Sunglass Moustache is not only the title of Ben Millburn‘s debut album but also the name of the group of musicians he surrounds himself with. The Austin-based, Louisiana-born musician will self-release the 11-track LP on September 14, and it comes after a handful of EPs he also issued himself. While Sunglass Moustache—made up of eight songs recorded in two days, studio improvisations and home-recorded material—isn’t a concept album, Millburn decided to make it just that via a series of 11 self-written and self-directed videos (one for each track on the LP) following a character named Mr. Tuxedo and, according to Millburn, “his rise and reign in power” as well as his adventures with Mustang Billy, Mr. Taco and others.
Since we’re premiering the clip for Mr. Tuxedo’s titular track today, we asked Millburn for some insight into the song and video. He responded, “The side effects of ambition, Frank Zappa, classical music, dub, Beck, YouTube interviews with Monica Lewinsky.” We’re guessing he’s talking about the song itself and not the video, but as Millburn is a guy who spends a lot of time with dudes named Mr. Tuxedo, Mustang Billy and Mr. Taco, we can’t be so sure.
Regardless, we’re proud to premiere the video for “Mr. Tuxedo” today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now, and as a bonus, here’s the album trailer for Sunglass Moustache:
Chelsea Wolfe’s gothic video for “The Culling,” off Hiss Spun (Sargent House), was inspired by 1996’s Baz Luhrmann-directed, Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes-starring Romeo + Juliet. Filmed in Salem, Mass. (you know, home of the witch trials, kids), “The Culling” features Wolfe being possessed by a demon. The clip should get you in the mood for Wolfe’s fall tour with Russian Circles, which kicks off September 23 in San Francisco. Watch “The Culling” now.
Hot off an extensive U.S. tour this summer, including dates opening for Lake Street Dive, the Rad Trads are readying the release of sophomore album On Tap, out September 14. Of course, the NYC-based fivesome—known for its genre-defying, entertaining-for-everyone live performances—will immediately hit the road again for many more dates supporting the nine-track LP.
We’ve been racking our brains since we first encountered the Rad Trads, trying to think of another band that has five leader singers, but we couldn’t come up with any. That not one of these transplants from Portland, Chicago and Maryland had ever sung a note when they met at NYU’s Steinhardt music school is even more amazing. But given how the band deftly tackles (alphabetically) Americana, blues, folk, jazz, psych, punk, soul and more, it’s not surprising these guys seem like they can do whatever they put their minds to.
We’re premiering the video for On Tap track “Wishing Well” today on magnetmagazine.com, so we asked the song’s writer and singer, saxophonist/vocalist Patrick Sargent, for some insight into the track. Let’s just say he was as ambitious with his response as the band is with its music. “Truth be told, ‘Wishing Well’ was the first song I ever wrote, so the process of writing it was more like fumbling in the dark than chiseling marble,” says Sargent. “I think I was listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes at the time and was trying to write something that had the quality I was enamored of in their work: a hushed verse, an unhinged, raging chorus and kind of a soul-collides-with-rock thing, like Nirvana with Otis singing lead. In reality, my voice is closer to Randy Newman than Brittany Howard, so it came out a little different—but that’s the song I had in my mind’s eye. We played the song live for almost a year before recording it, so it had a chance to evolve organically before being put to tape. Both the drum solo and the background vocals were, like many great musical ideas, initially proposed in jest but quickly became integral to the song.
“Lyrically, it’s a pretty straight forward blues ballad with the narrator lamenting his loneliness and heartbreak at length before breaking down and begging his lost love, ‘I don’t wantcha, babe/But I think I need ya, babe/Now I’m pleading, babe/Tell me why did you leave my, babe,'” Sargent continues. “Live, it tends to feel less like a story song and more like an excuse for us all to play our instruments extra loud and for me to scream into the microphone. In the studio, we went for a pretty maximal psychedelic vibe, a big wall of sound with many layers of vocals and, of course, our signature soaring horns. We also added a second track of low, sludgy, horns on the chorus, so in addition to filling out the high range, we have a a big thick horn section filling out the bottom end of the track, kicking around in the mud where there’s normally only bass and guitar. We definitely had fun with this one and left plenty of mistakes and odd sounds in, so it feels very messy and live—as a song like this should.”
Not satisfied with learning more about “Wishing Well” (the song) than we have about any other song in history, we pressed Sargent for some info about “Wishing Well” (the video). And he didn’t disappoint, saying of the quirky clip, “We were all holed up in a house in Duck, N.C., that a local music festival had generously provided for us as lodging while we were performing there. Our friend/photographer John Carges was with us, and we were shooting a bunch of promo material when someone had the inspired idea that footage of us wailing on each other with pool noodles would go perfectly with the chorus of ‘Wishing Well.’ We made some margaritas, shotgunned a few beers and had ourselves a fun little video shoot. Months later, we decided to complete the video by shooting some footage of me wandering my neighborhood in the cold, bleak shittiness of New York winter, dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. We enlisted our good friend Kelly Teacher to shoot and edit the footage, and the rest is history.”
Well, there you have it, dear MAGNET reader. Sargent is definitely proud of his first-ever songwriting credit and its accompanying video, as he should be. It’s the perfect end-of-summer jam, tailor made for margaritas, shotgunning beers and living it up before the cold weather comes and you’re stuck dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. Check out “Wishing Well” now, and catch the Rad Trads when they come to your city.
8/15 Lake George Arts Summer Concert Series, Lake George, NY
9/14 Mercury Lounge, New York City
9/18 Rose Music Hall, Columbia, MO
9/19 Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, MO
9/20 Lincoln Calling Festival, Lincoln, NE
9/21 The Temple Theatre, Des Moines, IA
9/23 SPACE, Evanston, IL
9/26 Motr Pub, Cincinnati
9/27 Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
9/28 Levitt Pavilion, Dayton Dayton
9/30 Beachland Tavern, Cleveland
10/2 Racoon Motel, Davenport, IA
10/3 Icehouse, Minneapolis
10/4 The Mill, Iowa City
10/5 The Grand Theatre, Wausau, WI
10/11 Loco Club, Valencia, ES
10/12 Louie Louie, Estepona, ES
10/13 El Pelicano, Cadiz, ES
10/14 Sala X, Sevilla, ES
10/15 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/16 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/17 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/18 El Amacen De Little Bobby, Santander, ES
10/20 AMC Boganegra Culturual Club, Valles Pilloña, ES
10/21 Sidreria El Zagal, Aldeamayor de San Martin, ES
11/6 Granada (Sundown), Dallas
11/7 Mohawk, Austin
11/8 McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston
12/9 City Winery, Boston
Charlotte Gainsbourg impressively directed her new video for “Sylvia Says,” off last year’s Rest (Because Music); read our feature below. The clip begins by showing the everyday commute of workers after their nine-to-five jobs, but it quickly turns into an interpretation of what we cannot see, the subconscious of those walking next to us on that daily travel. The slow-motion mixed with high-speed shots creates a video you can’t look away from. Check it out now.
Kamasi Washington has a new video for “Street Fighter Mas,” off sophomore studio album Heaven And Earth (Young Turks). The theme for the A.G. Rojas-directed clip is inspired by the video game Street Fighter, which Washington loves to play. The sax player extraordinaire kicks off a European tour tomorrow in Ireland, so get your jazz-loving self in the mood by checking out the video for “Street Fighter Mas” now.
Cincinnati’s Plastic Ants (featuring Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley) have paid and played tribute to the late Tom Petty by recording a cover of “Walls” (one of a handful of gems off the underrated She’s The One soundtrack). After the song came the video, an 8-bit video-game representation of the lyrics, providing a cool and unique way to play out the song’s story line. Check out the clip now, and read frontman Robert Cherry’s cool account of the recording of “Walls.”
The kaleidoscopic montage video for the Love Language’s “New Amsterdam” brings light and happiness to your typical breakup song. The clip was constructed entirely from phone videos run through a series of filters by mainman Stuart McLamb. Watch “New Amsterdam” now, and catch the Love Language touring the East Coast in August supporting Baby Grand (Merge, August 3).
In music, as in life, being quirky tends to elicit very mixed reactions. For every good “freaky” band (we’re thinking Ween, Flaming Lips and They Might Be Giants—all masters of their respective crafts), there are a number of “screwy” ones that just fall flat (sorry Soul Coughing, Barenaked Ladies and Cake). So when you find out a group takes its moniker from a Frank Zappa quote and has a song named after a now-ubiquitous pear-shaped fruit, you really start to curb your enthusiasm. But in the case of Charlotte, N.C., trio the Eyebrows, there’s no need to worry: Being quirky suits them well, because there’s a lot more going on in their music that just shits and giggles.
Rising from the ashes of a number of Tar Heel State bands that almost could (including Poprocket and Temperance League), the Eyebrows are set to self-release their debut album on August 31. The 10-track Volume was produced by North Carolina legend Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement, Helium), and it displays a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the indie/college/whatever rock that’s come before it. “Avocado” is one of the standouts, and it finally answers the age-old question about what it would it sound like if the Pixies and King Missile (kids, ask your great-grandparents) jammed in the B-52s’ garage.
“I remember when we were mixing this song, as Mitch Easter, (drummer) Shawn Lynch and I were having a grand time,” says frontman Jay Garrigan of “Avocado.” “It was near the end of the mixing day, and we were celebrating our hard work with some fine Scotch. Plus, I like to think we’re all pals, as we enjoy each other’s company. I asked Mitch to make the ‘guac’—i.e. guacamole—lyric sound like something Lux Interior from the Cramps would do, and Mitch had a moment. He stopped mixing for a minute, put his hands over his face, and with a lot of space and separation he said, ‘This … song … is … so fucking stupid.’ We all laughed for a good five minutes.”
Well, even if Mr. Mitch Easter says it’s fucking stupid, “Avocado” still rocks. And we’re proud to premiere the Tyler Baum-directed video for it today at magnetmagazine.com. Grab some toast, millennials, and watch it now.
It’s hard not to think of Tulipomania as one of those 4AD bands you somehow missed back in the mid-’80s heyday of the influential British indie label. Sonically, the Philly band’s ever-evolving brand of dark, cinematic post-punk would’ve felt right at home alongside the likes of This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance. Visually, it’s an even more perfect match, as the incredibly art-conscious duo of vocalist/bassist/drummer Tom Murray and keyboardist/vocalist Cheryl Gelover (both visual artists) have utilized legendary 4AD graphic designer Vaughan Oliver for album packaging.
This purposeful intersection of music and visual art has always made Tulipomania videos stand out among those of their peers, many of whom take the friend-with-an-iPhone approach to videos rather than treat them like actual art. Murray and Gelover don’t disappoint with their latest clip for “Off The Map.” The song—which features Mitch Smith on guitar and was mixed by Mark Plati (Cure, New Order, Lou Reed)—is from a new double-a-side single with “On The Outside (Spinello Remix),” out now via Sursumcorda. As for the video, let’s just say it’s so good that it was selected for inclusion by a film festival (Aesthetica Short Film Festival) before it was even released. Not surprising given Tulipomania has had various works exhibited in film fests around the globe.
The collage-animation process for the “Off The Map” video was quite intensive for Murray and Gelover, who alternated fragmented self-portraits with imagery they pieced together, frame by frame, from thousands of individual sheets of paper. The result is a stunning visual that reinforces the contradictory nature of the song’s lyrics.
We’re proud to premiere the video for “Off The Map” today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now.
A lot of albums are termed cult classics, but the latest from Jon Bryant is the genuine article. The upcoming third (and first for Nettwerk) LP from the Halifax-born/Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is called Cult Classic, and it is just that—though not for the reasons you might think. You see, three years ago, having relocated from Seattle to Vancouver, Bryant, through the urging of a close friend, joined a cult. At first Bryant liked feeling connected to new people, but after learning about some of the shadiness the group was involved in, he left and turned his newfound fascination with cults into a concept for his next album.
Cult Classic kicks off with “Paradise,” a soft-rock gem you’d swear came out of Southern California in the mid-’70s. For the album opener’s video, Bryant teamed up with Kasey Lum (a director he shares studio space with), who came up with the concept for the clip.
“I’ve always loved his visual style and approach to the projects he works on,” says Bryant of Lum. “He really understood the vision I had for the song and what it means to me. For me, paradise is experienced when I’m out of my head. When I’m seeing the best in the people around me. When I’m seeing people for who they are and not who I judge them as. When I’m making the most of every moment with the people I love. Getting out of our heads let’s us do that. I think the video really reflects how important it is to know when we are becoming too self involved/obsessed.”
We’re proud to premiere the video for “Paradise” today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now.