Category: Video

New Video: Calgary’s Sunglaciers Release A Feverish Visual for Breakneck Ripper “Avoidance”

Calgary-based post-punk outfit Sunglaciers can trace its origins back to 2017 as a collaboration between its founding — and core — members: multi-instrumentalist Matthieu Blanchard and lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Evan Resnik. When they started the project, Blanchard had completed his studies in medicine, working in family medicine and addition and Resnik had returned from a trip hitchhiking through France. Since the project’s formation, the Calgary-based act has released a couple of EPs and their full-length debut, 2019’s Foreign Bodies, which saw them crafting a sound that blurred the lines between dazzling indie rock melodicism and icy, post-punk experimentation, centered around a maximalist approach.

During that same five year period, the members of the Canadian post-punk outfit have seen a steadily rising profile, as they’ve shared stages with the likes of JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, Omni and Daniel Romano while topping the charts of college radio stations across Western Canada. Understandably, when the pandemic put their touring plans on a then-indefinite pause, the band quickly shifted their focus to writing material, dedicating 40-plus hour weeks to music during the early months of 2020.

Those writing sessions wound up becoming the Calgary-based outfit’s sophomore album Subterranea, slated for a March 25, 2022 release through Montreal-based psychedelic purveyors Mothland. Continuing an ongoing collaboration with Chad VanGaalen, who co-produced the album, Subterranea reportedly sees the band eschewing the maximalist approach of their previous releases and crafting material with a decided laser focus. The end result is a frenetic, breakneck album of material with songs that never overstay their welcome. “We tried to write vertically instead of horizontally,” Sunglaciers’ Matthieu Blanchard explains. “Our last album Foreign Bodies and the EPs that came before it had lots of long songs with different parts drifting back and forth. For this album, we decided to strip our songs down to two or three minutes with only a few ideas in each of them.”

“The bulk of this album came together during the pandemic and the changing of gears that we had to do,” Sunglaciers’ Evan Resnik says. “I was out of work and Mathieu was working half as much as usual, so we had lots of time on our hands. We flipped a switch and started playing music everyday. It’s a good indicator of how we were writing at the time while we wrapped our heads around some new gear and saw what came out of it. Essentially, we took all of our favourite musical tendencies and put them together. We were listening to a lot of McCartney II at the time and loved how eclectic it was, which led to us mirroring that vibe.”

With an extended timeframe to write and record, the album, which was recorded at Bruce Crews’ voiceover studio On Air Studios allowed the members the opportunity to learn skills in engineering and for the opportunity to swap the instruments that each member typically played, a strategy that was employed during the writing and recording of Portishead‘s Third and David Bowie‘s “Boys Keep Swinging.” The album also features contributions from the aforementioned Chad VanGaalen, Hermitess‘ Jennifer Crighton and Roman66′s Louis Cza The Black Greek God. The end result may arguably be Sunglaciers most urgent and cohesive batch of material, an effort that draws from the likes of Deerhunter, Total Control, and BEAK> among others,.

Subterranea‘s latest single is “Avoidance,” a woozy and uneasy ripper full of guilt and recrimination delivered with a breakneck freneticism and featuring a nagging and persistent synth line-driven groove, angular guitar attack, driving four-on-the-four, dryly delivered vocals and screams by Louis Cza. Sounding a bit like JOVM mainstays Plague Vendor and Atsuko Chiba, “Avoidance” lyrically touches upon themes of alienation, abandonment and guilt in a way that should feel familiar to most of us during this unusual moment of our lives.

Directed by the band’s Evan Resnik and Ryan Kostel, the video is a paranoid and uneasy fever dream in which the video’s protagonist is tormented by figures that he thinks are his friends — but prove to be in his own head.

“The video depicts a nightmare scenario with the protagonist in a panic as he is tormented by figures he thought were his friends, ultimately coming face-to-face with himself,” Sunglaciers’ Evan Resnik explains. “The fogged-out rooms, varied lighting, and overlaid shots pull the viewer inside this dreamscape and accentuate the anxiety and trepidation we explore in the song.”

“When filming ‘Avoidance’ I really wanted to mimic the anxious, unsettled mind,” Ryan Kostel adds. “Constantly shifting angles, I used long fluid shots and shifts in time to create an unbalanced sensation. Rapid fluctuations of light and color layered over kinetic and sometimes violent imagery help to convey the subject’s mental unease.”

New Video: Japan’s Boris Shares a Mesmerizing Ode to Hiroshima

Formed back in 1992, the influential, Japanese, experimental heavy rock outfit Boris ((ボリス, Borisu) — Takeshi (vocals, bass, guitar), Wata (vocals, guitar, keys, accordion and echo) and Atsuo (vocals, drums, percussion and electronics) — settled on their current lineup in 1996. Since then, the members of Boris have tirelessly explored their own genre-defying take on heavy music.

In an effort to sublimate the negative energy surrounding everyone in 2020, Boris wrote and recorded NO, one of the most extreme albums of their widely celebrated and lengthy career. The band self-released the album during the heigh of pandemic-related lockdowns, desiring to get the album out as quickly as possible. But interestingly enough, they intentionally titled NO‘s closing track “Interlude,” while planning the album’s follow-up.

Slated for a Friday release, W is the acclaimed Japanese outfit’s debut effort through their new label, Sacred Bones Records. Stylistically, the album’s material ranges from noise to New Age, continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting dynamic and sonically adventurous work. But the material is held together by a melodic deliberation through each song that helps the band accomplish their ultimate goal — eliciting deep sensation.

NO and W were conceived to weave together to form NOW, a pair of releases that respond to each other: The band follows their hardest album with an effort that’s sensuous, lush and thundering. The result is a continuous circle of harshness and healing that seems more relevant — and necessary — now than ever.

W‘s latest single the expansive “Beyond Good and Evil” begins with a lush, placid and lengthy introduction centered around Wata’s breathy delivery, strummed, reverb-drenched guitar and gently padded drums. About half way into the song, the song quickly morphs into a swirling and painterly textured shoegaze-like arrangement that builds up into an explosion of feedback and drums. The song ends with a gentle fadeout into silence.

“Beyond Good and Evil” draws much of its inspiration from the history of Wata’s hometown of Hiroshima. “There is a vast magnitude in a huge mushroom cloud and in decaying ruins. We feel both the sadness and beauty of these things at the same time; that is who we are,” the band explains.

The cinematically shot video for “Beyond Good and Evil” features the band’s Wata wandering through the abandoned ruins of what was one a gorgeous compound. Wata moves through gradations of shade and light through the property but we eventually pan out to the exterior, seeing it overrun by nature before panning up further heavenward. “This video was made from the perspective of a mushroom cloud,” the band says.

New Video: Belgian Artist Solstice Releases a Coquettish Visual For Latin-Tinged “Amis”

Solstice is an emerging 24 year-old, Brussels-born and-based singer/songwriter, pianist and composer. The emerging Belgian artist can trace the origins of her career to her childhood: Solstice took piano lessons throughout her life — and she eventually attended the Dalcroze Institute before spending couple of years. She also wrote her own poetry. Gradually, she began pairing the poetry in her notebooks with original compositions. Interestingly, her work has been deeply inspired by her mother and her mother’s record collection, which included classical music, psych rock, French chanson, swing and several others — and all of those influences find their way into her music.

In 2015, the Belgian artist joined Zones À Défendre, a French environmentalist group, where she met a collection of poets, activists, thinkers, assorted radicals — and producer/musician Guy Waku.

Waku went on to produce the Belgian artist’s debut ep Amis venez à moi. Released last November, the EP features the Roland Devresse co-written “Amis.” Featuring a lush vocal arrangement for three part harmony, delivered in a coquettish French “Amis” is a slickly pop song that’s centered around a looping, tango-inspired production.

Directed by Gilet Jaune Guillemette Dur, the recently released video for “Amis” sees the emerging Belgian artist meet up at a local club and leads the entire club to a night of Latin-influenced dancing.

New Video: Alvin Chris Releases A Radio and Club Friendly Banger

Alvin Chris is a rising French emcee, vocalist, producer and beatmaker. Two years ago, I wrote about “Question de temps,” a slickly produced, summertime banger that meshed elements of dancehall, Afropop, electro pop and alt-pop paired with an infectious hook, some 80s soul pop sax soloing and Chris sonorous and plaintive crooning. But interestingly underneath the club vibes, the song is a bit ambivalent, as it captures an all-too familiar situation: a narrator, who finds himself in a promising, new romantic situation — but it might be quickly tarnished by his doubts, fears and insecurities.

Late last year, the rising French artist announced that his forthcoming EP Aprés Vous will drop on February 4, 2022. The EP will reportedly see Alvin Chris further establishing his genre-defying sound while revealing an artist, whose songwriting and production has grown more mature.

The EP’s latest single “Bug”is a slickly produced bit of electro pop with elements of dancehall and trap, centered around glistening synth arpeggios, thumping beats, skittering hi-hats paired Chris’ dexterous bars and crooned hook. Underneath the infectious, dance floor and radio friendly vibes, the song lyrically is a subtle yet incisive send-up of our consumerist world.

Directed by Johane Riachy, the recently released video for “Bug” starts off with the rising French artist being approached by security officers while he sits a scooter and looks at his phone. But we quickly flash back to a night at the club with some gorgeous black people — and arguably one fo the oddest meals you’ve seen in some time.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays White Lies Tackle Mortality and Its Acceptance in “Am I Really Going To Die”

Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals. guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — released their fifth album FIVE back in 2019, and the album continued a remarkable run of commercially and critically applauded material that often sees the band balancing arena rock bombast with intimate and confessional, singer/songwriter pop lyrics, which seemingly come from a very lived-in, real place that feels uncomfortably familiar.

White Lies’ highly anticipated sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through [PIAS]. Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart reportedly features the JOVM mainstays’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves while still maintaining their penchant for crafting infectious hooks. 

Late last year, I managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

  •  “As I Try Not To Fall Apart,” a rousingly anthemic yet psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in a socially prescribed “appropriate” gender role, while also trying to express his own vulnerability and weakness.
  • I Don’t Want To Go To Mars” arguably one of the most mosh pit friendly, guitar-driven rippers the band has released in some time that tells a story of its main character being sent off to a new colonized Mars to live out a sterile and mundane existence. The band goes on to say: “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.” 

“Am I Really Going To Die,” As I Try Not To Fall Apart‘s third and latest single is a glittery, glam rocker song centered around a disco-like bass line, glistening synth arpeggios and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook that sounds as though it were inspired by Roxy Music, and Duran Duran. But under the dance floor friendly grooves, the song thematically touches upon mortality, and the uneasy acceptance of the inevitable.

‘Am I Really Going to Die’ is a song with familiar subject matter for White Lies but a new chapter musically. It’s the first part of a two-song narrative about a self-important hot-shot given a terminal diagnosis, and the various stages of his coming to terms with it,” White Lies’ Charles Cave explains. “‘AIRGTD’ is loosely inspired by the great Danny Huston’s character in Ivan’s XTC, and musically by Station to Station era Bowie.”  

Directed by Balan Evans, the recently released video could be thought of in two different but similar ways: as from the perspective of a dying person, becoming aware of their impending mortality while their friends or strangers look on with concern, shock, indifference, malice and in at least one instance, the authorities are attempting to revive the person. You can also view it from the perspective of the onlooker, who stumbles upon a dying person or a dead person with the same sense of concern, shock and so on. But no matter what, there’s fear, despair, confusion by all involved.

 “This song has so much story in it, it was quite easy to come up with this idea. It sort of spilled out of the lyrics,” Balan Evans explains. “I was talking to a friend who was recounting being hit by a car and waking up on the ground with people hanging over him and it felt like a unique perspective. This point of view felt rich with storytelling potential, something I wanted to explore and experiment with and most importantly it matched so well with the themes of the song.”