Truth be told, Holly Williams brought me and many of my hardened colleagues to tears. The singer-songwriter has a magnificent way with words and phrasing, not to mention a country-music lineage that fills her with pride and guides her poignancy and subject matter.
The Brooklyn band The Antlers frequently finds inspiration in dark places: On 2009's Hospice, singer-guitarist Peter Silberman reflects on terminal illness and emotional abuse, while this year's Familiars turns the Buddhist notion of bardo, a state of being between incarnations, into the impetus for a dialog about multiple selves.
John Grant's songs don't mess around: The music isn't complicated, while the lyrics function as darts of retort and thought. His album Pale Green Ghosts is decorated with synthesizers, his voice often drenched in reverb; those tools and textures help make the record strong and everlasting.
The latest video from Pattern Is Movement is up close and personal, featuring the best music this Philadelphia duo has made in 14 years of recording together. Watch Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward perform "Suckling," with just drums, keyboards and voice. The cut is from the band's self-titled album, released earlier this year on Hometapes.
Sharon Van Etten wrote her latest album Are We There over the course of two years, while touring in support of 2012's Tramp. In the process, she crafted a set of beautiful, slow-burning ballads that emphasize her emotive storytelling and unique voice. For her recent live session on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, she ran through highlights from the new album, including "Nothing Will Change."
You'll want to dim the lights for this video to accompany "VHS," from composer Christina Vantzou. The title implies a primitive digital universe. But in Vantzou's world, it's more of a void — a pitch-black emptiness where a lone figure chases her own barely perceptible reflection.
Bad acting meets good music in this collaboration between former Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Morgan Nagler, aka Whispertown. The new video for their single, "Range On Castle," includes classic footage from the 1963 Roger Corman film The Terror, starring Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson.
Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 10:20 am
Sometimes music and life intersect in ways beyond words. Filmmaker James Marcus Haney set out to do two things, make a music video for the British trio Bear's Den and capture the last days of his little brothers carefree college days with friends.
What he wound up with is tragic and poignant. Shortly after arriving in Seattle to film, a campus shooting occurred. Haney relayed his story to me via email. He's as good with words as he is with imagery. I'm going to let him tell the story.