Tag: video

Live Footage: Knife Knights on KEXP

If you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this site you’ve been made familiar with Ishmael Butler, the founder of the critically applauded and groundbreaking hip-hop acts Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces. A decade ago Butler was preparing to emerge from several years of near-complete silence. In the summer of 2009, Butler unveiled Shabazz Palaces through a pair of self-released EPs that quickly established the project’s unique sound — complex and hyper literate verses paired with psychedelic sonic textures and refracted rhythms. And from the start confidentiality was essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, and not on his established reputation, so he adopted a pseudonym for himself.

As the project’s profile and network expanded, Butler recognized that he needed new monikers for his creative pursuits and collaborations; in fact, Knife Knights, was the name that he devised for his work with the then-Seattle based engineer, producer, songwriter and film composer Erik Blood, who’s also a vital and important collaborator in Butler’s Shabazz Palaces. Interestingly, Blood and Butler’s collaboration and friendship can trace its origins to when the duo were introduced at a Spiritualized show in 2003 through a mutual friend, whom Butler was about to record with. As the story goes, Blood was a diehard and obsessive fan of Digital Planets, and naturally he passed along a bootleg copy Blowout Comb for the mutual friend to have signed — and Butler dutifully provided.

Over the course of the next few years, they’d run into one another by chance and sometimes they’d make small talk about possibly working together. When Butler finally sent Blood a few sons to mix, their creative chemistry was obvious and immediate. Interestingly, Butler, who grew up a student of hip-hop began absorbing shoegaze and ambient soundscapes while Blood, an ardent hip-hop fan had always been an inclusive and obsessive music listener; in fact, on every Shabazz Palaces album, Butler and Blood have specifically focused on and delighted at that artistic intersection, constantly indoctrinating hip-hop in new sonic territories. “He [Blood] takes my ideas and clarifies and pronounces them, helps me realize them,” explains Butler in press notes. “He helps me get to the essence.”

After a decade of collaboration together and the development of a very rich and dear friendships, Butler and Blood have written and recorded a proper full-length together as Knife Knights — 1 Time Mirage, an album that finds the duo and a cast of collaborators and friends creating and weaving a unique sound that meshes soul, shoegaze, hip-hop, bass, noise and chaos wth the album representing a free space for unfettered and radical exploration. Interestingly, the album’s material was recorded in the three sessions, interrupted by Shabazz Palaces and Digable Planets tour schedules and Blood’s recording projects.

Butler, Blood, and a cast of collaborators and friends were invited into Seattle’s KEXP for their live debut, where they performed material off their forthcoming album, slated for a September 14, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. And while bearing a subtle similarity to their work together in Shabazz Palaces, Blood and Butler’s Knife Knights work manages to feel like a refinement of it while being altogether separate. Yes, they employ samplers and synths but there’s an organic and muscular heft through the use of bass and guitar. And as you’ll hear from the songs they performed during this live session are a bit of a subtle refinement of the duo’s acclaimed work with Shabazz Palaces  but while leaning closer to shoegaze — it’s lysergic but with a swaggering hip-hop vibe that can only be possible through this unique and thrillingly weird collaboration. 

Advertisements

New Video: Majical Cloudz Former Frontman Devon Welsh Releases a Meditative and Brooding Visuals for “By the Daylight”

Devon Welsh is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist, who released two critically acclaimed full-length albums as the frontman of Majical Cloudz, an electronic duo whose brooding and intense music combined elements of poetry, hardcore, folk and minimalist electronica among others. The project ended in 2016 largely because its members felt it had fulfilled its intentions.”The band has come to a very natural conclusion, as it has communicated everything it was meant to and reached more people than we would have ever imagined,” Welsh said at the time.

Following the breakup of Majical Cloudz, Welsh stepped away from music for a year. “I wrote songs but didn’t think about their purpose or anything at all to do with the music industry or if I would be releasing music in the future,” he said about that time. “I just tried to grow as a person and do some learning.” Interestingly, the songs he wrote during that period would eventually comprise much of the material on his solo, full-length debut, Dream Songs. Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through You Are Accepted Records, the album finds Welsh stepping out and away from the strict aesthetic he had worked in with Majical Cloudz but while continuing and expanding upon some of the core themes an ideas which that project was best known for — and as a result, the material thematically is a series of reflections on time and its passing, separation, the complexities of love, free will, life’s endless cycles and so on.

Produced and recorded by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts with the intention of making an album that maintained the simplicity and minimalism of Welsh’s previous work while exploring the possibilities of more traditional arrangements — guitar, piano, strings — the album presents the Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist’s songs in a more organic context. As the story goes, Tufts and Welsh essentially rebuilt the recordings from the ground up, working out kinks in demos, imagining different arrangements and re-recorded everything. The simple string arrangements Devon’s demos possessed were transformed and became the sonic and emotional center of the entire album. “I love songs with strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “so making recordings with beautiful string arrangements is a dream come true.

Dream Songs’ first single “By The Daylight” is chronologically one of the oldest songs on the album — and as Welsh explains, it began with a very different arrangement than the recorded version. “It was originally made mostly with synthesizers and had saxophone on it, and then when Austin and I started re-recording the demos it got transformed into something built almost entirely around strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “the new arrangement opened a lot of mental possibilities for what the record as a whole could be.” Thematically, the song has a fatalistic view of life — that there are larger, deterministic forces at play in our lives, and as a result, we’re frequently caught up and swept away in a tide that we don’t (and can’t) really understand. It’s a mature and meditative song with a deep and aching yearning at its core. 

Directed by Christopher Honeywell, the recently released video features footage of nature,  some shot on old, Super 8 film — and in a subtle way, the video conveys passing of time and the sense of larger, natural forces at play.

New Video: Rodes Rollins Releases Sultry and Self-Assured Visuals for “Nasty Woman”

Now, over the past 12-18 months or so, I’ve written a bit about Rodes Rollins, a Boulder, CO-born singer/songwriter, who spent a stint living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is now primarily based in New York. Rollins emerged into the national scene with “Young and Thriving,” the first single off her critically applauded debut EP Young Adult, an incredibly self-assured effort written as a portrait of an artist as a young woman, in which the narrator looks back at her most formative experiences with a nostalgic yet wizened flashback — with the perspective of someone, who now sees how her decisions for better or for worse, planned or serendipitous have influenced who she has become and where her life is at this moment.

“Nasty Woman,” Rollins’ latest single is a bold, self-assured, feminist anthem that according to Rollins is largely centered on empowerment and pride, while focusing on ” . . .the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman in society — being who you are, as you are; and being proud of that. This song is not presented from only my singular perspective, or through just one medium. The very point of what I’m trying to express is that being a woman shouldn’t be a restrictive identity, but rather a broad and inclusive one.” Sonically, the song is based around a bluesy and reverb-y guitar line, propulsive drumming from Portugal, The Man‘s Kane Ritchotee  an infectious hook and Rollins’ sultry cooed vocals — and while sultry, the song lyrically features inclusive and intersectional lyrics.

Directed by Louis Browne, the recently released video for “Nasty Woman” is as sultry and self-assured as the song it accompanies. As Rollins says of the video treatment, “‘Nasty Woman’ is my own personal feminist anthem. Tonally and thematically it’s very different from my other material. It was really empowering and fun for me to write and record this one. I wanted that to come through in the visuals for the song too. So, we made an effort for the video to incorporate bold, bright colors and a strong energy. Performing in this video really gave me a platform to showcase the confidence when I sing ‘Nasty Woman.'”

New Video: Lola Kirke Returns with Sultry and Expressive Visuals for “Sexy Song”

Lola Kirke is a British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress, best know for starring roles in Noah Bambauch’s Mistress America and the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, as well as a supporting role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl; but interestingly enough, she’s also the daughter of drummer Simon Kirke, who’s best known for stints in Bad Company and Free and Lorraine Kirke, the owner of Geminola, a vintage boutique known for supplying outfits for Sex and the City. Now as you may recall, last year I wrote about “Not Used,” off her self-titled EP, a song about learning to live with a lover’s absence and their lingering ghosts. 

Kirk’s full-length debut Heart Head West is slated for an August 10, 2018 release through Downtown Records, and the Wyndham Garnett-produced album, which was tracked live to tape, is a deeply personal album that Kirke says is “about basically everything I thought about in 2017 — time, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing — essentially everything I’d talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes.” Heart Head West’s latest single “Sexy Song” is a slow-burning and meditative bit of honky tonk that’s reminiscent of Chris Issak and Roy Orbison, but with a feminine and self-assured sultriness at its core. 

Directed by Mara McKevitt, the intimate, recently released video for “Sexy Song” features expressive and sultry choreography by Elizabeth Sonenberg, and as Kirke told Harper’s Bazaar, “I think that understanding what the core and the truth of women’s sexual desire is really tricky. Is it something that’s just like a man’s? Is it totally different? is it something that is just a like man’s because men told us exactly how it should be or what they would like it to be?” 

New Video: Up-and-Coming French Electronic Duo Polo & Pan Release Gorgeous and Childlike Visuals for Breezy “Canopee”

Polo & Pan are a Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, comprised of Paul Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan, both of whom are acclaimed artists in their own right. Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. Unsurprisingly Grynszpan is one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

The duo’s first release Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco, and their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier this year will further cement the duo’s meshing of genres and time periods to create their difficult to pigeonhole yet wildly crowd pleasing sound. The album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere — and the album’s latest single “Canopee” is a breezy and sultry song that draws from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

Animated and directed by Bleu Garou, a.k.a. Chiara Luber, the recently released animated video is an exotic and vividly colorful visual that immediately brings The Jungle Book, The Little Prince and Babar to mind as it evokes a mischievous and childlike sense of wonder and awe, while being centered around an old-fashioned love story. 

New Video: Introducing the Swaggering Arena Rock Friendly Sounds of Scotland’s The Rah’s

The Rah’s are an up-and-coming Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland-based quintet, comprised of founding members Jack McLeod, Jordan McIntyre, Neale Gray and Andrew McLeod, along with newest member Lee Brown, who have cited Jimi Hendrix, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones — and while regionally, they’ve developed a reputation for an energetic live show, over the past few years they’ve been experimenting with their sound and songwriting approach with the result being their anthemic, 90s Brit Pop “Survival,” a massive power chord-based single that sounds inspired by the likes of Kasabian, The Hives, and Foo Fighters.

Filmed and edited by Carousel Films, the recently released video for “Survival” features the band performing over superimposed stock footage of political and social unrest, war, climate change and destruction — all of which echo our current world in an uncanny fashion.

New Video: United Ghosts’ Trippy Visuals for Their Shimmering 4AD Records-Inspired New Single

The Los Angeles-based dream pop duo United Ghosts, comprised of Sha Sabi, who came to Southern California after stints in New York and San Francisco; and German-born Axel Ray, who spent a 12 year stint in London before relocating to the States — although on some level, it’s a bit of a misnomer, as they’ve received attention for a classic 4AD Records-like sound centered around boy-girl harmonizing and draws from dream pop, psych rock, shoegaze and krautrock.

The duo’s 2013 full-length, self-titled debut and its follow up, Dear Electric Sun EP received airplay from BBC’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne, KCSN’s Nic Harcourt, KLOS’ Mark Sovel and XFM’s John Kennedy and a number of others. And after three successful UK and European Union tours, a number of Stateside dates that included CMJ and SXSW, followed by an L.A. residency, the duo of Ray and Sabi returned to the studio to work on their Mark Rains and Axel Ray co-produced sophomore album, Saturn Days, an album that thematically and lyrically explores modern life, love and disconnect in a world that’s equally dystopian and beautiful, in which hope is laced with paranoia and where dreaming your way out might be the only chance to survive.

Saturn Days’ latest single “Waves,” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting material 4AD Records-era dream pop, the prerequisite shimmering guitar chords, motorik grooves, enormous power chord-based soloing and dreamy boy-girl harmonies — but with a subtly modern touch,.

The recently released video for “Saturn Days” is comprised of performance footage of the members of United Ghosts with their live band shot by Arian Soheili with superimposed drone footage by Steve Payne, underwater footage by Alex V. and images of Saturn courtesy of NASA and the Saturn Cassini mission.

New Video: Blackwater Holylight Releases Dark and Creepy Visuals for Anthemic “Wave of Conscience”

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight, and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass) with Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth) can actually trace it origins to when a previous band that Faris was in broke up, and she felt the n could to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — all while celebrating vulnerability in all of its forms. Faris adds that because she had long been the only female in many of her bands, she wanted to see how songwriting and vulnerability could glow once they take the drivers seat within a band, and how it is was to work exclusively with women.

The band’s self-titled full-length debut was released earlier this year, and the album’s second single is the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath power chord-based dirge and strident, feminist anthem “Wave of Conscience,” that finds the band at their most expansive and forcefully self-assured — but while centered around ethereal harmonizing. Interestingly, the recently released video for “Wave of Conscience” is based around found and stock footage of black widow spiders, cartoons, animated movies, and other creepy crawlies attacking and fighting each other. Yes, it’s dark as fuck — and fittingly so.

Live Footage: Denmark’s ONBC Performs the Gorgeous and Ethereal “Copenhagen” at Tapetown Studios

ONBC is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet, comprised of some of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians — and the band can trace its origins to the formation and breakup of its earliest iteration Oliver North Boy Choir, an electro pop-leaning act, which featured founding members Camilla Florentz (vocals, bass) and Mikkel Max Jorn (guitar), who were both members of indie band epo-555. After releasing a number of EPs and singles, as well as covers of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Boo Radleys, the Oliver North Boy Choir split up. In 2014 the members of Oliver North Boy Choir reunited but with the recruitment of Tanja Forsberg Simonsen (vocals, synths), who was a member of influential Danish indie pop act superheroes and Private; Ivan Petersen (drums), the frontman of The Boombox Hearts, and a radical change in sonic direction, the band was renamed ONBC.

In their native Denmark, the quartet has received attention for a cinematic sound and songwriting approach that some have compared to Low, Chris Issak and Julee Cruise — although as soon as I heard the gorgeous, shoegazer-like “Copenhagen,” I immediately thought of Malmo, Sweden’s Fredrik, Coco Beware and Caveman-era Caveman and Beach House as the harmonies of Forsberg Simonsen and Florentz ethereally float over a delicate and sparse arrangement of shimmering guitar chords and dramatic drumming.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national. regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and release through the interwebs. During the live session’s run, a number of bands have participated and been featured including British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, the renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, and a growing list of others.

ONBC’s Tapetown Studio session, much like Sista Bossen’s session is presented by their label, Crunchy Frog Records and was filmed during Aarhus’ popular Danish and Scandinavian indie music festival, Spot Festival — and it may arguably be one of the most stunningly beautiful ones they’ve shot to date.