Archive for Video
I investigated the music of tUnE-yArDs (the moniker of Oakland-based Merrill Garbus) the way I always look at new music that’s been getting a lot of rAvE rEvIeWs: with caution. Obscure bands getting rave reviews are even worse…and I don’t want to be that person who’s touting the next up-and-coming band-you’ve-never-heard-of. But tUnE-yArDs was a pleasant surprise.
Let’s start with the basics. tUnE-yArDs isn’t that obscure. Pitchfork, for what it’s worth, ranked Garbus’ debut effort, BiRd-BrAiNs, as the 44th-best album of 2009, which is no small honor. BiRd-BrAiNs was released on the Marriage label, shared by notable acts such as Dirty Projectors and YACHT. She’s now signed on to the UK independent label 4AD, which she shares with the likes of The Big Pink, TV on the Radio, and Bon Iver.
Bon Iver forms a particularly relevant comparison. Like Bon Iver, tUnE-yArDs’ first album was recorded in a makeshift home-studio with whatever was at hand…which was comprised mostly of Garbus’ ukulele. Interviews with Garbus suggest that she owned significantly less gear at the time of BiRd-BrAiNs‘ recording than she tours with now, meaning that what she’s got onstage is more than what she recorded the album with. The album was mixed with free-for-download software on her home computer. This makes the album super-lo-fi, most likely with one mic for just about everything. This style is important in terms of Garbus’ expression, insofar as the album was more a catalog of her life, a journal of how she felt, than a studio album. Garbus herself calls it a ‘living history.’ Live, tUnE-yArDs reminds me more of Professor Murder, with the live band’s sparse melody section and prolific drumming. Like Professor Murder, tUnE-yArDs has multiple drumkits on stage, and often as many as three people banging on them at once, forming a very rhythm-oriented sound. Also like PM, the bass guitar sits pretty far forward in the mix (it’s half the melody section), and the mildly-distorted bass sound really fills a lot of space. Garbus’ voice sails over it all, with an unabashed, sustain-filled tone.
Bottom line? If you love the ukulele, and can take some real lo-fi, please grab BiRd-BrAiNs for a listen this summer. At least a couple of songs should speak to you. If you hated Bon Iver and can’t stand Professor Murder, a police officer who stopped me recently gave me a rave review of a recent Staind show he was at, so you could probably check that out.
Here is another catalog of four sweet new music videos. The first one of the month of May.
Soft Black – The Earth is Black
Since starting this music video log column, I have gotten several emails from bands and filmmakers wanting their videos posted, this one is one of the best.
T.A.T.U. – Sparks
Would you have expected anything less from the Russian pop duo?
Ólafur Arnalds – Hægt, kemur ljósið
A brilliant animated video, which wonderfully encapsulates the music of this fabulous new Icelandic composer.
Memoryhouse – Lately
I dont really know what’s going on, but whatever it is, I like it.
Here are some videos from the Jonsi show at the House of Blues in Boston on May 6, 2010.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written for (mthfl), and was published in that publication on April 29, 2010. The video below contains scenes of nudity and violence. Viewer discretion is advised.
The webs are aflitter with talk of the new M.I.A music video, “Born Free,” and all MTHFL has to say is “bravo, m’lady.”
I think I have found the second candidate for the “futurevisions” series.
Treading a tender line between blatant outraged social commentary and dark science-fiction future-drama, this artist has made something that feels uncomfortably close to the truth, and yet remarkably and violently foreign. The tune is great, sampling a late 70′s punk song by a band called Suicide. Some people are saying this plays special significance to those who lived through that era of music and can remember the time and place that song came out. I cannot be counted among those poeple, so I cannot attest to this fact. i suggest you read more about that if you are interested. Read more »
Finally Meshuggah’s brilliance has been caught on tape! Everybody who has witnessed it will only be able to concur: in a live situation technique and compositions are just as baffling and unintelligible as on record. Their first DVD, simply titled ‘Alive’, now enables us puny humans to (re-)experience Meshuggah’s mechanical tightness. The live part consists of images shot during their North American Obzen-tour and their appearance at Loudpark festival in Tokyo. This, indeed, means that the DVD contains footage of a fair amount of songs from their latest album.
In between unbelievably perfect renditions of crushing tracks like ´Bleed’, ‘Pravus’, ‘Electric Red’ and a number of golden oldies, we are treated on bits and pieces of interviews and documentary-type footage. In these segments you become more acquainted with the band and their touring life, which in itself is quite interesting. However, when you are expecting a continuous liveshow, this format might be annoying. Especially for these people the DVD comes with an audio CD enabling you to listen to the live songs uninterruptedly. Read more »
Here are four more awesome new music videos for your viewing pleasure.
Mustafa Khan – Earth Day Sex
It’s like birthday sex, but drastically more environmentally friendly.
A Singer Must Die – God Elvis
I got an email from this French band asking me to check out this video. I was not disappointed.
Gorillaz – Stylo
The combination of animation and reality is presented really seamlessly. A really cool video and Bruce Willis is the man.
Phantogram – Mouthful of Diamonds
A cool video from this hip new band. Read more »
Here are another four music videos that are pretty cool in my opinion.
Broken Bells – The High Road
A great piece of surrealist film and a great song.
Caribou – Odessa
An ode to the lap dissolve.
Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
A little late to be completely new, but I am working on a geologic time scale here.
The Morning Benders – Excuses (Yours Truly Session)
It was a fantastic week for music in Paris. Frightened Rabbit played Tuesday night at Le Flèche d’Or, and The Very Best graced Social Club the following evening. The groups put on shows that are practically polar opposites, but both nights proved to be brilliant in their own right. Read more »
Back on March 3, WRBC Presented a concert featuring Cambridge, MA. based rock band Hey Mama. We shot some video of the event for your enjoyment, and finally it is online.
Check it out:
Here are some more new music videos that have entertained me recently.
Losers feat. Riz MC & Envy - Flush
This is a really cool video featuring the artwork of Dan Hiller. It has shades of Monty Python animation.
Yeasayer – O.N.E.
A really cool song with a music video that starts of narrative and then explodes with a typically chaotic yeasayer performance scene.
Seabear – I’ll Build You a Fire
A really innovative artistic and etherial music video. Let’s be honest, I couldn’t resist.
She and Him – In the Sun
A cute little pop song with a music video that borrows elements from classic 1960s musical films. Read more »