Videos

Lyric Video: Dive Index Teams Up with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker on a Minimalist and Meditative Song

Will Thomas is a Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer best known as the creative mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index, the minimalist solo recording project Plumbline with which he has released several albums, including two collaborations with ambient music composer Roger Eno. Thomas has also composed scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations. 

Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waving at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the forthcoming album will continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity — while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our uncertain political climate. Interestingly, the album continues his ongoing collaboration with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

The album’s material reportedly finds Thomas setting specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, souring almost everything, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer — that leaked into the studio and were embraced into the songs. 

Waving at Airplanes’ latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “Window to Window.” Centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end, is visceral and intimate, and full of regret over lost moments, missed and blown opportunities, passing time and getting older  — and manages to recall Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

Advertisements

New Video: Night Flight’s Gorgeous and Mournful Meditation on Loss and Grief

With the release of their debut EP, 2017’s Wanderlust, its follow up, 2018’s Carousel EP and that year’s full-length debut, the London-based indie folk act Night Flight, led by its Rye, UK-born, London-based primary songwriter and frontman Sam Holmes quickly developed a reputation for crafting material that paired earnest lyrics, enormous hooks and cinematic-leaning instrumentals. 

Building upon a growing profile, the London-based act’s recently released EP White Noise is the long-awaited follow up to their full-length debut — and thematically, the EP’s songs explore disillusionment, isolation and self-reflection in the midst of personal recovery. Interestingly, White Noise’s material was written during a period of transition for both the band and for its frontman personally: the EP was predominantly written in Holmes’ hometown of Rye. “There are moments on it that feel darker than anything we’ve done before,” the band’s Sam Holmes says in press notes. “The production is still considerate of the songs, but there’s more imagination. Hopefully the music conveys the range of emotions felt in moments of high change; loss, nostalgia, self-doubt and positivity.”

The EP’s latest single is the shimmering and achingly mournful “Rye.” Centered around strummed acoustic guitar, Holmes’ expressive vocals, gently padded drums and a  soaring hook, the cinematic song, which manages to recall Parachutes-era Coldplay and others explores newfound solitude and nostalgia in the midst of grief over a profound loss — while paying homage to Holmes’ hometown. 

Directed by Jonny Ruff and the band’s Sam Holmes, the recently released video for “Rye” is a gorgeous and cinematically shot visual centered around longing, nostalgia and the emptiness of loss as we see a couple, which includes Imogen Comrie driving around in a car — but sometimes going in reverse, sometimes going forward. Towards the end, we just see Comrie driving by herself, and it turns the song into a heartbreaking tear-jerker. 

New Video: Cutting Crew Revisit and Re-work Their 80s Smash Hit

Tracing their origins back to when its founding members Nick Van Eede (guitar, vocals) and Canadian-born Kevin MacMichael toured Canada as members of The Drivers and Fast Forward respectively, the Grammy-nominated, Sussex, UK-based rock act Cutting Crew was formed in London in 1985. Within a few months of their formation, the band — then a duo — signed with Siren Records/Virgin on the strength of their demos. 

By 1986, the band expanded into a quartet and went into the studio to record their breakthrough full-length debut Broadcast, which featured their smash-hit single “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.” The song was a multi-format hit in the States, hitting number 1 on the Top 40, number 4 on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, number 24 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and an extended remix version landed at number 37 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The song also landed on the top of the Canadian and Norwegian Charts while hitting in the top 10 of the singles charts in the UK, Switzerland, South African, Sweden, Ireland and Austria. Undoubtably, the act’s biggest song, it’s arguably one of the more memorable songs of the 80s — and as a result, you’ll hear the song in Hot Tub Time Machine, Stranger Things, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. 

Broadcast also featured “I’ve Been in Love Before” and “One for the Mockingbird,” both of which also received massive commercial success with the songs reaching the Billboard Top 10 and Top 20 Charts respectively. As a result of their success the band wound up opening for the likes of The Bangles, Jefferson Starship and Huey Lewis & The News, eventually playing their own sold-out headlining shows. 

The band went on to write and record two more albums — 1989’s sophomore effort The Scattering and 1992’s third album Compus Mentus. After Kevin MacMichael’s death, the band went on an extended hiatus but after about a decade, van Eede chose to revive the band with a new lineup. And with the new lineup, the band recorded their fourth album 2006’s Grinning Souls in MacMichael’s hometown in Nova Scotia. The band then went on to release 2015’s Add to Favourites. Since the band’s reunion, they’ve toured across Mexico, Canada, Australia and Japan. 

The band’s latest album Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven was released earlier this year, and the album’s latest single finds the band re-working “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” with a string arrangement while retaining the song’s familiar and beloved elements — including that rapturous chorus. Certainly, as a child of the 80s listening to the original and the reworked version bring back a lot of memories — but while subtly making the song more contemporary. 

New Video: Introducing the Explosively Aggressive Dance Floor Friendly Sound of Los Angeles’ Carré

Carré is a Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring: 

Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world. 
Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream. 
Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot. 
Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year. And as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”  

Aesthetically, the act specializes in blending aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops inspired by French electronica. Thematically, their work is generally about conception, abstraction and distortion of reality, inspired by a geometric shapes and patterns and a surrealistic outlook on our world. The act’s debut single “This is a not a band” is a propulsive, club banger centered around layers of synth arpeggios, explosive and angular guitar squiggles, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, four-on-the-floor drumming, some industrial clang and clatter, shouted vocals, a distorted vocal loop and an arena rock friendly hook. Sonically, the song finds the trio’s sound somewhere in between Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method– but with a primal and furious intensity. 

Directed by Patrick Fogarty the recently released video is hypnotic and mind-bending visual shot features glitchy and explosive blasts of color that undulate with the music, glowing geometric shapes and more. 

New Video: Infectious East African Pop Act From Vermont Release a Breezy Ode to Love and African Women

A2VT is a rising Burlington, VT-based world music/Afro pop act that initially  featured three African refugees who sing songs written in eight different African languages  — Somali-born Said Bulle, Tanzanian-born George Mnyonge and Burundian-born Cadoux Fanoy — who emigrated to Vermont in the early aughts, when the men were teenagers. With the release of “Winooski, my town” off their 2012 Dave Cooper-produced full-length debut Africa, Vermont the trio became regional viral sensations: not only did the act earn a place within the county’s growing refugee community, the song wound up becoming their adopted hometown’s unofficial motto.

Since the release of Africa, Vermont the band went on a hiatus that has seen both personal and personnel changes to the act: Bulle has become a a father of three, who has recognized that he has become something of a role model for his extended family back in Somalia. In press notes, Bulle laughingly explains that his family back home thinks that  because he lives in America and can be seen on music videos on YouTube, he must be wealthy. Along with that, the band has continued onward as a duo with Bulle and Mnyonge, who on stage go by Jilib and Pogi respectively. Interestingly, the band’s recently released sophomore album Twenty Infinity finds the act focusing on crafting decidedly upbeat, dance floor friendly material centered around faster tempos and catchier hooks than its predecessor. And as a result, the duo feel that they’re coming into their own artistically and creatively as artists. 

“On the first record, I was still like, ‘What are we doing here'” A2VT’s Bulle recalls. Mellow Yellow’s David Cooper, who has been an essential part of the band’s team, acting as their mentor, producer, audio tech and creative consultant adds in press notes “Then, they were novices with a lot of passion and desire and no experience. Now, they’re seasoned professionals. They know exactly what they’re doing.” The duo go on to say that this newfound confidence and self-assuredness comes from the increasing wisdom of age and experience, which has found them proudly accepting their roles as family men and community leaders.  As I mentioned earlier, Bulle is a father of three. And interestingly enough, Mnyonge notes a marked change in the attitudes of the area’s local refugee from when he was a teenager, perhaps in part due to the band’s influence. As  teenage, he used to frequently fight and get into altercations on his walk home from Winooski High School. “What I’m seeing right now: Nobody’s fighting, and the kids do good in school,” he notes. “And they’re trying to be like me and do music.”

Twenty Infinity’s latest single “You Ma Numba 1” is a breezy and infectious reggae-tinged on Afro pop, centered around a strutting bass line, stuttering beats, an infectious hook,  subtle African polythryhm and the duo’s sweet harmonizing. At its core the song is a sweetly endearing, two-step inducing ode to love and to Black women. The world may seem especially bleak it’s still Spring — and as long as there people, people will fall in love. 

Directed by Jackson Stone, the recently released video was shot in Vermont and stars Fredrica Appau, Pogi, Meax, Jilib. Mr. Oli, Xclipxe, Lui Lui, King Janja and the Wanjanja Boys (Elia, Omar, Jaden, Janvier) and despite the verdant background, the video is boldly African and features these young and beautiful black people being joyous — and in love. 

New Video: The Bobby Lees Release a Feral New Single

Over the past 18 months or so, the rapidly rising Woodstock, NY-based garage punk act The Bobby Lees — Kendall Wind (bass), Nick Casa (lead guitar), and Macky Bowman (drums)  — have begun to receive attention for a feral and frenzied take on garage punk and an unpredictable live show. And as a result, the rising punk rock act has opened for the likes of The Black Lips, Murphy’s Law, Boss Hog, Future Islands, Daddy Long Legs, The Chats, and Shannon & The Clams. 

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Alive Naturalsounds Records, The Bobby Lees’ Jon Spencer-produced full-length album reportedly finds the band mixing classic, garage punk hits, raw and emotive storytelling and some of the most blistering and dexterous guitar work I’ve heard in the past few months. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles: the breakneck and explosive  Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like “GutterMilk,” and a feral and unhinged cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man,”‘ that nods a bit at George Thorogood’s famous cover — but with a defiant, gender bending boldness. Building upon the reception of the album’s first two singles, the album’s third and latest single “Move” continues a run of feral and sweaty garage punk that sounds like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on steroids. 

The recently released video captures the band playing live and goofing off while on tour — and it accurately captures the band’s youthful and infectious abandon. 

New Video: Introducing the Global Spanning Hip Hop of Persian-born, Kiwi-based CHAII

CHAII is a rising Persian-born, New Zealand emcee and producer. When she was eight, her family migrated to New Zealand — and as it turns out, she was first introduced to hip-hop through Eminem, who at the time had just released The Marshall Mathers LP. Fueled by a growing interest in his music, the rising Persian-Kiwi emcee and producer was rhyming along to his work before she really learned how to speak English. “Mr. Eminem was my English teacher, CHAII recalls in press notes. 

When she was 11, she stated to write her own rhymes to express everything she was feeling at the time — from being a confused third culture kid to her troubles adapting toa new way of life. As a high schooler, the rising Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee started to make beats to accompany her rhymes. At that point, she realized a deep love for all aspects of creating and writing music from writing, producing, recording and mixing,  And after several years of experimenting, CHAII developed her own sound, which feature elements of traditional Persian music, extra pop and hip-hip, eventually releasing material material that she says is “the closest music to me and who I am.” 

As an adult, she developed an interest in film, and that has created a synergistic approach to her creative efforts, centered around a decidedly DIY ethos. With the release of her debut single “South” earlier this year, which was featured by FENDI, the Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee exploded into the international scene. Building upon a growing profile, CHAII recently released her latest single, the urgent and defiant “Digebasse,” the second single off her debut effort Safar (Journey). Interestingly, the track features tweeter and woofer rocking beats inspired by a Southern Iranian drum patterns, skittering hi-hats, buzzing synths and a rousing hook — and while being a propulsive club friendly banger, the track which features a guest spot from Australian emcee B Wise sees CHAII delivering an uplifting and defiant commentary on millennial social pressures in English and Farsi that CHAII says “is a positive and uplifting song to say ‘enough’ and to stand up for your rights.” 

B Wise’s guest verse highlights the need to be unified for a single purpose and the desire to be free, adding that “The song hit me from the first listen. It had an anti-establishment vibe to it, yet uplifting and uniting with a great message. The song is a major culture clash, so i had to jump on it!” 

The recently released video was directed by the rising Persian-Kiwi artist and was shot guerrilla-style in Oman with a cast of close friends and locals as extras. Featuring a vibrant and explosive color palette within a slick and modern production, the video reveals an ambitious and talented young artist ready to take over the world — and an intimate view into the world and culture that influenced the rising artist so deeply. In a larger sense, the song and the video are a larger reminder of the fact that hip-hop is the linga franca of the contemporary world. In Frankfurt-am-Main I’ve heard vendors playing Biggie’s “One More Chance” In Amsterdam I went to the Sugar Factory and heard young Dutch DJs spinning NWA and A Tribe Called Quest. And in Montreal, I heard local rappers spitting fire in French. If that doesn’t convince you, this will. Hip hop ain’t dead y’all. It’s as vital as ever. 

New Video: Watch the Members of Rising Aussie Indie Act RVG Star in a Troma Films-like Horror Film

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about Adelaide, Australia-born Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter Romy Vager and her rapidly rising band RVG. Now, as you may recall Vager was a teenaged goth kid runaway who left her hometown of Adelaide and headed to Melbourne. Upon her arrival in her new city, Vager joined her first band Sooky La La, a project that crafter material centered around anger and discordance — and as a result, the band was largely misunderstood, routinely cleared rooms and never found much of a following. Eventually, the band split up. But it resulted in Vager committing herself to write songs that people would actually listen and listen to by attempting to do what countless other aspiring songwriters try (and hope to) do: match feelings of alienation, loneliness, heartbreak and feeling misunderstood with introspection, melody and rousing and soul-stirring hooks and refrains. 

For a while, Vager wound up living at The Bank, an erstwhile recording, rehearsal and performance space that took over an old bank building in Preston, Australia, a suburb about six miles from Melbourne. The Bank was a scene unto itself, featuring a handful of bands that would soon become acclaimed, including Jalala, Gregor and Hearing, who at the time, all played, practiced and lived there. Living in such a space, surrounded by musicians, who were constantly working and honing their work was profoundly inspiring to Vager. 

In September 2015, Vager launched a tape of solo material that hadn’t actually been pressed and landed her first solo show at The Bank’s downstairs performance space. For her live solo debut, Vager recruited Drug Sweat’s and The Galaxy Folk’s Angus Bell, her Bank neighbor, Gregor’s and Hearing’s Reuben Bloxham and Rayon Moon’s Marc Nolte to be a one-off backing band. But once they began playing together, they all realized — without ever having to say it aloud — that they needed to continue as a band. Shortly after that show, they initially formed as Romy Vager Group before shortening it to RVG.

RVG’s 2017 full-length debut A Quality of Mercy was recorded live off the floor at Melbourne’s beloved and iconic rock ‘n’ roll pub, The Tote Hotel. Initially released to little fanfare — no press releases, no music videos, no press photos of the band or any significant press push, the album’s material was heavily inspired by The Go-Betweens, The Soft Boys and The Smiths and prominently featured Vager’s passionate and achingly vulnerable vocals. Much to the band’s surprise, their full-length debut received attention and praise across their native Australia and elsewhere. The album caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed the band and re-issued A Quality of Mercy, which led to a much larger profile internationally.

Building upon a growing profile, the band then went on world tours with Shame and Kurt Vile. Late last year, the band released the Victor Van Vugt-produced single “Alexandria.” Written as a response to the immediate aftermath of Brexit and Trump, the song is appropriately urgent and ardent. Featuring jangling guitars, pummeling drums, a rousingly anthemic hook and Vager’s earnestly plaintive and gravely howl, the song finds the band gaining a subtle studio sheen but without scrubbing the grit and honesty that has won them attention.

COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire known world on an uneasy and indefinite hiatus but the band still hopes that this year will be a momentous year for them: earlier this year, they signed to Fire Records, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated sophomore album Feral on April 24, 2020 throughout the world — excluding Australia and New Zealand, where the album will be released through their longtime label home Our Golden Friend. Immediately after signing to Fire Records, the band released Feral’s second single, the devastatingly earnest and heartbreaking ballad “I Used to Love You.” Centered around a universal tale of suffering in the aftermath of an embittering breakup, the song’s proud and defiant narrator reclaims herself and her life — but while acknowledging that something important to her and her life story had to come to an end. 

Feral’s second and latest single “Christian Neurosurgeon” is a decidedly New Wave-like song centered around shimmering and jangling guitars, enormous and rousingly anthem hooks and Vager’s guttural growl — and while sonically recalling Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, the song as Vager explains in press notes is “a very simple song about cognitive dissonance. It’s not just a song about bagging Christianity, it’s more about how we have to hold onto certain ideas to be able to survive, even if they’re not true.” 

Directed by Lazy Susan Productions’ Caity Moloney and Tom Mannion, the recently released video for “Christian Neurosurgeon” is a twisted Troma Films-like nightmare that features each of the band’s members: Romy Vager playing a brain that refuses to die, Marc Nolte as a demented and mad scientist and Reubean Bloxham and Isabele Wallace as his faithful and unquestioning assistants. 

“The video was very fun to make for us and hopefully the band too — even though we put them in some pretty weird situations,” Lazy Productions’ Caity Moloney and Tom Mannion recall in press notes. “We just embraced the song and went full surgical horror, using hand developed black and white 16mm film so the video feels almost as lo fi as the medical operation RVG are running in it. It was shot by our DOP Jesse Gohier-Fleet, who did an amazing job making every frame as spooky as possible. We’ve watched the video a lot and still laugh every time so thanks to RVG for bringing the comedy gold!”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Sam Fender Covers Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” on BBC Radio 1’s “Live Lounge”

Over the past two years or so, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the 
Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender. Last year, was a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-born and-based artist: 
his Bramwell Bronte-produced full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles was a critically applauded, commercial success. Fender also made several nationally televised late night appearances — and went on a successful international tour that saw him play across North America twice. He then closed out the year with the release of “All Is On My Side,” a propulsive track that was sort of synthesis of Gerry Rafferty and Billy Idol, complete with a Eric Clapton Slowhand-era like guitar solo.

Although the year was full of momentous, life-changing achievements for the young singer/songwriter the year ended on a frustrating note with Fender having to postpone a handful of sold-out UK live dates with Fender having to reschedule them. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was looking bright for the JOVM mainstay: he was hand-picked by the legendary  Elton John to play at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party — and much like last year, was gearing up for this year’s BRIT Awards, in which he received a nomination for Best New Artist. 

Desperate to prove that he’s not a one-hit wonder, Fender has an urgent desire to improve upon his critically applauded debut. Musically, he started the year with “Hold Out,” a slow-burning 80s inspired anthem with an enormous, arena friend hook and shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars that further established his reputation for crafting earnest yet ambitious material with a novelistic attention to detail. Earlier this year, Fender made an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series, and the appearance including a a haunting and achingly bluesy cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black.” After a persistent fan campaign online, Fender officially released the cover — and the footage from the live session. 

“‘Back To Black’ is such a long-standing favourite of mine, and Amy remains a national treasure,” Fender says in press notes. ” I love that album too. I hopefully did the track some justice. You’ll all be the judge of that…”