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by Will Rivitz

23 Jun 2016


“Can’t Help It” is exactly what you’d expect from a scuzzy stoner rock song. Detuned guitars riff low and riff hard (with the exception of a crystalline treble solo midway through), cymbals crash like there’s no tomorrow, and vocalist Wes McDonald doesn’t so much sing into the mic as mumble noncommittally. In other words, it’s everything you could want from the style. Nicely, the video picks up where the audio leaves off, showcasing heavy beards and nonchalant performing over a backdrop and editing job straight out of David Hasselhoff’s playbook. When all is said and done, it’s alternative rock done traditional, which—for many—is alternative rock done right.

by Will Rivitz

23 Jun 2016


FEVER HIGH is exactly what it says on the tin: they advertise breezy synthpop, and breezy synthpop is what you get. “Spit It Out” is a rigid, bouncy piece of robotic pop music, tight square waves and vocoder-sounding edits coexisting among a stadium cheer of lead vocals. It’s very Charli XCX, if you were to swap out her quasi-punk for a geeky alternative sheen. The catchiness is very metered, the careful house beat with just the right amount of snare splash, but you can feel the track bursting at the seams, ready to coast into glory on the chorus’ bloom. With characteristic synthpop cheeriness, singer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Nordeen describes “Spit It Out” as “a new song about just saying what you want!” (Exclamation point hers, not mine.)

by Will Rivitz

23 Jun 2016


Durand Jones and the Indications hearken back to a time when soul was recorded, performed, and (if possible) heard live. Their music is markedly different from most stuff of its ilk coming out today in that, if there is some electronic wizardry going on under the hood, it’s kept very far away from the musical performance—it’s the kind of thing which should be completely reproducible live, all performed and no sampling or remixing. Durand Jones and the Indications, in that sense, is a bit of a temporal aberration—soul’s remarkable in how stylistically malleable it has been over the years—but there’s always space for some smoothly pained crooning and trumpets in our musical lexicon.

by Will Rivitz

23 Jun 2016


Is there anything more troubadour-folk than a gentle flyover of a verdant mountain? After all, there’s something distinctly Planet Earthy about luminescent dulcimer and gently rolling drums. Bruce Hornsby understands this well — he’d better, given the three-decade length of his career — and with this knowledge concocts a perfectly fitting video for his lilting “Over the Rise”. The song draws as much from the northern folk of Bon Iver (and, fittingly, Justin Vernon lends his talents to the tune) as it does from the soul of deep Appalachia, and the birds-eye perspective of the video mirrors the scope of the music.

by Will Rivitz

22 Jun 2016


Jain’s “Come” has already done quite well for itself, hitting #1 on the French pop charts in no small part thanks to its snappily syncopated blue-eyed-soul thump. As with many instrumentally lush pop songs of a similar caliber, it’s gotten the full remix treatment. Frank Pole’s rework flips it onto the dancefloor, a crowded Eurobeat house song packing sweat and dust. It’s the kind of saxophone-y swagger that put Spinnin’ Records on the map in the late aughts, a house sound which still retains some modicum of timelessness. At once cosmopolitan and narrowly focused, the remix is the brand of dance music which, while near-universally appealing, hits the right spots the same way everywhere.

 

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