Last night, Arcade Fire unveiled their latest single and two, yes two, music videos to accompany it. The song, called "Reflektor", is very much influenced by disco, and even features David Bowie on vocals. If you have eight minutes to spare, take a look at this video and groove out to this long, slow building jam. This single is the title track to their fourth album, also called Reflektor, which is expected to drop October 29th on Merge Records.
If you'll pardon the pun, the music video reflects the disco-themed nature of the new single. "Reflektor" features so much disco ball mirrored imagery that you'd feel right at home in a discotheque, but that doesn't mean that the video is spreading only positive vibes. Surreal imagery might make the hair on your neck stand on end as the song slowly moves along to its cinematic climax.
The second music video is actually an interactive video designed for the Google Chrome web browser. Reflektor's interactive video is the third interactive video that Arcade Fire has released, the previous videos being for "The Wilderness Downtown" and "Neon Bible". The latest installment was produced in Jamaica by Vincent Morriset, who has collaborated with Arcade Fire on other occasions. Be sure that you have a webcam and a smart phone or tablet with you if you want to get involved in the interactive video. They aren't necessarily required for the video, but they make the experience more unique. A mouse will do just fine otherwise if you forego a tablet.
Welp, now we know where Yo La Tengo comes from. Not, as we previously thought, from the stork or from Hoboken, but from an even more weird and disturbing world than New Jersey. The alternative rock band, as seen in this new video for the single "Ohm," comes ether from a long complicated mathematical equation OR a magical world where free-roaming Ira Kaplans, Georgia Hubleys, and James McNews are captured, boxed up, and shipped out in bulk.
The music video for the best and most meditative song off their recent (and my personal favorite) album Fade, "Ohm" literally dives into a universe created by Simpsons/Letterman/Lil Bush writer Donick Cary and animated by Sugarshack Animation. It's Yo La Tengo's equivalent of Yellow Submarine, a surreal place where everything has a face on it, and a baby smoking a cigar knows his way around. You just have to watch to understand.
At the same time as our intrepid protagonist explores this wacky world, a student in a classroom attempts to solve the equation of "What Is Yo La Tengo?", something we've all had to ask ourselves at some point. Apparently, it's a long calculus problem that maybe I would have been able to solve had I taken a math class since high school, which I haven't. But you can still appreciate equation parts like [Ben E. King² - B.B. King] and [California Girls/(Beach Boys - Katy Perry - David Lee Roth)], which make sense to me, sorta. If this isn't weird enough for you, the band is releasing this single as a shower curtain, so there you go.
Yo La Tengo is opening for Belle and Sebastian at Stage AE this Saturday, July 13. My greatest hope is that they will bring along their octopus-Volkswagen, and maybe give away free boxes of themselves at the show. You never know. A boy can dream.
When post-punkers get a new sense of rhythm, things brighten up a little. Such is the case with Franz Ferdinand, Scotland's premiere mopey-yet-dance-able musicians, who fell into a bit of a funk after hitting it big with songs like "Take Me Out." But their latest single, "Right Action," off their first album in four years, Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action, is a breath of fresh air.
Wacky and groove-heavy, not unlike early Talking Heads, "Right Action" is illustrated in this Jonas Odell-directed music video as a step back into the classics section of the design department. (Odell also gave his recognizable touch to the "Take Me Out" video back in 2004.) With Cold War-era instruction manual graphics, bright colors, and wonderfully skewed perspectives, "Right Action" has almost as much to look at as there is to hear. It's a tough call, but probably the best pictures are the cow diagram (divided into sections such as "right words," "sunshine," and "love") and the meticulous human skeleton that appear.
It's a sensory overload, and too many details to take in during a single viewing. But along with the fuzz-rocker B-side "Love Illumination," Franz Ferdinand seems to be heading in the right direction to reclaiming their stance as the cultural juggernauts they were in the mid-2000s.