Tag: video

Throwback: Happy Belated 55th Birthday, Montell Jordan!

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Montell Jordan’s 55th birthday.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Genesis Owusu Returns with Breakneck “SURVIVOR”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d know that I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering the acclaimed, multi-ARIA Award-winning Ghanian-born, Canberra-based JOVM mainstay Genesis Owusu

The acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstay’s sophomore album STRUGGLER was released earlier this year through OURNESS/AWAL. Where Smiling With No Teeth thematically uncovered one Black man’s battles against — and with — depression and racism, STRUGGLER is reportedly an exploration of the chaos and absurdity of life, our ability to endure and how to get through it all. The album’s material is deeply inspired by a close friend hitting the brink and coming through the other side, along with questions of life and beauty that he found himself contemplating during readings of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Recorded between the States and Australia, STRUGGLER‘s producers traverse musical genres — and includes Jason Evigan, who has worked with RUFUS DU SOL and SZAMikey Freedom Hart, who worked on Jon Batiste’s 2021 Grammy of the Year Album, We AreSol Was, who worked on Beyoncé’Renaissance; and Owusu’s long-time collaborators and producers Andrew Klippel and Dave Hammer.

Additionally, Owusu has collaborated with acclaimed Kiwi-based Lisa Reihana on the album’s complete visual identity. Reihana’s work has been showcased in elite institutions throughout the States and the EU, including the Venice Biennale for her critically-acclaimed video installation, In Pursuit of Venus [Infected]. Her work spans across a diverse of media — including film, costume and body adornment and video installation, and as a result she has earned a reputation as a world-renowned artist and producer, who engages in thought-provoking dialogues around the concept of culture. 

I’ve managed to write about three of he album’s singles:

  • Leaving the Light,” an urgent ripper that begins with a spine-crawling run of bass notes before quickly morphing into breakneck sFreedom of Choice-era DEVO-like anthem paired with the JOVM’s swaggering, larger-than-life presence and his unerring knack for rousing, shout along worthy choruses. “Leaving the Light” is a cathartic song about survival and perseverance that feels necessary in a mad, mad, mad world.
  • The Sol Was-produced “Tied Up!,” a swaggering and funky bop built around a propulsive stomp, swirling and warped funk guitar and wobbling bass synths paired with the JOVM mainstay’s forceful delivery. The song speaks of the struggle of getting by in an uneasy, insane world and desperately holding onto yourself as best as you can in the process. 
  • Stay Blessed” is a breakneck, mosh pit friendly anthem built around buzzing, angular guitar attack, rapid-fire beats paired with the JOVM mainstay’s punchy delivery. Much like the previously released singles, “Stay Blessed” speaks of survival and desperate resilience in a mad, mad, mad world that’s out to destroy you. 

Coming on the heels of his recent ARIA Award wins for Album of the Year, Best Independent Release and Best Hip-Hop/Rap Release for STRUGGLER — and just before his headlining December Australia tour, the JOVM mainstay closes out the year with a surprise release single “SURVIVOR,” which will be included as an additional track to his acclaimed sophomore album.

Built around a hook-driven, percussive and glitchy industrial meets trap music-inspired production “SURVIVOR” sees Owusu’s rapid-fire verses dart and ducking like a boxer deftly avoiding his opponent’s punches. Referencing Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the song’s narrator discusses the struggle to have hope in a desperate, fucked up world; the struggle to have confidence and self-worth in a world that constantly tells you that you ain’t shit and that you’ll never be worth shit; the endless sense of exhaustion and rage that you don’t quite know what to do with — and with the sort of unvarnished and uneasy honesty that Owusu has been known for. THE STORY NEVER ENDSTHE ROACH KEEPS ROACHINGTHROUGH SPACETIMEFIRE & BRIMSTONE,” Owusu says of the new single.

Directed by Lisa Reihana, the accompanying video for “SURVIVOR” is set in a post-apocalyptic world of fire and industrialism and features a regal Owusu leading and surrounded by a collection of choreographed dancers with a militaristic precision.

New Video: Finland’s Mere Stellar Shares a Sarcastic Examination of Contemporary Dating

Milja Inkeri is a Finnish singer/songwriter, who can trace her career back to 2007: She competed on that year’s Finnish Idol and reached the Top 24. And as a result of growing national attention, her covers series on YouTube amassed over two million organic views between 2006-2007. Inkeri also has had stints in Finnish bands Kailo and Antti Kokkomäki & Tammikuun Lapset. Additionally, she has collaborated with a number of projects both nationally and internationally, including Taiwanese shoegazers The Other and Finnish metal outfit Planeetta 9, along a growing list of others.

Inkeri is the creative mastermind behind the indie pop outfit Mere Stellar. Influenced by Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom and Radiohead, the Finnish artist’s new project sees her playfully meshing experimental electro pop with acoustic elements to create a sound that is at times quirky yet melancholic. The Finnish artist explains that “Mere Stellar is the creation of a free soul, who stopped caring about external rules and authorities of music . . ” and
“started to have fun with music again and speak her true soul’s voice — the pain, the joy, the channeling of healing.” Inkeri adds “Mere Stellar is the manifestation someone who held it inside and listened to others too much, who channels pure love, fun and crazy vibes.”

Inkeri’s latest Mere Stellar single, the recently released, woozy and hook-driven “The Crush Realm” pairs a looped sample of twinkling and arpeggiated keys, skittering beats, industrial clang and clatter with Inkeri’s plaintive and yearning delivery. While sonically seeming to channel a quirky synthesis of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Kid A-era Radiohead, “The Crush Realm” is a lived-in, bittersweet and desperate examination of contemporary dating culture, in which everyone feels simultaneously desperate to find “the one” or “someone” but tacitly recognizes that everyone feels miserable and disposable. But she does so with a sarcastic, snaky sense of humor.

Directed by the Finnish artist, the accompanying video for “The Crush Realm” captures the desperation, uncertainty and quirky sarcasm at the hear of the song, as it follows Inkeri and a snail around a rather European-looking house.

New Video: We Melt Chocolate Shares Trippy Visual for Dreamy “Holy Ramen”

Florence-based shoegazers We Melt Chocolate can trace their origins back to the fusion of two different bands evanicetrip and Shades of Blue back in 2012. Since then, the Italian band over a handful of releases that includes a self-released demo, and an EP and their full-length debut through Annibale Records has firmly cemented a sound and approach that equally draws from the noisier side of shoegaze — i.e.,  My Bloody ValentineLush, and even The Sugarcubes

The band has opened for a number of internationally renowned bands including The ShivasHoly WaveThe Asteroid No. 4, The Underground YouthHis ClancynessMagic ShoppeYour 33 Black Angels and GIFT among a growing list of others. 

Holy Gaze, the Florence-based outfit’s highly anticipated and long awaited sophomore album was released earlier this year through Miracle Waves and features guest spots from Francesco D’Elia, Rev Rev Rev‘s Sebastian Lugli and Sensitive Club‘s Ben Moro. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “No Meaning Man,” a song that alternates between dreamy and stormy passages built around a relentless motorik groove, layers of distorted and fuzzy guitar textures, shimmering synths, thunderous drumming paired with reverb-soaked vocals buried within the oceanic mix. Thematically, the song speaks of disillusionment with superficial people, who base their entire lives on appearances and conceal their vapidity and lack of empathy towards others. 

“Holy Ramen,” Holy Gaze‘s latest single showcases the Italian outfit at their dreamiest to date — with the song featuring swirling Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-like guitar textures paired with a driving rhythm section and yearning, ethereal vocals. 

The band explains that “Holy Ramen” is an exhortation to overcome daily difficulties, look at the sky and allow yourself a special, sacred moment just for you. “For us (particularly for the singer), one of these moments is indulging in a good hot ramen.” The band goes on to say that for them, “it is the simplest moments that become sacred.”

The accompanying video fittingly seems inspired by 120 Minutes-era MTV and feature some lushly shot visuals of a bowl of ramen being prepared and then serving as a mind-bending backdrop for the band — both while performing and even enjoying a comforting meal of the stuff, often while the sky races behind them.

New Video: Aloysius Bell Shares Dreamily Mischievous and Introspective “That Is Me”

Aloysius Bell is the creative alter ego of Winnipeg-born, Montréal-based singer/songwriter and indie pop artist Annick Brémault, a former member of the now defunct Juno Award-winning outfit Chic Gamine. With Chic Gamine, Brémault toured extensively internationally and appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Vinyl Café, Radio Canada’s Studio 12 and a number of other notable broadcasts. She has also collaborated and performed with an array of artists including Damien Robitaille, Willows, Sala, and David Myles

While the project’s name is a nod to male pseudonyms of the Brontë Sisters, the persona is informed by deep and intense soul-searching with the aim to shed light on murky, in-between spaces.

Back in 2019, Brémault stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with “Mountains” and “Your Heart Is Feathers” songs offered a glimpse into the Canadian artist’s introspective world and showcasing an ethereal, opened-eyed perceptive, imaginative and atmospheric pop language and a minimalist prose style.

Brémault’s long-awaited Aloysius Bell debut EP, the David Plowman-produced Warm Thing is slated for February 2024 release. The EP reportedly sees her blending her distinctive songwriting with pop, R&B and electronic influences with her ethereal delivery being at center of it all.

Warm Thing‘s latest single “That Is Me” is a slow-burning and atmospheric pop song built around fluttering synth arpeggios, Bréamult’s ethereal delivery singing deeply introspective lyrics informed by the deeply lived-in, personal experience, thoughts and feelings of a modern woman maneuvering competing societal norms and roles.

“I wrote this song in late 2021, in my bedroom-turned-studio during a cold snap. I remember looking at the painting on my wall, by the artist Louise Gill, of a woman lying alone on a bed in a dark room and thinking, “That is me,’ right now. I was feeling cozy and nothing could induce me to go out at that point. I remembered the times I’d gone out despite not feeling like it and ended up disappointed. ‘That Is Me’ reimagines myself the way I wish I’d been in my 20s: not wasting my time trying to please other people and instead doing what feels good to me.

This song is about one other thing: rest. I’m trying to get better at it, taking breaks and naps.”

Directed and shot on Super 8 by Montréal-based filmmaker Dominique Montesano and featuring choreography by the artist’s sister Kalliane Brémauult, the video follows Annick Brémault as she returns home, goes up the stairs, gets undressed and gets into her bed.

“I started putting out music with this project in 2019. Those songs were the result of a tumultuous time, so they have an intense kind of energy to me. The pandemic gave me a breather and what I wrote in that period feels a bit more relaxed and less fraught,” the Montréal-based artist continues. She goes on to add that the song — and its accompanying video — showcases a lot of bedroom imagery, since it was written and partially produced in her bedroom.