Tag: Video Review

New Video: Up-and-Coming Italian Shoegazers Solitude in Apathy Release a Surrealistic and Symbolic Visual for “The Other”

Naples, Italy-based indie act Solitude in Apathy — Santina Vasaturo (vocals, bass), Gennaro Cristiano (guitar) and Diego Niola (drums) — formed back in 2016, and since their formation the Italian act has quickly forged a reputation for crafting a sound that meshes elements of shoegaze, dark wave, alt rock and goth. They’ve also opened for internationally acclaimed, Italian shoegazers Stella Diana and Rome in Monochrome. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native Italy and elsewhere, the trio’s Giacomo Salzano-produced, self-titled EP is slated for release this Friday — and the EP’s lead single, the “The Other” will help further cement the up-and-coming Italian trio’s sound: towering layers of fuzzy and distorted guitars, propulsive bass lines, forceful and dramatic and forceful drumming and ethereal vocals drenched in reverb floating over the dreamy mix. In some way, the single strikes me as being like a seamless synthesis of Sixousie and the Banshees and 4AD Records heyday — and unsurprisingly, the song received praise from outlets across the European Union and States, as well as airplay on DKFM. 

Directed by Gaetano Massa, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “The Other” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring blindfolded characters walking through an abandoned and dilapidated house, full of rotting books, broken brick and chipped paint. We also see the band performing in another room while all of this is going on. 

New Video: Iceland’s Laura Second Releases a Surreal “120 Minutes”-like Visual for “Crop Circles”

Laura Second is a fairly mysterious multi-national indie rock act based in Iceland. Their forthcoming full-length debut Ending Friendships is slated for a November release through Icelandic indie label Why not? Plötuútgáfa! Records. The album was recorded last winter in a cabin in the Icelandic countryside — and interestingly enough, the album’s first single “Crop Circles” is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV-inspired track: alternating slow-burning and dreamy verses and explosive, power chord-driven choruses. And while seemingly bearing a resemblance to the likes of The Breeders, The Posies, Pixies and others, the song possesses a drunken and uneasy lurch.

The recently released video features two Icelandic children attentively watching a surrealistic TV show on a videocassette player. It’s appropriately bizarre — and much like its accompanying single manages to emphasize the oddness of the song.

New Video: Take an Animated Microscopic Journey to the Moon with JOVM Mainstays Cones

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones. And as you may recall, the duo which is comprised of Jonatan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for the likes Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Micheal Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of their band back to their stint playing together as members of New York-based indie act Icewater, an act that eventually became the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After releasing a string of critically applauded singles and the release of their debut EP, the duo went to a friend’s studio to collaborate with a producer for the first time. They recorded what they thought would be their full-length debut but ultimately, the duo decided to scrap that early effort, as it didn’t feel like a proper Cones album to them. So they went back to their home studio and started their full-length album from scratch. The end result is their highly-anticipated full-length debut Pictures of Pictures, which is slated for release next week through Dangerbird Records. 

“Moonstone,” Picture of Pictures’ latest single will further cement the duo’s reputation for carefully crafted and breezy psych pop that somehow manages to owe a debt to 70s AM rock. Centered around a hazy nostalgia and a soaring hook, their latest single — to my ears at least — seems like a seamless synthesis of Steely Dan and MGMT, but at its core the song is a swooning and delicate love song. 

Featuring line animation from the band’s Jonathan Rosen, the recently released video is a trippy and microscopic journey to and from the moon, while evoking the song’s aching longing. 

New Video: Ether Feather Releases a Surreal Italian Thriller-Inspired Visual for Expansive Album Single “New Abyss”

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch, The Black-Eyed Peas and others.

The Los Angeles-based trio can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.  “By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. Encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the members of Ether Feather fully embraced the stylistic shift and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory.  “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their recently released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. Last month, I wrote about “Cayenne,” a track that was one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge rock as it was centered around a dream-like melody for its verse, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hook and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. “New Abyss,” the album’s latest single is an trippy and expansive track that’s one part free-flowing jazz fusion, one part prog rock, and one part psych rock freakout — and while revealing some extraordinary musicianship and a telepathic sort of simpatico, the song will further cement the act’s genre-defying sound and approach. Written and directed by Matt Hewitt, the recently released video for “New Abyss” stars the band in a surreal, feverish, Italian thriller-inspired visual full of paranoiac dread, dopplegangers, and unease. 

New Video: Chicago’s The Hecks Release a “Flashdance”-Inspired Visual for Album Single “Flash”

Formed back in 2012 as a duo featuring founding members members Andy Mosiman (guitar, vocals) and Zach Herbert (drums, percussion), the Chicago-based indie act The Hecks recorded their 2016 self-titled debut with recording engineer and guitarist Dave Vetteraino. And by the following year, Vetteraino joined the band as a full-time member. 

Now, as you may recall the band’s forthcoming and long-awaited sophomore album My Star has taken three years to write and record. After recording an early version of the album in 2017, the band started playing live shows with Jeff Grauper (synths, keys). The members of the band found that Graupner’s synth playing added some welcomed heft and swagger to their new material. The band reworked and re-arranged much of the material they originally wrote in 2017 to accommodate Graupner. But while they were reworking the material, the band decided that to completely scrap the early recordings, eventually rebuilding the material to further incorporate Graupner and his skills. And as a result, My Star is reportedly a decided leap forward sonically for the band, as the album’s material draws from Manscape-era Wire, Paisley Park nu-funk, and abstract new wave and art rock.

Album single “So 4 Real” was a jagged bit of post-punk, centered around a motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of synth and Mosiman’s plaintive vocals. And while nodding at XTC (“Mayor of Simpleton” specifically comes to mind) and Amoral-era Violens, the track was essentially a swooning and soulful love song that sounds as though it should be the part of the soundtrack of a quirky, 80s rom-com. “Flash,” My Star is an angular, neurotic take on XTC-like post punk featuring squiggling bursts of neon-tinged synths, propulsive syncopated drumming and lyrics delivered with an ironic sort of detachment. And yet, it evokes the rapid-fire heartbeat of the anxious and desperately in love.  

Produced by the members of The Hecks and featuring a video wall and lamination by Studio Super, the recently released video for “Flash” is a decidedly 80s-inspired, VHS-tape recorded affair as there are references to Flashdance and 80s MTV. It’s a feverish pop fantasy of a bunch of average white guys, who have big dreams — that sadly may never happen. “We stumbled through the whole thing and just leaned in on what was working. The end result reads like the contents of a VHS tape mailed to the president of Columbia Records from some kids from Valparaiso, Indiana, who got grounded right after filming because mom found an empty bottle of poppers in the basement,” The Hecks say in a statement. “Some forgotten relic of an aspiring nobody’s pop fantasy.” 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Swedish-born Singer Songwriter BERG Releases Haunting Visuals for Shimmering and Brooding “What If”

Born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and American mother, the London-based Swedish-American singer/songwriterAlexandra Berglöf, a.k.a BERG grew up on a houseboat on the Swedish island of Djurgården. When Berglöf turned five, she began intensive piano lessons under the strict supervision of a Romanian concert pianist. And by the time she was 13, Berglöf was performing all over Stockholm. While studying to join a piano conservatory, she was simultaneously scouted by pop producers for her vocals; however, after a family tragedy, Berglöf left Sweden and music behind for some time. 

As an adult,. Berglöf relocated to London, where she used music as both a form of escape and as a coping mechanism. She also met her producer and collaborator The Horrors’ Faris Badwan. And with Badwan’s help Berglöf began to explore the disguises and facades we wear and the various sides of ourselves that we die from ourselves and others. Starting off as internal dialogue, BERG’s lyrics are rooted in honest moments of self-reflection. Through her music she hopes to create a world and soundscape that invites listeners to unlock and face the stories that they’ve buried. 

Berglöf’s BERG debut album Fake Love was released earlier this year, and the album pairs Padwans’ ethereal and dream-like production with Berglöf’s gorgeous vocals. Thematically the album’s material explores our international conversations and the constant battles and crises we have within ourselves. “I tend to only show my light to others. I hide my flaws, mistakes and falls, then beat myself up about it,” Berglöf says in press notes. “Maybe by exposing some of those truths, I can stop others from feeling so alone in their darkness.”

Interestingly, “What If,” BERG’s debut single and the album’s first is a sparsely arranged  , Mazzy Star-like track centered around shimmering guitars, gently padded drums and Berglöf’s gorgeous and ethereal vocals. But at the core of the song is a sense of regret over missed chances from cowardice, stupidity, self-doubt and bad timing — including unspoken love. And in some way the song asks the listener an important question: what if you weren’t bound by fear and could reveal how you really feel, would you be where you are right now? How would your life be different?  

Directed by Connor Carver-Carter, the recently released video follows a couple frozen in time at various points in their history together with each particular scene referencing a painting. Each person within the relationship are suffering through an internal struggle, which impacts themselves and their relationships — and throughout you can see the unease, uncertainty and despair as seen through their lack of contact and communication. 

New Video: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Jonathan Bree Releases a Striking Visual for “Waiting On The Moment”

Jonathan Bree is a New Zealand-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to when he was a child: he began writing his own songs when he was nine and performed as a drummer in his cousin’s band until he was 13. This was interrupted for some time, as he was sent to Australia to live with his father, who was an aspiring cult leader. Bree subsequently left home and navigated his teenage years independently. 

When Bree returned to New Zealand, he formed The Brunettes, an indie rock act that released material through Sub Pop Records and his own label, Lil’ Chief Records. The band managed to tour across the world to support their material — but the frustrations of taking the traditional route to success found Bree taking a long hiatus from releasing his own music. During that hiatus though, Bree produced Princess Chelsea’s “The Cigarette Duet” and directed its accompanying music video, which has amassed over 47 million views. 

Bree’s solo debut, 2013’s The Primrose Path was initially released to little fanfare and an unusual bit of promotion — an accompanying album-length video of himself watching TV on his laptop in bed with his girlfriend and cat. His sophomore album, 2015’s A Little Night Music saw the New Zealand-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer embrace a cinematic and classically influenced sound, centered around strong melodies, tight hooks and his brooding baritone crooning lyrics focusing on modern life and love. During the campaign for A Little Night Music, Bree introduced his period piece masked band with the video or “Weird Hardcore” featuring his backing band appearing as though they were in a skewed timeline that some have described as Amadeus meets classic BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Since then, Bree has amassed a cult following around the world for his unique live show which features masked band members in pioneering clothing, set against a backdrop of cinematic projections specifically created for each song. Two dancers also perform other-worldly choreographed routines along with the music.

Bree’s third album, 2018’s Sleepwalking continued a run of material drawing from orchestral pop with the material centered around string and horn arrangements, celeste (a smaller, keyboard operated instrument that kind of sounds like a glockenspiel) and soprano vocals — and while sounding as though it came from a bygone era, the material touches upon avant-garde in a way that’s very modern. Album single “You’re So Cool” and its accompanying video went viral, amassing over 12 million YouTube views, while further cementing his reputation for crafting gorgeous yet brooding pop. 

Centered around a soaring and swooning string arrangement, a sinuous bass line, propulsive drumming, chiming celeste, arpeggiated synths, a remarkably tight hook and Bree’s brooding baritone, “Waiting On The Moment,” his latest single manages to be both carefully crafted and danceable pop that manages to be an uncannily anachronistic synthesis of 60s and 80s pop — with a subtly modern filter. At its core, the song is a breakup song about the lingering ghosts of a past relationship — primarily, the places that you and your former lover once went that had significance between you. Apparently in the song’s case, it’s a karaoke bar that its narrator once went. 

Rather than being a tearjerker ballad full of bitterness, heartache and recrimination, the song revisits the past relationship at its center with a sense of a joy that it all happened and a sense of optimism. As a songwriter once wisely wrong “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” And they’ll be new loves, new places to hold significance and new heartache — but all of it is worth it. 

Directed by Jonathan Bree, the recently released video for “Waiting On The Moment” features Bree, his backing band and dancers performing the song in a sparse studio appearing in the wardrobe they do on stage — with each member covered head-to-toe in white zentai suits, wigs and monochromatic clothing.

New Video: DENM Releases an Ode to Summer and Southern California

Back in 2015, the emerging pop artist DENM was a bedroom producer, playing in a touring band full-time and producing songs on the side in his spare time. “My solo project basically started out as something to do when I was bored on tour,” DENM says in press notes. “We would all have our computers out, making our own music for fun on the road. I remember making this random dance song in the back row of a sprinter and thought it sounded pretty cool. I played it for a few friends and label people, and when they demanded to hear more, I took it to heart.” 

That dance song eventually became his critically applauded and commercially successful debut single “Lit,” a single that Pop Crush called “a garage house-y ode to hedonism and the rush of infatuation.” Within a month of its release, “Lit” amassed over a million streams and landed on the Top 10 of Spotify’s and Hype Machine’s Viral and Hot New Electronic Charts respectively. “Honestly, I just got super lucky,” DENM admits. “I didn’t make the song with the intention of it getting the reaction that it did. I was blown away by how well it did, but it also became somewhat of a curse to me. The people around me at the time wanted to hear more songs just like ‘Lit.’ But that wasn’t who I was or wanted to be as an artist. I’m not really an EDM artist. And I wanted to make music I truly believed in. Unfortunately, not everyone around me understand that, which left me stuck in this tension of wanting to be myself as an artist, but also not wanting to let my team down.” 

Since the release of “Lit,” DENM has been busy discovering who he is an artist, a lengthy process that at one point had him contemplating quitting music altogether. But instead of immediately quitting, he wrote “Life’s Too Short.” “When I wrote ‘Life’s Too Short,’ I had no money, nothing was working, and it seemed like I’d hit the final wall,” DENM shares.  “So as a form of therapy, I wrote a song about how life is too short – how it all flies by so fast. I mean, I remember being a little kid like it was yesterday. And now I’m an adult. Just like that. I’d been so focused on trying to make it, that I wasn’t even enjoying my life. So I decided to try and change my mindset. I let go. I told myself that I was going to be alright. That whatever will be, will be.”

Shortly, after writing “Life’s Too Short,” DENM was in a one-off writing session at Rock Mafia with some of the music industry’s biggest hitmakers. And as the story goes. when he was asked what he had been recently working on, he played a demo of “Life’s Too Short.” The industry folks dug the song, praising his laid-back, yet honest take on life. “Meeting them was life-changing for me,” recalls DENM. “I was so burned out from making music I didn’t like for other people. I told Rock Mafia how hard it was to write and create music under that kind of pressure. They simply responded, ‘Well, what kind of music do you wanna make?’ That question shifted something in me. It gave me this spark of hope inside. The energy in that room felt magical as we listened to the demo of ‘Life’s Too Short.’ I guess that’s where it all started for us. That’s when everything in my life began to change.”

Last year, DENM signed to Rock Mafia as an artist, songwriter and producer. Shortly after signing to Rock Mafia, the production team and the up-and-coming indie artist began working on his recently released Endless Summer EP.  Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, “Blow It Up” is a breezy summertime jam, centered by twinkling and reverb drenched keys, a sinuous bass line, a slick yet infectious hook and DENM’s laid back yet earnest delivery. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Sublime, the song is a subtly anthemic ode to hanging with your crew, getting high and escaping the shiftiness of your own life for a little while at least. Certainly, it’s a familiar theme for an uncertain and uneasy adulthood, which so many of us go through. 

The recently released video is a trippy and fitting ode to all things Southern California as you see DENM and his crew getting stoned under purple skies, playing craps and drinking beer. Others start a barbecue while local kids skateboard nearby. It’s the perfect ode to summer, as yet another year rushes by.