Music

BONZIE - "Crescent" (video) (premiere)

BONZIE deals with dualities in the arresting new video from sophomore album Zone on Nine.

"I love the contrast between chaos and stillness," says Nina Ferraro, the artist behind BONZIE, "and how those two things can exist in the same place." Premiering today on PopMatters, BONZIE's brand new video for track "Crescent" from sophomore LP Zone on Nine captivates as it studies that tremendous dichotomy.

Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ferraro recorded "Crescent" in London with Ali Chant and Adrian Utley of Portishead. It makes for an audiovisual experience of fascinating extremes: glaring lights and total darkness, acoustic notes and electric edge, a lone woman and a vast array of machine parts. "I'm wearing only bodypaint in the 'Crescent' video," notes Ferraro. "It took three people nine hours to suit me in paint!" Clad only in said paint, she aims unwavering stares that are as intense as her uncanny voice, which moves easily from calm and controlled to a wild high at the song's climax. She is at once cerebral and raw, the stormy human experience embodied in song.

A performer since the age of 12, Ferraro is already a seasoned professional at 21. Self-released debut album Rift into the Secret of Things was a ferociously personal showcase of her well-honed skill, and Zone on Nine takes her to a new level, one unbound by conventions of genre. BONZIE growls, soothes, and laments with tremendous range on her new record, exploring a universe of sound without hesitation. While her approach from track to track varies greatly, one thing is constant: BONZIE never holds back.

"Crescent" is one of the Zone on Nine's most commanding tracks, proof positive of BONZIE's creative mind and breathtaking abilities. "Filmmaker RobisRob shot me in London and did an incredible job creating the world," notes Ferraro. "'Crescent', the song, was also recorded in London, so it was fitting. I hope that the audience will pick up on the meaning behind this video." There's no denying the video's depth. Surreal imagery and sonic power make for a dynamic start to a rich album, and the confidence in Ferraro's countenance tell us we've only begun to scratch the surface of what she can do.

Zone on Nine is available for purchase now.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

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Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

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Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

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