Tag: Smoke Season

New Video: In The Valley Below Releases the Surreal Yet Symbolic Visuals for Rousingly Anthemic, New Single “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)”

With the release of their full-length debut The Belt, which spawned the viral hit single “Peaches,” In The Valley Below,  the husband and wife duo Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob first received international attention — including “Peaches” debut on BBC Radio 1, as well as commercial success in Germany and France, with the song topping the French Alternative Charts. A year or so after the release of The Belt, Gail and Jacob received national attention with “Peaches” becoming a staple of American alternative radio, which lead to appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. Adding to a growing profile, the duo went on a relentless touring schedule across both the European Union and the US that included sets at Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, Austin City Limits, Rock En Seine and others, which has resulted in a growing international fan base that has been clamoring for new material from the duo. Considering that the duo effortlessly meshes elements of art rock, synth pop, the blues, arena rock and more in a way that’s reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Smoke Season, it shouldn’t be surprising that Gail and Jacob have seen such rapid critical and commercial success.

The husband and wife duo’s latest EP, Elephant was released last month, and the effort was recorded in the basement studio of the 93-year old home the couple purchased upon relocating from Los Angeles to Grand Rapids, MI. Interestingly enough, the EP reportedly consists of some of the duo’s most personal, ambitious and politically-charged material they’ve written do date; in fact, Elephant’s first single “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)” was inspired by the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO and its immediate aftermath. “All the uprising happening in Ferguson was powerful,” the duo explain. “Sad, angry and feeling helpless, we sang about it. It’s our way of keeping the issue alive. Racism is real, we don’t know how to stop it, but we can make people think about it.” And while being a rousingly, anthemic and ambitious song — a song that feels and sounds both arena rock and radio friendly — its an earnest plea to the listener that there’s much work to be done to make our a world a fairer place, where all lives, whether Black, Asian, Latino, First Nation, Trans, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gender Nonconforming, etc. will actually matter. The song’s coda, which features a local gospel choir led by Debra L. Perry, adds to the song’s enormous sound, while adding a deeper emotional wallop to the proceedings. 

Directed by the band’s Angela Gail and Chris Johnson, the recently released visuals for “Bloodhands (Oh My Fever)” possess a nightmarish, fever dream-like quality that symbolically touches upon race, sexuality, religion while reminding the viewer that ultimately our fates and the fate of the world as we know it will lie solely in the hands of our children. 

New Video: Smoke Season’s Sultry, Synth Pop Cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”

Just in time for the Halloween season, the members of Smoke Season released a minimalist synth pop cover of one of my favorite Talking Heads songs “Psycho Killer” in which Wortman’s sultry vocals are paired with cascading layers of shimmering synths, glitchy and stuttering drum programming and wobbling low end. And while the Talking Heads version conveyed a tense and anxious neurosis, the Smoke Season version makes losing one’s mind and killing darkly sexy — much like the visuals for the song, which features Wortman and Rosen dressed in tuxedos with scenes of modern dancers, dancing to the song, footage of trees coming into and out of shadow and the like.