BlackBook Tracks #33: Music Videos Of The Week

What better way to spend a Friday afternoon than catching up on new music videos? It’s been a solid week for the visually inclined, so here are my top five latest picks. You’ll definitely laugh, probably won’t cry, and do not go gentle into that good night.  


HAIM – “The Wire”

The Haim sisters ditch the boys and make them cry in their video for “The Wire,” starring The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone. The song may not be a tribute to Baltimore’s finest, but Taccone and his fellow dumpees sure know how to ugly sob with aplomb. “The Wire” is the perfect breezy end-of-summer jam, and it will appear on Haim’s debut LP Days Are Gone, out next month on Columbia.



Camera Obscura – “Break It To You Gently”

Camera Obscura’s new  Joseph Mann-directed video channels Blur’s famous "Coffee And TV" clip–with a twist. 199_’s star-crossed milk cartons are swapped out for a pair of charming anthropomorphic shopping trolleys. The Scottish retro-pop group’s tartan hero may not end up in dairy heaven, but it’s still taken on an unusual journey. After the release of their fifth album Desire Lines (4AD) earlier this year, Camera Obscura might just be…on a roll.  


Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner’s booty call goes rather badly in the hallucinatory, semi-NSFW clip for “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” (Maybe he should have spent a cozy night in with Snapchat instead.) The video was directed by noted photographer Nabil, who has a knack for capturing the surreal. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” points toward a cleaner, more sensual sound for the English rockers’ forthcoming fifth LP, AM (Domino).  


Foxes – “Youth”

Destruction and glamour collide in Foxes’ new video for “Youth” as a gang of stylish kids claims an abandoned building for its own. The English alt-pop ingénue is at the center of it all, sporting a dreamy sequined jumpsuit. Born Louisa Rose Allen, Foxes broke out this year after featuring on Zedd’s “Clarity,” but keep an eye out for more of her own songs.


Summer Camp – “Fresh”

London romantics Summer Camp look towards an 80s color palette in their neon-hued video for “Fresh.” Frontwoman Elizabeth Sankey rocks matching lipstick and nail polish while invoking Pulp on this tribute to first love, the first single from their forthcoming second LP. The husband-and-wife duo also hint at a subtly more funky update to their dream-pop sound. Summer Camp’s self-titled album is due out on October 8 on Moshi Moshi.

Your Monday Jam Is Camera Obscura’s “Do It Again”

We’re really lucky, you know? April is about to end and already 2013 has been a fount of new music, much of it good, even more of it great. And already, there have been a lot of crazy-hyped new releases, including big new albums from David Bowie and Justin Timberlake, and the all-encompassing story from last week, the release of Daft Punk’s funky little new jam, “Get Lucky.” And the Daft Punk song is very good, but the thing is that sometimes, when a big band has a big new release, and it happens amid a hellish breaking news week, other good things understandably get overlooked.  

Case in point, and in case you missed it, Camera Obscura, the Glaswegian band that probably soundtracked your first adulthood heartbreaks or perhaps your desire to lead the life of an artist/writer/cinematographer, released a new single last week. It’s called “Do It Again,” and it’s a lovely, catchy thing with warm, shiny, Neko Case-esque vocals. “Do It Again” is the first track off the band’s upcoming new album, Desire Lines, which will be released June 4th. Have a listen below and enjoy.

BlackBook Tracks #27: Is 2012 Over Yet?

The holiday season isn’t over yet, but maybe your winter ennui has already kicked in. That’s okay, it was going to happen eventually. Stay warm with these songs.

Coeur De Pirate – “Comme Des Enfants”

Even non-French speakers can understand the nostalgia that this Montreal chanteuse taps into. I associate this song with sunnier days, but sweet folk-pop fits every season.

Blur – “For Tomorrow”

Santa didn’t bring me the deluxe box set of Parklive, Blur’s triumphant Hyde Park show commemorating the Olympics closing ceremony, but I guess I kind of forgot to ask him for it. Well, Portlandia’s coming back soon to remind us that the dream of the ’90s is still alive.

The Decemberists – “The Engine Driver”

Speaking of Portland…

Arcade Fire – “Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)”

When Arcade Fire release new material next year, it will undoubtedly spark a cycle of both over-the-top fawning and overeager backlash that will dominate my internet life for several weeks. But there’s a reason we started liking them in the first place, and here it is.

Belle & Sebastian – “If She Wants Me”

Is there anything more comforting than listening to truckloads of Belle & Sebastian? I thought not.

The Walkmen – “New Year’s Eve”

It’s that time of year, and though this charming piano ditty is far from a party anthem, it’s perfect for taking a minute to look back.

M. Ward – “Radio Campaign”

You may have had She & Him’s Christmas record on heavy rotation lately, but here’s a reminder that M. Ward’s Transistor Radio hits the singer-songwriter sweet spot.

Badly Drawn Boy – “Something To Talk About”

Nicholas Hoult is all grown up and eating brains now, but we’ll never forget his beginnings in About A Boy. It’s a movie that’s held up over time, as has its theme song.

Camera Obscura – “The World Is Full Of Strangers”

The world may be full of strangers, but there are still friendly faces to be found when sailing the melancholic pop seas with Camera Obscura.

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Music: Au Revoir Simone, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear

Au Revoir Simone, Still Night, Still Light (Our Secret Record Company) Brooklyn’s answer to Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis replant their hauntingly personal, bittersweet roots on the follow-up to 2007’s creepy-sweet The Bird of Music. Their third album is a symphony of sterilized electronic sounds brought to life by an intimate encounter between these three Fates and their keyboards. Despite the odd bramble of blunt confrontation (“Trace a Line”), Au Revoir Simone skips through the wet grass of ethereal romanticism (“Tell Me”), proving that they are still alright and, yes, still feather-light. — Garrett Pruter

A-Trak, Infinity+1 (Thrive) On his latest release, Kanye West’s go-to turntablist puts together a mixtape fitted for the highest echelon of the genre. Instead of revisiting previously explored (and exploited) tracks, the album spans everything that will (or should) be post-dance-pop anthems over the next two years, from the likes of Holy Ghost, Gonzalez, Kid Sister and Soundstream. A-Trak’s remix of MSTRKRFT and rapper N.O.R.E.’s “Bounce” is an electro-funk-driven, cowbell-addled banger worthy of the rowdiest of hipster house parties, while the post-disco sheen of a Midnight Juggernauts track (“Shadows”) opens the album’s second half with surprisingly mature pacing and depth that will captivate even the most ADD-riddled mash-up fans. — Foster Kramer

The Horrors, Primary Colours (XL Recordings) The Horrors are no longer masquerading as a riotous assembly of suburban mall goths — heavy on theatrics, light on context or coherence. Emerging from two years of whereabouts unknown, singer Farris Rotter elevates the band to fearful heights with fetching vocals on “Mirror’s Image,” the album opener. His mellifluous, pensive tremor on “I Only Think of You” is flat-out haunting. And with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow as producer, the Horrors finally get the chance to show off their true, evocative colors. — Eiseley Tauginas

Pet Shop Boys, Yes (Astralwerks) If the Pet Shop Boys have spent the second half of their career protesting too much against the “sultans of sardonic” tag they’d been branded with early on, perhaps they no longer care what anyone thinks. Three tracks into their ninth album, vocalist Neil Tennant has already sneered a number of caustic mini-diatribes including, “Too much of everything is never enough,” and, “I want to live like beautiful people.” Both songs exude the weariness of a seasoned cynic. Yes is surprisingly shock-free, a Xenomania–produced masterstroke of glittering, lavish, yet searingly melancholic disco-pop, Tennant’s lyrics fixed on that crazy contretemps called love. Pet Shopaholics, rejoice.  — Ken Scrudato

Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp) If this Brooklyn quartet were made up of writers, they’d be novelists. Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear’s follow up to 2006’s Yellow House, continues their narrative of wintry experimental rock without skipping chapters. The group risks little and takes their art sound to even sparser territory, sticking with the subdued, tone-downed melodies of their earlier recordings. Freeform layered over strong sonic structure prevails throughout, with the exception of “Two Weeks,” the most radio-friendly — and least polarizing — of the bunch. — Stephanie Laemoa

Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career (4AD) Camera Obscura has always produced happy music for depressed people, and on their fourth studio album in nearly 13 years, this wonderful sonic contradiction holds. My Maudlin Career provides the same mellow fare with added wistfulness. On the first single, “French Navy,” Tracyanne Campbell’s delicate vocals combine with brilliant instrumentals for navel-gazing loveliness that deserves every comparison to Belle & Sebastian that it’s bound to get. Even in the face of heartache (“James”), tracks are warmed over by eternal optimism, all in the name of love — and with help from an overworked, tinkling triangle. — Delia Paunescu

Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenixs Phoenix (Glassnote) The only thing wrong with the new Phoenix album — and it’s a big deal, trust — is that there aren’t more tracks. Although they’ve been criticized in the past for a lack of cohesion on their earlier albums, this time around, the French four-way soars into outer orbit with an incredible mix of buoyant vocals and Sunday afternoon synth led by clean-cut crooner Thomas Mars. Hey, Beethoven, you might want to roll over—this one is an instant classic from start to finish. — Anam Mansuri
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