September 6th, 2014 , by John Beeler
The new video to Mozart’s Sister’s “Good Thing, Bad Thing” debuted on Dummy Magazine. “It’s the sort of pop song that’s designed for people to dance around the living room to,” described Dummy, “so props to Martin and Eva who made the video for deciding that it should feature Mozart’s Sister (or many Mozart’s Sisters, as is actually the case) dancing around the living room.”
The Editorial interviewed Caila Thompson-Hannant of Mozart’s Sister.
“I still feel an urge to be really successful and I think a lot of artists do. But at the same time, that urge is an ego-based urge. It’s not really where the nectar lies in creation. The real nectar of creation is feeling this sense of your form disappearing. It’s like a disappearing of your ego itself in a way. At least it is for me. It is a feeling of tapping into something that isn’t you, it’s just something you’re participating in.” I ask her if she thinks her music is egoless. “No, I consider it to be ego-driven. But an ego that is questioning and self-reflexive. Or at least trying to be.”
The debut LP from Montreal’s Mozart’s Sister is now available on CD, LP, and digital. Buy it here.
September 5th, 2014 , by John Beeler
“I’m determined to change,” sings Denison Witmer in “Keep Moving Brother, Keep Moving Sister,” a song from his self-titled tenth record. In a new video set to the song and directed by Laura Dart, a couple’s relationship changes and moves, set against the dreamlike backdrop of rising and falling hot air balloons at The Great Prosser Balloon Rally.
Denison had this to say about the song and video:
My wife and I were driving through New Jersey a few years ago when we noticed the sky was full of hot air balloons. It was so beautiful that I almost crashed my car. We pulled off the highway with a simple plan: find out where those balloons are taking off or landing. We drove for an hour or more, winding through the countryside, stopping often to get out of the car and take in the sky full of balloons. Its an indelible moment of spontaneity, love, weightlessness, and being in the moment with someone you love. I feel the same way every time I watch this video.
Denison is also embarking on a “Living Room Tour” from November 2014 to February 2015.
West Coast USA – November 2014
Germany / EU – December 2014
East Coast USA – January 2015
Midwest USA – February 2015
Want to host Denison Witmer show in your living room? Email contactdenisonwitmer at gmail dot com for more details.
July 22nd, 2014 , by John Beeler
Noisey has premiered Helado Negro’s latest music video, directed by Ryan Dickie and set to the album’s first single “I Krill You.” The video features Roberto Lange (aka Helado Negro) set against a projection of electronic nature: trees, bright lights, streamers, and lasers.
Helado Negro will be touring with Son Lux and Sinkane in the fall. See his tourdates here.
The album is out September 2. Limited edition blue vinyl, as well as VIP hand-made edition, are available to preorder here.
July 2nd, 2014 , by John Beeler
It’s been thirteen years since Asthmatic Kitty Records released Sufjan Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit, but we’d never pressed it to vinyl — until this year. Now that it’s available in limited edition, colored vinyl, we thought we’d celebrate by asking director and animator Geoffrey Hoskinson to create a video. We let him choose the song and the concept for the video. What he created is mesmerizing and beautiful.
We asked Geoff a few questions over email about the video.
What appealed to you about the song “Year of the Tiger?”
“Year of the Tiger” is a really outstanding track on the record. I love how it is like a soft ballad juxtaposed with noisy glitchy interruptions and a big climax. It is these dynamics that really appeal to me.
Could you talk a bit about how you made this video? It’s so vibrant and alive. What tools did you use?
The video was created with Photoshop and After Effects. I designed all of the pieces in Photoshop and then animated them in After Effects.
There’s some really interesting visuals here; obviously the tiger is important, but you even have tiger sperm swimming through to a sun-egg. Your work tends to address some life/death issues. Could you speak to that?
What mainly drove the visuals for the video was the concept of birth. This was inspired by the notion of the birth cycles of the Chinese zodiac and the (then) impending birth of my son. The vocal parts in “Year of the Tiger” sounded to me like a wordless lullaby for a baby. So in the video, I saw the tigers as spiritual beings who were calling a new soul into existence with their song.
You can buy Enjoy Your Rabbit here, or at your local record store.
May 23rd, 2014 , by John Beeler
The new Half-Handed Cloud full-length, Flying Scroll Flight Control, is dropping next month, and the fanfare heralding its arrival is already underway.
In especially good news for fans of cryptic symbolism as well as complex, outsider-esque sacred pop, the official celebration begins on June 1 at 1, when Half-Handed Cloud’s afternoon release show begins at Ohmega Salvage. Not just a venue, Ohmega is also a working antique salvage yard in Berkeley, CA where beautiful old things that have been rediscovered amongst the detritus of the modern world can reclaimed and restored. Those Lavender Whales of Columbia, SC will be opening for a three-person Half-Handed Cloud lineup on the Ohmega stage.
But first, PopMatters is offering a quick preview of the album this week, praising the “sun-kissed melodies” and “quirky instrumentation” of the new track “Festus, I Am Not Out of My Mind” and making it available to stream in full at PopMatters.com.
And Half-Handed Cloud mastermind John Ringhofer has posted his own, high-concept teaser for Flying Scroll Flight Control. A short video conceived and sound-designed by Ringhofer himself, and relying heavily on an important contribution from one Dr. Ralph Kuri, this preview, like the album, is made up of equal parts ingenuity, metaphysics, magic, absurdity, and wit, and features just a few seconds of music from the new album’s “Titus Three.”
Out June 10 on Asthmatic Kitty Records, Flying Scroll Flight Control is already available for preorder on CD, mp3, clear vinyl, and a special LP release with custom slipmat.
May 19th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Fol Chen‘s new video for “Boy in the Woods” captures the flight of a kidnapped anthropogenic rabbit rescued by a host of forest friends. After his escape, he must flee through the woods to escape prowling lions–who actually turn out to be rabbits themselves? It makes sense once you watch.
Nancy Jean Tucker directed and animated of this venture into The False Alarms, which is available now. Says The Line Best Fit, who premiered the video: “Everything is meticulous, deliberately ingenious. It all flows excellently; there’s no disjointed genre-hopping here.”
Check it out over at The Line Best Fit here.
May 9th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Debuting exclusively on Jamaicans Music, Rafter’s new video for “Convertible Jeep” will cause your brain to melt into a pool of reggae-ified gel. The good kind (of brain gel).
Directed by Lizeth Santos, the video features Rafter in an amazing Reggae Robot suit, an army of extras donned with gold future-microphones wearing multi-colored body suits, and pretty much every color possible.
Watch it on Jamaicans Music here, or below.
The album is available now. Allmusic reviewed it, saying “Everyone from Lee Perry to King Tubby, and even more modern producers like Steely & Clevie, would be impressed by the sounds [Rafter] conjures up on the record.” Buy it here.
February 17th, 2014 , by John Beeler
“Rhythm of Devotion” is out on Soundcloud. A lyrics video for “Alcohol,” another new single, is up for listening on Soundcloud.
Sisyphus will be on on March 19th, 2014.
August 3rd, 2013 , by John Beeler
In March, Fol Chen released their third LP, The False Alarms—pure pop on the surface, witty and appealing, but all the more satisfying for the dark and uncanny sensibility lurking just beneath. Now, Keith Musil has released a video, accompanying the album’s title track, that acutely captures the wry and ambiguous tone of Fol Chen’s eerie pop project.
Almost like a horror movie, Musil’s “The False Alarms” starts out at a spooky teenaged slumber party, but when a game of “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” takes an unexpected turn, it’s not quite clear whether the audience should be frightened or elated. When the main character, played by Fol Chen vocalist Sinosa, rises from the floor, has she become liberated from gravity, or trapped in the air? Is she suspended by dark forces beyond her control, or is she levitating under her own power? The video, and Sinosa’s unsettingly serene performance, refuse to give us any simple answers.
[youtube width="542" height="305"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDH1jl3BMe0[/youtube]
June 19th, 2013 , by John Beeler
Chris Schlarb wanted his new video, “Seventh House,” to be more than a commercial for the record.
“The idea of making a video for promotional purposes only doesn’t hold any interest for me,” Schlarb says. Instead, he enlisted director Sahale Jensen to create a short film that would expand on the themes of the song and of the intricately constructed full-length album, Psychic Temple II.
[youtube width="542" height="305"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q82zWCSIZ10[/youtube]
In keeping with his role firmly at the helm of the Psychic Temple project, Schlarb was closely involved with the conception of the video, starting with the choice of Jensen for the director’s chair. “I came across a video that Sahale did for Aaron Roche and was intrigued by her work. We kept in touch over the years,” says Schlarb, “and she was the first person I thought of for this project.”
What followed was an involved discussion of the song and its lyrical imagery, over a series of lengthy telephone conversations. “We met and collaborated virtually,” says Jensen, “but never have actually met in person!”
The video takes the mystical and astrological imagery of the song and makes them unsettlingly literal. “Pisces in the Seventh House,” chants the song’s eerie vocal, and the Seventh House becomes a seemingly ordinary suburban home. The duality represented by the Pisces, explains Jensen, becomes the main character and a sinister doppelgänger, both played by first-time film actress Annea Umayam.
“We shot north of Seattle in a small town called Sedro-Wolley,” Jensen says, “at my grandparents’ house. I knew the look of their homey and comfortable house could help sell the disturbing juxtaposition when something more sinister decides to show up. We shot over a two day period with a very small four man crew.”
The result is a video that combines a very simple look with disorientingly cryptic content. Schlarb points to the gaps and omissions in the films of Roman Polanski and Alfred Hitchcock, but also to the negative space built into his own music. “Don’t give everything,” he says. “Leave some mystery.”
Ultimately, says Schlarb, “I am very proud of the work and love that went into this video. It was an honor for me to work on it with Sahale and her crew.”