Tag: music video

New Video: The Gorgeous and Mournful Visuals for Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s “My Balloon”

Gabriel Garzón-Montano is a critically applauded, Brooklyn-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has received attention for a genre-defying take on contemporary soul and pop, as his work draws from his French-Columbian-American heritage, Bach, cumbia, funk and soul, and the wild, adventurous multiculturalism familiar to a native New Yorker; but arguably one of the biggest influences on his work and his career was his mother, who was a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble in the 1990s. And as Garzón-Montano has publicly mentioned, his mother is the main reason he loves music, and her rigorous, classical instruction along with her painstaking attention to detail, managed to influence his own creative process.

Garzón-Montano’s long-awaited full-length effort Jardín was released earlier this year and it comes on the heels of a three year period of rather intense touring, writing, revising and recording that interestingly enough began his 2014 debut EP Bishouné: Alma del Hula, which caught the attention of Lenny Kravitz, who invited the Brooklyn-born-and-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter to open for him during his European tour that year. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, Garzón-Montano’s “6 8” was sampled on Drake‘s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, which led to tours with Glass Animals and his renowned Stones Throw Records labelmate Mayer Hawthorne.

Jardín was recorded with his mentor, analog recording guru Henry Hirsch at Waterfront Studios in Hudson, NY last year and during the recording sessions Garzón-Montano tracked drums, bass, guitar, piano and synths directly to 2-inch tape, and then added percussion, digital programming and several layers of his own vocals to create the album’s overall lush sound — a sound that reportedly nods at Stevie Wonder‘s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. “I wanted to make music that would remind people how beautiful life is – how delicate their hearts are. A garden is full of life, and growth, and beauty. I named the album Jardín hoping for it to create a space for healing when people put it on. I’ve always wanted to make music that is healing, comforting, and funky,” Garzón-Montano explained in press notes. Naturally, our current sociopolitical climate has influenced a great deal of the material on the album, as thematically it focuses on the struggles and uncertainties of living in America but it’s balanced our by its equal focus on the complications and joys of love.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Jardín’s first single “Crawl,” a single that effortlessly meshed hip-hop, 90s neo-soul and contemporary pop with a slick production consisting of ambient synths, twinkling keys, a wobbling bass line, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, and a sharp and swaggering hook are paired with Garzón-Montano’s sultry vocals. The album’s second and latest single “My Balloon” continues in a similar vein as twinkling keys, shimmering guitar, a sinuous bass line, glitchy electronics and shuffling beats are paired with Garzón-Montano’s sultry vocals — tinged with the aching regret of a confusing relationship with someone who isn’t quite on the same emotional or mental space as you are. And while the song’s narrator seems to proudly suggest that he’ll move on with his life, there’s a sense that it’s nothing more than hurt pride — and that he knows the lingering possibility of what should have been and what could have been will be a part of his life for some time.

Directed by Santiago Carrasquailla, the recently released music video for “My Balloon” was filmed with a painterly quality on location in Cartagena and Las Islas del Rosario, Colombia. As Garzón-Montano says of the video’s concept, “It’s a series of portraits of a heartbroken couple who are in beautiful places at the wrong time.” And as a result, the video possesses a similar wistful ache for something beautiful that should have been and could have been, if both people weren’t so fucked up.

New Video: The Retro-futuristic 80s Visuals and Synth Funk Sounds of Aida’s “Let’s Ride”

Aida is a French-born singer/songwriter who with the release of “Let’s Ride” off her soon-to-be released debut EP, My Retrospective has received attention for a neon bright, funk sound reminiscent of 80s synth funk — i.e., The Whispers “And The Beat Goes On,” “It’s A Love Thing,” and “Rock Steady,” Tuxedo’s self-titled debut, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange, Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” and others; in fact, “Let’s Ride” which features a slick, dance floor-friendly electro funk production by Fresco Klüb consisting of cascading and propulsive arpeggio synth chords, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats from Fresco Klüb paired with Aida’s effortlessly soulful and coquettish vocals.

Directed by Xavier Cantin-Lemieux of La Maison Bald Man, the recently released music video consists of pitch-perfect 80s-inspired visuals that cut between Aida going to a local bodega to make a phone call, where she watches a music video featuring three bathing suit-clad dancers on a studio-designed beach, and Aida riding her scooter through a Tron-like landscape; but as the video gets to the hook, it becomes darker, suggesting that Aida is an assassin on an important mission — and she does so with a cool, detached, efficiency.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays and Shoegaze Pioneers The Veldt Return with a Lush Seductive and Moody Record Store Day 7 inch

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past 12-18 months, you’ve likely come across at least one of 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. (Around that time, I remember reading a profile about the Chavis Brothers in the long-defunct New York Press, a publication that a few years later, I wound up briefly writing for, before their demise. )

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 the first batch of new material in almost 20 years, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape, an effort, 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 as you’d hear on the swooning “Sanctified” and the sultry and moody “In A Quiet Room.” Building upon the buzz of those singles and the EP, The Veldt went on several tours, opening for the likes of 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 Black musical history and within musical history in general, making a 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 begin 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” is a slow-burning Quiet Storm soul meets shimmering and moody shoegaze single in which Danny 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. The recently released video pairs stock footage from the 1920s, featuring a brooding Flapper-type looking at a mirror and lying down before jelly fish gently undulating in lava lamp-like water take over the screen. We then see two women swimming in perfect symmetry before returning to the video’s initial imagery. And as a result, the video possesses a dream-like logic and vibe.

“Slow Grind” is 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. The recently released video features a young woman seductively grinding in front of superimposed images of manta rays leaping out of the water and bright, explosions of colors. Certainly with these two releases, and growing attention on the band, I’m looking forward to seeing what else the band will be releasing over the course of this year and onward.

New Video: The Futuristic Visuals and Genre Mashing Sounds of BASECAMP’s “The Hunter”

Now, if you had frequented this site back in 2015, you would have come across a handful of posts featuring the Nashville, TN-based electro pop trio BASECAMP. Comprised of producers and songwriters Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon and Jordan Reyes, the electro pop trio can trace their origins to when the trio started to collaborate together to write. Quickly realized that they had a strong creative chemistry, the trio founded BASECAMP and with the release of their 2013 debut EP, which featured standout tracks “Emmanuel” and “Smoke Filled Lungs,” the Nashville-based trio received attention both locally and nationally for a genre-mashing sound featuring R&B-like melodies, thumping bass lines, percussive beats, unpredictable tempo changes paired with glitchy electronics and organic instrumentation. And as a result of the attention they had begun to receive, the members of BASECAMP toured across the States with CHVRCHES and Phantogram before signing to Skrillex’s boutique label OWSLA, which released their impressive 2015 sophomore effort Greater Than EP, which featured one of my favorite singles of that year “Watch My Back.”

Since the release of Greater Than, the Nashville-based electro pop trio have been rather busy, working on and releasing two stand-alone collaborations “Comfort Zone’ with Jamie Lidell and “In My Veins” with Del The Funky Homosapien, and the In Stone EP, an effort which further cemented the trio’s reputation for a genre mashing sound and tempo changes; but arguably with a greater sense of sonic and thematic cohesion, while revealing much more introspective songwriting. After successful tours across Europe and North America — with shows at TEDx, Colors Berlin and Summit At Sea — the trio released “The Hunter” Remix package, which features remixes from the trio’s friends and frequent collaborators — Jamie Lidell, Yeo and Deebs.

In the meantime though, “The Hunter” is a refinement of their imitable sound and production as the song finds the trio pairing earnest and soulful vocals with stuttering and glitchy beats, swirling electronics — and in some way, the song reminds me of Timbaland’s revolutionary collaborations with Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake in the 90s and 00s and of Beacon’s The Ways We Separate and Escapements, thanks in part to a swooning, uneasiness that the song’s narrator expresses in describing a relationship that seems to heighten his own self-doubts and has him wondering if he is hunter or prey — or perhaps both simultaneously. It also captures the odd sense in almost every romantic relationship in which neither party could tell what their relationship actually is or what their intentions are; but both are fearful of the perceived inevitable heartache they expect.

Directed, by BLAWKNO, from the GLO.Digital collective, the recently released video uses 3D scans of each member and fuses CG with live-action video as a play on the concept of perception vs. reality while giving the proceedings a hyper futuristic and alien sensibility.

New Video: The Gorgeously Expressive and Surreal Visuals for SOFTSPOT’s “Habits”

If you’ve been frequenting this site for the past few months you may recall that the Brooklyn-based indie rock act SOFTSPOT was initially founded in 2009 as a duo featuring its founding members Sarah Kinlaw and Bryan Keller, Jr. And other the past few years, the act has gradually evolved into a quartet featuring some of the NYC’s more accomplished and talented musicians, who have a history of collaborating with each other in a wild, almost unfettered creativity; in fact, as the story goes, Kinlaw and Keller, Jr. recruited long-time friends Blake Bateh, a member of JOVM mainstays Bambara (drums), who joined the band for the recording of MASS and Jonathan Campelo, a member of Pill (synths), who joined the band during the tour to support MASS.

Arrowhawk Records, the label home of Bambara, Cinemechanica and White Laces, released the band’s latest effort Clearing last week, and the album is the first recorded effort featuring the band’s current (and expanded) lineup — and interestingly, the album finds the band refining their sound and songwriting approach. Clearing’s first single “Abalone,” was a spectral yet tense single that featured a tightly syncopated rhythm section, shimmering guitar lines and twinkling synths and Kinlaw’s ethereal and expensive vocals. “Heat Seeker,” Clearing’s second single continues in a similar vein as it possesses an equally haunting and specetal quality while drawing from New Wave as the song features slashing guitar attack with propulsive metronomic-like drumming and Kinlaw’s vocals expressing the difficulties and frustrations in attaining true and lasting connections with others — while revealing a novelistic approach to its narrator psychological makeup. “Habits,” the album’s third and latest single is an atmospheric, slow-burning, and moody track that seems to draw from jazz, psych rock, indie rock, and pop while being roomy enough to allow Kinlaw’s expressive and ethereal vocals room to dance and roam through an equally gorgeous arrangement. And throughout, there’s a visceral ache as the song focuses on loss and memory — but with a dark, uneasy undercurrent.

Produced and filmed by New Media, Ltd, the gorgeously cinematic black and white video has Kinlaw, who interestingly enough is a choreographer, room to expressively dance in empty rooms and negative spaces. At points, her movements are edited like a stop-motion film, and it gives the video a surreal, dream-like logic before showing Kinlaw’s long and seemingly final descent into darkness.

New Video: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Return with an Expansive, Epic, and Blistering New Single

So if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock sextet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. 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 interestingly each album revealed a band that has relentlessly experimented with its overall sound and songwriting approach with their earliest releases blending 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.”

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, 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, the album’s tracks are separated into three separate chapters and the album’s first single “Chapter 3: Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe” is an epic 13 minute, shape-shifting, felt-melting bit of prog rock that evokes Biblical visions of the apocalypse — including 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. Interestingly enough, this particular song along with the rest of the material on Murder of the Universe reportedly nods at previously released albums I’m In Your Mind Fuzz and Nonagon Infinity as they all share song recurrent themes and motifs and if you’re paying attention you may catch a snippet at a melody or a riff from them. And while nodding at the concept of wormholes in which you can easily move from past, present and future in a seamless yet mind-altering fashion. These ideas aren’t necessarily contrived,” the band’s Mackenzie explains in press notes. “Sometimes they just happen.” Sonically speaking “Han-Tyuni and the Murder of the Universe” manages to nod at King Crimson, Rush and Black Sabbath simultaneously as it features some impressively textured guitar work and sounds — but while being defiantly, joyously difficult to pigeonhole.

New Video: The Noirish and Bluesy Sounds and Visuals of KaiL Baxley’s “Killin’ Floor”

KaiL Baxley is a Williston, SC-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has seen praise from the likes of NPR and KCRW for a sound that draws heavily from old school soul and Mississippi Delta – – and for songwriting that draws from characters of his life — including an outlaw father, whom he only met once; but whom Baxley insists is a good, decent man; his mother, who was once an inmate at the same state penitentiary James Brown was in — and as Baxley mentions, Brown sang at the prison’s church and later taught a shy, young Baxley how to dance; his wise and very dear grandfather, whose anecdotes and wisdom he still quotes to this day; and the best guitar player, he personally ever met, his small town’s local mechanic. But along with that, his material draws from his own life and experiences. At one point Baxley was a Golden Gloves champion, with a chance of competing for the US Olympic boxing team before a run in with the law and a gunshot wound on his left shoulder sidetracked that dream. Sometime later, as a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Baxley left his small town and drove across the country with a few dollars and his guitar. And when he arrived in Los Angeles, he slept in an RV parked on Selma Blvd to pay for the studio time to record his full-length debut, Heat Stroke/The Wind and the War, an effort that went on to be nominated as NPR’s album of the year.

Building on his growing reputation as a singer/songwriter, Baxley’s sophomore effort A Light that Never Dies was released last year to critical praise from KCRW and NPR, who hailed the album as a reflection of the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter’s greatest talent — seeing beauty in our darkest and most desperate moments. Interestingly, with the release of “Killin’ Floor” and “High on the Moon” earlier this year, the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter continues with the bluesy and soulful sound that won him critical praise and national attention.

“Killin’ Floor,” Baxley’s first single of 2017 draws heavily on classic, back water blues, “the acapella, foot stomping kinda thing you find in the rural south where I’m from,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains. “The song stems from the feeling of you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” Sonically speaking, the slow-burning song sounds as though it bears the dusty, old-timey imprint of legendary singer/songwriter and producer T. Bone Burnett — thanks in part to a sparse, atmospheric arrangement featuring shuffling guitar chords, brief bursts of soulful organ, gently padded drumming that gives Baxley’s soulful vocals enough room to express a familiar, timeless and visceral ache.

Directed by Ryan Sheehy and based on a general idea that both Sheehy and Baxley came up with about a Black Widow type, driving into the desert to bury the young lover, she just killed, the recently released, cinematically shot video features Baxley’s friend Michelle Forbes as the female lead. And while possessing an old-fashioned sensuality, there’s a palpable sense of dread an unease throughout.

New Video: Up-and-coming British Band The Orielles Poke Fun at Celebrity Culture in Visuals for “Sugar Tastes Like Salt”

Comprised of 21-year-old Sidonie B Hand-Halford, her 18-year-old sister Esmé Dee Hand-Halford and their 17-year-old best friend Henry Carlyle Wade, the Halifax, UK-based indie rock trio The Orielles have developed a reputation as one of Northern England’s “most exciting local bands of recent years” and their hometown’s best-kept musical secrets, the trio can trace their origins to when the Hand-Halford sisters met Wade at a house party and bonded over their shared love of Stateside 90s alt rock and indie rock.

With a reputation that had preceded them, Heavenly Recordings head Jeff Barrett caught the band opening for their new labelmates The Parrots in late 2016 and immediately signed them to the label. This year may be a huge year for the young British indie rockers as they played at the Heavenly Weekender Festival at Hebden Bridge last year, and they will be embarking on their first UK/EU tour next month; but in the mean time, the trio’s Heavenly Recordings debut single “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” is an expansive 8 minute track that draws influence from psych rock, New Wave and post-punk while lyrically the band makes references to several Quentin Tarantino movies including Deathproof. And the whole thing is held together by a sinuous and funky bass line that sonically reminds me of The Mallard’s incredible Finding Meaning in Deference. And much like The Mallard‘s last album, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” possesses a surprising self-assuredness that belies their youth. It’s an impressive and forceful release that has me excited to hear more from them.

Based on a concept by the members of The Orielles, the recently released music video for “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” was filmed and edited by Josh Bentley and stars the members of the band, along with Thomas Walmsley, Sam Frost and others in what the band describes as “a tale of hedonism, glamour and deceit . . . ” And as they do so, the band poke some sadistic fun at pop culture, the adulation and pretense of fame for the sake of fame, shitty talk shows, and even themselves.