For My Own is the first release from New London Fire‘s upcoming record Echoes in the Dark. Stylistically it picks up where The Dirt The Blood The Faith left off – Americana leavened with an indie rock sensibility – though tonally it’s a little darker. The first two times I listened to it I thought it was a mournful meditation on a lost relationship, the third time through I was like . . . hold on, is this a murder two-step? Not a lot happens in the video, and I mean that literally, it’s a little under three and a half minutes of home-movie style footage of what appears to be the back of a dude sitting on a wooded hill and staring at a lake. I spent a little bit of time wondering which lake – Central Park? one in Jersey? Upstate? – before deciding that ultimately it doesn’t matter. The anonymous lake is a metaphor, for the time the lovelorn spend with their attention turned inwards. Or else it’s where the narrator dumped the body. Well, whatever the lake means, or doesn’t, I definitely want to hear the rest of the record, and the story.
This is the video for Breathe Your Last, by Jameson (Jameson Burt), from his new EP Carnivore. It considers, visually, the battle between artist – writer, in this case – and demons, and artist and self, and contains some weird Fight Club-style bloody violence and Blair Witch-style shaky footage of one man’s mind coming apart at the seams. There is one extended scene with words melting off a blackboard that is seriously the stuff of nightmares for anyone who keeps little piles of scribbled chunks of story and notes-to-self laying around. On the plus side: our hero does climb out of the nightmare pit at the end and presumably lives to fight (and scribble) another day. Some thoughts about Carnivore as a whole: I’ve been listening to it on loop for the last couple of days, and it is the kind of record that 1) will stand up to that kind of test – I have yet to get bored with it and 2) blooms under that kind of scrutiny. Breathe Your Last has a distinctly Americana sound, but the rest of the songs don’t really; they shimmy all over the indie rock spectrum, borrowing from a variety of genres … Continue reading
Nahko and Medicine for the People, led by Nahko Bear, are from Portland, Oregon, and are less a band and more an artistic collective that happens to play music. Really, really good music, that you could wedge into any number of genres, including world music, indie rock and inspirational. I came across them the other night when I fell in (yet another) Soundcloud hole, and I am very glad I did. This is the video for Budding Trees, from Dark as Night, which at this juncture is my favorite song of theirs, and I think it also serves as a good introduction to the band and their wider community, because it literally is the band and the community singing together. Not a show, however; they’ve used a broad assortment of footage, some amateur, some probably not, to show the tune winding through different lives. And this is Nahko Bear all by himself, doing their most recent single Wash It Away as part of a Gondola Session: Speaking of Soundcloud: This is their page, and you should go and just listen to the whole thing.
This video for This Old Banjo by J. Tex and the Volunteers of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a masterful piece of minimalism – it’s just him and a guitar – and it feels, for lack of a better term, organic. Unfussy, unforced, like he’s just walking around thinking with his guitar. The only thing that could have made it better would be the appearance of an actual banjo.
In honor of Michael Hutchence, who left us much too soon, and 17 years ago today: the video for Need You Tonight, by INXS, one that I watched every time it came up on MTV – which was a lot – and showcases him (them) at his finest. And, also, okay, yes, I totally had a middle-school crush on Michael Hutchence, fueled by this song, and this video. It was specific, but yet also somehow abstract; I was, I think, daydreaming of someone sidling up to me and informing me I was his kind. If that someone was as smoking hot as Michael Hutchence, all the better.
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. For anyone who missed it earlier this month, Militia Vox recently released an all-covers album called Bait. On it she takes aim – with amazing results – at a number of hard rock icons, including Ozzy Osbourne. This is her take on PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me: And now, I will turn the floor over … Continue reading
I touched on this briefly back in August, but: Frank Iero (Death Spells, Leathermouth, My Chemical Romance) and his new band (frnkiero andthe cellabration) have recently released a record, called Stomachaches. My feelings, the short version: It’s awesome and I love it. I return to it when I am feeling abraded by life, and wish to use Iero’s voice as a honey-and-gravel blanket. Or when I want to shuffle dance on street corners. Whatever you may have thought of My Chem: if you like vigorous punk rock with fuzzy accents and the occasional delicate melody, give this a shot. My feelings, the long version: I’ve been listening to this and Gerard Way’s Hesitant Alien as point-counterpoint, and while I like what Gerard Way has been up to – more on that later – Iero’s work is more musically interesting to me. I find I’m re-listening to songs not only because they feel like they fall directly into a pre-cut groove in my head and heart but because I’m actively trying to track what he’s doing with feedback and drums and/or listen more closely to the lyrics. Basically, I’m super into the way he’s playing with elements of dissonance in the … Continue reading
The last time we checked in with Heart-Ships was last October, and since then they’ve released a bunch of new music including a full-length record called Foil (YAY!) and split up (NOT YAY, MASSIVE :(). I listened to Foil late last night, and on the whole it is breathtaking. But there are a few songs that sank their claws into me. One of them was Undress Me To The Bone, which I present here in video form, because they did a “garden session” and sang it acoustic and it sounds like a diamond being wrenched out of them by force. This is the album version, which is worth listening to for the contrast: the lament sounds almost like an anthem. Also strong: Nadine, Heart of a Wrestler and We Were Quick to Bang The Drum.
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Crisp, solid, mellow, at times a little jazzy: these are the beats of Benjamin Durazzo. His signature move is playing two MPCs at once. Here he is with Waterbed: A couple of months ago he was out on tour with AF the Naysayer and so I got to quiz him about his favorite book, record … Continue reading