation back in 2011, the Venice, Italy-based industrial psych act Kill Your Boyfriend, comprised of Matteo Scarpa (vocals, guitar) and Antonio Angeli (drums), have developed a cold and sinister sound that manages to be simultaneously atmospheric and pummeling. Or as the Italian duo described in an interview, their sound is “a killer that came in the night, violent and cold.”

Over the past few years, the Venice-based industrial psych act has released a handful of singles and an album, which allowed them to tour across the European Union with the likes of Zola Jesus, The KVB, Civil Civic and Zu among others. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Kill Your Boyfriend have shared a stage with JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and they played Manchester‘s The Psych Rising Festival alongside Gnod and The Telescopes.

Officially released today through Depths Records, the duo’s latest single “Elizabeth” is a chilly track that finds them further honing their sound as it features elements of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails-like industrial rock, A Place to Bury Strangers and Sisters of Mercy-like noisey shoegaze centered around a motorik groove, Angeli’s mathematically precise four-on-the-floor drumming and Scarpa’s desperate and anguish-filled howls. 

Hot on the heels of the single’s release, the recently released classic Italian horror movie-inspired, Blau!-directed video follows a woman whose obsession with her lover gradually leads her to a world of madness and feverish hallucinations, which feature the members of Kill Your Boyfriend menacing her. The woman’s obsession and hallucinations eventually creates an ironic and horrifyingly tragic ending — of which she can never escape. 

New Video: Ft. Langley-Directed Visual for Shimmering “Lately in Another Time” Follows an Astronaut in Training

Tracing their origins back to when its members — David Parry and Lucas and Jesse Henderson — spent shared summers planting trees in Western Canada’s forest, the rapidly rising Victoria, British Columbia-based, lo-fi psych folk act Loving with their self-released debut effort, quickly established a signature sound – a warm and dreamy sonic soundscape paired with existentially-leaning lyrics and an unspecified, all-encompassing sense of nostalgia. 

In a relatively short period do time, the trio found success online and as a result, they also managed to quickly amass a devoted fanbase. After only selectively touring to support a handful of prominent and acclaimed artists including the likes of Crumb, Alice Phoebe Lou, Still Woozy, and others, the band embarked on their first proper North American tour to build up buzz for their full-length debut, If I Am Only  My Thoughts slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Last Gang Records.

Recored to tape, and then mixed and mastered by the band’s David Parry in his self-described “cold, dismal” basement studio in Victoria, British Columbia, the album’s lush and homespun material, reportedly are balmy and inviting and comprised of a series of open-ended questions, centered around existential themes. “There isn’t a single narrative driving this album, but we do linger on some basic human problems: confusion in the face of a desire for self-knowledge and belonging, a struggle for meaning that is circular and sometimes seemingly endless,” the band’s Jesse Henderson says in press notes. While those looming questions go largely unanswered, they are fodder for further competition, delivered with a peaceful and effortless naturalism. 

If I Am Only My Thoughts’ latest single is the shimmering and achingly nostalgic “Lately In Another Time.” And while possessing the intimacy and contemplative nature of a bedroom recording, the song is deceptively cinematic, as it’s centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, gently padded drumming, a soaring hook and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about the utter strangeness of life itself. Much like its predecessor “Only She Knows,” the track features an anachronistic sound and production that recalls Nick Drake, Junip and others. 

Directed by Ft. Langley, the recently released video continues the old-timey vibes, as it follows an astronaut and NASA staff and crew prepare for a mission into space. There’s constant monitoring, tracking and testing and our dutiful and brave astronaut recognizes the seriousness of the entire ordeal — after all, if something goes wrong during the tests or in space, he could die. Interestingly, the gorgeous and contemplative music gives the mundanity of it all, a surreal air. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Hot Snakes Return with a Sly Commentary on the Proliferation of Tech and Screens in Our Daily Lives

The acclaimed punk act Hot Snakes can trace its origins to when its then- San Diego, CA-based Swami John Reis founded the band back in 1999. That year Reis’ primary gig Rocket from the Crypt had gone on hiatus after their longtime Atom Willard left the band — and coincidentally the band was in between labels. As the story goes. while searching for a new label and drummer for Rocket from the Crypt, Reis founded his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which eventually resulted in the formation of two side projects — Sultans and Hot Snakes, which began in earnest when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72′s Jason Kourkounis. Reis then recruited his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals — with most of the material they recorded, eventually comprising their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge: Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. This resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some obvious musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, their sound was more primal, garage rock-based one, influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band split up in 2005. But in 2011, they reunited for a world tour, which reportedly set the stage fr the band’s fourth, full-length album, last year’s Jericho Sirens, which was coincidentally the band’s first album in over 14 years.

Recorded in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And what more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

The material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we haven’t had a fucking clue. As the band’s Froberg said at the time, “Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Just before they were about to embark on a 12 dat UK and Ireland tour during December, the band released “Checkmate,” a blistering, AC/DC-like track centered around booze-soaked power chords, howled lyrics and a chugging yet forceful rhythm section. As the band’s Rick Froberg said in press notes, “‘Checkmate’ is big, fatty content freshly extruded from the Hot Snakes sausage machine. Same ingredients, new flav.” The single is available through all the digital service provides but it’ll also be available directly from the band as an extremely limited physical 7″ vinyl with the exclusive b-side “Not in Time.”

Co-directed by the band’s John Reis and the band’s longtime friend John Oliver, the recently released video follows digital representations of the band invading and infesting a house, making the video a sly and mischievous commentary on the proliferation of screens and digital content in our daily lives. (Essentially, you can’t take a leak without a screen popping up somewhere!) 

New Video: Malibu Ken (Aesop Rock and TOBACCO) Releases a Nightmarish and Holiday-Themed Visual for “Tuesday”

Born Ian Matthais Bavitz in Syosset, NY, the Portland, OR-based emcee and producer Aesop Rock is best known for being at the forefront of a collection of underground and alternative hip-hop acts that emerged during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The bulk of his most boundary pushing work was released through El-P’s Definitive Jux Records. Additionally, the Syosset-born, Portland-based emcee has developed a reputation for being a highly-sought after collaborator, working in a number of projects including The Weathermen, Hail Mary Mallon with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, The Uncluded with Kimya Dawson and Two of Every Animal with Cage. Importantly, whether as as solo artist or part of a collaborative group, Aesop Rock is considered one of the genre’s more verbose emcees, known for a flow that feature dense and abstract wordplay and complex inner and out rhyme schemes. 

Over the past decade, the Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO has employed the use of analog synthesizers and tape machines to create material — as a solo artist and as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow — that rapidly alternates between absurdly bright beauty and the murderously sinister, while evoking a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure. 

Malibu Ken, the duo’s collaboration together can trace its origins back to when TOBACCO and Aesop Rock toured together over a decade ago. “I find his production to be something special, and always wanted to see what I could bring to it,” Aesop Rock says in press notes. ” We recently found time to record some songs, and Malibu Ken was born. I brought a few stories to the table, but also did my best to let the production dictate the subject matter throughout. We hope you like the soup.” Now, as you may recall, Rhymesayers Entertainment released the duo’s self-titled full-length debut earlier this year, and with album single “Acid King,” the duo quickly established themselves for crafting some of the most forward-thinking, strangest and boundary pushing hip hop I’ve heard in some time.  

Aptly released today, “Tuesday,” Malibu Ken’s latest single continues on a similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it’s centered around Aesop Rock’s dense and mind-bending bars full of absurdist imagery, pop culture references and ridiculous word play and TOBACCO’s woozy retro-futuristic production consisting of tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chopped up and vocodered vocals and distorted whirring synth arpeggios.  

Directed by longtime Aesop Rock collaborator Rob Shaw, the recently released video for “Tuesday” is centered around familiar holiday-related themes — food, family, obligation and duty but with a nightmarish, fever dream-like logic.