Just in time for summer, NYC is opening up to in-person cultural events and experiences a bit more each day. Even art fairs such as Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair have successfully returned, which is great news for art fans! I’ve written previously about the very fun New York Gallery Tours, where local art historian Rafael Risemberg offers small group tours in NYC’s popular Chelsea gallery district, and I’m happy to announce that those tours will expand in size as galleries increase the number of visitors allowed inside their spaces at one time. But for those who aren’t able to get out just yet, and to accommodate folks located outside of NYC who still crave an interactive art experience, Rafael offers his virtual Digital Arts tours, which are streamed live via Zoom. Best of all: there are no Covid restrictions!
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!
At a time when the reigning administration has zero regard for the environment: dismantling the EPA, selling off our public lands, aggressively polluting the water and air through the abolishing of regulations meant to protect the health of all citizens, and expediting the extinction of endangered species, this week’s anthemic Video Clip, “Last Lion of Albion” from Neko Case, is a call to action, in case you aren’t paying attention.
Brough to life visually in an animated clip by artist Laura Plansker, “Last Lion of Albion” is a requiem for the magnificent landscapes and creatures that have been erased from our planet by the effects of humans. Case explains, “I’m very honored and excited to debut this video by one of my very favorite artists. I’ve loved her work forever; she‘s so skilled at using handmade figures and props to create surreal worlds. Her work perfectly balances humor and darkness in a way that breaks my heart. Laura has a way of making something so artificial [feel] so very alive. The turning of the lion’s head to look at the sky, or its own reflection, makes me cry my eyes out. There is so much straight ahead compassion in Laura’s work, there’s no need to manipulate emotion of the viewer, it is the perfect balance. I’m so happy to share it here with you!“
“Last Lion of Albion” can be found on Case’s recently released album, Hell-On, which includes contributions from some three dozen guest performers, including k.d. Lang, Laura Veirs, Beth Ditto, and Robert Forster on backing vocals, Joey Burns of Calexico and Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices on guitars, and Barbara Gruska and Matt Chamberlain on drums. Enjoy!
Hello and welcome to the rockin’ start of a brand new week! You know, I usually like to use this space for showcasing an indie or lesser-known band that doesn’t have major label backing behind it; but in the sprit of the weekend-morning cartoons of my long lost youth, an animated clip always gets preferential treatment. This week let’s all turn on to “Tranz” from Gorillaz, who are also making their debut on The’Gig. Marking the band’s first ever live performance video — and only live performance since 2010’s highly memorable MTV EMA performance — this visually eye-popping clip sees Gorillaz’ charismatic front man2D command the stage against a backdrop of mind-altering visuals. Joining him are bandmates Noodle and Russel Hobbs, with Gangreen Gang’s Ace on bass standing in for the temporarily incarcerated Murdoc Niccals. “Tranz” can be found on the band’s latest album, The Now Now, which is out. . . now. Tour dates starting in October are below. Enjoy!
Top Ten Things I Like About This Weeks’ Video Clip, “Telelelevision” By Super Whatevr
1. Superwhatevr are a band from Orange County, California, which is where I am also from. Represent.
2. This song is called “Telelelevision,” and watching Television is in my top three favorite things that I like to do! Yay!
3. On weekend mornings, we should get to watch cartoons, right? This clip is animated, so that’s like a cartoon. Win Close enough!
4. Musically, “Telelelevision” sounds like it could be a lost Pixies‘ song. I like The Pixies.
5. Also, back in the ’90s there was a one-hit wonder, post-Grunge band from California called The Flys, formed by a couple of brothers who were most famous for making sunglasses and surfing. I am pretty sure I interviewed them at one point. Anyway, their hit was called “Got You Where I want You,” and “Telelelevision” sort of reminds me of that song.
6. Pink is my favorite color, and this video features lots of pink, and various shades of pink, so I enjoy watching it, as it pleases my eyeballs.
7. The video was animated by Eat The Danger, who has done the videos for “Lisbon” by Wolf Alice and Courtney Barnett’s “Dead Fox.”
8. The fluid nature of the animation makes the video especially optimal for watching while you are high on any kind of even mildly psychedelic drug.
9. I like the part where the protagonist rides a big Rubber Duck.
10. “Telelelevision” can be found on Superwhatevr’s debut full-length, Never Nothing, out now via Hopeless Records. Enjoy!