Category: Video Review

New Video: Bad Bad Hats Release a Shimmering and Swooning Ode to the Pangs of First Love

Comprised of founding members, Birmingham, AL-born, Minneapolis, MN-based frontwoman and primary songwriter Kerry Alexander (vocals, guitar) and Minneapolis, MN-born and -based Chris Hoge (drums) with Noah Boswell (bass), the Minneapolis, MN-based indie rock trio Bad Bad Hats can trace their origins to when Alexander, Hoge and Boswell all met while attending Macalester College in nearby Saint Paul. Alexander and Hoge began writing songs together in 2010, recording a collection of demos that would eventually comprise their debut EP. Their friend Boswell was later recruited to solidify their lineup, and the band quickly caught the attention of local indie label Afternoon Records, a label that has released albums by Yellow Ostrich, Now Now, Haley Bonar, One for the Team and others, as well as the band’s debut EP and their incredibly self-assured Brett Buillion-produced full-length debut Psychic Reader. 

The band’s highly-anticipated and soon-to-be released sophomore album Lighting Round not only finds the band continuing their collaboration with producer Brett Bullion, who encouraged the band to record live to tape, which not only gives the material a you-were-there-in-the-room urgency and spontaneity, but emphasizes that living, breathing, vulnerable humans created, played and recorded the material; in fact, the spontaneous approach allows little room for the prototypical overthinking and perfectionism of modern recording,  and as result, there are some minor mistakes — some wrong notes being played, maybe someone being slightly off key and so on. Of course, that’s meant to add to material’s honesty and vulnerability, as thematically its centered on dependence and independence within relationships. “Nothing Gets Me High,” the album’s latest single finds the Minneapolis trio meshing shimmering hook-driven New Wave-like pop with jangling guitar pop — and while giving their sound a clean polish, the point remains the song’s swooning, emotional heft, as the song focuses on two ironically related sensations — the all-encompassing pangs of first (or new) love, and the desire to bring about that feeling for someone else. And much like new love, it’s initially a little uncertain and a little unsure before it becomes a palpable ache.

Directed by Dan Stewart, the recently released super stylistic video features the members of the band playing the song in a studio — but from the perspective of someone watching a music video someplace else with TVs with fucked up color controls, further emphasizing the song’s initial sense of uncertain yet desperate longing.


New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with 90s Grunge Take on Doom Metal

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 — and by the following year, they released a two track, self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, who released their sophomore album Soma to critical praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges. Slated for an October 5, 2018 release, the Richmond, VA-based doom metal act’s forthcoming Jack Endino-produced Eternal Return is reportedly an observation and reflection of life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows and beginnings and ends. Between 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower and their forthcoming album, the members of the band welcomed new life, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned unexpected and tragic death — and as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its songs are the direct result of those experiences. Sonically, the album also finds the band growing artistically with the material balancing heavy, psychedelic and meditative, and in a way that have drawn early comparisons to Soundgarden, an act known for stretching genre boundaries.

Eternal Return’s latest single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Fopp and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. Directed by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Grey Gardens” features some trippy and murky stock footage that evokes a foreboding sense of dread at its core.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Release Lysergic and Summery Visuals for Cosmic Album Single “Light At The Edge Of The World”

Over the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson received attention from across the blogosphere with the release of an early collection of singles that drew from a diverse array of influences, including Funkadelic, Aphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

The Liverpool-based shoegazers’ long-awaited full-length debut Course Of The Satellite is slated for an August 10, 2018 and the album’s first single “Andrei Rublev,” which was inspired by  Andre Tarkovsky’s 1996  historical, arthouse film Andrei Rublev was a slow-burning and meditative song that found the band’s sound simultaneously nodding at shoegaze and 70s AM rock. Course of the Satellite‘s second and latest single “Light At The Edge Of The World” possesses a shimmering cosmic glow familiar to space rock and shoegaze with subtle prog rock leanings while centered around enormous hooks and some swirling and towering guitar work. Interestingly enough, the band mentions in press notes that the album’s latest single finds them combining the influences of Tame Impala and Stereolab.

The recently released video for “Light At The Edge Of The World” continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with director Peter Fearon. “For the video, we wanted the idea of a girl listening to the track and falling into a dream,” the JOVM mainstays say in press notes. “The majority of it is shot in a country garden where Peter really enhanced the colours to give it a dreamy summery vibe. The girl seems to be looking for something throughout the video and we’ve left it up to the viewer to decide what that is.” And much like the visuals for “Andrei Rublev,” the visuals make a visceral connection between the earthly and the cosmic, with the clear idea that music can take you into a completely different (and perhaps enhanced) plane of existence.

New Video: Introducing the Anthemic Guitar Pop of Castlecomer

Featuring Bede (pronounced BEEd) (vocals), Tommy (guitar), Neely (keys), Joe (bass) and Patch (drums), the Sydney, Australia-born, Stateside-based members of up-and-coming indie rock quintet Castlecomer are composed of four cousins and a close childhood friend, who began playing live shows when they were teens. And as the story goes, they derived their band name from a plaque mounted outside their grandfather’s house, which they later found out also referenced the Irish village that their grandfather’s family had emigrated from.  Interestingly, the quintet quickly exploded into the national and international scene with the release of their smash hit single “Fire Alarm,” an anthemic single that amassed over six million streams while drawing comparisons to The Strokes and Daft Punk and receiving praise from Rolling Stone Australia. With a rapidly growing profile, that included highly praised SXSW appearance last year, Concord Records signed the band — and taking a massive leap of faith, the Australian-born members of the band relocated to the States to make a name for themselves. 

The band’s forthcoming Adrian Breakspear and Jean-Paul Fung co-produced, self-titled, full-length debut is slated for an October 5, 2018 release and the album reportedly finds the band pairing old school rock ‘n’ roll abandon with meticulous pop craftsmanship; in fact, the album’s upbeat lead single “All of the Noise” is centered around enormous and rousingly anthemic hooks, shimmering guitar chords and earnest, larger than life emotionality — and in some way, the single recalls The Smiths, The Strokes and others. 

The recently released, cinematically shot video features the members of Castlecomer performing the song in a sunlit, abandoned, graffiti covered church, and as they’re performing, two adorable little black kids, who have a sibling-like closeness run around, roughhouse and just have a genuine childlike joy play outside the church, and discover the band playing the song. 

New Video: Melbourne’s Darling James Releases Trippy and Noir-ish Visuals for “Silver Bullet”

Multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter James O’Brien is arguably best known as the frontman of renowned Melbourne, Australia-based act Boat People, and his solo recording project Darling James has received attention nationally and internationally for hook-laden yet thoughtful and sophisticated take on pop; in fact, EP single “God’s Graffiti” featured metaphysical inspired lyrics paired with an atmospheric yet propulsive production centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths and propulsive drum programming that to my ears recalled Reptile Youth‘s Away EP — but with an earnest yearning for meaning, for more.

O’Brien’s sophomore Darling James’ effort, MOOD EYES is slated for an August 3, 2018 release, and the material was reportedly first written, pieced together, auditioned, revised and culled from a series of songs and song ideas that made the cut. He then took the initial recordings to long-time collaborator Robin Waters, and the two brought in additional musicians to flesh out the material while Waters began sorting through and mixing the reams of synths, vocals, string arrangements and samples that O’Brien had thrown together. And while seemingly hodgepodge, the material on the EP thematically focus on everything from regret and acceptance, burning the candle at both ends, the joy of leaving a party and the party scene for a loved one and so on. MOOD EYES’ latest single is sonically centered around shimmering synths, boom bap-like drum programming, an infectious hook and a motorik groove — and while further cementing O’Brien’s reputation as a solo artist, who carefully crafts his material, the song is also a look into both a relationship and a situation in which there’s no easy or certain answer, just increasing confusion and anxiety, and no one to save you.

Directed by Marz Luckhurst, the recently released video stars O’Brien, who sits in the  neon lit backseat of a car, during a seemingly endless car ride, as he’s singing the song — perhaps to entertain himself or to keep himself some kind of company; but underneath the surface there’s this sense of a man, who’s probably losing his mind. As O’Brien explains of the video’s treatment, “I wanted the clip to show a slow but dramatic change in someone’s mental state like a religious ecstasy where it’s hard to tell if the person is transcending and in the midst of an amazing experience or completely losing their mind and having an awful time. You could maybe call it ‘manic stability’, i.e. a bit of both! In the end the character seems to be saved or at least calmed by this shark image which is perhaps his version of a totem.”

New Video: Los Angeles’ Massage Releases Easy-Going Animated Visuals for Shimmering “Oh Boy”

Massage is a Los Angeles-based indie rock act comprised of Alex Naidus (guitar, vocals), who was once a member of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Michael Felix (drums), Andrew Romano (guitar, vocals), David Rager (bass) and Gabrielle Ferrer (keys, vocals) — and in a relatively short period of time, the band has received attention for crafting a jangling guitar pop sound that as the band’s Andrew Romano says in press notes was “inspired by a new generation of Australian bands like Twerps and Boomgates and Dick Driver, who are ostensibly doing a very retrograde thing — I mean they’re mostly white guys playing guitar rock — but somehow finding a sweet spot that Americans, who tend towards the muscular and melodramatic, always seem to miss: messier and more casual, but also catchier somehow.”

The band’s full-length debut Oh Boy was released last week through Tear Jerk Records, and album title track “Oh Boy,” will further cement their growing reputation for writing shimmering guitar pop and gorgeous melodies — but with a loose, ramshackle vibe. As the band’s Romano says of the song “‘Oh Boy’ is our California version of that ramshackle vibe. When I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of 16 Lovers Lane-era Go-Betweens — ground zero for today’s Aussie scene — and I think that their influence may have come through in all the droning chords and the domestic imagery. The last lines of the song were dummy lyrics that suck. I realized what they were about — how honest they were about things I hadn’t even realized I was feeling; about family and fatherhood and settling down and ambition — and the rest of the words were written in response. Sometimes a song tells you what it wants to be.”

Featuring  animation by Gabi Ferrer is centered around images of domesticity — a cat sleeping in a home office, a cup of water on a table, and so on; but underneath the surface there’s an anxiety about what it all means. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Returns with a Gorgeous and Haunting New Single

Throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production) have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound and a generally minimalist production approach that subtly draws from R&B, house music and electro pop paired with Mullarney’s aching and tender falsetto. A couple of years have passed since I’ve written about the duo — and interestingly, they quietly returned with a somber new single, “Losing My Mind,” a bold and decided sonic departure centered around a sparse arrangement of piano, a brief burst of synths and Mullarney’s aching and mournful falsetto.

As the duo’s Jacob Gossett explains, the song was originally written on piano but eventually swelled into a full-bodied arrangement before reverting back to its original shell. “I came back from a trip and Tom had a new edit that was completely stripped back. Sometimes, it just takes those infinite iterations to finally crack the code.” Interestingly, by stripping down their sound to its most essential — Mullarney’s vocals, it reveals the vulnerability that’s always been at the core of their material; in fact,t he new single finds Mullarney singing of stability — both romantic and spiritual, and the comfort in knowing that a loved one manages to remain even in the darkest, most desperate of times. Lucky and rare are those who have this. 

 Directed by the duo’s Jacob Gossett and Danny Scales, the recently released video for “Losing My Mind” employs a fairly simple concept — the duo’s Mullarney playing the piano is a sparsely furnished room in candlelight, as it changes from day to night and day again. And while as sparse as the song, it has a subtle symbolism that nods at religious iconography and ritual. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays SOFI TUKKER Releases Dreamy and Vulnerable Visuals for Slow-burning “Benadryl”

Now, over the past eight years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed New York-based electro pop act  SOFI TUKKER, and as you may recall with the release of their full-length debut Treehouse, which was released earlier this year, the duo of Sophie Hawley Weld and Tucker Halpern further cemented an internationally recognized profile for thumping, tribal house that draws from Latin, African and other world music genres; in fact, smash hit single  “Best Friend,” received a Grammy nod and was featured in an ad campaign for the iPhone X.

Treehouse’s latest single “Benadryl” is a slow-burning and atmospheric bit of house music centered around thumping beats, shimmering synths, a chopped and screwed-like vocal sample and Hawley Held’s sultry cooing — and while gauzy and somewhat lysergic, the duo explain that the track is a “cryptic break-up song,” meant to evoke and reflect the feelings of being caught in an emotional and physical stupor. “Being in a relationship that you shouldn’t really be in anymore is a lot like taking Benadryl: it puts you in a kind of distracted, dreamlike stupid in which it’s hard to focus. This song is about getting out of that Benadryl-like trance.”

Directed by Philip Lopez and shot in the outskirts of Miami, the recently released video will further cement the duo’s reputation for pairing escapist visuals to their club-friendly song but unlike the previously released videos, this new clip reveals an aching vulnerability, as it captures the duo at points in a weary trance.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release Brooding Visuals for Slow-Burning Torch Song “The Photograph”

Last month, I wrote about the  London-based duo and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, with the release of their first three albums, Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the British duo comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Slated for an August 17, 2018 release through the duo’s own Wrecking Light label, their fourth album Slow Air derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they experienced during their time in Austin, TX, where they had written the album. Reportedly, the forthcoming Slow Air is a bit of a return to early form for Murray and Hughes, as the material learn towards arrangements that emphasize electric and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the entire process as is the tendency of modern recording; in fact, they managed to keep the mistakes they recorded on the album, so as to remind the listener of the fact that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans made it,  while also making sure that the important thing was the material’s emotionality.

Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from album single “Black Lagoon,” the London-based duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with an previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

The album’s latest single “The Photograph,” is the slow-burning, atmospheric, synth-based torch song that to my ears immediately brings Prince to mind — his “Nothing Compares 2 U” in particular, as the song is about a long lost lover, who’s only left an old, slowly fading photograph behind as a reminder of what the song’s narrator once had. The video, which was directed by the duo continues a run of gorgeous and evocative visuals — in this case, black and white video which features Murray’s lone figure walking down a desolate highway eternally searching for something beyond the frame. The visuals manage to evoke the song’s spectral and yearning quality — with the understanding that most things in our lives are rendered as memories, but with a bit of fuzziness and distortion around the edges.


New Video: Majical Cloudz Former Frontman Devon Welsh Releases a Meditative and Brooding Visuals for “By the Daylight”

Devon Welsh is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist, who released two critically acclaimed full-length albums as the frontman of Majical Cloudz, an electronic duo whose brooding and intense music combined elements of poetry, hardcore, folk and minimalist electronica among others. The project ended in 2016 largely because its members felt it had fulfilled its intentions.”The band has come to a very natural conclusion, as it has communicated everything it was meant to and reached more people than we would have ever imagined,” Welsh said at the time.

Following the breakup of Majical Cloudz, Welsh stepped away from music for a year. “I wrote songs but didn’t think about their purpose or anything at all to do with the music industry or if I would be releasing music in the future,” he said about that time. “I just tried to grow as a person and do some learning.” Interestingly, the songs he wrote during that period would eventually comprise much of the material on his solo, full-length debut, Dream Songs. Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through You Are Accepted Records, the album finds Welsh stepping out and away from the strict aesthetic he had worked in with Majical Cloudz but while continuing and expanding upon some of the core themes an ideas which that project was best known for — and as a result, the material thematically is a series of reflections on time and its passing, separation, the complexities of love, free will, life’s endless cycles and so on.

Produced and recorded by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts with the intention of making an album that maintained the simplicity and minimalism of Welsh’s previous work while exploring the possibilities of more traditional arrangements — guitar, piano, strings — the album presents the Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist’s songs in a more organic context. As the story goes, Tufts and Welsh essentially rebuilt the recordings from the ground up, working out kinks in demos, imagining different arrangements and re-recorded everything. The simple string arrangements Devon’s demos possessed were transformed and became the sonic and emotional center of the entire album. “I love songs with strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “so making recordings with beautiful string arrangements is a dream come true.

Dream Songs’ first single “By The Daylight” is chronologically one of the oldest songs on the album — and as Welsh explains, it began with a very different arrangement than the recorded version. “It was originally made mostly with synthesizers and had saxophone on it, and then when Austin and I started re-recording the demos it got transformed into something built almost entirely around strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “the new arrangement opened a lot of mental possibilities for what the record as a whole could be.” Thematically, the song has a fatalistic view of life — that there are larger, deterministic forces at play in our lives, and as a result, we’re frequently caught up and swept away in a tide that we don’t (and can’t) really understand. It’s a mature and meditative song with a deep and aching yearning at its core. 

Directed by Christopher Honeywell, the recently released video features footage of nature,  some shot on old, Super 8 film — and in a subtle way, the video conveys passing of time and the sense of larger, natural forces at play.