Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Music Video Premiere

Surrounder – Hyper-Monotony (City Folk) (Music Video Premiere)

Last year, Surrounder released Surrpiounder, a record that helped the trio forge a name for themselves. They’ve been playing shows in support of that record since it’s release and word-of-mouth has been kind about their live capabilities, leading to an escalating interest in the band. This might be the simplest explanation for the band’s decision to put out Surrpiounder on cassette nearly a year after it’s release. If recent trends hold, it’ll mark a strong step forward for the band that capitalizes on their growing momentum.

Stoking the fires of anticipation for Surriounder‘s tape release is the music video for “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” which is premiering here. The clip finds the band front and center of a playful, board-game driven narrative that intentionally verges on the nonsensical as it explores the monotony of modern living. It’s a clever metaphor and an apt fit for the band, who frequently take a confrontational role as story-tellers alongside their wildly unpredictable music that touches on everything from post-rock to art-punk.

The game that the band plays in “Hyper Montony (City Folk)” may end with a push of a button that leads to some unexpected violence but it’s hard not to think that they’ve hit a switch of their own. The band’s surging towards greater (and well-deserved) recognition, thrusting validating offerings like “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” out in the blink of an eye. Poised, confident, and ready for their closeup, Surrounder’s a band to watch as they take meaningful steps towards making an incredible impact.

Watch “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” below and keep an eye on Surrounder’s bandcamp for the cassette release for Surrpiounder.

Nano Kino – Sick Dreamer (Music Video Premiere)

Over the past few years, Nano Kino has made a handful of appearances on this site. The group’s evolved quite a bit since their initial appearance here, growing from a duo to a quartet but always managing to craft songs that retained a sense of wide-eyed wonder. Today, they’re unveiling the gorgeous one-off “Sick Dreamer” today and an elegiac accompany visual. The band’s bassist, Andy Martin, helmed the clip and wound up with a superlative result.

Compromised of faded imagery cut into a montage, “Sick Dreamer” provides the song itself an emotional lift by tapping firmly into a pervasive sense of nostalgia that’s always been at or near the forefront of the band’s work. Gentle hues complement a hushed melody, each side of the equation exercising restraint without ever conceding their cumulative effect. It’s a gorgeous two minutes to either listen to or watch but when combined, “Sick Dreamer” winds up feeling more like an open prayer than any sort of visual experiment. Hushed, wrought with care, and surprisingly tender, it’s what every one-off release should aspire to be: essential.

“Sick Dreamer” is available as a free download on bandcamp and the music video can be watched below.

father truck – talk to me (Music Video Premiere)

“The video has clips from times in my life that were fun, and it’s about growing from that even if things have changed.” In that lone sentence describing the “talk to me” music video from Brooke Johnson’s solo project, father truck, Johnson exceeds the word count of the song. Combining that sentence with the only one present in “talk to me” — the twice-repeated “I wish I had enough time” —  along with the visuals and suddenly, this sub-minute piece’s meaning expands infinitely.

The song’s taken from father truck’s forthcoming stealing flowers from the neighbor’s lawn, which was partially inspired by the excellent Adventure Time miniseries Islands, which explores everything from fractured familial relationships to several feasible fates for humanity, should certain paths be emphasized. Affecting, introspective, bittersweet, and ultimately tender, Islands influence can be felt all over the video for “talk to me”, which incorporates ambiguous footage from a previous spring over a melancholic organ figure.

Sincere pleading collides with the downhearted acceptance that life can never truly give us everything we want, leaving it up to us to carve out some good parts along the way (and then look back on them fondly as we move forward and face new sets of challenges). “talk to me” may end with birds chirping and earnest laughter but what comes before that moment could hardly be described as light. Then again, when we’re faced with the bleakest circumstances or realizations, sometimes laughing’s all we can do.

Watch “talk to me” below and pre-order stealing flowers from the neighbor’s lawn from It Takes Time here.

Christopher Gold & The New Old Things – Sad Songs (Music Video Premiere)

There are few figures in the Wisconsin music scene that have been working as tirelessly and exuding as much warmth as Chris Gold, who’s maintained a consistency throughout a number of both musical projects and charitable work. A mainstay in the world of folksy, heart-on-sleeve balladeering, Gold’s also revealed a streak that leans far closer towards punk over the years. “Sad Songs”, the lead-off single from the forthcoming  You Are A Ghost, bridges that divide masterfully.

Directed, shot, and edited by Aaron Jankowski, the video for “Sad Songs” both takes the title of the record it appears on very literally and, in a characteristic turn of events, keeps it in the family. Gold’s son, Oliver, is hidden underneath the sheet for near the entirety of “Sad Songs” but still manages to exude the kind of magnetic, easygoing charisma that defines his father (and his father’s work).

“Sad Songs” itself comes across as a perfect amalgamation of everything Gold’s accomplished in his career, so it seems fitting that he’d find a way to encompass his son into the proceedings. Like all of his work, it’s heartfelt, it’s well-informed, it shows its influences, and reveals a heart all its own. A Southern-tinged rock n’ roll romp from a proud Northerner, “Sad Songs” may look towards the past but it marks an exciting new chapter for the artist responsible for its creation.

Watch “Sad Songs” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on You Are A Ghost, which will be released on May 12. The release show for You Are A Ghost will be held at Source Public House in Menasha, WI on May 13.

Wood Chickens – Skunk Ape (Music Video Premiere)

The members of Wood Chickens have been playing in various Wisconsin punk bands for several years so it makes sense that they’d sound as cohesive as they did right out of the gate. Combining a strong punk influence with an irrepressible roots influence, the band’s quickly gained a reputation as one of the state’s most exhilarating acts, both live and on record. On Saturday, March 18 they’ll be playing Kitch As Kitsch Can V, the fifth annual fest put on by Kitschy Manitou records. Before that, though, they’re unleashing the video for “Skunk Ape” on the world, which serves as both the title track for their just-released 7″ and as the lead-off single for their forthcoming full-length, Countrycide.

A kick-down, drag-out, country-fried punk missive, “Skunk Ape” finds the band operating in fine form and, with the accompanying music video, toying with some appropriately woodsy mythos that’s driven by a Sasquatch-like creature (which constitutes the narrative that drives the Skunk Ape 7″). The “Skunk Ape” clip’s as rough-hewn and energizing as the band’s music, which remains an off-kilter, ramshackle force. It’s a testament to DIY sensibilities and it nicely underlines the tenacity running through Wood Chickens’ music at seemingly every turn. More than just a great video, it’s a definitive portrait of a great emerging band.

Watch “Skunk Ape” below and pick up Skunk Ape from Kitschy Manitou here. .

Kielo – In Water (Music Video Premiere)


“My grandfather is a Lutheran preacher. I remember the first time I understood that this meant that Grandpa sounded, behaved, and even looked different in front of a congregation than he did with his family at the dinner table. ‘In Water’ is a song about identity construction. It’s about the way that we create, destruct, and recreate ourselves from minute to minute to fit our environment.”

In a lot of press releases, the given quotes are airy, pretentious, or designed to subvert expectations (or realities). The above quote proves to be deeply important to understanding the first glimpse into the world of Good Night Gold Dust‘s bandleader Laura Schultz’s new solo project, Kielo. The subdued, ambient, and slightly unsettling clip for Kielo’s “In Water” touches directly on the themes of identity construction, deconstruction, re-construction, and the way those are shaped by environment in startlingly direct ways.

Utilizing landscape shots, superimposed imagery, grainy aesthetics, projections, and a series of low-grade effects, the team responsible for the creation of “In Water” — which includes Schultz’s Good Night Gold Dust bandmate Colin Scharf and art director Katie O’Connor) conjures up an elegant, hazy, atmosphere with an immediately recognizable line to the upper Midwest’s wintry sensibilities. Even in small ways, the clip’s an unapologetic mirror of the song’s thesis.

Packaged all together, “In Water” transcends its humble components to become something that’s not only memorable but surprisingly moving. Schultz’s vocals and the ambient textures that shape “In Water” are a breathtaking pairing, rendering the track a stunning introduction to what’s promising to be a very worthwhile project. If the rest of Kielo’s work can measure up to “In Water”, Schultz may just have a shot at securing national attention. Don’t make the mistake of missing out.

Watch “In Water” below and keep an eye on this site for more news on Kielo.

Grey Waves – Half Truths (Music Video Premiere)

grey waves

Jesse Hughey’s work has appeared on this site before, thanks to a compelling collaboration with Ben Seretan, and makes a welcome return with the clip for “Half Truths”. Hughey’s been making music with Grey Waves for some time now and the band’s most recent work, Void, is their current peak. Utilizing a small cast of filmmakers, the band’s also been playing videos on a projection screen during their sets.

Alison Pate was at the helm for the previously-released “Remember Me” and “I’d Rather Die” but the band’s turned to Alex Tatusian for the hazy, atmospheric piece for “Half Truths”. Each of these typically experimental films will be released online at a very gradual, slow-drip pace. “Half Truths” is next in line and is premiering here in all of its disconcerting majesty.

Like all of the other songs on Void, “Half Truths” is a swirling, wall-of-noise snarler that still finds a way to carve out ethereal undertones. Creating a complementary visual collage for something with that basic foundation can be challenging and Tatusian wisely opts for an oneiric approach and taps into something undefinable to ground “Half Truths”. All of the grainy imagery — as  well as the cuts to pristine HD footage — combines to create an arresting, unsettling experience that works miraculously with the song its accompanying, making the whole endeavor oddly memorable. All told, it’s a trip well worth taking.

Watch “Half Truths” below and get Void here.

Animal Lover – Caramel Again (Music Video Premiere)

Animal Lover

Every now and then a song (or music video) comes along that carefully creeps its way into the brain of the listener (or viewer). With the music video for their new single, “Caramel Again”, Animal Lover take an impressive stab at occupying that space. The Emily Downes video opts for atmospherics rather than a clear-cut narrative, stringing together a series of warped, disquieting imagery.

“Caramel Again” is further elevated by the song that serves as its core engine, a creeping acoustic track that’s reminiscent of some of Tenement’s more experimental work. Packaged together, “Caramel Again” becomes a surprisingly foreboding work, with both of its core functions feeding into the other to create something that feels like raw expression rather than calculated construction. It’s an incredibly impressive work from a band that will undoubtedly be fascinating to watch as they move forward.

Watch “Caramel Again” below and pre-order Stay Alive from Forward here.

The Holy Circle – Polaris (Music Video Premiere)


Over the years, the tremendous Accidental Guest Recordings label has shown a penchant to skew its focus towards darker works, whether it be via the blown-out, lo-fi feedback hisses of vicious hardcore, bleak post-punk, or found a way to manifest in bold, confrontational lyric sets. Recently, the label started revealing a clip to accompany every track from the forthcoming cassette from ambient/drone/darkwave act The Holy Circle.

Boasting members from acts like Locrian, the band’s deadly serious nature probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. What does manage to surprise, however, is how effectively hypnotic both the tracks and the clips from The Holy Circle have been. “Polaris”, the release’s final track (and video) may stand as the best current example of what the band is capable of achieving.

As an isolated song, “Polaris” teems with desolate atmospherics that manage to be both magnetic and otherworldly all at once. It’s a severely battered version of the ethereal and it becomes increasingly compelling for its cold detachment. Elevating those sensibilities is the simple, absorbing video that operates entirely via silhouettes and overlays. Over the course of the track, the minimal imagery obtains direct meaning and leads to a fiery, disconcerting climax without ever hitting the point of bombast.

Both a beautiful feat of high-impact minimalism and a powerful closing chapter to a quietly extraordinary release, “Polaris” is the kind of work that’s successful enough in accomplishing its goals that it’ll likely be analyzed and dissected even more over time. For now, it’s best to let the disquieting imagery and alluring tone induce a trance-like state before a final, self-contained disintegration puts a note of finality on the type of experience that should warrant multiple return visits.

Watch “Polaris” below and pick up their self-titled tape from Accidental Guest here.

WASHA – Bury Our Love (Music Video Premiere)


In 2015, I had the distinct privilege of premiering a music video for Dwight Pendleton’s WASHA project. That clip, “Night/Day“, carried a deeply involving solemnity that suggested Pendleton approached his work with a reverence that emerging artists rarely afford their material. It was abundantly clear that both the song and the video were meticulously constructed labors of love, executed with a steely precision.

Now, Pendleton’s pushing the WASHA project forward with “Bury Our Love”, another song from The Bright, Part II that now has an accompanying video that manages to best its predecessor in a number of realms. Much more involved from a technical standpoint, “Bury Our Love” nonetheless manages to exert a magnetic calm. A stormy undercurrent steadily amplifies the tension of “Bury Our Love” and is ultimately subverted in a series of chaotic, climactic passages as the video expands to include The Bright, Part II‘s closing track, “I Have Nothing Left to Carry”.

As the song progresses, the video — which was directed by Pendleton — gradually unfurls outward from its opening static sequence. In establishing that fluidity and retaining the almost clinical point of view shot that serves as the thesis statement of “Bury Our Love”, Pendleton manages to conjure up a modicum of uneasiness. It’s an effective maneuver that comes to a head as the clip sharply descends into quasi-nightmarish energy, casting a pall on what had previously been an innocent — if somewhat heavy — succession of imagery.

The visual narrative winds up complementing the song to an eerie perfection, each slowly wrapping around the other’s throat, lost to a deathless match of symbiosis. As “Bury Our Love” winds to its open-ended conclusion, Pendleton releases his grip on a concrete reality and lets the clip fall into a maelstrom of undefined haze; one last reminder that our reality is defined solely by our perception. It’s a deeply impressive piece of art and more than enough reason to be excited about the project’s future.

Watch “Bury Our Love” below, visit this website to watch the clip on a loop, and keep both eyes peeled to this site for further updates in WASHA’s ongoing saga.