Manchester producer Andy Stott has been silent since 2014’s Faith In Strangers, but today he’s back with the announcement of his new album, Too Many Voices, along with a video for lead single “Butterflies.” The track leans toward the synthed-out, minimal grooves of Blood Orange and Kaytranada with buoyant, intricate drum patterns for an alluring midnight pop trip. The matching clip, directed by Michael England, features dancer/producer Rafael “Hitmaker” Chinx Martin showcasing his fluid movements in slow motion all over NYC. Unsuspecting New Yorkers get to witness Martin doing his thing on subway platforms, inside subway cars, on sculptures and statues, and sidewalks.
As Noveller, Austin post-rock composer Sarah Lipstate creates vast landscapes of sound, the kind of music that drifts through the air and fills in the space around you. So she makes a fascinating foil for the jarringly visceral Iggy Pop, who she’ll be supporting on the imminent Post Pop Depression tour. One fine example of Lipstate’s powers is “Glacial Wave,” a six-minute slow-burn from Noveller’s recently reissued Glacial Glow. Today the song gets a video by Fractal Visuals that amplifies its feeling of neon-lit darkness. It’s a mythic tale featuring three characters — The Creator, the Future, and the Protector — and it looks as ominously pretty as the music sounds.
PUP have transcended to a new level with their upcoming sophomore album, The Dream Is Over, which is high praise from us considering we named them both a band to watch and best new band before their fantastic 2014 debut even came out. But with “DVP,” the new record’s lead single that came out at the top of the year, it was clear that the Toronto band were operating at a completely different speed. They doubled down on the self-loathing and caustic passion that marked their debut, and created one of the finest punk records we’ve gotten in a long while.
“If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” is the bitter, frustrated opening track to The Dream Is Over, a scathing indictment of a band member based on resentments that festered over time due to long periods together on the road in cramped quarters. It’s a situation that anyone whose been in a band can relate too far too much, and anyone who hasn’t can latch onto the pure, unadulterated hatred that’s thrown at the subject of the song. It starts off sourly uneasy — “I hate your guts and it makes me ill, seeing your face every morning,” “Everything you do makes me wanna vomit” — before coming through with the punch halfway in, building to a group exclamation of “Why can’t we just get along?” whose only answer is more volume. Stefan Babcock’s voice, despite the health concerns that resulted in the record’s title, sounds as smooth and irate as ever, and the rest of the band is in top form. Do yourself a favor and play “Tour” and “DVP” back-to-back — the transition between the two is one of the most satisfying and exhilarating things I’ve heard all year.
The new song comes attached to an appropriately violent video directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux — watch and listen via Noisey below.
LA-based harpist/singer-songwriter faux Margaux is gearing up to drop her debut EP, Blue. She’s expanding on her decade of classical training, infusing it with her penchant for pop for a meld all her own. The single “I Don’t Need You” is exemplary of her aesthetic. Sparse harp flourishes are surrounded by slow-churning, minimal digital percussion and spun together with her feathery vocals for an alluring excursion. The hook has a haunting midtempo energy with big, intricate drums coming in as Margaux asserts her strength in moving on from a love she sorely misses. The matching clip, directed by Margaux herself and Robert Ingraham, has quick cuts of the singer-songwriter and a lover on the beach, but she is alone for the majority of the video searching for solace in solitude. Gloomy, gorgeous shots of her on a burning swing set and wandering on the beach contrast with bright bursts of light as her silhouetted fingers pick her harp. It’s a moving clip for a song about moving on.
British producer Gold Panda will release his fourth studio album, Good Luck And Do Your Best, later this year. Last month, he shared a video for lead single “Time Eater,” and he’s following that up with another video for new song and second single “In My Car.” It features his grandmother hanging out with the producer in a variety of locales, and was directed by Rob Brandon. Here’s what Panda said about the video in a statement:
I asked Rob to just come and film us (my gran and I) being boring. But now, when I watch it back, it doesn’t seem mundane at all. It seems actually really nice and sweet. I was thinking about all this cool stuff we could do, slow-mo shots, what outfit I could wear, maybe an explosion and who could be in my crew. But real life is exciting enough; you just don’t see it when you’re in it.
Steve Gunn will release a new album this summer via Matador, which marks a fairly big leap for the singer-songwriter. Eyes On The Lines follows 2014’s Way Out Weather, which Gunn put out on Paradise Of Bachelors, a small label that boasts an impressive roster of transcendent folk musicians including the Staves, Gun Outfit, and the Weather Station. “Conditions Wild” is Eyes On The Lines’ debut single, and it comes accompanied by a Brandon Herman-directed video. The clip’s collage aesthetic fits Gunn into a whimsical world where bugs are seven times their appropriate size. The song was inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.
Ever since R.E.M. parted ways a few years ago, Michael Stipe has mostly shied away from the spotlight. But he’s taking part in this weekend’s David Bowie tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall. And last night, he brought his massive new Rasputin beard to The Tonight Show, making his debut TV performance as a solo artist. With only a pianist backing him up, Stipe sang “The Man Who Sold The World,” Bowie’s oft-covered classic, and he did it as an impressionist hymn. We don’t always think of Stipe as a great pure singer, but this is a really nice performance, tingly and beautifully sung. There are some high notes toward the end that are just crystalline.
Philly shoegazers NOTHING will release a new album in May, and we’ve already seen a video for its first single “Vertigo Flowers.” The album’s second single “Eaten By Worms” comes with a video co-directed by Kevin Haus and NOTHING’s guitarist Dominic Palermo, who told Rolling Stone a bit about the song’s meaning:
The song is very much about being in pain and dancing with the feverish curiosity of whether this life is any more significant then what comes after or what came before… It’s very much about letting go.In the clip, a man who’s been bludgeoned by burglars falls into a comatose state and meets Michael Jackson.
Texas-via-Chicago husband-and-wife team Cross Record have kicked off 2016 with a bang. We gave them Band To Watch honors last fall off the strength of the gloomy, atmospheric single “Steady Waves.” And they didn’t disappoint when their stellar album Wabi-Sabi dropped at the end of January. Today they follow their visuals for “Basket” with a clip for the woozy, warped “Lemon.” Director Andrew McGlennon’s video follows a charming elderly man on the beach who’s fond of the sauce. Not much more too it than that.
From a young age, we’re taught that the shy ones are the ones with the least amount of power. But as we get older, we learn that’s often not the case, that those shouting tend to have the least interesting things to say, and that sometimes it’s in your best interest to stay quiet, especially if that’s your predisposition. One particularly poignant line in “Talking Quietly Of Anything With You” — the title track from Free Cake For Every Creature’s upcoming new album — addresses the struggle to find your voice when that voice may not naturally be that loud: “I used to cover my ears/ It took me years to believe I could be quiet and still uncompromising.” The realization that quiet does not equal weak, that you can still assert yourself without giving up your introversion, is a powerful one. Katie Bennett makes quiet pop songs for quiet people, but they’re never weak. The rest of “Talking Quietly Of Anything With You” deals with feeling unmoored in a new city; the title alludes to finding that someone who you can talk to about anything at whatever volume you feel most comfortable — an important partnership, one that you should hold onto. The track comes attached to a video directed by Craig Scheihing .
B-52s singer Kate Pierson struck out on her own last year with her solo debut Guitars And Microphones, and it seems there’s more where that came from. She’s putting out a new 7″ single, “Venus” b/w “Radio In Bed,” next month as one of Jack White’s Third Man Records’ Record Store Day releases, which will also include a 2xLP set (one red, one white) of the White Stripes’ never-before-released 2001 sessions with John Peel and a limited edition 7″ of Jack White covering Stevie Wonder’s “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” pressed on It’s Not Easy Being Green Colored Vinyl™. Both of Pierson’s tracks were produced by White himself, and today the a-side, a cover of Shocking Blue’s 1969 hit “Venus,” has arrived, along with a kitschy video from director Brad Holland. Watch and listen below.
After receiving attention for “Once Told,” a protest song about Ireland’s abortion laws, London indie rockers Hawk have released a new video for their single “The Hunt.” Both the music and director James Byrne’s visuals embody the sense of drama and emotional evocation for which this band is becoming known. With dreary surroundings to match the solemn orchestral undertones, HAWK weave a plot which, though relatively esoteric, definitely perpetuates a sense that their rebellious nature will continue to be a key factor of their sound. Some background on the video from singer Julie Hawk:
The song is really all about taking control of your life and letting go of excuses.
We filmed with James Byrne again, which was a pleasure as always. We wanted to take the simple idea of being hunted but in a slow-burning, eerie way, that might go unnoticed, even in broad daylight, until it’s too late. So we invited a bunch of friends down to Arundel for the day and asked them to chase us, very slowly, around the woods. They were much obliged!
Kamasi Washington feels like jazz’s first crossover star in a long time, and certainly like the first in a while who found fame without smoothing out the wilder edges of his sound. And now he’s gotten to the point where he can play his funky saxophone freakouts on public television. Last week, as Pitchfork points out, Washington was a guest on the PBS talk show Charlie Rose. On the show, he talked a bit about the connections between jazz and hip-hop. And he and his band also performed “Re Run” and “The Rhythm Changes,” two of the songs from Washington’s massive 2015 triple album The Epic. Watch the whole 20-minute segment below.
SXSW is an extremely ADHD environment in which I rarely watch an entire performance by any band, but I watched two Dilly Dally sets all the way through this year because their live show is just that good. They’re taking it all over North America this year, and we’ve got some new dates below along with the video for “Snake Head” from last year’s Sore. This is the song they’ve been opening with on tour, and it serves as a hell of an introduction, an infectiously ugly mess of howling and pounding and melodic lead guitar. Scott Cudmore’s clip finds the band having a humorous subtitled conversation in a shitty apartment. All the bands out there making garbage music videos should take note: This is a great example of how you can make an entertaining video on a low budget.
If the people who stand to profit off selling every last scrap from Jeff Buckley’s archives several times over insist on doing so, the least they can do is try something fun and unique with it — something like this Choose Your Own Adventure-style video for “Just Like A Woman,” Buckley’s Bob Dylan cover from the new early rarities comp You And I. It was produced by the interactive media company Interlude and Blind design studios. Here’s how it works, according to Mashable:
You can click on 73 different story cells to change the narrative, and there are around 1 sexdecillion ways that the story could play out, according to the video’s creators. For the record, that’s a “one” with 51 zeros after it.
You can control the narrative musically as well. The video starts with just Buckley’s voice accompanied by a guitar — but from there, it can go in several different directions. A piano, a full orchestration and a choir can join in, depending on your choices. In fact, there are over 16,000 different music combinations possible — so good luck listening to it the same way twice.
The actual variation is negligible if you ask me, but there’s a cool (500) Days Of Summer effect to seeing the various phases of the romance at different times.
Last month, after the tragic and untimely death of band member Benjamin Curtis, New York dreampoppers School Of Seven Bells released SVIIB, their final album. Today, as Noisey points out, they’ve shared a video for their swooping album track “Ablaze.” Alan Del Rio Ortiz directed it, and it shows grainy, ’80s-looking images of city streets and of Alejandra Deheza, the band’s surviving member.
Australian born, NY-based experimental pop duo Young Magic dropped the single “Lucien” from their forthcoming album, Still Life, a few weeks ago. Like much of the album, the track is inspired by vocalist Melati Malay rediscovering her roots in Java, Indonesia. Down to the gamelan — an ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia made up mostly percussive instruments mixing metallophones played by mallets and hand-played drums called kendhang — the Indonesian influence on the track is conspicuous.
Today, the duo release a matching clip via The FADER that is just as prominently Indonesian. Malay is draped in traditional Indonesian clothing as lingering slow-motion shots of her enveloped by fog, running through a sparse forest, and masked dancers create an alluring mysticism. Combined with the already captivating song, it’s sure to put you in a mild trance for just under five minutes.
The introspective Brighton indie-pop trio Fear Of Men will return soon with the new album Fall Forever, and we posted the first single “Island” a little while ago. Now Fear Of Men have made a supremely gothed-out and atmospheric video for that song. It’s got candles, fog machines, desolate English moors, circles of flame, bodies on altars — all the hallmarks. Eleanor Hardwick directed the video, and you can watch it below, via The FADER.