Tag: Video Review

New Video: Up-and-Coming Finnish Electronic Music Producer and Artist NightStop Releases Creepy Visuals for Brooding Album Single “Under the Killing Moon”

Last month, I wrote about the  Jyväskylä, Finland-born and-based, up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist Ere Ek, who started the 80s cyberpunk soundtrack-inspired project NightStop back in 2012. Since then, Ek has seen a growing profile across Europe and Russia’s tight-knit DIY scene, steadily touring and releasing both cassette and vinyl releases. Now, the Chicago, IL-based label No Trend Records, the label home of Ganser, Absolutely Not and others will be releasing a vinyl edition of NightStop’s most recent effort, Dancing Killer on March 30, 2018 — and as you may recall, although the album has already seen a digital release, Ek included a pulsating John Carpenter meets Umberto-like single “Phantasmagoria,” as a bonus digital track for the album. Interestingly, while that track cemented his reputation for crafting brooding and cinematic retro-futuristic electro pop; however, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly tracks he’s released to date. 

Building upon the buzz surrounding the vinyl release of Dancing Killer, the up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist recently released the incredibly creepy, stop animation based video for “Under the Killer Moon,” by Tommi Niukkanen. As far as the single, it’s a retro-futuristic and broodingly cinematic track featuring layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats — and while clearly being indebted to the aforementioned John Carpenter and Umberto, it may also be the most menacing track of the entire album. 

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New Video: The Stark Sounds and Visuals of The Soft Moon’s “Give Something”

Luis Vasquez is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded industrial/dark wave/post-punk recording project The Soft Moon. Vasquez’s latest Soft Moon album, the recently released Criminal is reportedly one of his most confessional albums he has released to date, as the material is written through a stark lens of shame and guilt, in which the material thematically focuses on a man at war with himself, battling with self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement paired with the fear of those things transforming him into the type of person he normally despises.

Criminal’s latest single is the broodingly stark and atmospheric “Give Something,” a track that pairs his falsetto with thumping beats, razor sharp synths and industrial clang and clatter. Interestingly, as Vasquez explains in press notes, the track focuses on his inability to reciprocate love and tenderness to another person. “Having no control over the constant urge to sabotage all things that are good for me, there is irony and frustration in knowing that in the end, the impossibility of love is what ultimately will save me from my myself.” It’s a plaintive and gut wrenchingly urgent call for help from a deeply troubled, emotionally damaged yet incredibly self-aware person.

Directed by Kelsey Henderson and featuring video effects and color by Victoria Keddie, the recently released video for “Give Something” focuses on a split screen throughout — one the left, a topless woman with her back to the screen and a couple seemingly in the middle of intense coitus, with the same woman from the left hand side grabbing and scratching the back of her lover with a desperate, painful grip that leaves marks. At points the visuals go through stuttering visual effects that on one level makes it look as though the woman may be abusing herself  — or her lover — out of selfish motivations.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Oddnesse Release 1980s MTV-Inspired Visuals for Slow-Burning, Torch Song “I Used To”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project Oddnesse, and as you may recall, the project comprised of singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon can trace its origins to when both members individually relocated from the East Coast to Los Angeles after being in several failed bands. As the story goes, Arango and Goon bonded over a shared vision of beautiful and infectious music with a dark, heavy groove, and initially the project began as two friends jamming and experimenting with ideas before they began to take it as a serious endeavor. 
Last year, I wrote about “Are You Down,” a sultry Mazzy Star -like single that paired Arango’s sultry, self-assured yet laid back crooning with a moody and sleek production featuring shimmering guitar chords, a sinuous and propulsive groove and a soaring hook — and a come hither vibe. The duo’s latest single “I Used To” is an atmospheric and meditative track featuring an ethereal arrangement consisting of twangy, guitar chords, gently droning synths with Arango’s crooning vocals ethereally gliding over the the surface and while nodding at 80s New Wave and pop, there’s a subtle alt-country leaning to a song that has a rather cinematic vibe. As the duo’s Rebeca Arango explains in press notes, the song comes from a rather personal experience: “I had driven alone from LA to Utah and back twice. I absolutely loved it, in the way I’ve always loved the independence of no one needing me, no one expecting me, no one to confer with about where I might stop, when I might leave, if I might come back. I was grateful on those trips (as one usually is) for the dissolution of a relationship I had been overly attached to.  I was grateful that my mind was clear and that I had the experience to myself. I was happy. I didn’t need to know what was next.” And as a result, the song buzzes with an anticipation over a new, unseen future.

Directed by Casey Feldman, the recently released video was shot in a furious three day period along with the video for “I Used To” that included one crew member and two different directors — but interestingly enough, while the new video is decidedly inspired by 1980s MTV, it subtly emphasizes the song’s emotional complexity in which loss can be equally punctuated with pride, acceptance and hope. 

New Video: The Moody Sounds and Visuals for Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir’s “Up in Arms”

Blake Brown is a Denver, CO-based singer/songwriter, who after participating in a number of collaborative projects, founded Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir in 2013 with the idea that it’d give him the flexibility of playing solo while collaborating with a revolving cast of friends, who could play whenever they were able to do so; in fact, the revolving cast behind The American Dust Choir has featured members of The Fray, The Films and Tennis. However, after three EPs and countless live shows, the band has settled on a permanent lineup featuring Brown, his wife Tiffany Brown, and longtime friends Jason Legler, Adam Blake, and Trent Nelson.  

The Joe Richmond-produced Long Way Home, Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir’s full-length debut was released earlier this year and the album while further cementing the band’s reputation for a sound that meshes indie rock with folk/Americana paired with complex melodies and heartfelt lyrics based around experiences within Brown’s personal life — in particular, heartbreak, deception, reflection, growing up and becoming adult and so on. Adding to a growing profile, the band kicked off the release of their debut with an official SXSW showcase, in which they opened for Keith Urban. 

“Up in Arms,” Long Way Home’s latest single is a twangy bit of indie rock that nods at Fleetwood Mac and 70s AM rock, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook and some impressive guitar work and while being unhurried, the track manages to be tinged with the bittersweet memories and experiences within a relationship; in fact, the recently released video is shot with superimposed double exposures, meant to evoke the duality between the inner and outer worlds of its protagonists. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Act ISLAND Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Soaring Album Single “Horizon”

ISLAND, an up-and-coming London-based act can trace their origins to when vocalist Rollo Doherty’s solo, acoustic, bedroom project expanded to a fully fleshed out band with the addition of Jack Raeder (guitar), James Wolfe (bass) and Toby Richards (drums)  — and with the release of two critically applauded EPs, the band have quickly developed a reputation for crafting atmospheric yet anthemic, arena rock friendly material largely inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Kings of Leon, The War On Drugs, Grizzly Bear and others, and for must-see live see that they’ve honed through some relentless touring of the UK and European Union over the course of 2017.

Building upon their growing profile, the London-based quartet’s highly-anticipated self-produced, full-length debut Feels Like Air reportedly continues their long-held DIY approach to the creative process while further cementing their reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured earnest and anthemic songs; in fact, album singles “Try,” “The Day I Die,” and “Ride” have amassed a total of over 2.6 million Spotify steams — with the band earning nearly half-a-million monthly listeners.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Horizon” is a slow-burning, atmospheric track with enormous, arena friendly hooks reminiscent of Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree-era U2 and while self-assured, it reveals a band that’s managing the difficult balance of an ambitious desire to rock everyone’s pants off with a thoughtful and deliberate attention to mood and craft.

Directed by Claes Nordwall, the recently released, and incredibly cinematic video for “Horizon” follows the members of the band driving through the snowy Swedish countryside, with each individual member broodingly lost in their thoughts. And as the members of the band explain in press notes, the video “captures a key theme of the album as a whole — the idea of a passenger drifting through different dreams on a journey. We wanted the video to reflect the open soundscape, we feel the song creates, so we jumped at the chance to shoot in the vast Swedish countryside. Claes took us back to his snowy hometown for the video, which had an amazing dreamlike feel that really suited the ideas we wanted to convey.

New Video: The Vivid and Surreal Visuals for Del the Funky Homosapien’s and Amp Live’s Swaggering and Mind-bending Collaboration

Born Teren Delvon Jones, Del the Funky Homosapien is an acclaimed Bay Area-born and -based emcee and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he wrote lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube‘s group Da Lench Mob, which initially included the legendary West Coast emcee, filmmaker, screenwriter and movie star before they broke off into a distinct group of its own.

With the assistance of his cousin Ice Cube, Del released his 1991 solo debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here, an album that was a commercial successful largely due to the popularity of album single “Mistadobalina.” Del wasn’t pleased with the limited musical range of the album and severed his production-artist relationship with Ice Cube for his sophomore album No Need for Alarm, an album that introduced the Oakland hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics, which featured Souls of Mischief, Casual, Pep Love, Del and producer Domino while bringing the Oakland sound to a larger audience. Interestingly, the album is also considered instrumental for expanding what would become the freestyle-based golden era of hip-hop.

Although Del didn’t produce another solo album for about five years, he collaborated on the Hieroglyphics crew’s 1998 debut 3rd Eye Vision; however, by the time he was about to release his third solo album Future Development, his label Elektra Recordsterminated his contract. Initially, the album was only available as a cassette through the Hieroglyphics website before being re-releassd through the Hieroglyphics Imperium label in 2002; but before that, he collaborated with Dan the Automator and Kid Koalain hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 and their critically applauded, 2000 self-titled debut and along with his Deltron 3030 collaborators on two singles on Gorillaz‘s eponymous, smash hit 2001 self-titled debut — “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House.” He followed that up with his fourth solo album Both Sides of the Brain, and Hieroglyphics 2003 sophomore effort Full Circle. 

Since then Del has managed to be incredibly prolific releasing albums both through tradition labels, as free downloads and with pay-as-you-wish efforts with specific incentives for those who pay certain prices for the album, including a chance to collaborate with Del in the studio and so on.

Amp Live is a Texas-born, California-based producer and DJ, who is known as one of half to the hip-hop duo Zion I, and for critically applauded remixes of material by Radiohead, Tokyo Police Club and Jamie Lidell. And as a solo artist, he’s released two albums and an EP — 2010’s Murder at the Discotech, 2014’s Headphone Concerto and 2017’s Atmosphere EP and 2011’s Therapy at 3, a collaborative effort with Eligh.

Interestingly, Del and Amp Live will be teaming up on the forthcoming album Gate 13, an album that sonically draws from and mixes hip-hop, funk and electronica while finding two of hip-hop’s most inventive artists collaborating with Goapele, Eligh, Simi, Zyme, Adult Karate, Mr. Micro and James Melo, essentially creating a “portal into something progressive, futuristic, and fun,” as the duo says in press notes. Interestingly, the album finds the renowned emcee evolving his imitable style, as he studied both comedy and battle rap, with Del making a concerted effort towards conciseness. “I told Amp about it, and he kind of showed me what his interpretation of what that would be,” Del says in press notes. “When I heard it, I thought it was tight. I didn’t even know he was going to do it.” Amp Live adds “Del has been talking about doing more straightforward, aggressive writing. Everything that I was messing with kind of had the same theme,” the producer says of the album’s tracks. “Even when I flipped them after, I tried to stay true to the original feeling.”
“Wheel of Fortune,” Gate 13‘s first single begins with a thumping, boom-bap beats and arpeggiated synths and Del’s imitable flow, complete with some of the most ridiculous word play, complex rhyme schemes and insanely funny punch lines you’ll hear in some time, as he throws massive haymakers at any and all who dare to battle him. About halfway through the track Amp Live drops a dub reggae break, which he follows with a manic tempo — and throughout Del effortlessly and dexterously handles it in a free flowing, almost mischievous fashion. Dope emcees being challenged by dope producers is what all hip-hop should aspire to, no matter what the era.

Shot and edited by Spencer Groshong at Ineffable Music Group, the video employs neon bright visuals and the sort of special effects reminiscent of a wildly psychedelic Sesame Street and 3,2,1 Contact.

New Video: The Dramatic and Vivid Visuals for Uppermost’s “Perseverance”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMG, Ministry of Sound, BugEyed Records, Starlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punk, deadmau5, Burial, Crystal Castles, Jonathan Coulton, Syl Johnson, Congorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  Tiesto, Armin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic Orchestra. Origins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance officially dropped today, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassioned material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.

Directed by Joseph B. Carlin, the recently released video, which features live action and animation follows as a frustrated yet determined painter (Sebastian Iturria) through both his daily routine, commuting to his cramped studio. Despite the fact that throughout most of the video, it’s implied that Iturria’s painter is extremely talented, he’s in the middle of a creative rut in which he either feels uninspired or everything he tries to create feels uninspired before a deep dive into the artist’s bright and Dada-eqsue inner world.

 

New Video: Acclaimed Instrumental Canadian Act Shooting Guns Release Gorgeous Visuals for Atmospheric Album Single “Vampires of Industry”

With the release of their six full-length albums, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-based instrumental psych rock/heavy psych/heavy metal act Shooting Guns have developed a reputation as a critically applauded, multi-award nominated act, known for work that’s largely inspired by Black Sabbath, Spacemen 3, Pink Floyd and others — and for touring over 60,000 miles across their native Canada without international touring.

While their previously released material was the sort of heavy and saturated sounds that was well-suited for horror-comedy files, Flavour Country, the Saskatoon-based instrumental act’s sixth and latest album  which was produced and recorded but the members of the band at their own Pre-Rock Studios features arguably some of the band’s fastest, heaviest and most visceral material they’ve written, recorded and released, as well as some of their most atmospheric; in fact, the album’s latest single “Vampires of Industry” consists of a slow-burning and moody drone paired with twangy and shimmering guitar chords that immediately bring to mind Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” Directions to See a Ghost-era The Black Angels, and the Silber Records catalog — but with a cinematic, sweep.

Directed by Parker Thiessen, the recently released video for “Vampires of Industry” features a flowing and shimmering, metallic piece of cloth, overtaking  the surrounding forest in a way that evokes the creeping of industrialization over nature in a way that’s gorgeous, surreal and unsettling.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Preoccupations Release Surreal Visuals for Haunting New Single “Disarray”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Canadian post-punk act Preoccupations, and as you may recall the band which features Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar), initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong, which put the band in the middle of a furious and tumultuous debate centered around the appropriation of terms, names and symbols associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors of despotism, fascism, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore album, an album that that found the individual members of the band in an unsteady and uncertain positions: at the time, each  member and relocated to different cities across North America, which made their long-established writing process of writing and testing material while on the road both extremely difficult, if not highly impractical. Along with that, several members of the band were reeling from having serious, long-term relationships end, around the time they were preparing to enter the studio. And unlike their previously recorded efforts, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions akin to collectively blind leap of faith. Eventually the album’s material wound up drawing from something specific and very familiar — the anxiety, despair and regret that causes sleepless nights.  

Building upon a growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, creation, destruction and futility will be releasing their third album New Material is slated for release on Friday through Jagjaguwar Records, and the album, which finds the band recording and producing themselves is as the band’s Matt Flegel said in press notes, “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” Interestingly, much like their sophomore album, the band met without having much written or demoed beforehand — and according to the members of the band, it was arguably one of the most collaborative writing sessions they ever had as a band, with the sessions being extremely architectural in nature, with some ideas (proverbially speaking) being built up while others were torn down to the support beams. And although they didn’t initially know what the songs were about or where they were going with them, they had resolved to let the material show and not explicitly not tell. 

However, the writing and recording sessions reportedly led to a reckoning for the band’s Flegel. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized. I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong,” says Flegel. In fact, the murky and angular  Manchester/Joy Division-like first single “Espionage,” while being among the most danceable songs they’ve written and released, focuses on a narrator, who has finally become aware of a disturbing penchant for self-sabotage in every aspect of his life. “Antidote,” New Material’s second single was centered around propulsive, industrial clang and clatter based rhythm meant to convey a sweaty anxiety, while being about how people forget that we’re all talking, walking, shitting animals, who have an infinite amount of knowledge within their fingertips but still manage to repeatedly make the wrong choices. 

“Disarray,” New Material’s third single is a meditative and slow-burning single featuring shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, organic drumming and boom bap-like drum machine work during the song’s bridge. And while superficially nodding at Turn On the Bright Lights-era Interpol, the song captures something much darker and uncertain — as it’s centered around someone, who from their perspective, views everything they’ve ever known to be a lie. As the band’s Flegal recalls, When I was writing ‘Disarray,’ it started off with an image of a mother combing her daughters hair that came into my mind, I liked the metaphor of splitting the braids and combing through the tangles, and wrote the rest of the lyrics around that image. This song sat untouched for close to 6 months as a recording with just bass and drums before we came back to it and wrote and recorded the guitar line while out of our minds one night in the early AM.” 

Directed by Ruff Mercy, the recently released video pairs animation and live footage of the band’s Flegel walking on a deserted beach while singing the song’s lyrics, shot with a grainy, almost Instagram-like filter. At points, animated and cartoonish figures and lines burst into the proceedings and superimposed over Flegel’s face to convey deep, inner turmoil and chaos. 

New Video: MF Doom and Czarface Team Up on Highly-Anticipated Cartoon and Insane Rhyme-Fueled Collaboration

Daniel Dumile is a British-born, Long Island, NY-based emcee and producer, who has  gone through a number of stage names and personas throughout his lengthy and wildly influential recording career, which began back in 1988 when as Zev Love X, he founded KMD with his younger brother DJ Subroc and Rodan, who was later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the members of 3rd Bassand signed the group to Elektra Records. Now, if you were a child of the 80s and a voracious music listener as I was (and still am), you’d remember that KMD’s debut was with a guest spot on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face.” Their 1991 full-length Mr. Hood was a minor hit as a result of the success of “Peachfuzz” and “Who Me,” which received regular rotation on Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City.

Slated for a 1993 release, KMD’s sophomore album Black Bastards was shelved because of its controversial cover art, which featured a cartoon of a stereotypical pickaninny or Sambo character being hanged from the gallows and its lyrical content and themes. Before the album was completed, Dumile’s brother DJ Subroc was struck and killed while attempting to cross the Nassau Expressway. KMD was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records that same week. Understandably, Dumile became a recluse, retreating from hip-hop between 1994 and 1997 before emerging as MF Doom, a masked character he created and patterned after the Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom, as a way to seek revenge “against the industry that so badly deformed him,” he has famously claimed.

Around the same time, Black Bastards had become bootlegged, building both a sense of intrigue and buzz around Dumile. Since then, he has developed a reputation for an imitable flow, full of surrealistic abstractions, centered around comic book violence, an obsession with all things pop culture and wry observations, as well as a highly sought after collaborator and producer, who has worked with Madlib in Madvillain, Danger Mouse in Danger Doom, Ghostface Killah in Doomstarks, Jneiro Jarel in JJ Doom and Bishop Nehru in NehruvianDoom among others.

Speaking of collaborative  projects renowned underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck are the members of hip-hop supergroup Czarface, a character the trio created that’s also patterned after comic book villains that represented aspects of each indivudla members. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the trio toured together, which lead to “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album, 1212, and a number of other singles. And since the group’s formation back in 2013, they’ve released three critically applauded albums — their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain and 2016’s A Fistful of Peril.

MF Doom and Czarface team up on what may arguably be one of hip-hop’s most anticipated and highly-desired collaborative efforts, Czarface Meets Metal Face, which is slated for release next week. The album’s second and latest single “Bomb Thrown” is a perfect example of what you should expect from the album — the members of Czarface more straightforward and explosive rhyming trading verses with the surrealistic abstractions and wild inner and outer rhyme schemes of one of hip-hop’s technical geniuses over a soulful production featuring a chopped up chorus, twinkling keys, looped Spaghetti Western-like guitars  and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats. And what makes the collaboration work, is that it’s an effortless meeting of the minds, in which each one challenges and pushes the other in a track full of witty, pop culture references, ridiculous, cartoonish violence, insane word play and rhyme schemes with each artist throwing haymakers at their competition. This is what listening to and watching old masters is like, and all those young cats need to sit back and learn.

Based on a concept by Esoteric and Kendra Morris, and directed by Kendra Morris, the recently released video employs the use of paper collage, classic cel animation and stop-action animation, as two young kids, begin reading a Czarface/Metal Face crossover comic book, and get thrown into the world of the comic book they were reading. Much like the artists behind the song, the video is wildly inventive and incredibly funny.