.Michael. - how could you do that

By Jordan Feinstein

.Michael. traffics in the beautiful threads connecting the overwhelming and the mundane. Michael Buishas and Michael Sachs (now you get their name) write music that can feel delicate to the point of fragility, both in its wandering, sparse instrumentation, and its willingness to spend a whole (usually short) song within a single thought. Through their quest for simplicity, their music finds a way to evoke an emotional truth that can be powerful to let yourself fall into. It’s a focus that leads to a sort of purity, an exploration of feelings edited down to their base components.

Their music video for “how could you do that,” off their upcoming album Crumb Devotion (just look at that album title), perfectly fits this feeling in .Michael.’s music. In “how could you do that,” Michael sings about a girl that he’s broken up with, and thinks about her already dating again. Directed by Sam Taffel and beautifully choreographed / performed by the ever-talented Melodie Stancato, the video shows the girl he’s thinking about performing normal household tasks, but with an elegant dance to her movements. It conveys how he’s thinking about her wonderfully, applying an unrealistic import and beauty to her perfectly run-of-the-mill actions, the product of him building her up in his mind through constant thought. It’s difficult to describe, but conveyed effortlessly through the music, lyrics, and video. The ability to convey this very specific emotional space perfectly, while I sit here struggling to make it work in mere sentences, is exactly what makes .Michael. so special.

You can catch .Michael. on tour with Big Thief throughout October, and pre-order their album “Crumb Collection” here.


Booker Stardrum - Drim Dram II

Gerard Marcus

Booker Stardrum is one of my favorite contemporary musicians. He has a way of layering rhythms that makes them fun to dissect both sonically and visually (if you ever see him live, which you should). I've seen him play with Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Weyes Blood, Landlady, Lee Ranaldo, Nels Cline–the list goes on–and every time, this artistic sensibility has made his performance stand out. His new solo music has been so intriguing because Booker is now fully at the head, creating dense rhythmic compositions lush with sonic textures for listeners to explore. So how do you create a music video for this style of music? There are many ways you could go about creating visuals that complement his style, but I can’t really think of any way to do it better than artist Miranda Javid has in Booker Stardrum’s latest video for “Drim Dram II.”

The name of the game in this video is speed and texture, with Javid's quick flights of imagery flickering like a dream or distant memory. The video is very experiential, morphing and changing just enough to keep the viewer both interested in what will happen next visually, and locked into the rhythm of Stardrum’s complex compositions. At 1:45 it's a relatively short piece. The amount of information thrown at you over this short runtime makes repeated viewings warranted, with the reward in the end being deeper understanding. I couldn’t really tell you of what, but I can say that it’s worth it. Be sure to catch Booker Stardrum live on his up coming tour:

Tour Dates

10/25 SOLO @ 2640 (Baltimore, MD)
10/26 SOLO @ Jerry’s on Front (Philadelphia, PA)
10/27 SOLO @ TBA (Upstate, NY)
10/28 SOLO @ Union Pool (Brooklyn, NY)
10/29 SOLO + trio TBA @ Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL)
10/30 Trio w/ Katie Young + Matt Mehlan @ Comfort Station (Chicago, IL)
11/10 SOLO @ Beatnik Lounge (Joshua Tree, CA)
11/14 SOLO @ Zebulon (Los Angeles, CA)
11/15 SOLO + w/ Sontag Shogun’s Braided Sound @ The Luggage Store Gallery (San Francisco, CA)
11/17 Duo w/ Andrew Bernstein @ Coaxial (Los Angeles, CA)
11/18 SOLO @ SDCP (San Diego, CA)

Pre Order Link:


The Parlor - Blind

By Abigail Clyne

Lately I’ve been trying to step into my life. To fully take ownership of who I am and not care what people think. It’s a difficult process, so much so that I recently spent an hour in Grand Central terminal debating which Metro North train to jump on. I wanted to run away, and spend time in that magical limbo that occurs when you go on a long road trip. To relax in those stolen hours and only worry about arriving safely to your destination, if you even have one. Instead, I went and bought myself lunch. On some level, I knew running away from the city wouldn’t solve anything. 

The Parlor’s video for their new single, “Blind,” captures the freedom and loneliness of running away. Beautiful footage of the American West as seen from a moving car is intercut with the band members, Eric Krans and Jen O’Connor, joyously goofing off for the camera. The stark landscapes bring up the dueling emotions of peace and unease. The repeated lyric at the end, “somewhere near, somewhere far, ‘til we’re blind,” played over the empty vistas, beckons you to sit in the discomfort and ask yourself what’s next?

Check out The Parlor in their upcoming shows!

Thursday, October 11th: Troy, NY // Brown’s Brewing Company // w/ The Moth and the Flame

Saturday, October 13th: Newport, RI // Parlor Bar // w/ Drone Dolores


JW Francis - When The Train Goes By

By Gerard Marcus

Every year, sometimes more than once, I get the sudden urge to leave New York City. Maybe I step in one too many piles of what I hope is dog crap, or one to many trains are down making it impossible for me to get anywhere, or I’ve gotten tired of listening to my drunken neighbor scream at the TV for the fourth night in a row over a sports match that is happening in a completely different country. The point is I have to go. I’ll run up into the mountains, or down to DC to visit family, or maybe out west. But no matter where I go, I inevitably get to a point where I miss the city. I’ll miss the usual things, the parks, the culture, the manic energy. But usually what I miss the most are the simpler things, the small reminders of what it means to live here.

JW Francis new video for “When The Train Goes By” is a simple love letter to a very complicated place. Made from footage of various NYC trains, this video scratches the perfect nostalgic itch for anyone who’s lived in the city. The simplicity of subject allows JW Francis to showcase a crucial element of NYC life in a tasteful way. Neither the song nor video scream “I’M IN NEW YORK LOOK HOW COOL IT IS,” but instead present it more as a “this is my life, and this is what I see around me.” New York can be crazy and hectic, but if you can find a moment to come out of that and focus on something simple, there’s endless possibilities for beauty. 

For more JW Francis beauty, you can pre-save his upcoming EP on Spotify here!


Best Fern - When I Die

Gerard Marcus

I first encountered Best Fern last September when ThrdCoast went up to the 2017 POP Montreal festival and filmed a live session with them (if you dig their vibes, check out the video here). The dream-pop duo, consisting of Alexia Avina and Nick Schofield, immediately intrigued me with their ethereal sound and use of ambiance. Their music had a real since of place, albeit a place comfortably nestled between the realms of reality and fantasy. 

The new video for their latest single, ‘When I Die,’ is a fitting visual counterpart to Best Fern’s sound. Filmed and edited by Luke Orlando, the collection of super8 footage flickers like the last images of someone fading away into a peaceful eternity. It's a contemplative setting perfect for pondering the track's themes of longing and existence. The video also enhances a certain element of timelessness that’s present in the song. At two minutes and 32 seconds it's certainly not the longest song in the world, but watching the video I feel almost suspended in time, like I suddenly found myself walking from a gaseous environment into a liquid. This might be my favorite part about both the track and the video–they offer a brief respite from the world around me.