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Mid-March Videos Pt 2: Serious

Smoke Season is going big with their videos: the second in a series tackles the difficulties of veterans, PTSD, and reacclimation. Heavy, but very worthwhile.

This video game / sci-fi narrative drops you into the story en media res and takes it from there. Moderat should be commended for going for such a risky, difficult proposition in commissioning this type of video. The risk pays off in spades.

Is SATE’s “What Did I Do?” video funny? Is it sad? I got all the way through and didn’t really figure it out. It’s compelling, though.

“Gyroscope” by Over Sands is another clip that ends on an ambiguous, thoughtful note. My wife and I had separate interpretations, which I think is a good metric by which art should be judged: it resonates in multiple ways.

I have little idea what’s going on in Julia Jacklin’s “Pool Party” video, except that there’s definitely some relationship dynamics being played out here. Whatever is happening, it kept me watching until the end.

Bits and Bobs: Rock

Bits and Bobs: Rock

1. “Dark” – Birds of Night. Dark is the massively impressive synthesis of Springsteen’s road-readiness, Arcade Fire’s sweeping drama, and The Walkmen’s trebly guitars and keening vocals. This is an impressive rock tune.

2. “Cooler” – Sancho. Why does some Weezer-esque rock push my emotional buttons and others not? I have no idea. But I heard the guitars, the vocals, and the start-stop moment that clinches the thing in this song, and I just got all mushy inside.

3. “Warrior” – SATE. If this jet-fueled, towering-guitar rocker doesn’t get your blood moving, I don’t know what will. There’s enough soul, sass, and vocal theatrics in this track to power four or five lesser tunes.

4. “Legend” – Parlement. If the sound of summer is a big, fat Queens of the Stone Age guitar riff, Parlement has a song for you. The straightforward, stomping rhythms are about as far from that other Parliament as you can be.

5. “I’m Dying on the Square” – Break the Bans. Thrashy, hoarse-throated protest punk from a Russian national that starts out with spoken words clips (that I can only assume are political/news clips)? This is pretty much what punk is for, y’all.

6. “Modern Phenomenon” – Northern American. Big, comforting synths welded to a downtempo rock song that sounds like it’s been through the Radiohead/The National/Bloc Party school of music.

7. “Optimists” – Mittenfields. Glammy, theatrical vocals can make anything sound more glam than it is–Mittenfields is laying down the rock, though. Check that sweet guitar solo.

8. “Mirror North” – Whoop-szo. Starts out all quiet and ponderous, but it ratchets up to a brittle, abrasive post-metal roar pretty quickly. If you’re into soft/loud/soft, jump on it.

9. “Cowboy Guilt” – Torres. The clear winner of SXSW this year, Torres was unknown to me before the event and absolutely everywhere afterwards. This tune, which deftly balances a minor-key gravitas and quirky melodic capriciousness, shows why she’s the big thing in indie-rock right now.