Category: Video

New Video: Halifax’s Like a Motorcycle Releases a Forceful and Timely Anthem

Since the release of 2016’s full-length debut High Hopes, the rising Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-based post-punk act Like a Motorcycle — Michelle Skelding (drums, lead vocals), Kim Carson (bass, vocals), KT Lamond (guitar, vocals) and David Casey (guitar, vocals) — have muscled through a number of obstacles that would have busted up countless other bands: substance abuse, internal break-ups, health issues and a former label that nearly sunk them financially. And yet, despite all of that, they’ve managed to boldly keep on, building a reputation for crafting post punk anthems for disenfranchised rejects, who are working minimum wage jobs while maneuvering five-figure debt. 

The rising Halifax-based post punk quartet recently signed to Cadence Music Group’s rock imprint Known Accomplice, who released “IDOLS,” the band’s first bit of original music this year, as well as their latest single, the rousingly anthemic “Wide Awake.” Centered around angular bursts of guitar, thunderous and propulsive drumming, an enormous mosh pit friendly hook, and punchily delivered lyrics the song finds the band sonically bringing JOVM mainstays Ganser — while offering a bristling commentary on a capitalist system that allows rampant exploitation for personal gain. “Although ‘Wide Awake’ was written some time ago, its sentiment rings true now more than ever. ‘Wide Awake’ is about waking up between a past stained with unhealthy choices and a future of bleak dystopian uncertainty,” the band’s Kim Carson explains in press notes. “Where do we go when leaving the past means potentially losing everything we’ve worked for? Can we break vicious cycles and bad habits without losing the people and things that comfort us? How does change and its uncertainty make us feel?”

Directed and edited by the band’s KT Lamond and Cat Hennnigar and shot in Lamond’s apartment, the video is centered around the use of a green screen and background sourced rom Unsplash Free Stock Photo. While capturing a life constrained to one’s four walls, complete with the boredom and unscheduled hours of endless Netflix watching, the video shines a light of what might happen when people aren’t constrained by a daily routine designed for the benefit of capital and capitalism; a life in which people have the free will and desire to make a life of their own design. 

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New Video: Savages’ Jehnny Beth Releases a DIY visual for Sultry and Slinky “Heroine”

Camille Berthomier is a Poitiers, Vienne, France-born, London-based singer/songwriter, actress, author and musician, professionally known as Jehnny Beth — and as the frontwoman of the Mercury Prize-nominated, critically applauded act Savages. With Savages, the Poitiers-born, London-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist has developed a reputation for a unique lyrical perspective and a powerful stage presence that has captivated audiences across the world over the past 15 years.

Beth’s solo debut, To Love Is To Live was originally slated for release  last week through Caroline Records — but the album was pushed back to June 12, 2020, as a result of Beth’s desire to support local, independent record stores by ensuring that the physical album could come out at the same time. “Record stores are where I found myself as a teenager, digging through albums that ultimately shaped who I have become,” Beth says in press notes. “To release my first ever solo album in a way that would leave them out felt wrong to me; luckily, we were able to find a date that would allow us to release the physical and digital album at the same time.”

Recorded in Los Angeles, London and Paris, To Love Is To Live finds the longtime Savages frontwoman boldly stepping into and claiming the spotlight as a solo artist, and collaborating with an eclectic array of producers and artists including Flood, Atticus Ross, longtime collaborator and Savages bandmate Johnny Hostile, Adam “Cecil” Bartlett, The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, IDLES’ Joe Talbot and Golden Globe-winning actor Cilian Murphy. Thematically, the album sees Beth tapping into and accessing the darkest and least comfortable parts of herself to craft material that’s cathartic, abrasive, fearlessly honest and vulnerable, making the material a dark and cinematic meditation on the very strangeness of being alive.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles: the brooding and atmospheric “Flower,” a track that was reportedly written about a pole dancer at Los Angeles’ Jumbo’s Clown Room and seethes with a feverish and obsessive lust  — and “Innocence,” a dark ad sultry track that evokes the uneasy feelings of isolation, loneliness while ironically living in a big city surrounded by seemingly endless people. “Heroine,” the album’s fourth and latest single is centered around a similar, slinky off-kilter motorik groove as its immediate predecessor, rapid-fire four-on-the-floor, shimmering synth arpeggios, brief blasts of horn, twinkling keys and an achingly vulnerable vocal performance from Beth, the track probes deeply into the dark recesses of her psyche with a fearless abandon.

“When I think of this song, I think of Romy from the xx strangling my neck with her hands in the studio,” Beth recalls in press notes. “She was trying to get me out of my shell lyrically, and there was so much resistance in me she lost her patience. The song was originally called Heroism, but I wasn’t happy because it was too generic. Flood was the first one to suggest to say Heroine instead of Heroism. Then I remember Johnny Hostile late at night in my hotel room in London saying ‘I don’t understand who you are singing about. Who is the Heroine? You ARE the Heroine’. The next morning, I arrived early in the studio and recorded my vocals adding ‘to be’ to the chorus line: ‘all I want is TO BE a heroine.’ Flood entered the studio at that moment and jumped in the air giving me the thumbs up through the window. I guess I’m telling this story because sometimes we look around for role models, and examples to follow, without realising that the answer can be hidden inside of us. I was afraid to be the Heroine of the song, but it took all the people around me to get me there.”

The recently released video is split between footage that the Savages frontwoman and Johnny Hostile shot and edited  — including footage of her walking and vamping in a London tube station, of Beth glistening with droplets of water and in a murky pool, as well as footage of Beth as a little girl, shot by her family, which creates an eerie and intimate look into the artist and her psyche. The DIY nature of the video manages to bring the songs message of self-belief and resilience into a deeper clarity. “We couldn’t plan that the current worldwide circumstances would push us to make this video entirely ourselves at home but sometimes working with constraints is the best fuel, and it fits perfectly with the positive message of self-belief and resilience of the song, pursuing childhood dreams and destiny,” Beth explains in press notes. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ten Fe Release a Spectral Cover of Mark Ronson’s and Miley Cyrus’ “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart”

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the  London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe. Founded by primary songwriters Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, the band expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of longtime friends and touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who Duncan knows from their days in Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums), who sat in with the band for the recording of their sophomore album Future Perfect, Present Tense. 

Thematically,  Future Perfect, Present Tense was a mediation on everything that has brought the members of the band to the writing and recording of their sophomore album — and everything that they’ve willingly (and in some cases perhaps, unwillingly) left behind to get there. Sonically, the album is a decided sonic departure from its predecessor with the material seemingly drawing from Fleetwood Mac and others, while retaining an uncanny ability to craft slick and rousingly anthemic hooks.

Recently, the JOVM mainstays have released a couple of covers — including their latest single, a cover of Mark Ronson’s and Miley Cyrus’ “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” that finds the band turning the country-tinged dance floor anthem into a spectral and pastoral, folk meditation that brings Nick Drake and Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra to mind. By stripping away the electronics, the British JOVM mainstays pull out the vulnerability, heartache and intimacy of the original out into the forefront while simultaneously revealing that the song is startlingly well-written.   

“I’ve always thought the song was really beautiful, and heard the intimacy and vulnerability in it,” the band’s Leo Duncan says in press notes,  “so we wanted to try and bring that out in our version, through the ghostly vocal arrangements and sparse instrumentation; we were trying to make it sound as if we recorded it in the middle of the desert. It’s such a good song, rearranging felt really natural.”

Directed, edited and produced by Niall Trask, the cinematically shot accompanying video for “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” is set in a set in an extremely English pastoral scene that manages to also hint at the American Wild West. “We wanted it it be evocative of the Wild West, as the music paints that picture; but also make it very English and pastoral – particularly, Cromwellian, when England seemed wild and lawless,” Leo Duncan explains in press notes. ‘. I did a rough storyboard, and Niall Trask was the perfect person to direct it as he’s really into that period of history, and we’ve often talked together about films set then such as Witchfinder General, A Field In England, etc. I really like the idea of delivering your heart to someone; I think everyone does this, symbolically, all the time – so it was wicked to try and show that literally in the video. I’m really happy how it came out!”

New Video: Paris’ Morning Robots Releases a Symbolic and Animated Visual for “Moonlight”

Emerging Paris-based indie rock act Morning Robots — Romain, Victor, Jerome, Benjamin and BT — can trace their origins to a school trip to Brighton, UK: Romain, Victor and Jerome met Benjamin and BT while sharing the same room with a host family. The members of the quintet bonded over a mutual love of The Strokes, Oasis and Kasabian and others. And as the story goes, the quintet wanted to start a band as soon as they got back to France. 

When they started the band, not everyone would know how to play an instrument but eventually the stragglers picked an instrument and they all began practicing and honing their sound. Although they wrote and recorded some demos, the band can officially trace its origins back to 2012. Early 2013 saw the band playing their first live shows in the Paris area — and by the following year, they released a handful of singles including “Shiny Laughter,” and “Fall With You.” 

The band continued to hone their sound and live show with shows at some of Paris’ most renowned venues — including L’International, l’Alimentation Générale, FGO Barbara, La Clef, Bus Palladium, Le Baron, Le Truskel, and Paris Paris Club. They’ve also opened for Yungblud at Supersonic. 

The band released their debut EP, 2018’s Vincent Marie Bouvot-produced Nothing Like Tile For A Tango, which featured “Meet Me Later,” a track that found the band establishing a new sound centered around enormous, arena rock friendly hooks and reverb-drenched guitars. Morning Robots spent the next year, playing in and around Paris before eventually returning to the studio to record new material late last year with Vincent Marie Bouvot. 

The late 2019 sessions resulted in the band’s latest single “Moonlight.” Centered around  an alternating quiet verses and loud choruses with enormous power chords, the song features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, thunderous drumming paired with earnest and plaintive vocals in English and in French. 

The recently released video find the band continuing their ongoing animated visual collaboration with Oscar Langevin (a.k.a Dinopelo). The visual is centered around a mother and child, who are violently separated with the child eventually imprisoned. The mom sets out to get revenge and get her child back in a way that bears a resemblance to Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol 1. and Vol. 2. But at the end, we see a lovely reunion — and a mother’s love and sacrifice for her child.  

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Returns with a Sultry, Feel Good, Disco Banger

Initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

Adeline has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among others, which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling artists with her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the JOVM mainstay has made appearances at a number of stops across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. And along with that, the New York-based artist has been one of the hardest working women in contemporary music, as she’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band.

Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut is slated for a June 12, 2020 release and the EP will feature “Middle,” which she performed on CBS This Morning and the sultry Quiet Storm-like “Twilight,” which detailed the moment that both parties in a relationship realize that it’s over and that there’s nothing left to give, and nothing left to say. 

The Adeline and Morgan Wiley co-produced and Jonathan Singletary cowritten “After Midnight,” is the EP’s third and latest single. Featuring guest spots from Jaleel Bunton (guitar) and Jim Oroso (drums), “After Midnight” is an upbeat, feeling yourself and feeling good anthem, centered around twinkling and arpeggiated keys, propulsive drumming, a shuffling Nile Rodgers-like guitar line, a sinuous disco-influenced bass line, and a two-step inducing hook with the JOVM mainstay’s soulful, come-hither vocals. “After Midnight is a feel good song for anytime, day or night” says Adeline, noting that we can all use some feel good vibes right now. “The track was all about creating an undeniable groove. Something that’s fresh and fun yet classic and soulful at the same time.”

Shot at home, the recently release video for “After Midnight” follows the JOVM mainstay as she tries on different outfits and vamps for the camera. So we see Adeline serving up looks and fierceness — although she could easily be like the average person, gearing themselves up for a Friday or Saturday night on the town. 

New Video: CHAII Returns with a Visual Meditation on Childhood

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rising Persian-born, New Zealand-based emcee and producer, CHAII. When she turned eight, her family migrated to New Zealand — and as it turns out, her first introduction to hip-hop was through Eminem, who at the time had just released The Marshall Mathers LP. Fueled by a growing interest in his music, the rising Persian-Kiwi emcee was rhyming along to his work before she really learned how to speak English. “Mr. Eminem was my English teacher,” CHAII recalls in press notes.

When she was 11, she stated to write her own rhymes to express everything she was feeling at the time — from being a confused third culture kid to her troubles adapting to a new way of life. As a high schooler, the rising Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee started to make beats to accompany her rhymes. At that point, she realized a deep love for all aspects of creating and writing music from writing, producing, recording and mixing. After several years of experimenting the Persian-Kiwi artist began developing her own unique sound, which features elements of traditional Persian music, experimental pop and hip-hop. The material she began releasing  is “the closest music to me and who I am,” she says. 

As an adult, she developed an interest in film, and that has created a synergistic approach to her creative efforts, centered around a decidedly DIY ethos. With the release of her debut single “South,” earlier this year, off her forthcoming debut effort Safar (Journey) the Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee exploded into the international scene with the track being featured by FENDI. She quickly followed that up with her second single, the urgent and defiant club banger “Digebasse.” Featuring lyrics in English and her native Farsi and a guest spot from Australian emcee B Wise, the track is fiery commentary on millennial social pressures that urges the listener to “say ‘enough’ and stand up for your rights.”  

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, CHAII’s third and latest single “Trouble” further cements her unique sound and approach: wobbling, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and percussive Southern Iranian drum patterns and the Persian-Kiwi’s commanding and self-assured delivery. And much like its predecessors, the new single continues the rising artist’s commentary on social pressures on millennials — particularly on women — paired with dance floor friendly production. 

Directed by the rising artist, the recently released and cinematically shot video follows a collection of children — both boys and girls — doing what kids everywhere do, and should be doing: playing soccer in the streets, riding bikes, hanging out and roughhousing, listening to music and daydreaming.  Interestingly, in the world of the video, the kids are of an age where they’re aware of the fact that they’re different genders — it’s obvious as day, after all — but i doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot. In their world, what seems to matter to them are things that are much more essential and meaningful: “Are you cool?” “Can you ball? You live nearby Can we get along?” 

The video’s protagonist, a young girl dressed in yellow is a symbolic doppelgänger of the artist as a child , that also captures what life as a child in her native Iran is generally like. “I wanted to capture my life as a kid, who grew up in Iran,” CHAII says in press notes. “She does all the awesome activities I did as a kid in Iran: playing soccer in the streets, listening to music on my cassette player, climbing trees, swimming in the river . . . Filming it was very surreal, like going back in a time capsule and resisting my childhood. I wanted to simply show a glimpse of my childhood, who I was and who I grew to be. You just never know where you’ll end up in the world and what you’d be doing.” 

New Video: Acclaimed Italian Act Porcelain Raft Releases a Lush and Cinematic Single

Mauro Remiddi is a Rome-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind of the critically applauded electronic music project Porcelain Raft. And with the release of his five EPs and three albums, including his critically acclaimed Strange Weekend and his most recent album Microclimate, Remiddi has developed a reputation for being an artist that’s difficult to pigeonhole — while crafting gorgeous, downright cinematic work. 

Slated for a May 15, 2020 release, Remiddi’s fourth Porcelain Raft album Come Rain comes after a three year hiatus in which the acclaimed Italian-born artist lived on a mountain in Los Angeles, became a father and after the death of his mother, returned to homeland.   “After the loss of a loved one, I went back to Italy, where part of my childhood re-emerged,” Remiddi explains in press notes. “I found myself playing an organ made in the 1500s, I danced and played piano for a children’s show. By then, I had made a collection of songs that I thought I would never share.” 

According to Remiddi, the album’s material came together after several home sessions. “The lyrics came out fast. As a starting point, I used the instruments that didn’t need to be turned on, a classical guitar and a piano.” The acclaimed Italian artist enlisted an equally acclaimed cast of friends that includes Foo Fighters’ and Sunny Day Real Estate’s Nate Mendel(bass), Jim O’Rourke’s, Sufjan Stevens’ and Rone’s Gaspar Claus (cello) and longtime collaborator Matt Olsson (drums) to craft a huge sound while keeping things intimate. Mixed and mastered by Remiddi’s brother Manolo, Come Rain is a personal statement on the importance of finding shelter within ourselves, to find our inner song and without fear or reservation sing it aloud. 

Interestingly, the album’s release later this week has come as a somewhat last-minute decision, inspired by current world events. Because, the album’s material is reportedly the most personal he has written, he had been wrestling with whether or not they’d ever see the light of day. But the COVID-19 pandemic happened — and the impact on his homeland was profound and unsettling. “The world stopped. I managed to come back to Italy the day before the airports were on lock down. As I stepped in Rome I felt frightened, it’s surreal to see Rome silent,” Remiddi says in press notes. “You can feel how tense people are. On the other side you can tell there’s a lot of solidarity. Helping the neighbor with little things for instance. We have been confined in our houses and exposed to big numbers and huge scale operations. This is why I decided to share these songs now. What a better time to hear our inner voice. This album is my rain chant in the time of drought. Come Rain is an invitation to look inward, into our micro-cosmo, whatever we may find. To look for that place within us that is everything but hell, so we can give it space and let it dance.”

“Tall Grass,” Come Rain’s latest single is a lush and cinematic track featuring shimmering piano, Remiddi’s plaintive vocals, atmospheric electronics, a propulsive bass line, gently padded drumming and an enormous hook. And while sonically nodding at A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, “Tall Grass” is centered around some of Remiddi’s most earnest, most heartfelt songwriting to date — while capturing the dizzying sense of nostalgia, loss and unease of our current moment. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Alison Mosshart Releases a Film Noir-ish Black and White Visual for Atmospheric “It Ain’t Water”

Alison Mosshart is a Vero Beach, FL-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter best known as one-half of the acclaimed indie rock act JOVM mainstays The Kills — and for being the frontwoman of the indie rock/blues punk supergroup The Dead Weather. Over the past decade or so, Mosshart has been restlessly creative: her painting has been show in galleries across the world and she has published her first book, CAR MA, a collection of her art, photography and writing that serves as a love letter to all things automobile. In that same period of time, Mosshart has become a go-to collaborator, adding that extra dash of swaggering badassery, working with her Dead Weather bandmate Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Gang of Four, Cage The Elephant, Foo Fighters, James Williamson and Mini Mansions in a rapidly growing list.

2020 will continue a period of remarkably creative prolificacy for Mosshart: Currently, Mosshart and her bandmate Jamie Hince are working on the next Kills record, which they hope to be able to bring to the road — pandemic willing, of course. This year will also see Mosshart stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist, releasing material under her name for the first time in her career. Although, releasing music under her own name is a completely new and thrilling experience, the album’s material can be traced back to unreleased material Mosshart had been compiling for the better part of the past decade. Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about her debut single, the  Lawrence Rothman-produced “Rise.” Initially tracing its origins to a song sketch that Mosshart wrote in 2013, the song is a slow-burning and searing blues with brooding and ominous undertones centered around thumping beats, fuzzy power chords, Mosshart’s imitable vocals and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. 

Mosshart’s second and latest single is the atmospheric and brooding, Alain Johannes-produced and recorded “It Ain’t Water.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of shimmering acoustic guitars, strings and gently padded drums, the song manages to bring PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, and JOVM mainstay Mark Lanegan to mind. Although the song was written late last year, Mosshart had been sitting on the track for some time — with the acclaimed signer/songwriter guitarist turning to the then-unfinished track whenever she found herself battling a bout of writer’s block. 

“Working with Alain on ”It Ain’t Water’ was a blast. He’s such a talent and such a kind person,” the JOVM mainstay says of working with Alain Johannes. “His mind is wide open. He understands and sees the beauty in imperfection, magic moments, accidents- the soulful human stuff, and the spirited super-human hard to explain stuff that makes a song great. Working with him was an honor, and also, hot damn he can play any instrument like a champ . .  . like he invented the instrument himself. Alain Johannes IS music.” 

Directed, edited and shot by Mosshart, the recently released video continues a run of decidedly DIY visuals — but unlike its predecessor, its shot in an aptly film noir-like black and white and evokes our pandemic-influenced isolation, as we see the acclaimed Kills and Dead Weather frontwoman in her own home, expressively dancing in the background while we see a superimposed image of a sunglasses wearing Mossheart singing the song. 

New Video: No Joy Releases a Trippy Visual for Shimmering and House Music-Leaning “Birthmark”

Jasamine White-Gluz is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded recording project No Joy. Starting over a decade ago as a series of emailed riffs sent back and forth between White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, the project has been centered around White-Gluz’s  restless experimentation, going through a number of different sonic permutations through the years with subsequent albums showcasing a penchant foe delay-saturated jangle, industrial distortion and sludgey drones over disco beats. 

In 2018, White-Gluz collaborated with Spacemen’s 3 Pete Kember, a.k.a. Sonic Boom on a collaborative EP that saw the Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist trading the guitars she was best known for, for modular synths on an effort that seemed indebted to Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead. Interestingly, Motherhood, the first No Joy full-length effort in five years, is reportedly sort of return to form with the material echoing the project’s early shoegazer roots, while expanding the overall sonic palette with nods at trip hop, trance and with the reincorporation of guitars, nu-metal.

Slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Joyful Noise Recordings and Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada, the Jorge Elbrecht co-produced Motherhood is the culmination of several years writing outside of White-Gluz’s comfort zone and a return to DIY recording with a growing and deepening expertise in production. 

Touring with genre-divergent artists has helped the Montreal-based artist’s genre-defying sound and approach: while touring with Quicksand, No Joy picked up post-hardcore fans and ambient techno fans while touring with Baths. “As long as people are open minded about music, they can hear different things,” explains White-Gluz, “Maybe because there are a lot of layers.” “Birthmark,” Motherhood’s first single features atmospheric synths, propulsive boom-bap like beats further emphasized with muscular bongos and other percussion, shimmering blasts of guitars centered around a sng alternating loud and quiet sections and a soaring hook. Sonically, the song is a trippy yet seamless synthesis of Brit Pop, shoegaze, trip hop and house music.

Directed by Jordan “Dr. Cool” Minkoff, the recently released video was shot adhering to social distancing guidelines and features footage that White-Gluz shot at her home and stars Diavion Nichols, a dancer that the Montreal-based artists found on Instagram and a goat named Piquette.  “We made this video while in quarantine. I filmed myself at home and asked my very talented friend Jordan to help build a world around the footage,” White-Gluz says of the recently released video. “Diavion had been dancing to No Joy on his instagram and I was a huge fan so reached out and asked him to choreograph a routine for this song. While in the studio, I wanted to keep the energy fun and throw any ideas at the wall. We ended up watching the video for ‘Puff Puff Give’ by Hannah’s Field, pulled out some bongos, a broken clarinet, drank 12 bottles of sake and did group chants.”

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Nick Hakim Releases a Gorgeous and Surreal Visual for Atmospheric “Bouncing”

I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded, Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay  Nick Hakim over the past handful of years. Hakim’s 2017 full-length debut, Green Twins was written after he had completed   Where Will We Go Part 1 EP and Where We Will Go Part 2 EP and relocated from Boston, where he was then based to Brooklyn. 

After getting himself settled in, he quickly went to work, spending his spare time writing and recording song sketches sing his phone’s voice memo app and a four-track cassette recorder. He fleshed out the sketches as much as possible and then took his demo’d material to various studios in New York, Philadelphia and London, where he built up the material with a number of engineers, including frequent collaborator Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering and production), who were tasked with keeping the original spirit and essence of the material intact as much as humanly possible.

Thematically, the album’s material focused one specific experiences, feelings and thoughts he had during the time he was writing and composting it, and as a result the album is a series of different self-portraits that generally captures its creator in broad strokes — but if you pay close attention, you pick up on subtle gradations of mood, tone and feeling. Sonically, Green Twins was drew from a broad and eclectic array of influences including Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis and My Bloody Valentine and others. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and we were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” Hakim said in press at the time.

Since the release of Green Twins, Hakim has also developed a reputation as a highly sought-after, go-to collaborator working with Lianna La Havas, Anderson .Paak, Onyx Collective, Sporting Life, IGBO, Nappy Nina, Ambrose Akinmusire, Slingbaum, FKA Twins and Oumou Sangare. Now, as you may recall, Hakim’s highly-anticipated sophomore album WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD is slated for a May 15, 2020 release through ATO Records. 

Interestingly, WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD reportedly represents a tonal shift from its predecessor with the album’s material reflecting the ideas that he had grappled with while writing and recording it. 

“I feel the people simmering, on our way to the boiling point. There’s a lot of madness going on around us and this world can feel so cold. It can get hard to remember what makes it worth it. The people around me and the music I love helps.” Hakim writes in a statement on the album. 

“For a while, I couldn’t write. I worked on new music but couldn’t find the right words. But that time was just a build-up to the three months of expression that led to this album. I hope this music will raise awareness about where we are right now. About how we are living on this planet. About how we treat our neighbors. About community. About depression. About what can heal us and what can’t. About overmedication, overstimulation and manipulation. About respecting and loving the people around us, because one day they won’t be here — or you won’t.

But it’s also true that I’m still trying to figure this record out. People have told me that it’s confusing or that it’s messy-that’s fine. There’s so much pressure on artists to commit to being one thing, or to restrict an album to exploring just one subject or sound. But my life isn’t like that, and so my music can’t be like that either. I’m not thinking about this music as a product to be bought and sold, or how I’ll buy your interest. This is my world; a lot of friends touched this record, and that makes me feel lucky and proud. These songs are glimpses into my community. I’m exploring, but I’m not alone. It’s a journey in progress; it’s an experiment, every day.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the slow-burning and atmospheric “QADIR,” a fever dream of ache and longing that brings up psych pop, psych soul and 70s soul simultaneously.  “QADIR” was the first song that Hakim wrote for the album with the track being an ode to a late friend, and a urgent and plaintive reminder to check in on your loved ones before it’s too late. “BOUNCING,” WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD’s third and latest single is a delicate and atmospheric track centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar, blown out and distorted drums, gently swirling feedback paired with Hakim’s aching falsetto expressing a vulnerable yearning for companionship and warmth on a bitterly cold day — and knowing that it won’t come any time soon. “BOUNCING” is a sound bath where I wrote about one of the coldest days in New York I remember, while lying in my bed, restless by a radiator. It’s about feeling uneasy,” Hakim says in press notes. 

Directed by Nelson Nance, the recently released video for “BOUNCING” continues Hakim’s ongoing visual collaboration with the director while serving as a sequel to “QADIR.” The video follows Hakim and a small collection of attendees to a surreal event that becomes a spectacle that’s recorded by the attendees. But it asks much larger questions of the viewer: “”The ‘BOUNCING’ video asks the viewer to question our drive to find spectacles and how the pursuit of such can lead to becoming a spectacle,” Nelson explains in press notes. “There is nothing inherently wrong with viewing or being a spectacle but I think it’s healthy to question if our energy is being put in the right place when interfacing with what draws our attention.”