Category: Video

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Robert Finley Shares Slow-Burning Ballad “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely”

69 year-old Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay Robert Finley‘s highly-anticipated fourth album, Black Bayou is slated for an October 27, 2023 release through Easy Eye SoundBlack Bayou sees the JOVM mainstay continuing his wildly successful collaboration with Dan Auerbach. Much like its immediate predecessor, the new album’s material is a deeply personal portrait — but this time of Finley’s Louisiana, from an insider, who has lived there all of his life. Sonically, the material coalesces all of the vibrant sounds of the bayou, including gospel, blues, rock and more. 

The result is a vivid collection of songs that depicts life in North Louisiana — with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. “I think that’s one of the biggest things about the album is it tells the truth and the truth will set you free,” Finley told American Songwriter.

“It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Louisiana has had on the world’s music,” Dan Auerbach says in press notes, “and Robert embodies all of that. He can play a blues song. He can play early rock and roll. He can play gospel. He can do anything, and a lot of that has to do with where he’s from.”

Recorded at Auerbach’s Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound Studio, Black Bayou saw the pair adopting a much different creative process. Rather than write songs beforehand, as they did on 2017’s Goin’ Platinum and 2021’s Sharecropper’s Son, they devised everything in the studio, with Auerbach leading a backing band of some of the world’s best players, including: Auerbach’s Black Keys bandmate Patrick Carney (drums), G. Love & Special Sauce‘s Jeffrey Clemens (drums), Eric Deaton (bass), legendary Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown and vocalists Christy Johnson and LaQuindrelyn McMahon, Finley’s daughter and granddaughter.

They worked quickly, devising their parts spontaneously and usually getting everything in one take. “I started singing, and they started playing,” Finley explains. “That’s how we made the album. It wasn’t written out. Nobody used a pencil and paper. We just sang and played together in the studio.”  The album and its material reveals Finley as a truly original Louisiana storyteller, who evokes the place and its unique — and deeply influential culture — for the rest of the world. 

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

What Goes Around (Comes Around),” a swampy, blues rocker that subtly recalls Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Green River” built around an irresistibly funky and shuffling 12 bar blues-driven groove paired around the collaborators’ unerring knack for anthemic hooks and choruses. The song serves as the perfect vehicle for his whiskey soaked gospel-like croons and shouts warning the listener about the weighty impact of karma.

“You gotta reap what you sow… do to another what you would have done to you. Be real, tell the truth. For all those out there hurting, you just have to keep the faith,” the JOVM mainstay says of the song. “I’ve seen it over the years, especially with my career – you got to put joy out into the world and it will come back. It’s never been anything short of the truth for me.” 

Sneakin’ Around” is a classic blues and soul tale of deception, deceit and a bit of deserved comeuppance, featuring Finley’s heartbroken yet defiantly proud narrator describing how he found out his lover was repeatedly cheating on him. This is paired with a swampy and gritty, Motown-meets-Muscle Shoals-like groove complete with a big horn line, and a scorching guitar solo. 

“Whatever is in the dark is gonna come to the light, so don’t play around,” Finley says. 

Black Bayou’s third and latest single “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” is an old school, fried slice of deep southern soul built around R&B/soul guitar licks, a laid back funky groove and a steady drum pattern paired with Finley’s achingly tender vocal. The song offers a message of understanding, resilience and hope in the face of isolation, aging — and our inevitable mortality. Although rooted in some of Finley’s experiences and those of folks he knows, the song speaks of a universal, deeply embittering experience.

“This song is about the many people who have been forgotten,” Finley explains. “Their kids drop them off and go with their lives. I go down occasionally and perform at the old folks home in Bernice. Just take my guitar and play for thirty minutes or so, try to get them to dance, try to bring some joy to them.”

Continuing his ongoing collaboration with director Tim Hardiman, the accompanying video begins with Finley waking to a Dear John letter from his lover. But all is not lost. Throughout there’s a sense of hope: We see Finley reunite with a bunch of old pals to play the song. Sunlight streams through the dark halls that Finley walks down, as well.

New Video: Phoenix Shoegazers MRCH Share Anthemic “Cherry Painted Eyes”

Phoenix-based shoegazer outfit MRCH (pronounced as March) — Mickey and Jess Pangburn — can trace their origins to when the duo met at a music store. Their backgrounds at the time were polar opposites. Mickey was a singer/songwriter and Jesse was a prog metal musician. But their differences became a strength — not only in regards to their genre backgrounds, but also their personalities: Mickey longed to make an emotional connection while Jesse loved to experiment with new sounds.

The pair studied jazz in Phoenix before shared influences like Cocteau Twins, New Order, Metric, Phantogram, St. Vincent, Purity Ring, and Beach House led to the creation of MRCH.

Their forthcoming EP, TV Bliss is slated for an October 13, 2023 release through Vertex Music Ltd.. The follow-up to 2020’s No-Holds-Barred EP, the Phoenix-based shoegazer outfit’s forthcoming EP reportedly represents a bold new era for them: The duo delved deeper into collaboration, first developing demos with the help of Jimmy Eat World‘s Jim Adkins. They also enlisted the assistance of Grammy-nominated producer Tony Hoffer and mastering by Dave Cooley.

The EP’s lyrical themes and visual aesthetic were inspired by Mickey Pangburn’s childhood memories of being lost in the escapism of television. Fittingly, the band has had songs appear in a number of TV shows including Shameless, Guilt, The Vampire Diaries, Famous in Love, Search Party, 13 Reasons Why, and The Twilight Zone.

TV Bliss‘ third and latest single “Cherry Painted Eyes” is a dreamy bit of sheogaze that brings back memories of 120 Minutes. The song is built around glistening synth arpeggios, Mickey Pangburn’s yearning delivery, buzzing guitars, thunderous drumming and rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy choruses. But as the band explains, the upbeat nature of the song is actually deceptive.

“‘Cherry Painted Eyes’ is a song riddled with anxiety. Describing a series of panic attacks and bloodshot eyes . . .,” the band explains. “We wanted to make the video a little more lighthearted than that thought. Set in the void of space, complete with near hit from a passing comet, and a drink to take the edge off. This vid is a DIY playful nod to classics from The Cure and Smashing Pumpkins.”

The video sees the pair employing AI — for good. “We built the sets out of paint, paper, quilt batting, and insulation boards. Then coupled it with AI-generated fill and sketches on ProCreate to help expand the world,” the Phoenix-based duo say. “There’s been a lot of talk in the arts lately about the negative aspects of AI. And there are for sure elements of it that are scary. Ones that can lead to really negative outcomes. But, we’re interested in using it as an opportunity to create beyond our budget. A lot like the approach we take with our music. We use whatever tools we can. Whether it’s the cheapest gear or the newest techniques. It’s all fair game. Some of this new tech kind of gives us a way to realize bigger ideas. The song and video are both a bit about bridging those gaps between fear and opportunity.”

New Video: The Joy Formidable Share Expansive, Mind-Bending “Share My Heat”

Splitting their time between Northern Wales and Utah, the celebrated alt rock outfit The Joy Formidable — Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar), Rhydian Daybed (bass, vocals) and Matt Thomas (drums) — have managed to remain close to their loyal fanbase: Back in 2019, they launched TJF Music Club with members able to request backstage access, watch online shows and get exclusive songs and merchandise. During the pandemic, with a lack of live shows and touring, the club grew and evolved.

Their last album was 2021’s critically applauded Into The Blue. Since then, the Welsh band have followed up with a recent a collection of singles that include “Cut Your Face,” “The Hat” and the third and final single of the series “Share My Heat,” which were released through Enci Records across North America, Full Time Hobby/Hassle in Europe and Soundly Distro across the rest of the world.

Clocking in at an epic 15:10, “Share My Heat” is an arena rock friendly, prog rock ripper featuring thunderous drumming, angular and propulsive bass lines, dexterous, scorching riffage and shimmering synth arpeggios within a mind-bending song structure that bends, twists and turns before closing out with a face-melting, headbang worthy coda.

throughout the song’s run-time. “‘Share My Heat’ is about true connection & love. Deep, selfless love between humans is a beautiful part of our existence, but I’m also singing about our inherent love for nature, the living world & our kinship to everything : plants, animals, mountains & lake,” The Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan explains. “Can we repair our relationship & bring more reciprocity, compassion and companionship to a world that already gives us so much?”

The accompanying, animated video by Vids Invader touches upon the themes of the song while being a hallucinogenic journey through both love and our current dystopian hellscape.

The Joy Formidable are currently on tour in the UK tour with all remaining shows listed below. The band plans to return to North America in 2024. 

New Video: Salimo Shares Breezy “Jelly”

Montréal-based artist Salimo is a rising Francophone emcee. In a relatively short period of time, he has captured the attention of media outlets across both his hometown and Québec, and he has already amassed an impressive array of live dates under his belt: The Montréal-based artist has opened for Niska, Youssoupha, MAES, Gims, Sofiane, Soolking and a list of others. He has also played Francofoiles de Montréal — including a headlining set at the festival, making him the youngest artist to date to ever headlining in the festival’s history. He has also played Festival Marocain de Laval, Fête Nationale du Maroc au Parc Jarry and M for Montréal.

Salimo has amassed over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms and millions of views on YouTube, adding his name to a growing list of Quebecois rappers, who have received attention across the Francophone world.

The Montréal-based rapper’s sophomore album is slated for a November 4, 2023 through Kartel Music Group/Sony Music Canada. The album’s latest single “Jelly” is a breezy, hook-driven, club and lounge friendly bop featuring an ethereal, reggaeton-inspired production featuring skittering and shuffling beats, a looped, strummed Flamenco-like acoustic guitar sample serving as a lush bed for Salimo’s effortless, subtly Autotuned delivery. May this one be a reminder of summer warmth — and flirting with pretty young things at the club.

Directed by Disjoncté Productions, the slick and stylishly shot accompanying video for “Jelly” follows the rising Montréal-based rapper through some gorgeous locales in one of my favorite cities, including a stunning view of Montréal’s skyline and Vieux Port from the other side of the St. Lawrence River.

New Video: Neon Valley Shares Breezy and Hook-Driven “Fortune Cookie”

French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Deji Seigert is the mastermind behind the emerging synth project Neon Valley. Inspired by late 70s and early 80s pop, Seigert’s work, which is created in his home studio, has a decidedly nostalgic feel — with a modern twist.

After working on Disiz‘s latest album L’Amour, the French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist returns with his latest single “Fortune Cookie” a moody, hook-driven bit of synth pop built around glistening synth arpeggios, a funky and propulsive bass line paired with Seigert’s punchy yet plaintive delivery. While sonically bringing St. Lucia to mind, the song thematically touches on disillusionment and nostalgia for seemingly better times.

Directed by Baptiste Erondel and starring Agathe Bokja & Nicky Naudé, the accompanying video for “Fortune Cookie” is a slick sendup of infomercials and commercials, while featuring a disillusioned women seeking answers — and not quite getting them.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Mariaa Siga Shares Breezy and Uplifting “Mame Bamba”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d probably recall that I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Senegalese-born and-based singer/songwriter, musician and JOVM mainstay Mariaa Siga

So far, Siga has released three singles, which I’ve written about on this site:

  • Le murmure des anges,” a track that saw her collaborating with Artikal Band, who contribute a shuffling and buoyant reggae riddim paired with a slow-burning and soulful guitar solo and the Senegalese-born and-based artist’s expressive delivery. “Le murmure des angels” is a song that does two things — give thanks to the enteral while reminding listeners that they should listen to the little voice inside of us, which arms us with much-needed confidence; that voice that frequently says “You know, you got this. You know you’re dope.” 
  • Ni Mama,” which in her native Diola means “I’m Leaving” sees the JOVM mainstay continuing her ongoing collaboration with Artikal Band, who contribute a shuffling and breezily upbeat reggae riddim paired with wah wah pedalled guitar, shimmering keys serving as a supple bed for the Senegalese artist’s effortlessly soulful and earnest vocal. “Ni Mama” features lyrics in both her native Diola and in French that discuss a familiar sensation for many of us — the need to escape things when daily pressure and stress becomes overwhelming.
  • The FissBassBeats-produced “Daaray Dunya,” a track that saw the Senegalese artist alternating between singing and spitting bars about the difficulties young people face in a mad, mad, mad, mad world while still continuing to hold on to the belief that they have bright future ahead of them. FissBassBeats contributes a tweeter and woofer rattling drill production featuring looped guitar, skittering beats and deep low end. While “Daaray Dunya” is a bit of a sonic departure from her previously released singles, it continues the Senegalese artist’s unique meshing of the ancient and the modern.

Siga’s fourth single, “Mame Bamba” was recorded in Montpelier, France and continues her ongoing collaboration with Artikal Band. Built around a lush and soulful reggae-influenced riddim featuring a supple bass line, shuffling rhythm and twinkling keys paired with the Senegalese JOVM mainstay’s gorgeous vocal, “Mame Bamba” much like the previously released material pairs social messages with breezy and uplifting arrangements.

The Senegalese JOVM mainstay explains that the song pays tribute to Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a Senegalese poet and the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, a Sufi Islamic sect best known for its focus on work and non-violent resistance to the French.

Directed by Mao Sidbé, the accompanying video reverentially honors Senegalese women, showcasing their industriousness, their beauty and kindness.

New Video: Reno’s Had To Shares “120 Minutes”-like “Lucid”

Formed a couple of years ago, Reno-based shoegazers Had To features some of that city’s grizzled music scene vets — with each of the members playing in a number of bands across different genres. But they bonded over a love of big guitar music from the 90s with their major influences being Oasis, Guided By Voices, Catherine Wheel and others. “We all come from similar backgrounds, all from the same area in Reno, Nevada. Not much rock music comes from our area, and we are excited to be one of the few bands like us to come out of there,” the band says.

As the band jokes, they just wanted to write something hat could be played on the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack. Thematically, their work focuses on
“how it’s weird feeling older, and who we are ending up being.”

The Reno-based indie outfit’s Philip Odom-produced sophomore album Is This Normal? was recently released through digital streaming platforms. The album’s lead single “Lucid” sounds as though it wouldn’t be out of place during the 120 Minutes‘ heyday: fuzzy power chords, rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy hooks and choruses paired with thunderous drumming. For me it brought back found memories of Foo Fighters‘ self-titled debut, Catherine Wheel and others.

Directed by Nate Kahn, the accompanying video fittingly brings back memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV with the visual split between footage of the band driving around a sun-bleached desert in white shirts, slacks, ties and sunglasses. At one point, they brood by what appears to be Lake Tahoe. We also see the band playing a house party.

New Video: The Church Shares Haunting and Dream-like Visual for “Realm of Minor Angels”

Founded back in 1980, the Sydney-based ARIA Hall of Fame inductees The Church — currently founding member Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass, guitar); longtime collaborator and producer Tim Powles (drums), who joined the band in 1994 and has contributed to 17 albums; Ian Haug (guitar), a former member of Aussie rock outfit Powderfinger, who joined the band in 2013; multi-instrumentalist Jeffery Cain, a former member of Remy Zero and touring member of the band, who joined the band full-time after Peter Koppes left the band in early 2020; and their newest member, Ashley Naylor (guitar), a long-time member of Paul Kelly’s touring band and one of Australia’s most respected guitarists — was initially associated with their hometown’s New Wave, neo-psychedelic and indie rock scenes. 

Over the course of the next couple of decades, they became increasingly associated with dream pop and post-rock: Featuring shimmering soundscapes, their material took on slower tempos while built around their now, long-held reputation for an uncompromising approach to both their songwriting and sound. 

Their 25th album, 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity was released to critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, who called the album “a 21st-century masterpiece, a bright beam of light amid a generic musical landscape, and truly one of the Church’s greatest releases.” 

The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity — and their 26th album! —  The Hypnogogue was released earlier this year release through Communicating Vessels/Unorthodox. 

The Hypnogogue is the band’s first full-length concept album: Set in 2054, the album follows its protagonist Eros Zeta, the biggest rock star of his era, who travels from his home in Antarctica to use the titular Hypnogogue to help him revive his flagging and moribund fortunes. “The Hypnogogue is set in 2054… a dystopian and broken down future,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. “Invented by Sun Kim Jong, a North Korean scientist and occult dabbler, it is a machine and a process that pulls music straight of dreams.”

The Hypnogogue is the most prog rock thing we have ever done,” Kilbey says. “We’ve also never had a concept album before. It is the most ‘teamwork record’ we have ever had. Everyone in the band is so justifiably proud of this record and everyone helped to make sure it was as good as it could be. Personally, I think it’s in our top three records.”

In the lead to the album’s release, I wrote about three of its singles:

  • The album’s expansive and brooding title track and first single, “The Hypnogogue.” Featuring the band’s swirling and textured guitar-driven sound paired with Kilbey’s imitable delivery, the song introduces listeners to the album’s characters — Eros Zeta and Sum Kim. The song follows Zeta, as they’re traveling to meet Kim, to go through the titular hypnogogue. But during the toxic and weird process, Zeta winds up falling in love with Kim. As Kilbey says, “. . . it all ends tragically (of course . .. as these things often do). 
  • The jangling and deceptively upbeat “C’est La Vie,” which continues the album’s narrative. Zeta’s agent warms him not to mess with the hypnogogue. “His manager has heard some bad rumors about it, and he doesn’t want his boy all strung out on this unknown thing,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. The song ends with a gorgeous, shimmering fade out. “Musically, the song is a fast-paced rocker very much initiated by our guitarist Ian Haug. But it has plenty of twists and turns and ends up fading away in a delicate and winsome way.” 
  • No Other You,” a glittering glam rock-like ballad with some Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie guitar work and a cinematic quality paired with Kilbey expressing an aching, almost desperate longing. “No Other You” may arguably be the most straightforward and earnest song of the band’s extensive catalog. The song continues the album’s narrative — but on a more personal level: The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains that the song is an “ultra-romantic song that Zeta writes for Sun Kim Jong, who is the inventor of The Hypnogogue. It’s a heartfelt song about an irreplaceable woman. And the Church gets to explore a slightly glam rock feel to boot.”

The band will be embarking on a second leg of their North American tour to support their 26th album during the fall. The tour will see them playing dates across the West Coast, Southwest, Southeast and Illinois. The band will be offering a limited number of VIP packs on the tour’s second leg, which will include the show ticket, early venue access, an invitation to the band’s soundcheck, a special meet and greet with the band, exclusive merch and the ability to watch a portion of the show from the side of the stage, where available. Tour dates are below. 

Coinciding with the fall tour, the acclaimed Aussie outfit recently released a digital deluxe edition of The Hypnogogue that will include material originally cut from the 13-song album.  

The deluxe edition will include “Realm of Minor Angels,” a slow-burning and gorgeous, torch song-inspired ballad featuring shimmering mandolin from Ian Haug and slide guitar from Ashley Naylor paired with Kilbey’s crooned delivery. Sonically, “Realm of Minor Angels” wouldn’t sound out of place on Starfish or Gold Afternoon Fix

“‘Realm of Minor Angels’ is without doubt one of my favorite singles The Church has ever released,” The Church’s Steve Bilberry says. “From the moment [guitarist] Jeffrey Cain started playing the opening riff, I was hooked. The singing and lyrics are my own subtle homage to the torch songs of the ‘60s and check out Ian Haug’s mandolin lines and Ashley Naylor’s slide work!”

Directed by Clint Lewis and featuring additional footage shot by Danial Willis and Randall Turner, the accompanying video for “Realm of Minor Angels” stars Carol Larsen as Sun Kim Jong and Selma Soul as Eros Zeta. We see Laren’s Sun Kim Jong discovering Soul’s Eros Zeta strung out and nearly comatose. Through what seems to be flashbacks or perhaps a vivid hallucination, we see Kim Jong and Zeta slow dancing together and other tender moments. Televisions flash all around them in the room, and we see the members of The Church performing the song from the studio. Much like the preceding videos, this one has a haunting, dream-like quality.

Going beyond the initial storyline told in The Hypnogogue, The Church will be releasing Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars, a companion CD that will serve as a continuation of the storyline. The limited-edition CD will only be available at merch tables on the tour.

The original dream-pulling storyline,” as Kilbey explains, “follows Eros Zeta, the biggest rock star of 2054, who has traveled from his home in Antarctica (against his manager’s advice) to use the Hypnogogue to help him revive his flagging fortunes. In the midst of the toxic process, he also falls in love with Sun Kim and it all ends tragically (of course, as these things often do).”

Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars expands and builds upon the mythology of The Hypnogogue. As the band’s Kilbey explains: “Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars were formed in 2048 in Antarctic City in Antarctica. They had many hits including ‘Realm of Minor Angels’ and ‘Sublimated in Song’ and in all released six collections of music. They toured the postwar world incessantly during the early 2050s and were capable on a good night of selling out concerts in most countries that still had gigs. The band were troubled with personnel and substance problems culminating in Eros Zeta’s addiction to Sky and his subsequent inability to write new songs.

“In 2054, he journeyed to Korea where he used the Hypnogogue to create new music. After the disastrous effects these songs created, he died in a traffic accident whilst on his way to the airport to return home. The songs were thereafter prohibited in most places. In recognition of his services to Antarctican music, a statue was built to honor him in the Australian Quarter of Antarctic city. The band continued on without him but to little success which led to them disbanding in 2057.”