Catching up with three notable video releases — from Johanna Samuels, Human Barbie and Current Joys …
“All Is Fine” is latest erudite dispatch from Johanna Samuels’ forthcoming album “Excelsior!” (out May 14), which she introduced late last year with “High Tide for One” and stokes the fires for with the single “Nature’s Way.” (Her Elliott Smith cover “Single File” was just icing on the cake.) Samuels is a songwriter who lets you inside her head, and a wondrous place it is. To triangulate three artists from different eras: She recalls Aimee Mann, Jenny Lewis and Faye Webster. “All Is Fine” arrives with a delightfully waterlogged video directed by Anu Valia. “I wrote this in one sitting at 3 a.m.,” Samuels says. “It’s about a common human conflict I was exploring during the writing of this record. I felt a bit heartbroken by people not wanting to hear each other out. … I was finding it more and more common that people had no interest in truly understanding both experiences. We’ve grown accustomed to a binary. Right or wrong. Convenient for me or inconvenient. In or out. …. Romantic relationships, friendships, politically, communally — I noticed it everywhere. There’s only so much one can do to get through to an uninterested party. All has to be fine and you have to move on.”
Christopher Leopold, aka Chris Hackman, released his understated but brilliant psych-pop album “Get a Life” last fall. The video series, “Life of Ed” (watch them all), described as a “cinematic companion” to the album, started last year with the title track. Directed by directed by Justin Possenti and starring Ed Mattiuzzi, the series, an exploration of one person’s journey through the highs and lows of life as an artist in L.A. in 2020., is now up to Episode 4, the video for the harpsichord-drenched song “Crystal Mirror.” “I love this video so much,” Leopold says. “It was filmed during the 2020 Chinese New Year, at the ‘Light Offering Completion Service’ of the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles. There’s so much heart, warmth, and happiness captured here — it’s the perfect accompaniment to the song, and a beautiful moment in time.”
The follow-up to “Amateur,” “American Honey” is the second single from Nick Rattigan’s seventh album as Current Joys, “Voyager” (out May 14 via Secretly Canadian). Rattigan, once a production assistant in the film and TV industry, directs and stars in this one himself, and it’s powerful stuff, a portrait of emotional torture and sundry, temporary and ultimately futile ways we try to mitigate it.
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