Category: Video Review

New Video: Melbourne Australia’s Money for Rope Releases Frenzied Visuals for Blistering and Swaggering New Single

Money for Rope’s forthcoming sophomore album Picture Us comes on the heels of a four-year period of relentless and intense international touring that saw the quintet comprised of Julian Mckenzie (vocals, guitar, sax), Rick Parnaby (keys, telephone), Erick Scerba (drums, tambourine), Chris Loftis (kazoo, drums) and Ted Dempsey (bass, laser printing) tour across Europe, America and India, including a short run of dates with Courtney Barnettt, who was an early supporter. Adding to a growing international profile, the band played sets at Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Primavera Sound Festival. 

“Actually,” Picture Us’ latest single is a swaggering and bluesy bit of garage surf centered around a propulsive bass line, fuzzy power chords and howled lyrics within a sprawling song structure — and while sounding as though it were influenced by The Black Keys, the song possesses a feral and unhinged quality, 

The recently released video features a series of dizzying still images of the band rolling around, jamming and fucking around in their house-turned rehearsal space. It’s a scrappily done DIY visual that captures the frenzied passion behind the music — and it’s fun as hell, too.  The band’s Erik Scerba says of the video and its creative process “The photos were very much on the fly although I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like. It was pretty much impossible to know the timing of everything, but there’s a part in the song where the crash hits with a shot of me hitting the crash and it just worked. Sometimes that shit happens. There’s a kinda psychedelic aspect to it all which I liked – using the images to do different things like capture some of us in two places at once. The black and white makes it more nightmarish. We wanted to have all the shots happen at once so it had a constant flow of momentum. The hardest part was editing, as 25 frames a second doesn’t match the song’s bpm.”

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Balthazar Return with a Deceptively Straightforward Rocker

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known as the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized acts and JOVM mainstays Balthazar and Warhaus, which was a side project conceived during a lengthy hiatus. Interestingly, Devoldere’s work with Balthazar was a sonic departure, as the project’s sound could be described as atmospheric, jazz-inspired art rock that may remind some listeners of The Church, Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, Edith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen — paired with Devoldere’s urbane, decadent, novelistic lyrics.

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in Kyrgyzstan, his longtime friend, songwriting partner and Balthazar bandmate Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, holing himself in the studio, where he indulged his love of old-school R&B, eventually releasing a solo album as J. Bernardt. And during their primary gig’s hiatus, Devoldere and Deprez enjoyed the ability to indulge their whims and follow their individual creative muses — while individually receiving commercial and critical success to be liberating. The duo also found that the time apart created an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled by a broader artistic horizon and their mutual respect for each other’s work. 

So when the members of Balthazar reconvened, they did so without any particular plan, just a desire to improve upon their previously released work and to further the band’s story.  As they were beginning to write material, Devoldere and Deprez agreed that their new material should have an overall less serious, less melancholy feel while leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound that retained the hook driven quality that won the band national and international attention. “Fever,” the first single and album title track off the band’s recently released Fever was inky and sultry track, centered around a strutting bass riff, stomping percussion, a swooping string motif, a sinuous hook, a twinkling bridge and Devoldere’s plaintive baritone to create a song that was playful and infectious.  “Entertainment,” the album’s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor but was centered around a swaggering and strutting vibe and an anthemic hook. Sonically, the Jinte Deprez-led song nodded at The Rolling Stones‘ “Sympathy for the Devil, but with some Afro pop-like polyrhythmic percussion. “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again,” the album’s third single was a slow-burning, Jinte Deprez led Quiet Storm-like jam that reminded me of Milagres’ “IDNYL” and classic Hall and Oates. As Deprez explained in press notes, “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again’ is a breakup song with a twist, a groovy soul ode with a synthesizer, a chorus with a Bee Gee touch. It’s shaking it off, wherever it stuck.”

“Wrong Vibration,” Fever’s fourth and latest single is a Maarten Devoldere song is a  superficially a sultry come-on that slowly reveals frustration and confusion over mixed signals. Much like its predecessors, the song is centered by an infectious and breezy hook, a sinuous yet propulsive bass line while being arguably one of the more straightforward rockers on the album. 

Directed by Benny Vandendriessche, the recently released video for “Wrong Vibration” features the band’s creative duo in a dramatic, slow-motion theatrical stage performance, seemingly rooted  in a series of mixed signals and miscommunications. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Preoccupations Release Stark and Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Album Closer “Compliance”

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Canadian post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations. And as you may recall, the band’s third full-length album New Material was released last year through Jagjaguwar Records, and the album further cements the band’s growing reputation or crafting dark and moody post-punk that touches upon themes of anxiety, uncertainty, creation, destruction and futility while being “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred,” the band’s Matt Flegel explained in press notes.

Much like their sophomore album, the band met without having much written or demoed beforehand — and according to the members of the band, it was arguably one of the most collaborative writing sessions they ever had as a band, with the sessions being extremely architectural in nature, as some ideas were  (proverbially speaking) being built up while others were torn down to the support beams. Initially they didn’t know what the songs were about or where they were going with them, they had resolved to let the material show and not explicitly not tell; however, the writing and recording sessions reportedly led to a reckoning for the band’s Flegel. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized. I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong,” says Flegel. In fact, the murky and angular  Manchester/Joy Division-like first single “Espionage,” while being among the most danceable songs they’ve written and released, focuses on a narrator, who has finally become aware of a disturbing penchant for self-sabotage in every aspect of his life. “Antidote,” New Material‘s second single was centered around propulsive, industrial clang and clatter meant to convey a sweaty anxiety; however, the song is actually about how humans forget that they’re walking, talking, shitting animals — animals that have an infinite amount of knowledge within their fingertips but still manage to repeatedly making terrible choices. “Disarray,” the album’s third single was meditative and slow-burning single featuring shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, organic drumming and boom bap-like drum machine work during the song’s bridge. And while superficially nodding at Turn On the Bright Lights-era Interpol, the song captures something much darker and uncertain — as it was centered around someone, who from their perspective, views everything they’ve ever known to be a lie. The album’s fourth single “Decompose” was an angular and propulsive track that featured twinkling synths, buzzing power chords and an eerie sense of melodicism that underlies the song’s danceable vibe. 

Album closer “Compliance” is a decided and stark sonic departure for the band as it’s a climatic wall of industrial clang, clatter and other noise — but two chiming tones peak up and rise upward, giving the instrumental track a yearning nature. Directed by Nicholas Brown and Evan Henderson, the recently released video for “Compliance” is set in a post-apocalyptic world, featuring an enigmatic forest spirit named “Mariah.”  As the band explains in press notes, “Mariah has awakened from eons of slumber to a world that has long been abandoned by humans and heavily mutated by their waste and consumption. As Mariah struggles to make sense of this new world, she grieves for the one she has lost forever. The Mariah creature was painstakingly designed and constructed by Brown, portrayed by Henderson, and captured by the haunting and beautiful cinematography of Adam Stewart. Compliance brings a close to this chapter of the band as we look towards the future and marvel at the new heights their [sic] music will take.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Blushing Return with Wistful and Hazy Visuals for “The Truth”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015. As the story goes, after spending several years writing material on guitar, Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, and shortly after, Soto and Carmona recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup. The quartet spent about a year or so writing and revising material before heading to Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, which was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site. 

Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which was released through Austin Town Hall Records last year. And from EP title track “Weak,” the band further cemented their reputation for crafting material that sonically was indebted to the likes of Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays while being a gentle refinement of the sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere. The members of Blushing ending last year with the release of the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which was released both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records. Interestingly, the 7 inch found Blushing expanding upon their sound with “The Truth” arguably being one of the most muscular songs in their growing catalog while retaining the haziness that have drawn the attention of fans and critics. Centered around layers of shimmering  guitar lines, thundering drumming, Michelle Soto’s and Christina Carmona’s gorgeously ethereal vocals and a soaring hook within an expansive song structure. Sonically the song’s haziness is paired with hazy lyrics that seem to depict a growing love affair between two equally insecure and neurotic people, who can’t seem to get out of their own way — and are afraid of getting hurt. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to be in — and in turn, feel — the present moment; it’s all we got. 

Produced and directed by Kendall Chapman, the recently released video for “The Truth” finds Michelle Soto and Christina Carmona alternating between brooding and goofing off in a local arcade, where they win enough tickets for silly string, some glow in the dark plastic swords, bubbles and goof off with their spouses; but throughout there’s a wistful feel to the proceedings, as though there’s the recognition that all things must end. 

2019 looks to be a huge year for the Austin-based shoegazers: they’ll be making their second official SXSW showcase appearance, which they’ll follow up with their first West Coast tour  — and their highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release in March. Hopefully, they’ll be making a New York City area stop at some point! 

New Video: Bedstudy’s Shimmering and Woozy Take on Electro Pop

Founded in 2016 by founding members David Plakon (production) and Peter Baldwin (vocals), along with newest member Ranson Vorpahl (drums), the Brooklyn-based electro R&B/electro soul act Bedstudy can trace their origins to when the act’s founding duo met at Plakon’s Florida studio, where Baldwin was working on his debut album. After independently moving to Brooklyn, Baldwin and Plakon reconnected at a Tall Juan show at Berlin Under A and decided they should start a band together.

Within their first year together, the duo quickly wrote and released four singles, including “Arms Away,” which Paper Magazine called “gorgeously woozy.” Vorphal joined the band in 2017 to complete the band’s lineup. The newly constituted trio  then spent another year writing and revising their sound before signing to Grand Jury Music, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated EP dot wave on February 15, 2019. Primarily recorded at David Plakon’s Crown Heights home studio with some additional sessions at Braund Studios and Black Rock Studios, the effort reportedly finds the act expanding upon the sound that first won them attention. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “12” is centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, thumping drumming and Baldwin’s plaintive vocals, the track is a shimmering and woozy take on contemporary electro pop that brings to mind JOVM mainstays Beacon and No Kind of Rider’s Savage Coast but with a decidedly hip-hop swagger. 

Directed and edited by Tess Lafia, starring Riley Cedar and Sebastian Borberg and featuring animation by David Herrera, the recently released video for “12” features some incredibly hallucinogenic visuals that nod at several different decades at once that to my eyes evoke a trip that’s disorientating and woozy. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Scottish Indie Rock Act Sister John Releases a Self-Assured Classic Rock-Like Single

Led by Amanda McKeown, the up-and-coming Glasgow, Scotland-based indie rock act Sister John can trace its origins to when its members met while singing in The Parsonage Choir. McKeown cajoled her then-future bandmates into helping her perform some original material at a one-off event, and as the story goes, the members of the band immediately recognized an intrinsic simpatico that quickly made them inseparable.  

Quickly developing new material and their own sound, the Glasgow, Scotland indie rock act signed to Last Night From Glasgow Records in December 2016 with the label releasing their first single, “He Came Down,” an original, alternative Christmas song, which they followed up with a set at the LNFG/TeenCanteen Christmas Effect charity showcase. Their second single “Sweetest Moment” was released the following June and was named BBC Radio Scotland’s Single of the Week, while receiving airplay on the Roddy Hart Show. Within a year of signing to Last Night From Glasgow Records, Sister John wrote, recorded and released their critically full-length debut, Returned From Sea, which they followed up with a series of sold out shows across the UK, as well as a showcase at Glasgow’s winter music festival Celtic Connections. 

Building upon a growing profile and growing confidence from the positive reception of their full-length debut, the band released “Friends” in early 2018 before heading to the studio to begin work on their self-titled sophomore album, which is slated for release later this week. Reportedly, the soon-to-be released album finds the band squeezing more out of their sound on some tracks while filtering and minimizing on others — with some points, the material taking on a darker sound and vibe. Interestingly, the album’s first single “I’m The One” has been compared to post-Nico Velvet Underground — and that shouldn’t be surprising as the incredible self-assured its centered around a looping and twangy guitar line, a propulsive rhythm section and a sing-songy vocal delivery. The result is a song with a sleazy, bar room strut with a vulnerable, longing underbelly. 

Directed and filmed by Brian Sweeney and Fabio Rebelo, the recently released video features the band performing the song at a tiny, local club with the Whitburn Northern Soul Dancers dancing along. It’s a delightful and mischievously anachronistic visual. 

New Video: Introducing Up-and-Coming Australian Singer/Songwriter Grace Turner

Last year was a breakthrough year for the up-and-coming, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Grace Turner as her single “Dead or Alive” received attention in North America, landing on Spotify US’ Viral 50 Playlist and Apple Music’s Best of the Week. Following the track’s release, Turner opened for Alex the Astronaut, Gabriella Cohen, Jess Locke and Kingswood — and since then, “Dead or Alive” has amassed more than 500,000 streams. In her native Australia, Turner was named a triple j Unearthed Artist of the Week, and her latest single “Easy I Fall,” which was released a few weeks ago in Australia received airplay on triple j and FBi. 

“Easy I Fall” was recently released across North America and the track will further cement Turner’s growing reputation for a sound that meshes elements of indie rock with alt country, compete with jangling chords during the song’s verses, fuzzy power chords during the song’s soaring hook and chorus. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the work of Bryde, Eliza Shaddad, Ruby Boots and others, Turner’s latest single is centered around an unvarnished and unfiltered honesty. In this case, the song’s narrator openly talks about a relationship teetering on the brink — and while the narrator’s love interest is trying his best, the narrator realizes that the relationship is over, and that it’s been over for a while; in fact, she’s been trying to tell her lover that she’s wanted to leave for some time. And as a result, the song captures the indecision, fear and awkwardness of relationships as they inch towards their inevitable end. 

Filmed, edited by videographer James Rhodes and co-produced by Rhodes and Turner, the recently released video for “Easy I Fall” was shot in Super 8 Film at The Royal Exchange, a quaint theater in Turner’s hometown. Standing in front of a floral background that recalls the work of Frida Kahlo, the video features Turner in two dresses made by designers Millie Shorter and Ellie Hannon from scratch — an 80s inspired, big-shouldered flower print dress and a simple white dress with jewelry shaped like enormous third eyes. The video captures Turner in some visually overstated scenarios while she performs with an understated yet candid presence. 

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, the Newcastle, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist announced that she’ll be playing at this year’s SXSW and a run of solo dates with Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson. 

New Video: Anemone Releases Breezily Bittersweet Album Single “Memory Lane”

Throughout the course of last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone, and as you may recall, the act which is led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and nostalgic take on dream pop.

Early last year, the Canadian dream pop quartet released their attention-grabbing debut EP, which they supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America; in fact, I was first introduced to Anemone when they opened for HAERTS at Baby’s All Right.. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Anemone will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Beat My Distance on February 15, 2019 through Luminelle Records. I’ve written about two album singles so far — the breezy and sunny “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” which was built around jangling and chiming guitar lines, a propulsive, disco-influenced bass line, a steady backbeat and Soldevilla’s plaintive, ethereal vocals. But ironically, the song is centered around the hope of a brighter day after experiencing painful heartache. “She’s The One” continued in a similar vein, as it was a shimmering and ethereal track that possessed a subtly bittersweet undertone. That shouldn’t be surprising as the song focuses on two paradoxical tendencies/patterns in relationships and how they frequently work against each other: the infatuation and idealization of someone, thinking they must be “the one” until you really get to know them — and the tendency to protect yourself and stay independent, at almost all costs with the result of closing yourself off from having a profound connection with another. 

“Memory Lane,” Beat My Distance’s latest single finds the Canadian dream pop act effortlessly meshing psych pop with 70s AM rock, complete with twinkling keys, a propulsive bass line, twangy guitar and trippy layers of percussion — over which Soldevilla’s ethereal vocals sing ruminative vocals. As Anemone’s Soldevilla says in press notes, “‘Memory Lane’ is reminiscent of one’s unrepairable distance from another – the other not giving enough care to a mutual romance in an opportune time, causing both people to move on in separate directions. The outro of the song acts as a lullaby; a soothing, melodic repetition that breaths a fantasy of slowly building the inner-strength to accept that those memories can no longer be the future. Passionate events that once seemed stronger than anything slowly fade away as your inner strength grows ~ it is a powerful feeling.”

Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the recently released video for “Memory Lane” was shot with grainy Super 8 Film and features the members of Anemone goofing off and enjoying a summer day at the lake and at a local farm. Some of the footage is shot with a prism just over the lens, which creates a trippy kaleidoscopic effect to the proceedings — and unsurprisingly, it looks like early promotional music videos from the late 60s and early 70s. 

New Video: Newcastle’s Sam Fender Releases Surreal Yet Politically Charged Visuals for Anthemic EP Single “Play God”

Over the past couple of years,  Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally for crafting rousingly anthemic material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues, broadly drawing from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England. Last year, Fender was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender released the highly-anticipated Dead Boys EP last November, and as you may recall, the EP featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black Keys, Slaves, Royal Blood and others to mind. “Simply put ‘That Sound’ is a celebration of music, but it’s also a not-so-subtle middle finger to the naysayers that tend to rear their heads as soon things start to work out for you, especially back at home. It’s about finding strength to ignore it all, and keep doing your thing,” Fender said in press notes at the time.  

“Play God,” the latest single off the Dead Boys EP is arguably the most politically-charged and conscious song I’ve written about so far this year, as it talks about how the interests of the powerful and extraordinarily rich few are what really controls the world as we know it; those people play God with everyone and everything. Sonically, the track continues in a similar vein as its predecessor — rousingly anthemic hooks, enormous blues power chords and his incredibly soulful powerhouse vocals.  With this latest single,   the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter and guitarist has crafted a song that belies his relative youth, while revealing an ambitious artist and songwriter, who seems ready to take over the world. 

Directed by Vincent Haycock, the recently released black and white video for “Play God” is largely centered around depictions of violence, whether watched on a television, real or imagined. At points, it’s beautiful, startling and downright disturbing — as it should be. 

New Video: Budapest’s Ivan and the Parazol Releases an Arena Rock Friendly Single Paired with Slick Visuals

Last November, I wrote about the Budapest, Hungary-based indie rock quartet Ivan and the Parazol, and as you may recall the act which is currently comprised of Vitáris Iván (vocals), Balla Máté (guitar), Beke István (keys) and Simon Bálint (drums) can trace their origins to when its founding members along with Tarnai János (bass) met at a private music school back in 2010. And since their formation, the Hungarian rock act has released three full-length albums, opened for Deep Purple, played SXSW twice, played Reeperbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, and the Sziget Festival main stage as well as hundreds of shows internationally across Europe. Adding to a growing national and international profile the act was nominated for an MTV Hungary Brand New Award in 2010, won an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Hungarian act in 2014. Also their single “Together” was named the Sziget Festival anthem.  

Last year was an eventual year for the Hungarian rock band: they celebrated their eighth year together, and in that time, the band cemented a reputation for being at the forefront of their homeland’s growing, contemporary rock and indie rock scenes. Building upon their growing profile, the Budapest-based rock act’s Wil Anspach-produced fourth, full-length album Exotic Post Traumatic finds the band ambitiously expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that has won them attention in the homeland — with the intention of winning ears and audiences across the rest of the European Union and the States. Exotic Post Traumatic’s slow-burning, first single “Nr. 1003” was a slick and seamless mix of glam rock, psych rock and arena rock that seemed to draw from The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Tame Impala — and while seemingly sunny, the song has a subtle darkness to it; after all the song focuses on the band moving froward with their lifelong dream without one of their closest friends. And while there’s some guilt about moving forward, there’s also the hope that their friend will be able to join them on their incredible journey. 

The album’s latest single “Changin'” is a straightforward arena rock track features an enormous power chord-led hook, a thundering backbeat and Vitáris Iván’s sultry  baritone. And while to my ears, the track sounds like early INXS, the song is centered by an overwhelming positivity — that the changes the song’s narrator feels he’s going through is part of a necessary part of his personal evolution. As the band explains in press notes that “‘Changin’ could be the title of the whole album, cause the last two years have embodied this concept. The band, our music, and style of song-writing developed and evolved so much. This song was inspired by a new relationship, but of course the desired love is hard to reach, especially when the different factors of life and personal experiences can make it harder to materialise. Our band and our bond is a relationship too that goes through evolutions and difficulties. So, you have to trust your instinct, and the change will make you better.” 

The recently released video follows a beautiful and stylish woman as she goes to an artist loft — at first she vamps in an elevator before heading to an art gallery. Next door, the members of Ivan and the Parazol are jamming out. Much like the video for “Nr. 1003,” the slickly shot video creates the impression that the band are part of their country’s — and in turn, their hometown’s — effortlessly cool.