Watch: TOPS “Change of Heart”

04 Jun 2014 — Parker Bruce

Montreal's TOPS released one of the most underrated albums of 2012 with Tender Opposites, which is kind of a mini classic in my book. So it was quite a terrific surprise to start June with a new track and video by them as well as news of a sophmore album coming in September, all on home of good things Arbutus Records. "Change of Heart" has ramming, revving, and head-held-high guitars along with endearing, near tropicalia-imbued keyboard (both call to mind the theme song to "The Babysitter's Club"), and Jane Penny's funky voice. The video recounts the band's recent tour from earlier this year which looks like the best cross country USA road trip I've ever seen (they've been more places in my country than I have) with all of the soft serve ice cream, motel dance parties, and ponytail swinging. "Change of Heart" is out on 7" on July 14 (June 23 as a download) with another track called "Sleeptalker" accompanying it. And the album, Picture You Staring, is with us September 2! Could not come more highly recommended.

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Watch: Holy Strays “Pathless March” (exclusive)

27 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Parisian artist Sebastien Forrester aka Holy Strays' nocturnal soundscapes have been haunting us for a good while, yet he still surprises us with his curiosity that allows him to ever develop his style, pushing previously invisible boundaries. Release after release, Forrester further carves out his very own style, refining his unique knack for unsettling arrangements that may soundtrack your own personal nightmare, without however insincerely hiding his influences. The video for the latest Holy Strays single "Pathless March" – surely one of Forrester's most elaborate compositions yet, built around unobtrusive sax samples and bleary vocal snippets (there's more to be told about the track, found over here) – seamlessly melds into the music's theme. Created by Lliesse, who had already been responsible for the superb visualisation of "Chasm", the piece is as puzzling and inconclusive as it is strangely captivating despite its incoherent array of images. Watch the premiere of the video below.

Get the digital single via Atelier Ciseaux over on bandcamp.

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Watch: Mathematique “Summer, But I Don’t Know” (exclusive)

19 May 2014 — Parker Bruce

Last month, thanks to Stellar Kinematics, Montreal's Mathematique presented the Feel EP, and it has become a bit of an NFOP favorite with loping, zipping "Summer, But I Don't Know" being played on the NFOP radio show on Berlin Community Radio a little while ago. Now we have the video for that track, directed by Jason Harvey (just like the Antoine93 one earlier today), who's done videos for Mac DeMarco, No Joy,  Majical Cloudz, and Alex Calder as well. The majority of the split screen (sometimes triptych-employing) video is set in a mint pastel room with Mathematique and two friends dancing around with close ups of, among other things, various potted plants (very Bok Bok verdant), a laptop open on a chair "playing" the song, falling green jello, an old amusing flip phone that is opened on a stool, water gushing over rocks, and Mathematique balancing a bowl on her head. It all comes off as a small-scale version of New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" 1998 video.

Mathematique's Eurotour starts on May 24th in Kraków with a June Berlin date with other NFOP fave, Magic Island, on the bill as well. Bon Voyage!

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Watch: Antoine93 “Only Do The Music” (exclusive)

19 May 2014 — Parker Bruce

At the end of last year, one of our two Montrealers of the day (and close friend of Mathematique, more on that later), Antoine93, released Try Something Different, and now here's the Berlin-crafted video for "Only Do The Music" which is rather simply about not doing drugs and just focusing on making music. The video centers on Antoine basically being taught by a woman (Magic Island) and a photocopy of Music Composition for Dummies on how to make music. We see him recording at the mic and playing piano. The teacher shows him a motivitional speech about being happy. This is once again a Jason Harvey affair with photography by him and editing and directing by Antoine himself. Watch the premiere of the video below.

Try Something Different is out now.

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Watch: TALA “Serbia”

16 May 2014 — Henry Schiller

London producer TÃLÃ and director Katia Ganfield filmed the video for "Serbia" on handheld cameras over the course of a three-day visitto Marrakesh*. Ganfield's music video gives jarring, almost rhythmic testimony to budget hostels and tight-wallet tourism, as well as providing flickering glimpses of the beautiful Moroccan countryside. The video has a tense, found-footage feel to it that is nicely offset by TÃLÃ's slick blend of vocal hooks and dance-driven beats.

TÃLÃ's The Duchess EP is out June 2 on Aesop; preorder here.



*I do not know why the music video for a song called "Serbia" is comprised entirely of footage of Marrakesh.

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Stream: Ed Dowie “The Adjustable Arm” EP (exclusive)

12 May 2014 — Henry Schiller

Ed Dowie's music is from a different world, but it is not one that has invented so much as discovered. The former Brothers in Sound member reveals the demonic forces that hold up comfortable North London homes and proves elevator music to be the products of blood soaked velveteen funhouses. His music digs the impenetrable depths of the banal and shallow, of the everyday, and rather than coming up empty handed he shows that even the most ordinary of things can become something lush, magnificent, and terrifying.

There’s a strange nostalgia present on Dowie’s The Adjustable Arm EP, almost as if he’s reminiscing about a version of pre-contemporary Europe that he a) could never have experienced and b) only exists in supernatural horror novels. Still, Dowie’s music is firmly contemporary; “Bosnia & Herzegovina” is in direct dialogue with the likes of Julianna Barwick, and “Meadow Song” sounds almost like a London post-dub take on the “Jenova” theme from Final Fantasy VII. Angelo Badalamenti and Arthur Russell are obvious influences, though Dowie skews towards a delightful snap of circus music combined with a dollop of Cthulu mythos that is uniquely his.

The Adjustable Arm is out tomorrow, May 13. Order it over here.

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Watch: Albert Swarm “The Cage” (exclusive)

07 May 2014 — Kelsie Brown

Our friends over at Ceremony know of our undying love affair of ambient techno producer Albert Swarm and invited us to share with you the debut video from his latest release, The Cage EP. According to the producer, the video for the EP's title track is "pretty much the first video (he) made from start to finish". The video follows the hazy landscape set in place by the track, with (ambient) imagery of skulls and ghostly faces underneath an eerie purple glow.

The Cage EP is available now through Ceremony Recordings. Check out the video for "The Cage" below:

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Watch: Russo “Purple Earth”

05 May 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Newcomer to the Valcrond Video realm Ari Russo has excellently accented the driven, inquisitive mood of his track "Purple Earth" with Valcrond-appropriate imagery. Drawing stylistically from the material aesthetic of black plastic juxtaposed against green, boreal settings, an artist-specific approach awesomely called "OfficeFern," Russo's music reflects the texture and ether of such a juxtaposition. With "Purple Earth," the beat drags simiarly to the way a lot of Torn Hawk's work staggers and laments the end of the age of discovery (the 1980s); but, if hearing Russo's work by itself, without knowing that it is a Valcrond release, I wouldn't necessarily think it sounds like Torn Hawk, that is, they're similar but not alike. There's an essential difference in Russo's sound, perhaps it is the clarity and looping in tighter rhythms. Torn Hawk's loops are wider, and more protracted. I would, however, if hearing the music for the first time under impressionable circumstances, jump up to see who the artist was because the synth's pulsating repetition is just right. Then I'd get pulled into a happy daze of romantic feelings about the array of 80s throwback footage and the pace at which they fly around. You might get pulled into the same daze.

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