Category: Video

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Carré Share Uneasy and Lysergic “Brothers”

Over the past couple of years, I managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles-based indie electro rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Carré, an act that features:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that JusticeSoulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels ClineJonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed back in 2019 — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

Carrè fittingly specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that frequently blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. And thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world.

2020’s attention-grabbing self-titled EP featured:

Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Carré have shared remixes of material off their self-titled EP. But earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays released “Brothers,” their first single of 2022. Centered around a dense and woozy production featuring copious amounts of cowbell, buzzing guitars, layered arpeggiated synths, industrial clang and clatter, thumping and propulsive four-on-the-floor, the expansive “Brothers” is a slick synthesis of Pink Floyd‘s “On The Run,” Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, and LCD Soundsystem that’s arguably the act’s trippiest and most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog.

The band explains that the track “is a surrealistic allegory on climate change and human relationships with Mother Earth.”

The accompanying video was made by San Diego-based artist Jerry Scott Lopez and is an uneasy and lysergic nightmare featuring stop motion animation vaguely inspired by Darron Anrofski’s Mother.

New Video: Pop Outfit Lynda Shares a Breezy Yet Wistful Bop

Currently split between Bristol and Paris, indie electro pop duo Lynda — Russ Harley and Youcef Khelil — can trace their origins to a writing session in London‘s Lewisham section back in 2016. With the release of a handful of singles and Lynda Tapes [2018-2020], the duo quickly established a sound influenced by Japanese synth pop outfit YMO, Hiroshi Sato, VangelisBlade Runner soundtrack and Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The duo is set to release their four-song, debut EP LEMONRIVER EP. Mixed by French touch legend Alan Braxe, the EP reportedly sees the duo crafting an ethereal synth wave sound featuring vintage 80s and 90s drum machines, vintage synths paired with Khelil’s plaintive vocal delivery. The end result is a sound that’s dreamy and cinematic and tinged with a bittersweet nostalgia.

LEMONRIVER EP‘s second and latest single “Calliope” derives its title from the Greek muse of epic poetry. Centered around a lush and dreamy soundscape featuring a strutting yet funky bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Khelil’s achingly plaintive vocal and the duo’s penchant for infectious, razor sharp hooks. Thematically, the song is focused on a familiar scenario for most, if not all of us: That recognition that your lover has changed and become a stranger right before your eyes — and that maybe it’s time for the things to end, even if you don’t want it to end.

Directed by Ikonë Studio, the accompanying video was shot in Kosovo and follows the duo in 90s-styled suits and sneakers, driving through tree-lined suburban streets and downtown Kosovo at night in a red convertible, goofing off at a quirky Wes Anderson-like hotel and dancing on the roof of skyscraper. Underneath the stylishness and quirkiness of the visual is a bittersweet, nostalgic ache.

New Video: Danish Pop Artist Kleo Shares Euphoric “Beautiful Life”

Danish singer/songwriter Kleo exploded into the national and European scenes with her debut single “Miss You,” that paired the rapidly rising Danish artist’s achingly tender and vulnerable vocal delivery is paired with a sparse and dreamy soundscape of strummed guitar, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and persistent, uptempo beats. Rooted in seemingly lived-in experience , “Miss You” features a narrator, who is haunted by longing and their memories of a relationship that they’ll never get back. But it’s core, the song has a bigger message, encouraging the listener to see that all of our experiences help us grow as people, and perhaps most important, there’s almost always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Beautiful Life,” the Danish artist’s second and latest single is a defiantly upbeat, slickly produced pop anthem centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Kleo’s earnest pop belter delivery and earnest lyricism paired with a penchant for rousingly anthemic, enormous hooks. The song sees Kleo reinterpreting the motto carpe diem through her own lens with the song encouraging the listener to embrace life and to fully immerse themselves in the euphoric feeling of falling — and being — in love. The song is also a reminder that the world can still be beautiful, and that love has a unique power for good.

“For me, it’s about being open and holding on to the feeling of happiness I feel in the present moment,” Kleo explains. “For example, the feeling I get when I meditate, or when I’m completely head over heels in love with someone. I woke up one morning and thought: This is the canvas – it’s the backdrop for life itself. And not days of clouds and hurricanes. If I can wake up in the morning and feel bliss, then it must be reality itself.”

Directed by Stine Emil Thorbøll, the accompanying black and white visual for “Beautiful Life” is shot is inspired by 90s pop culture and is shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white. We see the Danish pop star dancing blissfully with actor Ask Berntsen. And for the pair of star-crossed lovers, time and the entire world itself just seems to melt away.

Lyric Video: Chicago’s Smut Shares Heartbreaking “Let Me Hate”

Chicago-based indie outfit Smut — Tay Roebuck (vocals), Andrew Min (guitar), Bell Cenower (bass, synth), Sam Ruschman (guitar, synth) and Aidan O’Connor (drums) — will be releasing their new album How the Light Felt on November 11 through Bayonet Records.

While 2020’s Power Fantasy EP saw Smut dipping its toe into more experimental waters, How the Light Felt reportedly sees the band diving head-first into their vast array of 80s and 90s influences, including OasisCocteau TwinsGorillaz, and Massive Attack — while pushing their sound in a new direction. 

How the Light Felt‘s material can be traced back to 2017: Following her sister’s death, Tay Roebuck turned to writing to help her navigate a labyrinth of grief and heartache. “This album is very much about the death of my little sister, who committed suicide a few weeks before her high school graduation in 2017,” Roebuck explains in press notes. ” “It was a moment in which my life was destroyed permanently, and it’s something you cannot prepare for.” 

Roebuck’s bandmates composed the song’s arrangements, excavating underutilized 90s guitar tones and drum beats to build an expansive sonic world for her lyrics. “A couple weeks after the funeral we played a show and I couldn’t keep it together,” Roebuck says, “but we just kept playing and started writing because it was truly all I felt I had, it was all I could do to feel any sense of purpose. For the past five years now I’ve been chipping my way through grief and loss and I think the album itself is just the story of a person working through living with a new weight on top of it all.”

While rooted in profound heartbreak and loss, the album’s material pairs nostalgic inducing guitar tones, lush yet unfussy production, lived-in lyricism, and earnest vocals in a way that turns pain into a bittersweet yet necessary catharsis. Certainly, if you’ve lost a loved one, the album will likely resonate with you on a deeper level than most. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about “After Silver Leaves,” an infectious 120 Minutes era MTV alt rock-inspired anthem centered around reverb-drenched guitar jangle, driving rhythms paired with Roebuck’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, an enormous, sing-a-long worthy hook and a scorching guitar solo. While sonically recalling Reading, Writing and Arithmetic-era The Sundays, “After Silver Leaves” is rooted in deeply personal, embittering experience. 

“This song is about a former relationship I was in, it was really horribly abusive. But the approach to this one was to just spell it all out and see how silly it feels once shit really hits the fan,” Roebuck says. “The song sounds so happy, but I’m talking about driving someone to a hospital when they’ve overdosed. And having to detach myself and realize that maybe it’s not my job as a teenage girl to save some sad sack of a guy. I think a lot of young women will relate to that, unfortunately.”

How the Light Felt‘s latest single “Let Me Hate” continues the 120 Minutes MTV-era vibe with Roebuck’s gorgeous and plaintive vocal paired with glistening, reverb drenched guitars, a gently propulsive rhythm section and a soaring chorus. But unlike its immediate predecessor, “Let Me Hate” directly addresses the aftermath of a tragic death with an unvarnished honesty. And as a result, the song is equally frustrated, grief-stricken, confused, angry, lost and embittered — within a turn of a phrase.

“For years after my sister’s death I could not dream about her. I’d hear my family members talk about her visiting them in dreams and telling them she’s okay or misses them, there was a lot of mysticism going on the first few years,” Smut’s Tay Roebuck explains. “When I did start having dreams she was always out of reach, walking into another room as I entered or people would be assuring me she was present somewhere if I could find her. ‘Let Me Hate’ is about the first time I had a dream where my little sister spoke to me after she died. I knew if I let her go she’d slip away and when I woke up I was angry at myself. So it’s a very literal song.”

Created by the band’s Aidan O’Connor, the accompanying lyric video features photos from the band’s summer North American tour with indie darlings Wavves.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palm Ghosts Shares a Dance Floor Friendly Bop

Throughout the course of this site’s 12+ year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts. Led by singer/songwriter and producer and Ice Queen Records founder Joseph Lekkas, Palm Ghosts can trace its origins to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia: After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing, recording and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. 

Lekkas initially started Palm Ghosts as a solo recording project — and as a creative outlet to cope with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety. During a long, prototypically Northeastern winter, Lekkas recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music,” which eventually became the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Music City, enticed by its growing indie rock scene. 

Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a decided change in sonic direction with Lekkas crafting material influenced by the 80s — in particular, Cocteau TwinsPeter GabrielDead Can DanceNew Order,  The Cure, and others. 

Much like countless musical acts across the globe, Lekkas and his bandmates spent the forced downtime of the pandemic, attempting to be as busy as they possible could: They wrote a ton of new material informed by a year or so of quarantine-related isolation, socioeconomic and financial instability, protests and demonstrations. 

Last year, the JOVM mainstays released two albums, their fourth album, Lifeboat Candidate and their fifth album, Lost FrequencyLifeboat Candidate was a fittingly dark, dystopian effort full of confusion, fear and dread that drew from the events and circumstances of the year preceding its release. Interestingly, Lost Frequency is a much different album: Initially scheduled for a 2020 release, Palm Ghosts’ fifth album harkens back to before the pandemic, when things seemed more or a less normal and carefree — or at least somehow a bit less uneasy and desperately urgent. In some way, the album’s material feels both celebratory, escapist, and perhaps even somewhat nostalgic. But paradoxically, the album’s material lyrically brings confrontation to the forefront, reminding the listener that nothing is normal — and that normalcy and the desire to return to it is extremely destructive. 

The JOVM’s mainstays forthcoming sixth album Post Preservation reveals an entirely different side of the band. The album’s material features love songs — and there’s even a hint of optimism and some light showing through the cracks. But it’s still 2022, and there’s still plenty of darkness and discontent to the proceedings to balance the sunniness of much of the material. Conceived as a sort of soundtrack to a long lost John Hughes film, Post Preservation is full of nostalgic longing for a world that no longer exists, except in our hearts and minds.

Last month, I wrote about “Cross Your Heart,” a swooning, hook-driven power ballad that sonically is one-part Psychedelic Furs‘ “Pretty in Pink,” one-part Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and paired with earnest, lived-in lyrics that describe being in — and perhaps out of — love, during the end of the world. 

Post Preservation‘s latest single “Signal” is a New Order-like, dance floor friendly bop featuring wiry guitar bursts, arpeggiated synths and relentless four-on-the-floor that’s rooted in the band’s unerring knack for enormous hooks and incisive social criticism. “Signal,” as the band explains “is about our dependent relationship with technology and the negative effects associated with it. Particularly, the increasing isolation that it eases and allows.”

Directed by Michael Patti, the accompanying video for “Signal” follows a man desperately attempting to escape his own reality in pursuit of a girl from another dimension.

“For ‘Signal,’ I wanted to explore an obsession for love just out of reach. We follow our lead as he attempts to escape his own reality, in pursuit of a girl from another dimension. She sends a signal from the other side that drives him to go to extraordinary lengths to get to her,” Patti explains. “The music video captures something that I believe we all have within ourselves. A longing to love and be loved. That distinct moment, when two people cross paths spark an instant connection, you can’t help but pursue it. That is what the story in the video tells.”

New Video: Ghost Funk Orchestra Shares Spectral “Why”

Founded and led by multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer Seth Applebuam, rising New York-based psych rock/psych soul outfit Ghost Funk Orchestra initially began as a lo-fi, solo recording project back in 2014 with a unique sound featuring tape-saturated drums, spring reverb, surf rock guitar, Latin-styled percussion, odd time signatures and Spanish language female vocals. Since then, the project has become a full-fledged band with as many as 10 members — while crafting a unique sound that draws from even more eclectic and diverse sources, including salsa, Afrobeat, classic soul, film soundtracks and more. 

Ghost Funk Orchestra’s full-length debut, 2019’s A Song for Paul was conceived as a tribute to Applebaum’s late grandfather Paul Anish, who played an immense role in his life. Although the album’s songs don’t address Paul Anish directly, the album’s creative direction specifically conveys what Anish’s presence felt like — and was — for Seth, a tough but kind, music obsessed, native New Yorker. For Applebaum, accurately capturing what his grandfather’s essence meant to him forced him to expand the band’s arrangements and sound further than anything he had done to that point, including writing much more comprehensive horn lines and working with a string section. 

Their sophomore album, 2020’s An Ode to Escapism saw the band further expanding upon the sound developed on A Song for Paul with the album’s material featuring much more intricate arrangements, unusual time signatures, rapid tempo and time signature changes within songs, heavier drums and vocal harmonies that soar over the entire affair. Specifically written as an invitation to the listener to close their eyes while listening and delve deep into their own subconscious, if they weren’t too afraid to do so, the album thematically touched upon isolation, fear of the unknown and the fabrication of the self-image. 

Written during pandemic-related lockdowns, Ghost Funk Orchestra’s third album  A New Kind of Love reportedly feels like the soundtrack from an imaginary movie — with the album’s songs easily being part of the score of a romantic drama, an action thriller or a modern twist on film noir: Spare, cascading vocals accentuate the lush instrumental arrangements composed, arranged, performed and produced by Applebaum. Sonically, the album’s material draws from mid-20th Century exotica, 60s and 70s orchestral pop, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Antibalas among others, as well as his experiences as a young filmmaker. Sonically speaking, the end result is an album that encompasses a loving reverence for the past without attempting to recreate it. 

The 12 song album sees Applebaum exploring the complicated, confusing and conflicting realm of love, with the album’s songs capturing the emotional notes of love going well and love gone sour, as though manifesting love songs based in ghostly affairs. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about A New Kind of Love‘s first single “Scatter,” a cinematic affair that pairs Romi Hanoch’s sultry and ethereal delivery with an expansive, lush and downright trippy arrangement that’s one-part film-noir-like spy movie, one-part classic rom-com, one-part Blaxploitation — with a wild late-period John Coltrane-like saxophone freak out of a solo. But if you pay close attention, the song captures a narrator reeling from a love gone disastrous wrong but with the knowing self-assuredness and confidence that she deserves — and will get much better soon enough.

A New Kind of Love‘s second and latest single “Why” is a spectral and slow-burning bit of psych soul with Latin-influenced percussion paired with powerhouse vocals. The song manages to capture curiosity, obsession and desire with an uncanny psychological realism.

The accompanying video for “Why” was shot on Kodak film –and manages to seem inspired by nouveau vague yet surrealistic.

New Video: Florence, Italy’s Lazy Lazarus Shares Dreamy “Fame Fatale”

Lazy Lazarus is a Florence, Italy-based singer/songwriter and musician. After stints in a number of bands that started when he was 14, the Italian artist stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist.

Interestingly, as a songwriter, the Italian artist sees himself as a fisherman, trying to catch ideas, sensations and feelings from the endless ocean of life, and only when he catches them, does he proceed to shape them into songs.

The Florence-based artist’s latest single “Fame Fatale” is a slow-burning and woozy bit of crafted psychedelia that brings Tame Impala and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles to mind but paired with blown out beats and rumbling low end.

Directed by Lorenzo Torricelli, the accompanying, cinematically shot video for “Fame Fatale” follows the Florence-based artist through some hallucinogenic and dream-like sequences.

New Video: Blue Canopy Teams Up with Misty Boyce and Patrick J. Smith on Slow-Burning “Stranger At The Door”

Portland, OR-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Schiff started his music career as a co-writer for indie outfit Modern Rivals — and with Modern Rivals, Schiff has shared stages with the likes of Ra Ra Riot, Stars, and The Black Keys.

Since his time with Modern Rivals, Schiff has stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his recording project Blue Canopy, which sees the Portland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combining versatile songwriting chops and exuberant melodies to convey nostalgia as a force to move forward. Sonically, Blue Canopy sees Schiff weaving dream pop, psych rock-inspired guitars and expansive electronic soundscapes. The end result is work that’s introspective at a time when self-reflection seems more crucial than ever.

So far, Schiff has released two Blue Canopy EPs 2020’s Mild Anxiety and last yer’s Sleep While You Can, which featured additional instrumentation and co-production from A Beacon School‘s Patrick J. Smith.

Schiff’s latest Blue Canopy single, the slow-burning and meditative “Stranger At The Door” features vocals from Misty Boyce, who has worked with Sara Bareilles and BØRNS and guitar from A Beacon School’s Patrick J. Smith. Featuring glistening synths arpeggios, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line paired with Boyce’s gorgeous vocals, “Stranger At The Door” sounds like a synthesis of Currents-era Tame Impala and Quiet Storm soul while centered around earnest, seemingly lived-in lyricism.

Interestingly, “Stranger At The Door” examines social anxieties in the COVID era, but written from the perspective of his dog Banjo, who has become increasingly anxious and paranoid over the past few months, as the world returns to a certain version o of normalcy.

‘”Stranger At The Door’ is a song from my dog Banjo’s perspective. He’s been super anxious and paranoid since we moved to a new house. He’s especially worried that there is someone or something dangerous at the front door. Some of it, and the inspiration is from his perspective. I relate it later in the song to my own social anxieties that have escalated since COVID. I often don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, or without a mask, or around people in general.”

Directed by Alex Beebee, the accompanying video for “Stranger At The Door” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring a mix of animation, grainy super 8-like live footage rooted in nostalgia.