By Kathryn Pinto
1. Nightmail “Pulsar”
Nightmail (fka Spero) looks over their collective shoulder at 1980’s analog synth pop just long enough to pick up on the good memories (and not long enough to be turned to salt by what they have seen). Everything in these arrangements is in remarkable balance. It’s easy to say that it sounds great because the guitar and keys are weighted, but that ignores a pretty great bass line in “Pulsar” to say nothing of the vocals (or drums). The video, like the sound has a nice big open feel. It doesn’t feel restrained, it feels expansive and big and cool.
Nightmail play Thursday May 16 at El Cid.
2. The Hectors “Her Dark Majesty”
Back when MTV played music videos, at its best each song on the channel had its own little three minute art movie. A favorite band took on a adventure in a new setting for each new single. The Hectors’ videos embrace that spirit completely. The latest one for “Her Dark Majesty” does not disappoint. This video has everything: time travel, green screen footage of battling knights, cameos of nearly everyone who has shared a stage with the Hectors--Jake Breakup (Gideon), Andy Clay People (Siara), Hunter “FTO FTW” Curra--including a pantsless shot of Hectors guitarist Robert Bonilla and Fieron Santos as a lovelorn warrior.
The Hectors play the Silverlake Lounge Thursday May 16, as part of the United Ghosts residency.
“Please Don’t Go” is the latest from Lafayette, Louisiana’s Brass Bed. Their second full length The Secret Will Keep You has been one of the best new albums in a strong field (Kurt Vile, The National) this spring. Their sound is often described as guitar-heavy with distortion that veers from pop hooks over to abstract experimental Wilco-weird in places, but such a cerebral of characterization shortchanges the a sweetness of their sound. They have an extraordinary, transcendent live show, only hinted at in this inventive video by Allison Bohl DeHart. We have it on good authority that Brass Bed is planning an LA show on their summer tour. So nice.
4. Kurt Vile “Never Run Away”
The video for “Never Run Away,” like Vile’s playing, is understated and minimal, earnest in its search for purity of visuals in much the same was that Vile’s excellent new album Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze engages a laid back, stripped back sound. Decked out in all white down to the white guitar in the video, Vile takes a walking pilgrimage through midwinter Philadelphia, a landscape of snowy white, chalky blue, where even a brief glimpse of red is cool and muted. Vile’s only company through this tour of the crumbling rubble of graffiti-ed and buffed city is a white-white bus and its (mostly implied) driver. Toward the end crab grass and scrub weeds of green hint at a spring before disappearing into a bus-obscuring cloud of cold air.
Ramsey: Auto-tuned Interview “Dead Giveaway”
“I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms.”
Occasionally the guys at Auto-tune the News hit on just the right mix of colorful, poignant, heartbreak and hilarious. In the original local news interview, Ramsey’s nail on the head call that something was not right at the house across the street made the white reporter visibly uncomfortable. Autotuned, the story is no less unsettling, but transformed into pure comedy gold.
*Charles Ramsey along with Angel Cordero, helped Amanda Berry escape on May 6th after more than a decade of imprisonment at the hands of neighbor Ariel Castro in Castro’s Cleveland house. Berry’s escape lead to the release of two other women Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight who had also been kidnapped and held against their will in Castro’s house.