There's a new dynamic duo on the horizon in 2017. Matt Tong of Bloc Party and Algiers and Alex Newport, producer of Bloc Party, Mars Volta, Weaves and At The Drive In, have linked up to form Red Love. Their self-titled debut album is set for release on February 3rd. Under the Radar has their new video for the single, "Does It Make You."
Vocals glide in concert with a drum track that drives hard, cyclical and incessant. The Krautrocking track rides along with old, degraded video footage of race cars. Tong and Newport gave us some insight on how they came together and how their aesthetic aim took shape. About the song and making of its video, Newport describes: "It's sort of about the idea that with the overwhelming amount of graphics and music we all see on a daily basis, piped into our social media...we all suffer from that short attention span now and it's difficult to be really moved by anything." (Hence the refrain, "Does it make you feel..anything at all?") "The potential of art and music is so powerful and I hate the idea that so much of it is just reduced to sound bytes that wash over everyone...It's definitely got that 'motorik' psyched-out vibe but we also tried to fit it into a pop format structurally. We sort of tried to bridge the gap between Krautrock and the Beatles, ha."
Tong created the video and adds: "I was finding all of this archival footage of motor racing online that you simply couldn't source five years ago. It's been interesting thinking about the visual reality of events that I'd previously only ever read about, and the murky gap in-between, where the imagination compensates in lieu of the actual experience. I wanted to reflect that somehow in the video. I also liked some of the VHS glitches where this footage had been transferred over to digital and I wanted to see if I could form some kind of rhythm with them to compliment the music."
On forming the band, Newport recalls: "I met Matt whilst working with Bloc Party, producing their album FOUR and we became great friends. After years of producing other bands, I had started to get back into writing and playing again. I had amassed a bunch of songs and was thinking about starting a project or band, so I instantly thought of working with Matt because of his incredible level of musicianship and ideas." Adds Tong: "I was a little bit stumped after I left Bloc Party so I was delighted when Alex asked me to collaborate with him. I'm a big fan of his methodical and disciplined approach. Alex puts a lot of onus on song structures, instrumentation and tempos and I find that very freeing because it creates a sound footing on which to mess around with all the intangibles that can combine to elevate a song." If this track and video are any indication, there are some more thrilling rides in store from Red Love. By Charles Steinberg
Nina Ferraro, the 21 year young Chicago singer/multi-instrumentalist known as BONZIE, floats out this introduction to her second full-length album, Zone on Nine, due out early 2017. The title track of the double single, "As the Surface Rose," conjurs an emotive vacuum where BONZIE's voice and piano keys hover and haunt. She describes the experimental title track, where she collaborated with San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone and Blue Hawaii’s Agor Cowan: “We recorded strings and horns and piano and came up with this almost classical-sounding recording, then spliced everything up with electronics and completely messed with that....I wanted to create a feeling of being lifted from reality, with these small but powerful sounds that shift you in all different directions.” Well, it worked. The forthcoming album was produced by Ferraro herself, along with Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst) and Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon). The team-ups seem to be serving BONZIE well. Listen to both "As the Surface Rose" and the other half of the double single, "Half Full," below.
Delorean: “Epic” Video
Dec 02, 2016
Electro zone-coasters from Spain, Delorean, just released their enthralling video for "Epic," the lead track from this year's album Muzik. Delorean grabbed attention by swooping back into frame in 2016 with their avant-electronic dance music and this video holds it. The visuals of fantastic geometric graphics awakening to the pulse of the smooth beat, mix in with natural Icelandic landscape. You can't help but follow along to the dance of imagery and rhythm. The fellas from Delorean describe the making of "Epic": "We teamed up with Joan Guasch with whom we worked on 'Crystal.' Following the same aesthetic approach Joan integrated geometrical figures in the astonishing natural landscape of Iceland. The result couldn't be more gratifying and enigmatic as we ask ourselves where these figures come from and where are they headed." The video's director, Gausch adds: "In this music video I was willing to work around the idea of the origin of sound and how it would behave in an extreme nature environment. I created 3D structures that react to music and through it's progression will create complex objects that will represent different sounds. The song gave me the idea of the contemplation of abstract elements in a natural space that integrated in real image end up building imposible sculptures. I wanted to explore a new visual language that would perfectly fit with the album's cover. It was shot along South Iceland for a week." This one is a fun ride. Go along!
Drugdealer: “The End of Comedy” Video
Nov 30, 2016
In September, Los Angeles native Michael Collins, aka Drugdealer, gave us a nostalgic, train of thought album that can keep you company on a long, sunny afternoon. Here's the video of the title track, "The End of Comedy," directed, edited, and filmed by Andrew Storrs, an old friend of Collins'. Natalie Mering's (Weyes Blood) Sandy Denny like vocals frolic over the sublimely inviting ditty and Mac DeMarco even makes a typically goofy cameo. The video gives you the comforting feeling that incredibly talented recording artists are just people, hanging out like the rest of us. In a press release, Collins spoke of the video: "Basically, it's a snapshot of a particular moment while living downtown here in LA; playing piano, seeing friends and skating around. The song here is one of my favorite collaborations of all time – Nat and I recorded the whole thing very naturally when she was still living in Far Rockaway, NY about a year ago. It was simple and fun to make, and no one better to represent this on video than Andrew Storrs."
Ultimate Painting's gentle, soapstone capsules of indie pop are the sounds of the feeling of the morning after a good sleep. The London duo's recently released album, Dusk, was one of the more quietly sound offerings of 2016. Check out their newest video for "Monday Morning, Somewhere Central," featuring Jack Cooper and James Hoare floating through London urbanity. In a press statement, Cooper spoke of the video: "It's a song about fading friendships and trying to look back on them optimistically. The vast majority of the relationships we form with people eventually dwindle, but I've never really looked on that as being particularly sad...I've found looking back on friendships and thinking back on the good parts makes the ebb and flow of life a little easier." Ultimate Painting are currently touring North America with EZTV.
After Happyness struck the lo-fi liveliness of groups like The American Analog Set, Pavement, and Yo La Tengo on their debut find, Weird Little Birthday, the London trio is back with further interpretations of past golden eras of alternative rock. About their new single "Falling Down" and their approach to recording the new album, singer and guitarist Benji Compston muses in a press release: "I remember we were talking at the beginning of the recording sessions about Wizzard and Roxy Music and us maybe taking a leaf out of the whole glam rock thing, but getting it a bit wrong. Like children dressing up in their parents’ clothes or something..." In very pleasant ways, the new song feels like Bedhead merging with Galaxie 500. Hear for yourself below.
Featuring his expanded new live band in a hip late lounge setting, the new video from Ahmed Gallab – Sinkane to the music world – was released Wednesday. Directed by Nick Bentgen, "U'Huh" is the first single from his new album, Life & Livin' It, out February 10th worldwide on City Slang. The video is an upbeat affair and an affirmation of life, with allusively placed footage of protest and strife on a vintage TV screen in the background, implicit of the struggle that many always seem to be confronted with. Gallab's cry here: the human spirit will not be supressed, put forth in the chorus, "We're all gonna be alright" and "Kulu shi tamaam," "Everything is Great" in his native Arabic. Watch it here, and make some room for celebrating life:
Quilt: “Eliot St.” Video
Nov 13, 2016
"Eliot St.," the first single from this year's retro joy ride Quilt Album, Plaza,finally gets its video. Shot in 16mm by Charlotte Hornsby, for a song that feels like one that used to be recorded on 8 tracks, the vibe is all throw back. Quilt returned to Boston to film it, the city where they formed back in 2009. It's the third video from Plaza and released by the band as a gesture of positive energy for fellow Americans during a rough week. Quilt is currently on tour in the U.K. (Read our recent My Firsts interview with Quilt.)