Premiere: Sundara Karma: “Loveblood” 360 Degree Video
Jan 03, 2017
Along with pushing out driving guitar rock, up and coming British band Sundara Karma is quite keen on using innovative visuals to enhance the listening experience of their energized music. Cue the omnidirectional 360 degree format used here to shoot a live performance of the charging single "Loveblood". About the interactive viewing technology, lead singer Oscar Pollock commented: "With VR being so god damn pricey the second best way to consume music has to be via a 360 video. This shit will hit you right between the eyes”. Sundara Karma has been getting praise from all angles, named Breakthrough Band of the Year by DIY and making NME’s list of Best New Bands in 2017. They have also been selling out their recent shows and watching them perform in this kind of interactive way definitely piques interest in seeing them live. Sundara Karma will release their debut album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect,on January 6th, via Bee & El/Sony RAL. Following the release, they will join Two Door Cinema Club on their January-February UK tour. For now, take the "Loveblood" video for a spin:
Is it just me, or can we never have enough epic and exuberantly celebratory New Year's Eve rock anthems to pump our fist in the sky to? Luckily, there are such songs to blast on this night. One can make a good list of them (some of course have) and this fire cracker from The Walkmen would have to be on all of them. From their classic 2007 album You & Me, "In the New Year" escorts Hamilton Leithauser in with that distant vintage jangly guitar and leaps right into his bellow: "I - know that it's true / It's gonna be a good year!". I'm inclined to agree with him. The rolling tom-tom drums and church hall organs boost Mr. Leithauser's vocals of a man who's caught the spirit. Let's all lean into 2017 with a lil' blast from the past.
This is the era of the solo MC, but those familiar with Hip-Hop's golden age will recall that there was a healthy presence of formidable duos taking turns on the mic. EPMD, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Das EFX, Smif N Wessun, Mobb Deep, and more recently Black Star and of course, Outkast. The reign of the solo MC that really kicked in with Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Nas and JAY Z has endured, which is why Run the Jewelz is such a bracing gust of freshness in the game. Killer Mike and El-P dropped a big christmas gift on us yesterday with the release of their third album, Run the Jewels 3. Along with a number of guests, The two tap eachother in and out of the ring throughout the bruising barrage of supercharged beats with a few things to say about recent social injustice, among other warnings. Here's one of the new joints.
PINS: “Come On Home (It’s Christmas)” Video
Dec 23, 2016
Not everyone gets to be home for Christmas, stuffing stockings and sipping eggnog. That doesn't mean that the spirit of Christmas can't be with you, wherever you may be. Pins, from Manchester, England, sends that message with a ribbon on top in their video for "Come on Home (It's Christmas)". The holiday chime tune is gentle as the falling snow and was recorded for Amazon Music's Indie For The Holidays collection. The video of the girls together on tour, keeping eachothers spirits high, is comforting and let's us know that during the holidays, it's not necessarily where you are but who you're with that matters. So find someone you love and be merry!
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings: “Please Come Home For Christmas” Video
Dec 20, 2016
The video for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' rendition of "Please Come Home For Christmas" from the holiday album It’s A Holiday Soul Party! was released today. The soulful holiday soundtrack was just reissued on new green colored LP last month, just in time for gift giving. The Christmas classic tune is heartwarming and soulful, everything you came to expect from the dearly departed Ms. Jones and the wonderful claymation production is reminiscent of the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer specials once routinely aired on television during the holidays. Written, produced and directed by Alex Howard & David Drew Hatter, the stop motion music video consists of over 3200 single photos and captures the prevailing notion of love and good will, brought home by the tender voice of Ms. Jones that will be missed. This is the time of year to remember those dear to you and this is the video's message. Ms. Sharon Jones was indeed dear to us all and this is a great way to symbolize just how much.
GUM: “Gemini” Video
Dec 16, 2016
GUM went nostalgic all the way down to the film stock in a new music video for "Gemini," the lead single from Jay Watson's new album under the GUM moniker. The recently released Flash in the Pan is the third solo effort from the multi-instrumentalist of Tame Impala and Pond. "Gemini," like much of GUM is an off ramp from the neo-psychedelia super highway he helped to create with Tame Impala, yet no less of a joyride of entrancing alt-disco swing. Director Sam Kristofski shared the influence of the video in a press statement: "The clip was roughly styled around old children's fantasy shows, like The Neverending Story. I love the idea of people blaming their behavior on their star sign too, so I think that was the whole section around someone crying, and in deep thought then cutting to the symbol. Also Jay fighting his star sign was based around that whole Gemini double personality thing, in combat with your other half..." The visual style comes across as something you would have seen late night on your old box TV. No surprise, since it was shot on old, left over 35mm and 16mm film stock from CSI Las Vegas. There's also a bit of awesomely trippy animation towards the end. Check it out man:
What's interesting about contemporary bands going for production styles that were popular in past decades is the degree to which the sound is emulated, cut with the characteristic imprinting that makes it fresh. Canadian synthpoppers DIANA struck that balance impressively on their new album Familiar Touch, released last month. Much of the album was cut from the fabric of ornate 80's R&B/Pop. Now, DIANA's Toronto neighbors and Dark Pop contemporaries, Bad Channels, harness that aesthetic and take it a step futher. On their remix of "Slipping Away" Bad Channels explicitly went for the style coined by famed 80's production team Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, to the extent of working with the software versions of the equipment they used back then. The remix is boosted to a plane more emboldened and spacious, an exciting power pop variation on the already 80's themed original. Bad Channels started out as a production team themselves, and have recently cut tracks for Antwon’s Double Ecstasy EP and the Dilly Dally remix EP, released in September. Their own debut LP is expected in the spring of 2017.
DJ Shadow / Nils Frahm: “Bergschrund” Video
Dec 14, 2016
Back in the summer, DJ shadow dropped the somewhat slept on The Mountain Will Fall. In addition to demonstrating that his creative claws have stayed sharp over the years, it showed that he is as shrewd as ever at identifying extraordinary musical minds to collaborate with. His pairing with neo-composer Nils Frahm on "Bergschrund" brought out the classic best is each artist and the video was just released. Directed by Matt Devine, it plays like a satire of the 1993 UFO flick Fire in the Sky. During a night of drinking, a small town fellow stumbles upon a tractor beam from above and engages in an amusing choreography of tag with it. The spry weave stepping of Shadow's beat and Frahm's space synth is an oddly perfect soundtrack to the visuals: