Spider Rockets are a band with a clear sense of identity. Hailing from Hazlet, New Jersey, and creating music with all the attitude and edges of the area, Spider Rockets are coming to take over.
So, for the record, is the anime protagonist of their video for “Rip Your Heart Out”. She’s tough and beautiful — and she catches the eye of a headphones-clad guy who is out with his friends. Soon, the blossoming relationship shifts to something else, something much more dangerous. When the giant spider comes out to play, the joyful amusement park setting turns to something sickly sweet.
All the while, rock and roll guitar pulls the song along at a quick pace while gritty, powerhouse vocals narrate the story. “I’m not here to change your mind,” vocalist Helena Cos makes clear, “but I will rip your heart out.” High density rock is here, and it’s not letting you go.
“Rip Your Heart Out” comes off Spider Rockets’ fifth album, Along Came a Spider. To hear more from Spider Rockets, you can find them on their website, SoundCloud, and Facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter for more music and news.
Shawna Virago writes anti-folk anthems with a country flair. This is exemplified on “High Road No. 6”.
The San Francisco singer/songwriter has long been making a name for herself. She was one of the first openly transgender women to perform and tour nationally, and her accomplishments as a published writer have given her a storytelling edge. “Trouble started when I slept with the mayor,” she delivers on the track, “and the mayor’s wife.”
The song is punctuated with jangly guitars that set the country, twangy mood. The song has a bounce to it, showcased in the choreographed dance moments in the video. On screen, we see Virago and some fishnet-clad cowboys shuffle across the screen. Always, however, Virago is the one in focus, and often the one controlling the gaze.
If you’re looking for the space where punk, country, and a bunch of fun collide, look no further than Shawna Virago and her smoothly energetic “High Road No. 6”. This is a track to knock boots to.
Before Covid-19, Makes My Blood Dance were aptly making everyone’s plasma groove with their high-energy live shows and propulsive volume. “Communion” has been the band’s closer since its conception. And rightfully so: this is an anthem full of interactive shouts housed in an epic journey.
For this reason, the clip for the radio edit feels like time travel. Being packed in a bar while the music hovers around you, calling out the “I!” and “Why!” refrain along with the band — these are the dreams of the past and future. In an act of generosity, Makes My Blood Dance have gifted the world with that experience, even if it’s coming through the computer screen.
But this band doesn’t play anything too straightforward; innovation is in the bones of the disco-metal quartet. The live shots in the clip are pressed against imagery that is sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, and always perfectly synced. Directors Evan Russell Saffer and John Christian Polimeni make sure to keep the audience on their toes, hopefully thrashing along.
The song itself is a smorgasbord of big ideas: how do we separate our fears, anxieties, and pain from our actions — or even our reality? It’s a commonality we share as humans. Makes my Blood Dance make it clear that they have no interest in erasing these feelings, but rather have a desire to channel and hold them. In the background, a dog barks, a cymbal reverberates, and the lyrics strike home.
Although Papi Shiitake covers some heartbroken territory with “Do What You Say”, the video for the song carries themes of revival and perseverance.
Papi Shiitake is a Brooklyn-based producer and musician, but he also excels in directorial vision. As a director and artist, he gives his collaborators creative freedom. The result of his collaboration with dancer and choreographer Jadée Nikita is her stunning return to performance since the beginning of the pandemic. “Do What You Say” shows her moving to the song among images of the natural world. The cuts, blends, and split screen effects are introduced with grace.
The song itself is as smooth as Nikita’s moves. It flows across a room, so lush that you would be forgiven to miss the melancholic content of the lyrics for a moment. The vocals are close, carrying the melody along the jangly wash. The catchiness is in the revolving patterns of sound. In visual and audio spaces, Papi Shiitake gleams.
Owls & Lions have some lessons to share, and they are using their gifts for song-crafting to do it.
“Take the High Road” comes off the New Jersey trio’s debut EP, There’s a Light, which was produced at Daxxit Sound Studios. With Jay Della Valle’s vocals rubbing against smoother, more minimal melodies at first, the song slowly expands into something grand. Strings and a chorus build up to give the song lift. This is Americana-steeped rock with a message: in a world built on increasing conflict, how can we find our way to the good?
The accompanying video also begins in simplicity and shifts. Illustrator/animator Nathan Morrow lets line-work figures wander through a forest together, hopping over logs as night falls. But as they travel, the world around them becomes more complicated until at last they are faced with a final obstacle: a literal high road to the sky.
Jay Della Valle, Nicole DeLoi, and Kevin Walters are generous with their advice, and even more generous in their compositional skills. Or as Della Valle sings, “How’s that for free education?”
Young Thug has been championing Kooly Bros for some time, and now he’s putting his own massive reputation and grammy-winning vocals where his mouth is and bolstering the fun that is the single “Drunk Mess”.
For all the chaos of the lyrical content, “Drunk Mess” is excellently executed and produced. The pop-rap song is melodic with a minimalistic hook and driving vocal force. The rhythm is contagious. Everything except the meaning is polished and crisp, providing a juxtaposition to what is unfolding on the screen.
The music video expands on the fun. Kooly Bros G Fresh and Sanders swing around Atlanta as if it were their own. They evoke the name of the song, making a mess of a convenience store with dancers backing them up. When the song pauses and Young Thug himself is called up, we realize that there is still one sober voice in the room. That is, until the party really begins.
“Drunk Mess” is an exciting taste of what is to come from the rise of Kooly Bros and another classic Young Thug performance to add to your list of faves. To hear more from Kooly Bros, you can find them on their SoundCloud and Twitter page. You can also find Young Thug on his SoundCloud and Twitter.