Category: Video

New Video: Rising British Pop Artist Jordan Mackampa Releases a Symbolic Visual for “Parachutes”

Jordan Mackampa is a rising London-born and-based Congolese-British singer/songwriter. With the release of “Under” earlier this year and 2016’s Physics EP, and 2017’s Tales From The Broken EP and Live from the Grand Cru EP, Mackampa has received critical praise from NME, The 405, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Indie Shuffle, Wonderland and others — with all of his previously released material amassing over 50 million Spotify streams.

Mackampa’s work is inspired by his Congolese roots and his mother’s love of legendary soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. And much like his influences, Mackampa has a developed a reputation for pairing an old school singer/songwriter soul-like vocal delivery with earnest songwriting and catchy melodies with a modern approach. Building upon that momentum, Mackampa’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Foreigner is slated for a March 13, 2020 release. Along with that the rising Congolese-British artist is currently on tour opening for Amber Run  and he has been confirmed to play at next year’s SXSW.

Mackampa’s latest single, “Parachutes” is a breezy yet deliberately crafted track centered around a radio friendly and loose arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. But the star of the show is Mackampa’s easygoing and expressive vocals — in this case, Mackampa’s voice evokes the soaring high of being in love and the embittering low of heartache and betrayal within the turn of a phrase.

“‘Parachutes’ encapsulates those situations with people you’ve come across in life; who aren’t who they pretend to be and the person they are with you, isn’t someone you want to be around,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “However because you love them, either platonically or romantically, you’re conflicted by your feelings for them until it gets to a point where you don’t want to be hurt anymore… Nobody is perfect, but if you were trapped in an airplane with them and they had a parachute but you didn’t you would jump out regardless, because any pain you would experience afterwards, won’t be as bad as what you’ve already gone through.”

Directed by Tom Ewbank, the recently released and deeply metaphoric captures the psychological and physical battles of any relationship — essentially saying that sometimes other people can be hellish and torturous. “I wanted this video to capture the mental, and sometimes physical battles we go through in relationships, whether they are platonic or romantic with people in our lives,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “It can sometimes feel as though you’re dealing with two different people, but no one else sees the other person you encounter who brings you pain and hurt, rather than joy. You become inwards within yourself until you can’t take it anymore and have to walk away from them, even if it’s hard.”

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Atmosphere Returns with the Contemplative “Bde Maka Ska”

This month will be a rather busy month in my world — and in the world of JOVM: I’m currently in Syracuse, NY for a wedding.  I return back to New York sometime tomorrow, shoot a handful of shows and then head off to Montreal for the M for Montreal Festival (more on that later, of course).  In fact, instead of getting ready for the wedding, I fired up the ol’ laptop to work . . . So let’s get to the business at hand, right? 

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about about the critically applauded and commercially successful Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act and JOVM mainstays Atmosphere.  Initially formed over 20 years ago under the name Urban Atmosphere, the JOVM mainstays have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop should sound like and concern itself with thematically, especially as its founding duo Slug and Ant find themselves inching towards middle age. 

2016’s Fishing Blues continued a string of insightful, mature material reflecting men that have seen and experienced more than they could possibly put into words. That album’s material found the duo transforming from wild and untamed road warriors and settling into a hard-fought and peaceful cocoon of family and art. And while that seems ideal, we all know that over the past few years, the world we inhabit has fundamentally changed in a frightening fashion. In fact, last year’s Mi Vida Local thematically found the pair grappling with their own mortality —  and the anxiety and fear that comes from the painful acknowledgment that you’re completely powerless and can’t protect yourself, let alone your loved ones from the dangerous of our world. Sobering stuff, indeed. And yet, that effort, much like its predecessors was largely centered around the duo’s deep and abiding friendship. 

The duo’s latest single “Bde Maka Ska,” is the first batch of original material since the release of last year’s Mi Vida Local and interestingly, the track sonically and thematically continues in the vein of its immediate predecessor: centered around a bluesy production featuring twinkling keys, fuzzy, wah wah pedaled guitar, a gospel choir-like backing vocal, the song finds its narrator yearning for peace and serenity in a mad, mad, mad world. And while also taking careful stock of his own life and decisions, the song’s narrator coming to a profound realization: that sometimes we have to let go and let the universe and karma handle it — and that more important, that he has a loving relationship that gives him a respite from the world. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming London-based duo Charlotte Spiral Releases a Surreal and Cinematic Visual for Atmospheric “Wide Eyed”

Up-and-coming, London-based indie pop duo Charlotte Spiral, which is comprised of Amy Spencer and Avi Barath can trace their origins to when they met at Goldsmith College and bonded over their mutual love of Rufus Wainright, Julia Holter, Moses Sumney, Patrick Watson, Susanne Sondfør and Beach House among others, all of which have influenced the duo’s work and overall sound. The duo’s debut EP Ideal Life is slated for a February 7, 2020 release through Chapped Lips Records.

Reportedly, the emerging British pop duo’s debut effort thematically explores selfhood, self-doubt and self-belief through an examination of rejection and defeat. The EP’s latest single, the Dan Carey and Charlotte Spiral co-produced “Wide Eyed” is an atmospheric and sparsely arranged song centered around Spencer’s achingly tender vocals, twinkling and ethereal piano, gently padded drumming and a soaring hook paired with a polished production, which may remind some listeners of Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

“‘Wide Eyed’ is about wishing it was easy to enjoy the simple things in life, instead of comparing yourself to the people around you. It’s about wanting to be able to achieve something easily, but being frustrated by the difficulties you face to get to it,” the duo explain in press notes. “Dan’s method of working is based on making quick decisions and committing to them, which resulted in a sound that feels very instinctive and strong in its identity.” 

Directed by Morgan Sinclar, the accompanying video was shot wholly on analog film, giving the lush and dream-like visuals a cinematic and textured feel while representing the struggle to avoid distractions and find joy in simplicity. Beginning with the painting of a chair, the video follows its protagonist on a surreal journey, which manages to play on the idea that achieving something seemingly so simple can often seem like a dream. 

New Video: Denmark’s Twin Dive Releases a Surreal Visual for Mosh Pit Friendly Single “Holly”

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written a bit Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock act Twin Dive. And as you may recall, the Danish alt rock act formed back in 2018 when its founding duo of Robert Jancevich (vocals, guitar) and Ragnar “Raggi” Gudmunds (drums)  met and bonded over a mutual passion for all things rock ‘n’ roll. Since then, the band has split their time between the studio and live gigs honing and polishing their sound while releasing material that has been compared favorably to Foo Fighters, The Hives and others. During that same period, Charlotte Mortensen (bass) joined the band, helping the band bolster their sound. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native Denmark and across Scandinavia, the band played at this year’s Spot Festival, which caught the attention of Drowned in Sound, who picked the band as one of the best acts of the festival — and they just recently finished a tour of Finland with Finnish act Ursus Factory. Earlier this year, I wrote about the grungy “Animal,” a track that recalls 120 Minutes-era alt rock — i.e., Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and the like — while thematically, the song was about knowing and taming one’s inner animal. 

The rapidly rising Danish trio’s latest single “Holly” continues a run of grungy, power chord-driven material that draws from 120 Minutes-era alt rock. In fact, because of an arrangement centered around heavily pedal effected and jagged power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals the band’s latest single may arguably be the most indebted to Bleach and In Utero-era Nirvana of their entire catalog — but at its core. the song explores the unending battle between our sense of self and our ego in a way that’s partially ironic. 

Directed by Mark Vesterlund, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video is a surreal fever dream featuring a troupe of older Asian women doing traditional dances to the song — and while it’s an odd juxtaposition, the visual is meant to leave the interpretation of its message and meaning to the  viewer. 

New Video: French 79’s Intimate and Contemplative Visual for “Code Zero”

Last month, I wrote about Simon Henner, a Marseille, France-based electro pop producer and artist, best known for his solo recording project French 79. And with the release of his first two releases — his debut EP Angel and his full-length debut Olympic — Henner quickly and boldly emerged into the French and international electro pop scenes. 

Henner’s latest French 79 album Joshua is slated for a Friday release through Alter K Records, and the album reportedly finds Henner drawing from his past — in particular, his love of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Soft Machine, the soundtracks of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner and Jacques Cousteau. Each of Joshua‘s songs are meant to evoke a lived-in moment, relationship or experience during Henner’s childhood.

Now, as you may recall, album single “By Your Side” was centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and Ocean Springs, MS-born, Paris-based vocalist Sarah Rebecca‘s plaintive vocals to create a nostalgia-inducing track that recalls — to my ears, at least — From Here To Eternity . . . and Back-era Giorgio Moroder, and the Stranger Things soundtrack. And while being remarkably dance floor friendly, the track is a sweet declaration of loyalty that feels delightfully old-school. 

“Code Zero,” Joshua’s latest single is lush, instrumental track featuring twinkling Wurlitzer, shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and a motorik groove. And while subtly recalling Tour de France-era Kraftwerk, Daft Punk and the aforementioned Giorgio Moroder, “Code Zero” the track possesses an intimate quality, as it feels like a contented sigh in a rare moment of peace. In press notes, Henner explains that the track, which also references his passion for sailing is “about how I find a path, how I use my music compass to move forward.” 

Directed by Vincent Desrousseaux, the recently released video is an intimate look at Henner’s creative process, as he writes the song in a gorgeous, sun-dappled apartment with with vintage gear — and it includes a brief moment in which Henner pauses to watch the 1983 motion picture War Games on his laptop. 

New Video: The Still Tide Releases an Intimate and Mischievous Visual for Shimmering and Introspective “Keep It”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Anna Morsett, an Olympia, WA-born, Denver-based singer/songwriter, musician and creative mastermind behind the up-and-coming indie rock act The Still Tide. And as you may recall, Morsett’s work as The Still Tide has largely been inspired by her experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest, living in Brooklyn in her 20s and traveling the world as a guitar tech for the likes of critically applauded acts like Kaki King, The Tallest Man on Earth and The Devil Makes Three among others. As a solo artist, she has landed opening spots for Cat Power, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats and Margaret Glaspy.

Her latest Still Tide EP Between Skies is slated for a January 20, 2020 release through Mod y Vi Records and the effort is largely inspired by the duality she regularly experiences as a magnetic frontwoman and a self-described introspective loner — with the material touching upon love, loss, opportunities won and lost and the closed doors of our lives. So far I’ve written about two of the EP’s previously released singles: The shimmering, The Smiths and Pretenders-like “Change of Address,” an introspective song centered around the sense of loss and defeat after the embittering end of a long-time relationship that also managed to be imbued with a sense of hope over new starts — and the swooning “On The Line,” a song was written about her own experiences of being in a long distance relationship that managed to capture the longing, ache, hope and anxiousness at their core.   

“Keep It,” the EP’s third and latest single continues a run of shimmering and introspective guitar pop, centered around sharp and infectious hooks, and earnest songwriting rooted in lived-in, personal experience. “‘Keep It’ is about a relationship running its course and the aftermath of the split; how these two try to sort themselves out afterwards,” shares Morsett. “The hope that despite all the mess of the breakup that we keep our hearts open, keep our health and carry ourselves well. I also tried to highlight that weird feeling of watching that person who was once YOUR person go through a tough time but knowing that it isn’t your place to help them through it anymore. That perhaps it’s almost unkind to try to intervene with help in that space of a breakup as helping may just prolong emotional pain. Especially if you were the one to cause it – to break it off –in the first place.”

Directed and produced by Jonah Hart, the recently released video for “Keep It” is an intimate look behind-the-scenes of the video’s filming and of a promotional photo shoot that finds Morsett stretching and morphing from introspective and shy loner to self-assured frontperson — but with a mischievous sense of humor. 

Live Footage: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on Live on KEXP

The genre-defying Aussie psych rock act and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released five albums in a wildly prolific burst in 2017 — with each album managing to be in a completely different genre and style. Naturally, such a feat helped to cement the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific and experimental. So for a band known for being like clockwork when it comes to releasing new material, last year’s lack of new material sticks out as anomaly. However, in fairness to the members of the band, they spent part of last year on a busy world tour that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three-sold out nights at Brooklyn Steel, one of the larger venues they had played at the time in the States — until their Rumsey Playfield show with Stonefield and Orb back in August. 

This year finds the acclaimed and wildly prolific Aussie psych rock at speeding up the pace. Earlier this year, they released the boogie blues-tinged Fishing for Fishes and in August, they released their second album of the year and their 15th album overall, Infest the Rats’ Nest. Now, as you may recall, Infest the Rats Nest featured what may arguably be the most pared down lineup of their entire creative output: the band’s creative mastermind Stu McKenzie (vocals, guitar, bass), Joey Walker (guitar, bass), and Michael Cavanaugh (drums) with the band’s remaining members busy with prior commitments.  The reduced lineup allowed the band to focus on crafting together arrangements with a pummeling and feral ferocity inspired by McKenzie’s long-held love of thrash metal — in particular, Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Rammstein.

King Gizzard’s 15th album, sonically and thematically is a radical and unexpected departure from its most immediate predecessor: the album’s material may arguably be the darkest and bleakest efforts they’ve released to date, as the band seethes with disgust and contempt over the human race’s myopia, stupidity and greed. At its core, is the acknowledgement that we’re all blindly marching lockstep to our annihilation —  and maybe we deserve it. 

During the band’s last North American tour, they stopped by KEXP to record a live session, which featured material off Infest the Rats Nest that included the Black Sabbath-like “Mars for the Rich,” the pummeling Slayer-like “Venusian 1,” “Venusian 2,” and “Hell” and the Ride the Lighting-era Metallica-like “Perihelion.” The live footage is not just a taste of their amazing live show, it’s a reminder that King Gizzard may be one of the best indie bands in the world — their dexterous musicianship allows the band the versatility to play anything with a self-assuredness and pitch-perfect accuracy. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Elephant Stone Releases a Mind-Bending Animated Visual for “Hollow World”

Montreal-based, Polaris Music Prize-nominated, JOVM mainstays Elephant Stone is led by its creative mastermind Rishi Dhir (vocals, bass, sitar) and nature’s longtime collaborators Miles Dupire (drums) and Gab Lambert (guitar) — and since their formation back in 2009, the band has released five critically applauded full-length albums and have toured extensively across North America and Europe. The Canadian psych rock act has also received airplay on US college and non-commercial radio, as well as Canadian commercial radio. During that same time, the band has developed a reputation for a unique sound that meshes elements of classic psych rock. Hindustani classic music and pop. 

2009’s Jace Lasek-produced debut The Seven Seas received a Polaris Music Prize nod and quickly established their boundary-blurring sound. 2010’s follow-up, The Glass Box further expanded upon the sound of The Seven Seas — and building upon a growing profile, the band went on their first North American tour opening for The Brian Jonestown Massacre. 

2013’s third, self-titled album received praise from NPR, BrooklynVegan, Consequence of Sound and a number of other outlets across the blogosphere. Building upon a growing profile, the band toured across Europe and North America as a headliner and as an opener for The Zombies and The Black Angels and a list of others. They also played across the national and international festival circuit, making appearances at Levitation, Best Kept Secret and several more. 

2014’s The Three Poisons was a lyrical exploration of Buddhist themes, largely inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The album was followed by The Three Poisons remix album, 2015’s ES3PRMX, which featured remixes by The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, The Horrors’ Tom Furse, The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, The Dandy Warhols’ Peter Holstrom and others, 

2016’s Marcus Paquin-produced Ship of Fools was released through Burger Records and the band’s Elephants on Parade Records. The album continued a run of critically applauded material and featured two singles that landed on the Canadian commercial radio charts — “Andromeda” and “Manipulator.” 

Over the past couple of years, Elephant Stone was on an informal hiatus as Dhir went on to further cement his own reputation as a highly-regarded and highly sought-after bassist and guitarist, who has collaborated with an impressive and eclectic array of artists and projects including Beck, the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre. He’s also a member of Acid House Ragas and the psych rock super-group MIEN, which features members of The Horrors and The Black Angels. Additionally, Dhir has worked on remixes of work by The Dream Syndicate, Tahiti 80 and others. 

Interestingly, the Montreal-based JOVM mainstays emerged from their hiatus earlier this year with the release of “Land of Dead,” arguably one of the heaviest songs of their growing catalog. The band’s latest single “Hollow World” is a shimmering return to form of sorts. Indebted to 60s psych rock, the track is centered around shimmering guitars, a sinuous and propulsive bass line. However, Dhir’s vocals are fed through a gentle amount of vocoder and distortion, which is subtle futuristic nod that gives the song a mischievous bit of anachronism. But at its core, is a yearning for something that feels just out of reach. 

“I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of unhappy people out there who are trying to find a way out,” Dhir says in press notes. “They are looking for meaning and something to believe in . . . or nothing to believe in. . . We all want the same thing, but are trying to achieve it in different ways. With this in mind, we wrote and recorded our 6th full-length, Hollow. I set forth writing a song-suite telling of a world of unhappy souls who have lost connection with each other. The storyline touches upon the plundering/poisoning of their home, the elite, demagogues, false idols, the truth as seen by children, and, ultimately, the fight for the survival of their species. “Hollow World” is where it all begins.

“The soul of mankind is dying. We have lost connection with each other and follow the false ego,” the band explains in a statement. “It is a truly hollow existence. We fill this emptiness with more emptiness that the powers that be feed us. We are destroying the planet without thought of how the next generation will have to pay for our crimes… Then… it all ends. A catastrophic event/moment decimates the earth. We go into panic mode…. Goodbye sunshine, hello dark skies, so long clean air, do you care? To be continued…”

The recently released video by Danica Olders is a hallucinogenic and mind-bending animated visual featuring a disembodied and painfully sad face that eventually takes over the world. 

New Video: San Antonio’s Fea Releases an Anthemic Ode to the Working Class

With the release of 2016’s self-titled, full-length debut, the San Antonio, TX-based punk outfit Fea, which features Girl In A Coma’s Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva with Letty Martinez and Sofi Lopez, quickly developed a reputation for a trailblazing and proudly genre-defying aesthetic that meshed Chicana Punk, fuzzy power chords and three-part vocal harmonies with Riot Grrl ethos. 

Now, as you may recall, the San Antonio-based punk quartet’s Alice Bag-produced sophomore album No Novelties is slated for a November 15, 2019 release through Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, and the forthcoming album features bilingual material that thematically focuses on a number of hot-button topics, including sexism, the toxic self-awareness, self-promotion and vapidity of social media and others — with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and feministic punk sensibility. Additionally, the material may arguably be the most intricate in the band’s history — to date, at least. 

Last month, I wrote about No Novelties’ first single “Let Me Down,” a blistering takedown of modern society’s dependance on social media and reality TV that calls out the obsession with fame, constant praise, instant gratification, self-absorption, self-promotion, sex and consumerism at its core. Sonically, the song found the act meshing classic ’77 era punk with power pop in a way that was infectious and defiant. The album’s second and latest single “Ya Se,” is a blistering, old school punk anthem, centered on the plight of the constantly exploited working class sung entirely in Spanish. Considering the constant torrent of racist bullshit coming from our current administration that’s aimed at our brothers, sisters and friends in the LatinX community, the song possesses a deeper sense of righteous fury. 

“The title is Spanish for ‘I know,’ vocalist Letty Martinez says in press notes. “Most of our generation is living paycheck to paycheck. Getting caught up in that cycle where you spend the money you don’t have on vices just to feel relief from the financial stress.” Guitarist Sofi Lopez adds, “When you just work work work, you get into this groove that you can’t escape. But it drives you mad in the end.“

The recently released video stars the members of the band as frustrated blue collar mechanics, who are exploited by their white collar — and very male — boss. The band members work hard for very little money and to escape their dreary lives, they spend what they earn on vices — booze, weed, gambling, cigarettes. But at the end, they all revolt against the dreaded time clock, which enslaves them.