Gwen Stefani Reclaims Icon Status with Stylish ‘Misery’ Video (Watch)

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There’s a genuine magic to Gwen Stefani’s new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, which she wrote in the wake of her divorce with Gavin Rossdale and blossoming Blake Shelton romance. Tinged with the pain of love lost and dusted with the promise of something better, Stefani created the LP from a place of lyrical honesty, successfully skirting the pressures of chasing trends in today’s fast-paced music industry.

The project is timeless and transparent, though Stefani’s admirable authenticity has thus far sacrificed some of the glossy style flaunted during her previous projects, The Sweet Escape and Love. Angel. Music. Baby. “Used To Love You” was raw and slimmed-down with nearly no fashion in sight beyond a peeping electric blue bra strap; “Make Me Like You” amped things up a bit, but felt inevitably empty because of the live, one-shot Target-endorsed format.

On her third music video, this time for current single, “Misery,” Stefani finally reclaims style icon status with a full range of outfits that could easily be lifted from a glossy fashion editorial. Staged against gritty backdrops—an abandoned bar, industrial elevator and empty parking ramp—the result is a fantastic juxtaposition that visually reflects her own emotional state—control against chaos, beauty against ugly, love against pain. Watch, below: 


BlackBook Premiere: The Mynabirds Runs Into the Night With ‘Believer’ (Watch)

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Photography: Jessica Ewald

Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds understands the world from an intimate perspective, having driven across the United States twice, toured South Africa solo and explored all over Europe, building enough courage to genuinely channel William Faulkner and “lose sight of the shore.” Her third full-length studio album Lovers Know is a result of this global mindset, recorded over a year internationally, from Los Angeles to New Zealand.

In the music video for “Believer,” a track lifted off Lovers Know, Burhenn runs into the night, dodging a creepy clan dressed in all white with matching tattoos, as they collectively point toward her—wide-eyed—and follow the singer throughout the city streets.

“‘Believer’ is a song about completely losing any shred of faith you have left, in yourself most of all,” Burhenn said. “When I was talking to Michael, the director, about that, he came up with this brilliant twist to make the video a horror-tinged love song to my new neighborhood and the friends who’ve stood by my side through it all. Sometimes you’ve got to run through the darkest night to get to the dawn.”

Visually, there are subtle nods to the Dodgers, David Lynch and Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video, which the singer said was shot close to her house. She’s recruited a cast of familiar faces, including her own dog, Charlie, whom she drove across the country with on multiple occasions. Further cameos include Pierre de Reeder (Rilo Kiley), Stef Drootin (the Good Life and Big Harp), Chris Senseney (Big Harp), Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and Morgan Nagler (Whispertown).

Watch the BlackBook premiere of The Mynabirds’ “Believer,” below, off Lovers Know, out now.



The Mynabirds Tour Dates

6/7 – San Francisco, CA at The Chapel
6/8 – Big Sur, CA at Henry Miller Library
6/11 – Sonoma, CA at Huichica Festival

BlackBook Premiere: Bizarre New Video For Robbing Millions’ “8 Is The Figure That I Like The Most”

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The media has actively cultivated fear and worry in the wake of the March 22 Brussels terrorist attacks—when it would surely be best to return to focusing on the Belgian culture and joie de vivre that more vividly defines day to day life in the city.

And in fact, the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek, around which has stirred so much recent controversy, is actually home to a growing creative community (the excellent new MIMA urban art museum just debuted there in April). And out of that comes Robbing Millions, the distinctly artful indie pop act centered around songwriters Lucien Fraipont and Gaspard Ryelandt.

Their new, dreamlike track “8 Is The Figure That I Like The Most” recalls the more blithe practitioners of shoegaze, but mixes it up with slick funk grooves, androgynous vocals and a strange psychedelic undercurrent. The video for the song (which we premiere here), directed by Belgian photographer and aesthetic provocateur Marine Dricot, appears to be something like a spontaneous art party in a dayglo psyche ward.

For vinyl fanatics, on May 28 Brussels label I Will Play This Song Once Again Records will release eight exclusive pressings, each containing a unique recording of the song. In the meanwhile, the band will be appearing live at Paris’ hyper trendy Silencio club tonight, May 24.

Check out the BlackBook premiere of the video for  “8 Is The Figure That I Like The Most.”

 

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Austrian Electro-Poppers Hunger’s Guide To Vienna

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Ceaselessly touted in international media (including BlackBook) as one of the most livable, prosperous, romantic, efficient, Trump-free and generally amazing cities in the world, the Austrian capital of Vienna oozes culture, sophistication, and excellent urban planning. This was the city of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, but also the cradle of modern design and psychology. Never mind the spectacular architecture, from gothic to baroque to contemporary.

But it’s also a city at the bleeding edge of art, style and nightlife, even if it doesn’t brag about it as much as London and Paris. Indeed, its club scene is one of Europe’s wildest and sexiest, and its 6th and 7th districts buzz with cool kids and creative energy.

Vienna’s contributions to recent pop music have also been a bit under the radar. But a new favorite is HUNGER, three stylish Viennese gents disposed towards evocative, cinematic and supremely catchy electro tunes. Their latest single “Gravity” is Duran Duran sexy, and like their predecessors, it’s accompanied by a glamorously artistic video (which we’re premiering here), directed by eminently fashionable photographer and filmmaker Christian Lamb (Madonna, Rihanna). Warning: may be NSFW.

Scene-makers as they are back home, we asked them to turn us on to some of the city’s grooviest spots, from bars to boutiques to galleries. Check it all out, below, as well as the BlackBook premiere of HUNGER’s “Gravity” music video:


Burggasse 24

Burggasse 24 Vienna 2

Burggasse 24 is an amazing second hand concept, both fashion shop and coffee house. It’s located in the 7th district, which is known for being one of the more hip and alternative neighborhoods in Vienna, with lots of great bars, cafes, local food markets and creative people.

True You

True You is a new Viennese fashion and lifestyle brand. Founder and blogger Ilja Jay and his crew are constantly promoting the most happening parties all over Vienna, so watch out for the TY logo. The clothes are available at Addicted To Rock.

WUK

WUK Vienna 2

The WUK is an amazing place, featuring different concert venues and art galleries and always hosting interesting cultural events. We’ve played several shows there with former bands. It’s most appreciated in summer for the outdoor bars and areas.

Cafe Jelinek

For an authentic, old fashioned Viennese coffee culture experience, this is the perfect place. Order our favorite, the Piccolo, a mocha with whipped cream.

Donaukanal

Donaukanal Vienna

Summertime is probably the best time in Vienna. Low traffic, less people and a lot of amazing outdoor opportunities. Our favorite spot is the Donaukanal, a smaller side branch of the Danube, full of pop-up bars, restaurants and hammocks. Go and check out Tel Aviv Beach, a bar that combines Oriental cuisine and fun in the sun.

Brunnenmarkt 

For the freshest food, we love to go to Brunnenmarkt. Much cheaper than the famous Naschmarkt, it features a daily outdoor market and several amazing restaurants.

Motto

Motto Vienna 1

A true classic in Vienna, a bar and a restaurant with an extravagantly designed space and enduring cult status. With great style and music, it continues to draw artists and the local creative scene. Amazing international cuisine, as well!

If Dogs Run Free

“Dogs” is one of our favorite bars in Vienna. It’s very small and intimate, serving the best cocktails while also playing amazing electronic tunes. Its dark, rough design was conceived by the architect owners. Located in the very much upcoming 6th District, with great cafes and bars.

Eden Bar

Eden_Bar_1332v5_1920x930a-1920x930

The Eden is one of the most beautiful and also oldest Viennese bars, located in the 1st District. It feels like going back in time and experiencing the city of classical times. Take note, they won’t let you in unless you’re wearing a suit or evening dress. We love it!

James Blake, Bon Iver Share Stunning ‘I Need A Forest Fire’ Video (Watch)

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After building buzz for his new album The Colour in Anything with a pop-up flock of Quentin Blake-illustrated billboards, James Blake released the 17-track, melancholic beast on May 6. For his third full-length studio LP, Blake recruited the legendary Rick Rubin to co-produce seven tracks, with additional support from Frank Ocean, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Connan Mockasin.

The result is chilly and textural, metallic and complex—a familiar sound from the London native that, perhaps, sounds strongest on the Vernon-assisted album opener, “I Need a Forest Fire.”

While the track alone inevitably tugs on heartstrings, as Blake songs typically do, the accompany video brings it to a more stylized, sophisticated place. Directed by Matt Clark in collaboration with Chris Davenport, the visual treatment is simple, featuring a lineup of beautifully lit art pieces, from Renaissance statues to pendulums. Watch, below: 

BlackBook Premiere: Gorgeous, Neo-Noir Skylab 3 Video for ‘A View From Above’

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Brit producer Ben Frascina, aka Skylab 3, has a rare and particular gift for mating sound and imagery. Witness the hauntingly mysterious video for new single “A View From Above,” which we premiere here. In this strikingly filmed, noir-ish “day in the life” mini-film by director Nick Richards, Frascina is seen casually strolling around Cardiff, past the Oxfam and shops with names like Head Threads and Zapp ECigs. Things go utterly surreal when he is struck down in the street by a passing car.

The music perfectly soundtracks the “story,” with sultry trip-hop grooves recalling Massive Attack backed by sweeping orchestrations and the distant howl of a female voice.

Expect more of the same when a full album bearing the same title is released by Babygrande Records on June 10. Watch, below:

San Francisco Band The Silhouette Era Gets Romantic in “Exhale” Music Video

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The Silhouette Era. Photo courtesy of Breakup Records

San Francisco-based band The Silhouette Era is bringing a new, northern strain to Southern California’s special brand of surf pop. The rockers have a minimal sound and incorporate more lo-fi techniques than many of their SoCal counterparts, honing in on a dream wave sound. Tracks like “Exhale” are easy on the ears without becoming too overcast and muddled by subdued instrumentation or production effects, such as the abstract guitar riffs that are so prevalent in modern surf rock. We’d more quickly associate them with the gritty Brooklyn rock bands that dominate downtown New York’s music venues than Los Angeles-based bands, which is a hybrid we can appreciate.

Premiering today on BlackBook, the video for “Exhale” is equally unassuming and direct. Depicting what starts off as a presumable first date, fraught with anxiety and sexual tension, the video takes place in a dingy bar where live performers take the stage in front of a handful of people, if even that. In a matter of minutes, we watch the date go from awkward to magical, thanks to the music and a lack of stage fright.

Check out the premiere of the video below, and more on The Silhouette Era here. Furthermore, look out for their forthcoming record Beacons, out in July via Breakup Records.

FKA Twigs Brings the Creepy in New Music Video for “Video Girl”

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Though this video may have been better suited for release on Halloween day, there’s no reason to complain when Indie Princess FKA Twigs gives her fans any fodder to clamor over. The haunting black and white visuals for “Video Girl” off of LP1 are uncomfortably intense, featuring Twigs adorned in golden face jewelry as she observes and dances for a Neo-Nazi look-a-like on death row. In other scenes, we see blood pouring through a man’s grill, as well as Twigs singing into a mic that appears inexplicably from the ceiling.

Directed by Kahlil Josephs, this is yet another visually striking project for Twigs, who will be having her late night debut on November 4th on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Get your creep on below.

Premiere: Watch the New Video for Cazwell’s “Dance Like You Got Good Credit”

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Openly gay rapper Cazwell’s new song “Dance Like You Got Good Credit” and corresponding music video (NYC-based) parodies normative lifestyle values in the traditional rap-god video format. The lyrics are almost a little too real for many hip-hop listeners, and sure to stir up some controversy. Riding the recent vaporwave internet trend, Cazwell’s video still manages to balance the satire with a healthy amount of humor. And not to mention a sick beat.

Cazwell’s new album Hard 2 B Fresh comes out on September 30th via Peace Bisquit.

Cazwell creates an eclectic fusion of moombathon (electro/reggaeton/house) with rap and colorful lyrics.

The Massachusetts-born Cazwell has proven himself a hard worker: from becoming a YouTube sensation after a million people viewed his “Ice Cream Truck” music video in a single week, to producing a steady flow of tracks and videos that has his engaging charisma and personality immersed in it. He has since earned credibility with danceable hip hop tracks −including “Rice & Beans” and “I Seen Beyoncé At Burger King” and “No Selfie Control” − that impressively showcase his hypomanic take on pop culture. “Good Credit” featuring Cherie Lily tackles the debt crisis the United States is in – a situation Cazwell finds amusing because “we go broke trying to make ourselves look rich”. Cazwell has been described as “what would have happened if Eminem had grown up on Madonna’s front lawn.”