Tag Archive | Music

Video Clip of The Week: Steelism, “Eno Nothing”


It’s always an extra-special treat when I can find an animated clip for the weekly Sunday Jam, because it brings the whole concept that much closer to a ‘Weekend Morning Cartoon’ vibe, which I secretly live for. You’re Welcome.

Today we have an instrumental clip with the enigmatic title “Eno Nothing,” from Nashville’s Steelism — a group comprised of core-members Jeremy Fetzer (guitar) and Spencer Cullum (pedal steel player). “Eno Nothing” kicks off with our fearless duo leaving the house, embarking on an existential journey, and getting beamed aboard a drone-like craft. After stopping at an inter-galactic gas station to fuel-up, they visit many, many strange planets where they encounter such creatures as a gigantic purple tortoise, a Cthulhu and one of the benevolent aliens from Star Trek (I think). Later, they drop in on avant-garde composer and bonafide music legend Brian Eno, before ending up back where they started. Musically, “Eno Nothing” is The Toadies meets Steely Dan. Trust me on this one. It’s like Flight of The Conchords are writing the soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi/fantasy flick!

“Eno Nothing” can be found on Steelism’s sophomore album, Ism, released in June via the band’s own imprint, Intoxicating Sounds (distributed by Thirty Tigers). Ism marks the first time the band brings featured vocalists into their instrumental canon, with guest appearances from Tristen, Ruby Amanfu, Andrew Combs and Jessie Baylin. Enjoy!

Steelism Album Cover

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Video Clip of The Week: Quiet Riot, “Can’t Get Enough”

In today’s lesson on Rock & Roll Evolution 101, we find Quiet Riot, the once quasi-notorious, eighties glam-metal band re-imagined for 2017 as a swaggering, super-tight, blues-based rock outfit in the style of, say, The Black Crowes, Blackstone Cherry, and other bands that may or may not have the word ‘Black’ in their name. It’s been ten years since the tragic death of Quiet Riot’s original, inimitable front man, Kevin Dubrow, and in that time the Sunset Strip legends have also parted ways with guitarist Carlos Cavazo and bassist-hunk Rudy Szarzo, leaving powerhouse drummer Frankie Banali as sole survivor of the band’s classic line-up. They aren’t very sentimental in Hollywood.

But if anyone has earned the right to reinvent this band, it’s Banali, who is playing better than ever, and looking ten years younger today than he did when I met him in person in 2001. Amazing. Banali’s fellow Riot-eers are veteran bassist Chuck Wright, guitarist Alex Grossi, and new vocalist James Durbin, who might look familiar to you because he wailed his way to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 season of…wait for it…American Idol! See, Adam Lambert isn’t the only AI alum with the nads to front a classic rock band, I tells ya.

Aurally, “Can’t Get Enough” gains momentum right out of the gate, with Durbin delivering a familiar vocal hook borrowed from Foo Fighters “Learn to Fly, and rapid-fire lyrics about the irresistible appeal of life on the road, rocking our for the fans — because Quiet Riot sings about what it knows. Bang Your Head, again! Visually, this is a classic performance piece which keeps you entertained with a few changes in scenario; from a pleasingly pink-lit studio to everyone’s’ favorite outdoor venue: under a freeway overpass somewhere in LA. Certain things should never change. “Can’t Get Enough” can be found on Quiet Riot’s new album, Road Rage, due out later this week on August 4th, 2017, via Frontiers Music SRL. Enjoy!

Quiet Riot 2017

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Video Clip of The Week: Flights Over Phoenix, “Middle Of The World”


Hey what’s up. I hope that you are enjoying your weekend. Now that we have done some cursory bonding, I would like to say that with today’s Video Clip of The Week, which is for the awesome song “Middle Of The World” from LA-based trio Flights Over Phoenix, it is my hope that I am exposing you to a potential ear-worm that is powerfully addictive enough to supplant Ed Sheeran’s quasi-pervy, aural seduction device, “Shape of You” — which, I am sure we will all agree, simply cannot be resisted. You’re welcome.

Filmed on location at Soggy Dry Lake, in the California desert, and visually styled in the manner of, say, a John Varvatos photo shoot, “Middle Of The World” features the band performing on an arid plane punctuated only by inflated black balloons tethered to the dry earth like bobbing, mutant cacti. And speaking of cacti, the protagonist of our story is an anthropomorphic cactus who finds a picture postcard of California and decides to take a cross-country journey to the beach  — trading one sandy environment for another, but with a few essential differences that change his world completely. In this way, “Middle of The World” serves as a powerful metaphor for breaking free from your restrictive comfort zone to find what you need in order to attain a state of true happiness, or something like that. Heavy.

Aurally, “Middle Of The World” is guilt-free ear candy. The lyrics convey a universal message of self-empowerment and lead singer Keith Longo has a voice like butter.  The band explains that, “‘Middle Of The World’ is a song that explores the feelings of isolation through imagery that one might experience in a dream of that nature. In writing the song, we wanted it to feel like a journey, and so we wanted the music to be up-tempo and have a lot of movement.” Mission accomplished.

“Middle Of The World” can be found on the band’s newly-released EP, Where I Comedown. Like them on the FaceBook at This Link! Enjoy!

Flights Over Phoenix Band
Flights Over Phoenix are Chris Santillo, Jordan Nuanez and Keith Longo.

Video Clip of The Week: RadioBlack, “Thread (I Am)”


It happens way too often that I am pitched a song which, by description alone, promises to Bring The Rock. Then, what happens next is I play the clip and find that it is either hopelessly whiny emo masquerading as pseudo-rock, or it features the genre of eardrum excoriating vocals (i.e. makes Jonathan Davis sound like Freddie Mercury) that pass for “aggressive” these day.  Barf. Please stop trying to fool me with your deceptive pitches. I have ears.

And then there are songs like “Thread (I Am)” from powerhouse trio RadioBlack, a band that has earned the right to call itself Rock by knowing how to mix melodicism with a full-on aural attack. Kudos: you get to be in this week’s column. “Thread” starts out with a tease of the grunge classic  “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins before it immediately finds its own groove, becoming wildly anthemic and angsty without falling victim to fatal emo trappings or being so angry that it forgets to “do the song.” I also love that front man/guitartist TJ Courtney looks like a pirate version of party-rock icon, Andrew WK. Did you ever think that could be a thing? It is, and Courtney completely owns it.

Visually, this a live performance piece (shot in an empty industrial loft) with the look of being captured on scratchy 16mm, and some lyrics thrown in for the kids who like that sort of thing. TJ explains, “We shot the ‘Thread’ video in just a couple of hours. We wanted to find a way to capture the energy that drives our live show and we thought this video was a good opportunity to do that. Sometimes in a video shoot setting you can lose that energy and intensity, so when we started the shoot we decided to just lay it all out there the way we do live. I think that came across.” I think so, too. These guys deserve to be stars.

Courtney’s band mates in RadioBlack are drummer Derek Gledhill (founding member of Smile Empty Soul, who is fucking flawless behind the kit) and bassist Hayato Takano, a seasoned touring player. “Thread (I Am)” comes from the band’s eponymous debut album, which was released on May 12th, 2017. Like them on the FaceBook at This Link. Enjoy!

RadioBlack Band
RadioBlack is Hayato Takano, TJ Courtney and Derek Gledhill

Video Clip of The Week: Amy O, “History Walking”


Happy 4th of July Weekend, Bitches! Today we have a real ‘Fire Cracker’ of a video clip for you: singer-songwriter Amy O’s high energy tune, “History Walking,” visualized by our favorite thing, an animated video! Yay! Amy offers that “History Walking” is about getting stuck in ruts with the people you love and have known for years, the comfort and frustration of long term relationships, getting lost in the banality of life and not always being able to access gratitude. It’s also about getting confused in your own timeline by letting the past affect your present and the present cloud your perception of the future. Basically, my personal understanding of the theory of relativity as explained by a pop song. Excellent!

Backed by an excellent power-pop band,  Amy O’s wildly contagious sound has been described as tightly coiled indie-pop music indebted to Sleater-Kinney and The Roches, Helium and Laura Nyro, defined by unruly guitars, excitable vocals, rambunctious performances, and supremely hyperactive hooks.

Visually, the vibrant abstract animation, courtesy of BrainTwins, is a splash of pop-psychedelia at its finest!

“History Walking” is the third single from Amy’s forthcoming LP, Elastic – out on Winspear on August 4th, 2017. Enjoy!

Amy O Elastic Album Art

Video Clip of The Week: Celebration, “Rolling On”

What I love most about the visual aspect of this week’s clip, “Rolling On” from progressive-pop (a genre description that I just coined right this minute) trio, Celebration, is that it feels like you’re watching the video catalog of an extremely cool art installation. And I see a ton of art, as you may know, so I think that’s a valid assessment. And if this video were just here to serve as an introduction to an art exhibit that was coming soon to a gallery near me, you can bet I would be there in a heartbeat. Also, the song, which was described in a press release as “a flurry of soulful vocals, bass swagger and organ-driven sassiness” is exceptionally cool.  Win Win!

As a video created in the cut-out animation style, “Rolling On”  hangs together with a series of  cohesive and compelling imagery,  conveying a message of enlightenment, transformation and rebirth (pay attention to the cocoon) that pays off big time. Celebration vocalist Katrina Ford (who directed the video) offers that the wheel was a theme that “represents never ending change, rolling with the punches until a favorable wind, ever morphing, life.” Ford’s bandmates in Celebration are her husband (multi-instrumentalist and organist) Sean Antanaitis and drummer David Bergander. “Rolling On” can be found on Celebration’s latest album Wounded Healer, which is out now via through Bella Union. Enjoy!

Celebration Band

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Video Clip of The Week: “Someday” By Halfnoise


Hey, do you remember pop crooner Duncan Sheik? He was pretty hot stuff back in the late ’90s with his swoon-worthy, soft rock hits like “Barely Breathing” and, uh, other songs. I was a big, big fan! These days I believe he is scoring award-winning Broadway musicals and growing impressive facial hair. Duncan Sheik! If you’ve ever wondered how awesome it might have sounded if Duncan Sheik had recorded songs infused with a bossa nova beat and built around a strident piano arrangement, then have I got a song for you! This week’s featured clip is “Someday,” from Nashville-based sensation, Halfnoise (aka Zac Farro, drummer for the rock band Paramore), and it is all that I claimed in the sentences above, and a bag of the chips of your choice.

The effect-heavy video for “Someday” was shot entirely on a vintage camcorder, with all analog effects being provided by Zac’s friend and video collaborator Mike Kluge. It’s fun and groovy and perfectly in sync with the song’s aural groove and laid back lyrics about letting a relationship take its natural course or whatever. No doubt this song would get the bodies moving at any party as well, so there’s that. “Someday” can be found on Zac’s latest Halfnoise recording, the Velvet Face EP, which is out now (via Congrats Records) on vinyl, which they tell me is making a come back! From what I’ve heard, the EP outstanding. Enjoy!

Half Noise Press Photo