Category: New Video

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!) 

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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. 

New Video: L’ENTOURLOOP Pays Homage to Classic French Cinema in Visual for Swaggering and Thumping “Bangarang”

L’ENTOURLOOP is a fairly mysterious Saint Etienne, France-based soundystem crew led by founding members Sir James and King Johnny. Inspired by old school soundystem crews, vinyl culture and classic cinema, the duo’s sound is a fusion of reggae and hip hop featuring scratches and samples with a vintage feel. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native France, the act collaborated with Jamaican dancehall artist Skarra Mucci on the recently released 6 song EP Golden Nuggets. “Bangarang” Golden Nuggets latest single is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chopped up vocal samples, stuttering percussion and Skarra Mucci’s swaggering, rapid-fire patois. The track manages to be a club banger with a mischievously anachronistic air — as the song finds the duo walking a line between the sounds of the mid 90s and right now. 

Directed by L’ENTOURLOOP, the recently released video for “Bangarang” is a vividly colored and slickly edited homage to classic, French cinema centered, edited to the thumping beats of the song. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie-born Los Angeles-based Pop Artist Zenya Releases a Slick Visual for 90s Inspired Bit of Synth Pop

Zenya is a Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, best known for a stint inJustin Timberlake’s backing band The Tennessee Kids. Recently. the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based artist has stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist, with the release of her Lash-produced and co-written debut single “Holdin’ On.” Much like the previous post, “Holdin’ On” is radio and dance floor friendly pop, centered around propulsive Caribbean-tinged polyrhythm, shimmering synth arpeggios and the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based pop artist’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. At its core, the song is imbued with a desperate and urgent hope that defies common sense and logic. 

“Holdin’ On’ is an island influenced pop song about hope,” Kenya explains in press notes. “Holding that thin thread left between two loves that may or amy not get back together after ab breakup that seemed like it might have been a mistake. It’s a song of vulnerability and honesty, and how it can be hard to let go of habits of the heart.” 

Directed by Mark Lecky, the recently released video follows a pensive Zenya, as she conducts a cleansing ritual, writing and desperately waiting for a lover to come back home — but there’s a sense that this lover may never come back. It’s a decidedly 90s inspired visual for a 90s pop inspired song. 

New Video: Rapidly Rising Afro Pop Act ONIPA Releases a Vibrant Visual for Club Banging Single “Makoma”

Deriving their name from the Akan word for “human,” the London-based Afro pop/dance pop act ONIPA features an All-Star cast of collaborators that includes the act’s core duo, longtime friends, Kweku of Ghana’s and KOG and the Zongo Brigade’s KOG (vocals. balafon and percussion) and Nubiyan Twist’s Tom Excell (guitar, production, electronics) with Wonky Logic’s Dwayne Kilvington synths and MPC) and Nubiyan Twist’s Finn Booth (drums) joining the band for live shows. The act views its work as a message of connection through high energy and deep, dance floor friendly grooves. 

Following an attention-grabbing set at this year’s Felabration at Amsterdam’s Paradiso alongside Pat Thomas and Dele Sosimi, the rapidly rising London-based Afro pop act is gearing up for what may arguably be a momentous 2020: their full-length debut is slated for release next year through Strut Records and they’ll be supporting the album with an extensive tour across the UK and European Union during the Spring and Summer. 

“Makoma,” the full-length album’s first single is a buoyant and vibrant club banger centered around looping and shimmering guitars, stuttering polyrhythm, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, call and response vocals and a raucous, crowd pleasing hook. Mischievously nodding at soca, the Pan African song features lyrics sung in Twi and Sisaala while sonically being indebted to the sounds of The Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Ghana — primarily soukous, but with a slick, modern production. 

The recently released video for “Makoma” features a collection of beautiful African people within a vibrant color palette riding bicycles across the African countryside for a bit, before stopping to sing and dance along to the song, The video captures the simple and profound joy of being with your friends and enjoying your favorite song, 

New Video: Genre-Defying French Artist MHUD Releases a Bloody Commentary on Violence and Toxic Masculinity

Initially beginning his creative career as a painter, the mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer MHUD got into music as a creative outlet relatively recently. And in short period of time, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist has developed a reputation for material that thematically focuses on man’s spiritual, emotional and intellectual split from himself — paired with a sound that’s genre defying. 

The mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist’s full-length debut is slated for a March 2020 release, and the album’s latest single “Cheval de Bataille” is a slickly produced track that possesses elements of trip hop, electroclash, electro pop and arena rock as its centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, buzzing, distortion pedal-fueled guitar lines, a motorik-like groove, expressive blasts of horn and arpeggiated synths. Sonically speaking, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of synthesis of fellow countrymen Black Strobe, Dystopico-era Kriget, Third-era Portishead, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and The Deltahorse.  

Produced by David Garnacho and Nicolas Bouf, the recently released video for “Cheval de Bataille” follows the violent fantasies of a nerdy and relentlessly bullied office drone, who gets his revenge at a team-building paintball game. In the face of psychological violence in relation to economic and societal pressures, some people feel as though the only response they have is to respond with physical violence, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist says of the video treatment. The directors and the artist went with a hyper realistic take on violence — so that the impact it has on people can’t be trivialized or glorified. But on another level. it points out how toxic masculinity can lead to increasing amounts of brutal and senseless violence. 

New Video: London’s Genghar Releases a Dance Floor Friendly Single

Deriving their name from Gengar, one of the original Pokemon, the acclaimed London-based Gengahr, comprised of Felix Bushe, John Victor, Hugh Schulte and Danny Ward can trace their origins to when its members met at the Stoke Newington School. Their debut single “Fill My Gums With Blood” caught the attention ofBBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up playing at the BBC Introducing Stage at 2014’s Glastonbury Festival.

Since then the band has released two critically applauded albums — 2015’s debut effort A Dream Outside and 2018’s Where Wildness Grows. The band’s highly-anticipated, third full-length album Sanctuary is slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Liberator Music. Produced by the band’s old friend, Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman, the album reportedly finds the band ambitiously pushing their sound in a decidedly pop leaning direction while recapturing the magic and vibe the quartet felt while writing and recording their debut effort. Influenced by Homer’s Odyssey, the album’s material finds the band’s primary songwriter Felix Bushe tapping into personal pain — but while coming out throwing punches and fighting.

Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Heavenly Maybe” is a slinky and shimmering pop song centered around Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a sinuous bass line, a funky, disco-like groove, four-on-the-floor drumming, Bushe’s achingly plaintive vocals and an infectious radio friendly hook. And while being a slickly produced club banger, the song is imbued with a world weary ennui, as Bushe’s narrator details the experience of partying as a way of distracting him from his serious, real life problems. 

Directed by David East, the video follows a lonely man who heads out to a club to catch a band and to dance his problems away — but it seems only temporary. “‘Heavenly Maybe’ is the second part of a two-part video we made with David East in Berlin earlier this year. Across the two, we wanted to create something which captured the thematic essence of the album as a whole whilst allowing each song its own fitting backdrop. The song itself is essentially about going out and trying to forget all of your troubles, and how ultimately problematic that is as a form of release.” 

New Video: Long Beach’s O ZORN! Releases a Sludgy, Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

O ZORN! is a Long Beach, CA-based post-sludge trio led by Bill Kielty (vocals, guitar) and currently featuring Danny Walker (drums) and Billy Mud (guitar). Comprised of grizzled vets of Long Beach’s underground scene, the band formed in 2010. And since their formation, the trio have developed a reputation for a sound and songwriting approach that draws from and meshes elements of doom metal, sludge, hardcore and psych rock into a roaring and pummeling sound centered around enormous riffs and fiercely focused angst. 

The Long Beach-based post sludge act’s sophomore album Your Killer is slated for a March 6, 2020 release through Hard Drugs Records and the album, which was recorded at theFoo Fighters’ 606 Studio finds the band crafting the most boldly ambitious, focused and diverse material of their catalog to date. “Casket,” Your Killer’s first single is centered around enormous, power chord-driven riffs, relentless and thunderous drumming, mosh pit friendly hooks and Kielty’s anguished howls. And while bearing a resemblance to Screaming Life/Fopp EP and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, Melvinsand others, the song as the band explains “depicts a story of a Marine that survives the Vietnam War against all odds, only to come home and his watch his wife battle cancer. In an ever changing World, now with fewer wars than ever before, the story of ‘Casket’ is a dark reminder that the ‘Rolling Death Machine’ of war is still a haunting memory for those on the battlefield and those at home fighting their own personal hell.” 

The recently released video employs an extremely DIY approach — footage of the band performing the song, shot on two iPhones and a GoPro, with a couple of strobe lights and a fog machine. 

New Video: Arbor Labor Union Releases a Hallucinogenic Animated Visual for “Flowerhead”

Atlanta-based indie rock act Arbor Labor Union, comprised of Bo Orr (vocals, guitar), Ben Salle (drums), Brain Atoms (guitar) and Ryan Evers (bass) features band members have long been members of — and have been influenced by — the ideology and ethos of DIY punk and hardcore, with their work drawing from cosmic country and cosmic Americana, Whitman, an appreciation towards nature and the working-class sympathies of Woody Guthrie. Or in the band’s words “CCR meets The Minute Men.”

Their sophomore album, 2016’s I Hear You was released through Sub Pop Records and building upon a growing profile, the Atlanta-based act toured with the likes of Dinosaur, Jr.,Outer Spaces, Gnarwhal and The Gotobeds among others. It’s been a while since I’ve personally heard from them or have written about them — but as it turns out, the band had been busy working on their highly-anticipated, third album New Petal Instants, which is slated for a February 7, 2019 through Arrowhawk Records. The forthcoming album’s first single is the shaggy and twangy “Flowerhead.” While featuring a buoyant and propulsive CCR meets Sun Records country-like groove, the jam-like track is centered around a loose and expansive song structure paired with mind-melting meditations on nature and cosmos. But unlike their most of their previously released material, “Flowerhead” is arguably the most danceable/boppable they’ve ever released. 

The recently released video for “Flowerhead” features stop motion-animation and collages by the band’s Bo Orr and edited stock footage — and while continuing the band’s long-held DIY ethos, the video is like the Grand Ole Opry on hallucinogens.