Tag: Video Review

New Video: Introducing the Gender Bending Visuals of Mysterious Parisian Pop Artist Boy Bamboo

Boy Bamboo is a mysterious, up-and-coming Paris-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, and his latest single “Lola” finds the Parisian pop artist pairing his sultry and yearning falsetto with a stark and modern production centered around shimmering guitar chords, thumping beats and arpeggiated synths. It’s sleek and incredibly contemporary — and in a way that recalls Steven A. Clark‘s Fornication Under Consent of the King, Blood Orange and others.

The recently released video for “Lola” is arguably one of the most unique videos I’ve seen this year as it stars the Parisian artist, bending and blurring gender roles as he’s dressed in white and touching his body — but as the video progresses, something is disastrously wrong. It ends suggesting that the video’s protagonist has just had a miscarriage. 

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New Video: Swervedriver Returns with the Wistful and Nostalgic “The Lonely Crowd Fades Into The Air”

Primarily centered around founding and core members Adam Franklin (vocals, guitar) and Jimmy Hartridge (guitar, vocals) and currently featuring Mikey Jones (drums, vibes) and revolving bassists Mick Quinn and Ben Ellis, the renowned Oxford, UK-based alt rock/shoegazer act Swervedriver formed back in 1989. And during their initial run between 1989 and 1998, the band released four full-length albums — 1991’s Raise, 1993’s Mezcal Head, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation and 1998’s 99th Dream — while going through a number of lineup changes, management changes and different labels.

Interestingly by 1993, the band’s lineup settled to include Franklin, Hartridge, Jez Hindmarsh (drums) and Steve George (bass), and with that lineup they developed a reputation for having a much heavier sound than their shoegazer contemporaries — although over the last five years of the band’s initial run, their sound eventually evolved to include elements of psychedelia, pop and indie rock. 

The members of Swervedriver’s longest tenured lineup went on a lengthy hiatus in 1998 in which the individual members went on to pursue a variety of professional and creative pursuits. Franklin embarked on a solo career that would rival Swervedriver’s creative output, first fronting he experimental electro pop/electro folk act Toshack Highway, whose releases ranged from sextet ensemble works to four-track bedroom recordings and then with the more traditionally guitar rock-driven Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody. Hartridge founded a distribution company. Hindmarsh founded Badearth Management, eventually managing Scottish rock act Terra Diablo and others. Interestingly, in early 2005, Franklin, Hartridge, Hindmarsh and George reconvened to collaborate with Castle Music to choose songs on what would be a two disc anthology Juggernaut Rides ’89-’98, which featured 33 tracks remastered from the original DATs. Half of those tracks were non-album tracks  along with four previously unreleased tracks — Shake Appeal’s “Son of  Mustang Ford” demo and the remainder of Swervedriver’s recordings during 1998, which included “Just Sometimes” and “Neon Lights Glow.” The compilation was critically applauded and in some way, it helped to build up interest in the shoegaze pioneers’ work.

2006 was a busy year for the members of Swervedriver — Franklin began collaborating with Interpol‘s Sam Fogarino in Magnetic Morning. Hindmarsh went on to publish Rider, which chronicled his experiences and observations on the road touring with the band between 1992 and 1998. Somewhat inspired by the successful 2004 reunion of the Pixies, Franklin, Hartridge and Hindmarsh went on an international reunion tour in 2008, garnering the attention and acclaim that evaded them a decade earlier. 2015’s I Wasn’t Born To Lose You was the first album of original material from the band in 17 years — although they managed to remain consistent, as they went through another series of lineup changes between the reunion tour and Born.

Swervedriver’s sixth full-length album and second of their reunion, Future Ruins is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Dangerbird Records. Having written and recorded  I Wasn’t Born To Lose You immediately after their

Australian tour, the band decided to repeat the process after a lengthy Stateside tour, playing Raise and Mezcal Head in their entirety. That’s a good way to record,” Franklin says in press notes, “because you’ve literally just seen the whites of the audience’s eyes and you’re thinking, ‘If that audience from last night were here now…’ You can’t get too mellow. We came home with 30 different songs.” 10 more days of vocals and overdubs at Brighton UK‘s Seaside Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer TJ Doherty quickly followed.

The album’s 10 tracks were mixed earlier this year, as the band was touring across Europe. And while the material finds the band retaining the escapist vibes that they’ve been long known for, the album’s material is centered around an uneasy tension, inspired by our current sociopolitical moment. Now, as you may recall, Future Ruins second single “Drone Lover,” actually predated the Future Ruins sessions. Although interestingly enough, as the band’s Adam Franklin explained in press notes, “I have no recollection of where this tune came from. It’s a song that’s been knocking around for a few years, but for some reason had never been presented to anyone until we were in the studio this time and I clicked play on the demo while searching for something else. TJ and Mikey both went “what’s this?” and then “so why aren’t we recording it?” – and so we recorded it. The lyric mentions love but it’s really about war – remote war and killing from a distance whilst chomping on last night’s leftover pizza or something.” Obviously, it’s an incisive commentary on the  depersonalized nature of 21st Century techno-warfare — including some hellish and fucked up imagery of bombs falling from the air, and neighborhoods in flames; but centered around buzzing power chords, a steady and propulsive backbeat and an infectious hook that brings an updated take on the beloved 120Minutes alt rock sound.

Future Ruins‘  latest single is the shimmering “The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air,” a track that Franklin admits found the band thinking of The Clash, “even though it doesn’t sound anything like them, but it’s like a punch on the nose from a velvet glove.” Franklin goes on to say that “the title came from a misheard Supremes lyric and the words came out of that.” Centered around shimmering and fuzzy power chords, the track may arguably be the most nostalgic and wistful track on the album, with the song’s narrator thinking about all the directions his life may have taken, if he made a different decision at some key point in his life. Continuing the album’s overall vibe and feel, there are references to weapons — of one “choosing their weapons wisely” — and a begrudging acceptance of the world being fucked up and broken, it’s a heartbroken sigh. 

Dedicated to Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley, the recently released video is a mix of footage shot on glitchy VHS camera, and archival footage, which emphasizes the heartache at the core of the song. 

New Video: The Chavez Ravine Releases a Darkly Ironic Visual for “Bermuda Triangle”

Comprised of Manny Nieto (vocals, guitar), Phil Guerrero (drums) and Mando Lopez (bass), the indie rock trio The Chavez Ravine may arguably be as Los Angeles as it can get: the trio of grizzled local scene veterans features members, who have played in a number of renowned bands including Distortion Felix, FEAR, The Breeders, and Morrissey‘s backing band — and the band’s name is derived from the name of the Los Angeles that was appropriated by the city in 1958 to make room for Dodger Stadium. “I think our name The Chavez Ravine does mean something, considering we are all SoCal Latinos making music that’s not metal, as a DJ or playing hip-hop,” Nieto says. “Our DNA is more Devo vs. Wipers.” Additionally, Nieto is known for his work at Suplex Audio, where he has produced albums by HEALTH, Trash Talk, The Breeders, Darker My Love, Los Lobos and others. 

The Los Angeles-based trio recently took part in Dangerbird Records‘ MICRODOSE monthly single release and live event series, which celebrates new music from the city’s Eastside neighborhood — and beyond.  And their contribution is the 90s grunge rock-inspired “Bermuda Triangle,” a muscular and insistent track centered by fuzzy power chords, a steady backbeat, down-tuned bass and a hook that subtly recalls Social Distortion (at least to my ears). 

The recently released video stars Richard “Cully” Roberts as a distraught lover, who desperately attempts to bring his dead girlfriend, Chloe Diaz with his car. Once brought back to life, Roberts takes Diaz out to dance at a quiet bar, where the members of The Chavez Ravine are playing the song. While heading to the car, a distracted Roberts gets hit by a car and dies; however, instead of attempting to bring her lover back to life, she gleefully kills him. Darkly ironic, indeed. 

New Video: The Abstract and Psychedelic Sounds of Bill Baird’s “Mosquito”

Bill Baird is a Texas-born, Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, whose lengthy and diverse back catalog touches on folk, ambient music and garage thrash among others. Along with that, he has also been involved in creating immersive audio/visual installations which have appeared in museums, cultural centers and festivals around the world. 

Baird’s latest effort Owl is heavily inspired by Conny Plank and his work with Kraftwerk, Neu! and Cluster  — and while the material finds the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist fusing different musical and conceptual elements together to take the listener on a journey, the album’s title and overall aesthetic is inspired by Baird’s son’s fascination with owls.  

“Mosquito,” Owl‘s latest single is centered around wobbling, ambient synths, a jangling guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, a strutting bass line and laconically delivered vocals to create a song that’s woozily hypnotic — and manages to evoke a mosquito lazily buzzing and drifting about in the breeze.  The recently released video for the song consists of surreal, psychedelic patterns and scenes that further emphasizes the abstractness of the sounds it accompanies. A

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Atmosphere Teams Up with Cashinova The Lioness and deM atLas on Moody and Contemplative “Drown”

I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded and commercially successful Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act Atmosphere over this site’s eight-plus year history — and as you may recall the act initially formed over 20 years ago as a trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant under the name Urban Atmosphere. Interestingly, whether as a trio or a duo, Atmosphere has developed and maintained a long-held reputation for pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop should sound like and concern itself with thematically — especially as the members of the act age, and find themselves inching towards middle age. 

2016’s Fishing Blues continued a string of insightful, soulful and mature material reflecting men, who evolved from tortured hedonists into settled down family men, who have seen and experienced much more than they can put into words. And while setting down in a much-deserved and peaceful bliss of family and art seems ideal in almost every circumstance, the world we currently inhabit has fundamentally changed in a frighteningly uncertain fashion. Certainly, if you’re a sensitive, thoughtful person, you can’t help but be aware that while you may have your own little paradise, hate within a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world, that sense of paradise won’t (and can’t) last;  that “nothing lasts forever,” as a song says.

Unsurprisingly, Atmosphere’s seventh album Mi Vida Loca thematically finds the pair grappling with their own mortality, and the anxiety and fear that comes with the painful acknowledgment that you’re powerless — and that you can’t possibly protect yourself, let alone your loved ones from the dangers of the world. Although thematically sobering, the album much like the bulk of their creative output is centered around the duo’s deep and abiding friendship. 

Virgo,” Mi Vida Loca‘s first single may arguably be the most intimate and urgent song they’ve ever written and recorded — and just because the song evokes (and focuses on) the anxieties and fears of our moment, it isn’t completely dark and hopeless.  The song proudly and sincerely says that as a man, it’s okay to admit that you’re scared shitless and not know what the fuck to do about anything; that when you’re uncertain and afraid that there are friends and loved ones, and music; small joys and small victories; and sweet and tender moments that we need to cling to and cherish with every fiber of our beings.  Sonically, the song featured a bluesy production centered around strummed guitar, twinkling old-timey keys and eerily buzzing synths that nodded at Everlast’Whitey Ford Sings the Blues but somehow starker. The album’s second single, album opening track “Jerome” continues in a similar vein — centered around a production consisting of a looped sample of boozy and woozy buzzing power chords, rumbling and thumping percussion, brief blasts of twinkling and shimmering synths. Throughout Slug rhymes about the weight of familial history, aging, death, the vapidity and insincerity of social media and a bevy of other things with an incredibly dexterous rhyme scheme but underneath the swaggering self-assuredness of Slug’s delivery is a vulnerability and aching, world weariness. “Graffiti,” found Slug rhyming about the painful slings and arrows of life; the small pleasures of friendship, family and music; the inevitable heartache of lost love and death; that life is ultimately about people coming and going without anyone really knowing why or how — and goddamn it, does it hurt.  And yet, as our ancestors did, we move on somehow, and so will our descendants. We all have the same tale: born, loved, hated, dreamt, longed, lusted, died — and yet almost always alone. Much like its predecessors, the song’s production evokes a deep, religious-like yearning as it was centered around a soaring choral sample, backed by twinkling keys, boom bap beats and a looped, bluesy guitar line.  

The Minneapolis-based duo close out a successful 2018 with the release of “Drown,” one of the few songs of their catalog with features — but it features some equally dope labelmates and tourmates The Lioness and deM atLas trading bars on an eerie yet modern production that evokes anxiety, uncertainty and confusion as its centered around plinking keys, shuffling beats and a soulful hook sung by Cashinova.  Each of the artists offer an unflinching and unguarded look into troubled and dysfunctional relationship and heartache, of loss and the difficulties in moving on with your dignity and sanity intact. 

Directed by Tomas Aksamit, the recently released video is features Slug, Cashinova, The Lioness and deM atLas in a dramatically shot black and white and intimate close ups, to catch the emotion of each artist. 

New Video: Introducing the Soulful Honky Tonk of London’s Yola

Yola is an up-and-coming London-born and-based singer/songwriter, who has led a rather remarkable life. She grew up extremely poor, and as a child was actually banned from making music. The up-and-coming British singer/songwriter has also overcome being in an abusive relationship, stress induced voice love and literally being engulfed in flames in a house fire, which inspired her Dan Auerbach-proudced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, which is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through Easy Eye Sound. 

Since then, Yola opened for the James Brown and joined renowned trip hop act Massive Attack before traveling to Nashville to work with Auerbach and a backing band that features musicians, who have worked with Elvis and Aretha Franklin.  Adding to a growing national and international profile, the up-and-coming British artist has received praise from NPR, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, The Tennessean, Refinery 29, Billboard, American Songwriter, BrooklynVegan, Nashville Scene, Paste and Stereogum. Additionally, she will be appearing on BBC’s Later . . . with Jools Holland New Year’s Eve edition, where she’ll be performing alongside Michael Buble, Jess Glynne and the legendary Nile Rodgers

Walk Through the Fire‘s latest single, “Ride Out in the Country” is a Muscle Shoals-like take on honky tonk country that recalls Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where’s Your Love Been as its centered around twangy guitar chords, lap steel guitar, some Rhodes electric organ, a soaring hook and Yola’s easy-going soulful vocals. However, at its core the song is an achingly sad breakup song, written from the prospective of someone reeling from a devastating breakup, complete with the recognition that your former partner has moved on and maybe you should too, even if it’s profoundly difficult. Of course, the song’s narrator feels she has only one option — to get into the car and drive, and experience some of life’s small pleasures: having the wind in your air, of being out in open space with your thoughts, memories and regrets. 

Directed by Reid Long and Kip Kubin, the recently released video stars Yola driving through the country in an old Ford truck — but to eventually bury the bodies of two people in a shallow grave. On one level, the video’s main character is essentially burying a part of her past in an attempt to quickly move on. 

New Video: Pale Mara Releases a Sepia-Toned Bit of Nostalgia Focusing on the Passing of Time and Mortality

Earlier this year, I wrote about Pale Mara, an indie duo comprised of Lee Godleski and Allison Robinson. The duo’s soon-to-be released self-titled album is slated for release on Friday, and from “Bird,” the album’s first single, the duo specializes in an old-timey 70s AM rock sound — with the single recalling The Carpenters and Carole King and others.

The album’s latest single is the sepia-toned, nostalgic, “Not Like I Used To,” a track that focuses on life’s inevitable transitions — particularly, friends, family members and associates dying; of time rushing by and getting older; of uneasily facing your own mortality; and of dreamily looking back at “simpler” times of seemingly endless and careless youth.  Sonically though, the song finds the duo’s sound recalling The Band and others — and while possession a hazy, autumnal vibe, the song reveals a similar, careful attention to craft. 

Edited by Jeff Wenzel, the recently released video further emphasizes the song’s sepia-toned nostalgia as it features old album covers from jukeboxes, pictures of long lost family members and friends, while also capturing life on the road as a working musician. 

New Video: Omaha’s The Faint Releases Stylish and Menacing Visuals for Club-banging “Child Asleep”

Currently comprised of founding members Todd Fink (vocals) and Clark Baechle (drums), along with Graham Ulicny (keys) and Michael “Dapose” Dappen (bass), the Omaha, NE-based cyber-punk act The Faint can trace their origins back to the mid 1990s. Founded by Fink, Baechle and Joel Petersen, the band’s founding members spent time skateboarding in their free time — until Fink developed knee problems, which shifted their hobbies towards music.

Initially forming under the name Norman Bailer, the band also briefly included Conor Oberst, who left the band shortly after their formation. The band’s founding trio eventually changed their name and signed to Saddle Creek Records, their longtime label home. Interestingly, after releasing a handful of singles that didn’t sell much, the band added Matt Bowen, who was with them for the writing and recording of their full-length debut Media. After the recording of Media, the Omaha-based cyber punk outfit went through a number of lineup changes.

In late 1998, Jacob Theile joined the band, Bowen left and was replaced with Ethan Jones. And with a lineup of Fink, Baechle, Theile and Jones, the band toured across the US, playing the material that would eventually comprised their acclaimed sophomore album Blank Wave Arcade, an album found the band moving towards an electronic dance music and techno influenced sound. Before recording the album, the band went through yet another lineup change with Jones leaving the band and being replaced by Joel Petersen, who played bass and guitar during the album’s recording sessions. 

During the recording sessions for Danse Macabre, the band added Dappen, who was best known for being a member of LEAD. The band’s fifth album, 2008’s Fascination was released through the band’s own label blank.wav.  2012 saw the release of the deluxe and remastered edition of Danse Macabre, which featured bonus and unreleased tracks, a DVD of archival footage, live projections from that album’s tour and live footage. 

In 2016, the band went through another lineup change as Reptar’s Graham Ulicny replaced Thiele. The band’s long-awaited Egowerk is slated for a March 15, 2019 release through Saddle Creek Records. The album, which marks a return to the Omaha-based outfit’s longtime label home, thematically explores the Internet and its impact on modern society and the ego — specifically social media and its dark effects. The album’s first single, album opener “Child Asleep” is a thumping and twitchy industrial house-like club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, rapid fire beats, and vocals fed through copious amounts of vocoder. And while the song manages to recall Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and Atari Teenage Riot, the song is centered around a simple yet profound message — that “if I were wise, I would see that I’m a child still asleep.” 

Directed and Edited by Nik Fackler, the recently released video manages to be tense, slickly stylish and absolutely menacing; or in other words, it seems to accurately capture our uncertain sociopolitical moment.