Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Slyvan Esso keeps getting better with every release, including this delicious new song & video for Ferris Wheel.  Declan McKenna takes us on quite a stroll in his new video for Daniel, You’re Still a Child.  After catching Sen Morimoto opening for Lala Lala last year, I excited to see this new video for Woof coming off a new album slated for October. 

Bonus:  Seemingly out of the blue, Jessica 6 is (re?)releasing some videos from some of their best tracks!  I’ll be curious to see if this is just some YouTube catalog completion exercise, or if there’s some more news to come!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Article: The Number Ones: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”

I’m not sure when I first heard this song, but I know the drama of it has always captured me.  I loved that Stereogum gave it some treatment in their series, The Number Ones, as to remind me what a spectacle this song can be.  And speaking of spectacle, I don’t remember ever seeing this video - wow!  I have no idea what’s going on in this video, but it surely lives up to the theatrical nature of the song.  There’s much to love about the campiness of this video - except maybe the creepy blue eyed choir boys.  And if there were anything that would cement Bonnie Tyler as a gay icon, it would be this video.

"Nobody’s entirely sure what ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is about, and nobody needs to know. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ overwhelms the idea of songwriting specificity in the same way that a tidal wave overwhelms a rowboat. Spend enough time with ‘Total Eclipse,’ and you might find yourself wondering if that isn’t the only way to write songs.

The term ‘power ballad’ doesn’t adequately describe ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart,’ if only because the word ‘power’ just doesn’t have enough power. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is an extinction-level event rendered in musical form. It’s pop music as heart-pounding, chest-thumping, blood-gargling, heavens-falling passion explosion. It’s sheer spectacle. It’s fireworks and lasers and lightning and thunder. It soars and swoops and barrel-rolls. The song flies along from one fiery climax to the next, and right when it seems like it’s about to end, it takes off again and somehow becomes even bigger. Who the fuck cares what it’s about?

Jim Steinman, the writer and producer of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart,’ originally came from musical theater. But you knew that. Even if you didn’t know that, you felt it. Only someone from musical theater could’ve gone for that level of cheap-seats bombast."

(Via The Number Ones: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” - Stereogum.)

Video Day #tzachill

Troye Sivan has a new EP coming out at the end of March and released this self-directed video for the single Easy.  I’ve really been enjoying the new Sarah Jarosz album, and wanted to share her new video for Johnny.   Rufus Wainwright is finally making a return to popular music with a new album, and this visually stunning video for Devils & Angels (Hatred).

Bonus:  Max Richter presents us with some beautiful visuals, fluctuating between urban and rural, old and young, and present and past.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Disclosure announced their new release, ENERGY (out 8/28), with their typical outrageous video - pleading with us to “not f*ck up My High.”  Glass Animals also announced a new album, Dreamland (out 8/7) by releasing this socially distant video for Heat Waves.  Little Dragon just released this semi-montage video for their smooth new track “Where You Belong."

Bonus:  This new Thundercat video for Dragonball Durag is fabulously fashionable.  In it I noted the band HAIM (with a great new album out), and then found this: "new clip follows Thundercat as he attempts to woo special guests indie sibling trio HAIM, R&B singer Kali Uchis, and comedian Quinta Brunson."

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Lianne La Havas is coming out with the beautiful Can't Fight, in advance of her new self-titled album being released on 7/17!    The Avett Brothers just released their timely new video for We Americans.  Washed Out announced the release of their new album (Purple Moon, 8/7) with their new video/single for Time To Walk Away. 

Bonus:  This week we’re getting a double-shot of The Avett Brothers, who just announced The Gleam III out on August 28th.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Plants and Animals are finally (!!!!) back with this blistering, timely new track, showing us our House is On Fire.  Shamir dips his toe back into the world of pop with this great new single for On My Own.  ODESZA has a side project out with others called BRONSON, and they just released this cool new video for Heart Attack.

Bonus:  TZA House Concert Alum, Mike Edel, just stepped up his video game with this fun new video for Hello Universe.

Top New Release: Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure?

UK artist Jessie Ware just blew the top off this Summer with her anthemic disco-inspired album What’s Your Pleasure?   The minute I heard it, I loved it.  In fact, if you’re reading this, I’ve probably already sent you the link personally.  Along with the album have been a series of great videos highlighting just how danceable these songs are.

And since I don’t have much in the way of live music to share these days, I’ll take this chance to spend some time highlighting notable new releases.  Below you’ll find videos from the album, as well as links to some reviews and write-ups.  Dive in and dance out.



"On her new album, Jessie Ware sounds like the host of the kind of party you heard about in ‘70s Manhattan—velvet banquettes and powdery surfaces, mink coats and cigarette holders, and club names that were enigmatic numbers, or—post-gay liberation and pre-AIDS—sincerely promised sanctuary, paradise. You can imagine Ware taking a scene newcomer under her wing, detailing the venue’s clandestine corners, advising which watered-down liquor to avoid—and anyway, don’t you deserve champagne?


Disco has been a shared obsession of late for both chart juggernauts and Ware’s own peers, but her reverence for the era may be the most literal, down to her flash-lit portrait on the album cover, the spitting image of Warhol’s iconic polaroid of Bianca Jagger. Here, Ware is a lycanthropic party girl, coming alive under the mirrorball with breathy flirtations over disco-funk and vibrant Hi-NRG, recreated deftly by chief producer James Ford. Her wonderland is, to quote Fran Leibowitz’s one-time description of Studio 54, made for ‘sex and dancing.’” (Via Jessie Ware: What’s Your Pleasure? Album Review | Pitchfork.)

"Disco’s detractors - and during the genre’s original boom, there were many - fundamentally misunderstood what the music was for.

The rock and punk evangelicals who filled Comiskey Park for Disco Demolition Night in 1979 found it vapid and apolitical, and sometimes that was very much the case: but disco was a different kind of a response to political turmoil than those Black Flag fans deemed proper. Acts like Earth Wind & Fire and Chic turned spaces like Studio 54 into places of escape and liberation: dance music to move joints and break sweats, the reviled escapism deliberately built into euphoric music which provided respite from a racist nation, and growing inner-city poverty. ‘Good Times’ they weren’t, but disco music made the fantasy feel possible.

Jesse Ware’s fourth album sounds like it could have come from that era, and arrives after being delayed three times - for the Coronavirus outbreak, BLM protests and Juneteenth - and now escapism feels urgent again. Made in the wake of 2017’s Glasshouse, an album where she felt encumbered by commercial expectations, Ware answers with twelve fiery cuts which are brighter, salacious and disco to the core.

From the opening Giorgio Moroder synths of ‘Spotlight’, there’s little English about the sound of the record; remarkable considering the very British line-up of the production team. Clapham’s own Ware, UK DJ Benji B, Gorillaz-producer James Ford and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount conjure a rich and referential palette for the record; the title track boasting a New Wave synth line, ‘Ooh La La’ some Bowie downturned guitar vamps and ‘Soul Control’ a shamelessly corny keyboard riff straight out of Prince’s The Revolution. This is music aped by everyone from Bruno Mars to Arcade Fire, so the convincingness of songs like ‘Soul Control’ are a feat in themselves."

(Via Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure? | Album Review.)