Every record is an island. An artist's statements shouldn't always be judged on trends, the label they're on, or what other people are doing. Perhaps they shouldn't even be judged against that artist's own work. It's all too common in the current state of music journalism or criticism to hear, "This isn't as good as their old stuff," or as whatever the landmark release is in that genre. Just look at how every shoegaze record has been measured again My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Still, when a label releases two records on the same day, it's hard not to read into it, or at least wonder if there's some grand vision at work. Especially when that label is Sacred Bones, who are known for collecting skinny post-punk, black tie new wave, tar-dipped goth rock, excoriating noise, and many, many shades of psychedelia under their eye-catching triangle in the circle marker. On November 11th, Sacred Bones released two widely dissimilar records: the motorik futurism of Dream Police's Hypnotized, and the apocalyptic folk goth opera Final Days, from the mysterious Cult Of Youth.

Dream Police - Hypnotized

Dream Police

Cult of Youth - Final Days

Cult of Youth
Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
Building on his tendency of taking music video creation into his own hands, Dustin Wong has, quite appropriately, collaborated with musical co-conspirator Takako Minekawa on making the "She He See Feel" music video. The track is taken from the duo's latest record on Thrill Jockey, entitled Savage Imagination, and the imagination here is savage, indeed. Chroma-keyed imagery is overlaid upon warped, pulsing backgrounds, heightening the manic video game-inspired nature of the music -- and beneath the bedazzling and head-scratching effects of the videos lies pun-filled lyrical content about "flying over a desert via feeling, consciousness, and physics." No shit. In the Q&A interview below, both musicians speak to collaborating together, the relationship between gender roles and cutesiness in Japanese society, and concepts way more profound than one might expect from the music video.__ JAPANESE TRANSLATION BY MORGAN HARKNESS
Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
"... When we express our feelings with visual things (using emoticons and text to dissect them) instead of spoken words and letters, everything and lots of things become heavier coming out. It's all the same water. Discrimination, wars, gender issues... girlfriends, boyfriends, looking, feeling. A prism collects light, and then diffuses light. We are the same light, and we all shine in different ways." - Takako Minekawa
Philosophy and spirituality intertwine in this amazing three-part narrative for How To Dress Well's latest record, What Is This Heart?. Directed by Johannes Greve Muskat, this three-part trilogy for "Repeat Pleasure", "Face Again", and Childhood Faith In Love" touch upon dramatic themes of "how to live and love and die right, in a world that makes these things so difficult." Read on for a compare and contrast interview between How To Dress Well's Tom Krell and Muskat, as they speak about the videos themes, symbolism, and more. REDEFINE will be co-presenting a night with How To Dress Well at Portland's Holocene on August 25th, 2014. Click the poster at right for details!

How To Dress Well - "Repeat Pleasure" Music Video (Part 1 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

You have an extensive scholarly background in Philosophy. This intellectual pursuit might at first glance seem incongruous with the deep mysticism of a shamanic figure like the one you play in “Face Again". How do you reflect on and make peace with your own relationship between the mystic and the intellectual, the cerebral and the spiritual?
“Whoa this is like 100% right on; I've always been interested in how to navigate these two modes, mystical-musical and the controlled-rational-philosophical. Not sure I have a full-blown answer yet. I think they are on the one hand incongruous modes and then on the other hand, I think they can contribute to each other obliquely." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Face Again" Music Video (Part 2 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

Speaking of Philosophy, your video for "Childhood Faith in Love" seems to point to an understanding of the child almost more akin to that "child" of Nietzsche's in Thus Spoke Zarathustra -- the Child as the final stage in a number of metamorphoses, as an advanced state of self-legislation and freedom that is only attained after a good deal of hardship and deep inner searching. Are we on the right track here? If so, why is this theme to be important to touch upon at this point in your life?
"I love you, you just so totally get me :) I've spoken before about a 'second naivete' as well -- something along precisely these lines." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Childhood Faith In Love" Music Video (Part 3 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

 
Bear In Heaven - Time Between Music Video
As the Humans of New York Tumblr has been gracious enough to show the world, the population of New York City is one that is multi-ethnic, socioeconomically diverse, and resilient. Summarizing New Yorkers with blanket statements is difficult, but one thing is for certain: not a night goes by in The City That Never Sleeps that isn't worthy of documentation, exploration, and observation. For the "Time Between" music video, Bear In Heaven enlisted the help of director Nick Bentgen, who spent long nights hanging out with strangers and visiting the homes of acquaintances in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, to collect what must have been hours of observational footage. He then wove together an abstract piece of visual poetry, which plays off of the track's dramatic percussion to create a striking portrait of the beautiful and bizarre nature of New Yorkers. It's a video that just keeps on giving, views after subsequent views. In this highly informal, laugh-and-compliment-heavy Q&A interview with Bentgen and Bear In Heaven's fashionably late Jon Philpot, both banter about their thoughts on late night New York City, how confounding human nature can be, and what exactly defines a "best pizza". You can see our previous two interviews with Bear In Heaven here. Bear In Heaven - Time Between Music Video

 

Jeffertitti's Nile - No One Music Video Jeffertitti's Nile - No One Music Video
There's much that is stereotypically psychedelic about director Johnny Maroney's music video for "No One by Jeffertitti's Nile, but as with the band itself, there's much more than meets the eye. As the music video explodes from its geometric black and white beginnings into more colorful chaotic realms, every triangular prism that first catches a viewer's attention becomes supplemented by increasingly more fascinating subleties. Amidst the swirling chaos, a shamanic figure symbolically sends frontman Jeff Ramuno to his death as he levitates -- and when the madness breaks into blue-skied clarity, former band member Alyson Kennon's shadow turns from her own into that of a ballerina, recalling Disney's Salvador Dali-inspired animation, Destino. In the compare and contrast Q&A session below, director Johnny Maroney and frontman Jeff Ramuno discuss how life is surrealism, the ways in which existence flows in and out of itself eternally, and their history of psychic collaboration. They're so artistically close they even swap spit on the physical plane.Jeffertitti's Nile - No One Music VideoJeffertitti's Nile - No One Music Video
Inventions Band Interview
Having culminated in a house on the Oregon coast, Inventions' self-titled debut may not be a psychedelic record in any traditional sense, but set and setting seemed to have definitely had an effect on the outcome. The endless shimmering slate, the breeze-tussled grass, the stoic stone behemoths wading in the tide: against this backdrop, Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark T. Smith of Explosions in the Sky coalesced their energies into eight songs that bring something unexpected out of each of their established sensibilities. Invigorated by a vibe of spontaneity, Inventions unveils subtle surprises over time. Floating and fluttering amid the vapor trails of keyboard and guitar are intriguing sounds and tics not tethered to either Cooper or Smith's main projects. Unique to the album as well are the dominant beats on "Peaceable Child" and "Recipient", neither resembling the cacophonous live drumming of Explosions nor the pulse-tapping undercurrent of Eluvium. Where both of those bands' work can often present like complete statements, Inventions also sets itself apart in how open-ended it feels; a breathing, growing, glowing thing. A natural thing. So natural feeling, in fact, that it's almost surprising how long it took Cooper and Smith to decide to work together...
Shy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music Video
Talk about perfection in voyeurism! This music video for Shy Girls "Voyeur's Gaze", directed by Tony Lowe and featuring Chez Deep drag collective's Bailey Stiles, is a one-take that's all about the setting. Drawing inspiration from Russian webcam rooms, its aesthetic combines those cyber antics with the lives and times of many a boy-crazy teenage girl, to create a hazy wonderland full of stuffed animals and soft pastels. Read on, as Tony Lowe and Bailey Stiles give some words about self-love and empowerment.
Shy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music VideoShy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music Video

Lucky me; I've managed to see the French electro-surf-punk band La Femme twice in the past month! Touring the States following the release of their insane new 15-track deluxe album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, La Femme are a Parisian six-piece that encompass the city's stereotypes in...