Geneva Jacuzzi’s Casket is a short film that has been described as a “futuristic head trip” by the director of the film, Chris Friend, and no other description rings more true. Within a little over six minutes the viewer is delightfully bombarded with impeccable visuals that evoke the feeling one would get when reading a Philip K. Dick novel. Geneva Jacuzzi’s song “Casket” itself sounds like the kind of music replicants from the film Blade Runner would listen to. It’s robotic but filled with personality as if it were an android that has become self-aware. Chris Friend understands this music, so he perfectly mirrors the song’s tone with dystopian imagery, but instead of relying solely on trippy imagery, this film has a plot featuring characters with magnificent costumes and makeup, all played by Geneva Jacuzzi herself. The plot is intriguing, but frustrating, frustrating because it’s hard to follow due to the constant visuals being thrown at you, but that frustration is part of the film’s charm. Upon watching it my frustration got me thinking about the idea of “control.” Control is something we all like to think we have at any given moment. Much like the visuals in the film that derail your goal to follow the plot all the way through, life is filled with distractions and left turns that render us vulnerable as we try to work around the obstructions to reach our goals, and who knows how many secret forces are already controlling us right now. How does this relate to the film? Well, what is the sole purpose of robots? To control them. To have them do things for you to make your life stress free and convenient, but what happens when your Pleasure-U BioDrone contracts a mental disease and you’re forced to amputate its head? Well, our main character in the film who goes by the name Kate Shaw faces this dilemma, making the decision to keep the body of the drone alive in what is called a “Pleasure Center Casket” as an attempt to regain control of the situation, but sure enough that control diminishes as the BioDrone’s head continuously calls to Kate’s brain with hallucinatory visions. This could symbolize all of things that are used to brain wash us from various forms of media, constantly telling us how to think and how to feel. If that isn’t control, then I don’t know what is. Maybe that’s not even close to what director Chris Friend was getting at with this film, but this film is the work of a director who clearly has no interest in spelling things out for the viewer, so in the end you’re forced to formulate your own interpretation, and even if your interpretation is wrong, that’s okay, because you have no control over that either.
It’s been clear from the start that Swedish Post-Punk outfit “Viagra Boys” don’t take themselves too seriously. I mean, just their name alone is an indication of that, but that isn’t to say their music doesn’t have its place in contemporary Rock. Ah yes, “Rock.” What does that name mean anymore? It’s a vague term indeed. In this day and age where fusions and genre bending are commonplace, there’s enough proof for me that this is the most exciting time for music, and contrary to popular belief, I feel that “Rock” music and its countless sub genres are doing something exciting spawning younger bands drifting further and further away from traditionalism and music elitism. The spirit of “Punk” resides in “Hip Hop” in this day and age, the days of pristine and clean pop stars are fading away and now we’ve reached a more realistic “Pop” world that isn’t afraid to celebrate sexuality in its many forms, and just about anyone can produce their own music in the comfort of their own home. How is that not exciting? “Viagra Boys” in spirit are a celebration of modern music. However, I highly doubt the band see themselves as that. The band that once was considered the resurgence of “Punk” are so “Punk” that they don’t give a flying fuck about “Punk.” They just want to make noise, and making noise is what they do best, so that’s why it’s no surprise that they explore new territory on their new album Welfare Jazz, combining their signature rough and raw dive bar Art Punk with elements of “Jazz,” “Electronic” music, and “Country.” This album truly represents the idea of genre bending. Their uncompromising “Post-Punk” is still present, but the band cleverly incorporate elements of “Jazz” with woodwind instruments, dominating bass grooves that are both bluesy and funky, and southern twang that surprisingly fits quite well in the chaos, even going as far as covering John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” with Amy Taylor of “Amyl and the Sniffers.” This album can even be considered the band’s most mature effort yet. Lead singer Sebastian Murphy gets a little more personal lyrically, jumping into self-realization and working out the flaws of someone who recognizes his wrongdoings. “I’d stop drinking and gambling to earn back your love,” laments Murphy on “Into the Sun,” and following this up with the synth-heavy “Creatures” is a moment that perfectly sums up this album. Likening his old self to a creature, he views himself as someone who’s at the bottom of the barrel. It takes courage to be completely honest about yourself like that. I don’t know the man personally, but whether or not he really was this person, or if he’s just singing from the point of view of a character he’s created, it’s impactful either way. As mature as this album is, well, whatever “mature” means in “Viagra Boys” world, this album is still fun from beginning to end, because at the end of the day, we do need to frequently work on ourselves yes, but we can’t forget to have fun. I think the band even knows that when they reach a point where they take themselves too seriously, that’s when it’s time to call it quits.
2020 was undoubtedly a strange year, but out of the ashes of what used to be the norm pre-COVID, arose a resurgence of fresh new talented artists to discover in the midst of an uncertain and panic-driven way of living that has forced many of us to stay home, so what better way to stay hopeful than to discover new music with all of this free time? French artist BLISS MY HEART is one of the exciting up and coming artists who has garnered much of our attention thanks to her superb E.P. Morningstar, a release that showcased her unique voice and immense attention to detail with immaculately produced “Electropop.” It’s hard not to feel a sense of relief or comfort when hearing her music, and her new single “Latigo Canyon” is no exception. With a beautiful contrast of melancholia and melodic upliftment, the song is a powerful ode to her grandfather, and her new music video for the song powerfully reflects the positive energy of the track. She has also partnered with “Green Ticket Mx,” an environmentalist organization dedicated to helping our environment flourish with reforestation. After each 150 views, 1 tree will be planted in Mexico, so tell everyone you know about this video so everyone can listen to good music for a good cause. You can watch the music video for “Latigo Canyon” below:
At this point in their career Hip Hop duo “Atmosphere” shouldn’t be sounding this refreshed and inspired with new ideas, but here we are over 20 years after the group’s formation and the two have surprised us all by sonically exploring new territories one with an old worn out cassette copy of Headshots Vol. Se7en would never see as a possibility for a new change in sound. I’ve never heard so many synthesizers on an “Atmosphere” record, let alone synthesizers that evoke the spirit of 80s “Horror.” Producer Anthony Davis drawing influence from “Horror” isn’t completely out of character, considering much of his early work featured samples from classic Horror films such as Night of the Living Dead, Suspiria, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and The Shining, but this deep dive into dark synth-driven Electro is a massive surprise. As for Slug, he isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but he solidifies his status as the ultimate MC who can unsparingly reveal his vulnerability and rap his ass off at the same time. This is the best “Atmosphere” has sounded in years.
The old “Siouxsie and the Banshees” classic “Happy House” has gotten a dancey makeover by London-based Electronic producer “Common Flaws,” and it’s a dancefloor ready cover that stays true to the original all while putting a new synth-driven House-flavored spin on it. You can watch the music video for “Happy House” below:
“Everything is Weird in America” isn’t exactly a new song from Hannah Rogers’ “Pixx” project, the track was featured on her debut album The Age of Anxiety back in 2017, but the sentiment of the song still rings true. After three years, Rogers has finally released a video she had shot for the song, and now seems like the best time to release it, because right now things are incredibly strange here in America. You can watch the music video for “Everything is Weird in America” below:
Yes. You read that correctly. “Gorillaz” continue their unbeatable streak of impeccable singles with episode six of their “Song Machine” series featuring THE Robert Smith of “The Cure.” The track is titled “Strange Timez,” which is fitting considering the bonkers all-out shitfest of a year we’re living in right now. Oh 2020, what happened? You were the chosen one. “Strange Timez” is everything you’d want from a “Gorillaz” and Robert Smith collab and then some. You can listen to “Strange Timez” below:
Today “New Order” have shared their first new music since their 2015 album Music Complete. It’s a track titled “Be a Rebel,” and about the song frontman Bernard Sumner has stated, “In tough times we wanted to reach out with a new song. We can’t play live for a while, but music is still something we can all share together. We hope you enjoy it… until we meet again.” You can listen to “Be a Rebel” below:
Jessie Ware released her fourth album What’s Your Pleasure? almost a month ago and I still listen to it daily. It’s utterly infectious from beginning to end and is quite possibly the best Pop album released this year by far. Jessie Ware has released music videos for the majority of the tracks off the album, and they are as addicting as the songs themselves. Mirroring the Disco grooviness of the tracks, each video is an incredible visual experience with much emphasis on the liberating nature of dancing. Her new music video for the title track “What’s Your Pleasure?” is no exception. It’s sexy, colorful, and features more and more dancing of course. You can watch the music video for “What’s Your Pleasure?” below:
Gorillaz continue their “Song Machine” series by dropping another banger of a track titled “PAC-MAN” which features “Top Dawg Entertainment’s” ScHoolboy Q. The music video pays homage to the classic video game which just recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary, but the track itself is a funky groove that shifts once ScHoolboy Q comes in with a fiery verse. You can watch the music video for “PAC-MAN” below: