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—everyone’s been doing a little reflecting these days. It’s the quality that we’re concerned with. Dive in!
Madison McFerrin, “Everything In Its Right Place”
The last time we heard from the versatile Madison McFerrin, she was making languid arrangements in the form of love letters to Bernie Sanders. But the times and tunes have changed up, just a bit.
Her recent cover of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” from 2001’s Kid A, is promoting self-care. The video of her breathtaking rendition was released by the nonprofit organization Sounds of Saving, which focuses on promoting mental health improvement in partnership with the Loveland Foundation.
McFerrin shares: “I think one of the reasons why I love music as much as I do is it stops a lot of the noise that’s in my brain. I had a unique experience in the fact that I am a Black woman who had access to therapy from a really early age. And I’m incredibly grateful for that. Now that the conversation has opened up to have more awareness of everyone’s mental health. I think it’s incredibly important for black people to dive into that, especially considering the generational trauma that has been experienced in America is so deep.”
Damon Locks and his Black Monument Ensemble, “NOW (Forever Momentary Space)”
Damon Locks and his Black Monument Ensemble follow up their iconic 2019 debut “Where Future Unfolds” with the appropriately titled single, “NOW.” According to Chicago-based multimedia artist-activist Locks the song was inspired by the short story “Jump” from the writer Cadwell Turnbull.
“It’s about a couple who experience something seemingly impossible and the lengths one of them would go to control that, it’s ultimately an investigation in acceptance and imagining what is possible—and taking a leap towards it. ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ concerns the moment outside of the timeline where everything is possible. That moment is Now.” The recording heavily features the incandescent clarinet of Angel Bat Dawid underneath a six-person chorus of BME singers.
Locks has a stated his work explores “The Black Nod” which, as he explains, is “an unspoken acknowledgement that happens often out in the world-a sort of “I see you’ moment exchanged between Black people.”
The new album will be released digitally April 9th and on vinyl July 9th by International Anthem.
Various Artists: CoOp Presents Plug One: Extras (Mix)
In late 2020, IG Culture and Alex Phountzi’s CoOp Presents label unleashed its very first album, a compilation entitled Plug One. A very up to date document on the London Bruk movement. It was Trev’s “Of The Sorcerer” that blew my wig back. On first listen, I pulled three digital rewinds on some “what the eff is this mental business” type steez. That track from the comp was IG and Alex letting the the world know in a public forum who’s the next producer up. Welp, the CoOp crew are back with an addendum to kick off the year called Plug One: Plug One: Extras. Nine more tracks for that pod-ear. And here is a serious mix from IG Culture & EVM128, if you need more proof!
OSEES, “Live at Big Sur (full set)“
Anytime you can catch a performance by John Dwyer’s Osees, you’re in for a ride. In normal times, Dwyer is on stage, giving it his all, a sweat-dripping guitar displaying the energy put forth as he knocks out short-ripping arrangements or proggy-sludgy mud type metal funk. Whichever backing band or spelling of said outfit shows up (Dwyer has many), you’ll get your money’s worth in the first 30 minutes, then it’s just biscuits and gravy. Dwyer & co. recently released a mouth breathing organic album called Live at Henry Miller Library Big Sur with some awesome stuff on it and some great covers.
According to Dwyer: “We’ve dipped deep into the dark waters of our song-sack of holding and found several more never-before-performed-live tunes & paired them up with some oldies we’ve knocked the dust off of as well as some fan favorites and general surprises to make the merry very. That’s right, we’ve been paying attention. Recorded from dusk till dawn 2 at the gorgeous Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. Same killer crew, similar killer vibes. An enchanting pre-holiday evening to tell you that we miss and love you. Play it loud and have one on us. And keep your chin up for goodness sake.”
Helado Negro, “Sound and Vision” (visualizer)
Leave it to Roberto Carlos Lange, aka Helado Negro, to find quiet, undiscovered green space in the seminal David Bowie piece “Sound and Vision.” By using angelic tones, lo-fi electronic arrangements—essentially nothing resembling the “chest out” drum pattern from before—Lange transposes Bowie’s hit from 1977’s Low into a hymnal scoring. As the artist puts it: “The cover I imagined was something living in between sleep and awake where sound and vision dominate.
“Residue from your dream state mixed in with waking up and stirring into what the day will be.”
Helado Negro, an electronic musician with strong Latin roots, is a prolific and versatile creative versed in both visual art and sound sculpture projects. His cover of David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision,” is the second released track off of BBE’s forthcoming David Bowie tribute album, Modern Love, out May 28th.
Featuring an array of artists such as Jeff Parker, We Are KING, Meshell Ndegeocello, Khruangbin, Matthew Tavares, L’Rain, Nia Andrews and more, Modern Love seeks to champion Bowie’s lesser-known connection to soul, R&B, jazz, funk, and gospel, musical genres traditionally pioneered by artists of color. The prominent jazz influences throughout his final album, Blackstar, were a key inspiration for curating this collection of reimagined Bowie songs with these artists.
Brijean, “Wifi Beach”
“Wifi Beach”is a rhythmic nugget composed of the best parts of Stereolab, Jamiroquai, and all the psychedelic disco trips you’d like to attend. Catches the Oakland duo Brijean clad in lavish, eclectic vines. Such a warm three minute arrangement deserves the remix treatment. (Check out our review of Brijean’s album Feelings here and our interview with the band here.)
Automatic, “Damage” (live)
Automatic is a three-piece electronic post-punk band from LA formed in 2017: Lola Dompé on drums, Izzy Glaudini on synths, and Halle Saxon Gaines on bass. Since the release of their debut Signal from September 2019, the trio has sound tracked Hedi Slimane’s Paris Fashion Week show for Céline, toured the USA, and opened for legendary post-punk band Bauhaus’ reunion shows at the Hollywood Palladium.
Signal connected the groups affinity for dub reggae, motorik rhythms, and gnarly synth work. Inspired by bands NEU! and Suicide, and combining the B-52’s vocals with ESG jitters, Signal eviscerates at two and three minutes per track. Darting through post-punk moods and eras with devil-may-care composure.
Automatic’s full album Signal Remixes will be released March 26, 2021, on Stones Throw Records.