DID YOU READ

Exclusive premiere: Virgin Forest “Don’t Be Afraid”

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“The song was written when I was afraid,” lead singer Scott Stapleton confessed. “I was terrified of losing people, commitment, all that stuff. I was afraid that people would get the wrong idea about me. I wrote the song to talk myself out it.” Virgin Forest is four of the five members of Phosphorescent — minus Matthew Houck — who still lent his talents on mixing and production on the band’s forthcoming “Easy Way Out.”

The guy with the sword is director Matthew Walker’s friend, Mason Chambers King, whose preparations for going out on the town are probably more common in New York than one may first imagine. He’s also a mutual friend of Stapleton’s, who wanted him in this decidedly Gotham-set video. “He is a musician, artist, model, and a good friend of mine, and he’s only 21 if you can believe that. Mason is a genuine, down-to-earth dude in reality, and the song is a very honest one; he responds to that kind of thing,” Stapleton said. “He fits the aesthetic of our ideal for this record — he’s a non-denominational ‘genre’ character. Also, this is a very New York City video and we wanted a real New Yorker to star in it.”

Virgin Forest cut their teeth over the years touring as members of Castanets, before glowing so brightly in Phosphorescent. The well honed group follows last year’s debut, “Joy Atrophy” with “Easy Way Out,” out January 31st on Partisan. The video for “Don’t Be Afraid” was knocked out in two hours. “We went to St. Mark’s so it would have an uber NYC vibe, and we also wanted it to be where kids still hang out,” Stapleton said. “We have some awesome Goth kids in the video and wonderful people we met on the street — I want to give a shout out to “Batisha!!” (the African American woman throwing a goat in the video). None of it was planned out, just the basic idea and the neighborhoods. The Satanic shit is my room; that’s my bedroom.”

“I also picked Mason because I wanted the character to be androgynous; I wanted the record to be as well,” the singer confided. “I like the fact that in the video he’s trying to do things — he’s trying to go to clubs, he’s trying to hang around with people — but at the end of the video he realizes that he can do all these things himself and that he’s already at his own party and we see him dancing alone.”

 

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Fred Armisen and Bill Hader as Blue Jean Committee

Sowing Their Oates

Watch Blue Jean Committee Talk About Their Old Pals Hall and Oates

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader made a smooth video for Hall & Oates.

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Kings of the “Yacht Rock” genre Daryl Hall and John Oates are kicking off a slew of tour dates this summer in an effort to raise the nation’s median concertgoer age by at least 30 years. And to announce their soon-to-be onslaught of blue-eyed soul jams, Hall & Oates have enlisted fellow “Mavens of Mellow” the Blue Jean Committee from IFC’s Documentary Now!. Reprising their laid back musical personas, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen reflected on the history between the two groups in a new video announcing the tour.

“What do you think of when you think of the Seventies? When you think of beautiful harmonies, you think of a duo who sing together to make hit songs. You think of the Blue Jean Committee and that’s who we are,” Armisen remarks. Hader continues, “Who you think of fifth, or maybe eighth, is Daryl Hall and John Oates. You know who used to open for us? Who we used to kick around? Daryl Hall and John Oates!” Strong words. Strong, smooth words.

Be sure to catch Hall & Oates on tour and check back for updates on Documentary Now! season two coming later this year.  For more Bill and Fred, check out the complete Documentary Now! archive, listen to music from the show, and watch full episodes right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Exclusive premiere: John K. Samson “Longitudinal Centre”

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John K. Samson, singer-songwriter of The Weakerthans, just released his first full length solo album, “Provincial,” which delves deep along roads into the Canadian landscape of Manitoba, where the singer lives.

“They’re the places I kept going back to,” Samson says quite literally of the prairie roads he traveled — Manitoba Highway 23, Provincial Road 222, and Portage Avenue which turns into the province’s mainline artery, Trans Canada Highway 1. On these travels he visited many obscure landmarks, including a tuberculosis sanatorium-turned-RV park. He talked to family, friends and strangers, and eventually he “started to feel like the project was leading [him] somewhere.”

“Longitudinal Centre” was directed by Aaron Himes on and around those roads that run through “Provincial.”

 

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Have you found the road that leads to your “Longitudinal Centre?” Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Exclusive premiere: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi “Season’s Trees”

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If you thought you heard an inkling of Ennio Morricone in Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” you weren’t the only one, this muse had clearly been in Brian Burton’s ear a long time. When Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, and Italian composer Daniele Luppi got serious about their Spaghetti Western inspired “Rome” album, they went to Morricone’s studio in Rome to record it.  Their backing musicians were old players who actually played on classic Morricone soundtracks like  “Fistful of Dollars” and “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” And of course, every track was laid down in analog with vintage instruments. The result in large part, is an album that sounds as if it might have been made in the late 1960’s, even on the six tracks sung by Jack White and the talented Norah Jones.

“I really love the way her voice sounds,” Burton said of asking Jones to sing three tracks on the record, “I knew this was a little bit different for her, but she was really up for it.” Jones sings vocals on three tracks, including “Season’s Trees,” for which we have an intimate live session, complete with the most adorable button pusher ever seen, shot by director Chris Milk.

“It was sort of an experiment in raw minimalism,” Milk explained. “There was really no crew, just myself and audio engineer Todd Monfalcone recording the live sound.”  It was the first time that Burton and Luppi sat down in earnest to perform songs from the album live with Jones.  “Norah had no hair, make up, or wardrobe people.  She still looks completely radiant.  There is an intimacy and life within the clips that is sometimes difficult to capture with a crew of 100, lip-syncing, wind machines, and everything else I’ve certainly indulged in. What you see and hear is basically all there was.  Three very talented musicians playing together in a room.”

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Have you seen Danger Mouse’s “3 Dreams of Black” interactive video too? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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