Knuckle Pups’ “Last Whim” Live Session Proves There’s Still Magic In The Intimacy of a Small Room

By: Sam Piscitelli

There’s something about the simplicity of sitting in tight-knit spaces and playing the music you made with your friends. Maybe it’s the resurfacing of the first time you discovered that a particular chord progression mixed correctly and almost sounds poetic. Maybe it’s the feeling of the fire that was first lit after your initial “unofficial” soundcheck in your bandmate’s basement, living room, or garage. Or maybe it’s the ability to play with the sole purpose of letting your music speak for itself. Either way, the energy that can be felt from the Knuckle Pups “Last Whim” live session is spellbinding.

Instead of gunning for a large budget production or over-the-top visual effects, the Knuckle Pups grip listeners with their organic chemistry as a band. Set up in a small recording room, listeners can feel the magic come alive from the beginning of the session, as the voices of the bandmates and the tuning of their instruments carries outward. From there, we’re fortunate to see the Knuckle Pups for who they really are, a group of musically-inclined friends who riff off each other. There’s no glossy cover-up or unnatural introduction; rather there’s a sense of quaint humility. Through the next three minutes and fifty-one seconds, fans and non-fans alike bare witness to a band that gracefully flake on what the standard of an image should be and create their own.

Knuckle Pups.

Knuckle Pups.

You come to understand that while the music video contributes to the branding of Knuckle Pups, it only truly personifies the essence of what the band itself represent, which is allowing their music to speak for itself. Rather than let some false narrative introduce them to the world, the Knuckle Pups use their raw talent and hard work to indicate their presence. It’s a gutsy move, especially for a band that just released their first EP into the world. But, it pays off, as we’re introduced to a band who is both fearless and heartfelt.

-Sam

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Fast Car Slow Car Has Us Dreaming About "Waffles"

By: Julia Talen

Philly-based bassist Breshon Martzall of The Districts’ offshoot project Straw Hats has ventured into his own side project called Fast Car Slow Car. He recently released a music video for his latest single called “Waffles” and it’s definitely worth a watch. The trippy video embodies a DIY vibe, gritty and not overly-produced, containing intriguing visuals, contemplative themes, humor, and rad wackiness.

The video opens with Martzall standing in front of a blank wall with an animation projected onto it, and corded phones hanging upside down; a very peculiar, inverted world evocative of the track’s lyrics “I feel so upside down on picture perfect days.” The opening shot is a play on perceptions, reality, and truth, priming viewers for the remaining scenes and shots of the film. As the video progresses, multi-colored shapes like circles, squares, and hearts distort, focus in on, or cover up parts of each frame, elevating the videos themes surrounding confusion and search for clarity.

The self-aware intermission in the video made me chuckle, filled with silly factoids about waffles, offering a reminder to not read too deeply into the trippiness of the video and perhaps the world’s general absurdity. Either way, the project evokes, intrigues, and invites a rewatch.

Keep up with Fast Car Slow Car here.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: J.W. Schuller's Signature Humor Is Apparent In New Music Video For "No mud in Joyville"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

BolderBeat first caught up with Boulder transplant and singer/songwriter J.W. Schuller about a year ago when he released his tongue-in-cheek video for “When I’m President.” Schuller is well-known for injecting his sense of humor into his work, and his recent release for his single “No mud in Joyville” is no different.

“No mud in Joyville” is the title track from Schuller’s newest record, which dropped this past January. The song’s somewhat nonsensical verses and catchy chorus are of Schuller’s signature style, one which keeps the listener wondering what he’ll say next and simultaneously has them singing along after a minute or two. In the song, Schuller imagines a place where there won’t be hate, deer ticks, and of course, mud among other things.

J.W. Schuller.

J.W. Schuller.

The video for “No mud in Joyville,” which we’re premiering here today, brings Schuller’s goofy sensibilities to light. The video features scenes of Schuller and his bearded nephew Jens Larson playing in front of an old stove in a living room of sorts, interspersed with abstract skeleton art sequences, and at one point a scene where they launch skittles from a drum in Larson’s mouth.

Said Jeff about the video, “I conceived and directed the video and it was shot on an iPhone 6 by the abstract artist Jaci Lee Reno, who I'm also lucky to call my wife. The flower and skeleton imagery in the video is an offshoot of my idea for the album cover. I've always been struck by Mexican Day of the Dead folk art and the juxtaposition of skeleton figures and flowers have been a recurring theme in videos and gig posters for me. It’s kind of an off-puttingly cute way to reflect on our mortality, I guess."

Schuller and Larson.

Schuller and Larson.

No mud in Joyville is the second release from Schuller as a solo artist, and is a follow-up to his 2013 release All Important Artists. His latest was recorded and mixed at Underwood Studios in Minneapolis by Mark Stockert, which are Schuller’s old stomping grounds.

J.W. Schuller’s album release show is slated for Saturday, March 10th at The Walnut Room in Denver with Red Petals and Kait Berreckman. Snag tickets here and make sure to keep up with Schuller on Facebook.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Spiral Cell Releases Eerie Music Video For "Prologue"

By: Norman Hittle

Near the end of 2016, Scott Uhl, the man behind Spiral Cell, brought us his first full release with The Maze in the Tree Rings, a highly conceptual album blending the lines of progressive rock with contemporary video game soundtracks that had us questioning artificial intelligence versus reality. Now at the crest of 2018, he’s released the premiere video for the first song of from that record, aptly known as “Prologue.”

I won’t go into too much detail, but my first impressions of the video were that it was either: A) a post apocalyptic world with someone visiting from another planet perhaps to gain knowledge of Earth's demise, or B) someone surfacing from a sci-fi bunker after some cataclysmic world event. Either way, it’s mysterious, thrilling, and seems to fit well with the actual music.

I got a moment to catch up with Scott via a phone interview, and though he admits the video fits nicely into his conceptual creation for The Maze in the Tree Rings, he also wasn’t about to spoil my own interpretations of his music and the video. Spiral Cell is highly conceptual through and through, and though Scott admits he has a vision for what the story of the video is, he stands true on the ideal that “art is in the eye of the beholder,” which means he wants us to have the freedom to take from what he creates instead of telling us what Spiral Cell is fully about.

What Scott was willing to tell us about Spiral Cell and the video for “Prologue” without spoiling any surprises were some behind-the-scenes details:

First and foremost, the same people involved in the recording of the music are featured in the video. Scott’s wife Danielle, who is featured singing on some tracks of his last record, was the makeup designer and a body double; the “woman” creature is Mackenzie Beyer, who was the voice of “the guide” on several tracks;  and of course, Scott himself is the hazmat suit-wearing, flashlight-wielding explorer.

Scott also shared that though the video was filmed on three different locations on three different nights, each night of filming, observers called the police to the film scene due to the creepy nature of him walking around with a flashlight and hazmat suit and because the fog machines used were mistaken for fires. Yet, he said in each situation the police allowed them to continue their production and wished him well in its completion.

Scott Uhl. Photo Credit: Underexposed.

Scott Uhl. Photo Credit: Underexposed.

One of my favorite behind-the-scene hints came up when I asked Scott about how he was structuring “Prologue” into the storyline of the The Maze in the Tree Rings concept. The end of the video seems open-ended, as if it could be a finality or just the beginning, and “Prologue” in name and as the first song on the album begs the question: Is it the actual beginning, or is he telling a story in reverse Tarantino-fashion? Scott of course was enigmatic about all of it, but informed me that “Prologue” is not necessarily the beginning nor end of the story. “There are some subtle hints in the actual song that allude to where in the story ‘Prologue’ actually falls,” Scott told me, but he wants to leave it up to the listener to decide. Challenge accepted!

If you have yet to check out The Maze in the Tree Rings, I would liken it to a solid union between The Dear Hunter and Stephen Wilson. Take a listen below:

Spiral Cell may also have more for us on the horizon. “Though I wish I could make a video for every song, that’s not likely within my budget, but there will be more,” Scott said. He’s already planning a live performance video for one of the songs, but does not have a date set for its release.

Keep up with Scott and Spiral Cell on Facebook.

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Capturing the Art of Storytelling in Music Videos & More: An Interview with Ian Glass

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Ian Glass has an eye for storytelling.

When local artist, photographer, videographer, and creative intellectual Ian Glass told me he started photo and video work just a couple of years ago when his dad handed him a 35mm Fujica film camera as a college graduation gift, I was baffled. After working with him on the set of Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 music video, I assumed he’d been crafting his talents for far longer.

Watch Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 official music video by Ian Glass:

Born in Connecticut, Glass moved to Colorado with his family when he was just four. He describes his childhood like most of us Colorado kids spending a lot of time outside doing Colorado things: hiking, biking, skiing, camping, climbing. But he grew up with a lot of art around him as well.

“I have always liked art. My father makes custom fine furniture and his father was an architect. There were always a lot of drawings and paintings around when I was growing up and so I’ve always been inclined to explore art.”

Ian Glass.

Ian Glass.

Combining his passions for art and all things outdoors, Glass stayed in Colorado for school and went to CU, majoring in English and Humanities “so that I could better understand stories and story structure”. The more you talk to him, the more you’ll see that storytelling is what Glass and his art do best: through his still photography work, his video productions, and even his descriptions of imagery and composition.

“I like anything that you have to spend a lot of time exploring. I like the challenge of capturing moments- when you’re in them, you have to figure out how to communicate what’s happening to someone else, to share it and have [your audience] feel as you feel. You have to let that voice inside of you speak to the things outside and simultaneously give yourself the opportunity to try and capture that moment. To be able to take out your camera and take that picture when you see something and you realize, ‘There it is; [it] calls to you when you look at it.' The first step is seeing that and training yourself to see that; letting the voice inside of you speak to that... from there it’s how you refine and capture things. How you frame it, capture the lighting, get the right angle, capture the depth of field, isolate the subject- and then there are the technical skills. It’s all about figuring out, ‘How can I capture what has presented itself to me?'”

Glass first learned how to capture those moments with his Fujica exploring still photography.

“Still shots and getting to explore composition and to look at life through a lens was interesting and I liked it. The transition from that was getting into film- I like how much more dynamic video is. You can explore so much more and it allows the viewer to become more absorbed in the piece if you do it right. There’s the content happening in the composition and then the transition to the next show where you build that content all over again and you allow that flow between the two shots to happen on a subconscious level where the viewer might not be aware of the change. Simultaneously, you’re creating this environment for your subject to inhabit as well. You’re creating this subtle nod of surrealism that doesn't fully take over what’s happening, but it allows you to create something with this little flair of who you are as a person beyond your film. It’s having a relationship with the camera and your art, which can be as meaningful as a relationship with someone else. Knowing that, you have to make your environment and refine your transitions and master those transitions. That’s what I now aim for with every project I do."

And Glass is building quite the list of projects. After starting his company Ian Glass Media just a year ago, Ian’s worked with local musicians like Brett Randell, Natural Motives, Tyto Alba, and Whiskey Autumn on music videos. He’s also done more commercial photo and video work for outdoor adventure companies like Topo Designsand he’s worked with a number of startup companies, including Spark and Revel Gear. He’s interested in documentary work too and has plans for a possible project telling “the stories of grandparents” at a local retirement home. When it comes to the variety in clientele, Glass said:

“Whether it’s creative or corporate, you kind of storyboard something, but that's on a piece of paper, it’s not there yet. So then it’s like, ‘Ok now we have to make this.’ With every project, there is something that calls to you, something that you’re enamored by. You want to bring that creation to the point where you’re smitten with what you’ve made and then you want to repeat that in every single scene. It’s really delicate, but it’s exciting. You’re taking an idea or abstraction and bringing it into a concrete thing that you can share, and you just keep refining it over and over until it’s where you want it to be, where you need it to be. I only take on projects I know I can deliver what I promise. And with every one, I set a higher standard for myself in everything I do. I like what I do, I enjoy what I do, but I want to be better every time.”

So what’s next for Ian Glass?

“My next chapter is knowing I need to branch out and have some set of tutelage and use that as a portfolio to get into a production house and learn more. Of course I’m open right now for new projects too. And then there’s grad school- I want to study more about film and more about culture and anthropology. ”

With Glass, it all seems to come back to furthering his understanding of capturing those moments; of that refinement on creating what’s storyboarded or seen in a scene; of storytelling. That’s Ian Glass- a masterful storyteller practicing his craft with the creative human spirit of others- in imagery, in music, in invention, in film. In life as it’s lived.

Learn more about Ian Glass and check out his numerous projects here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.