We named Nai Harvest a Band To Watch because they’re fucking great, and your latest chance to witness that greatness in action is their new video for “Buttercups” from their recent split 12-inch with Playlounge. The band tells Crack, “Washing machines are cool dude! At the time Ed Crisp; who shot the video, had the idea of putting flowers in a washing machine then we decided to hit the laundrette to keep a little theme going. But, now you mention it thinking a little deeper I guess it’s a hint towards our album. That may sound weird but you’ll get it when it’s out.” Mysterious thematic foreshadowing aside, it’s a neat portrait of the Sheffield duo and an introduction to their most recent sonic evolution. They’ve already grown from twinkly emo to shoegazey alt-rock, and is that a touch of Oasis I’m now hearing in their fuzzed-out guitar pop? It’s essentially a conglomeration of everything good about melodic ’90s guitar music, so go ahead and watch below.
At Sunday night’s VMAs, MTV awarded its Video Of The Year trophy to Miley Cyrus’ butt-naked tearsploitation Terry Richardson vision “Wrecking Ball,” and Miley brought a homeless model (?) to the stage to accept the award. Immediately afterward, Beyoncé, whose “Drunk In Love” video was nominated and lost, came to the stage to give a brain-shattering 16-minute performance that seemed like a rebuke to anyone who would deign to take Miley Cyrus seriously. Here’s the thing, though: MTV made the right call. “Wrecking Ball” is, on some levels, a creepy mess. But it’s also vivid and original and weirdly sincere and an actual conversation-starter, a video that actually captured the public imagination and helped to define its song. “Drunk In Love” is an amazing song that became a cultural anthem, but the video mostly just gets by on Beyoncé’s sex-stare — a potent thing, but not exactly an idea. This was the rare year, actually, in which all the Video Of The Year nominees were, at the very least, watchable, and “Wrecking Ball” was the best of them. If I’d made this list a few days later, “Wrecking Ball” would’ve come in at a solid #11, below “Cryin’” but above “Lady Marmalade.” Anyway, here are this week’s best videos.
Native America sounds ancient, but not pre-Columbian ancient. Rather, on upcoming LP Grown Up Wrong the New Orleans trio trades in ebullient, hooky classic rock as filtered through about a half-dozen psych-pop revivals. “Like A Dream,” for instance, is slightly hallucinatory, highly rambunctious, and always riding a contagious groove. It’s as physical as it is ephemeral; it shimmers and it shakes. “Let me tell ya ’bout a different time, when no one smiled for pictures,” sings frontman Ross Farbe. “I remember when the evenin’ light shined so colorful, and nothin’ else could take me away.” There’s a lot going on here sonically, yet it all feels so simple — like the good old days, allegedly, although that sort of nostalgia is probably just a fantasy too. Listen and enjoy below.
Canadian superproducer and part-time pop deconstructionalist Chilly Gonzales has worked with a fascinating array of artists including Feist, Daft Punk, Drake, Peaches, and Jamie Lidell. Now that he’s based in Germany he’s teamed up with the techno producer Boys Noize under the name Octave Minds. The duo’s self-titled album is out next month, and single “Anthem” is an impressive piece of work. The instrumental track is pretty far from the usual Boys Noize wheelhouse, inhabiting some splendid middle ground between chamber pop, post-rock, and techno. (FWIW, they call it “new age electronic romance.”) The mood is upbeat and inspirational; explains Gonzales in a press release, “Picture the rebirth of spring, flowers opening, let the French horn take you away to a place without tears and pain! ’Anthem’ is exactly that — an anthem for feeling good about the future.” It certainly made me feel good. Listen below.
Guys, I usually kick off the Black Market with a lengthy introductory essay, an aggregation of my thoughts on the month in metal. But August … August kinda ate me alive. That is not to say that I don’t have thoughts, or that August didn’t generate enough thoughts to inspire an essay. I do! It did! And then some! Truth is, this past month delivered a lot more than I could possibly sum up in this space, and you’re gonna read about/hear a whole lot of it below anyway. So this month, I’m gonna cut short the preamble and get right to the music.
Chastity Belt put out the wonderfully titled No Regerts earlier this year, which takes a more serious tone than Julia Shapiro’s other project Childbirth (who got 2014 off to an awesome and funny start with the maniacally impish “I Only Fucked You As A Joke“). Chastity Belt’s dynamic was established in part by the stylish black and white video for “Full” this winter. Now here’s another dramatic clip. “Black Sail” begins with a group of settlers burying a body and performing a funeral, and it’s best to just leave it at that. Be warned that this gets pretty violent, but it lends a somber gravity to subject matter that’s a heavy trope in 2014. Watch it below.
Back in April, we marked the 20th anniversary of Britpop with Stereogum’s Britpop Week. We chose the date for a few reasons — the week marked the anniversaries of both Pulp’s His ’N’ Hers and Blur’s Parklife, Damon Albarn was conveniently releasing his first solo album almost to the day of Parklife’s 20th birthday, and it fell just after April 11, the day Oasis released their first official single, “Supersonic.” Though “Columbia” had been circulating for some time before that, the band hadn’t yet caught fire. “Supersonic” was the first in a stretch of three singles (followed by “Shakermaker” and “Live Forever”) that drummed up excitement for Oasis’ debut before its August 29, 1994 release. Which, you know, worked, considering Definitely Maybe was the fastest-selling debut album ever in the UK to that point.
BoJack Horseman is a new animated sitcom on Netflix about a washed-up sitcom star who happens to be an anthropomorphic horse-person. The first season is already streaming, and there’s a second one on the way. The show has a very serious cast of voice talent, with Will Arnett in the lead role and Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, and Paul F. Tompkins backing him up. And the show’s creators also roped a big name into doing the theme music. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney is responsible for the loungey minute-long instrumental that soundtracks the opening credits; check it out below.