Pharrell’s new video for “Come Get It Bae” brings up a lot of questions: Why does the video start out by stating “beauty has no expiration date,” only for the multiple dancers in the video to all look to be in their thirties or younger? Why is Pharrell filming the dancers? Shouldn’t he be singing?
Tag: Music Videos (1-10 of 661)
For the first video from her forthcoming sophomore album, The Other Person Is You, singer-songwriter Lara Meyerratken, aka El May, took to the streets of New York City with director Yaara Sumeruk. The Australian musician brought along a pair of headphones and an iPhone loaded with her bouncy, dancehall-infused single “I Played a Role” and captured the reactions of people on the street hearing the track for the first time. Like Meyerratken, the song and the video’s conceit are fun and more than a little cutesy without crossing over into full-blown twee quirkiness.
“The train scene was our dream come true,” Meyerratken, who resides in L.A., writes in an email. “We had imagined a best-case scenario, where our journey around the city over the two days coincided with some amazing subway dancers. At the end of the day, headed to our final locations, exhausted on the J train, we heard the famous call: ‘SHOW TIME!’ So we approached them… it turned out to be a real highlight!”
The Other Person Is You, which features contributions from indie rock royalty like the Vaselines’ Eugene Kelly and Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham from Luna, is out Aug. 26.
Kasai Allstars are from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and as their name suggests, they’re something of a supergroup, with around 25 musicians drawn not only from six different bands but from five different ethnic groups that reside in the area, not all of which have historically gotten along. Their music not only bridges the gaps between their disparate musical cultures, but in the process of adapting parts for traditional acoustic instruments for modern electrified ones they link two distinct eras of African music.
Crammed Discs just released the group’s double album, Beware the Fetish, which offers not only a pleasurable crash course in Congolese folklore (it includes story-songs with evocative titles like “As They Walked Into the Forest On a Sunday, They Encountered Apes Dressed as Humans”) but a blend of hypnotic rhythms and peripatetic melodies that should appeal equally to fans of dance music and jazz. In the meantime, here’s the video for “Yangye, the Evil Leopard.”
Matt Mahaffey has been making synth-heavy pop music under the name Self for nearly 20 years while also freelancing for a diverse range of artists including Pink, Lupe Fiasco, and Beck. Next week he’ll release Super Fake Nice, his first new album since his 2005′s album Porno, Mint, & Grime. Since then the Internet has grown considerably, and so has its role in promoting new music.
Mahaffey’s obviously been paying attention. “I’ve always fancied myself a person who’s ahead of the curve,” he says, “and with this video, I really think that making videos of cats is going to catch fire on the internets. I wasn’t available to be at my own video shoot and I refuse to allow my band to have a moment in the sun without me so we hired this rad cat band that I’ve been a fan of for a while.” Who knows? Maybe this crazy idea of putting cute cat videos online will catch on.
Francesco Ferorelli grew up on rap and heavy metal, but as the primary songwriter for the group Heaven’s Jail he makes folk rock with a traditionalist bent and an attitude that recalls sardonic ’70s singer-songwriters like Kris Kristofferson and Loudon Wainwright III. The group’s latest, Ace Called Zero (out Aug. 26 on Heart Break Beat), was recorded last fall in Connecticut, with Matthew Houck (a.k.a. Phosphorescent) producing and Ben Greenberg of the Men engineering, making it kind of a super-session of Brooklyn roots rockers.
The first video from the album is for its second single, “Suicide.” It was directed by Curtis Wayne Millard, who’s who’s worked with The Head and The Heart, and its chilly visuals pair well with the song’s bare-bones arrangement. Ferorelli says, “This video was born in a moment of inspiration. We drove up to the woods to shoot the album cover and halfway through Curtis said ‘I think we might have a music video too,’ so he grabbed the Super 8 and just started filming. The weather was on our side providing thick rolling mist and drizzling rain, a couple feet of snow still covered the ground and night was approaching quickly. In several short enigmatic scenes he harnessed the fleeting spirit of the song and created an elegant visual companion.”
Two days after being posted to YouTube, singer-songwriter Catey Shaw’s “Brooklyn Girls” music video has started to go viral. Unfortunately for her, its virality so far seems limited to music critics who are hate-watching it in order to write mean things about it on Twitter.
The song itself is solidly crafted and deeply irritating, the kind that’ll get wedged on a loop in your head even though you don’t want it to. Its foundation is bouncy, anthemic synth-pop with some of the punky spark of Icona Pop’s “I Love It”–and like “I Love It,” it seems specifically designed to target groups of tipsy girls on dance floors. Shaw piles on indie folk signifiers like a highly affected, old-timey vocal inflection and an en masse “whoa whoa” backing vocal in the chorus. It’s an inspired combination in that both of those styles are very popular right now, and there’s definitely some overlap between their audiences. But for anyone who’s at all averse to indie folk, it’s like taking a serviceable but not particularly great sandwich and topping it with a blast of pepper spray to the eyes.
It’s not the music that’s driving the hate-fest online as much as the song’s lyrics and video, which manage to capture every bothersome quirk Brooklyn (or at least the more gentrified parts of it) has to offer. There’s a line about how “gritty” Brooklyn girls are, exemplified by the fact that they wear combat boots during the summer and ride the subway. There’s PBR and street art and bad skateboarding. There’s a guy with a beard and a septum piercing drinking a bottle of kombucha. (To the credit of Shaw and the director, there are also people of color, which is a small relief.)
Shaw herself is, predictably, a newcomer to the borough, having moved there from Virginia Beach. She’s also the type of recent emigre who will say something like, “The whole thing about a Brooklyn girl is that you don’t have to be from Brooklyn.” And she will say it with a ukulele sitting nearby and a bird sitting on her shoulder.
Noisey, who was unsurprisingly one of the first outlets on the story (no one calls out hipster Brooklyn like hipsters in Brooklyn), deemed Shaw “The Rebecca Black of Brooklyn Gentrification,” which is both a sick burn and a fairly accurate assessment of the arc of her popularity so far. But unlike “Friday,” it’s not hard to imagine “Brooklyn Girls” riding the momentum from all the snarky online commentary it’s generating and actually breaking with an audience, one that’s not made up of music critics or people who live in Brooklyn. (Although it’s almost guaranteed to be ironically played at a Bushwick DJ night by the weekend.) Shaw may represent everything that Brooklynites dislike about the idiosyncratic identity their city’s acquired over the past decade, but those are the exact things that people who don’t live in the city, but would like to, are attracted to. There are probably plenty of pop fans out there who live with mom and dad and dream about being a gritty Brooklyn resident who wears combat boots and plays the ukulele and dyes their tips—and “Brooklyn Girls” will probably become their anthem.
Shaw’s playing a record release party tomorrow night. It’s in Williamsburg, naturally.
Naomi Shelton has been singing professionally for over five decades, beginning in the midst of the early-’60s soul-music explosion, where she was inspired by the likes of Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, and later expanding into gospel. Since 1999, she’s been fronting the long-running vocal group the Queens, which has since been rechristened Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens.
Backed by a band that includes former side men for Pickett, Sam Cooke, and James Brown, Shelton and the Queens have just recorded their sophomore record for leading soul revivalists Daptone Records. Cold World walks the blurry line between gospel and classic R&B that artists and ideas have been crossing back and forth for ages, with a rich, warm-blooded sound that comes in part from having tracked the songs live to analog tape. Shelton’s voice remains an impressive instrument, and the pleading vocal part on the album’s lead single, “Sinner,” is an ideal setting to show it off.
Yung Flight is a 21-year-old rapper currently living in Northern Virginia. He has a new single called “To the Top” that gives a Southern twist to the current cloud rap wave and provides an excellent platform to show off his raspy, breathy flow and his willingness to take risks with rhyme schemes. It also has a sweet R&B-flavored hook. Flight’s still so new that that’s about all the information I have on him right now, aside from the fact that he’s working on his first mixtape.
In the video, he and his crew wander around New York City and do a lot of looking like they have plans to conquer it soonish. Judging by his first release, that doesn’t seem like an impossible goal.
John Legend’s “You and I (Nobody in the World)” premiered today, fighting the good fight for female empowerment.
The video features a handful of famous faces: Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘s Tatyana Ali, comedian Tig Notaro, and Legend’s own model wife, Chrissy Teigen. Teigen, of course, was the star of Legend’s music video for “All of Me,” a song he famously wrote about her. READ FULL STORY
To mark the end of his latest massive world tour, Bruce Springsteen just posted a thank-you message to fans on his website, along with a short film based around “Hunter of Invisible Game” from his most recent album, High Hopes. The Boss not only stars in the 10-plus-minute clip but co-directed it along with frequent collaborator Thom Zimny, who’s been working on Springsteen documentaries for over a decade.
The short revolves around Springsteen playing a grizzled loner in what seems to be some sort of post-apocalyptic world that’s reverted to a pre-20th-century technological level—or at least that’s what all the crumbling ruins and horse riding seem to suggest. (Think The Road but gauzily dreamy rather than relentlessly horrifying.) The folk-soul song gets expanded to fit the visual format with an extended instrumental intro arranged for synthesizer, strings, and, uh, wind chimes.
For a first-time effort it’s not too bad. If he ever gets tired of making records (doubtful) he could probably pull off a post-catastrophe cowboy flick. “Hunter” is streaming now at his site.
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