Tag: video

New Video: Sophie Jamieson Shares Hauntingly Gorgeous “Boundary”

Rising British singer/songwriter Sophie Jamieson released two EPs back in 2020 that caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed Jamieson — and then released her Steph Marziano-produced full-length debut Choosing today.

Choosing is a subtle rework of the sound that Jamieson quickly established through her first two EPs: While those EPs flirted with playful experimentation, Choosing‘s sound is simultaneously more organic, simpler and intimate, centered around arrangements of live drums, bass, cello and piano, which are roomy enough for Jamieson’s mesmerizing vocals to take the spotlight.

Jamieson has described the songs on her first two EPs as “black holes,” and while Choosing manages to cover similar ground, it never takes its eyes from what lies beyond, never fully releases its grip when its telling her to let go. The album is deeply personal documentation of a journey from the painful rock bottom of self-destruction to a safer place, and imbued with a faint light of hope. Focusing on the bare bones of each song, the album’s material is influenced by songwriters like Elena TonraSharon Van Etten and Scott Hutchinson, and sees Jamieson singing openly about longing and searching, of trying, failing and trying again, and the strength of love in its varying forms. 

“The title of this album is so important,” Sophie explains. “Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it’s about hope, and finding strength. It’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, and crawling towards it.” 

Ultimately, the album asks the listener to look deep within themselves and to show them that they can take whatever pain they’re experiencing, and choose, to some extent, how they let it affect them; whether they let it burn them down or whether they choose to look it straight in the face. “The songs are bursting with something, and that energy just needs to be reshaped into love for the self,” Sophie explains. “I can say this from a place of having learned now how to love and care for myself. The love that reverberates through this album is like the green shoots of something I have happily learned to nurture into my present day.” 

“The few times I have listened to this album from start to finish, I have realized that there is a huge amount of love in it,” Jamieson says “I think there is a strong potential for real, healthy, healing love. It’s like a line of relief that runs along through all the songs. It’s never unleashed, it hasn’t yet learned how, but it’s present in an underlying tension and potential.” 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Choosing‘s devastating first single “Sink.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling and wobbling keys that seem simultaneously childlike and ironically detached, skittering boom bap-like drumming, “Sink” is roomy enough for Jamieson’s weary and heartbroken delivery to take the lead. The song is an unflinchingly honest look at someone on the edge — and not quite know what’s next. “Sink” was written as a love letter to alcohol amid an increasing dependence upon it, informed by a recurring image Sophie had of herself on a desert island, a quiet, calm place that was just too good to be true. “’Sink’ presents a purgatory between being able to choose and begging not to be pulled under,” Sophie explains. “It’s about teetering on the edge, looking over the cliff, asking not to be pulled over before realising you only have to choose not to jump.” 

The album’s latest single “Boundary” is a slow-burning, meditative and sparsely arranged track centered around strummed guitar, and subtle bursts of keys before paired with Jamieson’s gorgeous, achingly yearning vocal. The first time I heard this one, I stopped dead in my tracks, stopped everything and got lost in her

“This song comes from a kinder place than some of the others on this record. It steps back and acknowledges self-inflicted pain and the repeated effort to heal,” Jamieson says. “It’s about trying and failing, knowing there is something you’re trying to grasp but that keeps slipping out of your reach. The journey isn’t smooth or pretty but it’s hopeful, and the light starts to creep in once you choose to be honest with yourself.

Directed, edited and shot by Jamieson, the accompanying video captures both the endless passage of time and of change. “I filmed this video over 4 months, between February and May 2022 in my garden, on my cycle journey to work through South East London and several stops along that journey,” Jamieson says. “It started with an interest in how things change, the idea that nothing ever lasts and the healing effect of time – and ended up being a joyous documentation of spring unfolding. The process of making this video has been incredibly healing, and an act of choice in itself – to stop and look up, to find beauty and become intimate with how time moves nature. I noticed details as though I’d never seen them in my life, things I’d always struggled to see from the pit of self-destruction.”

New Video: Bass Drum of Death Shares Scuzzy and Groovy “Head Change”

Slated for a January 27, 2023 release through Fat Possum Records, Say I Won’t, Bass Drum of Death‘s highly-anticipated fifth album marks three major events for the punk outfit founded and fronted by John Barrett:

  • Barrett relocated from New York, where he had been based for much of the band’s run together, back to his hometown of Oxford, MS. “Moving back to Oxford was a much-needed reset,” Barrett explains. “When I started, I just wanted to play in a punk band and drink beers and travel around. I didn’t really think much past that. And I got really burned out. When I moved back home, I started writing songs again, just for fun. I realized I wanted this record to have more of a hometown feel.”
  • Say I Won’t is the first Bass Drum of Death album that sees Barrett writing, demoing and recording with the touring band, rather than Barrett doing everything completely on his own. Barrett discovered a newfound freedom working with collaborators that just wasn’t available to him before, which opened different aspects of the songwriting: a process that featured live recording, layering on different parts and overdubs and then stripping it all back to the bare bones, keeping the raw, wild heart of the music intact.
  • The album also sees the band returning to their long-time label home Fat Possum, who released their full-length debut, 2011’s GB City. “The switch back to Fat Possum was easy,” Barrett says. “It’s much better working with people I know and love and love everything they do.”

Recorded with The Black KeysPatrick Carney at Audio Eagle Records in Nashville, Say I Won’t is a groove-oriented effort batch of songs indebted to 70s rock songs with scuzzy power chords and cruising tempos. The album seems Barrett and company at their loosest, scuzziest and most tuneful while rooted in a hard-won maturity and swagger that comes from a decade of playing music on the road and surviving to tell the story. “I had to relearn that making music is fucking fun,” says Barrett, “and you should have fun doing it. If it’s miserable, what’s the point?” He laughs. “But man, when a song hits, it’s the best feeling in the world. That’s what this record is about. Getting back to that good place and staying there.”

“Head Change,” Say I Won’t‘s third and latest single is a mid-tempo, cruise-ready ripper centered around scuzzy, power chords and a forceful motorik-like groove that sounds indebted to Led Zeppelin and T. Rex. Play loudly on your car stereo and rock out hard, y’all! “We kind of wanted a mid-tempo psych stomper, and really didn’t change a whole lot from the demo,” Bass Drum of Death’s Barrett explains. “We added the dueling guitar bridge in the studio spur of the moment, and it ended up being one of my favorite parts on the whole record.” 

Directed by Joshua Canon, the accompanying video for “Head Change” is fittingly indebted to 70s horror films: a motorcycle riding bad guy stalks the video’s two female protagonists. as they meet up and get a ride from two dudes they hang out with. The video follows the cues and tropes of horror movies, with the four friends drinking beers and bullshitting in a cemetery when our stalker makes their fearsome appearance. But the video has a bloody and ironic turn.

New Video: Los Bitchos Share a Joyous and Seasonal Visual for “Los Chrismos”

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bitchos — Australian-born, Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguayan-born Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Swedish-born, Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — can trace their origins to meeting at various late-night parties and through mutual friends. Inspired by their individual members’ different upbringings and backgrounds, Los Bitchos have developed a unique, genre-blurring and retro-futuristic sound blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: 

  • The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. 
  • The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. 
  • Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. 
  • And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos.

“Coming from all these different places,” Los Bitchos’ Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

Los Bitchos’ Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! was released earlier this year. Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishing their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality. 

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. 
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 
  • Pista (Fresh Start),” a slick and trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock featuring looping guitars and dance floor friendly Latin rhythms. 
  • The Link Is About To Die,” a trippy party friendly groove featuring looping and glistening guitars, twinkling synths and shuffling rhythms.

The rapidly rising JOVM mainstays will cap off a momentous year with two singles “Los Chrismos,” their first-ever Christmas themed composition and “Tipp Tapp,” both which were released digitally and physically earlier this month on a flexi disc bundled with a red vinyl re-press of their debut album. Co-produced, by the band’s Serra Petal and Javier Weyler, the two new tracks were recorded at 5db. 

The first single of the batch, the Christmas-themed “Los Chismos,” is a celebratory party, starting romp with cheers and shouts, centered around a dexterous and looping guitar line, atmospheric synths that’s one-part cumbia, one-part psych rock and 100% unadulterated joy. Considering the continued strange and uneasy state of our world over the past couple of years, “Los Chrismos” is a much-needed joy and hope bomb.

“‘Los Chrismos’ is our ‘80s nostalgic Christmas dreamland. Shoop-shooping down the slopes into a cosy chalet strewn with fairy lights, join us for a glass of bubbly and a cosy Christmas party full of festivities!” The band shares. “We can’t wait to get dressed up and play this song on our Chrismos tour.” 

Directed, shot and edited by Tom Mitchell, the accompanying video continues the 80s vibes of the song: We the women of Los Bitchos skiing down the slopes before meeting up for a meal and bubbly in a cozy, chalet complete with fireplace, seasonal lights — and the exchanging of gifts. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the video is a playful and nostalgia-inducing walk down memory lane.

New Video: Atsuko Chiba Shares a Cinematic, Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

With the release of two albums and a couple of EPs, Montreal-based psych outfit Atusko Chiba — Karim Lakhdar (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Kevin McDonald (guitar, synthesizer), David Palumbo (bass guitar, vocals), Anthony Piazza (drums) and Erik Schafhauser (guitar, synthesizer) — have developed and honed a reputation for crafting a cohesive and hypnotic blend of post-rock, prog rock and krautrock paired with offbeat, subversive songwriting. 

The members of Atsuko Chiba pair their unique brand of experimental rock with video and light installations trigged in real time by the band, creating an immersive multimedia, multi-sensorial environment. Over the past few years, the band has toured across Canada, the States and Europe, sharing stages with  . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail of DeadBig BusinessDuchess SaysKing Buffalo, and others. 

Atsuko Chiba’s highly-anticipated third album, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing is slated for a January 20, 2023 release through Montreal-based purveyors of all things psychedelia, Mothland. The album reportedly finds the Canadian quintet crafting a collection of drone-driven yet bombastic material that may draw comparisons to the likes of The Mars VoltaBeak>and Spirit of the Beehive among others. 

“As opposed to our last album, which was about introspection, spacetime and the personal journey, the themes explored on this new album are related to our environment and our reaction to it,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “Though not meant to be strictly political, our references stem from highly politicized movements and ideas. Division and group ideology are heavily explored. A prime example is the weaponization of vocabulary used to distract, displace and alienate us, forcing us to pick sides on every front. Our lyrics also strongly denote our innate love for all living things, encompassing a hopeful, if somewhat violent, plea for change.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s expansive, slow-burning A Storm in Heaven-meets-Dark Side of the Moon-like “Seeds.” Clocking in at 7:45, the track is centered around lush, glistening synths, swirling guitar riffs, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like drumming paired with heavily distorted vocal harmonies. The single also features a gorgeous contribution from Montreal-based string quartet Quatuor Esca, who perform an arrangement by Gabriel Desjardins. While possessing a sprawling, widescreen atmosphere, “Seeds” evokes a creeping sense of impending uncertainty and doom but with the tacit understanding that perhaps not all is lost — at least not yet. 

Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing‘s second and latest single “Link” is rooted in a chugging and aggressive rhythm section, scorching and blaring alarm-like synths, buzzing poly harmonic guitar lines paired with booming vocals. While sounding a bit like it could have been recorded during the Trace sessions, “Link” is an urgent, mosh pit friendly ripper — with a widescreen, cinematic quality.

“’Link’ is about judgement; how we often tend to judge and belittle others to prop up our own self worth,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “It’s about the lengths we go through to destroy others, while not taking the time to look inside.

Directed by Laurine Jousserand, the accompanying, animated video for “Link” is mind-bending and trippy visual that sees the protagonist become their own enemy. “We wanted to create an evolving picture based on implicit concepts; a metaphorical narrative through contemplative representation,” Jousserand explains. “The challenge became addressing themes such as sterile conflict or false pretense from an internal point of view while using minimal movement. Lyrics and visual elements immerse us within an accusatory monologue, the enemy taking on the form of the narrator, though their identity bears no importance. Nature becomes increasingly uncomfortable, eventually engulfing the subject, stripping them of their humanity until they are quasi-vegetal and ultimately linked to their doubles. These ghost-like twins are hostile yet passive, mimicking their every movement. The final scene takes the rhetoric out of its intimate and personal confines, giving it different identities, expressing a general state of being, a shared reality.”

New Video: Fabien Gravillon Shares a Breezy, Swooning Bop

Paris-born singer/songwriter Fabien Gravillon specializes in Zouk, Kizomba and Afro pop — but in his native France, he may be best known as an actor, who starred in the hit French soap opera Plus belle la vie.

After the release of his debut album through Because Music, Gravillon went to Los Angeles and appeared in several videos by internationally acclaimed artists including Macklemore and Patrick Stump‘s “Summer Days,” Collapsing Scenery and others.

He also participated in several projects filmed at Fox Studios in Hollywood and for The Jim Henson Company. Interestingly enough, inspired by animation and by his experience as a voiceover artist, Gravillon decided that his music videos should be cartoons. . .

“Bonita,” Gravillon’s latest single is sleek and swooning, genre-defying bop featuring skittering, reggaeton beats. glistening synth arpeggios and Gravillon’s sultry and vulnerable cooing (in French and Spanish) paired with a two-step inducing hook. While being slick and modern pop song, “Bonita” is a sweet and old fashioned plea of devotion and love.

The animated video features cartoon version of Gravillon and the song’s titular Bonita on a romantic date that’s sweet in its old-fashioned feel.

New Video: Paris’ Premier Métro Shares a Slow-Burning, Nostalgia-Inducing Bop

Rising Paris-based synth pop outfit Premier Métro — Dimitri, Sébastien, Alexandre and Enzo — specialize in a nostalgia-inducing, synth driven sound that seemingly draws from 80s pop, Flavien Berger, The Weeknd, and others.

Interestingly, with a handful of singles under their belts, the French quartet landed slots at We Love Green last June — and an appearance on Culturebox. Building upon a growing profile, the quartet’s latest single “Pour Quelques Secondes” is a slow-burning. hook-driven bop centered around glistening synths, thumping beats paired with ccihgl plaintive vocals that capture the few minutes that a performer or a band will feel like gods while performing on that stage. But it also scans as a bittersweet ode to fleeting youth.

Shot on an iPhone, the accompanying video follows the band in post-show glow, goofing off, getting on a metro and heading to karaoke spot before the phone finally dies.

Live Footage: Larry & Joe Perform “Caballo Viejo”

Larry & Joe is a new duo that performs a fusion of Venezuelan and Appalachian folk music on harp, banjo, cautro, fiddle, maracas, guitar, upright bass and whatever else they decide to throw into the van. The duo features:

  • Joe Troop, a North Carolina-based Grammy-nominated bluegrass and old-time musician, who spent over a decade in South America with his acclaimed “latingrass” band Che Apalache. With the pandemic, Troop got stranded in his old stomping grounds and as a result, his primary project was forced into hiatus. Troop shifted into action, working with asylum seeking migrants.
  • Larry Bellorín, a Monagas, Venezuela-born, North Carolina-based Llanera music legend, and asylum seeking migrant. Bellorín works construction to makes ends meet, and writes and performs music in whatever spare time allowed.

Currently based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Troop and Bellorín are versatile multi-instrumentalists and singer/songwriters on a mission to prove that music has no borders, that music is the universal language. Their work is a distinct blend of their musical and cultural inheritances and traditions paired with storytelling about the ways that music and social movements coalesce.

The duo’s debut single is a subtle re-imagining of “Caaballo Viejo,” one of the most beloved and popular Venezuelan songs of all time. The song features the duo on their primary instruments: Bellorín on harp, Troop on banjo and vocals. While featuring a wildly different yet gorgeous arrangement, that gives the song a bluegrass twang, the Bellarín and Troop rendition is still centered around a timeless and deeply human heartache and longing that somehow effortlessly translates in every language.

The duo is playing a show at River Spirt Music, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY on January 28, 2023. For tickets and other information, check out the link: https://cliveshows.com/events/rsm-larry-joe/