Category: Video Review

New Video: Introducing the Playful Visuals and Soulful Sounds of French Electronic Music Producer and Artist FKJ

Vincent Fenton is a self-taught, Paris, France-based producer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and sound engineer, best known in electronic music circles as French Kiwi Juice — or FKJ. For Fenton, music has always been a part of his life somehow; but he can trace the origins of his musical career to when he started to write and compose songs at 13 and recorded his first track at 14 in his uncle’s studio. And with the release of his debut EP, 2013’s Time For A Change and its follow up EP, 2014’s Take Off, found the French producer, electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer establishing himself in a contemporary electronic music scene that includes M83, Uppermost and others while developing an international profile with tours in Asia, North America, the rest of the EU and Australia; however, unlike his contemporaries Fenton has described his sound as being influenced by jazz and soul, while equally drawing from hip-hop and funk in a rather sophisticated and smooth fashion.

Interestingly, Fenton’s highly-anticipated self-titled FKJ full-length debut was released yesterday and the album’s latest single “Skyline” is a swaggering dance floor friendly yet soulful track that nods at Jamiroquai, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method as Fenton pairs a slick and silky smooth production consisting of cosmic bursts of twinkling arpeggio keyboard, whirring and wheezing electronics, shuffling drum programming and a sinuous bass line paired with Fenton’s ethereal and dreamy falsetto and an equally slick yet understated hook.

The recently released accompanying video features a relatively simple concept — Fenton leading a small group of bicyclists, riding the sort of bikes Pee Wee Herman rode in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure through an extremely European and gothic-looking forest at sunrise and dusk with Fenton singing the song as he’s riding with his crew.

New Video: Pom Poms Return with Sultry and Psychedelic Visuals for “Gimme You”

With the release of their debut single “Betty” and “123” the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms, comprised of singer/songwriter and frontwoman, the mononymic Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is known for his work with Awolnation, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, were quickly thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie Francis, Pasty Cline, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others; however, lyrically, the material drew from Marlene’s own personal experiences, covering a wide spectrum of emotions from yearning, loss, perseverance, lust, desire, coquettish flirting and just wanting to have a good time with a very modern, unguarded frankness while possessing a loose, off-the-cuff, improvised feel. And as a result, of the early buzz the band received, they opened for The Psychedelic Furs and went on a West Coast tour with The Mowgli’s.

That off-the-cuff, loose feel has filtered into the duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Turn You Out, as you’ll hear on the album’s first official single, the sultry, late night, come hither, come on “Gimme You,” a song that’s essentially about being desperately lonely and lusting for someone so badly that you crave them and their loving– to the point that you’re trying to set up a booty call; but in the case, of “Gimme You,” Marlene’s vocals posses a subtle hint of menace, that conveys the idea that the song’s narrator gets what she wants — by any means necessary, if possible. Sonically, the single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting soulful and gritty 60s-inspired pop reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, thanks in part to its incredibly transgressive feel.

The recently released video for “Gimme You” is deeply indebted to both the mod 60s and psych 60s as it features Pom Poms frontwoman broodingly posing, dancing and singing in front of a projection screen featuring psychedelic imagery — and in a some way, the video feels voyeuristic, as though the viewer is watching the act’s frontman putting on a burlesque-like tease for someone else, who’s off-screen.

New Video: The Moody Visuals for The Away Days “Places To Go”

With the release of their How Did It Start? EP to critical praise both nationally and internationally from the likes of The Guardian, SPIN Magazine,and Noisey, as well receiving airplay from renowned Seattle, WA-based radio station KEXP, the Istanbul, Turkey-based quartet The Away Days quickly established a reputation for being a the forefront of an extremely Western-influenced indie music scene, thanks in part for a sound that’s largely inspired by The Cure, Tame Impala and others. And adding to a growing international profile, the members of the Turkish indie rock quartet have toured across the UK, played at two consecutive SXSW Festivals and have played festival dates opening for Portishead, Massive Attack, Belle and Sebastian and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that the Istanbul-based quartet have released a handful of singles that have received international attention — including this site — since the release of their debut EP. However, the band’s long-awaited full-length debut Dreamed at Dawn was released earlier this year, and landed at number 5 on the Turkish album charts, marking it both a commercial success and the highest ever chart position for a Turkish indie rock album. The Turkish indie rock band’s commercial and critical success in their homeland and elsewhere shouldn’t be surprising as Dawn’s first two singles “Less Is More” and “World Horizon” paired atmospheric and moody yet lush instrumentation and ethereally shimming synths with material that thematically and lyrically drew from the band members’ own lives in a society in which their creative desires and efforts are viewed as being suspicious and seditious.

“Places to Go,” Dreamed at Dawn’s third and latest single continues along a similar vein as its two preceding singles as it’s a lush and plaintive song featuring shimming guitar chords played through a bit of reverb and delay pedal, an angular and propulsive bass line, twinkling synths and a rousingly antthemic hook,. and in some way, sonically the song manages to mesh dance floor friendly post-punk, electro pop and shoegazer rock; however, despite the seemingly upbeat tone, the song is a look into their lives and their cohorts as it touches upon the weight their homeland’s young people feel from an oppressive and seemingly capricious regime that demands oppression and a restlessness from the lack of meaningful opportunities.

Interestingly, the recently released music video for the song is based upon a deceptively simple concept of the band performing the song in a dramatically lit studio but throughout there are vivid bursts of animation that explode across the screen.

New Audio: The Anxious and Ambient Sounds and Visuals of Dire Wolves “Fogged Out (Two)”

Currently comprised of Sheila Bosco (drums), Brian Lucas (bass), Kelly Ann Nelson (vocals, wooden flute), Jeffrey Alexander (guitar, wooden sax), Arjun Mendiratta (violin), Laura Naukkarinen (vocals) and Michael Whitaker (flute, sax), the San Francisco, CA/Oakland, CA-based septet Dire Wolves have developed a reputation for crating deeply hypnotic folk-leaning indie rock and for being remarkably prolific, as they’ve released 12 full-length, studio albums since their formation in 2008.

Last month, I wrote about “Cerebration Day,” an expansive, slow-burning, trance-inducing dirge of a single off the Bay Area-based septet’s soon-to-be released 13th full-length effort, Excursions to Cloudland. “Fogged Out (Two),” Excursions to Cloudland’s latest single, will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting trance-inducing and expansive material; in fact, with this single, the band eschews recognizable song structures — i.e. hooks, choruses, bridges, etc. — to focus on establishing a deeply tense yet meditative and enveloping air, primarily based around an arrangement featuring blistering psych rock guitar, played through copious guitar, angular violin stabs, and a propulsive rhythm section. And much like its preceding single, “Fogged Out (Two)” manages to build up to a howling and dizzy churn, while holding back and withholding the anticipated release the listener would expect.

The recently released VHS-based video, created by Caitlin Denny features heavily distorted footage and undulating blasts of color, all of which both further emphasize the song’s dreamy and distracted yet meditative nature, while also suggesting a creeping, anxious dread.

New Video: A Tree Grows Capture Both the Mysteries and Wonders of NYC and Nature in Visuals for “Future Calculations”

Comprised of founding members, Washington, DC-born, New York-based sibling duo Rashaan Carter (bass) and Russell Carter (drums), German-born, New York-based electronic music artist Emmanuel Ruffler, Georgia-born, New York-based Tivon Pennicott (saxophone) and Duane Eubanks (trumpet), the New York-based jazz quintet A Tree Grows features some of the city’s most accomplished and renowned jazz musicians — and arguably some of the city’s most accomplished musicians across any genre.

The quintet’s founding members, the sibling duo Rashaan Carter and Russell Carter were born in a very musical home as their father was a saxophonist and their mother, a radio programmer. Growing up, the Carters cut their teeth in the Washington, DC scene where they played with a number of locally and nationally renowned artists including the likes of Gary Thomas. Rashaan relocated to New York to attend New School University, where he began collaborating with a number of the school’s faculty members, including percussionist and composer Joe Chambers — and where he met future bandmate Emanuel Ruffler. Ruffler, a German-born, New York-based electronic music artist once won the grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, has a songwriting credit on Meshell Ndegeocello’s “Aquarium” and has collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which led to Ruffler crafting the soundtrack for an ad campaign for an Ungaro-produced perfume. Georgia-born, New York-based Tivon Pennicott is a two-time Grammy winner and Thelonious Monk Competition runner-up, who is perhaps best known as a member of renowned, jazz-soul vocalist Gregory Porter’s backing band. Additionally while in college, Pennicott began playing with renowned guitarist Kenny Burrell, and as a result the Georgia-born, New York-based saxophonist has played in backing bands for Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis among others. The Georgia-born, New York-based saxophonist has also collaborated with Esperanza Spalding on Radio Music Society and has toured as part of Al Foster‘s band. Finalizing the band’s lineup, Duane Eubanks is best known as a member of Dave Holland‘s two-time Grammy Award winning big band and as a member Mulgrew Miller’s band Wingspan. And as a result he’s played in some of the world’s most renowned and well-regarded music venues including Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, as well as countless tours across Europe and Japan. Eubanks has crossed over into other genres as he recorded and toured with an incredibly diverse array of artists including The Temptations, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan, Freedom Williams, Kirk Franklin and DeFunkt.

The jazz quintet’s self-titled EP was released earlier this year and while serving as a teaser for their forthcoming full-length effort, and if you had been following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about the band’s coolly atmospheric and funky first single “Wau Wau Water,” a composition that managed to evoke seething, bubbling and frothing water. Interestingly, as the members of the band explained each composition that appears on both the EP and their forthcoming LP is based around a different concept, describing and evoking a distinct state in the evolution of life on Earth as we know it. “The images are snapshots, extending from the beginning of life, to the emergence of emotions, to aspects of modern human life. The cycle closes with possibilities for future development: self-perpetuating intelligence. The composition ‘Wau Wau Water’ is based on the following concept: ‘Enzymes are forming in a prehistoric ocean — evolving into bacteria. A stew of life is brewing, the cycle starts and intensifies in this patch of fertile Wau Wau Water.” As the band’s Emanuel Ruffler added “Defining and discussing these concepts during the rehearsal and recording process created a sense of purpose among the musicians and a deeper engagement with the compositions. This has transformed our creative process.”

“Future Calculations” the EP’s latest single is a coolly swaggering strut of a composition that much like its preceding single owes a debt to bop-era jazz and jazz fusion as a propulsive yet wobbling and retro-futuristic bass line, played through copious wah wah pedal is paired with shuffling and deceptively complex syncopation and a boldly expressive melody from the band’s brass players. Clocking in at a little over 2:30, the composition is roomy enough to allow room for the brass players — primarily saxophone — to solo in a composition that rapidly shifts gears in a prog rock-like fashion, and while evoking the wonders of minute mysteries of nature, even in a large city.

The recently released video for the song follows a young girl, with an expressive and highly intelligent face wandering around New York with a small container of dirt and seeds, who stops by Central Park’s Strawberry Fields to let a jazz musician she encounters to take a look at the suddenly growing seedling, before she plants it in the park nearby to replace a fallen tree.

New Video: The 80s MTV-Inspired Visuals and Sounds of Rudie Edwards’ “Lover Like You”

Rudie Edwards is an up-and-coming Dover, UK-born, Kent, UK-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has been influenced by a wide range of music including disco, Joy Division, gospel, Ray Charles and others. And like a lot of musically obsessed kids, living in small towns, Edwards realized that she had to leave her small town to make something of herself. “I knew I had to move out of there,” Edwards says in press notes. “Music was the easiest way for me to escape. My sisters and I were the only mixed race kids at school. It’s a beautiful place, but i knew it wasn’t where i was going to be spend the rest of my life. I was bursting at the seams. I needed more. I wanted more. I was longing for the stage. I had to get to London.”

Edwards eventually relocated to London, where she attended the renowned BRIT School, the alma mater of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Imogen Heap and others. By 2012, Edwards’ music career had started in earnest as she was splitting her time between Los Angeles and London, writing for CeeLo Green, Erik Hassle, Beatrice Eli and others. And with her later single “Lover Like You,” Edwards reveals that as a solo artist, her material is fueled by a sensual, bold confidence and a sassiness that’s reminiscent of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan while simultaneously drawing from 80s synth pop, disco, soul and contemporary synth pop in a similar fashion to Escort’s Adeline Michele. Sonically the song reveals a slick and seductive production featuring layers of arpeggio synths, electronic bleeps and bloops, a sinuous bass line, a blistering 80s guitar solo, stomping beats and a rousingly anthemic hook to give it all a shimmering, club rocking feel. And in some way, the song sounds as though it’s the sort of song you’d expect people to shout along with lustily at the club as soon as they hear it.

The recently released video manages to visually draw from 80s synth pop and pop videos while being shot through a slightly faded VHS meets Instagram filter with a fittingly coquettish, fun-loving air.

New Video: The Strikingly Surreal Visuals for Sylvan Esso’s “Die Young”

Comprised of Mountain Man’s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths) and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production), the renowned indie electro pop electro pop duo Sylvan Esso have become JOVM mainstays and have dominated the rest of the blogosphere for a sound that’s radical departure for fans of Heath’s and Sanborn’s previous projects, as the duo have received attention for pairing Heath’s coquettish vocals with Sanborn’s slick, minimalist production featuring propulsive and undulating grooves, shimmering arpeggio synths and enormous, tweeter and woofer rocker beats.

If you had been frequenting this site around the end of last year, you’d likely recall that the duo released their “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” single. “Radio,” a staple of their live sets and a fan favorite, revealed a brash, refinement of their sound as Heath has increasingly taken on a pop star persona — and as a result, her vocals contain a self-assured sultriness paired with Sanborn’s production taking on more of a dance floor/club-banger sound as arpeggio synths, wobbling low end and stuttering dum programming. “Jump Kick Start” the B side of the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” continues on a similar vein as the preceding single as Heath’s self-assured coos are paired with a stuttering and shuffling production featuring electronic bleeps and bloops, twinkling synths and analog crackling in what may be one of their most radio and dance floor-ready songs they’ve released to date. Interestingly, the “Radio”/”Jump” also managed to be a be a bit of a teaser for the sound fans and critics should expect to hear off the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort What Now.

Thematically, the album focuses on a critical question: where do we go now, as a culture when it feels as though everyone is standing at a precipice? And from the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” single, which interestingly enough are What Now’s first two singles, the material manages to possess the sort of urgency that many of us feel at this particular historical moment. Now, the album’s third and latest single “Die Young” is a moody, mid-tempo track that finds Heath’s self-assured vocals paired with a Sanborn production featuring enormous 808-style beats, stuttering drum programming, chopped and distorted vocal samples, swirling and ambient electronics in what may arguably be one of the duo’s more sobering songs; in fact, at various points, the song focuses on depression and uncertainty, the sense of every meaningful thing being fleeting and impermanent, that underneath every moment of short-lived joy, there’s a longer sense of anxiety over when that joy may end — or even if that moment of joy is worth it. It’s very much an adult song, grappling with the fact that life is usually complex, uncertain, confusing but in a moment in which everything feels upside down, backwards and reversed of not having a fucking clue as to what’s next; but knowing that you have to respond to the best of your abilities.

The recently released video follows the duo’s Amelia Heath stealing a distracted police officer’s car for a joy ride through the desert, where the video’s protagonist leaps off a cliff, presumably to kill herself — because she’s hopeless? because she’s lost her mind? The video leaves that interpretation up and what happens to our protagonist up to you.

New Video: The Psychedelic and Animated Visuals for Cones’ “Echoes On”

Comprised of San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Jonathan Rosen, a pop music influenced, acclaimed hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for a number of renowned artists including Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedburger and Delicate Steve, whose rock ‘n’ roll dream started in earnest when he played Johnny Thunders for the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, who is a classically trained pianist, commercial/film composer and experimental sound artist, Cones can trace their newest project to when they began playing music together, while they were both in NYC as members of Icewater. Eventually the members of Icewater began playing as the session and backing band for the Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger, helping to write, record her latest album New View.

As the story goes, while on tour the Rosens began to conceptual their latest project, a project that would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and key-heavy orchestration. And in the summer of 2016, the Rosens, along with a bunch of friends and associates wrote and recorded the material of their debut EP Whatever Your’e Into. And interestingly enough, the EP’s latest single “Echoes On” has the duo pairing Jonathan’s dreamy falsetto with a twangy, psych country arrangement that’s reminiscent of 70s AM radio, Tame Impala and Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT; but with a breezier feel and rousingly anthemic hooks.

The recently released video features Jonathan Rosen’s loose and playful, hand-held animation featuring the duo traveling in a car, wandering around aimlessly, playing the song through a variety of instruments with a fittingly psychedelic and trippy quality.

New Video: The 60s Psych Rock and Proto-Metal Sounds of Austin TX’s Dream Machine

Perhaps best known as the founder, frontman and primary songwriter of Austin, TX-based indie pop, indie rock act Warm Soda, Matthew Melton had approached John Dwyer and the rest of the folks at renowned indie label Castle Face Records with two new albums — Warm Soda’s fourth and final album together I Don’t Want to Grow Up, which is slated for an April release and The Illusion, the full-length debut slated for a May 2017 release from a new project that Melton and his wife Doris formed, by the name of Dream Machine. And from the album’s latest single “I Walked In The Fire,” the project’s sound reveals a decided change of sonic direction for Melton as the band’s sound draws from the heavy psych, proto-metal and proto-stoner rock of early Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and RidingEasy Records’ and Permanent Records’ collaborative compilation of similar sounds from the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Acid, complete with some early synthesizer and organ.

Fittingly, the recently released music video manages to be a spot on take on the early music videos and recorded musical segments of the 1960s — a simple yet very trippy concept in which the members of the band play in front of a screen, featuring psychedelic imagery; in fact, paired with the band’s sound, the visuals manage to evoke 1967-1972 so well that you could be tricked into thinking that the video was the promotional video for a band that time has sadly forgotten.

New Video: El Michels Affair’s Soulful and Cinematic Take on the Wu-Tang

Comprised of founding member, bandleader and primary arranger Leon Michels (saxophone), Homer Steinweiss (drums), Nick Movshon (bass), Thomas Brenneck (guitar), Sean Solomon (guitar), Tobias Pazner (keyboards), Michael Leonhart (trumpet) and Todd Simon (trumpet), the El Michels Affair is a Brooklyn-based All-Star, instrumental soul act featuring members from several renowned, locally-based acts including The Arcs, Menahan Street Band, The Shacks, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Lee Fields and the Expressions. After the release of their 2005 debut Sounding Out the City, the band was paired with Raekwon for a concert organized by Scion and it eventually led to a tour that featured several members of the Wu-Tang Clan. And interestingly enough, touring with the members of the Wu inspired the El Michels Affair’s sophomore effort Enter the 37th Chamber, soul-based, instrumental interpretations of the material off Wu-Tang’s seminal debut Enter the 36 Chambers.

Unsurprisingly, Enter the 37th Chamber has proven to be the band’s most commercially successful album to date, introducing the band to a much wider audience. It’s been several years since the band has released new material, as the members of the band have been extremely busy with their primary gigs, they had some time to reconvene to write and record Return to the 37th Chamber, their breakthrough sophomore effort’s long-awaited follow up. And much like its predecessor, the material will further cement the band’s reputation for soul music interpretations of the Wu Tang’s material for a live band, while paying homage to RZA’s imitable, hazy production; in fact, Michels in his role as producer, recorded the album straight to analog tape, sometimes hitting six generations of tape before it was ready for mixing. Adding to the album’s overall sound, the material possesses the occasional psychedelic flourish, John Carpenter-like synths, power chord-friendly guitar work, the enormous horn sections and traditional Chinese instrumentation in place of most of the vocals and guest spots from Lee Fields and The Shacks’ Shannon Wise. Essentially, while being a tribute to one of hip-hop’s most interesting, challenging producers and artists and his sound, the album finds the members of El Michels Affair picking up on and expanding the cinematic aspects of RZA’s production.

Of course, while Enter the 37th Chamber paid tribute to Enter the 36 Chambers, the El Michels Affair tackles some of the Wu’s beloved classics such as “4th Chamber” and “Wu Tang Ain’t Nuthin ta Fuck Wit,” as well as deeper cuts like Ol’ Dirty Bastard‘s “Snakes,” Raekwon’s “Verbal Intercourse,” and Wu-Tang’s contribution to St. Ide’s legendary early 90s ad campaign, “Shaolin Brew.” Now, as you may remember earlier this month, I wrote about Return to the 37th Chamber’s first single “Tearz.” And that single, which featured guest spots from the aforementioned Lee Fields and Shannon Wise managed to sound as though it paid equal respect to the Wendy Rene original song from which the song’s backing sample came from as it did to the Wu Tang’s own use of the sample — but with subtly psychedelic flourishes.

Return to the 37th Chamber’s latest single “Iron Man” is a cinematic reworking of “Iron’s Theme (Interlude)” off Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele, that expands upon the original’s groove to make it a full-length song — but with martial arts and psychedelic film sound effects.

Directed by artist El Oms, who met Leon Michels though The Arcs and has become a fan of the El Michels Affair, the animated video is a fittingly a martial arts, revenge saga, complete with a couple of trippy flashbacks and a shit ton of bloody mayhem — and I bet it would be make Quentin Tarantino proud. As El Oms explains in press notes “Making this video really brought me back to my younger days. I grew up watching martial art movies and listening to Wu-Tang and when I heard El Michels Affair’s Enter The 37th Chamber I was blown away by the way the album captured those elements and still sounded original. So being able to work on Return To The 37th Chamber was truly amazing. I try to capture those same elements on the ‘Iron Man’ video and give it this originality but still have the old traditional martial arts movie feel to it.”