VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Okay Kaya “Dance Like U”

I was familiar with Kaya Wilkins’ Instagram before I was even aware of her musical career under the moniker Okay Kaya. The Norwegian model/musician/actress captivated me with her online persona, a collage of moments she turns into engaging imagery. The world she shares through her social media was similar to anyone’s, but her honest depiction of life somehow made the mundane comical in its realness.

Her songwriting stands on a very similar sentiment. Kaya sings real, yet comedically told stories about life – or some alternate, imagined version of it – from a feminine perspective. Within her lyrical musings she discusses personal anecdotes about faking orgasms, failed attempts at relationships, and getting an IUD.

Recently featured on King Krule’s acclaimed 2017 LP THE OOZ and Porches’ The House, Okay Kaya is also in the midst of prepping the release of her own debut. The video for her latest single “Dance Like U” continues a storyline which began with her first single, “IUD.” She teamed up with NYC-based filmmaker Adinah Dancyger to create the strangely surreal video series, a dreamlike portrayal of a concept Wilkins had been playing around with in her mind for some time before setting the idea to film. The scenes create a persona haunted by a twin born out of past trauma.

There is something akin to a thriller that coats the experience of these videos. While Okay Kaya doesn’t seem drastically disturbed by her “twin,” there is an element of discomfort that looms in the familiarity of the two figures. Throughout the video, Wilkins interacts with this alternate version of herself, floating in and out of the house, being watched, and simultaneously becoming the voyeur.

Some moments seem as though we are observing a tender interaction between herself and what we might assume is her subconscious. She dances with her twin and shares a moment spinning around the room. It creates an intimate feeling, as though watching a child dance with their own reflection, wishing for the better version of themselves to come to life.

When, at the end of the end of the video, the alter (or inner) ego leaves the room, Kaya leaves the viewer guessing which version of herself is left behind. 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Car Seat Headrest “Vincent”


The video description for Car Seat Headrest‘s “Vincent” is simply: “Will plays the guitar while a guy has a bad time.” That’s about as concise as anyone could get, but the song is layered with a lot more meaning, imagery and emotion. It looks like Will Toledo, the creator and frontman of Car Seat Headrest, has given detailed explanations of the song’s lyrics online, but in the context of the official video, the words tell a story about how and why one drink can turn into way too many.

Scenes switch between a house party where Toledo performs and the apartment of “Vincent”‘s main character, a guy who looks like he’s been working in an office all day. It’s not clear if the party is something he’s trying to relive, or just in his own head. As the song begins with long, deliberate strums of distorted guitar, he pours himself a drink in his empty house. He looks sad when he’s sober, and Toledo repeats, “Half the time, I want to go home.” Then the booze kicks in, and so does the music: There’s the long, drawn-out static of guitar feedback, restless drums, and the sadly serious vocals of Toledo immersed in it all. Horns swirl around his voice when he chants, “It must be hard to speak in a foreign language/Intoxicado, intoxicado.” The band knows how to pull back and surge ahead at the right moments, and does so frequently, never settling until “Vincent” is over. It’s chaotic and messy, and embodies the video’s character as he loses restraint and gets completely wasted. At one point he unpacks a suitcase that’s filled only with liquor, a clear metaphor about replacing emotional baggage with booze.

Though the video is pretty dark, there are moments of subtle humor, like when the main character drunkenly cuddles a cat or when Toledo refers to playing a guitar as “holding a noise machine.” The video ends with the guy stripping down to his underwear and staggering to Toledo’s microphone as the crowd looks on, disgusted. If this last scene accompanied a different song, it might have comedic potential. But, instead of relieving the tension by making it a laughable moment, “Vincent” reaches for something that’s uncomfortable, but better.

Drink responsibly, kids.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Wolkoff “New York Grand”


Captivating by design: That’s how Joan Wolkoff describes a lover in “New York Grand.” And just like she was, the song’s video pulls you in with images that, on the surface, are bold and pretty. But, you’ll realize they’re too perfect to be real when the backgrounds fracture and fall apart, and Wolkoff shifts and dissolves from one persona to the next as she sways. The music, including a gentle shower of synths and a heart beat-like bass, attempts to cover up the existential crisis she faces: “I fight for you, tear myself in two,” she whispers as she morphs, from blending in with beige wallpaper, to a bold, modern look, then covered in glitter and draped in a headscarf. Finally, all versions of her blur together as she becomes lost in the search for someone else’s ideal of beauty and perfection. 

Originally from Toronto, Wolkoff now resides in Brooklyn. “New York Grand” is the final video from Wolkoff’s Talismans EP, and was directed by her sister Zoe. Check out the video below:

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Cassandra Violet “Lady”

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Folk pop singer Cassandra Violet came out with a new music video for the track “Lady” from her upcoming Body & Mind EP, to be released this coming January.

Inspired by the infamous cat-calling video documenting the verbal and sexual harassment we femmes in the city know all too well, Violet portrays a young woman helpless to the control of a male cult leader.  While the period garb, desolate backdrop, and hazy effects might set the video in the past, when the two sisters escape the oppression of the cult leader, they overlook a modern city, fearful of what awaits them.

Thus, the story hauntingly answers the question of what it’s like to be a woman in society, even to this day.

Violet’s vocal prowess is reminiscent of folk pioneer (and fellow blunt-banged beauty) Joni Mitchell, with her effortless command of the drum-powered build up that helps drive the narrative through.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Smoke Season “Bees”


The music video for “Bees” by Smoke Season is as trippy as you can get. The figures of Jason Rosen (formerly of Honor Society) and vocalist Gabrielle Wortman (from TEMP3ST) stand in front of a wall of swirling light, their shadows bending and twisting, their bodies morphing and multiplying. It fits the psychedelic sound of the song, which features the rhythm of heartbeat-like guitar chords, echoing voices and heavy breathing. The bees in question are probably attracted to the honey-like quality of Wortman’s voice, which is sweet and light while she sings a descending melody during the verses, then erupts during the chorus with the slightest bit of twang: “I smell the bees, I smell the bees/you get the honey without the sting.”

Why bees? Well, they’re kind of a metaphor for a tumultuous romance, if you think about it. You may get something sweet from putting up with them, but most likely, you’re just going to get stung.

Check out the video for “Bees” below.


VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Chelan “Before It All”


Dig the fresh dirt and check out the music video for Chelan‘s “Before It All.” The new video is the first off  the Californian electro-pop duo’s new LP Equal Under Pressure via Echo Phono. The video amps you up from the first frame with celebrating beats over harmonic vocals framed with kaleidoscope camera work.

Chelan is composed of Jen Grady and Justin Hosford. Most of what you hear was created in Hosford’s studio in the high mojave desert, which explains the terrific trippy nature cinematography, as does learning that Hosford composes films scores while Grady teaches classical music. Joining the energies of a classical background and a knack for the video world allows the two to create videos such as this, that allow you to see all that their music makes you feel.

Lyrically, the song focuses on modern relationship struggles, and other sorts of anxieties that come with being a 2015 human. Some warped problems for the emotional human of today, and Chelan presents them beautifully in this video with delightfully warped shots to chill your eyeballs on as your heart enjoys the music.

Watch “Before It All” below.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Happy Lives, “Marry Me”

happy lives

Art Rock duo, Happy Lives  (Julian Beel & Mike Lande), make self-described stripped down “neo pop”. Though much of what they do is conceptually bare bones, the result is invariable addictive–an amalgam of lo-fi grit and musical complexity. Their newest single and accompanying video, “Marry Me”, follows suit with what they do best, with a slow, grungy bass lines anchoring the track throughout, minimalist electric guitar melodies, crashing drums and Lande’s dry, straightforward rap bringing the whole thing together like super glue.

The video focuses on Lande as he recites the track’s lyrics. Getting up close and personal with him in this manner sucks us into his psyche like a siren’s call. It appears as if he’s truly attempting to communicate something to his audience, adamantly and sincerely. I’m not sure quite what it is he’s conveying, however that’s part of the video’s mystery and charm, and keeps me pressing replay over and over again. Its overall simplicity, focus, and beguiling aesthetic puts it smack at the top of my best-of list for 2014.

See for yourselves her, via Youtube.

The band will be performing on 12/14 at Baby’s All Right.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: The Bulls “Come Unwound”

The Bulls - photo by Josh Giroux

Happy day after Thanksgiving. Let’s fade away from sweaters and forced family relations and return to head-in-the-blogosphere normalcy with a viewing of Los Angeles duo The Bulls “Come Unwound.” Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll is a cliché for a reason, the trio go together like turkey, stuffing, with a dollop of gravy. Stick with weed and red wine for this one, as far as this video is concerned sex and rock ‘n’ roll are a delicacy to be savored rather than substance to be abused. Yet speaking of abuse, the bondage-themed video uses shibari (the ancient Japanese form of rope bondage) to illustrate the ethereal sounds of Anna’s voice paired with Marc’s strumming. An anonymous woman dressed in a ghostly white body suit and dominatrix black heels sways to the lovely music as beautifully intrinsic knots tie across her body with bold red rope. Laced through the bondage scenery is Anna, singer and multi-instrumentalist and Marc the guitarist in leather jackets in an empty warehouse that just as easily could have been used for a shoot. Like that time I wrote about group sex while wearing a gingham sundress and my hair up in a bun, the video uses (my favorite) artistic technique of meshing the traditionally beautiful with the perversely taboo. In The Bull’s case, it’s a blonde playing the violin with arms tied in scarlet bondage ropes. The soft shoegaze yings as BDSM imagery yangs. Take a break from Black Friday online shopping and watch the video below (then talk dirty in French).

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Boyfriend “Like My Hand Did”

Boyfriend New Orleans rapper


This is the way you’d imagine Tina Belcher growing up: she’s an elementary school teacher by day and a raunchy internet rap sensation by night, her inventive rhymes equal parts lewd and literate. Except this isn’t the plot of a long-lost Bob’s Burgers episode – it’s the true story of New Orleans performer Boyfriend, minting a new kind of hip-hop couched in satire, cabaret, and sex-positivity.

Dubbed the “rap game Bette Midler,” Boyfriend takes as many cues from Vaudeville vets as she does from Ke$ha and Kitty Pryde. Clever turns of phrase are as central to her appeal as her painstakingly thrifted wardrobe and Sally Jesse-esque eyewear. The nerdy aesthetic makes her feel somehow more accessible than other artists of her ilk; she owns her quirks rather than trying to come off as something she isn’t. Pushing that honesty to its most candid point, Boyfriend knowingly tackles topics ranging from period sex to masturbation to how to be Swanky on a budget, her wry tone akin to any Broad City punchline.

Boyfriend is known for her outrageous and stylish YouTube clips, a tradition that began with visuals she self-produced to herald the release of her debut EP I’m Your Boyfriend almost two years ago. “Like My Hand Did” is Boyfriend’s latest offering and it stays true to form, giving us lots to look forward to when her full length finally drops later this year. It’s a blistering kiss-off to a partner who failed to please, self-pleasure being preferable to his paltry efforts. The retro clip-art graphics and darker lyrics give the track a creepier vibe than we’ve seen from Boyfriend thus far, hinting that there’s some snarl behind her Granny-panties gimmick.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks “Strange Colores”

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Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks’ newest video for “Strange Colores” is a creepy, kaleidoscopic mini film befitting the band’s name. The trio, made up of Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, The Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian and Ponytail’s Jeremy Hyman, are releasing their debut album, Enter the Slasher House, on April 8 via Domino Records.

The video, directed by Olivia Wyatt, has a low-budget feel and primarily involves epileptic cutting between quick shots of lights and various colors. We catch fleeting glimpses of the three band members decked in Halloween-style plastic masks, performing against a colorful skull display. It’s like a trippy, Dia de los Muertos-themed haunted house. The whole thing is a perfect match for the slightly schizophrenic and lo-fi tune. Watch it below!

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This Stone Is Starting To Bleed


In preparation for the release of their debut full-length, here’s this week’s featured video: Roman Remains’ “This Stone is Starting to Bleed.” The electronic pop duo is the side project of English band The Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss and Toby Butler, who got together with director Marcus McSweeney to bring their first single to life.

“This Stone is Starting to Bleed,” the first track off of the upcoming Zeal, sounds both primordial and futuristic, earthy and industrial, manifested in the video by a shaman character dressed heavily in “native” garb as well as a welding helmet and gloves. He performs a sort of fire ritual on a rocky beach, clouded by a flood of colorful smoke and watched from afar by Moss and Butler.

For the upcoming record, Moss drew inspiration from her travels—from Los Angeles to the Himalayas—saying “You can’t miss out on the metaphors that all the terrain and colour provide, the cornucopia but the shit and glorious untamedness of it too,” which speaks to the visuals in the video as well. Check it out below and keep an eye out for Zeal, due out March 4th on H.O.T. Records Ltd.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1/13: Trentemøller “Gravity”


Danish indie-slanted electronic musician Trentemøller has debuted the video for “Gravity,” the second track off his 2013 album Lost. This video is the story of a day in the life of Mr. Carpool, played by Oscar Isaac (recently of Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis), as he walks the shoulder of a Los Angeles highway, advertising his services as an extra passenger for single drivers who want to fast-track into the carpool lane. Isaac’s title role in Inside Llewyn Davis depicts a down and out folk singer who hitchhikes to New York with no money; in “Gravity,” Mr. Carpool takes on the role of companion, road trip buddy, and confidant.

The relationship between driver and passenger begins ambiguously, with Isaac in disheveled businessman apparel, carrying a briefcase, as the sun rises over the LA highway system. Trentemøller’s staid, pulsing beats suggest a reflective loneliness, with a backdrop of a ticking clock and high vocals that trace placid arches over the music.

Mr. Carpool’s first customer, a harassed looking middle aged man, shoves a life-size doll out of the passenger seat as Carpool shoves into the car. From there on, Isaac’s character is privy to all the eccentricities of people alone in their cars: drivers scream on cell phones, blast their radios, make jokes, eat snacks, cry, and offer him hits off a joint. We don’t hear anything of this, of course; “Gravity” swells and harmonizes as it progresses, blurring together into a representation of the digressions and experiments of the day. By the video’s end, it seems as if “Gravity” has become the soundtrack to a life as viewed from the passenger seats of strangers’ cars. Though Mr. Carpool charges a ten dollar fee for his services, it quickly becomes apparent that he’s just as valuable as a companion as he is an extra body to qualify the car for a space in the car pool lane. We see his drivers soliciting his advice, shaking his hand, or asking him to check their make up.

Like “Gravity” itself, this music video speaks to themes of isolation and togetherness, and easily how a business arrangement gives way to personal interaction. The highway, an apt metaphor for being alone together, opens up to Mr. Carpool in this five and a half minute representation of a work day.

When day of hitchhiking is done, Carpool waits by the side of the road until a dark blue Volkswagen swings by–it’s a woman, one of his customers from earlier that day. He gets in the car and the pair, smiling and familiar with each other–although we saw them meet each other for the first time earlier in the day–drive off, in the right-hand lane of the highway. As the various lines of “Gravity” resolve into harmony, its visual component ends with an uplifting sense of peace–a literal drive into the sunset.

Watch the video for “Gravity,” out via Rolling Stone, below:

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 12/10: “No Needs”

entranceband2013A few weeks back The Entrance Band premiered its video for “Spider,” off Face The Sun, and we here at AudioFemme were awed and enchanted by its surreal intricacies and enigmatic, unsettling imagery. Then, yesterday, Entrance Band bassist and director of the”Spider” video, Paz Lenchantin, announced that she’ll be touring with Pixies this summer, and today, the band released its second video directed by Lenchantin, a collaboration between London fashion brand Sister Jane and photographer Amanda Charchian, for “No Needs,” also from Face The Sun. It’s been a good few months for The Entrance Band, and the new video is possibly even cooler than the “Spider” music video that came out early last month.

Dream imagery and an undertow of violence characterizes the beginning of the video. The silent, cinematic opening brings us to a dark thicket, sporadically lit by flashing floodlight, with lyrics from “No Needs” scratched across the screen–“Dear one, the time has come to face the sun…”

A psychedelic array of colors, painted on the faces and monotone dresses of a robot-faced parade of models, dominates the video’s aesthetic. It’s simple theme and variation, with colors that cross-hatch, kaleidoscope or blow into each other as the story line progresses. Like “Spider,” this video evokes a spooky strangeness emphasized by flashed lighting and sped-up frames. Images warp or refract, models arrange themselves and scatter. What we’ve come to recognize as Lenchantin’s signature blend of creepy and pretty is in operation here in full force, complete with a choreographed ring-around-the-rosie in front of a yellow UFO. With added insight from Charchian and Sister Jane, the images come barreling, frame after frame, in this video.

You can watch the music video for The Entrance Band’s “No Needs” below, and the entire Face The Sun album is available for purchase here!

No Needs from The Entrance Band on Vimeo.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 12/2: “Hidden Structures”


The Holograms‘ new video for “Hidden Structures,” off the full-length September release Forever, shows a basic juxtaposition between silence and noise, listlessness and energy. The Swedish foursome loaf on the rooftop of a graffiti-branded shack, stand discontentedly in front of pastel high rises and grassy hills, sit moodily in greenly lit bars, and pile into a station wagon that, against the grey backdrop of Scandinavian highway, looks nearly cartoonishly red. An Asian man stares at the camera, smoking mistrustfully.

By contrast, the band’s brand of heavy, epic synth-rock doesn’t let up once on this track. This rawness is par for the course–with the release of their debut album a little over a year ago, The Holograms established an energy-driven, fast kind of post-punk so cohesive that that made listening to their music feel like a full-body experience, a throttling surround-sound effected by the band’s cohesive vivacity. Their recent follow-up wavered little from the course already set, sticking to large, heavy themes expounded upon via synthesizer, but expanded the breadth of the sound, carving out deeper intricacies of their bass lines and moving further away from communality in the direction of the most insular, most introverted edges of synth-punk.

With scenes of record shops and fast driving, there’s glimmers of rock and roll in the video, but ultimately it’s the divide between outer isolation and inner rage that adds complexity to this song. The effect is one of looking out at the world–in this case, a sparsely populated, quiet and monotone Scandinavian landscape–and creating a vastly different world inside your head. When the band set out to make the new record, they were famously broke and despondent, connecting little with their more electro-inclined Scandinaian musical brethren.  The video for “Hidden Structures” plays off that dichotomy, opening up the song to a loneliness that feels gritty and true.

“Hidden Structures” is featured on the Forever album, out via Captured TracksWatch the videos for “Hidden Structures” below!