Experimental Rock

VIDEO PREMIERE

Being Dead - Apostles' Prom

By Gerard Marcus

Being Dead, multi-instrumentalists Juli Keller’s and Cody Dosier’s band, makes lo-fi experimental rock that creeps between brash and melodic realms. The new video for their single “Apostles’ Prom,” skillfully directed by Shannon Wiedemeyer and Carlo Nasisse, depicts the surreal collision of good and evil. Two groups, lead by the Guru and the Devil, come to a head in an open field, looking to settle once and for all the power struggle between light and dark. But right before before things turn to bloodshed, they realize they have a specific shared passion, a revelation that allows all sides to embrace their differences and unite in mutual appreciation. In both the track and video, Being Dead is able to toe the line between dark commentary and playful imagery, showing that if we take the time to look past our differences–even in the most drastic cases–there might be something there to bring us together.

PRODUCTION CREDITS:

Hunky Directors - Shannon Wiedemeyer and Carlo Nasisse

Hunky Director of Photography - Carlo Nasisse

Devil Worshipping Producer - Jordan Willis 

Editor and Colorist - Alex Winker

Hunky Key Grip - Garson Ormiston

Neutral 1st AC - Ali Goodwin

Hunky Gaffer - Trevor Hoover

Neutral (But probably a Devil Worshipping) Makeup Artist - Ubaldo Rodriguez

Hunky Wardrobe/ Costume Designer - Adrienne Greenblatt

Devil Worshipping PA’s - Joshua Baker, Taylor Browne

STARRING:

The Devil - Juli Keller

The Guru - Cody Dosier

Cherub - Tim O’Brien

Devil Worshippers / Not Hunks - Itamar Benitez, Mireille Blond, Ethan Boley, Joe Boley, Erin O’Brien, Taylor Browne, Niamh Fleming, Hailey Jamieson, Belicia Luevano, Maya Van Os, Cheyenne Petrich, Thea Robinson, Jordan Willis 

Guru Worshippers / Hunks - Nacho The Dog, Adrienne Greenblatt, Trevor Hoover, Ronnie Lokos, Julian McCamman-McGinnis, Carlo Nassise, Cristina Ocampo, Angel Reyes, Katie Okhuysen, Garson Ormiston

Special Thanks - The Boleys, Horse People of America

VIDEO PREMIERE: Toebow - Belong

Will Shenton

Toebow is a band that artfully straddles the border between sincerity and goofiness. Their music is intricate, meticulously crafted with layer upon layer of dynamic instrumentals and harmonizing vocals, and yet they describe their sound as "a progressive cartoon rock soundtrack forged from the inner goofs of the human soul." It's as if the assiduous care they take in their songwriting demands they blow off some steam on the periphery, and frankly, it's always nice when a group this talented doesn't take itself too seriously.

Fresh from their forthcoming debut EP, Spirit Mane, Toebow's new video for "Belong" is a perfect encapsulation of this style. With a strangely chaotic precision, guitars build one by one atop driving percussion as we witness the assembly of a ritualistic feast. Comically earnest, the band members stuff and adorn themselves with fruit before donning masks that might be eerie if they weren't fitted with giant googly eyes. And by the time the third chorus rolls around, everyone onscreen is worshipping a pineapple—"the spiky, complicated fruit of the soul," in the words of the band.

"Belong" is a gorgeous track, replete with the infectious mysticism of acts like Yeasayer or Dirty Projectors, yet delivered with tongue firmly in cheek. Between this and the EP's first single, "Starfucker," April 6 can't come soon enough.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Goose Pimple - Gamers

Laura Kerry

For a band with so many releases, LA-based Goose Pimple is surprisingly mysterious. There's not much out there that would help you get acquainted with the band; only the many rows of bright album cover squares on their Bandcamp page, and the music itself. Their experimental pop, at its sunniest, sounds like the Beach Boys might after eating too many weed gummies, falling asleep under a seedy bridge, and dreaming of getting trapped in a video game. 

Goose Pimple’s new music video for “Gamers,” off of Goose Groove!: Whiz Kid Jams To The Dirt (released in June), is one more piece of the puzzle that confounds more than it informs. More than that, though—it delights.

Created by Ellie Tremayne and Paolo Yumol, the video starts with a simple animated face with green skin, blue hair, and freckles, wailing, “Jonesing for a cigarette,” as abstracted images flash in the background every few frames. In the next five minutes of the mellow, jangly tune, the video takes us to strange places—bright, rainbow-colored landscapes filled with bodies that glow as they float in space, headless men with flowers that grow out of bald scalps. It’s an intriguing (and at times, intriguingly disconcerting) mashup that celebrates spontaneity, weirdness, and a successful marriage between the band’s sound and the artists’ aesthetic.

REVIEW: Aaron Roche - HaHa HuHu

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Laura Kerry

Aaron Roche has some impressive notches on his musical belt. He has played guitar alongside a varied group of musicians (R. Stevie Moore, Lower Dens, Sufjan Stevens and Anohni), consequently developing a talent for diversity and range in his multi-instrumental style. That range is spotlighted in Roche’s own music.

Though his foundation is in acoustic, folky guitar parts, the Brooklyn-based artist's new album, HaHa HuHu, sees him following his musical whims through ghostly harmonies, glitchy electronics, and beautiful melodies. The title holds clues to Roche’s conflicting yet functionally compatible impulses: Haha and Huhu are Hindu music deities, whom Roche seems to pay tribute to through non-Western musical touches (particularly in the female singer’s part on “Supreme Monument”), as well as the album’s overall sense of mysticism and spirituality (the vocals-driven “Like Why I” resembles an old Christian spiritual, while “K Is Manic” sounds like a church choir).

On the other hand, HaHa HuHu is the laugh of someone who might be slightly unhinged—a persona that's also reflected in the album. Starting with the strong opener, “Bang,” Roche imbues his music with a sense of anxiety and imbalance. The song begins with soft and melancholic folk, pairing a quick, picked pattern on acoustic guitar with a descending melody sung in an expressive voice; but soon, Roche enacts a kind of breakdown, repeating the same syllable over and over again as effects begin to manipulate it. Electronic voices then enter, droning, screeching, and ringing in dense, jittery patterns as the pretty vocals sing “I hear my head bang.” By marrying glitchy sounds with a gorgeous folk song, Roche plays with feelings of inner conflict to make something magnetically off-kilter.

This kind of conflict emerges throughout HaHa HuHu. It’s in the devastating panic of “The Terror,” a more straightforward folk composition in which Roche sings passionately about his own death improving the world (“If the cancer gets me in the end / I know it’s better for the world"), police violence (“[Eric Garner’s] fingers fluttered rolling papers”), and suicide (“I form a plan to kill myself”). When he obsessively repeats a line at the end—“I cannot bear to make something and destroy it”—it sounds like a glitch without the electronic intervention. “K is Manic” achieves a similar visceral gut-punch, this time through effects: Over the echoing angelic choir, Roche plays a looping, disrupting sample of what sounds like a man in extreme distress.

Besides the dual anguish and spirituality, one overarching takeaway from HaHa HuHu is the confidence and attentiveness with which Roche approaches his music. A thoughtful and deliberate artist in all of his many musical modes, he takes as much care with his heart wrenching folk guitar compositions as he does with rounded, complex electronic voices and evocative strings (“One Thing at a Time,” “Wooden Knife”). Only a few times—in the title track, for example—does the abundance of ideas outweigh clarity. For the most part, all of the conflicts between voices and styles only add to the album’s intrigue and strength. HaHa HuHu is as captivating as it is beautiful and strange.

REVIEW: Beliefs - Habitat

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Kelly Kirwan

Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody have created a parallel dimension—one that resurrects the heyday of '90s rock bands that fell under the post-punk umbrella. It’s a world that isn’t starkly different from the one we live in, but has a flair from two decades past, as if they had bottled it up and set it free to float around in the present. The Toronto-based duo, known by their musical moniker Beliefs, certainly have their own style, but it—and the coming together of the two in the first place—was certainly sparked by an appreciation for acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Slowdive. Now, on their freshly-minted album Habitat, a nod to that era stands with their single, "1994," and its accompanying video.

The song features Jesse Crowe’s steadfast, even-toned vocals, lulling you into a somewhat eerie trance. It’s by no means a flimsy voice, but it has a certain ethereal nature to it, like a sort of preternatural croon. Crowe is featured in the foreground throughout the song's music video, as Korody plays guitar a few feet farther away from the camera, a dark blue screen as their backdrop. The film flickers and cuts into tiny, pixelated streaks of distortion, reminiscent of a VHS tape getting its reels caught in the gears of the VCR. "1994" is a groovy, moody wash of melody cascading over surreal undertones, and the two of them bop to the beat as Crowe offers tiny dance movements with gloved hands. Even in these seemingly innocuous movements, they imbue it with an uncanny feeling of the in-between space they inhabit.

Later in the album, "Half Empty" opens with a strong, percussive pattering of drums and a clash of cymbals, reminiscent of jazz openings or a trip-hop beat. “Don’t know how to tell you / But I just can’t keep my mouth shut,” Crowe sings, her voice twisting into higher octaves, once again commanding the room with her every utterance. Guitar lines are warped as they unfold across the melody, intermingling with the darker palette of electronica with which Beliefs seem to enjoy experimenting. In fact, throughout Habitat's 11 tracks, there's a noticeable trend of pared down guitars making room for a new electronic leaning, possibly nodding to Korody’s other musical pursuits where modular synths increasingly abound.

On "All Things Considered," the duo make good use of contrast. Fuzz and feedback open up the track, paired with vocals that are slower, more languid, and backed by a foreboding setting. But then it picks up the pace in the chorus as the beat becomes danceable and light on its feet. Moving back into the verse feels like switching the TV channel to a snowy wall of white noise.

With moves like these, Habitat is an album that’s hard to ignore. It's a compilation that leaves the world a little tilted—and for that, it’s an addicting terrain to explore.