The electric guitar starts the song “Firecracker Man” by Thorslund with feelings of anticipation about what sounds, harmonies, and lyrics will be electrified. The pulsing sounds of the drums speed up the tempo with their steady beats and sudden rapid beats in between.
Our protagonist has kept his energetic and fun spirit hidden but now he is ready to take his dancing shoes out of his pocket. With these, he is a charming man who is confident to show everyone his expressive personality. The dance is a form of expression. The shoes are a metaphor for him taking the dancing steps to express himself to people he meets. Thus, he is no longer waiting to be a firecracker man; a man who charms people with his personality and makes everyone he sees smile. He now is going to be a firecracker man!
He is tired of pretending to not be the spotlight of the dance floor as in the past, he dominated the dance floor. Once he stopped dancing, he lost his self-confidence to reveal his charming personality. He felt ordinary because he lost his will to dance, which made him feel extraordinary and unique, as implied by the description of his dancing as “funky.”
He associates wealth with his charming personality. He always imagined that his charming personality and superior dancing skills would make him wealthy. As he continued toward his goals, he kept losing his confidence. But now a surge of energy is careening through him to dance his way to wealth and the recognition he craves from everyone he meets.
He not only wants to uplift himself, but he also yearns to uplift the people he meets who will be supportive of him. He will teach them to dance so well, that their incredible, funky dance moves will not be an illusion, but a reality!
The video itself is an edgy, fun display of Thorslund’s live performance chops. Check it out below!
If you have yet to happen upon the immense talents of Connor McLaren, now is your chance. The Indianapolis-based musician just released his first full-length with the indelible Ben Kweller’s label The Noise Company. Today, we get to peep the music video for the single “Candy Rain.”
A casual, meandering pace opens the track as we delve into the love story that is “Candy Rain.” While his romantic interest is metaphorically compared to this tasty concept, momentum builds and instrumentals are layered. The song becomes more of a quintessential rock ballad than originally expected, with a hint of grunge/surf rock influence in the whirring guitars. McLaren’s voice has the same appeal as your favorite 90’s crooners, giving all of his music what seems to be an unintentional – but completely genuine – layer of added nostalgia.
By the song alone, it is quite obvious that McLaren’s musicianship and professionalism far surpass the expectations normally associated with his ripe age of 21. But diving into the music video is a whole other treat. (See what we did there?)
The artist takes an artful approach to this visual release, with isolated color palettes dancing around his shadow profile in some frames, playing with natural elements like the textures in mother nature and the sun in others. Shots of the curly-haired crooner performing in earnest, surrounded by bubbles. Then covered in paint. Then avoiding a literal candy downpour under an umbrella.
The video is a kaleidoscope dream you won’t soon forget.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES: August 17 – New York, NY – The Footlight August 26 – Normal, IL – House Show August 31 – Bloomington, IN – The Atrium September 2 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s Apartment September 9 – West Lafayette, IN – House Show September 12 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East September 14 – Boone, NC – TApp Room September 21 – Chicago, IL – Bookclub October 14 – Charleston, SC – House Show November 10 – Appleton, WI – Appleton Beer Factory December 22 – Indianapolis, IN – HiFi **Homecoming show – TICKETS
SONG CREDITS Lead Vocals – Connor McLaren Acoustic and Electric Guitar – Alec McLaren Bass and Drums – Ben Kweller Backing Vocals – Connor McLaren and Ben Kweller **Written by Connor McLaren, Alec McLaren, and Benjamin Kweller and published by Weed Funded Songs (ASCAP), Charity Chase Songs (ASCAP) and Twelve Sided Die (ASCAP)
The Barenaked Ladies are back at it with another feel-good song full of optimistic energy. “Lovin’ Life” is the Toronto rock band’s first musical release since 2021, and excitement for their comeback shines through in its accompanying rainbow-tinged music video. Band members Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, and Tyler Stewart share their unhinged enthusiasm in appreciation of life’s highs and lows, reminding us to take a step back and smell the roses.
It’s hard not to smile while listening to “Lovin’ Life”. Even though it begins bleak, since “the world could end before the end of this song,” the band quickly jumps into why it is so important to not dwell on negativity and instead focus on living in the now. The chorus introduces keyboard synths and rockin’ guitar chords for a high-energy drop. Its catchy lyrics are an anthem to relishing the present moment and all the simple joys of summer. Life is not only “sweeter than a watermelon slice” but also as delicious as a gooey piece of pizza.
The MV’s visuals jump back and forth between the band’s in-studio sessions and their onstage performance of “Lovin’ Life” during their almost-annual Last Summer on Earth tour. As 2018 inductees of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Barenaked Ladies have much to celebrate for across their 35-year musical journey. If you can’t get enough of this single, be sure to check out the Barenaked Ladies’ 2023 Last Summer on Earth tour.
In need of a pick-me-up? Have a listen to “Lovin’ Life” below:
If you hadn’t heard, Thee Oh Sees are spending a massive amount of time on the road in 2023. They kick off the UK & Ireland leg of their tour this month, with Canada in June and apparently the rest of the world through September. Thank goodness, too, as we had been missing their energy, their sound perfectly executed by band members John Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, Paul Quattrone, and Tomas Dolas.
Along with their live shows comes a re-examination of some of Thee Oh Sees’ former work. In 2012, the band performed at Emo’s East in Austin, marking their first appearance at Austin Psych Fest. This particular show is included in new vinyl releases titled Live at LEVITATION. Mixed by John Dwyer and mastered by JJ Golden, the music is being released on 12″ colored wax.
“Block of Ice” live from Emo’s East in 2012 is a remarkable example of the showmanship this incredible rock outfit has. Check out its premiere (to a mass audience) below.
SOFI TUKKER – a high-energy pop duo that infuses their upbeat anthems and party songs with deep channels of thought and acceptance – is back with the video for their latest dance track “Original Sin.”
“Original Sin” is the perfect way to introduce the world of WET TENNIS and it’s very emblematic of “the freak fam”, our community. It says: we aren’t meant to be saints. We aren’t born sinners. We’re just a bunch of freaks who make mistakes and keep trying to do our best. WET TENNIS is an acronym that stands for: “when everyone tries to evolve, nothing negative is safe” and that’s what this song is all about. We live in a troubled world, it’s not our fault if we have trouble sometimes. That’s part of what makes us human. But when we evolve together and celebrate instead of judge each other, we can move through negativity into a more optimistic way of life.
The music video – which is thrilling and dynamic in its own right – is a jolting burst of vibrance – in both color scheme and subject matter. Playing tennis in all-white garb leads to an abandonment of purity. Skin-to-skin contact, implied trysts against the backdrop of stained glass, a brief but duly noted nod to religious restrictions over the ages. It’s far more nuanced than one could expect to take in in just one watch. Explained the duo of the music video:
The “Original Sin” video is the Garden of Eden of the WET TENNIS world. It’s a place beaming with sexual freedom and colorful possibilities. At first, we see everybody in their traditional roles, wearing all white, clapping politely, acting as one “should” during a tennis match, but as the world unfolds, we see that everyone is a freak. At the end of the video, that freakiness is liberated as we all look up to the WET TENNIS statue in the sky.
We’re wearing custom tennis outfits we designed with Johnny Wujek, that have the WET TENNIS gradient scheme from orange to purple. We wanted to take the traditional aspects of the tennis aesthetic and flip it on its head to make it more colorful and wild. We have a moment of Sophie in a headdress made of tennis balls. And of course–an orgy in the confessional booth, set in front of the lush Hawaiian mountains. It was so much fun to shoot this video and create this world from our bizarre imaginations into real life. We hope it invites people to take a step away from the path they think they’re supposed to be on towards one where all their desires and colors are welcomed. And we hope it puts people into a sexy state of mind.
Country artist Ashley Ray brings many core thoughts and memories from her youth in Kansas to her unique and beautiful music. “Just a House” was inspired by her father’s memory. Her family lost him 15 years ago, but grief is not linear. Allowing it to move through her music, Ray has developed a heartwrenching take on the world, a melancholic feel to her art that helps the listener empathize deeply.
The music video – which depicts a young boy trying to raise money to support his dying grandmother – is an absolute treasure of a short film. Stephen and Alexa Kinigopoulos heard the song, and chose to pull from their own feelings and memories of loss for the video’s concept. Explains Stephen:
When I first heard this song, it triggered me in the best way. I re-lived my family’s loss. It triggered me to think of the loss and the whole process in a montage sort of way… I could see and feel what Ashley’s mom was feeling. That dug up some skeletons for me.
The video may stir up some emotions, so be aware of the company you keep while you enjoy it. 😉
Minneapolis-based rock band Hurrah a Bolt of Light returns with their new video for AN/ANIMAL 3, the single from their upcoming visual album AN/ANIMAL. With a style described as “pop music for sad people”, Hurrah blends rock, prog, ambient, and other genres to create a dense concept album in line as a return to form after the sugary polish of their last album. In a 16-minute music video spanning four tracks within segments, the album brings a cinematic experience combining atmospheric visuals with cryptic lyrics and a murky vibe. AN/ANIMAL 3 represents the darkest portion of the album’s narrative.
The track combines a visceral clash of garage-rock-inspired guitars with instrumental breaks reminiscent of progressive rock, spawning a beautiful yet eerie sound enhanced by its content centered on despair and death. The music video reflects its macabre vibe, featuring a man kidnapped and attempting to escape his captor, ultimately facing brutal consequences. The cinematography is a perfect complement to the song’s horror-esque tone with a sense of surrealism as the video’s events occur in a loop. Admits the artist of the track:
“An/Animal 3” is the third piece of the four part puzzle that is AN/ANIMAL. For this point in the story, I wanted to create a song that was frantic, frenetic, confrontational and wild. Key changes and mood shifts run amok, land, and then veer off elsewhere. The video mirrors those vibes as well and shows both the protagonist and antagonist in various states of distress and agitation that conclude with their violent meeting. The visuals only scratch the surface of what the story as a whole might mean. It’s a bit unclear on purpose.
I wrote the music and recorded nearly all the instruments for this song and AN/ANIMAL in general. Except for the drums and some keyboards because I am not that good at drums and some keyboards. This part of the movie was particularly difficult to film and execute because I had to a) be in my underwear for the majority of the film and b) be chased outside in late fall wearing said underwear. It was very cold.
Check out the premiere of the new video below and stay tuned for AN/ANIMAL, which is slated to drop in January 2022.
Brooklyn-based indie rock trio Anna Sun illustrates the euphoric and unforgettable feeling of finding true love with the video for their debut single “Mine.” The pastel-singed visuals follow vocalist and guitarist Sam Aneson’s endeavors to ensure her lover understands how confident she is in their relationship and how much they mean to her at the end of the day.
Accompanied by performances from bassist Andrew Shewaga and drummer Nikola Balać, the video encapsulates the dreamy, vibrant energy from the track while also adding a layer of lighthearted humor that helps it stand out from the crowd and any other productions as of late.
I started this song with the intention of writing a bubblegum love song, and it turned into this larger than life, kind of romanticization of codependency. I think there’s something overly optimistic about the style of this song that matches the lyrical content.
I spent so much of my life obsessing about being in a relationship. It was shoved down my throat in the media that I consumed growing up as a girl. Prince Charming and all that. It became exhausting, and it started distracting me from bettering myself. I realized my programming at some point in my twenties and made a distinct effort to not make romance my number one priority. This song came out of the concept in my head I was drugged with my whole life.
The speaker is making her current relationship out to be absolutely perfect, the missing puzzle piece to her life. “I can do anything now, since I’m with you! I’ve been waiting forever for someone like you, and now I have everything I could ever want!” There’s a part two to this song, and it’s a rude awakening.
I have always struggled with codependency, and I think this song was my attempt to take the piss out on myself. The idea that another person being your partner can make you invincible is not a very healthy concept, in my opinion. I mean, I don’t know about you, but the only way I’m going to stand in the rain and not get wet is with an umbrella, not because I have a boo.
Check out our exclusive premiere below, and then show the band some love over on Facebook!
Producer: Sam Aneson Co-Producers: Nikola Balać, Andrew Shewaga Director: Sam Aneson, Nick Snow, Stephanie LeBlanc DP: Nick Snow Stylist: Liana Mack Editor: Sam Aneson, Nick Snow
Alternative rock band Keep It a Secret returns with their new single “Middle with My Thumbs Up”, as catharsis for listeners. With its mix of soul-piercing screams and whisper-esque vocals over a bombastic guitar-laden instrumental, the band captures the feeling of an emotional roller coaster as they lament over heartbreak and loves that were never quite meant to be. Over a chorus of “Left for dead, it takes time to get away”, the band reluctantly accepts a withdrawal from romance to escape a self-destructive cycle that could claim their sanity and any hope of starting anew. The opening line “I’ve been watching you destroy me” is a sign of infatuation morphing into a ticking time bomb of dependence. The band describes:
‘Middle with my Thumbs Up’ is a dichotic look back on the melancholy of lost love. Although seemingly separate emotions, anger and sadness are often a self-destructive loop that many people experience from heartbreak in all its forms. This song incorporates both intimate, almost whispered vocals and cathartic gritty yells to illustrate these feelings.
The video shows a masked couple in separate colors attempting to embrace within a decrepit household, which captures the realization of disconnect and blindness clouding a relationship. It’s as if one’s own love can end up haunting them and living inside as an unwanted guest for some time.
Check out the video for “Middle with my Thumbs Up” and be on the lookout for Keep It a Secret’s next project.