Tag: Music Hall of Williamsburg

New Video: Renowned Australian Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist Courtney Barnett Releases Psychedelic Visuals for Expansive Album Single “City Looks Pretty”

With the release of her first two, critically applauded EPs, I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Farris and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose, the Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett quickly received attention from the North American, British and Australian press witty and rambling, conversational lyrics delivered in an ironic deadpan paired with big, power chord-based indie rock. And although to the casual observer, it may have seemed like overnight success, it actually wasn’t. In fact, Barnett has long been considered one of Melbourne’s best guitarists as once played in Dandy Warhols’ Brent DeBoer’s side project Immigrant Union and had  guest spot on Jen Cloher‘s third album, In Blood Memory.

2015’s full-length effort Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit continued a run of critically applauded releases, and the album’s lead single “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” was promoted with a unique promotional campaign that included scores of giant billboards, posters and murals spontaneously posted around the world — and all of them declared the same unattributed statement in the same exact font. As for the song, it found Barnett and her backing band pairing thundering drumming, dense layers of swirling guitar chords and a scorching guitar solo and Barnett’s bemused and ironic deadpan delivery with a rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like hook. “Elevator Operator,” which I also wrote about on this site, was a stomping and shuffling T. Rex-like song that featured twisting and turning organ chords, handclap-led percussion, and a mischievous yet anthemic hook that described incredibly neurotic people, who are beaten down by boring and soulless day jobs, including one character, who escapes to peer over a rooftop for a brief moment of clarity while dreaming he was playing Sim City.  (If you’ve worked at a boring and soul crushing day job, that song may well be your anthem during the workweek.)

Last year, saw the release of Lotta Sea Lice, a critically applauded and commercially successful collaborative album with renowned guitarist and vocalist Kurt Vile; in fact, the album landed at #5 on the Australian charts, #11 on the British charts and #51 on the American charts. Building upon an incredible run of critical and commercial success, Barnett’s third full-length album Tell Me How You Really Feel is slated for a May 18, 2018 release through Mom + Pop Records, Marathon Artists, and Barnett’s own label Milk! Records — and the album’s third and latest single “City Looks Pretty” finds Barnett eschewing traditional song structures in order to focus on a motorik-like groove, razor sharp hooks and an expansive psych rock-like vibe that’s roomy enough for what may be some of Barnett’s most inspired and bluesy guitar work she’s recorded to date. The song lyrically is an exploration of friendship, place and home centered around the irony of friends treating you like a stranger and strangers treating you like their best friend. 

The recently released video by Courtney Barnett features some appropriately psychedelic imagery shot on what looks like digital cameras and an old Super 8, and in some way it brings to mind 120 Minutes-era MTV. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Returns with a Swaggering, Genre Mashing, Club Banger

Born Horacio Olivera, El Dusty is a  Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, who has seen attention across the blogosphere as a pioneer of a sub-genre he’s dubbed “nu-cumbia,” which features elements of hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs — with the end result being a swaggering, club-banging take on Latin music that as you may recall resulted in a Latin Grammy nomination. Adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi, TX-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist has bee named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard’s New Latin Act and to Watch and was placed on Pandora’s Latin Artists to Watch. He’s also played at EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico, Ciudad Sonido Festival, Fiesta De La Flor, Universal Records’ Latin Grammy Showcase, Brisk Bodega Tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and others.

Olivera’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Cumbia City is slated for a May 11, 2018 release through AfterCluv Records, and while the album will further his reputation as one of electronic Latin music’s highly-sought after producers and collaborators, the album also finds Olivera pushing his signature sound in new directions as the album’s material crosses genres, trends and cultures while redefining what both Latin music and electronic music should and could sound like. “This album is cool as hell and funky!” Olivera says in press notes. “This takes the old with the new and it becomes a new style, a new song, a new genre – it is more than Cumbia, it’s electronic styles with live drums and modern beats.” El Dusty adds “I approach the whole album with live recordings in mind. Every sample was re-recorded live to create a mashed up turntable-like production meets a song-like format.” Unsurprisingly, El Dusty’s full-length debut, is deeply influenced by his musical upbringing which included Tejano anthems, Chicano soul music, classic rock, boom bap hip hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, turntablism, but mashed up and re-imagined for a new generation of bass-heavy and soundsystem music.

Album title track “Cumbia City” is a swaggering track around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, trap snares, an iconic sample from San Jacinto,  Colombia-born cumbia star Andres Landero and Boogat spitting fire in Spanish — and while mischievously bending and playing with genre boundaries, it’s an anthemic and crowd pleasing banger.

Set on the streets of Corpus Christi, the brightly colored video for “La Cumbia” is a cinematically shot video that features dancers of all ages and from a variety of the city’s cultural traditions — from the ancient and contemporary — to the song’s thumping beats.

New Video: The Stark Sounds and Visuals of The Soft Moon’s “Give Something”

Luis Vasquez is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded industrial/dark wave/post-punk recording project The Soft Moon. Vasquez’s latest Soft Moon album, the recently released Criminal is reportedly one of his most confessional albums he has released to date, as the material is written through a stark lens of shame and guilt, in which the material thematically focuses on a man at war with himself, battling with self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement paired with the fear of those things transforming him into the type of person he normally despises.

Criminal’s latest single is the broodingly stark and atmospheric “Give Something,” a track that pairs his falsetto with thumping beats, razor sharp synths and industrial clang and clatter. Interestingly, as Vasquez explains in press notes, the track focuses on his inability to reciprocate love and tenderness to another person. “Having no control over the constant urge to sabotage all things that are good for me, there is irony and frustration in knowing that in the end, the impossibility of love is what ultimately will save me from my myself.” It’s a plaintive and gut wrenchingly urgent call for help from a deeply troubled, emotionally damaged yet incredibly self-aware person.

Directed by Kelsey Henderson and featuring video effects and color by Victoria Keddie, the recently released video for “Give Something” focuses on a split screen throughout — one the left, a topless woman with her back to the screen and a couple seemingly in the middle of intense coitus, with the same woman from the left hand side grabbing and scratching the back of her lover with a desperate, painful grip that leaves marks. At points the visuals go through stuttering visual effects that on one level makes it look as though the woman may be abusing herself  — or her lover — out of selfish motivations.

Currently comprised of frontman and primary songwriter TOBACCO (born Thomas Fec), keyboardist The Seven Fields of Aphelion (born Maureen “Maux” Boyle), guitarist Ryan Graveface and bassist Pony Driver, the Pittsburgh, PA-based experimental electronic act Black Moth Super Rainbow can trace their origins back to two previous projects that featured BMSR’s TOBACCO — Allegheny White Fish, which was active from 1996-2000 and satanstompingcaterpillars, which was active from 2000-2002 and released three albums, including their last album under that name, The Most Wonderfulest Thing before the addition of three new members Father Hummingbird, The Seven Fields of Aphelion and Iffernaut. And with the addition of new members, the band renamed themselves Black Moth Super Rainbow in 2003.

 

Over the past decade both Black Moth Super Rainbow and TOBACCO have recorded material that explored the periphery of evil and extreme color, rapidly alternating between absurdly bright beauty and murderously sinister with the end result being a woozy, psychedelic uneasiness.  TOBACCO (a.k.a Thomas Fec) throughout his career has been a rather mysterious figure; in fact, if you Google images of him, most of them have his face obscured by a mask, a ball cap or a hood.  Interestingly though, he’s known for patient and thoughtful interviews where he breaks down his creative process and the ideas espoused throughout his work while never revealing much about his personal life or about him. And in that sense, he’s been periodically visible but opaque, emotional but unwilling to exploit self-mythology; however, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Panic Blooms, the first album from the band in six years, finds TOBACCO reportedly writing what may arguably be the most raw and direct lyrics of his entire career, inspired in some way by the current sociopolitical climate. As a result, the material is an account of depression and human frailty paired with their unique sound featuring gorgeous yet warped melodies. . .

The album’s first single “Mr. No One” features shimmering and twinkling synths, boom-bap drums and heavily vocodered vocals and while the song initially seems as though it has a dreamy and ethereal air, the song possesses an underlying murky and sinister vibe, which the band has long been known for, giving the song a desperate yet hopeful ache, a pleasant reverie within a feverish, waking nightmare.

Black Moth Super Rainbow will be on tour to support their new effort, and it’ll include a June 2, 2018 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES

THU 5/31 WASHINGTON, DC Black Cat
FRI 6/1 PHILADELPHIA, PA Union Transfer
SAT 6/2 NEW YORK, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
SUN 6/3 BOSTON, MA Brighton Music Hall
THU 6/14 CINCINNATI, OH Urban Artifact
FRI 6/15 DETROIT, MI El Club
SAT 6/16 CHICAGO, IL Metro
SUN 6/17 COLUMBUS, OH Skully’s Music Diner
FRI 8/10 PITTSBURGH, PA Mr. Smalls
SAT 8/11 LOUISVILLE, KY Headliners
SUN 8/12 ASHEVILLE, NC Orange Peel
TUE 8/14 AUSTIN, TX Mohawk
WED 8/15 HOUSTON, TX White Oak Music Hall
FRI 8/17 ATLANTA, GA Masquerade (Hell)
SAT 8/18 NASHVILLE, TN Mercy Lounge

New Video: King Tuff Releases Surreal and Meditative Visuals for Shuffling and Cosmic Album Single “Psycho Star”

Kyle Thomas is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who’s the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock recording project King Tuff. And much like countless other musicians, Thomas grew up in a fairly musical home, where he was encouraged to play several different instruments — particularly guitar, keyboard and drums; but interestingly, it was a Fender Stratocaster that his father brought for him when he was 7 that served as a constant source of inspiration. After high school, Thomas spent his time writing songs and playing with a number of bands. “I would go on tour, but i never really took it as a serious job up until a couple years ago, when I decided to really make an effort at it. It’s been a real long, slow practice,” Thomas once publicly said. 

Thomas’ first release was a self-made CD-R distributed by Spirit of Orr Records, and the album consisted of rough version of songs, white he later released on his official debut 2008’s Was Dead, which was released through Tee Pee Records’ sister-label The Colonel; however, after not receiving much attention for his work as King Tuff, Thomas went on to other creative pursuits including stints in bands like Witch, Happy Birthday and Ty Segall’s backing band, The Muggers. Thomas’ 2012 sophomore, Bobby Harlow-produced, self-titled, full-length effort was released by Sub Pop Records and charted at #21 on Billboard’s Heatseeker Albums chart while debuting at #14 on CMJ’s charts, before eventually climbing to #2, knocking Jack White’s Blunderbuss from its top charting position. 2013 saw the re-ssiue deluxe edition of Was Dead, which charted at #8 on Billboard’s Heatseeker charts. 

Thomas’ third, full-length effort, 2014’s Black Moon Spell continued his ongoing collaboration with Bobby Harlow and featured Ty Segall as a guest drummer on the title track — and the album continued a run of critical and commercial success, with the album debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker charts, and was once #1 on the CMJ College Radioplay chart. 

Last week, Thomas released his first single in four years, “The Other” the album title track off The Other, which is slated for an April 13, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. And while his self-produced effort will continue his reputation for hook-driven rock, the material reportedly finds Thomas ditching the goofy, rock-‘n’-roll bacchanalia for much more expansive arrangements, a diversity of instrumentation with lyrics that also reportedly straddle the fence between painful rumination and reconnecting with the childlike and innocent aspect of yourself. Additionally, the album features guest spots from Ty Segall (drums), Jenny Lewis (vocals), Greta Morgan (vocals) and Mikal Cronin (saxophone).  And while being a decided change in sonic direction, Thomas views the album as a psychic reset of him. “I let the songs lead me where they wanted to go, instead of trying to push them into a certain zone. King Tuff was always just supposed to be me. When I started doing this as a teenager, it was whatever I wanted it to be. King Tuff was never supposed to be just one thing. It was supposed to be everything.”

“Psycho Star” is The Other’s first official single is a funky and soulful track based around an arrangement of arpeggiated keys, sinuous bass line, shuffling drums, wah wah pedal effected guitars and a disco-like hook but lyrically the song finds its narrator musing about his place in an indifferent and mysterious universe. It’s obvious that the viewpoint on the album is to look upward and outward towards the cosmic, the infinite.  

Directed by Cameron Dutra, the recently released video for “Psycho Star” is a surreal concept that follows the video’s director, King Tuff and backing dancers as they’re about to shoot their video but pulls back to focus on some of the random passerby, a roller skater lost in her music, and a paranoid truth-teller and psychic. At times, the visuals are gloriously lo-fi, nodding at VHS video and cheap car dealership commercials while at other points, being remarkably slick, as well as a mediation on life and death. 

New Video: The Lush Swooning and Psychedelic Visuals and Sounds of Jonathan Wilson’s “Loving You”

Jonathan Wilson is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Father John Misty, Lucius, Karen Elson and Conor Oberst, contributed guitar and vocals as a member of the backing and touring bands for Roger Waters‘ Grammy nominated Is This The Life We Really Want?, and throughout that same period, the highly sought after Wilson has released two albums which have garnered comparisons to the Laurel Canyon troubadours of the 1960s and 1970s — in particular Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Dennis Wilson, Tom Petty and others; however, Wilson’s third and forthcoming album, Rare Birds, which is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Bella Union Records is reportedly one of the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s most ambitious, “maximalist” works to date featuring contributions from collaborators Father John Misty and Lucius, as well as Lana Del Rey and New Age musician Laraaji.

While much of the album’s material thematically and lyrically find Wilson meditating on a failed relationship and its aftermath, he has insisted in press notes that it’s not meant to specifically be a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.” Late last year, I wrote about the album’s first single “Over The Midnight,” which brought to mind Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears  while nodding at the lush psych pop of Tame Impala; but the song is underpinned by a swooning Romanticism, as it’s about a sacred and profoundly safe space where lovers could exist and freely be in love, escaping a world on the verge of collapse.

Rare Birds’ latest single “Loving You” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its a lush yet deeply meditative track with the bittersweet tinge of regret of someone, who’s looking back at a major relationship in his life, and of all the things he felt and believed that he should have or could have done. And as a result, it evokes the lingering ghosts of a man, who’s lived a messy and complicated life. Wilson says in press notes about the song, “One day, one of my musical heros Laraaji came into my studio to just experiment and record some music. I had the ditty ‘Loving You’ lying around, (it was a song I wrote from a feeling or inflection of a word I heard John Lennon emote in one of his songs) and I then put down a simple little drum machine beat along with the piano and vocal that you hear now. Laraaji then beautifully chanted over the song, one take … then he played his cosmic zither, undulated gracefully with his ipad, and truly shaped the scope of the track. I then added a specific drum/cymbal treatment used throughout Rare Birds, my funky Crumar bass, Lana Del Rey, a few other things and boom that was the genesis of the new album Rare Birds, that song set the tone.”

Directed By Matthew Daniel Siskin, the recently released video for “Loving You” will also continue Wilson’s run of pairing trippy and beautiful visuals to lush instrumentation. In this case the video features the renowned New Age multi-instrumentalist Laraaji floating over some gorgeous natural scenery — at points holding an old TV monitor that features a meditative Wilson singing the song. Later on, Wilson’s face and on that old TV monitor is seen in a number of New York locales, including an airport, a train station, a Manhattan intersection and so on. And interestingly, the visuals manage to further emphasize the swooning nature of the song.

The Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Jenny Logan may arguably be one of her hometown’s quietly kept and most talented secrets as Logan is a member of grunge of pop trio Loveboys, post-punk act Miss Rayon and guitar pop act Sunbathe, who I recently saw open for Typhoon at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more on that later). Along with that, Logan had a stint playing bass for Summer Cannibals and keyboards for a Seattle-based Rolling Stones cover band. Amazingly, the incredibly busy Logan managed to squeeze in the time to pursue her own singular musical vision with her solo recording project Deathlist, releasing her attention grabbing Deathlist debut last year, an effort which found Logan playing almost every instrument.

Slated for a March 9, 2018 release, Fun, the follow up to her Deathlist debut was written and recorded in the aftermath of the death of her best friend, and as a result, the material focuses on the grief and despair of a seemingly solitary mourner, with its narrator finding herself contending with a harrowing and impossible to answer question: how does one continue a conversation with someone, who will never be there again? And while the ironically titled Fun may feature some of the most achingly personal material that Logan may have arguably ever released, it points to one of the most universal experiences any of us will ever know: someone we love, respect and cherish will die, and we’ll brokenheartedly fumble through some portion of our lives, desperately trying to find some larger meaning to all the lingering ghosts of our pasts — or some convenient closure, when there never really is. Yet, we find a way to push on, to find some beauty and occasionally even acceptance within chaos.

Unsurprisingly with the material focusing on death and loss, Logan’s cites Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy and Suicide as inspiring aspects of the album’s sound, and while you’ll hear hints of that on album single “Charm School,” as Logan pairs buzzing and slashing guitars with throbbing, propulsive bass, forceful, industrial-like drum machines and razor sharp hooks; but I also hear hints of Sixousie and the Banshees, The Cure and Dirty Ghosts as the song manages to channel confusion, sorrow and anger — simultaneously and within a turn of a phrase.