Monday, September 22, 2014

Interpol: Twice As Hard

A trio since completing their fourth self-titled album in 2010, New York band Interpol released a new collection of songs with the anagram title 'El Pintor' this month; the album features a guest appearance by Rob Moose of Bon Iver among others.

Their latest video was shot at a NY boxing gym by front man Paul Banks with the help of Director of Photography Carlos Veron. It's a very good example of how relatively mundane, no frills footage can be made near poetic with the right music, in this case the superb track "Twice as Hard", arguably one of the band's finest to date.

Several dates on the current extensive North America/Europe fall and winter tour have already sold out, including one of two shows at the Fox Theater in Pomona, CA this week. The string of gigs will end in Dublin February 10-12 with three shows, two of which have sold out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jhene Aiko: The Pressure

Her seven-track debut EP 'Sail Out' was released in November of last year. Now her cleverly titled debut full-length 'Souled Out' has finally dropped and 26-year old Los Angeles native Jhene Aiko does not disappoint. She and a variety of producers, including her 'Sail Out' collaborators Fisticuffs and No I.D., serve up twelve tracks, many of them featuring sophisticated soundscapes that draw you in, stay with you long after the last note fades out, and make you come back for more, thanks in great part to her soothing vocals, Yet her lyrics and messages have real bite to them, a contrast which lends the album a very special quality.

Aiko and Schoolboy Q will be opening for Weeknd during his North American 'King of the Fall' mini-tour this month and next month. She also has two gigs coming up in Las Vegas (Sept. 25) and Sacramento (Sept. 26). In addition, there will be a featured performance at the Def Jam 30th Anniversary concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 16.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sun Tailor: Who's At Your Window + Fay

Israeli singer-songwriter-guitarist Arnon Naor aka Sun Tailor journeyed to the UK at age 20 to study music. Now 34, he splits his time between Tel Aviv and London and is working on his as of yet untitled second full-length which will drop this winter.

His fellow Israeli, director Jonathan Vardi created the impressive video that accompanies the superb teaser track "Who's at Your Window" from the upcoming album.  The song signals somewhat of a shift from the folk based sound of his outstanding debut album 'Like the Tide' released in 2012, but seems more a case of an artist boldly exploring new musical avenues than a complete change.

The video for the gorgeous track "Fay" off of 'Like the Tide' was made by London based independent production company Polaris Film Ltd. The haunting clip very much calls to mind the celebrated 2000 film 'In the Mood for Love' by one of my personal favorites, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai.

There are not any gigs scheduled at this point, but Sun Tailor regularly performs live with a band of merry men in both Israel and the UK.  Among these is his brother, drummer/percussionist Udi Naor with whom he co-produced 'Like the Tide'. No doubt there will be a tour once the second album comes out.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Slowly Rolling Camera: Dream A Life

Dionne Bennett (lyrics/vocals), Dave Stapleton (music/keys), Deri Roberts (sound design, electronics, production, trombone, sax) and Elliot Bennett (drums) each paid their dues in various soul, funk and jazz bands in clubs in their hometown of Cardiff before forming Slowly Rolling Camera and lists fellow British color-outside-the-lines bands Cinematic Orchestra, Portishead, Zero 7 and Radiohead among their influences.

Their self-titled debut full-length dropped in February; this week it was released in Scandinavia as well. The album was co-produced by SRC and Andy Allan (Portishead, Massive Attack, etc.)

In a live context the quintet enlists a number of musicians to enhance their already impressive soundscape: Jasper Hoiby (double bass), Matt Robertson (synths), Chris Montague (guitar), Mark Lockheart (tenor and soprano sax) and Neil Yates (trumpet).

There are four shows scheduled so far this fall: first up is a performance at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on September 20.

The outstanding video that accompanies the intoxicating track "Dream a Life" was filmed and directed by the London based independent production company Polaris Films Ltd.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Trentemøller: Gravity

Veteran Danish multi-instrumentalist/producer/DJ Anders Trentemøller aka Trentemøller released his third full-length album 'Lost' last September; it featured various guest vocalists, incl. Marie Fisker, Sune Rose Wagner, Kazu Makino and more. Today he drops the album 'Lost Reworks' which has the maestro himself as well as guests such as Toydrum and Jenny Wilson remixing about half the tracks found on 'Lost'.

His European summer/fall tour continues at the Berlin Festival on September 7; last show scheduled will be in Moscow on October 11.

The track "Gravity", featuring vocals by American songwriter/musician Jana Hunter of the band Lower Dens, is accompanied by a humorous video shot in Los Angeles by L.A./Copenhagen based director Tue Walin Storm plus fellow Dane Elvira Lind and stars acclaimed American actor Oscar Isaac as the car pool hitch hiker.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Avi Buffalo: So What + Memories Of You

Long Beach, CA native son Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg aka Avi Buffalo can no longer be called a young whippersnapper - in case anyone ever did call him that. It's been four years since the debut self-titled full-length of the solo project-slash-band that bears his nickname and he's now a 23-year old grown ass man ready to share a new collection of songs with the world. The album with the cryptic title 'At Best Cuckold' drops on Sub Pop on September 9.

The excellent clip for "So What" was directed by L.A. based film maker Jon Jon Augustavo and features Avi in a dream like 'cherche la femme' narrative.

The stellar album track "Memories of You" unfortunately does not yet have a video to go with it.

Avi and his live performance buddies kick off their extensive fall tour September 8 in Seattle: shows are scheduled for the West Coast (incl. one in Vancouver, Canada September 9), Europe and the East Coast; last gig - following the Ireland/UK/continental Europe dates - will be in Boise, Idaho on November 18.  (full tour schedule)

In case you missed my interview with Avi from October 2009:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Simian Ghost: Never Really Knew

What started as a solo project and morphed into a trio is now a quintet when performing live.  Swedish band Simian Ghost from Sandviken, 118 miles west of Stockholm, will drop their third full-length 'The Veil' on September 9. (their second album 'Youth' from 2012 was reissued in the U.S. this year on Austin, Texas based indie label Red Eye Transit with five additional tracks.)

They have several shows scheduled for the fall, including an appearance at the famed CMJ Music Marathon in New York City which will take place October 21-25.

The quirky clip for the excellent teaser single "Never Really Knew" was directed by accomplished American director Dan Huiting and requires a disclaimer due to its twist ending: no adult male dancer was harmed in the making of this video.

The downright funky acoustic version was recorded for French label Discograph; it was shot by Paris based production company Oktofilms. (Oktofilms)