Category: Video

New Video: Willy Mason Releases a “120 Minutes”-like Power Chord Anthem Paired with Mischievous and Lo-Fi Visuals

Willy Mason is a White Plains-born, West Tilbury, MA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has released three full-length albums — 2004’s Where The Humans Eat, 2007’s If The Ocean Gets Rough and 2012’s Carry On.

Slated for an August 6, 2021 release through Cooking Vinyl, Already Dead is the White Plains-born, West Wilbury-based singer/songwriter’s fourth album — and the first batch of full-length material from Mason in over nine years. Thematically, the album reportedly explores honesty, deception, anonymity in the digital age, good intentions with unexpected consequences, freedom, colonialism, love, God and purpose. “Already Dead is a spiritual state to aspire to; it is freedom from the trappings and inhibitions of one’s ego, culture, and mythology. It is freedom and love and freedom to love in the face of death,” Mason explains. “It’s about the necessary destruction of one’s mythology; mythology of species, sex, race, nation, self. It’s about the pain and tragedy that comes with such destruction, but also about the freedom, possibility and opportunity for reconciliation; reconciliation with the natural world and with each other.”

Reportedly one of the harder songs in his growing catalog, Already Dead’s latest single “Youth On A Spit” is a 120 Minutes MTV-era alt rock-like anthem centered around scuzzy power chords, propulsive drumming, and Mason’s ironically delivered lyrics, which are both a bold declaration of insouciance and invincibility and an incisive commentary on post-modern life. And because of its relatable yet rousingly anthemic hook, the song may remind some listeners of 90s era Beck.

“‘Youth On A Spit’ is about the struggle for freedom and identity that comes from growing up in an advertising based culture. The refrain ‘you can’t kill me I’m already dead’ is about the liberation that comes with disillusionment,” Mason explains.

Director by Noel Heroux is a lo-fi and lysergic romp that’s partially a journey through boring suburbia and a partially a journey through hell, competed with Mason being practically in the hellfire.

New Video: Late Aster Releases a Trippy and Feverish Visual for “A Minor Fantasy”

Split between Brooklyn and the Bay Area, the emerging experimental pop act Late Aster — Ami Hochhalter, Aaron Messing, Charles Mueller and Cameron LeCrone — can trace their origins back to when its members met while studying jazz and/or classical music performance at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. The members of the band quickly bonded over a mutual love of experimentation: the band employs brass instrumentation with electronics and popular music forms and melodies to push and pull at the boundaries of classical, jazz, pop and rock. The quartet’s sound finds the band looking to draw out the intimacy and versatility of instruments commonly related to a much more secondary role in rock.

The quartet’s debut EP True and Toxic is slated for a May 21, 2021 release through Bright Shiny Things. The EP features a collection of musical sketches on the modern human condition — and thematically, the EP’s material focuses on relationships, politics, sciences and digital society to create a soundtrack for our incredibly polarizing society. Each song is paired with a visual accompaniment by Four/Ten Media, Deadeye Press, Harrison Atkins and Kelsey Boncato.

The EP’s latest single “A Minor Fantasy” is centered around skittering drum beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, regal sounding horns and ethereal vocals placed within an expansive and cinematic-leaning song structure. Sonically, the song reminds me — to my ears, at least — of Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS and People Museum but with a dreamy yet brooding quality. “This song is inspired by a Shostakovich piano prelude I listened to for years before attempting to learn. I thought the way the piece moves through the harmony would suit it well for an additional melody on top, which became the vocal melody,” the band’s Aaron Messing explains in press notes. “The prelude is in the key of A minor, which I eventually used as the name of the song, both because it describes the piece musically but also because read literally, it actually describes the meaning behind the words of the song: A dream-like state that is simultaneously exciting and ominous.”

The video created by Four/Ten Media is a surreal and psychedelic fever dream. “Working with Four/Ten Media was an obvious choice for this song because of their background as classically trained percussionists,” the band’s Anni Hochalter, says about the video treatment. “We wanted a team that was going to really understand how to feature the virtuosic beats written by our drummer Cameron LeCrone, as well as be experimental in visual aesthetic to capture the new sounds of electronics and brass. We combined two visual inspirations for the video – 1. Liquid lights created with layers of colored mineral oil and alcohol placed over a projector lens and which produce changing color patterns for a psychedelic effect. And 2. an early animated film that uses color and silhouette cut-outs, called The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926).”

New Video: Toronto’s Jiants Release an Anthemic Brit Pop-like Single

With the release of their critically applauded self-titled debut, 2016’s self-titled debut, Toronto-based Jiants — former professional skateboarder Jesse Landen (vocals, guitar), Adam Kesek (bass), John Sirdevan (drums) and the band’s newest member Joe Delfin (lead guitar) quickly established a sound that meshes 90s alt rock with sensibilities. 2018’s Taylor Knox co-produced follow-up Odd Trouble found the band meshing infectious rifts, melodic keyboard lines and Landen’s vocals to create a sound that managed to be nostalgia-inducing yet wholly theirs.

Earlier this year, the Toronto-based indie act released their latest EP, Wait Here and the EP’s latest single “Some Kind of Loser” is a decidedly Brit Pop-inspired anthem, featuring a gorgeous and cinematic string arrangement by Drew Jurecka, layers of shimmering guitars and rousingly anthemic and dryly ironic chorus paired with Landen’s plaintive and sun-cracked vocals. Sonically, the track — to my ears, least — reminds me quite a bit of Urban Hymns-era The Verve, Love Is Here-era Starsailor and Oasis. But as the Landen and company admit in press notes. “Some Kind of Loser” “is about charting your own path. These lyrics reflect on how it would ultimately be beneficial learning to work together and respect each other’s paths.”

The song was “born out of a rough day in the studio that was followed by some upcoming shows falling apart in advance,” Jiants’ Jesse Landen continues. “I was half-hoking around thinking about much time and energy I was spending obsessing over music stuff and feeling like a bit of a dork. I think everyone can relate to that in some way. But that’s when it dawned one me that sometimes you might have to just learn to enjoy the rollercoaster because I know that I was going to continue making and sharing music, regardless of the results.”

Directed by Hart Dylan Webster, the recently released visual for “Some Kind of Loser” is a cinematic ode to 120 Minutes-era MTV.

New Video: Madagasacar’s LohArano Releases Another Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

LohArano — Mahalia Ravoajanahary (vocals, guitar), Michael Raveloson (bass, vocals) and Natiana Randrianasoloson (drums, vocals) — is a rising Antananarivo, Madagascar-based trio that formed over six years ago. And since their formation, they’ve develop and honed a remarkably unique, boundary pushing sound that meshes elements of popular and beloved Malagasy musical styles — in particular, Tsapiky  and Salegy — with metal. The Antananarivo-based trio’s sound and approach represents a bold, new generation of young people in their homeland, a generation that respects and honors the traditions of their elders but roaring with the fierce urgency that our moment requires.

Building upon the buzz that they received with their debut single “Andrambavitany” and a handful of standalone singles, the members of LohArano released their self-titled debut EP last Friday. The EP’s latest single is “Tandroka” continues a run of enormous, mosh pit friendly rippers centered around a rumbling, down-tuned bass line, thunderous drumming, scorching guitar riffs and Mahalia Ravoajanahary’s Karen O-like vocals, which alternate between feral howls, screeching and shouting. We can’t have mosh pits for a bit longer — but play this one as loud as possible and remember what it was like to be colliding with sweaty bodies in a dark room.

Directed by Andriamanisa Radoniaina, the recently released video follows the trio as the embark on their every day life, from the band’s members getting up to start their day, meet up and rehearse, write material, play a friend’s house party — before moving up to an actual club.

Throwback: Happy 77th Birthday, Diana Ross!

This week is a rather auspicious week in music history: Yesterday Elton John and Aretha Franklin shared a birthday. And today, the legendary Diana Ross turns 77, I firmly believe that we should celebrate our legends while we have them — and Diana Ross is one of the most influential and important out of the entire Motown Records universe.

So I thought the best to celebrate her birthday would be to post some throwback live footage of Ms. Ross doing her thing.

Live Footage: The Black Angels Perform “Young Men Dead” at LEVITATION Festival

Levitation Festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of  The Black Angels in the back of a tour van in 2007 — let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival. 

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three day event the following year. Austin Psych Fest quickly became an international destination for psych rock fans with lineups featuring up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from The Black Angels. Renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, the festival has sparked an new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of several similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene. 

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.

Live at LEVITATION‘s second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION features the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost. “Since the beginning The Black Angels were meant to be heard live,” the band’s Christian Bland explains in press notes. “This record captures the rumble of the drums and amps, and the very essence of the way it should sound. Now future generations and new listeners can now hear how these songs were meant to be heard.”

The album’s first single was a hypnotic and equally menacing version of Passover single “Manipulation” that featured a mesmerizing guest spot from Elephant Stone‘s bassist, sitarist and frontman Rishi Dihr. And building up more buzz for the album’s release day — which is tomorrow — the band released the live album’s second and latest single, a muscular and menacing version of Passover single “Young Men Dead.” The accompanying live footage captures the band and their live sound with an uncanny fidelity.

This weekend is a big weekend for the band: As I mentioned their live album, Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a digital and vinyl release tomorrow. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d recall that The Black Angels and MIEN frontman Alex Mass released his solo debut, a meditative and gentler take on the psych rock sound he’s developed throughout his nearly two decade career, inspired by the birth of his son Luca.

Much like countless other artists across the globe, the pandemic has put touring on hold indefinitely. So, Maas and his backing band — Bryan Richie, Jake Garcia and Rob Kidd — decamped to nearby Bastrop, TX to bring the live show that they had developed around the album’s material to the world through a live performance film, shot in the Texan city’s historic downtown.  “We shot this down in an old opera house built in 1889 and a 100 year old German tailor mercantile building in historic downtown, which is now Astro Records,” Maas says in press notes. “This session is a glimpse of what a tour on Luca would look like had we not been in a pandemic. It was a joy to get out and get back with the friends and collaborators I created this album with, and bring these songs to life. For now this is the world tour, and a look at what we’re looking forward to being able to do on stage when we are back up and rolling! Thank you to Jonas Wilson of Mr. Pink Records who asked me originally to film this in the beautiful city of Bastrop.” 

Featuring sections from Luca and three new songs, the live session shot in Bastrop, TX will stream as a Levitation Session on March 27, 2021 at 7:00PM Central.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Warish Release a Hilariously Demented Visual

With the release of their full-length debut, 2019’s Down In Flames, the San Diego-based noise punk trio Warish — currently founding member Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals), Alex Bassaj (bass) and Justin de la Vega (drums) — quickly established a reputation for crafting mosh pit friendly, bludgeoning rippers, that would bring early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits and others to mind for listeners.

The San Diego-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, the 13-song Next To Pay reportedly finds the noise punk trio at their darkest and most vicious. “Next To Pay is about a sense of imminent doom, everyone is going to die,” Warish’s Riley Hawk says in press notes. “It’s not the happiest record, I guess.” The album’s material sonically finds the band continuing to draw from the same influences as its predecessor, but while pushing their sound in a much more forceful — and in turn, nastier — direction, heavily influenced by the guitar work of Greg Ginn and Buzz Osborne — wiry contortions drenched in various chorus effect pedals. “This album is more of an evolution, it’s a little more punk-heavy,” Hawk adds. “We figured out what our sound was.” 

Along with that evolution, the band went through a massive lineup change. The band’s original drummer Nick “Broose” McDonnell plays on roughly half the album’s song while their newest de la Vega played on the more recently written and recorded tracks. Bassaj joined the band after their debut was recorded, so Next To Pay marks his official Warish debut.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Seeing Red,” a breakneck, Bleach-era Nirvana like ripper centered around Hawk’s howled vocals, scuzzy power chords, a forceful and chugging bass line paired with pummeling drumming that continues a run of mosh pit friendly material — but with a feral snarl.

“S.H.M. (Second Hand Misery),” Next To Pay’s latest single is a breakneck ripper featuring fuzzy, chugging power chords, a rousingly anthemic hook paired with Hawk’s yelps and howls. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me of a gritty synthesis of Nirvana and Melvins, but full of bile and evil intentions.

Edited by the band’s Riley Hawk, the hilariously demented video features edited footage from Barney that features the enormous purple dinosaur and some innocent kids seemingly dancing and singing along to the song. “This video came to mind when I heard the ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ song by Barney playing somewhere while I was in a bad mood and was thinking, this song is kinda evil sounding. Then I went home and instantly started editing the video to the track ‘S.H.M.’ because it’s the polar opposite of ‘If You Are Happy And You Know It.’ It fit nicely I thought, hah.” 

The JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album Next To Pay is slated for an April 30, 2021 release through RidingEasy Records.

New VIdeo: Morningbell’s Travis Atria Releases a Quiet Storm-Inspired Meditation on Climate Change

From 2004-2013, Travis Atria was a member of acclaimed Gainesville, FL-based indie rock act Morningbell, which released six critically applauded albums of material, which includes songs featured in film and television. The band also played sets at Bonnaroo and SXSW and commissioned a custom star show at the Kika Silva Pia Planetarium while on tour to support 2013’s excellent album Boa Noite. Travis also had a side project The Slims, which released two albums and kept him pretty busy bon top of his Morningbell duties. In 2014, Morningbell went on indefinite hiatus when his brother Eric and his sister-in-law Stacie Thrushman-Atria started a family.

After spending a decade of recording and touring, Travis Atria turned to another lifelong dream of his — books. In 2016, Atria co-wrote Traveling Soul, the first biography of the legendary soul singer/songwriter and producer Curtis Mayfield — a major influence on Atria’s music — with Mayfield’s son Todd Mayfield. Traveling Soul received praise from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. He then wrote Better Days Will Come Again, a biography of jazz trumpeter Arthur Briggs, who was among the greatest musicians of Paris’ Jazz Age — and who spent four years in a Nazi prison camp during World War II, where he conducted a classical orchestra of prisoners.

Adding to a rather productive period for the now-acclaimed musician and author, Atria had been writing new material, which would eventually become his soon-to-be released solo debut, Moonbrain, and at the tine he had started he was searching for the album’s heart. Of course, that process came about in stages: While working on his Arthur Briggs book, Atria went to Paris in August 2017 to see the site of Briggs’ prison camp. On the night he had visited Briggs’ prison camp, the Parisian news reported on the now-infamous Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA. For Atria, who was studying World War II history in Paris, it was a chilling to see his own countrymen staging what was a pro-Nazi rally.

The following year, the IPCC released their updated climate report, which said that we were maybe 20 years away from permanently damaging the environment as we know it. Atria, who had been involved in climate activism since 2004 began to fear the world the his niece and nephew would inherit, and decide that the album had to be more than the sensual rock ‘n’ soul he had been known for in Morningbell. Taking Curtis Mayfield’s “painless preaching” as a model fo this solo work, Atria focused on creating the material’s grove, initially steering clear of lyrical polemics — but while still trying to write about the truth about the world. “I felt too few artists were trying to deal with what we’re going through,” Atria says. “I owed it to these kids to try.” 

Unsurprisingly, Moonbrain’s material is a reflection of our time — and it pulls no punches about it, even if they sometimes seem like love taps. The album’s first single “Jazz Cigarette” is a shimmering Quiet Storm-like slow jam featuring shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, smooth horns, and a sinuous bass line paired with Atria’s plaintive crooning. But underneath the sultry, late night grooves, the song is focused on the dire state of the globe’s climate, suggesting that things are really even more fucked up than you think.

The accompanying video was shot primarily on the streets of New York — with most of the footage set in and around the 59th Street Bridge, Roosevelt Island and Long Island City. Throughout, the video reminds us all of the city’s constant activity and constant motion; but with the uneasy reminder that those beloved sites may at some point be in endangered, and real soon.

Moonbrain is slated for an April 2, 2021 release through Gold Robot Records.