Category: Video Review

New Video: JOVM Mainstay ACES Releases With Cinematic Visuals for EP Single “Stranger”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months of the site’s history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay electro pop artist, filmmaker and photojournalist Alexander Stewart and her solo recording project ACES, and as you may recall with the release of her first three singles, the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone” and the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” established a reputation for a subtly modern and atmospheric take on cinematic, 80s synth pop. 

Earlier this year, Stewart released her highly-anticipated Ian Miller-produced debut EP, Stranger, and with the release of the EP’s first two singles — the tender and contemplative “If I Could Be Your Girl,” which features a narrator, who has recognized that her object of accession isn’t good for her, and that she may have to make the painful and difficult decision to end the relationship for good; and the icily ambivalent tell off “Baby, I Don’t Mean to Ignore,” which possesses an push and pull between longing and devotion, wanting to be left alone and of being hopelessly stuck in one’s own head and not quite knowing how to express themselves in a way that makes sense or offends someone. 

Stranger’s third and final single, EP title track “Stranger” will further cement Stewart’s growing reputation for crafting Quiet Storm-like, atmospheric synth pop that thematically focuses on the complex and confusing intricacies of romantic relationships — and in this case, Stewart’s latest single focuses on the surreal sensation of coming across  a former lover for the first time in a while and recognizing that the person you used to know so well has become a total stranger. And while that’s a familiar theme in pop music, “Stranger” possesses a bitterly plaintive ache over a lost relationship that has become an accumulation of one’s growing past. Along with that there’s an anxiousness over being uncertain over how you should respond to this former lover, who still causes your heart to swoon but who also has engendered a deep bitterness. We’ve all been there at some point or another, and even with some age and experience, it never stops being profoundly strange and embittering. 

Directed by frequent collaborator Oresti Tsonopolous and produced by Stewart, the gorgeously shot black and white video was reportedly completely improvised and filmed in a single night while Stewart was jet-lagged from an extended international trip she took as a travel and style photojournalist. And as you’ll see, Stewart busily goes through a  text exchange and gets ready for what turns out to be a made up night out but while capturing the uncertainty and bitterness of seeing that stranger from the past — seemingly evoking the ambivalent emotions and anxiety one would typically feel about such a situation. 

New Video: British Electro Soul Act seyr’s Psychedelic Visuals for Spectral New Single “crowds”

seyr are a rather mysterious London-based duo, who received attention locally and elsewhere for a spectral take on electro soul before going on a lengthy, self-described hiatus. Interestingly enough, the duo recently returned with One of Very Few, the duo’s latest EP, which was released on their new label Glass Ivy in collaboration with Back To Future Sounds — and the EP’s first single, “crowds” features a moody and spectral production consisting of shimmering and fluttering synths and stuttering drum programming paired with achingly tender and soul vocals reminiscent of Bilal, JOVM mainstay ACES and others. 

While employing the use of both old timey stock footage with psychedelic imagery, the recently released visuals for the “crowds” further emphasizes the song’s aching loneliness and icy vibes. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming, British, Electronic Duo Kalli Ma Releases Kaleidoscopic Visuals for Propulsive, Club Banger “High Shot”

Kalli Ma is an up-and-coming, London-based electro pop production and artist duo, who have received attention across the UK with the release of their debut single “Promises,” an attention grabbing single that revealed that the British duo’s signature sound inspired by techno, minimal wave and post punk. The duo’s latest single “High Shot,” which sees the band employing the use of both analog and digital synthesizers in a propulsive, kaleidoscopic and club banger that’s reminiscent of Soft Metals’ Lenses, Factory Floor, Simian Mobile Disco, The Chemical Brothers and others, complete with layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a sinuous and sultrily sung hook. 

Directed by Katia Ganfield, the recently released video follows actor Alexander Arnold, best known for roles in British shows like Skins, My Cousin Rachel and The Salvation through a wild and trippy day around London with stops at several bars and pubs, including one where he just misses encountering the members of Kalli Ma. 

New Video: Benin City Releases a Poignant Ode to London’s Disappearing Nightlife Scene

Comprised of Joshua Idehen (vocals, spoken word), Shanaz Dorsett (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper, the London-based trio Benin City have received both national and international attention for a sound that meshes Afro-pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica in a seamless, club banging fashion. Interestingly, the trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Last Night is slated for a April 6, 2018 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album reportedly is an ode to London’s nightlife and club scenes with the trio commenting on what their hometown’s nightlife scene has meant to them while expressing anger, frustration and weariness over a rapidly disappearing scene. 

Certainly, as a New Yorker with some of my favorite venues and bars seemingly every few weeks, it leaves larger universal questions– what does it mean for your hometown and its culture? With nightlife being both an escape from the daily grind and its increasing horror, and a way for weird kids to find a supportive, loving, alternative family, it leaves some universal questions for anyone who loves nightlife and/or clubbing — namely, what does it mean for my city culturally and spiritually for these places to disappear because of gentrification? With a significant portion of the nightlife scene, they’ve found the supportive and loving family that has eluded them their entire lives, where do they find that sense of belonging and purpose — if their favorite club or bar closes? 

With each individual member of Benin City spending the past decade of their lives in London’s nightlife scene as artists, ravers, bartenders, bouncers, bar backs and scenesters, drinkers and partiers, the album’s material emphasizers a larger sense of inconsolable loss. As the trio’s Joshua Idehen explains, “London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.”

Last Night’s latest single “All Smoke, No Fire” consists of a minimalist, propulsive and club banging production featuring stuttering beats, an eerily repetitive and chiming synth line and an enormous yet sinuous hook over which Idehen and Dorsett rhyme about prototypical club situations and while noting that there’s a sense of needing nightlife to survive with one’s dignity and sanity intact even if the bouncer is an asshole or someone spilled their drink on you; but underneath that there’s a sense of anger and frustration over another beloved place disappearing forever.  

Directed by Shaun Grant, the recently released video foe “All Smoke, No Fire” features nighttime footage of the London area and friends of the trio meeting in front of closed clubs, beloved landmarks and libraries, with the some of their friends speaking about the loss of their scene with a poignant and devastating honesty. 

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals and Jangling Sounds of Up-and-Coming London-based Act Tempesst

Comprised of siblings Toma Banjanin (vocals, guitar) and Andy Banjanin (drums), along with Eric Weber (guitar) and Kane Reynolds (keys), the Australian-born, London-based members of Tempesst have had what may be a breakthrough year: they’ve made appearances at some of the UK’s most renowned showcases, including The Great Escape, NME Awards, Live at Leeds; several festivals, including Bushstock, Southsea Fest and Hackney Wonderland; as well as opening sets for Mystery Jets, The Veils, Albert Hammond, Jr., GUM and The Temper Trap. And with a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Adult Wonderland to critical applause from Noisey, DIY, NME, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit, Clash Magazine and airplay from Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 show and Maz Tappuni’s Radio X show, Communion Presents. 

And from Adult Wonderland’s latest single “Feel Better,” the up-and-coming London-based band specialize in a jangling, 70s AM radio-inspired psych folk with enormous, and anthemic hooks and some impressive guitar work that’s reminiscent of Tame Impala and Drakkar Nowhere, complete with a deceptively easy-going breeziness that belies the material’s craft. Interestingly enough, the song bristles with an underlying bitter frustration.  As the band’s Toma Benjamin explains in press notes, “I wrote ‘Feel Better’ about the mindless rhythm of working all week and then partying all weekend. A lot of my friends and I have done it for years. Each month just blurs into a series of highs and lows. I guess I wrote this song about realising the monotony of it all. It’s actually a bit sad when you think about it.” 

Directed by the band’s Andy Banjanin, the recently released video for “Feel Better” follows the band members through a kaleidoscopic and almost Biblical journey of self-discovery in which they eat some forbidden fruit, descend and ascend from a metaphorical hell and metaphorical heaven. And fitting with the overall aesthetic, the video is hot in a fashion that nods at movies from the early 70s. 

Live Footage: The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe Leads Pure Ensemble 6 at Space Fest 2016

Created by Nasiono Association, Space Fest is annual Gdansk, Poland-based festival of shoegaze, space-rock and alternative rock that features the prerequisite live music, but much like CMJ, Mondo.NYC, Northside Festival and others also features meet-and-greets with legendary and renowned artists, workshops for Polish and other internationally-based musicians, a battle of the bands-like competition for young, up-and-coming bands and more. As an annual celebration of all things psych rock and space rock-inspired, Space Fest in his almost seven year history has gradually become a scrappy yet internationally recognized festival with an increasingly diverse lineup of bands from across the European Union, Poland, the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

One of the festival’s standout highlights over the course of its history is the Pure Phase Ensemble, a collaborative collective that features one permanent member, Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who also manages Nasiono Records, and every year Schwartz is joined by a rotating cast of local musicians and at least one internationally recognized musician, who acts as a guest musical director, mentor and collaborator through a series of workshops and joint songwriting that culminates with the group performing their new material during the final night of the festival. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may recall that during the course of the Festival’s history, they’ve invited the likes of  Spiritualized’s Ray Dickaty, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Placebo’s Steve Hewitt, Marion’s Jamie Harding, Six by Seven’s Chris Olley, The Bad Seeds and The True Spirit’s Hugo Race and RIDE’s Mark Gardener. Last year, The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s legendary frontman and founding member Anton Newcombe led Pure Phase Ensemble 6 with Serena Maneesh’s Emil Nikolaisen, and the collective managed to impress festivalgoers with a live set that included “God Drugs” a menacing, droning, and murky dirge, consisting of layers fuzzy and distorted power chords, thundering drumming and an almost mosh pit-friendly hook over which Newcombe laconically delivers his lyrics. While forceful, the song manages a lysergic haze. 

Also, every year the organizers create a documentary of the festival and the documentary features brief interviews and live footage with festival organizers, Anton Newcombe, who says that his appearance at last year’s Space Fest was a way to convince and entice establish artists that it’s a serious and growing festival; the UK’s MDME SPKR, Italy’s Be Forest, Germany’s Camera, the Icelandic-German act The Third Sound, Poland’s Wild Books, Lonker See, The Fruitcakes, Rosa Vertov and The Czech Republic’s DIV I DED. Additionally, the video features impromptu interviews with thrilled festivalgoers and more. The documentary offers a glimpse of a rarely seen Gdansk, a city with a burgeoning music, arts and nightlife scene, full of hungry, young creatives  — a marked departure from the city’s long-held reputation as a grim Soviet satellite city. 

Interestingly, the videos serve as a teaser for this year’s Space Fest, which take place the weekend of December 1 – December 2 and will feature Maciej Cieslak of renowned Polish shoegazers Scianka, leading Pure Phase Ensemble 7, Italy’s New Candys, Portugal’s 10,000 Russos, Mugstar, Switzerland’s Blind Butcher, Germany’s Odd Couple, Mexico’s Tajak, the UK’s Dead Rabbits and up-and-coming local acts 30 kilo slonca, and Wilcze Jagondy. 

New Video: Danish Electro Pop Duo Tan Returns with Dream-like Visuals for Their Chilly

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may come across a post featuring the Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo TAN. And as you may recall the duo comprised of Mathias Riss and Andreas Bengsten have had stints in several local post-punk and psych rock bands, which makes their collaborative project together a marked change in direction for them; in fact, their previous single “PANORAMA” found the duo leaning towards the chilly, retro-futuristic synth-based compositions of  John Carpenter, Umberto and countless others while subtly nodding at  early house music.

The Danish electro pop duo’s latest single “BARBARA” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting chilly, retro-futrustic synth compositions — in this case, the cinematic and radio friendly track is a bit more straightforward as it features shimmering, arpeggiated synths, propulsive drum programming and a soaring hook. And interestingly enough, the recently released video further emphasizes the single’s chilly and creepy vie, as it stars Danish drag queen PROXY, who the duo met when they saw her dancing during one of their sets. As the story goes, the duo realized that PROXY’S appearance is much more than just putting on a costume, and they wanted to capture that on film.

“In the video, PROXY gets a crush on a synth playing mannequin. Brought together by a mutual love of synthesizers, their attraction slowly grows to the point where it dissolves boundaries and norms into insatiable lust and attraction for each other. Love works in mysterious ways, and rather than trying to understand it, they just surrender and go with it.” As a result, the video possesses a swooning, dream-like logic.

New Video: Omar Souleyman’s Club Banging and Swooning Love Letter to Istanbul

Omar Souleyman is a Tell Tamer, Syria-born, Istanbul, Turkey-based Sunni Arab vocalist, who can trace the origins of his music career back to 1994, when he was a part-time wedding singer, whose sound has been largely influenced from the incredibly diverse milieu of Northeastern Syria — and a result, Souleyman and a rotating cast of musicians and producers, he has worked with since his early days, draws from and meshes the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Turks, the Iraqis and Arabic sounds and themes in a way that’s both familiar and absolutely novel; in fact, Souleyman is largely considered the region’s pioneer of dance music/wedding music as his sound is primarily based around, keys and enormous beats. 

Amazingly around 500 studio and live albums have been released under his name with about 80% of those releases being made at weddings,  presented to the newlywed couple, and then copied and sold at local kiosks. Within the last few years, Souleyman has received international attention, performing at some of the world’s biggest stages and festivals including Paredes de Coura, a Caribou co-curated ATP Festival, ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Bonnaroo, Roskilde Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Pukkelpop Festival, Electric Picnic,  Treefort Music Festival — and oddly enough, one of the strangest House of Vans bills I’ve ever seen, in which he opened for Future Islands. Adding to a growing international profile, Souleyman has collaborated with Bjork, contributing vocals for three remixes, which appear on an Biophilia.

Along with that, Souleyman has released four compilations 2006’s Highway to Hassake, 2009’S Dabke 2020, 2010’s Jazeera Nights, 2011’s Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts and 2011’s Leh Jani and three full-length albums to the West, 2013’s incredible Wenu Wenu, 2015’s Bahdeni Nami and this year’s To Syria, with Love, all of which have brought the sounds and grooves of his region to the Western World. Interestingly, To Syria, with Love reportedly finds Souleyman and his collaborators adopting elements of Western techno and electronic production to his sound, as well as much more intricate keyboard work. 

“Es-Samra,” To Syria, with Love’s latest single is a swooning love letter to his new hometown of Istanbul that features Souleyman’s coolly delivered vocals over a slick and swaggering production consisting of enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, dense layers of arpeggiated keyboard chords, razor sharp and infectious hooks and handclaps to create one of most effortlessly straightforward club bangers I’ve heard in several months. 

While furthering his reputation for paring his sounds with DIY-like visuals, the recently released video for “Es-Samra” captures and evokes daily life in and around his adopted hometown’s waterways but with a trippy, mind melting visual effect. And as New Yorker, there’s something warmly familiar in seeing fisherman near a pier, of commuters rushing back and forth by ferry, car, bus and truck; but more important, it shows Istanbul as one of the world’s most glorious sights. 

New Video: The Gritty Sounds and Visuals of Frank B’s Collaboration with Heltah Skeltah’s Rock “Brooklyn Vs. All”

Up-and-coming Brooklyn-born emcee Frank B first emerged into the national scene with an appearance on Missy Elliott’s UPN series, The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott , which resulted with him landing a record deal with Elliott’s imprint Gold Mine Records; however, the Brooklyn-based emcee is now doing things on his own with his own imprint Nobel House — and with his new imprint, the Brooklyn-based emcee hopes to enter 2018 in a big way with the release of his forthcoming album Let Me Be Frank, which will feature guest spots from Pro Era’s Nyck Caution, Onyx’s Sticky Fingaz, Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik’s Rock and a lengthy list of others. 

Let Me Be Frank’s latest single, the GIT Beats-produced”Brooklyn Vs. All” finds the up-and-coming Brooklyn-born-and-based emcee teaming up with renowned, fellow Brooklynite, Rock. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its almost eight year history, you’d know that if I usually prefer my hip-hop to be rough, rugged and raw street shit — and “Brooklyn Vs. All” fits that mold, as the GIT Beats production consists of tweeter and woofer rocking beats and ominous instrumentation over which both emcees spit about their hometown with dexterous word play and complex rhyme schemes lovingly and realistically describing the starkness and beauty of their home borough. 

Directed by Mike D. Visuals, the noir-ish visuals manage to emphasize the grittiness and desperation of the song — featuring footage shot in bleak back alleys, basements and industrial areas during dreary Northeastern fall days and nights. But it also nods to the fact that there really ain’t anyplace on Earth like Brooklyn. 

New Video: Introducing the Soaring and Anthemic Synth Pop of Up-and-Coming Italian Synthwave Act YOOP

Comprised of Luca Sammartini and Valentina Sicco, YOOP are an up-and-coming Vicenza, Italy-based synthwave/synth pop act, who released their full-length debut effort Take Shelter earlier this month, and with the release of slickly produced album single “Rainbow,” the duo’s sound that seems to draw influence from Tears for Fears and contemporaries like Moonbabies, St. Lucia and Washed Out, as they pair soaring and anthemic hooks with a production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking, industrial-like beats, a sinuous bass line and angular guitar chords — and while managing to be arena rock friendly and a club banger, the track possesses an aching yearning at its core.

The recently released video follows a dream-like logic in which a woman wakes up to find herself tied to a chair and as soon as she escapes, where she spends a dizzying period seeking something just out of her grasp through a series of rooms and staircases.