Visuals for music sometimes establish their own ephemeral connection, working as a different form of communication between artists and aficionados. With new releases coming by the second, we’ve decided to run a column every now and again to keep tabs on the music video landscape. Some of the clips we highlight will be older, but that’s OK—the time for reflecting is now, and the moment to vary your visual interaction beyond just clips of Steve “Map Daddy” Kornacki has long since arrived. It’s your quality of life that we’re concerned with. Enjoy!
Brijean — “Daydreaming”
Oakland-based duo Brijean Murphy and Doug Stuart makes music that hits heavy but feels bright. Luminescent is the sensation. “Daydreaming” is a new track from the busy duo, and it gives all the feels of a modish day, in a better way. We’re betting that that is a vibe 78 million Americans can identify with. Their upcoming album Feelings (out February 26th on Ghostly International) is said to cultivate a softness Murphy has come to call “romancing the psyche.”
“Daydreaming” is a cool little disco joint with fawning vocals and a breezy swing. Produced by Stuart with vocals and percussion by Murphy, the track also includes Chaz Bear, who did its sound engineering and played keyboard. The accompanying video was shot on an iPhone in Los Angeles by Murphy and Stuart and then transformed by flatspot (an integral part of Oakland collective Smartbomb) into an immersive and psychedelic world.
The forthcoming album and lead track draw on Murphy’s experience growing up in a family immersed in jazz, Latin, and soul music. They arrive after extensive work with one of indie’s most in-demand percussionists Doug Stuart, who shares a background in jazz and pop in bands such as Dougie Stu, Bells Atlas, Meernaa, and Luke Temple. (We reviewed Dougie Stu’s album ‘Familiar Future’ here at 48 Hills last month.)
Thundercat (feat. Ariana Grande, JD Beck, and DOMi) — “Them Changes”
During this weekend’s Adult Swim Festival, ol’ Thundie and Ariana Grande (with a cameo by Aqua Teen Hunger Force character Meatball in the clip’s progressively psychedelic visuals) turned in a blazing R&B-fusion version of Thundercat’s 2017 hit ‘Them Changes,” the standout single from his critically acclaimed 2017 album Drunk. A confirmed Thundercat fan, Ariana previously performed the track in the BBC’s Live Lounge. Of the song and collaboration, Thunder says, “It feels like Ariana and I are forever connected through Mac [Miller, who passed away in 2018] and this is part of the healing process.”
Oneohtrix Point Never — “Lost But Never Alone”
Artist and producer Daniel Lopatin a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never scored the Josh and Benny Safdie-directed films Good Time (2017) and Uncut Gems (2019). That enticing, visceral director-composer partnership returns with its trademark intensity on the psyche-bending video for Oneohtrix’s “Lost But Never Alone.” Having originally bonded over a shared love of cult music and film, it’s tough to imagine anyone besides the Safdies being able to weave the imagery and performances of this music video into such an epic whole.
“Nostalgia is both warming and deeply depressing,” says Josh Safdie. “It’s a love/hate relationship. Emotions themselves are haunting. ‘LBNA’ is a haunted piece of surfing—a screen capture of our desire to pull meaning from the past at all times, and the triumph of breaking through it with something else.”
“When the pandemic hit, Dan and I sat around sharing airchecks from mid-level radio dials from yesteryear, cut up and edited so as to evade copyright problems playing entire songs,” he continues. “The results are these 40 min streams of time captured with snippets of radio songs. Aptly, one station in particular, was known as ‘Beautiful Music.’ As the album [Magic Oneohtrix Point Never] took shape and I’d hear pieces of tracks, cut-ups à la Steve Reich, the ghosts of upper and lower dial radio started to haunt me, I loved the feeling. I love the album and this song, in particular, fills me with a deep sense of sadness, angst, loneliness, creativity, and of course triumph. We’re all lost but never alone.”
Khruangbin — “Summer Madness” (off Late Night Tales: Khruangbin)
This little band from Houston did it its own way. Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) came into prominence in 2013, when producer and DJ Bonobo gave them a shot by including Khruangbin’s “A Calf Born in Winter” in his own collection of songs for the UK label Azuli Records-produced Late Nite Tales series. The little-known Houston trio had yet to release an album.
Khruangbin have gone on to become international superstars on the strength of their exotic sound. Now the group is helming its own globe-trotting mix for Late Nite Tales, out December 4th. But they’ve released a preview; their cover of the archetypal jam of all jams (for some), Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness.”
“‘Summer Madness’ became a staple in this medley that we play,” says Johnson. “Specifically, one of my favorite things about it is the tone of the bass, which really reminds me a lot of Laura Lee’s bass, which has this chunky, peanut butter, rich tone. It was always a special moment, getting to that song because, it just did something to the room, everywhere.”
Laura Lee continues: “‘Summer Madness’ was paying homage to Kool & The Gang, a band we aspire to be like and also, we’ve played it a hundred times but never in full.”
This “Summer Madness” cover takes the familiar, captures the essence, and then bends the song into a different presentation. It’s new, foreign, and similar all at once. It’s hard work to make the known seem elusively insular and personal, but Khruangbin keeps on doing what brought them into popular accord; being themselves.
As you watch the globe rotate, let the bass tones, guitar squalls, and reverb do their self-care work.
PS, smoke ’em if ya got ’em. RIP Kool & The Gang co-founder Ronald “Khalis” Bell.