Australian musicians have been climbing the ranks of American popularity over the past few years. Pumping out smooth, listenable dream pop from the likes of Flume, Chet Faker, and Tame Impala, Australia continues the trend with Sunbeam Sound Machine. Brainchild of Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Sowersby, Sunbeam Sound Machine’s recently released the lead single “Real Life” is off his upcoming debut LP Wonderer. After dropping an EP last year, Sowersby teamed up with Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard) and Andrei Eremin (Chet Faker, Oscar Key Sung, Banoffee) to produce Wonderer. A dreamy psych-pop release with heavy emphasis on catchy and repetitive lyricism, the layered quality of the record fills any space it occupies; be it headphones, bedrooms or live venues. “Real Life,” for example, rides on percussive swells of layered drums and swooning, repetitive vocals that distort reality. The kaleidoscopic new video for the LPs lead single takes the ethereal vibes to new heights as viewers are brought on a trippy tour of the Victorian forest. Wonderer is out November 4th via Dot Dash / Remote Records.
The world hasn’t seen a band like SomeKindaWonderful in some time, and it’s what we’re missing from the musical landscape. A group that can blend so many genres so seamlessly is rare, and their single “Reverse” is a perfect example of how to do it. http://youtu.be/Q7bnhGzqas0 The Cleveland-born and LA-based alternative band are just beginning their career as a group, and what a start it’s turning out to be. The group started recording just hours after they met and formed a band, and “Reverse” was one of their first songs. The song is an emotional one, telling of a heartbreak so intense the singer can only discuss it in reverse. While it’s easy to see that the song is catchy and well put together, it’s genre and origin are a mystery. “Reverse” mixes everything from rock to pop to 60’s soul and contemporary R&B. The band expertly combines so many different influences and styles, creating something entirely original in the process. The recently-released black and white video was directed by Marc Klasfeld, who has worked on clips for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, and the Foo Fighters. About the video, lead singer Jordy Towers said: We wanted to create something that not only represents the song itself but also establishes who we are as a band and reflects our creative vision. A sign of a good band is immediate chemistry, and any group that can churn out singles of this quality after knowing each other only a number of hours is destined to continue their streak.
Today the rad and gorgeous Jesse Jo Stark releases her highly anticipated EP, Down Your Drain. We were lucky enough to be the first to check out her stylish new music video, “Baby Love,” and chat with her about her musical inspirations, artistic versatility, and experience working with directors Olivia Malone and Gia Coppola. Daughter of Laurie Lynn and Richard Stark, owners of luxury lifestyle brand Chrome Hearts, Jesse Jo prides herself on being a clothing designer as well as a musician. “Fashion is in my blood,” Jesse Jo told us, “It’s something that will always be close to my heart.” But with the release of her new EP, she’s been focusing more on her music. Jesse Jo’s singer-songwriter inspirations range from Loretta Lynn to Alice Cooper, and Down Your Drain showcases her diverse lyrical range: her vocals are a refreshing fusion of soulful country twang and sultry rock swagger. While nothing is confirmed yet, Jesse Jo said she’d love to do a full record eventually. Regardless, she said she’ll be releasing another body of work mid-2015, be it an EP or otherwise. In addition to her swooning windpipes, Jesse Jo also has a magnetic screen presence, as evidenced by the “Baby Love” music video. Her eyes pierce through the glamour of her surroundings and reveal a sensitive, almost spiritual longing. To get the look she wanted for the video, Jesse Jo said she was inspired by her “obsession” with ‘50s music, film, and fashion, citing John Waters’ Cry-Baby and classic Hitchcock movies. Director Olivia Malone (DP of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”) said she wanted to create a character for Jesse Jo that paid homage to films they both love – films that capture the “spirit of bad ass kids”. The 23-year old singer and songwriter said that Malone was able to get her “out of her comfort zone” and embraced her “quirks” while shooting. “I wanted all the set ups to feel like amazing still photographs coming alive,” Malone said, “and for the cinematography to be loose and hand held in order to feel modern and youthful.” When asked about her role in Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, Jesse Jo said it was “horrifying”, claiming she’s “actually a really shy person,” but nevertheless interested in the process of filmmaking. “I’m never opposed to anything. I like to dabble,” she said in response to being asked if she would ever consider acting again. Enjoy the sweet and sexy new video from Jesse Jo Stark’s brand new, catchy EP Down Your Drain.
Podcasts are huge and storytelling shows are huge— so why not bring the two together? Storytelling shows have become rampant in New York City, and are the new poetry slam, which is the new spoken word, which is the new origami, which is the new twerking – it’s becoming just that popular. The TALE podcast is like VH1’s Behind The Music—but with stories. If you attend storytelling shows, you always want to find a little bit more than what is told—sort of the DVD commentary of stories in podcast form. (Just like NPR, but with less mandolins.) The TALE podcast brings you the best storytellers in NYC, with creds ranging from NPR, Comedy Central, McSweeneys, Vice, The Nation, and HBO, cohosted by comedian Alex Schmidt and myself. This Week Stories/Guest: Political cartoonist/author Ted Rall. His work has been syndicated everywhere from the Village Voice to the Los Angeles Times. In 2001 he was a war correspondent in Afghanistan. But most of all, Ted has had a TV slugfest with FOX News’ Sean Hannity: http://youtu.be/SP2W9N6BYfg Comedian Lynn Bixenspan —a regular at UCB, The PIT, FUSE TV, and comedy storytelling show across the land. Alex and I chat with Ted and Lynn as they tell us tales of government surveillance and losing your virginity, via Facebook:
Dressing up for Halloween has become as much a grownups’ activity as one for the kiddies. But decorating and hunting for Easter eggs—perhaps because the paint goes on the egg instead of your face—hasn’t quite made the leap to adulthood. But Faberge have built a legend by artistically reinventing the little white orb. And this year’s Big Egg Hunt (www.thebigegghunt.org) saw them commissioning 250 large egg sculptures from internationally renowned artists and designers—to be stashed at various locations around the five boroughs of NYC. The hunt will take place from April 1st through April 26th, and proceeds will go to a number of different charities. BlackBook was particularly taken with the egg done by New York artist Laura Flook, who presents her own rather unsettling image of that little bunny also known to be associated with the holiday. “It was three months of splendid trial and error,” she elaborates, “smothered in arbitrary development. Upon finishing it, I experienced nine days of debilitating cluster headaches and probably slept enough to make an insomniac weep.” She also created a stunning video, titled The ConFINEmeNT of Valediction, allowing for not-in-real-time glimpses into her process.
Inside Movies is a series of video conversations hosted by screenwriter Daniel Hardy in conversation with various people from within the film industry. This series looks to offer an insider’s perspective—and an absurdly geeky passion for film —as all manner of current movie-related topics are discussed. This week’s guest is film producer and self-proclaimed movie nerd Fred Berger. This week, the two discuss David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece American Hustle. With a heavy-hitting cast of Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, and Bradley Cooper, the 1970’s set film is loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation and tells the story of two con artists who find themselves working for the FBI to set up a sting operation on corrupt politicians. Sponsored by Audible.
Inside Movies is a series of video conversations hosted by screenwriter Daniel Hardy in conversation with various people from within the film industry. This series looks to offer an insider’s perspective—and an absurdly geeky passion for film —as all manner of current movie-related topics are discussed. This week’s guest is film producer and self-proclaimed movie nerd Fred Berger. In the segment, Hardy and Berger discuss Martin Scorsese’s wild new Leonardo DiCaprio-led feature The Wolf of Wall Street. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, narratively confident and larger than life tale of excess and its crashing halt seems perfectly fitting for the icon who brought us Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, After Hours, and other classics. So after receiving rave reviews from critics this week, you can take a look at Hardy and Burger dissecting the finer points of the film, their affinity for its thrill, and just how it stacks up in the grand scope of Scorsese’s work. And in case you’re looking for a little more on the literature that’s inspired Scorsese’s other recent features, we recommend taking a listen to Denis Lahane’s Shutter Island on Audible and cozying up with the psychological nightmare drama. A little mentally unstable DiCaprio before you head down to Wall Street for an even crazier ride.