Category: Video Review

New Video: The Symbolic and Expressive Visuals for Holy Wars’ “I Can’t Feel A Thing”

Kat Leon is a Connecticut-born singer/songwriter, whose musical career started in earnest as one half of the Los Angeles, CA-based indie electro pop act Sad Robot, with Long Beach, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Perez — and throughout her stint with Sad Robot, Leon developed a reputation for crafting material that was largely inspired by death and the occult.

With both of her parents suddenly dying within months of one another, Leon was plunged into a period of profound and heartbreaking grief. And after taking time to grieve the loss of her parents, Leon began her latest solo recording project, Holy Wars, which is deeply and profoundly influenced by some of the darkest days of her life; in fact, the project in many ways is to her an extrapolation of the tumultuous feelings and thoughts she had felt during that period — an the result is her debut double EP Mother, which is slated for a June 30, 2017 release and Father, which is slated for release later on this summer.  Both EPs are dedicated to her respective parents and while being understandably dark, the material isn’t completely nihilistic, and as you’ll hear on Mother‘s first single “I Can’t Feel A Thing,” the material is meant to be a cathartic release paired within a rousingly anthemic, arena rock-friendly sound reminiscent of Paramore — but with a hint of profoundly adult angst, the sort of angst that comes from recognizing  that death is a permanent parting, that there are no real answers, and that the only thing anyone can do is figure out a way to move forward to the best of their ability.

Directed by Jeremy Cordy, the recently released video features Kat Leon dressed in a god bodysuit and two other women, perhaps as representatives of the song’s narrator at various ages, expressively dancing with figures clad entirely in dark — and it’s meant to evoke each character being tugged, pulled, tossed around and in some way being seduced by their darkness, a darkness that overwhelmingly overpowers them. It’s clearly symbolic and yet gorgeously done. 

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New Video: Soto Voce Returns with a Sensual and Anthemic bit of Industrial Electronica Paired with Feverish Visuals

Late last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Soto Voce. Comprised of Oakland, CA-born, Los Angeles-based vocalist Miguel De Vivo, now known as Mia De Vivo and Colombia-born, Los Angles-based producer Kenny Soto, the electro pop duo can trace its origins to a mutual love of electronic much and industrial music, and to the duo having similar experiences as outsiders — De Vivo, who was born male, grew up gender non-conforming and was relentlessly teased and beaten up “for being like a girl,” and who recently transitioned. Soto on the other hand, fled his native Colombia with his family as a teenager in the 90s, after his port official father refused to collaborate with Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. When he and his family arrived in the US, they were extremely poor.

Now, as you may recall the duo’s debut single “Better” was quietly released but within a few weeks of is release, the track grabbed the attention of the blogosphere for a brooding, cinematic and difficult to pigeonhole sound that some described with Sade-fronting Radiohead comparison; however, in my opinion that song possessed a deeply personal and aching plea for acceptance both within and without paired with a club-banging yet atmospheric production. And the video specifically focused on the tensions around the Black Lives Matter, Trans Rights Matter and LGBTQ rights movements, how politically and socially things are much more fearful and uncertain for many minority groups across the world.

The duo’s latest single “Pop” will further cement their reputation for crafting propulsive and forceful industrial-leaning electro pop that manages to be sensual yet rousingly anthemic and club-banging. But arguably it may be the darkest, most unhinged and urgent track they’ve released to date.

Directed by Jon Danovic, the recently released music video for “Pop” possesses a surreal, feverish, dream-like logic.

New Video: The Cosmic and Symbolic Visuals for Cody ChesnuTT’s “Image of Love”

With the release of his critically praised 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, singer/songwriter and guitarist Cody ChesnuTT was universally hailed as a modern-day soul troubadour with many critics comparing his work to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, largely because of his frank and socially conscious songwriting focusing on modern Black life. Interestingly, The Headphone Masterpiece was released at the height of the neo-soul movement, which included Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and a lengthy list of others — all of whom proved that artists could still release deeply personal, thoughtful, socially conscious work that was fairly successful both critically and commercial successful. In the case of ChesnuTT, his closest brush with mainstream success was a collaborative remake of “The Seed,” “The Seed 2.0,” which appeared on The Roots’ Phrenology released at the end of 2002.

After the commercial and critically success of “The Seed,” ChesnuTT abruptly disappeared from public view for the better part of a decade, a period in which the singer/songwriter and guitarist spent time raising children and in writerly fashion, reflecting, observing, loving and living. Naturally, those experiences informed and influenced 2012’s Landing on a Hundred, an effort that linked contemporary Black soul and pop with the classic work of Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, as Hundred thematically focused on a man’s road to redemption after years of womanizing, drugging and scheming, of the power of a love that eclipses superficial and material expressions of love and devotion and of the power of being truthful to one’s self.

Since the release of Landing on a Hundred, ChesnuTT has been rather productive as he’s contributed to the soundtracks of the Oscar Award-winning major motion pictures 12 Years A Slave and Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela, and writing the material that would comprise his recently released third album, My Love Divine Degree. Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you may recall that I wrote about My Love Divine Degree‘s second single “I Stay Ready” an uplifting call to positivity in the face of tremendous adversity — and while further cementing his reputation for crafting frank, earnest songs, the production work of Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan, a BMI Award, Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and DJ, who has worked with Kanye West, Common, John Legend and Pusha T pushes sonic boundaries as it meshes beat-based hip-hop and soul.

The album’s latest single “Image of Love” continues in a similar vein as ChesnuTT’s soulful crooning is paired with a genre blurring production that features wobbling synths, big tweeter and woofer rattling beats and a slick hook in what may arguably be one of the funkiest and most hip-hop leaning songs ChesnuTT has released in several years. Interestingly, the single much like the material on the album is “inspired by a story of a Man and Woman that exercised their ability to rise about their arresting selfishness — to attain a higher level of communication — that they might willing share in the love of eternal life . . . all to simply win the hearts of men, woman and children to better things,” as ChesnuTT explains in press notes. And much like it’s preceding single, it’s a desperately needed bit of uplift in dark, fucked up times.

Featuring gorgeous, psychedelic and cosmic line animation by Konee Rok that includes Cody Chesnutt walking through the woods and the cosmos, playing his Gibson and singing, kids running and playing in the woods, while nodding at the album’s and song’s themes about the differences between selfish and superficial love, and the sort of love that truly connects you with others and the larger universe.

New Video: The Trippy Visuals and Soulful Yet Sultry House of Hemi

Initially beginning his musical career under the moniker Pineapple Pop, Hemi is a British electronic music artist and producer, who also is a successful and popular DJ and booker. “Gentle” is the British artist, producer, DJ and booker’s first single of 2017 and it features a warm and organic-sounding production that nods at house, tribal house, afro house, ambient electronic music and pop as the single features rapid fire staccato drum programming, soaring organs, a soulful yet chopped up vocal sample and a rousing, club-friendly hook reminiscent of 90s dance music hits and Octo Octa’s Between Two Selves, revealing a producer and electronic music artist, who specializes in an sultry yet soulful and accessible sound.

Featuring animation from Laris Kilimci, the recently released video for “Gentle” is mischievously lysergic, as it features nighttime imagery undulating and changing to the propulsive beat of its accompanying single, as though they were dancers in a sweaty club.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Veldt Return with Hallucinogenic Sounds and Visuals for “One Day Out of Life”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past 12-18 months or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the pioneering, Raleigh, NC/NYC-based sheogazer rock quintet The Veldt. Currently comprised of founding members, primary songwriters and identical twin brothers Daniel Chavis (vocals, guitar) and Danny Chavis (guitar) and Martin Levi (drums), along with along with Hayato Nakao (bass) and Frank Olsen (guitar), the band can trace their origins back to the Chapel Hill, NC music scene of the late 80s and early 90s — a scene that included Superchunk, arguably the most commercially successful and best known of the acts from that region, Polvo, Dillon Fence, and others.

With the band’s initial lineup featuring the Chavis Brothers and Levi, along with Joseph “Hue” Boyle (bass) and later David Burris, the members of The Veldt managed to be a rarity as a shoegazer rock band that prominently featured black men in a place and time, in which it was considered rather unusual, if not extremely uncommon — and they hailed from the South. Interestingly enough, the band quickly attained “must-see” status and with the 1992 release of their full-length debut Marigolds, the band saw a rapidly expanding national profile as the members of the band were profiled by MTV as a buzz-worthy act. And as a result, the then-Chapel Hill-based band earned a much more lucrative recording contact with Polygram Records, who in 1994 released their highly-acclaimed Ray Shulman produced sophomore effort Aphrodisiac. Thanks in part to being on a major label and to a pioneering sound that meshed elements of old-school soul, shoegaze, Brit Pop and early 90s alt rock, the band found themselves on the verge of international and commercial success opening for the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, Oasis, Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Fishbone, Corrosion of Conformity and others; however, the members of the shoegazer quintet experienced embittering difficulties and infighting with both their label and their management, who repeatedly told the band that they found them “too difficult to market.” And as a result, the band was dropped from Polygram and subsequently from two other labels.

While going through a series of lineup changes, the band released two albums, Universe Boat and Love At First Hate before officially going on a lengthy hiatus in 1998. Now, here’s where things get rather interesting: Several years later, the Chavis Brothers had resurfaced in New York with a new project Apollo Heights, which began to receive attention locally for a sound that effortlessly meshed soul, trip-hop and electronica with shoegazer rock — and for their Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins)-produced debut effort, White Music for Black People, which featured the band collaborating with Guthrie, Mos Def, Deee- Lite‘s Lady Kier, TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek, and Mike Ladd. And although the members of The Veldt have toiled in varying amounts of relative obscurity over the past 20+ years, the Chavis Brothers’ and their bandmates’ work has managed to quietly reverberate, becoming much more influential than what its creators could have ever imagined as members of internationally renowned acts Bloc Party and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek have publicly claimed the band as influencing their own genre defying sound and aesthetic.

Last year may have been arguably one of the bigger years of the band’s history as the members of the recently reformed band released several singles off the first batch of new original material in almost 20 years, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape — in particular the swooning “Sanctified” and the sultry and moody “In A Quiet Room” which revealed a subtle yet noticeable meshing of the early shoegazer sound of The Veldt with the trip-hop and electronic-leaning sound of Apollo Heights. Building upon the buzz of those singles, the members of The Veldt went on several tours, including one in which they opened for The Brian Jonestown Massacre and others — and much like the resurgence of Detroit-based proto-punkers Death, the Chavis Brothers and company firmly reasserted their place within both Black musical history and within musical history in general, making a vital connection between The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cocteau Twins, The Verve, Fishbone, Marvin Gaye, Prince and TV on the Radio among others.

The Raleigh and New York-based band began 2017 with the “Symmetry”/”Slow Grind” 7 inch vinyl single, which North Carolina-based indie retail store and label Schoolkids Records will be releasing exclusively for Record Store Day. “Symmetry” was a slow-burning Quiet Storm soul meets shimmering and moody shoegaze single in which Daniel Chavis’ ethereal crooning placidly floats over a stormy mix of swirling electronics, stuttering beats, a propulsive bass line and shimmering guitar chords — and throughout the song there’s a urgent and plaintive yearning that’s forcefully visceral. “Slow Grind” was a swaggering yet dreamy and slow-burning bit of shoegaze featuring staccato bursts of stuttering beats, deep low end, swirling electronics, shimmering guitar chords and distorted vocals to create a sound that evokes the sensation of being submerged in a viscous substance — or being enveloped by sound. Building on the growing attention they’ve received, the band released their third single of 2017 and The Drake Equation Mixtape’s third single “One Day Out of Life” continues in a similar vein as its a atmospheric, slow-burning and soulful bit of shoegaze in which live instrumentation — namely effect pedaled guitar is paired with shimmering undulating synths and swirling electronics over which Daniel Chavis’ plaintive falsetto float over. And much like their previously released material since their reformation, their sound seamlessly meshes Quiet Storm-era R&B sentiment with moody shoegaze.

Produced and directed by Neoilluionsist artist Niilarty De Osu is an equally hallucinogenic day in the life of a woman, as she walks through a subway corridor — based on its length, it could be a few stops, 14th and 7th Avenue? 4th Avenue and 9th Street, Brooklyn? 42nd Street? It’s a haunting and trippy visual compliment to the song.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Return with Hallucinogenic Visuals for the Face-Melting Epic “Lord of Lightning vs. Balrog”

Over the past couple of months, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock sextet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have quickly become JOVM mainstays. And considering the wild variety of things that I’ll write about in any given day, week or month that shouldn’t be terribly surprising. The act, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums), the Australian psych rock sextet have developed a reputation for incredibly energetic live shows and for being incredibly prolific, as they’ve released 10 full-length, studio albums since 2012 — and with each album, the band has revealed a relentlessly experimental song and songwriting approach; in fact, their earliest releases blended elements of 60s surf rock, garage rock and psych rock and their later work featuring elements of film scores, prog rock, folk, soul, Krautrock, heavy metal and proto-metal.

Released earlier this year, the band’s tenth studio album Flying Microtonal Banana found the band delving deeper into trance-inducing done, non-Western musical scales and metronomic rhythms — and in fact, the sound on that album is so profoundly unique and evolved, that it required the members of the band to reinvent their own instruments after they began experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar, made for the band’s frontman Stu Mackenzie. As the band mentioned in press notes on Flying Microtonal Banana they found particular inspiration from the movable frets of a Turkish instrument, the bağlama, a classical lute — and three guitars and a bass were customized for the band to explore wildly different scales and a new set of musical notes not normally heard in Western music. They then customized a keyboard and a mouth organ. Additionally, the material on the album finds the and incorporating the use of a Turkish horn called a zurna, which looks a bit like a clarinet but because it’s a double-reeded instrument, the possess a wobbly sound that Mackenzie says “blends perfectly with the secret notes on the guitar.” And as you may remember, album single “Rattlesnake” paired a chugging, motorik-like groove and anthemic, chant-worthy hook; but while clearly drawing from prog rock, Krautrock, psych rock, heavy psych, stoner rock and even space rock, the song finds the band putting a familiar Western sound into a decidedly Eastern context — and as a result, it’s not only a wild, mind-altering spin on something familiar and seemingly done to death and then some, while possessing a familiar acid-tinged yet alien, otherworldly sound.

Unsurprisingly, the Melbourne-based psych rockers will follow up on one of the trippiest and more unique sounding albums I’ve heard this year with Murder Of The Universe, a concept album meant to end all concept albums forever, as the material thematically concerns itself with the downfall of man and the death of the planet — and it evokes the greater sense of fear that we’re foolishly inching closer to our own destruction. As the band’s Stu Mackenzie explains “We’re living in dystopian times that are pretty scary and it’s hard not to reflect that in our music. It’s almost unavoidable. Some scientists predict that the downfall of humanity is just as likely to come at the hands of Artificial Intelligence, as it is war or viruses or climate change. But these are fascinating times too. Human beings are visual creatures – vision is our primary instinct, and this is very much a visual, descriptive, bleak record. While the tone is definitely apocalyptic, it is not necessarily purely a mirror of the current state of humanity. It’s about new non-linear narratives.”

Structurally, Murder of the Universe‘s tracks are separated into three chapters and the album’s first single ““Chapter 3: Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe” offered an incredible taste of what listeners should expect from the entire album, as it’s a 13 minute, shape-shifting, face-melting prog rock song that evokes Biblical visions of the apocalypse — enormous mushroom clouds, pools of fire and blood, death and unceasing war, poverty and misery, featuring a cyborg, who desperately longs to be alive, to simply be.

Now, as you may also recall earlier this year, the Australian psych rock collective was on Conan to perform an abridged version of their latest single “The Lord of Lighting vs. Balrog,”a nearly 14 minute hallucinogenic, heavy psych and prog rock-inspired shape shifter of a song that features face-melting guitar riffs while detailing an epic, mythical battle between the Lord of Lighting and Balrog, in which the fate of the universe and all living things will depend on; but just underneath is a sobering meditation on the nature of life and death. And yes, the resemblance to Black Sabbath is both uncanny and fucking awesome.

Created by Jason Galea and Ben Jones, the recently released video for “The Lord of Lighting vs. Balrog” is gloriously, defiantly hallucinogenic while drawing from 60s videos, complete with an extended sequence of the band performing in a haunted forest with rapid fire cuts; in fact, the cuts are so rapid that if you suffer from photo-sensitive epilepsy that it’s suggested that you not watch.

New Video: The Playful and Menacing Visuals for Cool Ghouls’ “(If I Can’t Be) The Man”

With the release of 2014’s A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, the San Francisco, CA-based psych rock/indie rock quartet Cool Ghouls, comprised of Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald, and Alex Fleshman, received a growing national profile for a sound that’s clearly indebted to The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival and classic psych rock as their material is generally comprised of jangling guitar chords, simple yet propulsive percussion and layered, multi-part harmonies. Last year’s Animal Races further cemented their growing profile and reputation for crafting jangling guitar rock straight out of 1966-1970 or so; in fact, you may recall that last year I wrote about album singles “Sundial” and “Spectator.”

Currently, the band is on tour to support Animal Races and a limited release, tour-only cassette Gord’s Horse but interestingly enough, Animal Races’ latest single is the twangy, Grateful Dead and Everybody Says This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young–leaning bit of psych rock “(If I Can’t) Be The Man.”

Directed, shot and edited by Ry Pieri, the recently released video for “(If I Can’t) Be The Man” features the members of Cool Ghouls as cheap beer drinking clowns in a park and it’s all fun and games until the drunkenness turns rather dark.

New Video: Belgian Art Pop/Art Rock Act Warhaus Return with a Moody Rumination on Love

Best known as the frontman and primary songwriter of Belgian rock band Balthazar, Maarten Devoldere has received attention both nationally and internationally for his solo side project, Warhaus which further cements his growing reputation for deftly crafting urbane an hyper-literate material with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility; in fact, his latest effort We Fucked a Flame Into Being derived its name from a line in DH Lawrence’s classic, erotic novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover — and unsurprisingly, the material on the album thematically focused on lust, desire, love and the profound inscrutability of random encounters, while being intense, decadent, sophisticated. And if you had been following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about album single “Machinery,” a moody, slow-burning and sensual song that evoked smoke-filled, late night cafes and intimate jazz clubs just off the beaten path, of nights that take a decadent, debaucherous turn and not being completely in control; but with an underlying yearning and aching loneliness, as the song’s narrator desperately wants more than what he has but can’t put it to words.

“Love’s A Stranger” Devoldere’s latest single continues on a similar vein as “Machinery” as it’s a brooding, slow-burning yet wistful rumination on love’s fleeting and impermanent nature, with the perspective of someone who’s loved and lost, loved and fucked up and has recognized more times than what he’d like to admit that love simply doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Love is indeed a stranger, that comes and goes as it pleases — and you may not know when it’ll return, but it returns as it always does. Sonically, Devoldere’s smoky baritone is paired with a jazz pop sort of arrangement that reminds me a bit of Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun as twinkling keys, strummed guitar, gently padded drums and a supple bass line are paired with Devoldere’s husky and expressive baritone.

Directed by filmmaker and screenwriter Wouter Bouvijn, the recently released video for “Love’s A Stranger” is comprised of footage Bouvijn shot while accompanying the band on a week-long tour of France. Initially meant to be B-roll and for background, the Devoldere and his backing band were surprised that Bouvijn’s treatment was cut from intimate on the road, backstage and live footage, but as the Belgian filmmaker explained to Devoldere, “Did you expect me to put you guys with unplugged guitars on a desert hill?” Ultimately, the result is capturing a band at its most unguarded, rarely seen moments and while revealing the personalities, passions and friendships of its members, it also points at the strange, debaucherous loneliness of the artist’s life.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Teams Up with Jah Fabio and Toy Selectah on a Reggae-Tinged Take on His Imitable Sound

So if you had been frequenting this between 2016 and early this year, you’ve likely been made familiar with the Corpus Christi, TX-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist, Horacio Olivera, best known as El Dusty. And over that 13-15 month or so period, Olivera not only quickly became a JOVM mainstay but he also further cemented his reputation as a pioneer of a revolutionary, new sub-genre that he’s dubbed “nu-cumbia,” a sub-genre, which meshes contemporary electronic music production, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and house music with enormous tweeter and woofer rocking beats and chopped up samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs creating a swaggering, sleek, hyper-modern, club-banging take on Latin music that has resulted in a Latin Grammy nod.
Olivera like most contemporary, hip-hop-inspired producers has spent countless hours digging in the crates — both real and virtual — for cumbia tracks released by Colombian record label Discos Fuentes during the 60s and 70s, including one of the best known and best-loved cumbia records to date, Andres Landeros’ “Canto Negro,” which serves as the main sample and inspiration for his latest single “Kanto Negro,” a collaboration with Mexican-based Reggae/Roots singer Jah Fabio contributing rhymes and Toy Selectah contributing some additional arrangements. And as Olivera explains ““This sample has been done countless times but I just felt that adding a vocalist would really take it over the top” “ liked the title of the original song so I wanted to keep it the same. I dig the dark vibes!” In fact, while retaining portions of the original’s instrumentation and vocal for the book, El Dusty and Toy Selectah add thumping and staccato like drum programming and an enormous synth drop and although the single will further cement his reputation for crafting club-banging cumbia-influenced EDM — or perhaps EDM influenced cumbia? — the single finds El Dusty adding a global element to his crowd pleasing sound and approach.

Produced by the Much Fresco production crew, the recently released music video for “Kanto Negro” was filmed while El Dusty was at this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival Mexico and features the renowned Texan producer performing with Jah Fabio at Cultura Roots with some footage of daily life in Mexico City.