New Video: Brooklyn Shoegazers Parrot Dream Release Cinematic and Mournful Visuals for Shimmering “Light Goes (In Mines)”

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written a bit about  Parrot Dream, a shoegaze duo comprised of  Santiago, Chile-born, Brooklyn-based Christina Hansen Appel (vocals, keys) and Gonzalo Guererro (guitar). Hansen Appel and Guererro formed the band back in 2013, and as you may recall, after relocating to Brooklyn, the duo developed a reputation for crafting sprawling and shimmering soundscapes, which helped them amass more than 500,000 streams of Spotify.

The duo’s full-length debut Light Goes was released earlier this year through Good Eye Records, and the album which was written and recorded over a two year period features material that thematically touches upon themes of connection, love, memory and clarity. The album’s latest single “Light Goes (In Mines)” continues upon a similar vein of preceding singles like “Paradise & Prey” and “Clouldchaser,” as the track is centered around shimmering synths and guitars, an angular and propulsive bass line, four-on-the-four-like drumming and a soaring hook. Hansen Appel’s ethereal yet mournful vocals float over the mix. While, the two previous singles I wrote about were much more anthemic, “Light Goes (In Mines)” is much more mournful; in fact, the song manages to possess an unfulfilled yearning at its core as the song reflects on how much remains uncommunicated and unresolved in parent and child relationships.

Co-written by the band’s Gonzalo Guerrero and Cristian Pino, and directed by Cristian Pino, the recently released video stars Kai Pelton, a co-facilitator of the TransGenerational Theatre Project. In the video, the protagonist desperately longing for a relationship with a parent, who doesn’t seem to understand their child and their life. Throughout the video, Pelton moves about her world dealing with grief, loss, confusing and heartbreak. It’s a powerful reminder of that rejection and the loss of a parent’s love can be devastating no matter how old you are.


Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Swedish Singer/Songwriter Marlene Oak Performs “In The Evening” at YouTube Music Studio

Earlier this week, I wrote about Marlene Oak a Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up on a small island outside of of Stockholm, where she turned to music as an escape. Oak spent her teenage years busking on the streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, and was serendipitously discovered by someone, who just happened to pass by and catch her playing. After releasing a couple of singles, which helped to develop a reputation for a sound and approach that’s influenced by Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, the Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist built a following playing shows across her homeland at pubs, clubs and elsewhere, opening for the likes of Miss Li,Whitney Rose and Susto, as well as playing sets at Way Out West FestivalSTHLM Americana and Irisfestivalen.

The up-and-coming, Swedish singer/songwriter’s latest single “In The Evening” is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement of Oak’s soulful and plaintive vocals, accompanied by a strummed, electric guitar fed through gentle amount of reverb. Of course, such a sparse arrangement forces your attention on Oak’s vocals and lyrics — in particular, as the song focuses on heartbreak, sorrow, achingly lonely nights and desperately figuring out some way to move forward with your life. Recorded in one take, the song possesses a you-were-there immediacy which helps pack a walloping emotional punch. 

“When I recorded ‘In The Evening’, I wanted to record everything on one take — without a click. And that’s what I did,” Oak says in press notes. “I aimed for keeping the same feeling to the song as I had when I wrote it, and I wanted to sing the words as if they were my last.” 

Building upon a growing buzz surrounding her and the song, Oak released live footage of her performing the song at YouTube Music Studio at Riksmixningsverket in Stockholm. The live footage emphasizes the you-were-there immediacy of the song and its initial recording.

New Video: Acclaimed Drummer and Songwriter Kyle Crane and The Shins’ James Mercer Team Up on a Shimmering and Nostalgic Single

Kyle Crane is an acclaimed drummer and prolific songwriter, who has been a part of the touring bands for the likes of Neko Case, M. Ward and others. Additionally, he was the drum double for the Oscar Award-winning film Whiplash.  Crane recently announced a solo album of his own, Crane Like The Bird, which is slated for a January 18, 2019 release, and the album is reportedly steeped in Crane’s autobiography: Crane’s father was a Coast Guard lieutenant and pilot, whose helicopter went down in a search-and-rescue mission in 1997. The album tells the story of the time leading up to his father’s death and the effects on them; in fact, the album cover photo is a picture of his mother at the crash site, throwing a rose out to sea, and the album art includes his father’s old pilot logs and maps. 

As a result, the album’s material touches on love, loss and memory but also ski lifts and Nintendo, perhaps as a reminder that along with love, a healthy dose of nostalgia is part of the universal experience. Interestingly, the album finds Crane collaborating with a who’s who of indie music including Conor Oberst, Daniel Lanois, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Luke Steele, Peter Bjorn and John‘s Peter Moren, Sabina Scuibba, Brad Mehldau and The Shins’ James Mercer — and each collaborator allows the material on the album to be sonically diverse, as the material nods at points to jazz, New Wave, country and others. The album’s latest single is the jangling, Smiths-like “Wishing Cap,” an achingly nostalgic track that wishes for simpler and easier times, perhaps with loved ones who aren’t with us now. 

Animated by Tim Lierman, the recently released video is a larger metaphor for being transported back in time. After putting the wishing cap on, the video’s hero is transported with the task of healing a world that has fallen apart. That world represents Crane’s broken heart, after his father’s death. As Crane explains, “When I would visit my Grandparents i would stay in my father’s old room that he grew up in. One time I was rummaging through the closet and I found an old shoe box with letters and an old green baseball cap in the closet. I thought ‘what if I put this hat on and it gives me special powers and I can climb through that old photo on the wall and be transported to the past’”

New Video: Yip Yops Release an Early MTV-like Video

Comprised of founding members Ison Van Winkle (vocals, guitar) and Ross Murakami (drums), along with Jacob Gutierrez and newest member, Mari Brossfield (keys, vocals), the Coachella Valley, California-based indie act Yip Yops can trace their origins back to 2011. As the story goes, Van Winkle, who was turned on to Pink Floyd’The Wall by his father, “consciously and subconsciously” developed boundless ambition when it came to mutual. Through mutual friends, he attended a local jam session where he met Murakami, About a year later, the duo began jamming together, and it sparked the possibility of forming a band, centered around working together to accomplish a goal of creating the best music possible

Gutierrez joined the band for an industry conference, and as a teenaged trio, the band cut their teeth playing in and around the Coachella Valley area for the better part of a year-and-a-half. Brossfield joined the band, and as a result the band’s New Wave-inspired sound expanded to include male-female harmonies. Already the band has played sets at CoachellaChinatown Summer Nights and Echo Park Rising and adding to a growing profile the band has opened for Lauren Ruth Ward and have released their latest single, “She” a single that draws from The Ting Tings “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and Freedom of Choice-era Devo, as the band employs the use of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, propulsive. tribal-like drumming and an infectious, razor sharp hook within an anachronistic yet carefully crafted song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1981, 2011 or 2018.

Directed by Mike E Nikolla, the recently released video for “She” is primarily centered around footage of the band perfuming the song in an abandoned studio with headless mannequins and arms — and off screen, a costumed character watches as a sort of security guard. Visually, the video reminds me of classic MTV videos from the early 80s (which is quite fitting). 

New Video: Acclaimed Act Shook Twins Release a Disco-Influenced Take on Folk Paired with Trippy Visuals

Sandpoint, ID-born, Portland, OR-based identical twin sisters Katelyn Shook (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, glockenspiel and telephone microphone) and Laurie Shook (banjo, upright bass, djembe, ocarina flute, tambourine, giant golden egg, vocals) formed the acclaimed folk duo Shook Twins back in 2004, and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for a unique and quirky take on folk that’s centered around unusual instrumentation, the Shook Sisters’ harmonizing, Laurie Shook’s beatboxing a looping machine and a telephone microphone to create a sound that draws from folk, Americana, electro pop and hip hop. They’re also known for adding choruses or lines from other contemporary and well-known songs as a sort of remix-like style. 

And with the release of their first three albums — 2011’s Window, 2008’s You Can Have The Rest, and 2014’s What We Do, and a handful of EPs, the Shook Sisters have built a growing national profile as they’ve performed with or opened for the likes of Ryan Adams, Mason Jennings, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, Trace Bundy, Jonatha Brooke, Michelle Shocked, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, John Craigie, Elephant Revival, The Head and the Heart and others. And adding to that, they’ve played sets across the country’s music festival circuit including High Sierra Music Festival, Suwannee Hulaween, Summer Camp Festival, Electric Forest Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Arise Music Festival, Four Corners Folk Festival, Fayetteville Roots Festival and others. 

The act’s long-awaited fourth full, length album Some Good Lives is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Dutch Records and the album which features a backing band consisting of Niko Slice (guitar, mandolin), Barra Brown (drums) and Sydney Nash (bass) finds them paying homage to the loved ones, friends and mentors, who have had a massive influence and impact on their lives from a late grandpa and godfather to Bernie Sanders and a host of others. “We realized there was a theme,” Katelyn Shook explains in press notes. “Even though our minds are mostly on the women of today and wanting the matriarchy to rise up, we have several men in our lives who have been such positive forces. We wanted to thank them and honor the good guys who showed us the beauty in this crazy world we live in. So, it’s an album for Some Good Lives that have crossed paths with ours—and to them, we are grateful.” Laurie Shook adds “It’s also an acknowledgment of our thankfulness of the good life that we get to live.”

During 2016, the Shook Sisters planted the seeds for what would become Some Good Lives by thinking bigger — they began intermittently recording at Hallowed Halls, an old library building, which felt full of stories. And with their backing band, they expanded upon the sound that first won them attention. “It took us a long time to find the band that we wanted to record these songs with and for the songs to fully mature,” admits Laurie. “Once Barra, Sydney, and Niko joined us, we really started to explore what our music could be. These amazing players helped us realize that we could be more than just ‘folk pop’. We started adding other genres to the word like ‘disco,’‘psychedelic,’‘funk,’ and ‘soul. We really honed in on a new sound.”

Some Good Lives‘ funky latest single “Stay Wild” single begins with shimmering guitars and features a propulsive, dance floor friendly groove, complete with a sinuous bass line paired with the Shook Sisters’ gorgeous harmonizing — and it finds the act’s sound meshing old school folk, deliberate attention to craft, psych pop and electro pop in a heady yet accessible fashion; in fact, in some way, it’s an almost Giorgio Moroder-like take on folk. 

Directed by Kristen Mico of Brave Alive Productions, edited by the band’s Laurie Shook and Kristen Mico and featuring effects by Willie Witte, the recently released video stars the Shook Sisters along with Barra Brown and Niko Slice. The video initially begins with a frustrated and stressed out businesswoman, completely in black and white. The brief blasts of color that come into her world revolve around the creative spirts and world of Shook Twins — including the entire band ice skating at a local rink. It’s a goofy and trippy visual that captures the spirit and feel of the song. 

New Video: Aesop Rock and Tobacco Collaboration Release a Thumping Anti-Social Anthem

Born Ian Matthais Bavitz in Syosset, NY, the Portland, OR-based emcee and producer Aesop Rock was at the forefront of a collection of underground and alt hip-hop acts that emerged during the late 1990s and early 2000s with his most boundary pushing work being released through El-P‘s Definitive Jux Records. Aesop Rock has also developed a reputation for being a go-to collaborator, as he is the member of a number of different musical projects including The WeathermenHail Mary Mallon with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, The Uncluded with Kimya Dawson and Two of Every Animal with Cage. Throughout his career, the Syosset-born, Portland-based emcee and producer has been largely considered one of the more verbose emcees, known for a flow that’s centered by dense and abstract wordplay and incredibly complex rhyme schemes.

Over the past decade, the Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter TOBACCO (born Thomas Fec) as a solo artist and as the frontman and primary songwriter of Black Moth Super Rainbow has used analog synths and tape machines to record material that rapidly alternates between absurdly bright beauty and the murderously sinister in a way that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure. Interestingly, the duo’s collaboration Malibu Ken can trace its origins back to when TOBACCO and Aesop Rock toured together over a decade ago. “I find his production to be something special, and always wanted to see what I could bring to it,” Aesop Rock says in press notes. ” We recently found time to record some songs, and Malibu Ken was born. I brought a few stories to the table, but also did my best to let the production dictate the subject matter throughout. We hope you like the soup.” Rhymesayers Entertainment will be releasing the duo’s self-titled, full-length debut on January 18, 2019, and as you may recall, the self-titled album’s first single “Acid King” was arguably one of the most forward-thinking, strangest, boundary pushing hip-hop tracks I’ve heard in some time. Sonically, Aesop Rock spit a series of dense, mind-spinning bars full of absurd and gory imagery, betrayals and heartbreaks over a woozy and menacing retro-futuristic production centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths.  

“Corn Maze,” the album’s second and latest single is centered around a dense and junky, retro-futuristic production featuring layers of fluttering, shimmering and woozily whirring synths, thumping beats and anthemic hooks — while Aesop Rock spits dense bars with odd, novelistic detail, describing a narrator who’s an anti-social and paranoid fuck-up. And as a result, the song evokes a sweaty, half-remembered insomniac dream that’s managed to linger. 

The recently released video, directed by frequent Aesop Rock collaborator Rob Shaw, depicts Aesop Rock in an insomniac daze in which the late night Japanimation-inspired cartoons he starts watching seem to suddenly become self-aware, commenting on the ridiculousness of their situation. It’s a trippy mix of live action, cheap animation and 80s animation that further emphasizes the song’s junky, retro-futurism. 

New Video: M.I.A. Releases a Previously Unreleased Collaboration with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann

Born Mathangi Arulpragasam, the London-based rapper, electro pop artist, singer/songwriter and activist M.I.A. is the daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance. As a child, Arulpragasam and her family were forced to flee to London, where she became precocious a nd creative immigrant teenager, who her friends called Maya. As M.I.A., Arulpragasam emerged on the global stage with a mashup, cut-and-paste aesthetic that drew from Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the unwavering voice of burgeoning multicultural youth. 

Released earlier this year, the documentary film MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A was drawn from a never-before-seen cache of personal footage that spanned several decades of the artist’s life, offering unparalleled and intimate access of her battles with the music industry and mainstream media as she became one of the most outspoken and provocative figures in contemporary music. The film was first released on iTunes and other digital platforms here in the States, Canada and the UK — and recently, the film’s producers announced that the film will be available on digital platforms across Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scandinavia, Singapore, Spain and Sweden between March and April 2019 with more countries and regions to be announced. Interestingly, on the heels of the iTunes release of the documentary, the acclaimed Sri Lankan-born, London-based electro pop artist released a previously unreleased song and music video from her archives, “Reload.” 

Originally recorded in 2004, before the release of her critically acclaimed full-length debut Galang, “Reload” was cowritten by Elastica‘s Justine Frischmann, who wrote the beats by experimenting with a Roland 505 beat machine with Arulpragasam writing the lyrics — before Arulpragasam began writing and recording as M.I.A. The song is brash, swaggering mix of thumping hip hop, electro pop, feminist art punk that’s dance floor friendly while revealing an artist, who was just about to come into her own as an artist. 

The video was shot in Justine Frischmann’s basement and features Maya with her friends Rudy, Marsha and Deborah dancing to the song. It captures a brash confidence of young women, fucking around and grooving to their favorite song, while slapping fuckbois and douchebags away. 

New Video: Introducing the Gender Bending Visuals of Mysterious Parisian Pop Artist Boy Bamboo

Boy Bamboo is a mysterious, up-and-coming Paris-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, and his latest single “Lola” finds the Parisian pop artist pairing his sultry and yearning falsetto with a stark and modern production centered around shimmering guitar chords, thumping beats and arpeggiated synths. It’s sleek and incredibly contemporary — and in a way that recalls Steven A. Clark‘s Fornication Under Consent of the King, Blood Orange and others.

The recently released video for “Lola” is arguably one of the most unique videos I’ve seen this year as it stars the Parisian artist, bending and blurring gender roles as he’s dressed in white and touching his body — but as the video progresses, something is disastrously wrong. It ends suggesting that the video’s protagonist has just had a miscarriage. 

New Audio: Tony Hawk’s Son Fronts a Sludge Punk Band Warish, Check Out Their Awesome First Single

Featuring founding members Riley Hawk (guitar, vocals) and Bruce McDonnell (drums), the Southern California-Based trio Warish formed earlier this year, when its founding members wanted to try their hand at something a bit more distinct than they’d previous done. “We wanted to do simpler riffs and a fun live show,” Hawk explains in press notes. “A little more punk, a little bit of grunge… a little evil-ish.” Sonically, their sound reportedly draws from a variety of things — early Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Static Age-era Misfits. With “Fight,” the first single off their self-titled debut EP, slated for a February 19, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, the trio quickly make their presence known as the song is centered around Hawk’s effects-laden vocals, enormous grunge rock meet thrash punk power chords, pummeling drumming, mosh pit friendly hooks and an aggressively sleazy, Troma Films-like vibe — and it’s fucking awesome.

New Video: Swervedriver Returns with the Wistful and Nostalgic “The Lonely Crowd Fades Into The Air”

Primarily centered around founding and core members Adam Franklin (vocals, guitar) and Jimmy Hartridge (guitar, vocals) and currently featuring Mikey Jones (drums, vibes) and revolving bassists Mick Quinn and Ben Ellis, the renowned Oxford, UK-based alt rock/shoegazer act Swervedriver formed back in 1989. And during their initial run between 1989 and 1998, the band released four full-length albums — 1991’s Raise, 1993’s Mezcal Head, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation and 1998’s 99th Dream — while going through a number of lineup changes, management changes and different labels.

Interestingly by 1993, the band’s lineup settled to include Franklin, Hartridge, Jez Hindmarsh (drums) and Steve George (bass), and with that lineup they developed a reputation for having a much heavier sound than their shoegazer contemporaries — although over the last five years of the band’s initial run, their sound eventually evolved to include elements of psychedelia, pop and indie rock. 

The members of Swervedriver’s longest tenured lineup went on a lengthy hiatus in 1998 in which the individual members went on to pursue a variety of professional and creative pursuits. Franklin embarked on a solo career that would rival Swervedriver’s creative output, first fronting he experimental electro pop/electro folk act Toshack Highway, whose releases ranged from sextet ensemble works to four-track bedroom recordings and then with the more traditionally guitar rock-driven Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody. Hartridge founded a distribution company. Hindmarsh founded Badearth Management, eventually managing Scottish rock act Terra Diablo and others. Interestingly, in early 2005, Franklin, Hartridge, Hindmarsh and George reconvened to collaborate with Castle Music to choose songs on what would be a two disc anthology Juggernaut Rides ’89-’98, which featured 33 tracks remastered from the original DATs. Half of those tracks were non-album tracks  along with four previously unreleased tracks — Shake Appeal’s “Son of  Mustang Ford” demo and the remainder of Swervedriver’s recordings during 1998, which included “Just Sometimes” and “Neon Lights Glow.” The compilation was critically applauded and in some way, it helped to build up interest in the shoegaze pioneers’ work.

2006 was a busy year for the members of Swervedriver — Franklin began collaborating with Interpol‘s Sam Fogarino in Magnetic Morning. Hindmarsh went on to publish Rider, which chronicled his experiences and observations on the road touring with the band between 1992 and 1998. Somewhat inspired by the successful 2004 reunion of the Pixies, Franklin, Hartridge and Hindmarsh went on an international reunion tour in 2008, garnering the attention and acclaim that evaded them a decade earlier. 2015’s I Wasn’t Born To Lose You was the first album of original material from the band in 17 years — although they managed to remain consistent, as they went through another series of lineup changes between the reunion tour and Born.

Swervedriver’s sixth full-length album and second of their reunion, Future Ruins is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Dangerbird Records. Having written and recorded  I Wasn’t Born To Lose You immediately after their

Australian tour, the band decided to repeat the process after a lengthy Stateside tour, playing Raise and Mezcal Head in their entirety. That’s a good way to record,” Franklin says in press notes, “because you’ve literally just seen the whites of the audience’s eyes and you’re thinking, ‘If that audience from last night were here now…’ You can’t get too mellow. We came home with 30 different songs.” 10 more days of vocals and overdubs at Brighton UK‘s Seaside Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer TJ Doherty quickly followed.

The album’s 10 tracks were mixed earlier this year, as the band was touring across Europe. And while the material finds the band retaining the escapist vibes that they’ve been long known for, the album’s material is centered around an uneasy tension, inspired by our current sociopolitical moment. Now, as you may recall, Future Ruins second single “Drone Lover,” actually predated the Future Ruins sessions. Although interestingly enough, as the band’s Adam Franklin explained in press notes, “I have no recollection of where this tune came from. It’s a song that’s been knocking around for a few years, but for some reason had never been presented to anyone until we were in the studio this time and I clicked play on the demo while searching for something else. TJ and Mikey both went “what’s this?” and then “so why aren’t we recording it?” – and so we recorded it. The lyric mentions love but it’s really about war – remote war and killing from a distance whilst chomping on last night’s leftover pizza or something.” Obviously, it’s an incisive commentary on the  depersonalized nature of 21st Century techno-warfare — including some hellish and fucked up imagery of bombs falling from the air, and neighborhoods in flames; but centered around buzzing power chords, a steady and propulsive backbeat and an infectious hook that brings an updated take on the beloved 120Minutes alt rock sound.

Future Ruins‘  latest single is the shimmering “The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air,” a track that Franklin admits found the band thinking of The Clash, “even though it doesn’t sound anything like them, but it’s like a punch on the nose from a velvet glove.” Franklin goes on to say that “the title came from a misheard Supremes lyric and the words came out of that.” Centered around shimmering and fuzzy power chords, the track may arguably be the most nostalgic and wistful track on the album, with the song’s narrator thinking about all the directions his life may have taken, if he made a different decision at some key point in his life. Continuing the album’s overall vibe and feel, there are references to weapons — of one “choosing their weapons wisely” — and a begrudging acceptance of the world being fucked up and broken, it’s a heartbroken sigh. 

Dedicated to Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley, the recently released video is a mix of footage shot on glitchy VHS camera, and archival footage, which emphasizes the heartache at the core of the song.