Videos

New Video: Thievery Corporation Teams Up with Notch on a Soulful, Old School-Inspired Reggae Track

Comprised of DJ and production team Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the internationally renowned Washington, DC-based act Thievery Corporation have developed a reputation for a globe spanning, genre-defying sound that features elements of electronica, dub, bossa nova, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical music, hip-hop, Middle Eastern music and others, and for collaborating with a diverse array of artists across a variety of genres and styles, including Rob Myers, Loulou Ghelichkhani, Natalia Clavier, Frank ‘Booty Lock’ Mitchell, Mr. Lif, Jeff Franca, Ashish Vyas and a lengthy list of others, who have contributed lyrics in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian and Hindi.

Now, as you may recall, the duo’s chart topping 2017 effort, The Temple of I & I was deeply influenced by Jamaica’s sounds and rhythms, and as a result the album may have arguably been their most reggae and dub-influenced album to date — and perhaps, their most straightforward as well. Interestingly, the duo’s latest album, Treasures from the Temple is a companion album to their 2017 album, and it features both original material and remixes from the Temple of I & I recording sessions at Geejam Studios in Port Antonio, Jamaica — with guest spots from LouLou Ghelichkhani, Mr. Lif, Sitali, Racquel Jones, Natalia Clavier and Notch.
Treasures from the Temple’s latest single “Waiting Too Long” features their long-time collaborator and American dancehall pioneer Notch, and the track is a soulful, two-step dub riddim, complete with a strutting horn arrangement, and while it sounds and feels warm and familiar, it’s a sweet love song about lovers, who have been through quite a bit, going to the club to dance, to enjoy themselves and forget about the world for a few hours — and how they’re specifically waiting for the DJ to play their song. 

The recently released video for “Waiting Too Long” consists of rare footage shot in Jamaica in the late 70s and early 80s, and it captures a night out in a Jamaican club — singles and couples swaying and dancing, some with beer bottles in hand; a DJ making adjustments on his mixer as a vocalist passionately sings; in another room, men gamble and bullshit. It’s a Friday or Saturday night with people being — well, people. All seeking a small measure of joy, a connection with someone else, an escape from the drudgery of every day life. 

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New Video: Up-and-Coming Toronto-based Post-Punk act Releases Murky Visuals for Angular Album Single “Taking Pictures”

Currently comprised of Bria, Duncan, Lucas and Kris, the up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based post-punk quartet FRIGS have developed a reputation for a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from the diverse array of influences each individual member brings  — and for a visceral live show that embraces the mercurial and experimental, as though built upon instinct and feel. 

The Canadian post-punk band’s self-produced full-length debut Basic Behavior was written and recorded over a 16-month period in two locations: the band’s home studio and Union Sound Company, and while lyrically the album is centered around Bria Salmena’s personal experience, the album is reportedly the product of several years of self-discovery as a unit. Naturally, recording at home allowed the band to take much-needed time to explore and experiment with sonic textures and production, and meticulously re-working their material. However, they felt that a degree of urgency was necessary to push them to finalize the album, and with engineer Ian Gomes, the band embraced the limitations of third-party studio time, which gave the sessions a sense of immediacy, and as a result, the album’s material is at points stark, chaotic, reflective and manic — often within a turn of a musical phrase. 

Basic Behavior’s latest single “Taking Pictures” features an arrangement based around propulsive drumming, slashing and angular bass and guitar chords, over which the band’s Salmena coos and howls throughout — while evoking a growing sense of disillusionment and fury without focusing on an actual narrative; in fact, it gives the song a primal and forceful urgency. As the band says of the recently released video for “Taking Pictures,” “We wanted a video that similarly eschewed narrative in order to portray this feeling through distorted perspective, overlapping subjects and a black-and-white pallet.  Adds the video’s director, Christopher Mills “The camera seems to be broken in a glitchy, 360 degree virtual space filled with multiple exposures of FRIGS, occasionally and inadvertently disrupted by glitchy abstract shapes in this dark and moody portraiture. For me, this song is like what Mazzy Star would play before a street fight. The toughness of this music evokes images of Ponyboy Curtis, with all of his friend running around the perimeter of town, looking for trouble. ”

New Video: Austria’s Hearts Hearts Release Gorgeously Shot Surreal Visuals for Album Title Track “Goods/Gods”

With the release of “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, the  Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts, comprised of  David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer, and Peter Paul Aufreitet, initially developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac electro pop that drew comparisons Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead among others. Thematically, Young focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately attempting to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life.

After Young’s release, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. Upon receiving those two sound snippets from his bandmates, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and started singing over it. It resulted in the Austrian act’s highly-anticipated, genre-defying sophomore album officially drops today, and the album reportedly finds the band drawing sonically from Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while thematically focusing on the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash on all of the album’s song titles. Interestingly, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Phantom/Island” a genre-mashing and genre-defying track that possessed elements of jazz, electronica, indie rock and experimental pop in a way that brings to mind Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington  and “Sugar/Money,” Goods/Gods’ most straightforward track as there’s a decided focus on accessible and infectious hooks while nodding at early 80s New Wave. Goods/Gods’ latest single, album title track “Goods/Gods” is centered around stuttering beats, an arpeggiated synth loop, some industrial clang and clatter, while revealing soaring hooks and a tight groove within a song that sounds deeply indebted to Flying Lotus. 

Directed by Rupert Höller, the recently released video for “Goods/Gods” continues a run of gorgeous and cinematically shot and surrealistic visuals — in particular, the new video balances a hypnotic vibe with a contemporary sense of isolation and anxiousness. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Sofia Härdig Releases Moody Yet Upbeat Visuals for “Illuminate”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM Sofia Härdig, and as you may recall, she is at the forefront of an internationally renowned Swedish electro pop movement that includes a handful of JOVM mainstays and others that I’ve written about throughout the course of this site’s history; in fact, in her native country, she’s considered a queen of Sweden’s electronic rock scene. Along with that, Härdig has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters, Bob Hund, Boredoms and Free Kitten‘s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson. 

Härdig’s latest single “Illuminate” is an atmospheric, 80s-inspired, glistening and moody synth pop track consisting of layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a subtle rhythm guitar, a sinuous guitar line and a sultry hook — and while in some way reminding me of Stevie Nicks “Stand Back” and The Cars “Drive,” “Illuminate” is a deeply contemplative and introspective song focusing on the endless and seemingly frustrating search for love and for connection. Although it comes from a deeply personal place, it’s a universal sentiment that we’ve all felt at one point or another — and with a similar yearning to find that sort of love once again.

As Härdig explains in press notes. “I worked with the song ‘Illuminate’ alone in my studio for many long, lonesome nights. It was just the studio, the stars and I, while I played all the instruments, made the soundscape and recorded the single in solitude. Later, I invited over some friends to improvise over the track. Guitarist John Essing and bass player Mats Hellquist, both from the band ‘bob hund’, but also a classical pianist and cellist respectively, added parts to the soundscape of ‘Illuminate.’ I brought all the new recordings back into the studio – tore them apart, rebuilt them and made arrangements, as if I was a mad scientist in my lab. I then brought in Jari Haapalainen to produce the songs. The solitary fashion in which ‘Illuminate’ was crafted reflects the mood of the single.”

 The recently released video by Stefan Sundlof features textured and looped footage of dimly illuminated streets and close ups of Härdig in soft vignette framing — the darkness at the edges of the footage, slowly envelope the Swedish singer/songwriter and producer at one point, leaving only her illuminated. Towards the end of the video, the footage becomes increasingly brighter and day lit, further emphasizing the song’s increasing upbeat tone towards its conclusion. “It’s amazing that three of my best friends are filmmakers, even more so that they’re all involved in some way or another with this album,” Härdig says in press notes “Jessica Nettelbladt took the photos for the singles and the album, Johannes Stjärne Nillson did the covers and Stefan Sundlöf directed this video. The video uses a special version of ‘Illuminate’ that Stefan had fallen in love with; a slower, darker one. Stefan and I often share music and talk about it. When I sent him this edit of ‘Illuminate’ he responded almost right away with a 30 second video clip, that he’d made of what he had in mind for the song. It was stunning. I was convinced and saved the version for the video. So especially for you, here you get a glimpse of another universe of ‘Illuminate’. The one for the video, the one for Stefan.”
 

New Audio: Sweden’s SVVAMP Returns with a Classic Rock Inspired, Power Chord-based, Arena Rocker

Comprised of three long-time friends, Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, who all share vocal duties, the Jönköping, Sweden-based trio SVVAMP can trace their origins to a mutual love of rock, folk and blues, and unsurprisingly, the band has received quite a bit of praise for a classic rock-inspired heavy psych rock/rock ‘n’ roll sound that draws Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse — but with an unpretentious, genuine and downright uicontrvibed sound and vibe. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

SVVAMP 2, the Swedish trio’s highly-anticipated sophomore, full-length effort is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive, technological jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a 6-track tape deck, which allows the band to expand upon their overall sound while improving its fidelity. Interestingly, SVVAMP’s move from 4-track to 6-track recording follows the development of early psych rock bands moving towards increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), going from 4, then 6, then 8 and eventually 16 tracks and onward; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Queen,”SVVAMP 2’s swaggering and self-assured first single, a track that finds the band crafting a sound that sounded as though it could have been released in 1968, thanks in part to its enormous, power chord-based riff, and arena rock friendly hooks that immediately bring Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse but within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure. “Hillside,” the album’s second single will further the Swedish trio’s growing reputation for crafting 60s and early 70s inspired hard psych and rock — and while the song may remind some listeners of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen,” the song has the band managing to balance the cool, self-assured of old pros, who know what they’re doing and how to go about it, and an immediacy of three musicians in a room, quickly honing in on the same frequency. 

New Video: Chicago’s Ganser Releases Mischievous and Surreal Visuals for “Satsuma”

Over the past couple of months I’ve written quite a bit about the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser,  and with the release of their debut EP, This Feels Like Living, the members of the Chicago-based act received attention locally for an art rock-leaning post-punk/noise rock sound influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine.  Now, as you may recall, the band’s full-length debut Odd Talk is slated for release later this month through No Trend Records, and the album’s material reportedly focuses on communication breakdowns, with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in confusion and messiness, as though they were literally sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words to say what they wanted or needed to say.

“Satsuma,” Odd Talk‘s last official single will further cement their reputation for material that thematically can be grimly absurd yet comedic that points at the complexities and frustrations of human relationships paired with angular guitar chords and propulsive drumming that help evoke a sweaty, heart racing anxiety: the sort in which your thoughts are racing and pinballing within your head; but the difference here is that the song focuses on a weary reservation, on avoiding expectations and their inevitable heartache, of not showing your hand when things are uncertain.

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Micolli and directed and edited by the band, the recently released video for “Satsuma” follow a woman Kate Ziebart as she wanders a post-blizzard Chicago, who’s compelled to dance through the streets. Throughout the course of the video, the woman’s movement varies between graceful and frantic but she turns the mundane and routine to something altogether strange; in fact, her weirdness seems to be infectious, and everyone she passes begins to start acting as weirdly as she is — although the woman is actually completely unaware of her effect on her surroundings or on anyone else. 

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Miccoli in a post-blizzard Chicago earlier this year and self-directed and edited by the band, the video follows a woman (Kate Ziebart) as she wanders the city, compelled to dance, as she encounters each member of the band in turn as she goes. After being in Chicago, the video not only strikes me as only being possible in Chicago, it manages to evoke the accusatory and sarcastic nature of the song in a mischievously indirect fashion. 

New Video: Renowned Swedish Electro Pop Artist Releases Unsettling and Brutal Visuals for an Uncompromisingly Honest Album Single

Jenny Wilson is a Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist, who founded and fronted First Floor Power, an act that was signed to The Knife’s Rabid Records; in fact, The Knife’s Karin Dreijer wrote the duet “You Take My Breath Away” after catching a First Floor Power set. Wilson has also appeared on renowned Swedish synth pop artist Robyn’s debut EP; but as a solo artist, Wilson has won 3 Swedish Grammi Awards for her fourth full-length album, 2013’s Demand The Impossible!, which she self-produced and released while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Wilson’s fifth full-length album EXORCISM is slated for an April 20, 2018 release through Gold Medal Recordings — and while the album is the first batch of new material from Wilson in over five years, the album may arguably be the most unflinchingly personal material she’s ever written and released, as the album deals with the harrowing aftermath of Wilson’s experience as a victim of sexual assault. Sonically centered around a Prophet 6 analog synthesizer, the album reportedly finds Wilson seeking to divest herself from the recurrent trauma of her attack. As Wilson says in a statement she wrote, found in press notes:

“This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
In so many ways.
At first, I actually didn’t know if I even wanted to go on with music anymore.
Then, something terrible happened to me.

I ended up at a crossroads.
Either silent  –  or speaking.
It was not an easy choice.

I didn’t want to talk.
I didn’t manage to talk.

But I had to talk.

Not to bring justice or to take revenge.
Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

I wanted to take back what I’d lost.
I had to get rid of what was hurting me.”

EXORCISM’s second single “LO HI” is an uncompromisingly honest and confessional account of her sexual assault, including the confusing array of terror, shame, regret and anxiety she felt during her assault and in its aftermath — paired with a propulsive, dance floor friendly production featuring thumping beats, arpeggiated synths and infectious hooks, making the song an unsettlingly ironic amalgam of vibrant and thoughtful electro pop centered around unspeakable, powerless horrors that straight cis men rarely could comprehend — or even have knowledge of. 

The recently released video for “Lo Hi” features a mix of strobe-lit footage of Jenny, of footage of someone being chased and graphic animation-based sequences used to an uncomfortable and unsettling effect emphasizing the sense of  unending and inescapable terror that it’s creator and narrator are desperately trying to escape. 

New Video: Canadian JOVM Mainstays The Beat Escape Release Somnambulant and Hallucinogenic Visuals for “Moon in Aquarius”

Initially releasing singles like “Seeing Is Forgetting” and “Half-Empty Happiness” under a decidedly intentional cloak of mystery, the Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape quickly received attention across the blogosphere for crafting moody and atmospheric pop that’s deeply indebted to 80s synth pop while evoking the somnambulant sensation of a half-remembered dream.  Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a little while, you may call that the Canadian synth pop duo’s highly anticipated full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long is slated for an April 27, 2018 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records, and the album finds the duo shedding much of the mystery that they purposefully surrounded themselves around during their earliest releases; in fact, the Canadian JOVM mainstays, comprised of Addy Weitzman and Patrick A. Boivin can trace the origins of the project to a college short film they collaborated together on. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Canadian pop duo explain in press notes. And since that initial collaboration together, Weitzman and Boivin have worked together on a series of various creative endeavors that combined their interests in music and visual art, including famously, a lengthy stint DJ’ing in Montreal, which lead to The Beat Escape. 

Interestingly, Life Is Short The Answer’s Long finds the duo thematically speaking coming full-circle back to their origins,  somnambulant, waking dream-like inspired art; but while further developing the sound that grabbed the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere. “Sign of Age” the Canadian synth pop duo’s first single off their full-length debut featured propulsive and gently undulating Giorgio Moroder-like synths with a deliberate, textured and painterly quality that evoked gently drifting about in somnambulistic reverie. Continuing in a similar vibe, the album’s second and latest single “Moon in Aquarius” is a a decidedly motorik affair featuring a spectral melody — and while being clearly indebted to 80s synth pop, the song manages to evoke the mesmerizing sensation of a night time road unfurling before you, with white lines and dividers flashing by in a blur; the inexplicable sensation of things being simultaneously alien yet familiar; of the accumulation of the inescapable and lingering ghosts of one’s life, and the lonely moments in which they haunt the most. 

The recently released video for “Moon in Aquarius” possesses a feverish and hallucinogenic quality as features some wintry footage and footage of the duo, brooding in the country home, where they recorded a great deal of the album and “live performance” footage, accompanied by lighting effects, shot in the studio of the Montreal-based artist collective Light Society. At various points, the video seems to nod at Kraftwerk’s “Robots” as the members of the duo have similar robotic expression. As the duo explain in press notes. “To talk video ideas we drove up to the country house where a lot of our album was recorded. We turned on Quiet Village Radio so the sounds of Exotica contrasting with the winter landscape could replicate the mood of our recording sessions. As soon as we arrived, we made a fire, cooked supper, and it became quite clear that we needed to film in this house.” 

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Singer/Songwriter Issac Gracie’s Ode to Heartbreak and Lingering Ghosts

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a bit, you may recall the with the release of his debut single “Last Words,” the London-born and-based, 23 year-old, singer/songwriter Issac Gracie quickly established himself as one of Britain’s best, up-and-coming artists; in fact, with “Terrified,” Gracie built upon a growing profile with a self-assured yet deeply personal and honestly song that found him expanding upon the sound that first caught national attention with lush backing instrumentation and the sort of soaring and anthemic hooks that bring to mind Snow Patrol and Jeff Buckley. 

Gracie’s highly-anticipated self-titled full-length debut officially drops today,  and as the British singer/songwriter says in press notes about the album, “Over the course of the two years it took to complete this record, I learnt more about myself and about music than I had in the entirety of my prior life. It was the biggest test I’ve ever undertaken and a winding journey that I won’t forget. To now have the record as a physical representation of a heavy and formative time in my life, that can be traced and re-remembered through listening to it, is an awesome and unique reward for the time and effort and love that was spent.”

The self-titled album’s latest single “the death of you & i” focuses on a familiar scenario for all of us: that moment when you randomly run into a former lover, whose ghost has pervasively lingered in your life, and as a result the song captures the confusingly ambivalent and bittersweet mix of longing, hate, forgiveness (sort of), love, sadness and loss that come up so quickly — and within a song that sounds much like an amalgamation of Jeff Buckley, Roy Orbison and garage punk; in fact, the accompanying video for the song features Gracie, as he goes from heartbroken and pensive, to enraged and heartbroken. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Dutch Singer/Songwriter Nana Adjoa Releases Symbolic Visuals for Soulful Single “Honestly”

If you follow me through the various social media platforms, you’d know that I’ve had an absolutely epic time during my first two days in the Windy City — and everyone I’ve met has been a wonderful and kind ambassador to their hometown. Man, right now, I feel as though Chicago can’t do me wrong. But on to the business end of things  . . . 

Nana Adjoa is an up-and-coming Dutch-Ghanaian singer/songwriter, whose father emigrated to Amsterdam in the 1980s and eventually married the Amsterdam-born and-based singer/songwriter’s “very Dutch” mother. Growing up, Adjoa spent a portion of her childhood in the rough and tumble, working class Biljmer neighborhood, a section once described by a local police chief a “national disaster area.” In press notes, Adjoa describes her upbringing as being fairly liberal until her parents’ divorce and their subsequent embrace of Christianity. “The second part off my growing up was with some Christian values, but by this point, I was getting to the age of making up my own mind,” the Dutch-Ghanaian singer/songwriter recalls in press notes. “It was a bit too late for me.” Eventually, there was a rift within her family with the Christians (Nan’s father, mother and brother) on one side and the non-Christians (Nana, her sister and the rest of the extended family) on the other. Understandably religion, as well as questions about her own gender identity and of being a black person in an extremely white environment have been regularly occurring themes and concerns in her work. “In fact, I think I still unconsciously use a lot of Christian ideas and metaphors in my music,” she adds.

Adjoa was accepted at the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory to study jazz (electric bass and double bass); however, she found the the experience to not be what she had always imagined it would. “It was very much like school,” she says. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.” Around the same time, the Amsterdam-born and-based singer/songwriter began to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while outside. Adjoa began to realize that pursing a solo was the direction she needed to take, and so she formed a band and record her original songs, which has resulted in the attention grabbing Down at the Root Part 1 and the forthcoming Down at the Root Part 2.

“Honestly,” Down at the Root Part 2‘s first single is an effortless, neo soul affair that nods at Simply Bill-era Bill Withers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, as the song reveals a quietly self-assured singer/songwriter beyond her relative youth, who can craft a song that’s driven by an infectious hook and a lush melody; but as Adjoa explains, the song is an “outsider track” that grew from a simple piano backing into its vibey, jazz-like arrangement. “I didn’t even think it was going to make the record because it felt so different from the rest,” Nana says. “I guess it’s about how people are scared of the possibility of something bad happening. And that fear is really strange because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Directed by Bear Damen, the recently released video for “Honestly” features Adjoa and her backing band, as the backing musical act for a surrealistic play; but underneath that are much deeper interpretations — including, the vulnerability of having someone capture your heart, and knowing that with a cruel or thoughtless act, that they can crush it.