Category: Video

New Video: Widowspeak Returns with Moody and Lonely Visuals For New Single “Dog”

Currently comprised of Tacoma, WA-born, Brooklyn-based founding members Molly Hamilton (vocals, guitars) and Robert Earl Thomas (guitar), the indie rock duo Widowspeak initially formed in 2010 and featured founding members Hamilton, her longtime friend Michael Stasiak and Thomas. As a trio, they released their critically applauded 2011 self-titled debut, an effort which had album single “Harsh Realm” featured in an episode of American Horror Story. And with greater attention on the group, the then-trio recruited Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh for their subsequent tours; however, by 2012 Stasiak and Gravano-Coolbaugh left the band, leaving two of its original members.

Interestingly, while going through a massive lineup change, Hamilton and Thomas began working on their Kevin McMahon-produced sophomore effort Almanac, an album that was released to critical applause both nationally and across the blogosphere; in fact, the band was named one of Fuse TV’s 30 must-see artists at 2013’s SXSW — and if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, especially around 2013, you would have come across a couple of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based duo.  Now, it’s been four years since I’ve written about them but as it turns out, Widowspeak will be releasing a new album, Expect The Best through renowned indie label Captured Tracks on August 25, 2017. And the album’s latest single “Dog,” as Hamilton told NPR is “about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people when you’re not necessarily ready to. Sometimes I get caught up in ‘the grass is always greener” mentalities or cling to an idea that ‘I’d be happy if . . .’ and make a drastic change. Then inevitably, I feel restless a few months later and it stars again.” While sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting moody and hazy guitar pop that channels Mazzy Star, the song possesses a restless and ambivalent vibe as it captures an easily bored and frustrated narrator, who desperately yearns for more and more and more, and as a result the song feels urgent yet paradoxically un-rushed.

Filmed, produced and edited by Otium, the recently released video for “Dog” possesses a feverish and lonely late night nostalgia that emphasizes the song’s longing and overall ambivalence.

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New Video: Introducing the Anthemic and Jangling Pop Guitar Pop of Wesley Fuller

Wesley Fuller is a Perth, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist and producer, who quickly received national attention with the release of his debut EP, Melvista for an anthemic jangling guitar pop sound that draws from 60s bubblegum pop, 70s glam rock. Fuller’s much anticipated full-length debut Inner City Dream is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through 1965 Records, and the material will reportedly further cement his growing reputation for crafting infectious and anthemic pop that sounds mischievously anachronistic, all while subtly expanding upon his sound and songwriting approach, as his influences expanded; in fact, as a result of his regularly occurring DJ sets in and around Melbourne, Fuller cites late 70s and early 80s Talking Heads as a growing influence on him. As Fuller explains “Melvista was really my first solo expedition and I was learning as I went along. I think by the time I came to record the album I had a better technical knowledge of what I was doing. There’s probably a wider span of influences on the album. I wanted to showcase every aspect of my sound.” 

Along with the sound, Fuller’s material thematically has reportedly progressed as well with the material on Inner City Dream revealing a growing maturity with the material focusing on the worldview of a young man trying to come to terms with his place, both physically and symbolically — but at times with a wry, observational humor; in fact, as you’ll hear on Inner City Dream’s later single “#1 Song,” the song smartly focuses and then mischievously takes fire on the upper echelon of modern pop. As Fuller says in press notes “I think everyone in the scene knows to a certain extent that it’s all bullshit. So why take it seriously? You’ve got some artists with 20 tracks in the Top 30. The gap between the big stars and the indie bands are worlds apart. There’s really no money in music at all unless you’re at the very top. To get there, you have to compromise your dignity and be prepared to release some pretty pedestrian shit.” But instead of calling those who have managed massive success a bunch of soulless sellouts, the song sly says “well, in that situation what would you do? Does anyone dream of criss-crossing the country in an old van with two, three, four or more broke, desperate and sweaty musicians, and possibly getting your whole life stolen while on the road? Who doesn’t dream of having the biggest song in their country — or in the world? And who doesn’t dream of playing in front of massive crowds at Glastonbury, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Stadium, The Rose Bowl, etc.? What would you do in the face of an opportunity of a lifetime? Talk about artistic integrity? Bullshit! You’d probably sign your name on the dotted line, sell your soul and your mother if you have to.  

“#1 Song” ironically enough manages to sound as though it was a #1 song released sometime between 1969 and 1974 — with a subtly modern production sheen; but at its core is some incredibly slick and carefully crafted pop-leaning songwriting, complete with an incredibly infectious, danceable, and anthemic hook reminiscent of T. Rex, Bay City Rollers and a handful of others.

The recently released video features Fuller and his backing band appearing as though they fell out of time warp from 1973 or so, playing “#1 Song” on a Top of the Pops-like TV show — and the way the video is shot, to even how the musicians appear to be playing bear an uncanny resemblance to how shows of that period were shot.   

New Video: The Gorgeously Cinematic and Expressive Visuals for Black Needle Noise and Jennie Vee’s “Heaven”

John Fryer is a London, UK-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, who is best known for his work as a producer, shaping the sound of Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, much of the Mute Records, 4AD and Beggars’ Banquet roster, as well as Nine Inch Nails, Love and Rockets, Cradle of Filth and countless others. Fryer is also known as one-half of the duo This Moral Coil with Ivo Watts-Russell. 

Fryer’s solo recording project Black Needle Noise continues his legacy for crafting lush and moody soundscapes as he collaborates wth a number of different vocalists; in fact, Lost in Reflections, the renowned producer and recording artist’s sophomore Black Needle Noise effort finds him working with Jennie Vee, Andrea Kerr, Chrysta Bell, Sivert Hoyem and others — and interestingly enough, it come-on the heels of Fryer’s collaboration with the aforementioned Chrysta Bell on a Twin Peaks-inspired cover of Julee Cruise, Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch’s “Falling.” Anyway, album single “Heaven” is a strikingly cinematic track which pairs Jennie Vee’s sultry and achingly tender vocals with a lush yet atmospheric production featuring swirling electronics, shimming guitar chords and industrial clang and clatter. And although the track will further cement his legacy for crafting a sound that you would have grown up obsessed with as a child of the 80s, the song also reveals not just his generosity in working with up-and-coming and contemporary artists, but it also reflects the contemplative, introspective nature of the album’s title — while pairing a dark sensuality with an visceral sense of heartbreak. In fact, the song’s narrator is facing the ghosts of a dysfunctional and controlling relationship that has lingered, even as she’s 4,000 thousand miles away. 

Shot in a cinematic and creepy black an white, and directed by Talon McKee and Lloyd Galbraith, edited by Jennie Vee, featuring animation by Mark Francombe and choreographed by Caroline Haydon, the video starts its choreographer writhing and swooning in a combination of pleasure and heartache; but at its core is a protagonist, who expresses desire, vulnerability, and self-asurredness simultaneously. 

Live Footage: Ruby Force Performs “Church and State” at Pheasant Studios

You may recall that earlier this month, I wrote about Erin McLaughlin, a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, whose solo recording project Ruby Force reportedly captures her personal journey of self-discovery through hard-fought and honest storytelling-based songwriting focusing on tales of love gained and lost and her own life. And with her soon-to-be released Ruby Force debut Evolutionary War, McLaughlin along with an incredibly accomplished backing band featuring  Elijah Thomson, who has played with Everest, Delta Spirit and Father John Misty; Richard Swift, who has played with The Black Keys, The Shins, The Arcs and Foxygen; Frank Lenz, who has played with Pedro The Lion; and Sean Watkins, who has played with Nickel Creek have written deeply personal yet accessible material based on a particular period of McLaughlin’s life; in fact, as she explained to Rolling Stone, “it strings together like a narrative essentially, about how I love.”  
“Cowboy,” which I wrote about a few weeks ago is a sweet, old-timey/honky-tonk-inspired country song, and the song’s narrator describes a hotly passionate yet dysfunctional, romantic relationship with a cowboy, who persistently and predictably breaks her heart; but she defiantly and proudly loves him because after all, they’ve been through everything and anything together. And although you’ve likely heard such a theme in countless country songs, McLaughlin delivers her lyrics with a beguiling mix of easygoing, self-assuredness, earnestness, flirtatiousness and self-effacing irony.

“Church and State,” Evolutionary War’s latest single, much like the preceding single was inspired by a deeply personal experience — and in this case, “a mystically transitional phase in my life when my best girlfriends and I were living in a tiny Victorian house on the literal corner of Church and State Streets in Redlands, CA,” McLaughlin explained to The Bluegrass Situation. “We were playing at the Martini Lounge on Saturday nights and singing harmonies in the church band on Sunday mornings. So, you know, the song pretty much used me to write itself.” While lyrically, the song reveals a novelist’s attention to detail — particularly the aging woman in a pink rocking chair, stomping her beat to a rhythm, the feeling of love and comfort the song’s narrator feels by being around her beloved friends and the woman who’s love and devotion saved a young cowboy from hell; but paired with a slow-burning and atmospheric arrangement that gives McLaughlin’s vocals room to stretch and roam. Interestingly, her vocals manage to channel Bonnie Raitt, circa “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” And from  this new single, I think that McLaughlin may arguably be one of country’s up-and-coming stars. 

New Video: The Gorgeous and Highly Symbolic Visuals for Rogue and Jaye’s “Golden Lady”

Comprised of the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, who has spent stints in Nashville, Atlanta, Austin and elsewhere; and Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Zach Rogue, the frontman of indie rock act Rogue Wave, the country music duo of Rogue and Jaye can trace their origins back to a December 2013 songwriting session, in which the duo quickly recognized they had an instant and easy-going simpatico — perhaps based in their backgrounds as songwriters influenced by country, whose material frequently possessed a wistful, late night, drinking in the honky tonk vibe and the results the critically applauded debut single together “Til It Fades.” As Zach Rogue explains in press notes “We have this thing, and I don’t really know know why, it’s just a comfort level. We have this easy spirit with each other, where I like hearing here sing and I feel very comfortable proposing ideas.”

The duo’s debut effort together, Pent Up features a backing band consisting of Bands of Horses’Bill Reynolds (bass), Floating Action’s Seth Kauffman (guitar) and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals’ and Natalie Prass’ Michael Libramento (drums) and was recorded and engineered by Logan Matheny at Bill Reynolds’ Nashville-based Fleetwood Shack Studio and mixed and mastered by Mikael “Count” Eldridge in San Francisco. Officially released earlier this month, the album has been released to critically praise from a number of major media outlets including The Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter and others, with Rolling Stone Country recently naming the duo one of their “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” and when you hear the album’s latest single “Golden Lady,” you’ll see why as the duo pair an easy-going, 70s AM rock and late night honky tonk twang with Jaye’s gorgeous yet wistful vocals. And while clearly drawing at Americana, 70s Renegade Country, indie rock and pop without being too tethered to them, the song also finds the duo subtly nodding at psychedelia with some pedal effected guitar.

In fact, much like the sources the duo draw from sonically and thematically, “Golden Lady” reveals the duo’s cool self-assuredness as the single is a recording featuring a bunch of old pros, who’ve made it seem way too easy — but at the same time, there’s an understated emotional honesty; the sort that comes from living a full and messy life of mistakes, foibles, joy, heartache, loneliness, being lost and found and lost again, and profoundly life altering experiences and experiencing them as completely and fully as possible — and with an effortless gracefulness.

As the duo’s Courtney Jaye explains, their latest single details an all-too common frustration with the universe and one’s seeming inability to cope with a personally damaging situation and learning how to be patient, how to be alone and how to love yourself before loving another and learning how to trust yourself and letting things go at the time and pace they’re supposed to. And in fact, the recently released video  Ben Bennett and shot and edited by Stefan Colson is shot in hazy, golden light and throughout Jaye is shot hemmed in and trapped in a person-sized tube and cocooned in fabric. And while Jaye is struggling to break free, there’s a sense that some of this is self-inflicted. In fact, as Jaye explains in press notes, “this video symbolizes being trapped by your own fear, self-doubt and lack of trust in universal timing. 

New Video: The Dark and Cinematic Visuals for Up-and-Coming Scandinavian Pop Artist Louise Lemón’s “Appalacherna”

Louise Lemón is an up-and-coming Uppsala, Sweden-based pop artist, who has developed a reputation in her homeland and elsewhere for a dramatic, moody and dark sound that some have compared favorably to PJ Harvey, Lana Del Rey and others. Interestingly, her debut EP Purge was recorded in a reportedly haunted cabin with Randal Dunn, who has worked with Sunn O))) and Thurston Moore — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the spectral and eerie feel within the studio has influenced the EP’s material; in fact, “Appalacherna,” Purge’s latest single pairs Lemón’s soulful and expressive vocals with a sparse and equally moody arrangement featuring swirling feedback, brief and explosive bursts of drum and piano. And just under the brooding and mysterious surface is a desperate and aching longing — the sort of longing that will ultimately be unfulfilled, as the song’s narrator recognizes the inherent difficulties of a relationship with an equally broken and dysfunctional person. 

Directed by Edward John Drake, who has directed the videos for Yolanda Be Cool, DCUP and Rodriguez’s “Sugarman” and Flora Cash’s “California,” and starring Louise Lemón and Sien Gay, the recently released visuals are cinematically shot but brooding and nightmarishly matter of fact about the brutality of its central character. The story begins with Lemón playing with a crystal necklace while daydreaming about a lover, who has hurt her after playing a successful show. A bodyguard type comes in after her show, and informs her “we’ve found him” and the video quickly becomes set in the California desert, where Lemón encounters the “him” they found — and the ending is as disturbing as any scene in Goodfellas. As Lemón explains “’Appalacherna’ was recorded in the Californian desert with the theme: An artist kills her past to save her future. This really made making this video a cleansing process. The necklace with the crystal plays an important role in the video and it turned out to play an even greater role to me. I was really happy to bring it back home with me as a memory so I tucked it away safely, but back from the shoot it was gone, I was liberated from the past and wasn’t supposed to bring anything with me from it.”

New Video: The Gorgeous and Time-Bending Visuals for San Mei’s “Until You Feel Good”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you may have come across a handful of posts featuring Emily Hamilton, a  Gold Coast, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo project San Mei began humbly as a bedroom recording project; however, during that aforementioned three year period, Hamilton has seen a growing national and international profile as Hamilton has seen attention and praise from major media outlets, including NME, Indie Shuffle, NYLON and Triple J, as well as this site. 
Produced by Konstantin Kersting, who has worked with The Belligerents, WAAX, and Tia Gostelow, Hamilton’s first single of 2017 “Until You Feel Good” is a mid-tempo single that is a change of sonic direction for Hamilton, as her lilting and coquettish vocals are paired with a much more organic arrangement of fuzzy Brit Pop and shoegazer rock-like power chords and a propulsive groove, along with a soaring hook and a subtly moody vibe. And while being radio friendly, the song manages to evoke a complex array of emotions — desire and longing, frustration and the sense of something being unresolved, along with some self-assured and ambitious songwriting. 

Filmed and directed by Brisbane, Australia-based filmmaker Jennifer Embelton, who has produced videos for Babaganouj, Huntly, Good Boy and Jeremy Neale, the video is follows a young woman’s time-bending journey across the present, the past, the future, the real and her own dreams when she encounters a boy from her past, who suddenly returns to her life. And as soon as he appears, he’s gone. The harder she tries to find the boy, the quicker he slips away. Is he a ghost of her past, haunting her at an inopportune time? That remains to be seen; but it further emphasizes the sense of things being unresolved within the song. 

New Video: The Sultry and Sensual Sounds and Visuals of Anna of the North’s Latest Single “Lovers”

Comprised of the Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith, the Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North can trace its origin back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town near Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite and well groomed, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing for hours but never buy-in anything. One afternoon, the woman suddenly approached Lotterud and implored her to abandoned the traditional life she had planned out, and go and expand her horizons. The plea jolted something in Lotterud and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind. 

The time Lotterud spent in Australia was personally fulfilling but also incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway in the first place. Around that time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships, was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne, and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had caught Smith performing while she was friends. Interestingly, Lotterud and Smith then quickly became friends, with Smith encouraging his new friend to find solace in songwriting — and that by making music they could exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. The project’s name actually came from a joke — Smith jokingly referred to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck. 

The release of their debut single “Sway” three years ago began an incredible run of attention grabbing singles that have received over 60 million streams across every streaming service, multiple number 1 spots on Hype Machine’s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and  Beats 1 — and in many ways that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo’s sound pairs brooding, icy minimalism with bright, buoyant and radio friendly/dance floor friendly production. 

The duo’s highly-anticipated full length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 and reportedly the album’s material focuses on a subject familiar to the duo and to countless others — heartbreak. And through the album’s ten tracks, the album goes through the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more. 

Interestingly,  the album’s latest single, album title track “Lovers” pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled. 

The recently released visuals for “Lovers” features Lotterud at a party by herself surrounded by couples — and in some way she’s haunted by the fact her relationship has fallen apart. As the duo explains “On a literal level, the video is about being lost at a house party and surrounded by couples when your own relationship has fallen apart. Digging deeper, it’s set in the same place as the song, that point when you feel so alone and you’re reaching out but they’re not reaching back. It’s desperate”

New Video: Melbourne, Australia’s Gold Class Pairs Tense Sounds with Equally Tense Visuals for “Twist In The Dark”

Comprised of a collection of work friends, bar buddies and students in a creative writing course, the Melbourne, Australia-based post-punk band Gold Class, featuring Evan James Purdey (guitar), Jon Shub (bass), Adam Curley (vocals), and Logan Gibson (drums), formed in 2014. And shortly after their formation, the quartet quickly developed a reputation for lean and explosive live sets, which eventually culminated in their debut effort It’s You, an effort that paired angular and wiry post punk with material that thematically focused on personal politics, sexuality and identity. As a result of its unflinching frankness, the Australian quartet was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize and was nominated for an Age Award — and with a growing national and international profile, the members of Gold Class played a series of sold out shows across their homeland and London, as well as sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Golden Plains, Splendour in the Grass, London Calling, and Primavera Sound.
 
 
Building upon their rapidly growing international profile, the band’s follow up to It’s You, Drum is slated for an August 18, 2017 release through Felte Records and as the band’s Adam Curley explains in an artist statement “The week we started to write Drum, my relationship ended and I was left alone in a draughty [sic] old house, which belonged to a friend of a friend. In the house, I sat around with my notebook, the quiet hours cut with new from friends and the TV; the suicides of musicians and writers I’d known and queer kids I hadn’t; the systematic abuse of vulnerable people, the constant mockery of anyone on the outs. 

I knew what the purpose of the album would be when I wrote the repeated line in “Get Yours:” “There’s none left here and all I need.” I wanted it to be a record of defiance, a resistance to the idea of scrambling for a place at a table that wasn’t set for you. A sort of a love letter to anyone who not only can’t meet the standard but doesn’t want to. I wanted it to be a record of rage and ecstasy and endless nights and sex and dumb fun and ventures in solidarity. Not just an album of urgency and longing, but one of abandon and a reclaiming of a self beyond boundaries.

But I couldn’t avoid what was immediately happening in my life, either, that the end of my relationship had uncovered a lot of the feelings of isolation I experienced growing up. And so it turned out that the album is also personal, and I think is in conversation with queer histories of silence and evasion and transgression, which I was revisiting through the writing of James Baldwin and Cocteau. Childhood imagery kept creeping into the lyrics. Maybe I was trying to come to some peace with the past and to stand up and find some agency in the present. I suppose it was the most defiant thing I could think to do: not to write as some act of catharsis but in an attempt simply to document and claim my existence; that I am here. 
 
Not only is the material much more personal and much more forceful, the album. which was co-produced by The Drones’ Garther Liddiard finds the band expanding upon both their sound, attempting to capture distinctly different moods and tones from its predecessor,  and as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Twist In The Dark,” the band evoking a complicated array of emotions — desperate and fervent longing, the uncertainty of a relationship in which you can’t tell what your motivations are nor can you figure out what that other person truly feels; but underneath, there’s a wistfulness towards the burning passions and desires of one’s youth, when things were seemingly much more black and white. And what caught my attention was the fact that the Melbourne-based quartet smartly pairs tense, angular post-punk with incredibly smart lyrics, rooted on the experiences, thoughts and feelings of someone, who’s led a fully and messy life.
 
The recently released visuals for the song employs a relatively simple concept as it features the members of the band performing the song in an empty performance space but pay close attention as there are sudden jump cuts and even quicker changes in lighting — all of which further emphasize the song’s tense, anxious vibe.
 
 
 

New Video: The Sultry Visuals and Sound of Eliza and Her Latest Single “Wide-Eyed Fool”

With the release of her eponymous debut, the London-born and-based pop artist Eliza Doolittle quickly rose to national attention, as the album went platinum, thanks to the success of  album singles “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,”  both of which landed on the UK Top 40 charts. Along with that, her collaboration with internationally renowned electro pop act Disclosure, “You & Me” was one of the duo’s best-selling singles. However, after such tremendous early success spent the past four years attempting to get back to her base and really discover what it was she wanted and needed as a person and as a artist. “When you’re young, you do what you should do, rather than what you really feel. I was always battling between that pull of my gut, and people talking in my ear,” Dolittle explains. 

Now, at the point of her life and career, Doolittle who now writes, records and performs under the mononym Eliza, the London-based pop artist is actively following her own creative instincts; in fact, she recently released the Get In My Head series, which consists of four mixtapes featuring snippets of new music as a way for her fans to get a taste of her change in sonic and creative direction; in fact, her first official single of 2017 “Wide Eyed Fool” is a sultry bit of singer/songwriter pop in which Doolittle reveals the full ranger of her voice, singing deeply personal lyrics paired over piano, soaring strings and swaggering hip-hop-lied beats. While clearly drawing from 90s neo soul, pop and hip-hop soul — What’s the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, in particular — complete with slick, modern production. But at the core of the song is some ambitious songwriting from a woman, who wants to take over the pop world. 

Directed by Charlie Robins, the recently released visuals for Wide Eyed Fool are equally sultry and brooding, while clearly nodding at the vulnerability, pride and strength within the song.