Our man over in the States has been sifting through the endless piles of chaff that litter Youtube to try & find us some excellent wheat which he’s proceeded to review for us. The video’s he chosen feature among others, Paul Weller, The Moons, members of The Coral, The Sundownders, Jake Bugg, The Black Keys & Radiohead support band Other Lives.
The Moons featuring Paul Weller-Something Soon (Schnitzel Records)
The first thing you notice, (well the first thing I noticed) upon seeing the new video for “Something Soon” from The Moons latest album Fables Of History, is the presence of a certain Mr. Paul Weller. Which is not really too surprising considering he worked with the band on their debut lp, Life On Earth. It also doesn’t hurt that The Moon’s singer Andy Crofts plays keyboards in Weller’s band. But to see him actually in the video, sharing vocal duties with Crofts this time around adds a certain stamp of approval that money can’t buy.
That video director Joe Connor decided to shoot in black and white which adds a bit of a retro feel to the proceedings with a nod to A Hard Days Night era Beatles, but we’re treated to some very clever color effects that splash it into the now. I’m sure they had a bit of a budget, and it’s nice to see a band invest their time and money into something of this calibre. The song, a relentless four to the floor minor key pounder, is well supported by the video and all of the band members lip synch pretty well. This kind of performance video can be tricky to pull off, as there is no crowd to bounce off of, making it a bit tough to keep the energy up, but The Moons manage to pull it off. And that certain Mr. Weller’s not too shabby either.
The Sundownders – Hummingbird (Thin Skin Records)
Ah, there’s nothing like the summertime. Peace and love, and basking outside in “the warmth of the sun,” as the Beach Boys so eloquently put it so many years ago. Now there is a new addition to the list of all things summer with the first video from the Sundowners, for their debut single “Hummingbird”.
This song literally jumps out of the speakers, and for all the right reasons. You can almost warm your hands on the video’s orangeish glow, as the band jangles away on the beach in the summer breeze. “Hummingbird” was produced by James and Ian Skelly from the Corral, and in fact, they’ve opened for Ian Skelly on a lot of his solo dates as of late. They’re fronted by Niamh Rowe and Fiona Skelly, with Tim Cunningham and Jim Sharrock on bass and drums respectively, and Alfie Skelly on lead guitar. The band wears their influences on their flowing sleeves, the Byrds and Fleetwood Mac being evident, but as they are just starting out, it will be interesting to see where they take it. This young band from the Wirral are unabashedly dipping into the psychedelic wishing well that many bands drink from, but the Sundowners somehow manage to make you think they WERE there so many years ago. And who knows, maybe they were.
Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt (Kitchenware Records)
There has been a lot written about Jake Bugg recently we’re certainly liable to see a whole lot more. The first thing I notice when I listen to “Lightning Bolt”, the breakout single, is the sound. Jake has described his music as “rootsy country folksy bluesy, with a contemporary twist”. To me, this song sounds like he could have recorded it while busking in a subway station.
Whatever, it just works. So when I look at the video, much like his lyrics, I see a collage of images cut from a walk by the river. Old churches, dirty alleys, and everything he sees is fodder for him to churn into an infectious sonic gumbo that sounds like maybe it was cooked up years ago in the American south, rather than by a young man from Nottingham. I for one, can’t wait to taste what he serves up next.
The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You (Nonesuch records)
At first I thought I really was watching a movie trailer for some new blow-em-up Hollywood blockbuster. You know, the kind where they take a great song and pump it through the ad, making you think the movie will somehow be as cool as the song? Well in this case, with the song “Howlin’ For You” from their platinum selling album El Camino, The Black Keys have managed to pull off a spoof movie trailer with pretty amusing results.
The first clue comes in the form of a cameo by olympic snowboarder Sean White in bed with our “heroine”, but by the time we see “sir” Todd Bridges as a priest, all bets are off. I tip my sombrero to Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney as they get their turn as a couple of bandito’s. The song churns along with its relentless beat, (and reminds me a little bit of Garry Glitter’s stadium anthem “Rock and Roll Pt. 2”), and actually works so damn well, it leaves me thinking that maybe this WOULD make a great movie.
Other Lives – For 12 (Pias Recordings)
It might be a long way from Stillwater Oklahoma to skimming over the surface of mars, but that’s exactly the trip that the band Other Lives takes us on with their video for “For 12” from the album Tamer Animals.
Visually speaking, an homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey” is nothing new, but this is really done amazingly well, with singer Jesse Tabish cast as the hapless lone astronaut. The visuals alone are great, but the song is what we’re here for, and it is beautiful. Sonic comparisons to Radiohead are fair, especially since Other Lives provided support on the first leg of their 2012 North American tour, but they really are their own band, and I look forward to hearing more from them. They’ve already toured the UK twice, and are not to be missed, but I suspect they’ll be back again. That’s assuming that Mr. Tabish can get the pod bay doors opened…
All word by Jay Rawley.