Effective music videos are hard to find in 2013. There’s not really a uniform outlet in which music junkies can watch videos from their favorites, and financial issues in the music industry have led to a sharp decline of high-caliber music videos.
What this means, then, is that I freak out when something substantial comes along. Take Sigur Rós’ 2012 video for “Fjögur píanó,” and how the piece was simply saturated in eclecticism: the underwater car ride, the potentially electric popsicles and even Shia LeBeouf’s exposed penis all made us realize that a), director Alma Har’el had a disorienting message for us music-goers, or b), the specifics didn’t really matter. The latter makes more sense to me, although there are certainly poignant parts to the music video. Overall, though, what you got from the piece probably differed vastly from mine. I’m partial to my theories of the ‘ol acid trip gone amiss, but ultimately the video said much more to its audience than I can possibly know.
And ultimately, this is how I see fantastic music videos. The unconventional ones stick with me, the videos pushing the envelope towards what the song itself could only hint. Maybe it’s easier for directors to work with more ambiguous songs, then: more space means more flexibility. And “Old Skin,” serene as it is, really does leave room for the imagination. This is why I didn’t have specific expectations for the video, because it could probably focus on any…
If it seems like only last year that Marissa Nadler was releasing her self-titled fifth album, it’s because it really was only last June. Having never been one to just sit around, she is already back with an album titled The Sister which is set to be released on May 29th. If this new song is any indication, her upcoming album is going to pick up right where the previous one left off — and that is definitely a good thing. ‘The Wrecking Ball Company’ is yet another hauntingly beautiful song which mixes minimalist musical accompaniment, strange lyrical imagery and Marissa’s evocative vocals to excellent effect. The video adds an extra layer of peculiarity over the course of its five minute run time, featuring Marissa Nadler engaged in… I don’t even know… digging, staring, standing, sleeping. Marissa explains it as such, “the song references the walls that can grow up between two people and how painful that distance can be.” In the video, “the couple is sharing the same desolate, unadorned house, but they are apart, and looking for a hopeful sign to bring them back together.” Well okay then; I’ll just take her word for it.
The Sisterwas recorded and produced by Brian McTear at Miner Street Studios in Philadelphia. The Sister is a companion record of eight new tracks subtly linked to last year’s self-titled critically acclaimed LP, out May 29 via her own Box Of Cedar Records.…
I’ve pretty much said everything that I can about this album on my review, but here is an abridged version. Imminent Sonic Destruction play a version of progressive metal that mixes a large dose of modern metal riffing along with some different vocal styles. The main style sounds like a cross between Voivod and Mudvayne, but there are also black metal shouts, death grows and even some Hetfield-ish parts. As far as the song goes, it is actually one of the weaker tracks on the album but it can, at least, give listeners a decent idea of what to expect from the album.
Hammock’s latest release, Chasing After Shadows… Living with the Ghosts, is a return to form from the ambient/post-rock duo. Their 2008 release, while certainly good, stripped away all of the flair and power that makes Hammock such a special group in the ambient world. As if signaling a return to form with the ellipse in the middle of the title, recalling the group’s classic album, Raising Your Voice… Trying to Stop an Echo, Hammock brings back that power with a new sense of organic growth that makes their latest quite possibly their best.
“Breathturn” is the group’s single from the album, and is accompanied with a beautiful video that you should probably watch in full-screen. The song combines the purely ambient experiments of their previous album with the beautiful, reverb-laden climaxes of their previous work.
Last week we enjoyed the ghostly pull of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony. This week I wanted to return to the world of grunge and shine some light on an amazing one-hit wonder, Candlebox. Their magnum opus “Far Behind” takes pleasure in stark but simple observations, like rhyming the words “bad” and “sad.” This song appears to be about the difficulties of heroin addiction, but it also might be about the difficulty of making good splatter paintings in an empty room in an abandoned house. Big love goes out to Candlebox randomly including the E7#9 made famous by Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” in that bridge at the end of the song.
I didn’t mean to treat you bad
But I did it anyway
And then maybe
Some would say your life was sad
But you lived it anyway
And so maybe
Your friends they stand around they watch you crumble
As you falter down to the ground
And then someday
Your friends they stand beside as you were flying
Oh you were flying oh so high
But then someday people look at you for what they call their own
They watch you suffer
Yeah they hear you calling home
And then some day we could take our time
To brush the leaves aside so you can reach us
But you left me far behind
“Keep Your Eyes on the Road” is the first single from Paul Marshall’s new project, Lone Wolf, and serves to introduce the new project as the new face of Paul Marshall (mustache included!) with the accompanying music video. Marshall pays tribute to one of his musical influences, Peter Gabriel, by making the video a tribute to Gabriel’s 1987 music video “Sledgehammer.” The stop action animation mixed with claymation creates a tripped-out Fantastic Mr. Fox atmosphere, and manages to both emote Marshall’s lyrics and pay direct tribute to the animators of Gabriel’s team. According to Lone Wolf’s label, Bella Union, Gabriel and the animation team have “seen and approved” the video. The music is equally as impressive, demonstrating Marshall’s ability to take what could have been a great acoustic folk song and expand it into a fuller statement.
“Tha Crossroads” is about losing a homie (in this case Eazy-E) and how sometimes the only way to honor your fallen brother is turn gangster rap into a barbershop quartet performed four times as fast. The Thugs – Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone – deserve exceptional respect for their work on “Tha Crossroads.” Not only is it an epic meditation on youth, death, and the violent realities of thug life set to stellar production, but they go the entire song without using the phrase “gotta smoke that hydro whoa,” something they were unable to do to date in their career.
The video itself is an audiovisual experience like none other. Bone Thugs start the video at a funeral where a diegetic gospel choir sings a hymn, introducing the main character of the music video, the grim reaper. In case you didn’t know the grim reaper wears a trenchcoat, leather hat, shades, and has a pair of white, feathery angel wings hidden beneath all of this. As the song proceeds we get various shots of the reaper haunting the Thugs. He takes out a homie early on, then Uncle Charles (“oh ya I miss my Uncle Charles, y’all” at 2:31),…
My first individual explorations into the world of music took the form of surreptitious MTV viewings in the attic of my house in third grade. Aside from the pretty amazing collection of animated shows (Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux, The Oddities, etc.), MTV was most memorable for offering me the titillating medium of the music video, a form of experiencing music I only used from the years 1993-1999. In retrospect, music videos of the era (and any era really) were half-baked visualizations of the already half-baked lyrics or tone of the song. The results of these concoctions can be amazing, so I’ve decided to create a weekly dedication to my favorite hamhanded creations of the mid-nineties.
It’s hard to go on a hunger strike when you have the munchies.
Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” is the quintessential 90s music video. Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder moan about sociopolitical concerns on a beach (presumably on the Pacific Northwest coast). This performance is interspersed with stock footage of a lighthouse flashing its cautionary light and a foreboding (yet hopeful!) cloudy sky. Is this song protesting American excess? Is it a confessional about conceding to said excess? Do Cornell and Vedder know if “farming babies” is metaphor or literal? Such are the mysteries of a classic third grade throwback.
I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouths of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already overfilled,
But it’s on the
A music video that makes you enjoy a song you’d otherwise hate is a rarity. It only occurs once in a great, great while (usually, once a month, but hey sometimes it can even be two months!), and it’s usually accompanied by either a pop-culture reference typhoon, or Lady Gaga. The new video for Hot Chip’s “I Feel Better” off of their newest One Life Stand breaks this convention by being an entirely serious, stylish affair replete with incredible production values and hypnotizing camera work and dance moves. Before you blow this off as hipster garbage, I implore you to take a look at the world Hot Chip create in “I Feel Better”.