Tag Archive | Album Cover

Video Clip of The Week: Andrew Bird, “Manifest”


Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has been doing his own thing under-the-radar in various bands, collaborations, and solo efforts — across multiple genres — for two decades. He may not be a household name — unless you know him from his tenure with Squirrel Nut Zippers — but those who seek true ‘artistry’ in a music artist continue to pay attention to his prolific body of work. Today it is my pleasure to give Bird his inaugural exposure on The ‘Gig with the song “Manifest,” from his latest recording.

With playfully colorful animation by Andrea Nakhla, the video for “Manifest” is an ideal accompaniment  to this somewhat wistful song that delivers an urgent call to action regarding not just defending, but actively saving our environment, wildlife and natural resources. There’s never been a better time than now to wake up and own your destiny, even if it means acknowledging that we’ve  got our work cut out for us. “I’m interested in the idea that our enemies are what makes us whole,” Bird explains. The song’s lyrics are direct and risk-taking, cutting to the quick of what’s happening in our world. The message is that it’s not too late to turn things around.

With all of his many talents, at his core, Andrew Bird is a gifted storyteller whose turn of phrase and instrumental arrangements remind me of greats like Leonard Cohen and James Taylor. He is certainly a unique and welcome voice in today’s cultural climate. “Manifest” can be found on Andrew’s brand new album, My Finest Work Yet, out now on Loma Vista Recordings. Enjoy!

Andrew Bird CD Cover

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Video Clip of The Week: Danko Jones, “Dance Dance Dance”

 

I have no problem admitting that I am almost always disappointed in any act that relies on the presence of dancers on stage with them in order to perform. This includes all urban acts and pop solo-singers, who are the absolute worst offenders. I enjoy dancing as much as the next person, but if you need dancers jumping and humping all around you to make your music palatable, then just give up now because I am already over it.  Now that my rant is out of the way, let me tell you that this week’s video, which is Danko Jones“Dance Dance Dance”, is not like any other dance-centric music video with that you’ll see. Because “Dance Dance Dance” is not about the band playing with dancers; it is about a group of women dancing to the music because they are feeling it. And that is very different. Amir Chamdin, an award-winning Swedish filmmaker who has previously directed videos for take-no-prisoners headbangers like Ghost and The Hellacopters, shot “Dance Dance Dance” this past January in Stockholm, and created something truly unique by combining two vastly different art forms – Danko Jones‘ signature style of fist-pumping rock with an incredible, single-take dancehall-inspired clip. Watch these three ladies tear it up and tell me it doesn’t take you back to the days of dancing in your bedroom to your favorite rock albums back when rock albums were still made. If you’re not that old, ask your parents what it was like. “Dance Dance Dance” can be found on Danko Jones‘ upcoming new album, A Rock Supreme, due for release on April 26, 2019. Enjoy!

A Rock Supreme

Video Clip The Week: Jon Spencer, “Do The Trash Can”


My favorite memory involving Jon Spencer (he of the eponymous Blues Explosion) goes back to the time that I was assigned to write a cover story about him for a now long-defunct Rock magazine, whose editors would not allow writers to use the word “that” in any articles. Just being serious. For the interview, I arranged to meet Spencer at a Starbucks in the neighborhood where we both live, assuming it would not be impossible to settle in at an empty table and just chat over the reasonable din of people getting coffee and taking up space. When no tables were free at Starbucks, we attempted to find another nearby restaurant or bar to duck into, but there were no viable options, for some mysterious reason. I then suggested that perhaps we could just go to his apartment that he shares with wife Cristina Martinez, but Spencer said no way in Hell was that going to happen. Lovely. We ended up doing the interview while sitting on a bench in Union Square Park. Whatever. He was a decent interview, and now I have been able to share this fun story with you, so it all worked out.

This brings us to our featured video clip, with Spencer flying solo for “Do The Trash Can” – which was described to me as being “a Molotov cocktail of sound,” so I am just going to go with that.  If you are already a fan of the kind of take-no-prisoners,  eardrum-excoriating noise rock that Spencer is, dare I say it, the absolute best at churning out, then you will go crazy over “Do The Trash Can.” It’s a Jon Spencer song, what can I say? If you have no previous exposure to this true garage rock legend, consider this a test drive. Your mileage may vary.

Visually, “Do The Trash Can” is a bit of a softer sell, because this video ranks as a Work of Art.  “Do The Trash Can” rates up there in the top five or so “most fun to just look at” video clips I’ve featured in five years of running this column. With Spencer dressed up as a vendor of the kind of fast food that you might find at, say, Coney Island, the video focuses on artfully directed images of him interacting with hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, french fries, and pop corn, while also introducing The Trash Can as some kind of minimal dance, and of course playing guitar. This is all presented against the most highly-saturated palette of primary colors that I can recall seeing in a video since DEVO’s “Whip It,” which everyone agrees was ahead of its time. I’m hungry and I want to go to an art gallery, just thinking about it.

As an aside, it has also never dawned on me how much Spencer’s guitar playing sounds to have been influenced by that of the late, great George Harrison. For a point of aural reference, revisit the breakdown in The Beatles’ “Tax Man” and tell me I’m not on to something. “Do The Trash Can” can be found on Spencer’s first ever (no kidding) solo album, Spencer Sings The Hits!, which is out on November 9, 2018 via In The Red Records! Enjoy!

Spencer Sings The Hits

Video Clip of The Week: Monster Magnet, “Ejection”

Do you like to Rock? I sure do, and one band that can always be relied upon to bring the Rock is Monster Magnet, fronted by one of the last great American rock gods, Dave Wyndorf! It is true that this particular Sunday morning is kind of a suckfest, because it’s the first day of Daylight Saving Time, which blows, because that means we have lost one hour of precious weekend sleep. Lame City. So, let’s focus instead on how much better this morning will be, now that we have a new Monster Magnet tune and video to kick our asses into a waking state. You’re welcome!

This rad clip, “Ejection,” is actually a smokin’ hot, rocket-fueled cover of a tune by Lemmy’s old band from the ’70s, Hawkwind! Fans may recall that Monster Magnet previously covered Hawkwind’s “The Right Stuff” on 2004’s Monolithic Baby!, so you know that Dave is a big fan. The original song is a true ’70s classic and couldn’t be a better indication of what to expect from the new album! I also enjoy the visuals of what looks like the band performing while floating across the vast cosmos as a volcano erupts in the  background. Or something like that.

“Ejection” is the second single from  MindFucker — Monster Magnet’s eleventh studio album  — which will be released on March 23rd, 2018 via Napalm Records. Enjoy!

MindFucker Album Cover

Video Clip of The Week: IAMX, “Stardust”

Making his impressive debut in the Video Clip of The Week this Sunday is Chris Corner’s IAMX, with the Performance Art-oriented clip for the track “Stardust.” Featuring celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, this clip captures everything that makes the gothic/industrial scene so mesmerizing, while managing to keep this much-fetishized genre (which arguably, saw its commercial peak in the late 90s) fresh and intriguing. Mostly, it reminds me of my club days, when NYC venues like The Bank and Limelight were the places to go to dance yourself silly from midnight to dawn while communing with the other creatures of the night. Good times.

“Stardust” can be found on IAMX‘s recently released album, Alive In New Light. Recommended if You Like: Nine Inch Nails, Goldfrapp, Sisters of Mercy. Spring Tour Dates are below! Watch the uncensored clip at This Link. Enjoy!

IAMX Alive In New Light Cover

IAMX SPRING TOUR DATES

4/19 Washington, DC @Rock&Roll Hotel
4/21 Brooklyn, NYC @Rough Trade (with Kat Von D)
4/22 Brooklyn, NYC @Rough Trade (with Kat Von D)
4/24 Boston, MA @Middle East
4/26 Montreal, QB @Le Belmont
4/27 Toronto, ON @Lee’s Palace
4/28 Chicago, IL @Bottom Lounge
4/30 Denver, CO @Bluebird Theatre
5/1 Salt Lake City, UT @Metro Music Hall
5/3 Vancouver, BC @Biltmore Cabaret
5/4 Seattle, WA @The Crocodile
5/5 Portland, OR @Aladdin
5/7 San Francisco, CA @Great American Music Hall (with Kat Von D)
5/9 Los Angeles, CA @Fonda Theater (with Kat Von D)
5/23 Guadalajara, MEX @C3 Stage
5/24 Mexico City, MEX @Lunario

IAMX STARDUST

Video Clip of The Week: Cold Showers, “Plant Life”

I’m going to say it: Everything Old is New Again! If Southern California-based band Cold Showers‘ primitive CGI video for their distinctively 80s New Wave Dance track, “Plant Life” doesn’t make you jones for the early days of MTV, absolutely nothing will. Maybe you weren’t even born when Dire Straights‘ then-groundbreaking video for their hit, “Money For Nothing” encapsulated an entire generation’s feeling of ennui (look it up), but I remember it like it was yesterday — and it was thirty fucking years ago. Wow. Nostalgia can be so bittersweet.

But I digress. visually, “Plant Life” is the modern-day companion to “Money for Nothing” with a not-unwelcome aural nod to The Human League, One-Hit Wonders Animotion, and decidedly gloomier synth-drenched bands of that era, such as Killing Joke, that you had to perhaps be a bit more into the underground to know about.

The “Plant Life” video thrills me in a way that only animation that looks like it came from a 8-bit Nintendo game cartridge can thrill a Luddite. The unfortunate protagonist of the clip spends most of his time running between the floors of his split-level luxury loft in a futile effort to keep the plants sufficiently watered; a ritual that quickly becomes a waking nightmare. Believe me, I can relate. I take care of maybe a dozen plants in my office, and if I go away on vacation for a week, they are dead when I come back. It is so frustrating. The fact that the “Watering of the Plants” motif is a blatantly obvious metaphor for keeping a romantic relationship alive is beside the point. The feeling of existential dread is what matters.

In the end you just want to burn it all down, right? Pay close attention to that Red Gas Can. It will be important in the final act.

“Plant Life” is the first single from Cold Showers‘ upcoming album, Matter of Choice, due out on Dais Records on August 28th, 2015. Enjoy!

Cold Showers Matter of Choice COVER ART
Matter of Choice Cover Art!

Abbey Road Bananas

Abbey Road Bananas
Image Source

Dutch artist Stephan Brusche makes fun art on and with the skin of the delicious Banana. Here, he has demonstrated his technique with a rendering of the famous cover of The Beatles’ album, Abbey Road. So clever!

See more of Stephan’s banana art at This Link!