Videos

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Returns with an Ode to Resilience in Our Dark Times

Throughout the better part of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin, and as you’d likely recall, Aucoin has spent time as collaborator and guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before quickly developing a reputation an an attention grabbing solo artist. In fact, Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas — and he supported the effort with a cross-Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for  Childhood Cancer Canada.

After completing the tour to support Personal Publication EP, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but as the story goes, because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated, Aucoin went on yet another solo tour in which he ran partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing 2011’s full-length debut We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. Aucoin’s debut was long-listed as a nominee for 2012’s Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building up on a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded Ephemeral back in 2014.

Released earlier this year, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in about four years, and EP singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle”  and the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop  “The Fear.” further cement Aucoin’s reputation for crafting infectious and anthemic yet thoughtful pop. The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning and wistful track that pairs the Canadian producer and electronic music artist’s tender falsetto over a production centered around twinkling and plinking keys, bursts of handclaps,  and a propulsive and strutting bass line. And yet, the song manages to evoke something the narrator longs for the deep down, he recognizes he might not be able to fully achieve it; that sometimes you get what you need and not what you want. But there’s a hopefulness that suggests that sometimes just having a dream is necessary to survival. As Aucoin explained in press notes, “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”
Directed by Mike Bromley, the recently released video for “The Dream” was filmed in Los Angeles and it follows Aucoin, who plays an aspiring actor, and although he does suffer through some early rejection, he continues to be persistent — and with a smile, no less as he strives for the dream he wants to achieve. 

Advertisements

New Video: Brooklyn’s I Am The Polish Army Releases Symbolic Visuals for the Cathartic Single “Throat”

Currently comprised of founding member Emma DeCorsey (vocals, guitar), Turner Stough (bass) and Eric Kuby (drums), the Brooklyn-based indie rock trio I Am The Polish Army can trace its origins to back to the when DeCorsey first considered the strength of her voice and the purpose behind the music floating around in her head back in 2005. And between those early moments in which DeCorsey was trying to figure out what she should be doing musically and when the band finished its full-length debut My Old Man, the band had gone through several different iterations that failed, her home studio equipment was stolen and she scrapped the original ideas and material for what would be their debut and rewrote the bulk of it. But when she befriended Stough and Kuby, the direction of her life seemed permanently altered.

As the story goes, within three months of their first rehearsal together, the trio was in the studio with acclaimed engineer Charles Burst, who has worked with the likes of Neko Case, Psychic Ills and Crystal Stilts were working on the material that would comprise My Old Man. Driven by a desire to reinvent the material that DeCorsey wrote, the members of the band broke down each song to its essential elements and reshaped them in the mold of bands like Veruca Salt and The Breeders — bands that were heroes to a teenaged DeCorsey. 

Thematically and sonically, its material is meant to walk a careful tightrope between an enormous emotional weight and a redemptive catharsis, and unsurprisingly, the album which features songs that growl, punch, tear and ache draws from some of the harrowing, life-shattering experiences of its creator; in fact, My Old Man’s latest single”Throat” while being a 90s alt rock-inspired power chord ripper, draws from a deeply troubling and unexpected physical violation from someone the narrator trusted and cared about very deeply, focusing on the surreal moment when you’ve recognized that the person you’ve cared about wants to kill you — and that you may have to kill them to survive. Naturally, that particular violation will destroy your sense of security and trust in yourself — after all, you trusted and cared about someone, who tried to do you killed you — and in others. And for the rest of your, you find yourself much more deliberate and careful in your involvements and attachments to others; the fears and uncertainties linger. The song is steeped in the adrenaline, the fear and the weird recollections — in particular, the feel of snow on the narrator’s skin. 

As the band’s Emma DeCorsey writes in a personal statement on the song “‘Throat’ takes place on the early morning of December 21, 2008. I was crazy about a guy who refused to have a physical relationship with me, only over text. We’re having a text/sext moment at about 1:00am and I’m about to call it and go to sleep. At the same exact another sometime rock star I’d been vaguely involved with decides to show up in my life again and insists on coming to visit me in Sunset Park, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s pretty far away from the main scene. It was 3:00am and I couldn’t say no, something it took me years to be able to do. Turns out he likes to strangle women. It was snowing. I get frostbite easily. I’m not sure how I got rid of him.” 

Directed by Bon Jane, the recently released video for “Throat” is split between footage of DeCorsey walking around and commuting across the Lower East Side and Williamsburg in a ballroom gown, full of both determined and furious intent and desperation and multiple hands that touch her face and neck in a sensual fashion before getting a bit more aggressive. After watching the video multiple times, it struck me that throughout that DeCorsey was desperately escaping the camera, who was stalking her. 

New Video: Bells Atlas Releases Gorgeously Cinematic Yet Surreal Visuals for “Be Brave”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Oakland, CA-based soul pop quintet Bells Atlas, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) specializes in a forward-thinking, kaleidoscopic, lush and difficult to pigeonhole sound that frequently incorporates elements of indie rock, R&B, Afro pop, Afrofuturism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Oakland-based act has opened for the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, Badbadnotgood, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle. the side project of Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.
“Be Brave” is the first bit of new material from the band in about a year, and  the track reveals a band that has further experimented and expanded upon their sound and songwriting. Centered around incredibly dexterous and percolating bass lines, driving percussion and Lawson-Ndu’s sultry cooing, the track shifts and morphs between time signatures and tone in a sinuous and fluid fashion. And yet the song is underpinned by a resilient, life affirming spirit that seems to say, “When the shit hits the fan, be like a shark. Keep on swimming.” As the band’s Lawson-Ndu explains in press notes, “This song, in a way, is a chant and reminder that we have our own set of super powers and a pool of instincts to lean on. I’ve had instances of loss or fear in my life that hold the kind of weight that, in those exact moments, have felt impossible to navigate out of. At times I’ve felt it’s luck that eventually pulls me out, and in other cases I’ve realized that I’m actually rarely helpless; that just by actively moving through life, I’ve collected survival tools along with a growing sense that I’m not alone. It’s often a wonder to have felt something so strongly, but to eventually make it to the other side and know that you’re ok.”

Directed by San Francisco-based filmmaker Dominic Mercurio, the recently released and cinematic visuals for “Be Brave” follows the band’s Sandra Lawson-Ndu alone in a desert landscape and out of water. After finally succumbing to extreme dehydration, she is abducted and revived by strange, fuzzy Jim Henson-like creatures that perform a ritual to revive her — with a major consequence. And while surreal and almost dreamlike, the video thematically focuses on empathy, sacrifice and communal exchange, reminding the viewer that while things seem incredibly bleak that its those deeply human traits that will win out in the end; they always do.

New Audio: Electric Citizen Returns with an Anthemic, Classic Rock-Inspired Single

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that owes a debt to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.

The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.

Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown’s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel.

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Danish Act Collider Performs “Glockster” at Tapetown Studio

With the release of “Bruno” last year, the Danish psych rock act Collider, comprised of Mikkel Fink, Marie Nyhus, Johan S. Polder, and Troels Damgaard-C quickly emerged into the national scene. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Danish psych rock act have been playing showcases across the European Union and the States without much of an internet presence — until recently. But despite that, from what I’ve been told the band has received some attention from the likes of Rolling Stone and other internationally recognized outlets.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you would have come across a couple of live sessions shot in the Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studio, and as you may recall the studio along with Sound of Aarhus started a live video series in which they invite national, regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studio. The newest installment features the aforementioned Collider, who played their latest single, the trippy and chaotic track that nods at krautrock, psych rock and space rock simultaneously while being centered around anthemic, grunge rock-like hooks.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Melbourne-based Punk Rockers Bakers Eddy Release Mischievous and Colorful Visuals for “Good Decisions”

Comprised of CJ Babbington (guitar, vocals), Ian Spagnolo (bass, vocals), Jamie Gordon (drums, vocals), and Alex Spagnolo (guitar, vocals), the up-and-coming Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock act Bakers Eddy initially formed in Wellington, New Zealand. And since their formation back in 2009, the band has made quite a name from themselves across both New Zealand’s and Australia’s punk rock scenes; not only have they opened for Gang of Youths, The Rubens and the Grammy-nominated act Highly Suspect, they’ve received airplay from Amazing Radio, praise from Pilerats and Tone Deaf. And adding to a growing profile, the band has played their homeland’s festival circuit with sets at Homegrown, Rock the Park and Going Global Music Summit — and earlier this year they made their live debut on British shores with a set at The Great Escape Festival (which they followed with some stops in Germany). 

The New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based band’s Tom Larkin-produced EP I’m Not Making Good Decisions was released earlier this year and the  EP’s latest single is 90s grunge rock, power chord bruiser “Good Decisions,” a track that the band describes as ac coming of age tale about “spending all your money on partying so you can’t pay the bills. Making silly decisions!” Unsurprisingly, the song is deeply inspired by the experience of the band’s members relocating from their native New Zealand to Melbourne where they “were all living together for the first time in a new country and probably having too much fun.”  

Directed by Fagan Wilcox, the recently released video follows a day in the life of the band, who quickly suspect that the house they live in was once a swingers pad. “There is a fully working spa bath in the middle of our hallway, you can see Jamie sleeping in it in the video.” the band says.  Throughout, there’s the sense that the band parties hard — harder than most, but the footage is grainy and damaged. And as Wilcox says “the execution was always going to have the footage destroyed. The idea was to make it raw and low budget using effects, but rather than just pop a filter on it with a VHS effect, we used pixel bending and channel blending to add an intensity to the final edit.”

New Video: Free Love Releases a Mischievous Take on 120 Minutes-era MTV Videos

Since their formation under the name Happy Meals in 2014 at Glasgow, Scotland’s The Green Door Studio, best known for being the birthplace of a number of local DIY bands, including renowned acts Golden Teacher and Total Leatherette, Free Love, comprised of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook quickly established themselves as one of their homeland’s most acclaimed dance pop acts, as their 2015 full-length effort Apero was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. Adding to a growing profile, the band opened for the likes of Liars and The Flaming Lips, and played sets at festivals in Austin, TX, Moscow, and Bangalore. Despite their recent change in name, the duo further cements their reputation for utopian and somewhat brainy dance pop experiments with their dance floor friendly. shimmering, 80s synth pop and New Wave-inspired single “Synchronicity.” While the track may remind some listeners of Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait,” and New Order’s “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the song is about breaking from the binds of culturally dictated self-limitation, coupled with the vertigo of complete freedom.

Shot by Harrison Reid and Omar Aborida and edited by Gary McQuiggan, the recently released video for “Synchronicity” was filmed at Carlton Studios and features friends of the band as four different “bands” with four different backdrops. But as the band’s Lewis Cook explains to The Quietus, “I wanted it to look like a Sparks video or something like that. I like videos where it’s just a band playing. But because the track is all electronic music, it’s just us with drum machines and synthesizers. So we thought it’d be cool to do this thing you used to see in the 90s where people had clearly made a track on a sampler.” As Suzi Rodden adds, “but they’re kidding on that they’re playing all these instruments in their video. Big bass guitars and full drum kits and maracas and stuff.”
 

New Video: Avantist’s Descend into Hell with Visuals for “this_could_be_it”

Deriving their name from a British English word that means to be an avant-gardist — one who emphasizes, practices and celebrates experimental and unorthodox methods and techniques and incorporates them into a craft, Avantist is a South Side, Chicago-based post-punk act, comprised of the Arias Brothers, Luis (drums), David (guitar), Erick (bass) and Fernando (vocals). And over the past decade, the sibling band has dedicated their live stop making avant-garde music, centered around their shared personal philosophy that art is, should and must be progressive, dynamic and unconventional, and that creativity is something to incorporate in every single aspect of one’s life. 
 
The band’s recently released EP Terasaoma finds the band stepping out of their comfort zone by forcing themselves to write, record, mix and master the EP’s material within a month, rather than the two years it took for their debut effort, and while further cementing the band’s reputation locally and regionally for crafting raucous and infectious post-punk, the EP finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting in wildly different directions; in fact, the EP’s material runs the gamut from angular and furious post-punk to soulful R&B. The EP’s latest single though is the thrashing and angular post-punk ripper “this_could_be_it,” which finds Fernando Arias howling and singing alternating lyrics in Spanish and English. May the song remind the listener that being proudly, boldly and fearlessly of color and representing everything that your heritage means in these dark, dark days is truly punk as fuck — and perhaps more so if you’re Black or of Latin descent. 

Co-directed by the members of the band and Justin Nico Flocco, the recently released video for “this_could_be_it” is on some level a tale of death, rebirth and deliverance within a brutal, unforgiving, hellish world as it follows a Sisyphean-like protagonist, who  is endlessly chased by armed soldiers that capture him, bound him and sacrifice him — repeatedly.  Adding  to the hellishness of the video, there’s a brief and fleeting suggestion that the the protagonist after a while is aware that his horrible fate is inescapable. 

New Video: The Bones of J.R. Jones Release Gritty Visuals for Anthemic and Bluesy Single “I See You”

With the release of  2014’s Dark Was the Yearling and 2016’s Spirit Furnace and Ones to Keep Close, the Upstate New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind The Bones of J.R. Jones, Jonathan Linaberry has developed a reputation for crafting gritty, garage rock and blues-tinged soul — and unsurprisingly, Linaberry’s third, Rob Niederpreum-produced Bones of J.R. Jones album Ones To Keep Close, which was released earlier this year, further cements the Upstate New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s reputation for crafting gritty, garage rock and blues-tinged soul. The album’s latest single power chord-based inspired “I See You,” a track that is centered around rousing, arena rock-like, anthemic hooks and a stomping, down home blues stomp reminiscent of The Black Keys and others. 

Directed by Tobias Nathan, the recently released video was filmed in Brooklyn (it looks like Bushwick to me) to specifically emphasize the track’s gritty vibe. And as Linaberry say of the video’s treatment, “The idea behind this video was all about letting the music take over. We didn’t want to be overly serious or precious with the video. We just wanted the song to move people.”  The video begins by following a brother with an awesome ‘fro, smoking a cigarette as he bops along,  plays air guitar and lip syncs to the song when he encounters a small group of women, who initially are so pissed that a bottle is flung — and then they start rocking out hard. These women are rocking out so hard that they don’t notice the two men, who have been chasing each other and continue a vicious fight within feet of them.  If that doesn’t evoke old New York, I’m not sure what would. 

New Video: Still Corners Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Shimmering and Brooding New Single

Over the course of their first three albums, 2012’s Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the London-based duo Still Corners, comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Deriving its name from the sultry Texas summer days and nights and slated for an August 17, 2018 release through their own Wrecking Light label, the duo’s fourth album Slow Air was written in Austin, TX, and the album reportedly finds the band making a decided return to early form, as the band leans heavily towards arrangements that emphasize both eclectic and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the process; in fact, they’ve managed to keep the inevitable mistakes on the album to remind the listener of the material’s emotionality — and the fact that living, breathing, feeling humans made it. Interestingly, the band recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done, and as you’ll hear on the “Black Lagoon,” the song possesses a previously unheard urgency while retaining the shimmering and moody atmospherics that they’ve been known for. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

Directed and filmed by the members of Still Corners on a small handheld cinema camera, the recently released and stunningly cinematic video follows Murray and Hughes as they they travel across the deserts of Texas, Arizona and California to the ocean in a classic, white convertible Mustang.  And goddamn it, is it gorgeous.