For some reason Smith Westerns’ single “Varsity” passed me by last March on its release. Fortunately the Chicago indie rockers have followed it up with a brand new video and I’m now in love with the track. Filled with youthful swagger and a jangly pop sensibility, the song is a joyful celebration of young love and the perfect soundtrack to your summer.
Mathy & Fran, a London based directing duo, have made maybe one of my favorite videos of the year. The video is for the song “Turn Me Out” by Russ Chimes, a disco/house track that’s a super fun jam. This is one of those tracks you can listen to on repeat while you’re getting ready to go out. Mathy & Fran have taken that vibe and created an artsy, performance video that combines modern dance with minimal backgrounds and odd set-ups.
It’s always nice when a musician can find an artist to collaborate with, creating a music video that can visually represent what a song is trying to say. That’s the case with the partnership of Darren Hayman and Daryl Waller, musician and artist, who’ve worked together on the music video for a song called “Henrietta Maria”.
Wild Nothing is an astonishing band. Created and recorded solely by Jack Tatum in 2010 (though he now tours with a full line-up of musicians), the debut album, Gemini, riveted the indie music scene with its infectious dream pop sound. Gaining notoriety via the internet, the band’s second album, Nocturne, released last year, only extended the band’s adulation and even included the added bonus of a music video starring actress Michelle Williams.
Say what you will about the two, but few have revived interest in Jamaican music as Diplo and Switch’s zombie-killing creation, Major Lazer. Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do was a stunning record, a perfect follow up from the iconic mixtapes Diplo put out in the years prior. To some extent, the hype for their new album Free the Universe is not just necessary, but proper. The record mashes dancehall, dub, trap and thatratchetmusic all at once, perfect for dance floors from Silver Lake to Brooklyn to Kingston.
Yet the song to watch might be this one. “Get Free” displays the beauty of dub reggae so perfectly. Equal parts Augustus Pablo and classic R&B, there’s something beautiful here. Amber Coffman asks “What will I do without my dreams?” as the beat bubbles back and forth like water on a choppy stream. A synthy horn pops in, dancing on the reggae rhythm. The chorus rings out on so many levels: “Look at me, I just can’t believe what they’ve done to me: We could never get free, I just want to be…” Are they talking about the government? The style of music? The oppression in Jamaica? Or just that subconscious desire to live? No matter. We all want to get free, don’t we?
Love this new video for James Blake song “Overgrown,” which was directed by NABIL. The director uses a lot of time-lapse and shoots day-for-night which gives the video a very dreamlike feeling, but overall it looks seamless and not like Mr. Blake is walking through a video game.
It’s been two years since celebrated singer-songwriting Samuel Beam, aka Iron and Wine, has released a studio album. The latest, Ghost on Ghost, arrives tomorrow, and we’re already fans per the live stream first listen last week. We can attest that it’s a satisfyingly exuberant and uplifting new direction for Beam and his band, and it’s amplified by the album’s first music video for the song “Joy”.
Directed by Hayley Morris, we’re taken on a colorful journey through a blossoming wilderness. Cow skulls sprout flowers while dried flowers explode in shades of neon. It’s a stunning piece of animation created by projecting hand-painted watercolor animations into stop-motion landscapes. Morris was inspired by a particular lyric from the song—”deep inside the heart of this crazy mess, I’m only calm when I get lost within your wilderness”—and chose to visually show how love transforms and colors the world around you.
Aside from interpreting the romance of the lyrics in a beautifully literal way, the animation itself stands alone as a depiction of what it is to feel joy. “[It's] a song about love and taking a moment to realize how someone can vastly change how you perceive yourself and the world around you,” Morris says. “My goal was to have the viewer feel the effect through bursts of color, growth and transformation.”
We’re big fans of Swedish electronic duo The Knife. The band’s latest album, Shaking the Habitual, is finally out this week despite the free stream they gifted to fans earlier in the month. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve released a new short film to go along with it called “The Interview”, featuring the band explaining the album in their own words. Shot in collaboration with director Marit Östberg (who also directed their provocative video “Full of Fire”), The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer layer explanations over natural imagery like clouds, rivers, and swimming swans. “What we do is political … the border between normal and strange is erased,” they explain in tandem.