Category: Video Review

New Video: Introducing the Lysergic-Inspired Visuals and Scuzzy Garage Psych Sounds of Sweden’s Baby Jesus

Comprised of founding members Fredrik Kristoffersson (guitar, vocals) and Elis Jäghammar (bass, vocals), along with Björn Axetorn (guitar) and Rasmus Högdin (drums), the Halmstad, Sweden-based quartet Baby Jesus can trace its origins to when its founding members spent several years playing in a variety of local metal and hardcore punk rock bands. Axetorn and Högdin were recruited to flesh out the project’s sound and although their sound draws from garage rock and psych rock, the material on their debut was recorded as a series of live takes in their own studio, capturing a feral, punk rock energy and paired it with fuzzy, garage psych rock. And the band quickly followed that up with tours across Sweden, France and other parts of the European Union.

Interestingly, the band’s sophomore effort, Took Our Sons Away is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Yippee Ki Yay Records and the album, which reportedly has the band actively capturing their live sound, finds the band exploring new moods, lyrical narratives and textures, all while retaining the scuzzy and fuzzy garage punk of the preceding album; in fact, as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “The Beat,” the Swedish quartet pairing a propulsive backbeat with layers of scuzzy power chords and howled vocals, complete with a feral and forceful immediacy and a piss, vinegar and whiskey-fueled fury. 

Shot with what looks like a combination of old VHS tape and faded Instagram filters, the recently released video for the single features footage of the band playing a show somewhere in front of psychedelic projections, hanging out and being aimless and rocking out hard and general punk rock shenanigans. 

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New Video: Introducing the Breezy and Funky, Synth Pop of Austin’s Palo Duro

Michael J. Winningham is an Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known for a stint fronting indie rock act Gold Beach; however, his solo recording project Palo Duro is a radical sonic departure from his previous work with Winningham specializing in breezy, propulsive, funky, hook-laden synth pop reminiscent of Big Data and others, as you’ll hear on “Darken the Glow,” the latest single off his forthcoming album Ryou Cannon. But what sets Winningham apart from a crowded field of competitors is an deliberate and careful attention to craft paired with the swaggering self-assuredness of an old pro, who can make it look way too easy. 

Edited by Cameron J. Smith, the recently released video for “Darken the Glow,” is a wild melange of Japanese television ads in which the album cover is quickly superimposed, and the result is an aesthetic that possesses the surreal logic of a fever dream while being a wildly mischievous take on commercialism and music as a prepackaged product to be marketed, bought and sold. 

New Video: The Cinematic and Haunting Visuals for Up-and-Coming Danish Pop Artist MATTIS’ “Loverboy”

Although he can trace the origins of his musical career to being the frontman of a local punk rock band, the Copenhagen-born and-based Mattis Jakobsen and his solo recording project MATTIS finds the former punk rocker going through a radical sonic departure; in fact, his debut single “Loverboy,” which Jakobsen has described as “viking soul” consists of a hauntingly spectral but decidedly low-end heavy production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line, hand clap-led percussion and a wisp of smoke-like guitar line, and an infectious, club banging hook paired with Jakobsen’s sultry and tenderly aching vocals expressing a desperately yearning longing for something but not quite finding whatever it is that could fill the hole in your heart and soul. And as a result, the song captures a narrator, who is heartsick and and who has hopelessly fallen into an emotional and spiritual abyss that has led to a profound and unnerving loneliness. 

“‘Loverboy’ is a personal story of mine, from around 3 years ago, where I had broken up with my girlfriend at that time, lost my apartment and was at a crossroad musically and in life generally,” Jakobsen explains in press notes. “I lived in basements, studios and friends’ couches. I didn’t feel any purpose. I didn’t feel connected with anyone. I felt alone, kinda like a wolf that is no longer part of the pack.” 

Directed by Emil Kahr, the recently released and gorgeously cinematic video for “Loverboy” was shot over two days last month, with the first day being shot in Copenhagen and the second day shot at the Wade Sea, a Danish landmark. The video opens with the 6’8″ Jakobsen striding purposefully along the beach beneath growing and darkening storm clouds with the wind whipping around him. He’s the only figure you see on the beach, which further emphasizes his loneliness and then the video suddenly cuts to a beautiful woman who while being distinct is vague and just out of reach, which suggests that this woman is a lingering ghost, haunting the video’s lonely protagonist. And while being symbolic, the video viscerally emphasizes the themes and emotions within the song in an accessible and haunting fashion. 

New Video: Belgian Post-Punk Act Fornet Specialize in the Horrors of the Mundane in Video for “Erase (I’m Alive)”

Fornet is a Limburg, Belgium-based quintet who has received attention in their homeland for an aesthetic that draws equally from post-punk, noise punk, art punk and krautrock — and as a result their sound consists of slashing, angular guitars, propulsive drumming and punchily delivered lyrics within an unusual song structure, as you’ll hear on the tense and uneasy  “Erase (I’m Alive),” the latest single off the Belgium quintet’s forthcoming self-titled EP, slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Belgium indie rock label, Sentimental Records. Although “Erase (I’m Alive)” seems to be indebted to Entertainment and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, the song possesses a post-modern existential dread that should feel frighteningly familiar.

Directed by Wout Biesmans. the recently released video for Fornet’s “Erase (I’m Alive)” employs a simple but disturbing concept — one extremely long, static take of an extremely hairy man, in tighty whities carefully waxing himself in his bathroom. 

New Video: The 80s New Wave-Inspired Sounds and Visuals of Frankie Rose’s Latest Single “Dyson Sphere”

For the better part of a decade, Frankie Rose played a significant role in Brooklyn’s  indie rock scene, both as a solo artist and as an original member of critically applauded and commercially successful acts like Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls and Beverly; in fact, if you’ve been covering music in this town as long as I have, you may recall that Rose was a largely considered a controversial, restlessly creative presence, frequently leaving projects, just as they were about to attain some measure of success. As the story goes, Rose relocated back to her birthplace of Los Angeles with the intention of establishing a new, creative and professional moment in her career; however, she gradually found herself running short on sleep, money and optimism.  “I moved to LA, drama ensued and I ended up on a catering truck. I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music. I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done,” the indie rock artist recalls in press notes.

During those restless nights, Rose spent her time listening to Art Bell’s paranormal-themed archives and her thoughts turned fatalistic — in the sense that she started to feel as though she wasn’t cut out for the music business, and wondering what she was going to do next. “But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do — regardless of the outcome,” the indie rock artist says.

Towards the end of her 18 month stint back in Los Angeles, Rose reached out to Jorge Elbrecht, known for his work with Tamaryn, Gang Gang Dance, No Joy and my own personal favorite Violens and began sketching what eventually became the basic outline of what felt like a new album. When Rose returned back to Brooklyn, she had the realization that she had to do it on her own, and naturally it meant working with basically no budget and finding ways to record in-between days; however, Rose credits it as being incredibly useful as it allowed her to experiment with a variety of people, who helped change her creative process and songwriting as a whole. “I got a lot of people from people like Dave Harrington (Darkside), who was helpful in reconstructing the songs, adding dynamics and changing up the rhythms.”

The end result is Rose’s soon-to-be released fourth full-length album Cage Tropical, and as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Dyson Sphere,” the material takes on a decidedly spectral yet New Wave-inspired sound, complete with analog synths, an angular and propulsive bass line, angular guitar chords fed through delay and reverb pedals, dramatic percussion and a soaring hook paired with Rose’s ethereally crooned vocals floating over the mix. And although the song is reminiscent of A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away),” Siouxsie and The Banshees’ “Israel” and “Happy House,” it may be the one of the more personal and albums of Rose’s career — and while seemingly dark, there’s an underlying and subtle sense of hope; that the darkest days of one’s creative or personal life certainly aren’t forever.  “It’s all essentially based on what happened to me in Los Angeles and then a return to Brooklyn. Misery turned into something good,” Rose says of the album in press notes. “The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made.

“I feel like I am finally free from worrying about an outcome. I don’t care. I already lost everything. I already had the worst-case scenario. When that happens, you do become free. In the end, it’s about me rescuing myself via having this record.”

Directed by Daniel Carbone, the recently released video for “Dyson Sphere” is an incredibly 80s New Wave-inspired performance video that features the Brooklyn-based indie artist and her backing band shot in a hazy and moody shadows, complete with trippy fade outs and bursts of color, that should remind anyone who grew up in the 80s of watching warped and over-recorded VHS tape.

New Video: Follow a Fierce Woman with a Cannon Through the Streets of Munich in the Visuals for Moullinex’s “Work It Out”

Luis Clara Gomes is a critically applauded Lisbon, Portugal-born, Munich, Germany-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer best known as Moullinex, who can trace the origins of his musical career to a childhood being surrounded by music and musicians at an early age; in fact, his childhood has been so influential to him, that throughout his own career, he has refused to adhere to a specific genre or scene — although he has developed a reputation for crafting organic instrumentation and arrangements with disco and house music, and for a deliberate, careful attention to melody. And as a result, Gomes has remixed the work of Cut Copy, Sebastien Teller, Two Door Cinema Club and a lengthy list of others, as well as collaborated with Peaches for a disco rework of “Maniac.” Along with his frequent collaborator and guitarist in his backing band Bruno Cadoso, best known as Xinobi, Gomes co-founded the Discotexas imprint and the The Discotexas Band, the label’s house band, which features Gomes, Xinobi and Luis Calçada.
Hypersex, Gomes’ third Moullinex album is slated for release later this fall, and the album is reportedly a collective love letter to club culture, celebrating its inclusion and acceptance of difference. And the album’s latest single “Work It Out” is a swaggering bit of 80s-inspired synth funk that draws from Rick James, Cameo, Prince, Cherelle and others that features Azari & III’s Fritz Helder — and much like the artists that influenced them, the collaboration between the two consists of a sultry and sweaty yet funky groove and punchily delivered lyrics; but interestingly enough much like Boulevard’s “Got To Go,” the song is a celebratory kiss off, when you’ve finally gotten sick of someone’s bullshit and want them to just get out of your face. 

Directed by João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira follows a coolly, self-assured woman with an enormous phallic-shaped cannon through the streets of Munich that’s presented like a series of Instagram photos stitched together. 

New Video: The Psychedelic-Tinged Visuals for DBFC’s Anthemic and Urgent Track “The Ride”

Over the past 15-18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris-based electronic music and production duo DBFC. Now as you may recall, the duo, comprised of Manchester, UK-born, Paris-based David Shaw and Paris-born and-based Dombrance, the duo emerged onto the French electronic music scene with the release of a handful of singles during 2015-2017 through renowned indie label Her Majesty’s Ship Records — including “Autonomic,”a track that channelled  Kraftwerk’s “The Man Machine,” and  Primal Scream‘s “Autobahn 66” — but with a trippy, hallucinogenic vibe.

Along with that, you’d also likely remember that the duo, building upon a growing national and international profile through that same batch of early singles,  released their full-length debut Jenks earlier this year through Different Recordings/[PIAS] Recordings. Unsurprisingly, the album’s last two singles, “Sinner” and album title track “Jenks” further cemented the duo’s reputation for pairing slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production with live, organic instrumentation in a way that nods at the classic Manchester sound of Primal Scream, New Order and others but while possessing a larger, universal theme — that sweaty clubs, strobe light and a propulsive grove can indeed change your life for the better. 

Jenks’ latest single “The Ride” finds the band meshing the classic Manchester sound of singles like “Jenks” and “Sinner” with the tight motorik grooves of Kraftwerk and others; in fact, when I first heard “The Ride,” I immediately thought of Primal Scream’s “Autobahn 66” and The Chemical Brothers’ “Star Sitar” — but underneath the slick, dance floor friendly sound is a song, much like its predecessors, that comes from a series of extensive jam sessions, and as a result, it possesses a loose yet immediate “you were there in the studio” vibe. Of course, along with that the single echoes many of the themes on the album — in this case, a swooning romantic and unbridled sense of possibility, making it one of the more upbeat songs the duo has ever released.

The recently released visuals for “The Ride” employs a relatively simple concept — the members of DBFC performing the song in a small rehearsal room with their instruments and their electronic gear in front of a wild and dizzying array of colored strobe light, extreme close ups of the musicians performing their hearts out, and rapid fire cuts. And while capturing the immediacy of the song, the video’s directors MDS-HMS employ the colored lights to create a strong visual identity — “visualised here as a rainbow tornado.” 

New Video: In The Valley Below Releases the Surreal Yet Symbolic Visuals for Rousingly Anthemic, New Single “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)”

With the release of their full-length debut The Belt, which spawned the viral hit single “Peaches,” In The Valley Below,  the husband and wife duo Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob first received international attention — including “Peaches” debut on BBC Radio 1, as well as commercial success in Germany and France, with the song topping the French Alternative Charts. A year or so after the release of The Belt, Gail and Jacob received national attention with “Peaches” becoming a staple of American alternative radio, which lead to appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. Adding to a growing profile, the duo went on a relentless touring schedule across both the European Union and the US that included sets at Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, Austin City Limits, Rock En Seine and others, which has resulted in a growing international fan base that has been clamoring for new material from the duo. Considering that the duo effortlessly meshes elements of art rock, synth pop, the blues, arena rock and more in a way that’s reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Smoke Season, it shouldn’t be surprising that Gail and Jacob have seen such rapid critical and commercial success.

The husband and wife duo’s latest EP, Elephant was released last month, and the effort was recorded in the basement studio of the 93-year old home the couple purchased upon relocating from Los Angeles to Grand Rapids, MI. Interestingly enough, the EP reportedly consists of some of the duo’s most personal, ambitious and politically-charged material they’ve written do date; in fact, Elephant’s first single “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)” was inspired by the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO and its immediate aftermath. “All the uprising happening in Ferguson was powerful,” the duo explain. “Sad, angry and feeling helpless, we sang about it. It’s our way of keeping the issue alive. Racism is real, we don’t know how to stop it, but we can make people think about it.” And while being a rousingly, anthemic and ambitious song — a song that feels and sounds both arena rock and radio friendly — its an earnest plea to the listener that there’s much work to be done to make our a world a fairer place, where all lives, whether Black, Asian, Latino, First Nation, Trans, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gender Nonconforming, etc. will actually matter. The song’s coda, which features a local gospel choir led by Debra L. Perry, adds to the song’s enormous sound, while adding a deeper emotional wallop to the proceedings. 

Directed by the band’s Angela Gail and Chris Johnson, the recently released visuals for “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)” possess a nightmarish, fever dream-like quality that symbolically touches upon race, sexuality, religion while reminding the viewer that ultimately our fates and the fate of the world as we know it will lie solely in the hands of our children. 

New Video: Alt Rock All Star Act Filthy Friends Return with Ironic Visuals for Rousing Anti-Trump Anthem “Despierta”

Earlier this summer, I wrote about Filthy Friends, an act that’s both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who also happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years — with the band featuring Corin Tucker, best known as being a founding member and frontwoman of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), best known as the frontman of renowned Seattle-based punk band The Fastbacks, and producer, who has mentored some of the area’s up-and-coming bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s known for being a member of legendary prog rock act King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M. 

“The Arrival,” the second single off the band’s forthcoming debut effort Invitation may arguably be one of the more straightforward, glam rock and alt rock-channeling single, as it featured a roomy arrangement consisting of bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook paired with Tucker’s imitable vocals — and in my mind, the single should remind fans of each of those acts that these old timers can still kick ass, and as a result, the song possesses the cool, self-assured swagger of old pros, who can make it seem far easier than what it really is. Now, you may recall that the band released  “Despierta,” a song that they contributed to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music‘s “Editions of You.” As far as “Despierta,” it shouldn’t be surprising why the members of Filthy Friends felt it was a perfect addition to the anti-Trump compilation, as  the song has a relevant sociopolitical message — the song pretty much tells the listener that it’s time for new ideas and a new way of doing things, that it’s young people’s time to get to work on getting a bunch of fucked up shit right. And much like “The Arrival,” the members of the All-Star act pair that message around power chords and an anthemic hook.

Directed by Megan Hattie Stahl, the recently released music video employs a relatively simple yet funny concept: a bunch of young people, who are desperately trying to catch their new favorite band but with a It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World-like zaniness but it ends with a bitter irony — the one person, who actually makes it, misses the band, making his effort seem pointless. 

New Video: Britney Spears, Boy George, and Nicki Minaj in Auditioning for a Gig in New Visuals for Hook Laden, New Track by Up-and-Coming Leeds-based Electro Pop Duo Krrum

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-an-coming Leeds, UK-based, indie electro pop production and artist duo KRRUM. Comprised of Derbyshire, UK-born Leeds, UK-based producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex, who grew up on punk rock and ska and Leeds-born and-based singer/songwriter Harrison, who’s largely influenced by Bon Iver, Radiohead and Thom Yorke. And as you may recall, the duo can trace they their origins to when they met while studying at Leeds School of Music. Within a relatively short period of time, the duo has seen both commercial and critical success — the duo has  had singles land at number 1 on Spotify’s Viral Chart, Hype Machine and Shazam, received regular airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1, collaborated with with salute and Lao Ra, and have performed at last year’s Pitchfork Paris Festival.

“Moon,” the Leeds-based duo’s first single of the year, found the duo pairing a club banging production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, stuttering and glitchy electronics, a soaring hook, chopped up and distorted vocal samples with Harrison’s plaintive and soulful vocals giving the song a thoughtful, fatalistic sort of introspection; that shouldn’t be surprising as the song “deals with the ritual of wanting to pursue a relationship withs someone, but not wanting to jump the gun and ruin it. It’s an uncomfortable place to be because you have no control and you’re probably gonna mess it all up, like you always do.” 

Interestingly enough, the duo’s first single “Evil Twin” was their first single and although it caught on virally, the duo reworked and fleshed out the song in a way that makes them feel as though the song is finally completed; in fact, the song features a production consisting of a cinematic, looped horn arrangement, a chopped up, soulful, house music-like vocal sample, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Harrison’s vocal taking on a gravelly ache. And while the song is rooted upon a  swaggering hook, it possesses an underlying aching uncertainty — the sort of uncertainty of someone who’s swaying between a good life, and a life of sin and vice. Sonically, the track manages to further cement their reputation for crafting hook-laden pop but while gently pushing their sound in an avant-garde leaning direction while remaining playfully accessible. 
As the band’s Alex explains of the song, the song toys “with the duality of wanting to be healthy, productive and find some long-term stability, but wanting to throw all of that away and indulge your vices. Individually, they are comforting but they are always competing with each other to come out.”

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the video as the duo’s Alex notes is a strange realization of the competition between one’s good, healthy side and one’s vice-loving, trouble-seeking side, as it stars Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Boy George and Michael Jackson lookalikes auditioning for a gig for Krrum’s lead producer and co-vocalist Alex, who appears both unimpressed and confused. Interestingly, the visuals give these world famous superstars a desperate and ridiculous humanity, as they’re auditioning for a role they don’t fit for.