Videos

New Video: The Dark and Cinematic Visuals for Up-and-Coming Scandinavian Pop Artist Louise Lemón’s “Appalacherna”

Louise Lemón is an up-and-coming Uppsala, Sweden-based pop artist, who has developed a reputation in her homeland and elsewhere for a dramatic, moody and dark sound that some have compared favorably to PJ Harvey, Lana Del Rey and others. Interestingly, her debut EP Purge was recorded in a reportedly haunted cabin with Randal Dunn, who has worked with Sunn O))) and Thurston Moore — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the spectral and eerie feel within the studio has influenced the EP’s material; in fact, “Appalacherna,” Purge’s latest single pairs Lemón’s soulful and expressive vocals with a sparse and equally moody arrangement featuring swirling feedback, brief and explosive bursts of drum and piano. And just under the brooding and mysterious surface is a desperate and aching longing — the sort of longing that will ultimately be unfulfilled, as the song’s narrator recognizes the inherent difficulties of a relationship with an equally broken and dysfunctional person. 

Directed by Edward John Drake, who has directed the videos for Yolanda Be Cool, DCUP and Rodriguez’s “Sugarman” and Flora Cash’s “California,” and starring Louise Lemón and Sien Gay, the recently released visuals are cinematically shot but brooding and nightmarishly matter of fact about the brutality of its central character. The story begins with Lemón playing with a crystal necklace while daydreaming about a lover, who has hurt her after playing a successful show. A bodyguard type comes in after her show, and informs her “we’ve found him” and the video quickly becomes set in the California desert, where Lemón encounters the “him” they found — and the ending is as disturbing as any scene in Goodfellas. As Lemón explains “’Appalacherna’ was recorded in the Californian desert with the theme: An artist kills her past to save her future. This really made making this video a cleansing process. The necklace with the crystal plays an important role in the video and it turned out to play an even greater role to me. I was really happy to bring it back home with me as a memory so I tucked it away safely, but back from the shoot it was gone, I was liberated from the past and wasn’t supposed to bring anything with me from it.”

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New Video: The Gorgeous and Time-Bending Visuals for San Mei’s “Until You Feel Good”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you may have come across a handful of posts featuring Emily Hamilton, a  Gold Coast, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo project San Mei began humbly as a bedroom recording project; however, during that aforementioned three year period, Hamilton has seen a growing national and international profile as Hamilton has seen attention and praise from major media outlets, including NME, Indie Shuffle, NYLON and Triple J, as well as this site. 
Produced by Konstantin Kersting, who has worked with The Belligerents, WAAX, and Tia Gostelow, Hamilton’s first single of 2017 “Until You Feel Good” is a mid-tempo single that is a change of sonic direction for Hamilton, as her lilting and coquettish vocals are paired with a much more organic arrangement of fuzzy Brit Pop and shoegazer rock-like power chords and a propulsive groove, along with a soaring hook and a subtly moody vibe. And while being radio friendly, the song manages to evoke a complex array of emotions — desire and longing, frustration and the sense of something being unresolved, along with some self-assured and ambitious songwriting. 

Filmed and directed by Brisbane, Australia-based filmmaker Jennifer Embelton, who has produced videos for Babaganouj, Huntly, Good Boy and Jeremy Neale, the video is follows a young woman’s time-bending journey across the present, the past, the future, the real and her own dreams when she encounters a boy from her past, who suddenly returns to her life. And as soon as he appears, he’s gone. The harder she tries to find the boy, the quicker he slips away. Is he a ghost of her past, haunting her at an inopportune time? That remains to be seen; but it further emphasizes the sense of things being unresolved within the song. 

New Video: The Sultry and Sensual Sounds and Visuals of Anna of the North’s Latest Single “Lovers”

Comprised of the Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith, the Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North can trace its origin back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town near Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite and well groomed, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing for hours but never buy-in anything. One afternoon, the woman suddenly approached Lotterud and implored her to abandoned the traditional life she had planned out, and go and expand her horizons. The plea jolted something in Lotterud and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind. 

The time Lotterud spent in Australia was personally fulfilling but also incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway in the first place. Around that time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships, was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne, and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had caught Smith performing while she was friends. Interestingly, Lotterud and Smith then quickly became friends, with Smith encouraging his new friend to find solace in songwriting — and that by making music they could exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. The project’s name actually came from a joke — Smith jokingly referred to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck. 

The release of their debut single “Sway” three years ago began an incredible run of attention grabbing singles that have received over 60 million streams across every streaming service, multiple number 1 spots on Hype Machine’s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and  Beats 1 — and in many ways that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo’s sound pairs brooding, icy minimalism with bright, buoyant and radio friendly/dance floor friendly production. 

The duo’s highly-anticipated full length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 and reportedly the album’s material focuses on a subject familiar to the duo and to countless others — heartbreak. And through the album’s ten tracks, the album goes through the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more. 

Interestingly,  the album’s latest single, album title track “Lovers” pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled. 

The recently released visuals for “Lovers” features Lotterud at a party by herself surrounded by couples — and in some way she’s haunted by the fact her relationship has fallen apart. As the duo explains “On a literal level, the video is about being lost at a house party and surrounded by couples when your own relationship has fallen apart. Digging deeper, it’s set in the same place as the song, that point when you feel so alone and you’re reaching out but they’re not reaching back. It’s desperate”

New Video: Melbourne, Australia’s Gold Class Pairs Tense Sounds with Equally Tense Visuals for “Twist In The Dark”

Comprised of a collection of work friends, bar buddies and students in a creative writing course, the Melbourne, Australia-based post-punk band Gold Class, featuring Evan James Purdey (guitar), Jon Shub (bass), Adam Curley (vocals), and Logan Gibson (drums), formed in 2014. And shortly after their formation, the quartet quickly developed a reputation for lean and explosive live sets, which eventually culminated in their debut effort It’s You, an effort that paired angular and wiry post punk with material that thematically focused on personal politics, sexuality and identity. As a result of its unflinching frankness, the Australian quartet was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize and was nominated for an Age Award — and with a growing national and international profile, the members of Gold Class played a series of sold out shows across their homeland and London, as well as sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Golden Plains, Splendour in the Grass, London Calling, and Primavera Sound.
 
 
Building upon their rapidly growing international profile, the band’s follow up to It’s You, Drum is slated for an August 18, 2017 release through Felte Records and as the band’s Adam Curley explains in an artist statement “The week we started to write Drum, my relationship ended and I was left alone in a draughty [sic] old house, which belonged to a friend of a friend. In the house, I sat around with my notebook, the quiet hours cut with new from friends and the TV; the suicides of musicians and writers I’d known and queer kids I hadn’t; the systematic abuse of vulnerable people, the constant mockery of anyone on the outs. 

I knew what the purpose of the album would be when I wrote the repeated line in “Get Yours:” “There’s none left here and all I need.” I wanted it to be a record of defiance, a resistance to the idea of scrambling for a place at a table that wasn’t set for you. A sort of a love letter to anyone who not only can’t meet the standard but doesn’t want to. I wanted it to be a record of rage and ecstasy and endless nights and sex and dumb fun and ventures in solidarity. Not just an album of urgency and longing, but one of abandon and a reclaiming of a self beyond boundaries.

But I couldn’t avoid what was immediately happening in my life, either, that the end of my relationship had uncovered a lot of the feelings of isolation I experienced growing up. And so it turned out that the album is also personal, and I think is in conversation with queer histories of silence and evasion and transgression, which I was revisiting through the writing of James Baldwin and Cocteau. Childhood imagery kept creeping into the lyrics. Maybe I was trying to come to some peace with the past and to stand up and find some agency in the present. I suppose it was the most defiant thing I could think to do: not to write as some act of catharsis but in an attempt simply to document and claim my existence; that I am here. 
 
Not only is the material much more personal and much more forceful, the album. which was co-produced by The Drones’ Garther Liddiard finds the band expanding upon both their sound, attempting to capture distinctly different moods and tones from its predecessor,  and as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Twist In The Dark,” the band evoking a complicated array of emotions — desperate and fervent longing, the uncertainty of a relationship in which you can’t tell what your motivations are nor can you figure out what that other person truly feels; but underneath, there’s a wistfulness towards the burning passions and desires of one’s youth, when things were seemingly much more black and white. And what caught my attention was the fact that the Melbourne-based quartet smartly pairs tense, angular post-punk with incredibly smart lyrics, rooted on the experiences, thoughts and feelings of someone, who’s led a fully and messy life.
 
The recently released visuals for the song employs a relatively simple concept as it features the members of the band performing the song in an empty performance space but pay close attention as there are sudden jump cuts and even quicker changes in lighting — all of which further emphasize the song’s tense, anxious vibe.
 
 
 

New Audio: Alt Rock All Star Side Project Filthy Friends Release Their Most Straightforward and Anthemic Song to Date

Comprised of Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), who’s best known for being a member of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), who’s best known as the frontman of The Fastbacks and a producer and mentor for several up-and-coming Seattle-based rock bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s best known for being a member of the legendary King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M., Filthy Friends is both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years. 

The band has released two attention-grabbing singles this year, “Desiperta,” their contribution to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Building upon the attention they’ve already received, the band will be releasing their full-length debut Invitation through Kill Rock Stars Records on August 25, 2017 — and while featuring their previously released tracks, the album overall finds the band working through a series of different moods and styles, genre exercises and experiments; however, “The Arrival,” Invitation’s first single may arguably be the most straightforward, glam rock and alt rock nodding single as the band pairs bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook around Tucker’s imitable vocals in a song that swaggers with the cool, self-assured confidence of old pros, who make it seem far easier than it actually is — and who can essentially play anything at will.  

New Video: The Sultry Visuals and Sound of Eliza and Her Latest Single “Wide-Eyed Fool”

With the release of her eponymous debut, the London-born and-based pop artist Eliza Doolittle quickly rose to national attention, as the album went platinum, thanks to the success of  album singles “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,”  both of which landed on the UK Top 40 charts. Along with that, her collaboration with internationally renowned electro pop act Disclosure, “You & Me” was one of the duo’s best-selling singles. However, after such tremendous early success spent the past four years attempting to get back to her base and really discover what it was she wanted and needed as a person and as a artist. “When you’re young, you do what you should do, rather than what you really feel. I was always battling between that pull of my gut, and people talking in my ear,” Dolittle explains. 

Now, at the point of her life and career, Doolittle who now writes, records and performs under the mononym Eliza, the London-based pop artist is actively following her own creative instincts; in fact, she recently released the Get In My Head series, which consists of four mixtapes featuring snippets of new music as a way for her fans to get a taste of her change in sonic and creative direction; in fact, her first official single of 2017 “Wide Eyed Fool” is a sultry bit of singer/songwriter pop in which Doolittle reveals the full ranger of her voice, singing deeply personal lyrics paired over piano, soaring strings and swaggering hip-hop-lied beats. While clearly drawing from 90s neo soul, pop and hip-hop soul — What’s the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, in particular — complete with slick, modern production. But at the core of the song is some ambitious songwriting from a woman, who wants to take over the pop world. 

Directed by Charlie Robins, the recently released visuals for Wide Eyed Fool are equally sultry and brooding, while clearly nodding at the vulnerability, pride and strength within the song. 
 

New Video: Catch Amber Arcades and Bill Ryder-Jones Travel the Dutch Countryside and Perform Their Duet “Wouldn’t Even Know” in New Visuals for Latest Single

Now, if you have been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you may recall that with her debut effort Fading Light, Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades quickly received international attention for material that thematically focused on time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have influenced much of her personal and creative life; in fact, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN and eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and on human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.  Building upon a rapidly growing profile De Graaf and her backing band went on a Fall 2016 Stateside tour with Nada Surf, while releasing several singles off Fading Light‘s much-anticipated and recently follow-up of jangling and anthemic guitar pop, Cannonball EP including “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will.”

Canonball’s latest single “Wouldn’t Even Know” is a subtly brooding and lushly gorgeous duet with British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones that gently nods at Phil Spector-era pop and the great June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash duets — and while further cementing de Graff’s reputation for jangling guitar pop, the song possesses the swooning Romanticism of finding friendship, love and understanding through the open road and through music. 

Directed by Wander Andringa, the recently released and utterly gorgeous and cinematic visuals for the song features de Graff and Ryder-Jones driving through the seemingly endless seas of green and blue of the Dutch countryside in an old Mercedes, cut with footage of the duet performing the song with a backing band that’s reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s fantastic concert film Roy Orbison and Friends: A Night in Black and White; however, throughout the footage de Graff and Ryder-Jones have an unmistakable musical and creative chemistry. Annelotte de Graaf adds, “I wanted the video to look like the song sounds: flowing at a certain pass, broody, yearning and uplifting. I also really love the Sonic Youth video for their version of “Superstar”. That inspired me to do a kind of live performance of the song for the video. Mixed together with the shots driving through the Dutch countryside I think it really captures the mood of the song. Wander did an awesome job, even though I’m pretty sure me and Bill weren’t the most easily directable “actors” (sneaking sessions watching football in a pub into the day’s program)  — haha.”  Personally, the video reminds me of sitting on trains and busses traversing the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht and back to Amsterdam with a mixture of weariness from being awake and moving for more than 30 hours, awe, excitement and loneliness. 

New Video: Ibeyi Returns with Triumphant and Joyous Visuals for “Away Away”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three or four years, you may recall that I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded French-Cuban twin sibling duo, Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee). Comprised of Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, the sibling duo’s name is derived from the Yourba word for twins ibeji — and interestingly enough, the Diazes are the daughters of Anga Diaz, best known as a percussionist for the world famous Buena Vista Social Club, and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo.
Anga Diaz died when the Diaz sisters were 11 and upon his death, they studied Yoruba folk songs an the cajon, an Afro-Caribbean drum, which their father had specialized in throughout most of his musical career. Interestingly, while Yoruba is a dialect primarily spoken throughout Nigeria and Benin, it’s been spoken in some fashion in Cuba since roughly the 1700s when the slave trade brought Africans to the Caribbean. And in some way, it would seem that when the Diazes started studying their father’s instrument and his musical culture, it gave them a greater understanding of him, his music and their ancestral past. And with the release of their 2015 self-titled debut, the Diaz sisters quickly gained an international profile for a sound that draws from contemporary electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues, and traditional Yoruba folk music in a fashion similar to Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective‘s Roots Before Branches; in fact, much like Roots Before Branches, Ibeyi’s work makes a musical and deeply spiritual connection between the African Diaspora here in the West and with Africa that’s both modern and incredibly timeless.  

Now, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve last written about the Diaz sisters, but after touring to support their self-titled debut, the sisters spent the better part of 2016 writing and recording their highly-anticipated, yet still untitled sophomore effort, slated for release through XL Records later the year. And the album’s first single “Away Way” will further cement their growing reputation for pairing slick and swaggering, contemporary electronic production with the Diazes’ gorgeous harmonizing and resoundingly positive and resolute messages, complete with traditional Yoruba chanting.

As Naomi Diaz explained in an email to the folks at The FADER, the song “reflects on at time when Lisa was gazing out her window and thinking about the permanent follow of creation and destruction.” Her sister Lisa-Kainde adds “We are witnesses of the world’s craziness (which is sonically symbolized by the sirens in the track) and we wonder if the promises of better days will be kept. The chorus of ‘Away Away’ represents a burst of positive energy, us taking a conscious step towards movement and action because only the people can make good on that promise. The song culminates with a Yoruba chant for the Orisha Aggayu, a ferryman known for providing strength. Aggayu in nature ignites a violent eruption of volcanos, however, with the intention that the lava ultimately refertilizes the soil to create new life.”  Lyrically and thematically the song focuses on accepting pain as a part of life, and recognizing that it’s a necessary part of life, while celebrating life for its complicated entirety. 

Directed by Christian Beuchet, the video features the Diazes goofing off dancing, singing and immersing themselves in the song’s positive energy and throughout the entire video they radiate an infectious, mischievous joy and comfort within each other. 

New Video: The Striking and Sensual Visuals for Ozteki’s “True Love”

Comprised of cousins Mike Sharp (vocals, guitar) and Joel Roberts (synth, percussion, programming), the London, UK-based electro pop duo Ozteki have received attention across the UK and elsewhere with the release of singles “Touch,” “Already Dead” and “Falling Out,” which revealed that the duo specializes is sleek, percussive, modern electro pop that conveys a complex and paradoxical array of emotions with an almost novelistic attention to psychological detail; in fact, the duo’s latest single “True Love” is based around facing up to the darker aspects of humanity and confronting them with non-idealistic (and selfless) love — and while being a remarkably sultry and sensual song, it simultaneously possesses an underlying swooning vulnerability and anxiousness.

Directed by Christian Cargill and Will Farrell, the recently released video features Otzeki’s Mike Sharp in an eerie and strikingly vulnerable one-take performance of the track that sees Ozteki’s frontman performing the song while lying down; throughout his strained and deeply emotional performance, Sharp’s features gradually become distorted, as a way to mirror the song’s themes — and as the duo explains, the visuals delve the viewer into a pained and revealing world of what is, in their own words, “a dark-hued hymn of love and euphoria.”  

Video Review: MC Eiht and DJ Premier Team Up on Some Inspired and Gritty Street Hip-Hop

Aaron Tyler is an Augusta, GA-born, Compton, CA-based emcee, best known as MC Eiht, a name which he has publicly claimed was partially inspired by KRS-One and its link to the hood culture of his hometown — in particular Olde English 800 (sometimes referred to as 8 Ball) and to .38 caliber firearms. And although he’s known as the de facto frontman of Compton’s Most Wanted, which featured Boom Bam, Tha Chill, DJ Mike T, DJ Slip and Ant Capone, he’s arguably much better known as a solo artist and actor, who starred in 1993’s Menace II Society and contributed “Streiht Up Menace” to its soundtrack, a single that’s the Compton-based emcee’s most commercially successful and best known.  Now, i have to admit as a hip-hop head I’ve had periods where I’ve been primarily NYC and East Coast-ceneterd and sadly, I kind of forgot about MC Eiht; however, to his credit, he’s been extraordinarily prolific over the course of a nearly 25 year solo career, releasing 12 full-length albums, with his 13th full length effort Which Way Iz West slated for release some this year. 

As it turns out, Which Way Iz West’s latest single “Compton Zoo” is both what we should expect from the Compton-based emcee, a song focusing on Eiht’s life and times growing up in Compton with a gritty “I’ve done real shit and seen real shit out there and survived it all” honesty, over a DJ Premier production consisting of a swaggering yet soulful production featuring twinkling keys, looped horns and boom-bap beats. And while being something of an older statesman of hip-hop Eiht, who turned 50 late last month sounds driven and inspired in a way that would be a lot of younger emcees to shame. 

Directed by Jae Smyth, the recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — it follows Eiht and crew as they stroll around their hometown, with frequent footage of them on a rooftop with the city stretching out beneath them; but it also shows a gritty town full of tough people, who are surviving as best as they could. And of course, there’s footage of the great DJ Premier rocking the turntables, too.