Category: Video Review

New Video: The Hazily Nostalgic Sounds and Visuals of Los Angeles’ The Marias

Comprised of founding duo and romantic couple, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles, CA-based (by way of Atlanta, GA) Maria Zardoya (vocals, guitar) and Los Angeles, CA native Josh Conway (production, drums, vocals), along with fellow Los Angeles, CA native Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals), Canadian-born, Berklee College of Music-trained and Los Angeles, CA-based Carter Lee (bass, vocals) and Edward James (keys), The Marias formed in late 2016. And while the band draws inspiration from their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their Hollywood Hills commune, their sound meshes jazz, psych pop, funk, lounge pop and 70s AM rock with subtly modern production. 

With an early SoundCloud demo being spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and then the Anne Litt Show, the members of the Los Angeles-based quintet saw a growing local and regional profile that resulted in an appearance on KRCW’s concert series School Night. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Superclean, Vol. 1 during the fall of 2017. The band’s forthcoming Superclean, Vol. 2 is slated for release early this year and along with that, The Marias will be playing at Coachella this year, which should result in much more attention on the band. But in the meantime, “Dejate Llevar,” off the band’s Superclean, Vol. 1 is a breezy, pop confection that will further cement their growing reputation for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, dream pop and 70s AM rock, complete with sultry hooks, underpinned with a hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia. 
Directed by Mimi Raver, the visuals for “Dejate Llevar” further emphasizes the hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia, as the cinematically yet Instagram filter-like footage focuses on the band hanging out on a glorious, Southern California, summer day. 

New Video: Dream Wife’s Dystopian Anime-Influenced Visuals for Anthemic New Single “Hey! Heartbreaker”

Deriving their name as a commentary on society’s objectification of women, the London-based punk rock trio Dream Wife, comprised of Icelandic-born, London-based Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) met while the trio were attending art school in Brighton, UK — with Mjöll, Go and Podapec forming the band in 2015 as part of an art project conceptualized around the  idea of a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada during the 1990s.  And since their formation, the trio quickly developed a national profile, as they’ve received critical praise for their earliest releases and their live shows from the likes of NPR, DIY, Stereogum, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly and others. Adding to a growing profile, the trio have toured across the European Union, opened for Sleigh Bells and The Kills during their respective US tours, and have played a number of the world’s biggest festivals, including SXSW.

Dream Wife’s highly anticipated self-titled debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release through Lucky Number Music and from the album’s latest single “Hey! Heartbreaker,” the British based punk trio’s sound features stomp and shout in the mosh pit worthy hooks, fuzzy and angular guitar chords and a steady backbeat in a fashion that’s reminiscent of Is Is and Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Elastica, complete with a brassy, kick ass and take names self-assuredness and bratty mischievousness at its core. 

Animated by Joe Prytherch, a former art director of Boiler Room, best known as Mason London, the recently released video envisions a dystopian yet familiar future inspired by anime, Akira, Josie and the Pussycats and Jem, in which the members of the band are depicted as robot performers held in a sleazy bar against their will, where they perform in front of bored customers. But when we catch them in the world of the video, the trio violently escape and lead the police through a breakneck escape from the city. 

As the members of the band said in press notes about the video and its concept, “We were super excited to work with Mason London to bring the world of ‘Hey! Heartbreaker’ to life. Collaboration is integral in our approach to Dream Wife, and we encourage different creative ideas and paths to mix with our own vision.

“It’s uncanny to watch these mechanical, parallel versions of ourselves rock out and then break out. We like to think that in another reality our robot versions are continuing their adventures; perhaps in the forest, perhaps plotting for a robot revolution, perhaps playing wild, secret rock shows to other robos.”

New Video: Two from Boston-based Cinematic Psych Blues Act Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas

Matthew Stubbs is a Boston, MA-based guitarist and songwriter/composer, who has been Charlie Musselwhite’s touring guitarist since 2007, and as a solo artist has released two solo instrumental record, drawing from the Memphis, TN soul/blues tradition, 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records. In 2016, Stubbs, along with Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass) as an instrumental, psych rock-based project inspired by the desire of bringing back popular instrumental work along the lines Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Booker T and others, mixed with elements of garage rock, the blues, movie soundtracks and Afrobeat, — all while focusing on the vibe and energy of the live performance. 

The band’s self-tiled full-length debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release and from “Death Grip” and ” Unwinder,” two singles off the soon-to-be released album, the material on the band’s self-titled debut manage to have a decidedly retro vibe, sounding as though they could have been part of the soundtracks to late 60s and early 70s B movies but with a tight groove; in fact, as Stubbs says of “Death Grip,” “The song was inspired by the wild scenes in those cult, car racing movies of the ’70s. I wrote it with that cinematic, yet frenetic approach in my mind.” “Unwinder,” on the other hand finds Stubbs and company, drawing from 60s psych rock and surfer rock and blues, complete with that soaring organ sequence — and they do so in a way that nods at The Castaways’ “Liar Liar” but with a subtle nod at shoegaze and dub. 

Live Footage: Warhaus at Music Apartment

Maarten Devoldere is  Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has received national and international attention for both his primary gig fronting Balthazar and his side project Warhaus. And if you had been frequenting this site over the course of 2017, you may recall that Devoldere’s side project has managed to further cement his growing reputation for deftly crafting urbane and hyper-literate and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility in a way that’s reminiscent The Church, Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, Edith Piaf, Leonard Cohen and the poetry of William Blake. In fact, unsurprisingly, Warhaus’ debut We Fucked a Flame Into Being derives its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover — and naturally, the material on Warhaus’ debut thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters,  bittersweet and aching regret with a deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring the sinew and fiber of their soul as you would have heard on an album track like the slow-burning and soulfully sensual “Machinery.”

Interestingly, the material on Warhaus’ self-titled, sophomore effort reportedly found Devoldere’s work at points giving way from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and harder-won love, with songs partially inspired by Delvodere’s relationship with backing vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. “We’ve very different people,” says Devoldere. “She’s this natural force which I don’t understand at all and I’m the guy who thinks everything through. It’s an interesting combination.”  Reportedly, the recording sessions for the self-titled album was a much more spontaneous affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s legendary The Night Tripper period, as you’ll hear hints at voodoo rhythms and hints at jazz — and although his touring band, aren’t technically known for being jazz musicians, as Devoldere says of his band, “they’re good at faking jazz.” And as you may recall, album singles “Love’s A Stranger,” and “Mad World” are slow-burning, ruminative songs with a late night, boozy vibe — after all, “Love’s a Stranger” focuses on love’s fleeting and impermanent nature while “Mad World”  focuses on unfulfilled lust and desire but within an angst-filled world that’s gone mad. And while focusing on different things, the songs seem to focus on our own desperate escape from loneliness in a bitterly cruel, uncaring universe. 

I recently came across some live footage of Warhaus performing a set featuring material off both of their albums live in an intimate and gorgeously shot showcase for Music Apartment back in 2016. Simply put, more people should know about this act. 

New Video: British Label Dirty Water Records to Re-Issue Infamous New Zealand Punk Rockers’ Debut

Originally comprised of Paul Caveman (vocals), Jack Caveman (guitar, vocals), Nick Caveman (bass) and Jake Caveman (drums), the Auckland, New Zealand-based punk rock quartet The Cavemen formed while in high school — with the band’s founding members bonding over a shared love of glue and wild rock ‘n’ roll. And as the story goes, after spending several years drinking and loitering around their hometown’s basements, graveyards and packing lots, the members of the band honed their sound, recording their full-length debut over the course of 2014-2015 or so, with the material receiving attention for being furious, face-melting punk that drew from The Ramones, The Cramps, The Stooges, The MC5 and others with songs that focused on grave-robbing, necrophilia and other weird shit with a sneering sense of humor, and for developing a reputation for being infamous — or as the band once claimed that they were a “great band to clear a party.”

As the story goes, two weeks before the members of the band were to relocate to London, they went on an equally infamous national tour to support their debut, and the tour included a now, ill-fated show in a graveyard was canceled when the tour van’s engine exploded and a passing motorist collided with the band’s bassist, Nick Caveman. British record label Dirty Water Records are re-releasing the Auckland, New Zealand-based punk rockers debut album for release in Europe and elsewhere, and from album single “Stand By Your Ghoul,” the band’s sound is a filthy, troglodyte stomp, complete with layers of fuzzy power chords and howled lyrics. And honestly, every single time I’ve heard it, I keep thinking of how it would fit in the dank and dirty dive bars that I spent so much time in during my 20s and 30s.

Starring Florence D’Hay and The Cavemen, the video for “Stand by Your Ghoul” draws from 60s B movies — but with a ridiculous, tongue in cheek vibe, complete with zombies, graveyards and weird rituals. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Nicola Returns with Lush Yet Stripped Down Single

Born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Nicola Vasquez, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who performs under the moniker Nicola grew up in low-income projects, sharing toys with her baby brother. Her father was a mechanic and her mother a nurse, and while neither was musically inclined, they shared their appreciation and love for all types of music with their children. “Music was always playing in our house . . . we grew up with the sounds of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles,” Vasquez recalls. When she turned 7, Vasquez started to learn the guitar; by the time she was 11, the piano, and by the time she was a teen, she attended the The Fiorello LaGuardia School of Art and Music and the Performing Arts, famously known as the school Fame was based on. She was classically trained at the Manhattan School of Music and Queens College, while studying dance and acting on the side. Shortly after graduating, Vasquez landed roles in the Broadway and National Road Companies of Les Miserables. 

Leaving the theater to embark on a music career based around her own original material, Vasquez started her own record label Hot Cherry Records in 2002 and over the following few years,  spent time living and performing in Europe and South America, and touring across the US refining her sound, which can be best described as a sultry mix of pop, rock, soul and Latin music. With a the release of five independently released albums, the New York-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has seen her work chart on over 200 national radio stations, been featured on ABC, CBS and NBC News, Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club, MTV, VHI, Women Who Rock Magazine, Songwriter Universe Magazine, National Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Songcircle Music and twice in Billboard Magazine’s Underground section, opened for the likes of Eve 6 and Edwin McCain and has even shared stages with Ricky Martin and Living Colour’s Muzz Skillings. 

Over the past decade, Vasquez has simultaneously been a professional busker and musician, performing as part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program, where she’s managed to get crowds of busy New Yorkers to stop what they’re doing and listen to her perform. Yes, seriously. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about her — over the past couple of years, she’s been busy on the development and performance teams writing several original prospective Broadway-bound musicals; however, her latest single “Back in Pieces” will further cement her reputation for writing thoughtful, lush and anthemic pop but interestingly enough, it finds the JOVM mainstay with a much more stripped down approach and sound, reflecting the song’s deeply introspective and ambivalent nature. After all, the song ends with an open-ended question of what happens once you pick up the smashed pieces of a life, after heartbreak or some other traumatic experience and what it does to you. 

The music video is split between some highly symbolic imagery including broken glass, Nicola walking on the beach and the like, cut with footage of Nicola performing the song on the beach and in a park. 

New Video: The Symbolic, Video Game-Styled Visuals for The Prids Shoegazer-like “Mangled Hearts”

Currently comprised of founding members Mistina La Fave and David Fredrickson, with Tim Yates and Gordon Nickel, the Portland, OR-based noise pop act The Prids can trace their origins back to 1995 when the founding duo met in La Fave’s hometown of Saint Joseph, MO — shortly after Frederickson had relocated from Southern California. As the story goes, La Fave and Fredrickson started a relationship, divorced not long after they got married, formed The Prids, relocated to Lincoln, NE before permanently settling in Portland in 1999. Despite going through several lineup changes, the band has released four full-length albums, a handful of EPs and toured across the world with acts like Built to Spill and others,  while developing a reputation for their tenacious adherence to remaining completely DIY for all the right reasons to remain DIY,  which has won them countless admirers and fans across the DIY scene. And along with being among the forefront of the Pacific Northwest’s DIY scene, they’re one of Portland’s longest-running active bands, surviving through illness, deaths of friends and loved ones, the aforementioned divorce and a near fatal van accident. 

In some way, it’s a miracle that the band’s album Do I Look Like I’m in Love exists, let alone be slated for a a  January 12, 2018  through their label, This-a-Way Records. La Fave suffered a brain hemorrhage the night before the band was scheduled to enter the studio to record new material. And as you can imagine, La Fave’s recovery was mentally, physically and emotionally taxing for her and for everyone in the band with La Fave considering herself being lucky to be alive — with playing and performing being icing on the proverbial cake.  Reportedly, the new album will further cement the band’s reputation for deliberate attention to songcraft and nuanced (and moody) soundscapes paired with keen lyrical observations. 

Do I Look Like I’m in Love’s latest single “Mangled Hearts” is a tender, shimmering, shoegazer-like track that features La Fave’s ethereal yet contemplative vocals, four-on-the-floor drumming and a gently soaring hook that evokes a swooning longing for something or someone just out of reach. 

The recently released video was animated by the band’s nonbinaary and androgyne keyboradist Tim Yates and is an 8-bit video game adventure reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers, Castlevania and others featuring a nameless and gender-neutral everyperson, who wears a shirt with a non-binary flag for most of their adventure. The video’s baddies behave in ways inspired by the struggles of the LGBTQ community — you’ll see one-eyed pyramid creatures meant to represent harmful and repressive religious doctrine, solid stone knights with scrolls symbolizing unjust and rigid legislation and so on. Throughout, the video, it’s protagonist employs non-violent and clever ways to defeat the bad guys they encounter. And while being mischievous and pretty fucking clever, the video reminds the viewer that for some of our dearest and beloved friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors, that there’s a continuing struggle for acceptance.  

New Video: The 80s Inspired Sounds and Visuals of Up-and-Coming Boston-based Duo Modesta

Comprised of Arjun Viswanathan and Kostas Papadopoulous, the up and-coming, Boston-based duo Modesta specialize in a retro-futuristic synth pop sound that will remind most listeners of John Carpenter soundtracks and 80s synth funk, as well as contemporaries like Umberto and others — although interestingly enough, the duo cites Roosevelt, The Shins and Unknown Mortal Orchestra as major influences while saying that their own own sound and aesthetic is rooted in diversity and experimentation.

Since their formation, the duo have accrued almost half a million streams on Spotify with over 15,000 monthly listeners, and along with that the duo have built a home recording studio from the ground up, while learning new ways to improve their craft and experiment with their sound and songwriting process. Their debut EP VHS is slated for a January 12, 2018 release and reportedly the EP will find the duo meshing contemporary, electronic production, analog synthesizers, and organic instrumentation while further cementing their reputation for crafting material that’s indebted to 80s synth pop; in fact, as you’ll hear on EP title track and first single “VHS,” Viswanathan and Papadopoulous as the duo pair shimmering layers of arpeggiated, analog synths, thumping beats, a sinuous bass line, ethereal vocals and a slick hook. But underneath the moody iciness of the song is a swooning devotion of love. 

The recently released music video further emphasizes the retro-futuristc theme and vibe of the song as it features VHS player noises, grainy footage shot on VHS tape and incredibly 80s-like graphics and special effects. 

New Video: The Soaring 80s Inspired Pop Sounds and Visuals of Husband and Wife Duo DEGA

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums — Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, as well as spending some time as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Karen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through renowned indie rock/roots rock label New West Records. Interestingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met — and although they got married in 2011, they were so busy with their own projects that they hadn’t really considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

The Nashes then formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds — in this case, anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Their forthcoming self-titled debut is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Lemonade Records and the album reportedly is one of the most personal works either have released to date, as it focuses on their highs and the lows, as well as the love they have for each other; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Aslyn’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Aslyn and Kalen touring, the duo would record whenever they were in the same city and had free time and although the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States. 

The self-titled album’s latest single “Don’t Call It” is a an ethereal, 80s inspired synth pop confection reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths are paired with a sinuous bass line line, propulsive yet African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. And while being slickly produced, the song possesses an urgent and swooning romanticism that belies a careful attention to craft. 

Directed by Scott Lansing, the recently released video for “Don’t Call It” consists of a fairly simple premise — the duo performing the song in a darkened room, in front of bright, lysergic lighting effects. 

New Video: Lion Babe’s Glamorous and Sultry Ode to Ballroom Culture

With the release of their full-length debut Begin, which featured guest spots from Pharrell Williams and Childish Gambino and album singles “Treat Me Like Fire” and “Jump Hi,” and the Sun Joint Mixtape the New York-based electro pop/neo-soul duo Lion Babe, comprised of Jillian Hervey (vocals) and Lucas “Astro Raw” Goodman (production), quickly established themselves for a swaggering and contemporary house music take on neo-soul.

“Rockets,” the duo’s latest single, a collaboration with Moe Moks will further cement the duo’s reputation for their swaggering take on neo-soul as the song features a minimalist production consisting of a sinuous yet jazz-like bass line, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, twinkling vibraphone and a ridiculous infectious hook that has the duo’s sound nodding at Erykah Badu and Jill Scott — but with a subtle, cosmic glow. As the duo told Noisey, the song is about creating “good times in a crazy world.” Certainly, when everything seems to be completely falling to shit, you have to find a way to make the best of things.

Directed by Chalalai Fischbach and Jett Cain, the recently released video for “Rockets” is an ode to classic ballroom culture that effortlessly meshes grit, glamour and sultry seductiveness in a way that nods at the 20s and house music, as everyone has elaborate costumes; however, the video’s last two and a half minutes or so showcases Hervey’s and Goodman’s own creative direction as it features a sparkly dance routine over DJ Moma and Guy Furious’ uptempo remix of the original song.