Video: First Aid Kit – “Angel”
Directed by Mats Udd. Single out now on Columbia.
Is First Aid Kit becoming Abba? They’re both Swedish groups with tight harmonies and groovy jumpsuits, but “Angel” might be the poppiest thing we’ve heard from the Söderberg sisters.
They describe the new song as “a hopeful tune for these crazy times about accepting other people even if you don’t always see eye to eye. It’s also about being kinder to yourself. We wanted it to feel really big, but vulnerable at the same time, something you can cry to and dance to as well.”
So basically: Abba.
Video: Father John Misty – “Buddy’s Rendezvous”
Directed by Emma Elizabeth Tillman. From Chloë and The Next 20th Century, out now on Sub Pop.
Has Emma Elizabeth Tillman directed a video for her spouse before? They co-directed the one for “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” but that’s a throwaway that they made “on an iPad on [their] wedding anniversary” while eating pancakes. This one’s considerably more ambitious.
The director says, “‘Buddy’s Rendezvous’ is a world unto itself. It is a place out of time. My dream for the video is that it would surrender itself to the power of the song. An unnamed man (played by Craig Stark), fresh out of jail and down on his luck makes his way across the fractured landscape of Los Angeles to meet his daughter (played by Arrow De Wilde). All the while he is beset by memories of a more innocent time. Despite her hesitance, his daughter and her boyfriend (played by Gilbert Trejo) agree to meet her father and find moments of sadness and sparks of tenderness in the connection made. Although the video and the song can be considered love letters to Los Angeles, the themes are universal. Disappointments, regrets, forgiveness, tenderness, perseverance, and love. The incredible performances by Arrow, Craig, Gilbert, and David Haley all coalesce to bring this vision to life. Cinematography by James Wall on 16mm evokes the down and out feeling of LA, merging past and present.”
I don’t think they need that “old-timey film spool” filter that everybody uses these days to signify authenticity. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty song about a dad hoping to catch up with his kid, and the video is effective.
Continue reading New Father John Misty video: Buddy’s Rendezvous
Video: Titus Andronicus – “We’re Coming Back”
Directed by Ray Concepcion. Single out now on Merge.
Speaking of training montages, watch Patrick Stickles get himself back into fighting shape by trading his Modelos for smoothies, tuning up the van, and working out.
“I do not claim to be any kind of athlete,” Stickles says, “and after three intense days of shooting this video, I have been, and continue to be, more sore than ever before. It’s rough getting old, but I have never shied from suffering for my art, nor do I intend to pursue a path of such cowardice in the future.”
So what does the future hold for Titus Andronicus? Nobody’s saying anything definitive right now but this cover of the 1983 punk anthem is a not-particularly-subtle clue that we can expect new music and shows. Hopefully soon.
“All I can tell you right now is that Cock Sparrer gave us the most open-hearted and uplifting song in all of British punk’s second wave, perhaps even of any wave, foreign or domestic. I have wept to this song many times over the years, and it is a joy to share our version with the world.”
It’s a joy to hear it.
Don’t get worried, don’t get scared
We’re fighting to get there
Never doubt we’re gonna get through
We’re gonna run, we’re gonna crawl, kick down every wall
It won’t be long we’re coming back to you.
Continue reading New Titus Andronicus video: We’re Coming Back
Video: Jack White – “If I Die Tomorrow”
Directed by Brantley Gutierrez. From Entering Heaven Alive, due July 22 on Third Man.
Moody new acoustic jam with spooky Mellotron and a creepy video to match wherein a Western wear garbed White drags his coffin across the prairie to his grave. Best part of the video is that it’s monochromatic so you can’t see Jack’s ridiculous blue hair. Doowutchyalike, of course, but what would inspire a grown man to dye his hair that color? Where’s Meg when you need her? She never would’ve tolerated nonsense like that.
Video: Belle and Sebastian – “A Bit of Previous”
Directed and illustrated by Graham Samuels. Stand-alone single out now on Matador.
I’m trying to think of the last time a band held its title track off the album but then released it later… Maybe “Figure 8” by Elliott Smith? Anything since then?
Stuart Murdoch says, “The song touched on the themes of karma and reincarnation. In the clip a woman journeys through her life ‘seeing’ people’s karma. She sees what they are and what they will become. She sees people who are doing well, who are gods in this life. ‘Just because you’ve got the high ground / Doesn’t mean you have the most fun’. She imagines them transform into different life forms, even into walking ghosts. Conversely, she sees some who are destitute and alone. She sees them transforming into enlightened people. Finally, she imagines her own future, shrouded in cloud and mystery.”
Video: Andrew Bird – “Make A Picture”
Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. From Inside Problems, out now on Loma Vista.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I kind of hate Andrew Bird because he’s so good looking. And talented. And cool. It’s not fair. Felt the same way about Chris Isaak. But that’s a “me” problem. It’s not his fault he’s got it all.
Bird says this new song is about “digesting images from historic events and constituting a narrative for your memory. ‘Tell us what you think you saw. Make a picture.’ We saw a lot of horror and darkness and a lot of inspiring bravery. So, what’s the story we tell after digesting? What’s the synapses’ synopsis?”
And clever. Jerk.
Don’t you know that I’m an irrepressible optimist
Working with a fatal flaw
Running in the streets
Like feral cats will be hard to miss
Take a knee and raise a paw.
The video is a combination of implied gore and herding oversized cats. In a fair world, this would go viral. The internet loves cats! And extracting film stock from your veins. Right?
Video: Girlpuppy – “I Miss When I Smelled Like You”
Directed by Eat Humans. Single out now on Royal Mountain.
I saw Girlpuppy’s second show ever. It was the side stage at Riot Fest last year and it was a charming performance. We got some great photos including one where Becca Harvey looked like a Botticelli painting. I listened to the Swan EP and it reminded me of the sound on Phoebe Bridgers’ first album. It turns out Swan was produced and co-written by Marshall Vore who also co-wrote and played on most of my favorite songs from Stranger in the Alps. There was some online scuttlebutt about how that’s the only reason Girlpuppy was getting any attention at all, but that sounds like misogynist bullshit to me. This new song still sounds like Girlpuppy but a little more summery.
Harvey says, “Now that I’ve played festivals, one of the first things I think about is: ‘Will this be one that people dance to?’ It’s a break-up song, but it’s not depressing.”
I’m happy to see “Guitar Hero” in the video (or maybe “Rock Band”?). Brings me back to the glory days of 2006 to 2009, ha ha. Becca Harvey was in elementary school back then. For my generation, that would be the equivalent of us feeling nostalgia for the Atari 2600…which we do, of course. But now I’m also feeling nostalgic for “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” and getting together with friends and shredding riffs on plastic guitars. Sigh.
Continue reading New Girlpuppy video: I Miss When I Smelled Like You
Video: Phoenix – “Alpha Zulu”
Directed by Pascal Teixeira, Emma Besson and Louis Bes. Made with Reface by Neocortext, Facee by Know Yourself and Prequel by Prequel. Single out now.
Maybe I’m easily amused but this video cracks me up. Sure, deepfake technology can certainly be unsettling and it has the potential for all kinds of misinformation catastrophe, but then it can also make the world’s great paintings lip-sync nonsense lyrics written by a groovy French pop band.
Run for your life
Cover your eyes
Overall, I suppose the technology’s pros outweigh its cons. Hey! Hey! Hey!
Video: Death Cab for Cutie – “Roman Candles”
Directed by Lance Bangs. From Asphalt Meadows, out September 16 on Atlantic.
It’s been a while, maybe since Chris Walla left the band, that Death Cab has released something that connected like this. It’s two minutes of escalating urgency that reminds us that indie rock can still rock.
It’s been a battle just to wake and greet the day
Then they all disappear like sugar in my coffee
A hint of sweetness but the bitterness remains
The acidity devouring my body.
The Lance Bangs-directed video is two minutes of pyro chaos with the band ending up covered in ash and having fires extinguished on their clothes. Good times.
Video: Beth Orton – “Weather Alive”
Directed by Eliot Lee Hazel. From Weather Alive, out September 23 on Partisan.
I can’t remember how I first heard about Beth Orton. I’m sure it was 1999 and the song was “Stolen Car” but where did we hear about new things in the late nineties? Was Addicted to Noise still around then or had it already been gobbled up by Viacom? It definitely wasn’t from MTV; I just watched the video and I’m positive I had never seen it before today. Maybe I read an article in a magazine and picked up the cd? A more likely scenario is that my wife heard it in the coffee shop where she worked and brought it home. For some reason I was convinced that Johnny Marr plays guitar on that song but it appears that I totally made that up.
I haven’t followed Orton’s career closely, but it looks like she releases a new album about every six years or so. This new song has the comfortingly chill vibe that we’ve always appreciated.
She said there are three steps
Down to the water’s edge
Take one two three
And there at the root of the tree
Wait for me, wait for me.
Something about “Weather Alive” reminds me Cassandra Jenkins, or maybe it’s the other way around. But fans of Jenkins’ “Hard Drive” should check this out.
Continue reading New Beth Orton video: Weather Alive