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VIDEO: In “Fool,” Jonny Kosmo Makes A Surreal New Friend

Photo: Joseph McMurray

LA artist Jonny Kosmo has built a dedicated following fusing immaculately-produced 70’s-vintage funk/soul tunes with an at-times truly surreal visual sense that evokes contemporaries Unknown Mortal Orchestra, albeit with a seemingly more playful and innocent heart. But with his latest video, “Fool,” which also serves as a preview for his upcoming album, “Pastry” (out June 4th on Feeding Tube Records in the States), he’s upped his game on both fronts. 

The track itself is a warm, pleasantly viscous slab of gently psychedelic slow-funk steeped in 70s Stevie Wonder-era synths, shimmering tremoloed guitars with occasional wah-wah lead flourishes, a bass line as thick as hash oil, and soulfully gauzy close-mic’d vocals.  

The accompanying video, however, left us questioning our sanity in the best way. Set in a hilly beige meadow that could’ve served as a Windows ’95 desktop background, Kosmo sings the title track while intently at work with a metal detector. He ends up crossing paths with an unusual new friend, and the dance party ensues. It’s simultaneously hilarious and unsettling, another example of the David Lynch-lite vibe that is quickly becoming a Jonny Kosmo signature. Gabe Hernandez





Black Pistol Fire Drop Video For "Look Alive"

Kevin McKeown and Eric Owen may have grown up in North Toronto, but the work they’ve done as duo Black Pistol Fire does honor to their adopted home. Their latest video, “Look Alive,” is pure Austin -- a little bit hick, a little bit hipster, plenty of punk. Their signature straight-ahead rhythm and fat, fuzzed-out guitar sound are still on display, but “Look Alive” shows a few flourishes to stand out from the pack of Jack White acolytes.

“Look Alive” is strongest when it starts, benefiting from a welcome dose of psychedelia courtesy of delayed guitar and some suitably opaque spoken word, but then things chug into straightforward rock that’s a shade predictable after the fun intro. Still, “Look Alive” sticks close to an appealing 70s-freakout sound without ever being too Tangerine Dream to move bodies or too Winters Brothers to blow minds. Black Pistol Fire know their influences and show them due reverence while adding a stylish spin of their own.

The video for “Look Alive” is as dead-on as its soundtrack, mixing a grizzled actor, some garish green screen and the de rigeur muscle car to great effect, even if it might look a tiny bit like the boat scene from “Willy Wonka” from time to time. 

But seriously, folks. Black Pistol Fire is a must for anyone into rock purism with a thick, distorted edge. White Stripes and Black Keys fans should check this out yesterday. If “Look Alive” is any indication, they’re sweetening their professionalism with a welcome dose of weird. And if that keeps up, Black Pistol Fire could rank with the best pure rock bands in town.

- Matt Salter

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Outronaut "World War Tour"

Instrumental Surf Rock Quartet Outronaut has released a P-Chan, aka Phil Fujiwara, animated video for their single "World War Tour". The single is taken from the group's 4th album, Kill The Light, which was released back in April 2020.

The video finds a personified version of COVID-19 battling a healthcare hero on top of the Statue of Liberty. All of that takes places on top of live footage of the band shot at Liars Club.

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Graham Wilkinson Refines His Sound With "Cuts So Deep"

Graham Wilkinson has never been shy about exploring the antecedents and outer fringes of the AOR idiom. Wilkinson's 2009 “YEARBOOK” memorably ranged from ballads to heavy riffs to ska, snagging appearances from local luminaries Alejandro Escovedo and Hayes Carll for even more variety.  2016's effort “Because of You'' brought as much reggae to the table as rock.  

 

That early work was enjoyable, but it was also uneven. “Cuts So Deep,” which dropped on March 5, feels like Wilkinson finally found his own idiom. The title track finds a classic rock rhythm that, while liberally seasoned with twangy vocals and electric blues licks, sticks with straight ahead rock and heartbreak lyrics. 

 

Other tracks go further afield, but all of “Cuts So Deep” gives a sense of consistent, settled skill. Wilkinson is in full control of his powers here – his forays into reggae and blues feel less scattershot now – they're built on a solid foundation of chops, riffs and hummable hooks. “Cuts So Deep” may not have as much experimentation as earlier efforts, but what is here is consistently excellent.

 

A final note – Graham Wilkinson had more to overcome on this album than a shift in genre. “Cuts So Deep” is Wilkinson's first full album since suffering a severe hand fracture.

 

It does us old Austin heads good to have him back and at his best.

 

 

- Matt Salter

 

“Cuts So Deep” is available for digital download now. A vinyl is due out in July 2021.

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Zach Person Gets Loud at Geraldine’s for a Live Performance and New LP

There will be an outdoor, socially-distanced show at Empire Control Room on April 2, 2021 for Zach Person’s LP release. The LP features some tracks already available on the EP and special gems that he treated the audience to at Geraldine’s on March 10th. 

 

In the wake of Texas’ reopening and lifted mask mandate, BlackDenim Records hosts a safe, socially-distanced private showing at Geraldine’s for their premiere artist, Zach Person. For all of those who feel they are still on the bizarro side of reality, Zach Person’s uninhibited rock offers an assuring remedy. Yes, rock is alive and yes, life is strange. 

 

Doused in blue lights, the stage is set for Zach’s stellar vocals and handsome guitars with his impressive drummer, Jake Wyble, by his side. His vintage microphone projects his belting voice to fill the swanky venue. As he transitions to “Radio Man,” a new track from the LP, his crooning “ooh-ohs” and the catchy chorus capture the affection of the audience. The sound waves and sheer passion send the drapes flying and windows shaking. He moves into “How Long,” a song born from his quarantine experience  —  and a song worthy of bobbing, gyrating and romping about. Since the small group of invited guests are observing social distancing, dancing appears limited to clapping in rhythm and shoulder shaking for now… but the thunderous amplifiers — which are also retro — lead the imagination to wander, and crave the very near future of bodies dancing freely. 

 

Zach’s artistry is immediately apparent, and so is his humble, kind demeanor. Each guest received an EP and Zach made rounds to greet each table — mask on, of course — his charismatic scorpio presence beaming through. Laudable comparisons have already been made — Zach’s name has been mentioned next to Lenny Kravitz, The Black Keys and Gary Clark Jr. — but this youthful artist is carving out his own space for his own name. 

 

Back to the show — there is a walking disco ball and $200 martini on the menu. The experience paints an interesting contrast of a blaring rock band playing in an upscale cafe. It feels like we should be rowdy in the presence of rock and roll, and that day will come, but the event is organized, smooth and polished. Nearing the end of the set list, Zach plays a demo track that made it to the LP. It’s a softer tune without percussion that highlights his clean guitar and songwriting skills. He closes the performance with “Can’t Stop Running,” which will surely be a takeaway anthem from the album. Live, loud music is out there and making its safe way back to our city. 

 

- Mel Green

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