Tag: music video

New Video: Paris-based Synth Pop Act Superjava Releases a Funky Club Banger

The emerging Paris-based, disco and funk-influenced electro pop act Superjava features one of the most diverse lineups I’ve come across in some time — its members hail from Jakarta, Indonesia; Lima, Peru; and Paris, France. The act can trace its origins to when its founding duo Archi and Alex met back in 2015 while they were studying at Berklee College of Music. The pair began crafting funky riffs — and when they relocated to Paris, they met the band’s third and final member Arnuad. 

The band’s debut EP, Javaland established the band’s breezy, hook-driven take on synth pop. As the band explains, Javaland’s follow-up, Soul Dance EP, which is slated for release later this year, “has two main goals: put a smile on your face and make you dance.” Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, the Shapes-era Miami Horror-like “Dance For Me” is centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a big brass sample, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thumping beats and an infectious hook featuring soulful backing vocals is a a feel good, club-banger meant to get you — and that pretty your thing you’ve been eying for the past three songs onto the dance floor. 

Directed by Dixhuit Prod, the recently released video features the brightly dressed members of Superjava along with a backing vocal section perfuming the song in front of a joyous party of young people getting down — and it’s fitting. 

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New Video: Montreal’s Jonathan Emilie Releases an Infectious Dancehall Banger

Jonathan Emile is rising Montreal-born and based, Jamaican-Canadian singer/songwriter.  Emile’s latest album, the Paul Cargnello and Christopher Cargnello-co-produced Spaces In Between finds the Jamaican-Canadian singer/songwriter delving deep into his roots with the album’s material borrowing from several styles of Jamaican music, including acoustic and traditional roots, reggae pop, Dancehall, dub and hip-hop. Released through Montreal-based record label, MindPeaceLove Records, the album is the first album by a Quebec-based artist to be distributed through Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong International. 

So far two singles off the album have been released to praise by the media internationally — the energetic “Savanna” and the gospel-folk influenced, acoustic ballad “Moses.”  The album’s third and latest single is the hook-driven and breezy dancehall anthem “Just A Likkle More.” Centered around bursts of shimmering guitar, thumping beats. an upbeat riddim, and Emilie’s easy-going and mellifluous vocals, the song is a blast of summer warmth — and perhaps more important, an old-school, feel good love song. It’s the sort of song that will make you find that special someone and do that old-school two-step with them. 

Directed by Pete Beng, the recently released video for “Just A Likkle More” was cinematically shot in Westmoreland Jamaica. Throughout the video, the viewer gets a taste of daily life in Westmoreland, as we follow its protagonists — a beautiful and madly in love Black couple. And much like the accompanying song, the video is upbeat and playful. 

New Video: Salt Lake City’s Choir Boy Releases a Mischievous 80s Influenced Visual for Shimmering Pop Confection “Complainer”

Fronted by its Cleveland-born, Salt Lake City-based founder, frontman and creative mastermind, singer/songwriter Adam Klopp, the rising indie pop act Choir Boy derives its name from an insult that was given to Klopp in his early teens when he fronted some of his earliest bands. Given Klopp’s religious upbringing and angelic voice, the insult at the time, may have been both fair and fitting. 

After graduating high school, Klopp left Ohio for college in Utah. Although, his college career was short-lived, he left religion behind and quickly integrated into Provo’s and Salt Lake City’s underground music and art scenes, eventually starting Choir Boy. With the release of the project’s full-length debut, 2016’s Passive With Desire, Klopp’s work drew comparisons to Scott Walker, Kate Bush and Talk Talk.

Klopp’s Choir Boy debut won the attention of Dais Records, and building upon a growing profile, he released “Sunday Light” in 2018, which was followed by a reissue of Passive With Desire on vinyl and CD. Recently, Klopp has filled out the band with a permanent lineup: Chaz Costello (bass, sax), Jeff Kleinman (keys) and Michael Paulson (guitar). Each member has brought their unique influences to the table, helping to develop subtly more dynamic sound for the band — one in which, there’s a bit of post-punk grit and 80s-influenced swing to the mix. 

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release, Choir Boy’s sophomore album Gathering Swans is the first bit of recorded output with the band’s new lineup. And importantly, while seemingly drawing from Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, The Cleaners from Venusand others, the material features Klopp’s achingly earnest and angelic falsetto, expressing those emotions that are particularly difficult to name. 

The album’s first single is the dance floor friendly  “Complainer.”  Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, some industrial-like drum machine and organic drumming, a looping and shimmering guitar line, an ehe enormous and rousingly anthemic hook and Klopp’s achingly tender falsetto, the song — to my ears, at least — seems like a synthesis between Meat Is Murder-era The Smiths, Tears for Fears and contemporaries like Washed Out. Interestingly, Klopp explains that the song “marked a shift in lyrical tone from previous releases. While many of our earlier songs serve as flowery lamentations of loss and grief, ‘Complainer’ snakily examines the self absorption of sadness. The opening line Oh my life was something I privately uttered while stewing over daily anxieties. It became comical to me that I would express my self pity like that, in earnest when my struggles seemed so relatively tame.  The song continues, It’s a phrase so funny when it’s spoken so sincere. But it’s not that bad, I’ve never really had it worse. I’m just a complainer. ‘Complainer’ multi-tasks as a pop song and a reminder to keep my privilege in check.”

Directed by the members of Choir Boy, edited by Choir Boy’s Adam Klopp and featuring an action cameo by Sam Rodriguez, the recently released video for “Complainer” is a decidedly lo-fi, fittingly 80s-inspired visual split between footage of the band playing the song in random locations while mischievously revealing the band’s involvement in a seedy, back alley, Fight Club-like fighting ring. 

New Video: Emerging Canadian Singer Songwriter Dana Gavanski Releases a Gorgeous Meditation on the Passing of Time

Dana Gavanski is an emerging Vancouver-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter, who grew up in an artistic home — her father is a filmmaker and her mother is a painter. Gavanski has long harbored a desire to sing. The rising Canadian singer/songwriter relocated to Montreal to study, and as the story goes, during her senior year of college, her former partner left a guitar behind, and she decided to that it was the perfect time to re-learn the instrument. Ironically, she didn’t immediately go into music: she spent a summer as her producer father’s assistant in the Laurentians, working a derelict hotel-turned office that according to Gavanski looked like something out of The Shining.

The long days behind a computer cemented her her desire to make music, “because it was impossible to play that I needed to, in order to feel like it was real,” she says. The income she earned and saved that summer, funded a year of writing religiously, eventually leading to her debut EP, 2017’s Spring Demos, which the rising Canadian singer/songwriter describes as “whatever was coming out of me. A flood.”

Slated for a March 27, 2020 release, Gavanski’s full-length debut Yesterday Is Gone reportedly reflects her aim “to make something bigger, more thought through.” Steeped in determination, uncertainty and a simple desire to write a good song, the album’s material took shape after she returned from a writing residency in Banff, Alberta. She left the residency resolved not to worry about her songs being “too obvious.” She also began to learn the art of empty time, of being alone with her emotions, of losing herself in a landscape. And naturally, she considered how she might be able to use writing as a way to make sense of her life after a tumultuous breakup and a relocation to a new city.

Feeling adrift in Toronto, Gavanski struggled to make herself feel at home and connected, but her solitude allowed her to develop a grounding writing routine: she kept office-style hours at her bedroom desk, writing every day until she felt that she was starting to understand the writing process — and more important, to see that transforming a burning desire into something clear and tangible is a delicate and vulnerable act. That it often means letting things happen as they’re meant to happen, to accept losing some degree of control.

Yesterday Is Gone is co-produced by the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter, Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason and Tunng’s and LUMP’s Mike Lindsay. While Gleason helped Gavanski bring out the tunes, Lindsay’s input marked “the beginning of developing a sound that was closer to what I had in my head,” Gavanski explains. Excited by the other elements of a song introduced during production, Gavanski and Lindsay were keen on finding essential things, not overblowing, keeping things bare and letting the elements speak for themselves.

The album’s material shapeshifted as it passed through the hands of its production team, taking on different tastes, feelings and visions. When Gavanski performed the songs with a band, they found a new and very different form. She was intrigued by performers like David Bowie and Aldous Harding, who inhabit different personalities on stage, physically tuning themselves to their music. “Watching these kinds of performances,” Dana says in press notes, “I feel my body longing to express myself in exaggerations … to leave behind self-consciousness and become this energy.”

Interestingly, a three-month trip to Serbia in late 2018 pushed performance to the forefront of Gavanski’s mind: she took singing lessons to learn how to sing with the resonance that defines traditional song. Inspired by the bombast of the country’s music of the 50s, 60s and 70s, including the high-energy kafana or cafe music, all which were rooted in expressive pouts as it was in vocal resonance, the trip created a yearning to completely inhabit herself on stage. “I often feel we’re all just these controlled bodies,” she says. “Sometimes I just want to make a snarl with my lip and keep it there.” 

Expressive urges run all throughout the album’s material with each component being meticulously and purposefully placed to yield a deeply sincere response to the chaos and uncertainty of human emotion. “Often we have to go a little far in one direction to learn something about ourselves,” the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter says. 

Album title track “Yesterday Is Gone” is a hauntingly gorgeous yet highly unusual song: centered around a playful 7/4 meter, the song is actually a bittersweet meditation on longing, nostalgia and the passing of time that sonically recalls Man Who Sold the World-era David Bowie, late 60s pop and fellow Canadian folk act Loving. “‘Yesterday Is Gone’ is more of a straight pop song than the others on the album,” says Gavanski. “It’s about the intractability and muddiness of time passing. At the time I wrote the song, I was super into 60s pop music and the idea of what makes a classic song classic. I was toying between being more obvious in my lyrics and progressions while still tending to feelings hard to describe.”

Directed by Nina Vroemen, the recently released and gorgeously shot video for “Yesterday Is Gone” is set in Montreal’s Metro. We follow the emerging Canadian-born singer/songwriter in brightly colored 70s-styled through the Montreal transportation system’s colorful, modernist, late 60s-early 70s architecture. The video feels like feverish dream punctuated by loneliness and the gentle hum of the trains pulling in and out of each station. Of course, commuting underground is where space and time are endlessly distorted: everything is a constant state of arrivals and departures. (Unsurprisingly, the video immediately brought back memories of commuting from my hotel room to various venues and events in Montreal. I think I’ve been in two of the stations featured in the video, too.)

New Video: Melbourne’s RVG Releases an Intimate Visual for Aching and Anthemic “I Used To Love You”

Romy Vager is an Adelaide, Australia-born singer/songwriter, who as a teenaged goth kid runaway left her hometown, drawn to Melbourne, Australia. Upon her arrival in Melbourne, Vager joined her first band, Sooky La La, a project that crafted material centered around anger and discordance. Sooky La La were misunderstood, never found a following and routinely cleared rooms. Eventually, the band split up and as a result, Vager committed herself to write songs that people would actually like and want to listen to by doing what countless other aspiring songwriters hope to do: match feelings of alienation, loneliness and feeling misunderstood to melody, introspection and enormous, soul-stirring hooks and refrains. 

For a while, Vager was living at The Bank, an erstwhile recording, rehearsal and performance space that took over an old bank building in Preston, Australia, a suburb about six miles from Melbourne. The Bank was a scene unto itself, featuring a handful of bands that would soon become acclaimed, including Jalala, Gregor and Hearing, who all played, practiced and lived there. Naturally, living in an enormous space surrounded by musicians, who were constantly working and refining their work was profoundly inspiring to the Adelaide-born, Melbourne-based singer/songwriter. 

Back in September 2015, Vager launched a tape of solo material that hadn’t actually been pressed and landed her first solo show at The Bank’s downstairs performance space. For her live solo debut, Vager recruited Drug Sweat‘s and The Galaxy Folk’s Angus Bell, her Bank neighbor, Gregor’s and Hearing’s Reuben Bloxham and Rayon Moon‘s Marc Nolte to be a one-off backing band. And as the story goes, once they began playing together, they all realized — without having to say it aloud — that they needed to continue as a band. Shortly after that show, they initially formed as Romy Vager Group before shortening it to RVG.

RVG’s 2017 full-length debut A Quality of Mercy was recorded live off the floor at Melbourne’s beloved and iconic rock ‘n’ roll pub, The Tote Hotel. Initially released to little fanfare — no press releases, no music videos, no press photos of the band or any significant press push, the album’s material was heavily inspired by The Go-Betweens, The Soft Boys and The Smiths and centered by Vager’s passionate and achingly vulnerable vocals. Much to the band’s surprise, their full-length debut received attention and praise across their native Australia and elsewhere — and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the band caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed the band and re-issued A Quality of Mercy, which led to a much larger profile internationally. 

Building upon a growing profile, the band then went on world tours with Shame and Kurt Vile. Late last year, the band released the Victor Van Vugt-produced single “Alexandria.” Written as a response to the immediate aftermath of Brexit and Trump, the song is appropriately urgent and ardent. Featuring jangling guitars, pummeling drums, a rousingly anthemic hook and Vager’s earnestly plaintive and gravely howl, the song finds the band gaining a subtle studio sheen — without scrubbing the grit and honesty that has won them attention. 

2020 will be a momentous year for the rising Melbourne-based band. They recently signed to Fire Records, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated sophomore album Feral on April 24, 2020 throughout the world — excluding Australia and New Zealand, where the album will be released through their longtime label home Our Golden Friend. And to mark this exciting new era for the band, they recently announced Feral’s second single, the devastating and heartbreaking, anthemic ballad “I Used to Love You.” Simple and sincere, the song tells a familiar and fairly universal tale: a narrator, who proudly reclaims themselves and their lives in the aftermath of an embittering breakup. The song’s narrator may be proud and defiant; but there’s the sad acknowledgment of something deeply important coming to an end, iAnd while firmly establishing the band’s reputation for crafting an enormous, heartfelt hooks centered around personal experience, the song manages to recall Concrete Blonde’s “Joey” and R.E.M.’s “One I Love.” 

Directed by documentarian and narrative filmmaker Tom Campbell and shot by Edward Goldner, the recently released video for “I Used To Love You,” is a cinematic and intimate video featuring a contemplative Romy Vager, who at points sings the song’s lyrics directly at the viewer — and with the same earnestness and heartache as the accompanying song. “There’s a lot of power in reclaiming yourself but also a lot of sadness. I adore Tom’s video and feel like it captures the energy of the song perfectly,” RVG’s Romy Vager says in press notes. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Returns with a Shimmering and Ambivalent Pop Confection

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — yes, 10 years! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma. Originally formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, the act has featured members spread out across the globe most of their history together, with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Over the course of the band’s history, they’ve received praise across the blogosphere and from internationally recognized outlets for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s inspired synth pop sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals.

Late last year, the acclaimed indie electro pop act signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who will release the band’s highly-anticipated, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequence. Slated for a March 13, 2020 release, the album thematically focuses on distance — both real and metaphorically. with the album’s material touching upon romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment and being out of reach. 

The JOVM mainstays started off 2020 with the release of the album’s first official single “Cool For A Second.” Christie Simpson’s ethereal, wisp-like vocals effortlessly glided over softly padded beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and soaring hooks — and while being simultaneously hopeful and melancholy, the song thematically was centered around the idea that life doesn’t always provide the answers or closure you may want. But it manages to capture the sense of relief that comes from recognizing and saying the truth — even if only to yourself. 

“Southwark,” Truth or Consequence’s latest single is a cinematic and swooning bit of synth pop, centered around a New Order-like bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, an anthemic and infectious hook paired with Christie Simpson’s ethereal cooing. Much like the album’s previously released material, the song is somewhat ambivalent: there’s hopefulness in finding love and being in love, but the melancholy awareness that nothing is perfect and all things come to an end, one way or the other. 

Sharing the meaning behind the track, songwriter Christie Simpson explained that the song “…feels like a dedication, a mantra, a promise to myself. I wrote the chorus line about the someone in particular that I was with at the time, but it now feels like a universal truth for my relationships, a dedication that goes to every person I’ve loved and those that I’m still loving now. I can be quite dramatic in love and relationships, and I don’t always do or say the right thing when I should, but I do throw myself in completely (for better or worse). I loved that idea of repeating that dedication – ‘I am imperfectly yours’.” Adding, “This track has haunted me a little every time I listen, there’s something melancholy that sits in there alongside that overall feeling of quiet elation. I suppose that speaks to the classic dichotomy of love and relationships – nothing is ever 100% good or perfect, and that’s what I am constantly trying to come to terms with.”

Directed and shot by the members of the JOVM mainstay act, the recently released video is split between footage of the band performing the band in the studio, the band at the beach at sunset with Lorenzo Fanton’s specifically created font superimposed over the proceedings — essentially creating a visual that’s part lyric video and part official video. “A bit of a Yumi tradition is having at least one video on a record we shot ourselves,” the band’s Josh Burgess explains in press notes. “While we’re not going to be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon, it’s always fun to grab a camera and start shooting. It felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up having us all sitting there in a photo studio mere moments after the centerfold picture of our record. From there we headed off to the beach for sunset. Christie wanted to get into the water but the threat of hypothermia proved too much! It’s also the first video/time we’ve ever revealed lyrics so overtly! The fantastic Lorenzo Fanton’s typeface was too good to pass up!”

New Video: Minsk and Berlin-based Duo Super Besse Release an Old-Timey Super 8 Filmed Visual for Propulsive “Rodina”

With the release of their first two albums, 2015’s 63610 and 2017’s La Nuit, the members of Super Besse — Minsk-based Alex Sinica (bass) and Minsk-born and Berlin-based Maksim Kulsha (vocals) — went on tours across the European Union, Russia and China, developing a profile nationally and internationally as a post-punk outfit. Building upon a growing profile, “Holod” appears in the major motion picture Hotel Mumbai. 

Interestingly, since the release of La Nuit, the duo have radically reinvented their sound, with the end result being the band’s forthcoming third album Un Reve. Slated for a March 13, 2020 release through Riga, Latvia-based label I Love You Records, the album which was record in Berlin and Minsk finds the act moving heavily towards an electronic-based sound featuring rapid-fire techno-like beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and motorik grooves — as you’ll hear on Un Reve’s P.I.L.-like first single “Rodina.” ‘We wanted to change our sound, to bring something fresh and unusual. Over the last years we were listening to a lot of electronic music,” the band’s Alex Sinica says in press notes. “So as a result we decided to move into this direction and created something more digital, but still true to our own spirit.” The band’s Maksim Kulsha adds, “Also, I moved to Berlin, and all the creation process from music to lyrics was something new for us, because Alex is based in Minsk. We rethought the process of creating music, as well as the semantic and textual presentation of our material. It was an enjoy- able but also tough work, and a great experience.” 

Much like the rest of the album, “Rodina,” which translates into English as homeland features lyrics written and sung in Russian that thematically touch upon existential topics including self-identification in our increasingly smaller, globalized world — and in this case, while the song is a propulsive, club friendly anthem, the track is centered around an urgent warming message. 

Produced by Anastasiya Limantava, and edited by Yauheni Sinichenko, the recently released video for “Rodina” is centered around slickly edited found footage and footage shot by friends and fans in Belarus and of the duo’s live shows. 

New Video: Los Angeles’ Carrousel Releases a Creepy Visual for Anthemic “Psychobabble Drama”

Los Angeles-based duo Carrousel — Joel Piedt and Sharon Piedt — have developed a reputation for crafting a unique sound that draws from a broad and eclectic array of genres and styles including blues, psych rock, shoegaze and New Wave, centered around pop melodies. 2020 will be a busy year for the duo: they released the I Wasn’t Well EP last month, which will be promptly followed by the forthcoming full-length album Magnificent Desolation during the Spring. 

I Wasn’t Well EP’s lead single, the brooding “Pyschobabble Drama” features rousingly anthemic hooks, shimmering synth arpeggios, industrial clang and clatter, stuttering and Piedt’s plaintive vocals — and while seemingly recalling Primal Scream, Portishead, Garbage, The xx and others, the track is largely inspired by Joel’s Piedt’s recurring nightmares. And as a result, the song possesses a feverish and anxious quality, as though its narrator has just awoken from a sweat-inducing and horrifying dream.

Directed by Dylan Plyfair, the recently released video is split between old-timey horror film footage and performance video of Joel Piedt and Sharon Piedt performing the song with their backing band, which emphasizes the song’s surreal and nightmarish air. “The idea was to integrate footage from Dracula with us as we were playing,” Joel Piedt explains in press notes, “on the walls, on our instruments and faces, so that we’re totally immersed in it.” 

New Video: Savages’ Jehnny Beth Releases a Feverish and Sensual Visual for “Flower”

Camille Berthomier is a Poitiers, Vienne, France-born, London-based singer/songwriter, actress, author and musician, professionally known as Jehnny Beth — and as the frontwoman of the Mercury Prize-nominated, critically applauded act Savages. With Savages, Beth has developed a unique lyrical perspective and stage presence that has captivated audiences across the world for the better part of the past 15 years or so. 

Interestingly, Beth’s solo debut To Love Is To Live, which is slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Caroline Records finds the longtime Savages frontwoman boldly stepping into and claiming the spotlight. Recorded in Los Angeles, London and Paris, the album finds Beth collaborating with an eclectic array of producers and artists including Flood, Atticus Ross, longtime collaborator and Savages bandmate Johnny Hostile, Adam “Cecil” Barlett, The xx’s Romy Madley Croft,IDLES’ Joe Talbot and Golden Globe-winning actor Cilian Murphy. Reportedly, the album is ad ark and cinematic meditation on the strangeness of being alive. Thematically, the album sees Beth tapping into and accessing the darkest and least comfortable parts of herself to craft material that’s cathartic, abrasive, fearlessly honest and vulnerable. 

To Love Is To Live’s second and latest single “Flower” is a brooding and atmospheric track centered around a murky and tempestuous pulse, shimming synth arpeggios and Beth’s sultry cooing and crooning. The end result is a song that’s simmers with a feverish and obsessive lust. Reportedly written about a pole dance at Los Angeles’ Jumbo’s Clown Room, the song details the complicated and confusing depths of sexuality, desire, possession and loss. 

Directed by Peaky Blinders’ Anthony Byrne, the recently released video for “Flower” continues an ongoing collaboration with the acclaimed director. Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the video — fittingly enough — is a fever dream that captures the intersection of fantasy, desire, longing and loss. 

Along with the release of her solo debut, the acclaimed French-born, British-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress will be releasing her first book, a collection of erotic short stories paired with photography from her longtime collaborator and bandmate Johnny Hostile. Slated for a June 11, 2020 release through White Rabbit, Crimes Against Love Manifesto (C.A.L.M.) will help to establish Beth and Hostile as two of the most provocative and forward-thinking voices in contemporary fiction and erotic art.