Today In Music Videos: Sigur Ros, Muse, Kanye & More

Songs are great, but sometimes you don’t know you love a track until you see the video. Thanks to the Internet and our insatiable appetite for amusement, the releases these days come fast and furious—check out our own premiere of Theresa Andersson’s “Street Parade” from this morning.

On any given day there’s plenty of great stuff floating around in the cultural ether. Let’s look around shall we?

This is the latest video from Sigur Rós’ forthcoming album Valtari. Each song from the album is getting a video by a different director, this one, for "Varúð,” is from Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir, who created the album’s cover art.

This one is the latest from Kanye West, for his track “Mercy,” which also features Pusha-T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz.

It’s not exactly a video, but this is the just-released album trailer for Muse’s forthcoming The 2nd Law.

Finally, last night The Walkmen performed two tracks on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Here’s our favorite, “Heaven.”

BlackBook Premiere: Theresa Andersson’s ‘Street Parade’

If there’s an otherworldly quality to Theresa Andersson’s video for “Street Parade,” the title track of the Swedish-born singer-songwriter’s latest album—premiering here for the first time—that’s because it was shot in a rather magical locale.

“I was so honored to shoot my new video at The Music Box and be a part of the historic art installation before it is dismantled after the final performances this weekend,” Andersson tells BlackBook. “Based in my current hometown of New Orleans and created by non-profit organization New Orleans Airlift, The Music Box is a collection of purpose-built shacks and miniature houses, each containing an instrument or having instruments built into its structure.”

Creation is something that was on Andersson’s mind when she was writing and recording this album, her sixth.

“There was a lot of slow growth going on when the songs for this album were written,” she says. “I was pregnant at the time and the album and the baby grew simultaneously. Creating a heart and an eyelash one day and a melody line the next. Inspired by marching bands I wrote the album for horns, drums and voice.” Andersson’s inspirations shine through on “Street Parade,” a gorgeous track with a matching video that you’re seeing here first.

Photo by Shervin Lainez. 

Director/Producer: Alicia J. Rose

Cinematographer/Director of Photography: Bryce Fortner 

Location: Dithyrambalina /The Music Box

Theresa Andersson, Woman of 5 Senses

Sitting across from Theresa Andersson at the Starbucks in downtown Austin’s Omni Hotel, I couldn’t help but notice how her eye makeup (hot pink shadow and cerulean eyeliner) really popped against the beiges and browns of her cardigan. The bold color combo didn’t surprise me. Everything I read prior to meeting Andersson painted her as a free spirit whose aesthetics and musical sensibilities are affected by color, textures, layers, and recreated sounds. Her kitchen in New Orleans, where she recorded the album Hummingbird Go! (Basin Street Records, 2008), is painted a light blue. She hand-stitched scraps of felt to create 1,500 album covers for I the River. Instead of buying a xylophone, she chose to save money by creating one out of glass bottles filled with water. She doesn’t perform with a band; instead, Andersson is backed by an intricate set of loops, pedals, and instruments (all played by the Swede’s capable hands, and at times, bare feet). Over coffee, I tested Andersson’s five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch — with a little game. Needless to say, she kicked ass.

Let’s play compare and contrast: New Orleans vs. Austin. Okay.

When you think of New Orleans and Austin, what do you see? New Orleans is red, purple, orange, and some blues, while Austin is sage with mustard yellow. The colors here are a little toned down but still warm.

What does New Orleans sound like? Brassy. Cacophony with fast, long sprinkley raindrops of rhythms tapping around.

And Austin? It’s a more organized sound here. Both cities have Latin influences, but where Austin is Southwest and Mexico mixed with Texas singer/songwriters and rock, New Orleans is Cuba mixed with jazz.

What flavors or foods come to mind when you think of the Big Easy? I’m a pescitarian, so I stay away from the red beans and rice unless I make them myself. I do love a good shrimp poboy. That’s like comfort food to me.

And Austin? You’re not going to hear me say barbecue. Guero’s — I love to eat Mexican food.

What does New Orleans smell like? Mildew, mud, salt, hibiscus, and honey all mixed together.

Austin? A little dust, a little lime. It has a tang to it and something like a warm spice.

What does New Orleans feel like? You fight a little bit more in New Orleans. Being a Swedish person, it’s really hard to deal with humidity, and I still try to go too fast. In New Orleans, you feel more alive because you’re getting beat up by the environment. There, it’s too cold or too hot for most of the year, so it makes you appreciate the ups when you’re there, the good times. It makes me remember the skin I’m in.

And Austin? Austin feels like a perfect festival kind of town. When I’m here, I get happy, and it reminds me of the best summer days that I didn’t even know about growing up in Sweden.

Photo: Miranda Penn Turin

Music for September: Brazilian Girls to Girl Talk

Brazilian Girls, New York City (Verve Forecast). As the title of their art-groovy third album suggests, Brazilian Girls make music for urban spaces: airports, nightclubs, deserted streets. The trio — only one of whom is female, and Italian — are residents of New York City but citizens of the world. There are songs here in four languages, about “St. Petersburg,” “Berlin” and a plethora of cities name-checked in “Internacional.” Riff genius, immaculate drummer and fashion diva: The Girls resemble Blondie more and more every year. And that’s a good thing. — Evelyn McDonnell

Girl Talk, Feed the Animals (Illegal Art). On his fourth album, Gregg “Girl Talk” Gillis, the math-pop master of layered remixes, multiplies his sonic equations to irksome effect. The tracks are too dense for their own good, despite outstanding moments: Avril Lavigne’s abysmal “Girlfriend” is apotheosized into a hip-hop anthem courtesy of Jay-Z’s big pimpin’, and M.I.A.’s politico wail suffuses the Cranberries’ plaintive “Dreams” with spark. The problem here is that Gillis seems a little precious about his gimmick, overheats his laptop and ultimately leaves listeners unable to fully appreciate his ingenious proofs. — Nick Haramis

The Verve, Forth (On Your Own). From the Pixies to the Stooges, rock has reunion fever, and now Britpop’s finest has joined the trend. On Forth, the Verve’s long-awaited fourth album, “Sit And Wonder” evokes the band’s early tribal psychedelia, while “Rather Be” suggests the soulful country-rock of Urban Hymns. “Love Is Noise,” meanwhile, is an anthem that would sound great bouncing off the rafters at Wembley. — Matt Diehl

Theresa Andersson, Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street Records). If this album sounds homemade, that’s because it was recorded in Theresa Andersson’s kitchen. The Swedish-born, New Orleans-based singer-songwriter plays every instrument on her fourth solo outing — with some help from a loop pedal — accenting her textured tunes with naturalistic sounds (think fizzing soda bottles and buzzing locusts) and her airy alto. Like Feist’s more granola sister, she delicately traverses sentimental territory, cooking up lovely moments (the breezy, violin-flecked “Hi-Low”) and slow-burning songs (“The Waltz”) that slip under the skin and linger. — Brian Orloff

Amanda Palmer, Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner Records). It takes resplendent levels of sneering self-possession to label one’s own music “Brechtian.” But the gloriously savage Amanda Palmer and her extravagant Dresden Dolls have persistently lived up to it. On her solo debut, she and her hard-bitten piano take us on another trip through a mine field of emotions backed by the machine gun, Teutonic glam rock she has so rigorously perfected. Yet the ultimate femme incomprise also pauses here for moments of stirring, elegiac beauty and vulnerability. — Ken Scrudato

Solange, SoL-AngeL and The Hadley Street Dreams (Geffen). Solange Knowles’s sophomore album is an intrepid leap out from underneath her big sister’s shadow, a ballsy throwback record that reaches out into the future. The soul-baring opener “God Given Name” could be a lost Zero Seven track, “6 O’Clock Blues” is her winning ride on the Ronson train, and second single “Sandcastle Disco” is a beachy toe-tapper. All this, plus Boards of Canada produce “This Bird,” an intoxicated declaration of independence.— Ben Barna
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