Category: Video

Live Footage: Black Pumas Perform “Confines” with a String Quartet

I’ve spilled quit a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas over the past couple of years. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and San Fernando Valley-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Eric Burton, the acclaimed act can trace their origins back to 2017. Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater 

Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater, started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars and day and honing his performance skills. He then traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin, setting up a busking spot on 6th Street and Congress, a prime location in the city’s downtown neighborhood for maximum exposure.  Meanwhile, Quesada was looking to collaborate with someone knew. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles and London — but nothing seemed to fit. Serendipitously, a mutual friend recommended Burton to Quesada, telling the Grammy Award-winning songwriter, guitarist and producer that Burton was the best singer he had ever heard. 

The two musicians connected but Burton took a while to respond. “My friends were like ‘Dude, you’re a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!’” Burton recalls. When Burton did call Quesada, he sang to him over the phone. “I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,” Quesada says. “From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.”

Last year, the duo along with a talented cast of collaborators released their breakthrough full-length debut. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Since the self-titled debut’s release, the album has sold 155,000+ album equivalents worldwide, with smash hit “Colors” hitting #1 on Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio and has been streamed over 60 million times. And as I mentioned earlier, the band was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy along with fellow JOVM mainstay Yola — losing out to Billie Eilish. 

Black Pumas will be releasing a deluxe version of their breakthrough self-titled album, which will feature new artwork, previously unpublished in-studio and live performance photographs, as well as a bonus 7 inch featuring three previously unreleased originals, live-in studio versions of “Colors,” “October 33,” and “Confines;” a live version of “Know You Better,” recorded at C-Boys Heart & Soul, the Austin club, where the band first made a name for themselves; the band’s attention-grabbing covers of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Death’s “Politicians in My Eyes,” Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which they premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month. To celebrate the forthcoming release of the deluxe edition, the band released live footage of their in-studio performance of “Confines” with a string quartet. While continuing to show viewers that Burton is a stand-out star, the in studio rendition is a stunningly gorgeous version of the album single. 

Live Footage: BRUTUS Performs “Cemetery” at Ghent’s Handelsbeurs

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the acclaimed Belgian act —  Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound and approach shaped and informed by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would.

Since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. The members of BRUTUS have also played sets across the European Union’s heavy music festival circuit. And adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has championed the band.

The Leuven-based trio’s Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. Nest finds the members of BRTUUS making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with a bigger sound — but simultaneously, the material sees Mannaerts fully and boldly embracing her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. 

Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.

The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Of course, before the COVID-19 related lockdowns and quarantines, the Belgian band had been busy touring to support Nest. Slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Sargent House Records, the Belgian band’s live album, Live In Ghent offers fans across the world a taste of what they’ve been forced to miss this year. 

“When the real world went into lockdown, early March 2020, a year of live music disappeared before our eyes,” the members of BRUTUS explain. “Going on tour, playing festivals, watching bands, it’s all gone. It was as hard for us as it has been for everybody involved in live music. As a remedy, we took the time to look back on what we had already done and collected the footage we had of our previous shows. Painful and healing at the same time. That’s when we stumbled upon the recordings of our show at Handelsbeurs in Ghent, May 2019. A hometown show we fully recorded and filmed after a period of touring, in front of all our family and friends.”

“We know it’s just a recording and not even close to the real feeling we had on stage or the energy we got back from the crowd in the room, but looking back, almost a year later, we feel absolutely proud about that show.”

The latest batch of live footage from that show (which will appear on the live album) is of the band performing one of my favorite songs off the album — “Cemetery.”  Effortlessly riding doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock, the song is centered around an arrangement of thunderous and forceful drumming, enormous power chords and Mannaerts howled vocal delivery, which gives the song a feral immediacy. 

Naturally, the live footage will give fans — and hopefully readers and viewers — a sense of the band’s energetic and loud live sound. But it also serves as a reminder of those small and necessary joys that we miss so much as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. So far, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to put a covering over our faces and socially distance whenever we’re out and about — and wash your hands. So please, put on a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience but we can get back some of the things we love sooner rather than later if you do. 

 

Live Footage: Washed Out Performs “Too Late” on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Ernest Greene is a Perry, GA-born, Athens, GA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed synth pop/chillwave act Washed Out.  Washed Out can trace its origins back to around 2009: After earning an undergraduate degree and a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Georgia, Greene was unable to find a job as a librarian. As the story goes, Greene moved back in with his parents and began writing and producing material in his bedroom studio, as well as with local electro pop act Bedroom. 

Shortly after posting Washed Out material on his MySpace page, the Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer was discovered and championed by a number of influential blogs, who compared his sound to Neon Indian and Memory Tapes. Greene released his first two Washed Out EPs in rapid-fie fashion that August and September. And building upon a growing profile, Greene played his New York City debut — which interestingly enough, was only his second live show ever — at the now, long-shuttered Santos Party House.

2010 saw Greene continue the amazing momentum of the previous year: he played that year’s Pitchfork Music Festival and “Feel It All Around” became the opening theme song for the acclaimed TV series Portlanadia.

In early 2011, Greene signed with Sub Pop Records, who released his his full-length debut Within and Without, an album of icy yet plaintive synth pop to critical applause and commercial success: the album peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 and #89 on the UK Albums Chart. He ended a breakthrough 2011 by co-curating that year’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas in Minehead, UK with Battles. 

Greene’s sophomore Washed Out album 2013’s Paracosm was a decided change in sonic direction, as it featured a warmer, tropical-inspired sound that paired organic instrumentation with electronic production — while retaining the ethereal quality of his previously released material,. The year ended with Life of Leisure EP track “New Theory” being featured as background music in a scene of the rom-com The Spectacular Now.

The Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s third album, 2017’s Cole M.G.N. co-produced Mister Mellow was released through renowned hip-hop label Stones Throw Records, and the album found the acclaimed artist’s work seemingly taking on a bit of a J. Dilla-esque beatmaking feel. 

Since the release of Mister Mellow, Greene released a handful of singles including “Face Up” as part of Adult Swim’s applauded Singles Series. Earlier this year, the Perry-born, Athens-based artist released “Too Late,”  a track that sonically was a return to form: a swooning yet bittersweet bit of synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, Greene’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook — but with a subtly Mediterranean feel.

As it turns out, “Too Late” was unofficially the first single off Greene’s highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth album Purple Noon. Written, recorded by Greene with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen, the album’s production followed a brief stint of writing with other artists — most notably writing with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena. Those collaborations allowed Green to explore R&B and modern pop and those sounds have made there way into Purple Noon‘s material. Not only is the material reportedly the brightest and more robust sounds he’s ever worked out; it’s also a decided step forward: unlike his previous released work, the vocals are placed front and center at the mix, with slower tempos, bolder, harder-hitting beats and a more comprehensive dynamic depth.

Deriving its name from Rene Clement’s 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mister Ripley, the album’s material is deeply inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean — with Greene paying tribute to region’s island-based culture, elegance and old-world charm. But the surroundings serve as the backdrop to stories of passion love and loss — with a deeper, perhaps more urgent emotional intensity: the album’s first single “Too Late” is a tale of a first meet, with all the confused and swooning emotions that come about. 

Recently Greene was on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he performed “Too Late” with a gorgeous split camera perspective that offered and extreme close up on Greene performing the song: we see his fingers as they tap various functions on his drum machine and synths — and Greene singing through a two microphone set up. Behind him, a gorgeous sunset on the beach. 

Purple Noon is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Sub Pop Records. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Take Us on a TED Talk from Hell in New Visual for “Projector”

Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser can trace its origins back to when its founding members Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) and Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters and David Lynch, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into the band. Each of the band’s members — Garofalo, Gaines, Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — sharing writing duties and collaborating on every aspect of their creative work, including music videos, album art and the visuals, which often accompany their live shows. 

2018’s full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance and intimacy

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago-based post-punk outfit developed a national profile with the album receiving widespread praise for sound that some critics have compared favorable to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns, the difficult of being understood, intimacy and avoidance. 

Now, as you may recall the Chicago-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a Friday release through Felte Records. Thematically, their sophomore album finds the quartet probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos — while evoking an all too familiar manic worry and generalized sense of dread and doom. The album acknowledges that we’re online all the time and inundated with too much information about other people and situations. We’re all a tweet, a status update, an Instagram post or a text exchange away from truly knowing what our followers, friends and loved ones really think about us. And in a larger sense, the world as we know it is dying before our eyes. We can watch the replays every night at 8, 10, 11 — in slow motion. 

So far, I’ve written about two of Just Look at That Sky’s released singles — the tense and explosive album opener “Lucky.” and the atmospheric and brooding “Emergency Equipment and Exits.” The album’s latest single “Projector” is an uneasy song centered around propulsive drumming, angular blasts of guitar and bass paired with Garofalo delivering a psychological study of people desperately trying to hold on to anything when everything is so absolutely insane. 

“It’s what happens when someone becomes so far removed from general society that their thoughts become a Dunning-Kruger Effect echo chamber of pseudo-wisdom and self-affirmations. Connection and perspective gets lost, but that echo becomes louder and often public,” Ganser’s Garofalo says of the song, 

Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Projector” stars the band’s Nadia Garofalo as a painfully awkward and intensely self-aware TED Talk-like speaker, giving a talk on “Pseudo Philosophies for Living in the Current Climate,” and the talk includes the prerequisite PowerPoint slides and video clips. But as the video pulls out at the end, we see that Garofalo’s TED talk speaker has been speaking in front of an empty room — the entire time. 

“We shot this the day after SXSW was cancelled,” the members of Ganser recall in press notes. “We didn’t know what was coming, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good.”

New Video: Kaituhi Teams Up with Napkey on a Nostalgia Inducing Single

Kévin Vergobbi is a classically trained, French multi-instrumentalist and producer, who first started off playing with several different rock bands including PHOTO, MS&TW and currently BALM. Vergobbi’s solo recording project Kaituhi, which means “the scribe” finds the French multi-instrumentalist and producer creating work that’s a decided departure from his previously recorded output — centered around a much more melancholic emotional range, the project specializes in escapist and ambient synth pop. 

Vergobbi’s seven song, Benjamin Cholet and Augustin Bretillard-co-produced EP Taratahi is slated for a September 2020 release through Pschent Music. “Divine,” Taratahi’s latest single is a slow-burning and cinematic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and Justine Rousseau’s plaintive and ethereal vocals. At its core, is an achingly wistful nostalgia for something that seemed much simpler and peaceful. 

The recently released video is set around a very simple concept: an old Commodore 64-like computer in some overgrown grasses. And on the screen, we see various space missions — although at one point, everything turns into wild psychedelic colors: the grass turns purple and then switches back to its normal color. 

New Video: Introducing the Rousing Hook-Driven Pop of Austria’s Onk Lou

With the release of 2017’s Florian Richling co-produced debut, the 16 song Bogus, the Austrian singer/songwriter, guitarist and pop artist Onk Lou quickly established a sound and songwriting approach that drew from some rather disparate sources including Frank Turner, Jason Mraz, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Caribbean music — with a decided Scandinavian pop touch. “I wanted to commemorate those things that just pop up in our faces that we can’t quite deal with, yet the good thing about them is that these things can empower us to do great stuff!” The Austrian pop artist says. “It may be is being laid to, being tricked or being let down. The nice facet of all of these is that they force us to do better, to grow: They push us to get together to fight the good fight, to go out there and live live and show them what we’ve got!” 

Since the release of Bogus, Lou has been rather prolific: he’s released two EP’s 2018’s Claws & Paws and last year’s Summer Tapes, as well as a handful of singles — including his latest single, the anthemic and decidedly 80s inspired  “Natural High.” Centered around twinkling keys, thumping beats, Lou’s soulful vocals, and a blazing Prince-inspired solo, the song reveals a songwriter with an unerring knack to craft an enormous, crowd-pleasing hook. 

Directed by René Rodlauer, the recently released video for “Natural High” is split between a pensive Lou in a what looks like an adolescent’s bathroom and Lou in a lime green suit and white turtleneck rocking out in an empty stage. At its core is the playfulness of someone, who doesn’t take himself all too serious. 

New Video: Crushed Velvet and The Velveteers and Brother GoodLove Follow Black Lives Matters Protests in DC

Alan Evans is a songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for being the co-founder of acclaimed jazz fusion trio and JOVM mainstays Soulive. Back in 2008, while Soulive was on a break from touring, Evans spent his time producing, recording and mixing bands from around the world in his Western Massachusetts-based recording studio. On his off days, Evans would go into the studio and play guitar, eventually recording a collection of songs that he felt didn’t quite fit with Soulive that he wanted to release on his own — Crushed Velvet and The Velveteers wound up becoming Evans’ guitar playing alter ego.

Last month, I wrote about “Good Thang,” a track that featured an All-Star cast of funk and jazz musicians that included DJ Williams’ Shots Fired‘s and Rubblebucket’s Darby Wolf (organ), The Curtis Mayflower’s Pete Aleski (guitar), Akashic Record’s and BT ALC Big Band’s Brian “BT” Thomas” (trombone), ALC Funktet’s and BT ALC Big Band’s Alex Lee-Clark (trumpet), BT ALC Big Band’s Tucker Antell (alto and tenor saxophone) BT ALC Big Band’s Jared Sims (baritone sax) and Kim Dawson (vocals), who contributed sultry vocals to a feel good, Daptone meets Muscle Shoals-like anthem.

Crushed Velvet and The Velveteers’ latest single “As Far As We Know” finds Evans collaborating with frequent collaborators Darby Wolf (piano), BT ALC Big Band’s Alex Lee-Clark (trumpet) and Brian “BT” Thomas (trombone) and Cynthia Tolson (string) on a slow-burning and gentle old-school arrangement that recalls Curtis Mayfield. Stephane Detchou, a Montreal-born and-based, Cameroonian-Canadian singer/songwriter, who writes and performs as Brother GoodLove, a soul project that finds the Cameroonian-Canadian exploring his identity and sense of self and reflecting on the world at large while pushing for a future with peace through the understanding of others contributes the song’s hopeful and uplifting lyrics and vocals. Even when things seem bleak and uncertain, we can still hold on to the hope that a new paradigm and a new world may be just around the corner — it’s just a shame that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John Lewis and countless other brothers and sisters, who pushed this country to live up to the ideals of its framers aren’t alive to finally see it.

“I originally wrote the music for ‘As Far As We Know’ back in May 2019 with another VLM project in mind,” Evans says of the latest Crushed Velvet and The Velveteers single. “”I knew that I wanted to have Stephane (Brother GoodLove) singing on this song from the beginning. I didn’t realize that Stephane would turn that working title into such beautiful and powerful lyrics—I was really blown away when he sent me the first demo of the vocal and couldn’t wait to get it into full production but for whatever reason, it wasn’t the right time. But once I had the idea for the new CrushedVelvet and the Velveteers album, ‘As Far As You Know’ being included was a no brainer. So during quarantine, Stephane cut the vocals and I called on my Vintage League Music family of musicians to fill out the song and the rest is history. Without a doubt, it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.”

Directed by Samuel Hall, the recently released video for “As Far As Know” follows Stephane Detchou on a stroll through Washington, DC — and while capturing daily life in DC during the COVID-19 pandemic, the video primarily is focused around the city’s Black Lives Matter protests. The song and its accompanying video manages to capture the hope  for positive change and equality for all that we hope is coming soon. And in case you forgot: BLACK LIVES MATTER!