2/26/2015

Body Language - “Really Love” (Official Video)



The beginning of Body Language’s video for “Really Love” immediately brought to mind one of the books in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. In The Drawing Of The Three the protagonist, Roland, wakes up on a beach with several freestanding doorways that lead to alternate worlds — the same thing happens to the heroine at the start of this clip. Though she’s reading Dante at the start of the video, I’m gonna suggest she pick up The Gunslinger next. There are some pretty clear Alice In Wonderland vibes here too, as she wanders through dim, concrete hallways chasing a mysterious rabbit, and eventually stumbles upon smaller, weirder doors that lead to bizarre, cult-like gatherings and creatures who range from creepy to absurd. The final scene involves her, the giant rabbit, and a flamethrower, but I’ll leave it to you to see how that trio comes together. Watch the Dirby-directed video.

Watch Boots’ Motorcycle Jesus Short Film



When the name of the mysterious producer Boots appeared, over and over, in the credits of Beyoncé’s staggering self-titled album, he was an unknown, and he kept it that way for a while. But after a period of mystery and obfuscation, it emerged that Boots was Jordy Asher, the former leader of onetime Stereogum Band To Watch Blonds. In last year’s self-directed “Mercy” video, he even showed us the battered, bruised version of his face. “Mercy” was our first taste of the new Boots project: Motorcycle Jesus, a thoroughly arty 30-minute short film that Boots directed himself. Boots shot the movie in the Mojave Desert, and it includes a ton of new music; an EP-length soundtrack will be the man’s first commercial release under his own name. The movie also includes musical contributions from Boots’ mentor El-P and from Carla Azar. I’m watching the movie as I write this, and it appears to involve stabbings, robots, and at least one song that sounds a whole hell of a lot like Queens Of The Stone Age. Right now, you can watch the full film for yourself at below.

Clare Maguire - “Don’t Mess Me Around” (Official Video)



Clare Maguire has been through some shit. After landing a once-in-a-lifetime record deal at the tender age of 17, the singer was poked and prodded into a pop star image that was the opposite of what the singer wanted for herself. Following the flop of her major label debut, she grappled with alcohol abuse, got clean, and re-emerged ready for her second lifetime — and it’s been a spectacular one. Now that Maguire is calling the musical shots, her sound leans toward blues, folk, and Americana and builds on the foundation of intensely emotional, brazen female songwriters. While most of those songs were slow-paced and down tempo, Maguire is on her diva shit in new song “Don’t Mess Me Around.” This time, she’s berating a philanderer while surrounded by a feisty, dancing sequin-clad choir of backup ladies. As she belts out her aggression, I can’t help but remember her past. This is a woman who has seen rock bottom and emerged stronger than ever. Do not mess her around. Watch the James Willis-directed video.

Emile Haynie - “Falling Apart” (Feat. Andrew Wyatt, Brian Wilson) Video



After years as the man behind the curtain, Emile Haynie is stepping out into the limelight with his first solo album. Except it’s not really a solo album — Haynie has enlisted 13 of the music industry’s best and brightest to bring We Fall to life. Today he’s shared the video for “Falling Apart” which features the unlikely combination of Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson and Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow. Haynie has a knack for pairing up artists in unexpected yet exceptional ways (see: “A Kiss Goodbye,” which brought together Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dev Hynes, and Sampha). In this case Wyatt handles the melody while Wilson adds his signature vocal flourishes on a song that details one darling’s fall from grace. The video is disconcerting; a girl free-falls through an idyllic outdoor fountain and swirls of pastel colors as the scene around her slowly loses clarity. It’s a beautiful nightmare.

Watch Madonna Fall Off The Stage At The BRIT Awards

Why does Europe get all the good award show moments? Aside from Kanye West debuting his long-awaited new song “All Day” at the BRIT Awards today, Madonna also took quite a tumble during her live performance.



Poor Madonna! Hopefully she’s OK. It seems like she recovered nicely, though, professional that she is. Things aren’t all bad for her: Today she once again covered Rolling Stone and talked about ageism within the pop world. I gotta hand it to her, she’s always fiery, which is why I love her even if the new songs don’t really catch my interest.

A$AP Ferg - “Dope Walk” Video (Feat. Cara Delevingne)



New York’s A$AP Mob has had ties to the fashion scene since before their ascension, and on his latest single A$AP Ferg reasserts the crew’s connection in his video for Ferg Forever track “Dope Walk.” The iPhone-shot clip features footage from Ferg’s journey through New York Fashion Week parties. A few weeks ago high fashion it-girl Cara Delevingne and Ferg staged a “walk off” via Twitter and Instagram, and the video is a continuation of that, as Delevingne facetimes with Ferg while he cruises through Manhattan fashion shows and after parties. He also references her runway presence in the lyrics: “My walk meaner than Cara Delevingne’s.” See if you can spot Haim, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Big Sean, and A$AP Rocky in there too. “Dope Walk” is even more catchy than “Shabba,” so I highly doubt this is the last we’ll be hearing of it.

Kaki King - “Anthropomorph” (Official Video)



Guitar virtuoso Kaki King is billing her next album, The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body, as a multimedia project, and she’s teaming up with visual artists to bring her new compositions to life. King has always had the ability to create evocative imagery through few words, and in the video for “Anthropomorph,” Shantell Martin takes on the task of translating it into a visual medium. “Music really helps give my lines and words life, and brings a natural spring to them,” Martin said in a press release. “Listening and creating live to Kaki’s piece was almost like meditating: becoming lost in the song; so full and present.” She creates a hectic, non-stop kaleidoscope of images, adding to the sweeping scope of the track.

Watch The Trailer For Brian Wilson Biopic Love & Mercy



Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is one of the most legendary figures in music, a guy who wrote and produced dozens of classic songs and helped shape the album as music’s preeminent artistic statement. He’s also a bit of an oddball, which makes him an ideal subject for a Hollywood biopic. Just such a movie is coming to theaters this June. Love & Mercy stars Paul Dano and John Cusack as Wilson; Dano plays the younger Wilson, while Cusack depicts the musician’s older years. Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti have prominent roles, too.

Dutch Uncles - “Decided Knowledge” (Official Video)



Dutch Uncles’ excellent new O Shudder is out this week, and the band has marked the occasion with an extremely likable video for their lushly arranged, playfully executed new wave single “Decided Knowledge.” It stars a puppet version of frontman Duncan Wallis who grooves around the Welsh beachfront town of Llandudno, mimicking Wallis’ real-life dance moves. Plastic Zoo directed the clip.

Algiers - “Blood” (Official Video)



Algiers are a Georgia gospel-spook trio who wield a double-edged sword of religion and politics to slice through the pasty, vapid mess of pop culture in America right now. In the video for “Blood” — only their second song ever — frontman Franklin James Fisher sits, barely restrained as he belts out the song’s dirge-like condemnations. Interspersed with Fisher’s coiled form are countless flashes of international violence and protest against racism, musicians in critical, dramatic moments of their career, and historical context that heavily concentrates on the tribulations that African Americans have faced in the US. The refrain of the song echoes over and over against a humming bassline, spartan drums, and throaty backing harmonies: “All my blood’s in vain.” It sounds less like a song and more like a living, breathing condemnation from God that crawled out of a swamp somewhere in the South to force America to face down its hideous past and pathetic political present.

2/25/2015

Win Win - “Couch Paranoia” (Official Video)



Experimental pop trio Win Win have come back suddenly and swiftly after a near three-year hiatus, dropping “Couch Paranoia” and “Waster” on a digital 7-inch earlier this month. Now the band is back yet again with a video for “Couch Paranoia.” Though the track’s title brings to mind a weedhead problem, the video is more of a mild surreal psychedelic drug trip. The clip is a mix of modified stop motion, Lego-like mosaics, and warped 3-D heads mouthing the lyrics. Here’s a word from the band:
We’ve been exploring interactions between analog and digital systems in both our music and art. By using a set of analog inputs to a digital system, in this case video capture of a face or swirling paint, and applying those to control a digital system ( a dense 3d mesh), you end up with the appearance of something that’s alive but that moves in an alien, unfamiliar way. The video and the song both attempt to simultaneously elicit reactions of revulsion and fascination.

Django Django - “First Light” (Official Video)



Django Django has shared a video for “First Light,” the lead single from their upcoming new album, Born Under Saturn. The clip, which was directed by Daniel Swan, is made up of a series of computerized shots overlooking a futuristic city where all the buildings are made completely of glass. The camera pans out slowly as the sunrise refracts off of the large windows, bathing everything in light. Not much happens, but it sure is pretty to look at.

Watch An Unearthed Video From Alice In Chains’ Early Hair Metal Days



Alice In Chains always seemed like the odd band out during the initial Seattle grunge wave, and you could tell that, unlike their peers, they’d never really spent time in the city’s punk underground. If you’ve ever seen the band photo on the inside of their 1990 debut Facelift (an album that, after all, came out a year before Ten or Nevermind), you will probably not be surprised to learn that this band had a hair-metal past. You may, however, be surprised at just how much of a hair-metal past they had. The band grew out of a mid-’80s unit that seriously, no joke, was called Alice N’ Chains. And judging by footage that recently appeared online, they were a straight-up good-times nerf-metal band. Former band member Johnny Bacolas posted footage of the band from a May 1986 show at Seattle’s Kane Hall. On the one hand, only singer Layne Staley would still be in the band when they became what they became. On the other hand, look at Lanye Staley! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Staley so young, and I’ve certainly never seen him with this much Aquanet in his hair.

2/24/2015

POP ETC - “Running In Circles” (Official Video)



“Running In Circles,” the glistening new single from POP ETC, is probably the best thing the group has done since the long-ago era when they were still calling themselves the Morning Benders. The song is pure sleek, yearning ’80s synth-rock revivalism, and the video builds on that aesthetic. It plunges the group into a neon pink-and-blue universe that seems to exist inside a Lite-Brite, that most ’80s of useless toys. (I had one.) Sami Jano and Steve Meierding directed the video.

Raury - “PSA (Seven Suns)” (Official Video)



Last year, the promising and ambitious young Atlanta sing-rapper Raury catapulted straight to Mixtape Of The Week status with his Indigo Child project. Today, he’s made a video for “Seven Suns,” the tape’s blazing soul-rock closing track. Raury insists that the new video is a “PSA,” and according to a press release, that means it’s “a satire on how the growth of mobile technology & social media, has created a virtual world in which the citizens’ detach from real-time human communications & interactions.” In practice, that means it’s a video of Raury and his leather-clad telegenic misfit crew snatching people’s smartphones and smashing or burning them. This is a dick thing to do! Don’t take people’s phones! Find better ways to rebel, dorks! (It’s not meant to be taken literally, but come on.) Still, the video is just gorgeously photographed, and it makes for effective filmmaking.

Joywave - “Somebody New” (Official Video)



Rochester band Joywave recently teased their debut album How Do You Feel Now? Today they’re back with details on the album, tour dates, and the Keith Schofield-directed video for the infectious, hard-hitting single “Somebody New.” The video has the feel of the life simulation video game The Sims mixed with later iterations of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as the band absolutely shreds Los Angeles with a mob of misfits. Joywave had this to say about the clip: “We wanted to look like we were great at some physical activity, so CGI was the only option. For the first time, we had the means to create an alternate universe in which we were actually good at something.”

Drenge - “We Can Do What We Want” (Official Video)



Familial duo Drenge are one of the UK’s newest breakout bands, and their video for “We Can Do What We Want” is the kind of thing that can grab people’s attention the world over. The Loveless brothers’ combustible rock rave-up serves as the soundtrack for director Ed Lovelace’s chaotic crime spree, each component building tension to the point of wild release. It’s a great video that marks Drenge’s Undertow as an album to keep an eye out for, but first direct your eyes.

Grandbrothers - “Naive Rider” (Official Video)



Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel met in college in Duesseldorf, Germany, and quickly began to make music together as Grandbrothers. Sarp is a trained classical jazz pianist and Vogel works with synthesizers and electromechanical hammers. On “Naive Rider,” one of the first tastes of their debut album, Dilation, Sarp’s playing evokes Bruce Hornsby for me, but it’s tempered with Vogel’s percussive elements and light synth flourishes. Watch the song unfold in a laser light show constructed by Warped Type.