Category: Video

New Video: Up-and-Coming Pop Artist Lonas Releases a Nostalgia-Tinged Visual for “High School Kids”

With his solo recording project Lonas, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Louis Johnson makes a marked departure from his work as a member of Americana duo The Saint Johns. Johnson’s Lonas debut, Youth EP as he explains in press notes “is an attempt to immortalize millennials’ nostalgia for the past and unprecedented anxiety about the future.”

Interestingly, the EP’s first single, the slow-burning “High School Kids” is centered around a lush and brooding production featuring shimmering guitars, atmospheric electronics and propulsive drumming — and while sonically evoking the 90s pop that influenced it, the song is written from the perspective of someone looking back at their high school years with a warm, rose-colored, romanticized nostalgia. After all, the world seemed so much simpler — friendships and romantic relationships were supposed to last forever; humanity didn’t seem to be spinning closer to annihilation; and you didn’t have to face the compromises, complexities and uncertainties of the adult world. But there’s this tacit acknowledgement that the song’s narrator can’t get that time back.  

Directed by John Gillian, the video stars Andy Prince as a therapist and Johnson as himself, the recently released video ironically finds both men being incredibly nostalgic about their pasts — the carefree days of hanging out, goofing off and of seemingly simpler consequences. The video splits between the current day and grainy video footage, shot back in high school, capturing the youthful sense of hope and excitement of the time. 

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New Video: Ian Ferguson Releases a Trippy and Lo-Fi Tribute to Godzilla-like Movies in Visual for “Tyrants Waltz”

Late last month, I wrote about singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ian Ferguson, and as you may recall Ferguson is a high-school dropout from a one stoplight town outside of Nashville, who started his music career in earnest when he formed and broke up his high school band Kingston Springs just as they were on the verge of a success; in fact, the band had a major label deal on the table, when he decided to walk away from the band.  

Ferguson can trace the origins of his solo career to when he accidentally locked himself in his mother’s basement. I was in my basement, working on some demos,” Ferguson recalls in press notes. “I hadn’t put this idea of ‘making a record’ together in my mind just yet. And there was this faulty door at the top of the stairs that would lock itself and you had to have a key to get out, which of course I didn’t have. I’m messing around when all of the sudden I hear it shut. To this day, I’m not sure what happened. It might’ve been my dachshund Hannah or just some crazy occurrence. I was home alone at the time so I started to freak out, but eventually decided to make the best of it. I had this old HP computer from the 90’s down there and I just went to town.” The end result is the Nashville area-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s forthcoming solo debut, State of Gold.

Slated for a July 26, 2019 release through County Fair Records, Ferguson’s debut effort was self-engineered with the up-and-coming singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performing all the album’s instrumentation and arrangements. With no formal training as an engineer, self-recording and self-mixing were initially challenges. ““I ended up teaching myself how to record and mix records, using some goofy computer software. I actually mixed the record on that old HP computer from the 90’s using a very impractical way of recording that involved burning 16 CDs for each song. It took me a long time to make the record, but after I got ripped off $1k from an audio engineer for a mix that didn’t sound right, I knew I had to take it on myself and I hope you can hear the love in the labor,” Ferguson says in press notes.

Because of his wild-eyed falsetto, use of layered vocal harmonies, greasy guitars and conversational lyricism, Ferguson’s sound has gained comparisons to the likes of Ty Segall, The Nude Party, David Bowie, Marc Bolan/T. Rex and psychedelic era Beatles — and as a result, some of his fans include a who’s who of contemporary Nashville-based acts including Alabama Shakes and JOVM mainstay Ron Gallo among others. Interestingly, album single “Worried Walk” is a shuffling bit of psych blues that made it rather easy to understand why early comparisons to Marc Bolan’s work are so uncannily spot; in fact, the song sounds as though it could have been released on just abut any T. Rex album. However, the song possesses just enough Southern twang to give it a mischievously deceptive, anachronistic quality.  

State of Gold’s latest single is “Tyrants Waltz,” a shuffling and bluesy waltz that’s one part Sgt, Pepper-era Beatles, one part The Band and one part Southern rock, centered around an arrangement featuring twinkling keys, jangling guitars, a lysergic guitar solo and a soaring hook. “Tyrants can exist in many forms, under different guises. Sometimes they’re obvious and sometimes they surprise you,” the up-and-coming Nashville area-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains in press notes. “Often times, they seem to represent the exact thing they’re working to dismantle. I wrote this song years ago, before the current state of affairs. However, seeing as how the song represents the disconnect between the masses and those in power, it seems more relevant now than back then.” 

Directed, edited and animated by Pam Detrich, the recently released video for “Tyrants Waltz” features edited footage from knock-off, Godzilla-like monster movies. Just like the real Godzilla monsters, the knock-offs destroy everything in their paths through fire, lasers and stomping everything to bits — and oddly, everything occurs in almost exact time to the accompanying music before ending in feedback and static, with the monsters seemingly laughing in triumph. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Russian Baths Return with a Disturbing Visual for “Parasite”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays, Russian Baths. And as you may recall, with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described by some as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records and from EP singles “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the band established a sound that recalled brooding, 120 Minutes-era alt rock. 

Russian Baths’ full-length debut is slated for release later this year, and the album’s first, official single”Parasite” may arguably be the one of the most muscular and grunge-like songs of the band’s growing catalog, as the song is centered around distortion pedal-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and male-female harmonizing within a tried-and-true, alt rock, alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while bringing Nirvana, The Breeders and others mind, the song has a deeply unsettling and violent air, capturing someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

Interestingly, the recently released video for “Parasite” follows an incredibly dysfunctional and parasitical relationship between two women, one who has just left a hospital for some unknown treatment or procedure.  Throughout their day together, the healthier woman takes her friend’s medication, frequently teasing and mocking her friend, who by the end of the video collapses. “Have you ever had an insect burrow into your brain and force you to drown yourself? Cured a headache with a hand grenade?” Koz says in press notes about the single and the accompanying video. “This song is about these legitimate questions.”

New Video: Froth Releases a Lysergic Visual for Minimalist “77”

Over the course of three albums, the Los Angeles-based noise rock trio, Froth comprised of Joo-Joo Ashworth, Jeremy Katz and Cameron Allen have developed a reputation for restless experimentation with forays into shoegaze, psych rock and post-punk — but interestingly enough, their fourth album, the Tomas Dolas co-produced Duress, which is slated for release Friday through Wichita Recordings reportedly finds the band stepping out from the shadow of their influences and crafting a sound wholly their own with the material being unapologetically experimental yet accessible. In fact, the album’s material incorporates analog synthesizers, overdubs and drum machines, along with traditional rock instrumentation.

“77,” Duress‘ second and latest single is centered around shimmering arpeggiated synths, bursts of feedback, a motorik groove featuring a sinuous bass line and shuffling, four-on-the-floor-like drum programming paired with ethereal vocals. And while recalling Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk, Lodger-era Bowie and Suicide, the eerily minimalist track possesses a murky vibe.

“Toward the end of the album, Tomas and I were really digging deep into my voice memos trying to see what was worth making into a real song,” the band’s Joo-Joo Ashworth recalls in press notes. “I had him play bass and synth while I sung and played some guitar. Only with Tomas would we ever come up with an odd timing song. The lyrics are mostly about when I was living with my parents for a couple months after I got kicked out of my apartment by an evil landlord.”

Directed by Shane McKenzie, the recently released, lysergic visual for “77” is centered around glitchy, neon-colored, VHS glitchiness. “We’ve known Shane McKenzie (Shake Chime Zen) for a long time, he’s always doing analog projections at shows around LA. We liked his VHS vibe and thought it would be fitting for the ’77’ video. He was able to match the analog glitchiness of the song with the way he processed the video. Other than that, it was inspired by scenes from The Eric Andre show and some of R. Stevie Moore’s VHS videos.”

New Video: Introducing the Brash Style-Defying Sounds of South Africa’s Sho Madjozi

Sho Madjozi is an up-and-coming, indie rapper from Shirley Village, Limpopo South Africa – – and with the release of her critically applauded, full-length debut Limpopo Champions League late last year, Madjozi emerged both nationally and internationally for her writing and rhyming in both her native Xitsonga and English, her vibrant fashion sense and for crafting material that at points focuses on being a young African woman, a proud member of the Tsonga tribe. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Madjozi was nominated for a Nigeria Sound City Award for Best New Artist, was named Apple Music’s Artist of the Month for January and played a critically praised set at the CTM Festival in Berlin — and her Edcon Fashion clothing line debuted across 22 Edgars Fashion shops across South Africa. 

Limpopo Champions League’s latest single is the infectious “Idhom” is centered around Madjozi swaggering and self-assured rhymes in Xitsonga and English over a tweeter and woofer rocking production featuring blocks of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats and an enormous hook — and while indebted to grime an trap, the song possesses a brash, youthful and coquettish energy paired with a proud, defiant Blackness /African-ness.

Directed by Sho Madjozi, the recently released video was shot in Madjozi’s home village Shirley Village and features the kids in her home village, in an extended selfie with their local hero with a group of kids passing along a cell phone to each other, capturing day to day life in a small African village, paired with some bold animation from PUKS. 

New Video: Florence Italy-based Shoegazers We Melt Chocolate Release a Lysergic “120 Minutes”-like Visual for “everyjoy”

Formed back in 2014, the Florence, Italy-based shoegazer outfit We Melt Chocolate consists of a group of friends, w ho have been active in their hometown’s music scene for some time, as the band features members of Interzone, Evanicetrip, Scum, Smell of trees, Shades of blue and others. And with a self-released demo and EP under their belts, the Florence-based act have developed a reputation for crafting lilting and noisy shoegaze that owes a debt to My Bloody Valentine, Lush and The Sugarcubes among others. 

We Melt Chocolate’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Annibale Records and the album’s latest single “everyjoy,” is a perfect example of classic shoegaze as the song is centered around distortion and pedal effected guitars, four-on-the-floor-like drumming, a propulsive bass line, ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, all of which emphasizes the song’s dreamy and lysergic vibes. Centered around the band performing the song in an empty studio with superimposed special effects and trippy light effects, the video brings memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV  to mind. 

New Video: The Soft Calvary Releases a Hearing Impaired Friendly Visual for New Single “Bulletproof”

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Soft Calvary, a new shoegaze project formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and their self-titled, full-length is slated for a July 5, 2019 release through Bella Union Records. Interestingly, for The Soft Calvary’s Steve Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material comes from and radiates both midlife crisis and elation — particularly, the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

The writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

Now, as you may recall, Goswell and Clarke’s full-length debut’s first single “Dive” was centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat paired with the duo’s gorgeous dual harmonies. And while being one part deeply contented sigh, one part sweet, romantic swoon there’s a creeping sense and tacit acknowledgement that such a wondrous dream will fade. The album’s second and latest single finds Goswell and Clarke pairing their ethereal harmonies with shimmering guitar lines, a soaring hook and propulsive, electro pop-like beats, which gives the song a subtle, dance floor friendly vibe. And much like its predecessor, the song ‘s narrator expresses a deep unsettling sense of doubt — the sort of doubt that comes from a lived-in, messy life with its regrets, mistakes and triumphs but there’s an underlying sense of hope, that this time it’ll be different. 

The recently released video features Clarke and Goswell dressed in black, standing in front of a black background: Clarke sings the song’s lyrics while Goswell uses British Sign Language to sign the song’s lyrics. “For a long time now I have wanted to do a video that incorporates BSL (British Sign Language) due to my son being Profoundly Deaf with no hearing. He also has additional needs with CHARGE Syndrome that brings many added complications,” Goswell explains. I live within two worlds both Hearing and Deaf; and have learned alot in the last nine years about the many barriers Deaf people can face in our society. One of the main points I was taught very quickly is how music is accessible to Deaf people. Of course music can be felt through vibration but visually I feel so much more could be done to enhance the experience. We made this video with the support of Sign Up BSL to translate ‘Bulletproof’ so that the song flows properly in BSL. Sometimes with signing videos – they can be a literal translation of the words (Sign Supported English) which will make little sense to the Deaf viewer. Our hope is that we have achieved this and also that one day as my son gets older and develops his language skills he will be able to understand this song.”

New Video: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Announce Their Long-Awaited Second Collaborative Album and Release a Cinematic Visual for “Crime Pays”

Born Fredrick Jamel Tipton, the Gary, IN-born emcee and JOVM mainstay Freddie Gibbs initially signed with Interscope Records in 2006 and after recording his full-length debut with the label, the Gary, IN-born emcee was dropped as a result of the label’s management changing hands — and the album was subsequently shelved; however, with the release of 2009’s The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, a prolific series of mixtapes and his 2013’s full-length debut ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally), Gibbs quickly established a reputation for being a talented lyricist and narrative-based storyteller with an imitable, gruff flow. 

Gibbs’ work largely focuses on street shit and hustling but unlike most of his peers, who take on exaggerated, superhuman personas and describe tales in which their heroes always win, Gibbs pulls the showbiz curtains aside with a frank and unvarnished honesty and realism. His characters inhabit a world much like own, full of gritty, almost Darwinistic struggles in which men and women do evil things to others to get by, fully aware of the fact that they’re paving roads to their own unique, fucked up hell.  And as a result, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay became a go-to collaborator, working with an impressive list of artists and producers including Young Jeezy, Juicy J, Philadelphia Freeway, Dom Kennedy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Big K.R.I.T., Cardo, DJ Burn One, Speakerbomb, Block Beattaz, Beatnick and K-Salaam, Chip tha Ripper, The Cool Kids‘ Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, Krayzie Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp, Jadakiss, Kirko Bangz, Jay Rock, Curren$y and others. 

Five years ago, Gibbs teamed up with Madlib, arguably one of hip-hop’s dopest, most inventive and prolific producers on the critically and commercially successful Piñata, which landed at #38 on the Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Top Rap Albums Charts. At the time of its release, I compared Piñata to Small Professor’s and Guilty Simpson’s collaboration Highway Robbery as both albums were the result of a shared artistic vision that channelled golden era hip hop.

In 2016 Madlib announced that he would be working with Madlib on their second album together Bandana, and that many of the rejected beats he auditioned for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo would appear on the new album. Gibbs and his manager later confirmed that on Twitter. During that same period, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay was busy with the release of his third solo album, 2017’s You Only Live 2wice and last year’s Fetti, a collaborative album with Curren$y.

Interestingly, three years after its initial announcement, the long-awaited Bandana is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Keep Cool Records, RCA Records, Madlib Invazion and ESGN. Earlier this year, Gibbs and Madlib released Bandana’s first single, the album title track “Bandana,” which featured dancehall artist Assassin. Bandana’s second and latest single “Crime Pays” is centered around a Roy Ayers-like shimmering, old-school 70s jazz soul sample and Gibbs gruff and imitable baritone dexterously rhyming about the street shit and hustling that he’s well-known for, but underneath that is the bitter recognition that you can roll the dice so many times before hitting snake eyes at some point. 

Directed by Nick Walker, and starring Gibbs as himself, Zoe Neal as Farm Girl, John Pistone as Farm Guy 1, Mazen Shehabi as Farm Guy 2 and Benedikt Sebastian, the recently released video for “Crime Pays” is set on a farm in the seemingly fiction Mt. Kane. Gibbs’ character is a farm owner, who owns a massive property with three male helpers, who he cajoles and chides endlessly for being lazy, slow, stupid and so on. In fact, Gibbs’ character is so rich that he owns horses and zebras — but the video slowly reveals that they’re running a drug scheme that involves stashing loads of drugs in hay for delivery and distribution elsewhere. Gangster as fuck, indeed. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Kiwi Band Miss June Releases Feverish Visuals for Mosh Pit Banger “Best Girl”

Miss June is an up-and-coming Auckland, New Zealand-based indie rock quartet, comprised of Annabel Liddel (vocals, guitar), Jun Park (guitar), Chris Marshall (bass) and Tom Legget (drums), and in their homeland, they’ve received attention for a jagged, feedback-driven alt rock meets New Wave and No Wave sound that’s been described as “some unholy union between Sonic Youth and Le Tigre” and for a formidable, attention-grabbing live show that has earned them opening slots for Foo Fighters, Shellac, Wolf Alice, Idles and Die! Die! Die!

The Kiwi-based band has recently signed to acclaimed New York indie label Frenchkiss Records, who will be releasing their double A-side 7 inch “Twitch”/”Best Girl” on June 10, 2019. Building upon a growing profile, the band will be playing shows in London, Los Angeles and New York; in fact, they’ll be playing three shows in town: June 17, 2019 at Elsewhere, June 18, 2019 at Berlin Under A and June 20, 2019 at Union Pool with Twen. (You can check out the tour dates below.) The double A side 7 inch’s latest single “Best Girl” immediately recalls riot grrrl-era punk and 90s alt rock, as the track is centered around Liddel’s sultry vocal delivery, fuzzy distortion pedaled power chords, thunderous drumming and and an rousing, arena rock meets mosh pit friendly hook. The song as the band says in press notes “is anthem for anyone, who has been misled from birth, into battle for a spot that doesn’t exist.” 

Directed by Chi’lita Collins and shot in the band’s hometown of Auckland, the recently released video for “Best Girl” features the band getting out of a broke down hoopty and passionately performing the song in a wind-swept  suburban backyard. But just behind them is some surrealistic, logic-defying action — a man wearing a suit and a tiger face paint pulls a passenger out of the trunk, who begins dancing on top of the car. Their drum kit is set on fire, another older, Rick Rubin lookalike tries to put it out and stands next to the man in the suit, watching dispassionately. Simply put it’s a 120 Minutes-era MTV fever dream. 

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Plague Vendor Release a Shimmering and Tense Bruiser

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) released 2016’s Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album Bloodsweat, which landed at number 2 on that year’s Best of List, thanks in part to frenetic and anthemic album singles  “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” which were delivered with a blistering and forceful swagger. Two years passed before the band released two singles “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton, which served to revitalize the band and restore their focus before joining  acclaimed producer John Congleton for the By Night sessions.

Slated for a June 7, 2019 release through Epitaph Records, Plague Vendor’s third full-length album By Night reportedly finds the band stretching and warping their sound to evoke a merciless and unrelenting sense of tension and apprehension, seemingly evoking our current sociopolitical moment. “New Comedown,” the third album’s first single was an explosive roar, centered around a propulsive rhythm section, thunderous drumming, layers upon layers of power chords, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s howled vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to the singles recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, the song reveals some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog.  “All of the Above” the album’s second single was a shimmering yet brooding bit of post-punk centered around buzzsaw-like guitars, a shout-along worth hook and a motorik-like groove — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to The Cars, the futuristic, sci-fi punk song captures a narrator, who has partied and fucked around to the point of losing what’s left of his sanity. The album’s third single “Let Me Get High/Low” was a serpentine take on stoner rock that possessed a similar swagger to “No Bounty.”  Interestingly, the album’s fourth and latest single “Prism” is a tense, swaggering bruiser centered around angular guitar chords, breakbeat drumming inspired by Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut,” and an enormous, arena friendly hook — and while bearing a resemblance to the material off their sophomore album, the song possesses a slick, studio sheen.