Category Archives: Independent Film

The Swellers [NEW MUSIC] [MUSIC VIDEO]

Just a quick heads up to fellow pop-punk fans: head here to stream what’s set to be one of the best releases in the genre this year, and check out the video below.

Narrative: A kid grows up and gets ready to leave home.

Performance: In a garage.  Perfection.

Song: One of the catchiest celebrations of nostalgia since “Good Riddance.”

Why You Should Watch It:  This one’ll either hit you right in the chest, or it won’t.  It’s a simple look back on a dude’s life as he gets ready to move away.  Nothing spectacular about the photography or concept – in fact, Saves the Day tackled similar material with the classic video for At Your Funeral”:

Much like the beefy, down-to-earth pop punk they play though, whatever The Swellers’ video lacks in flash, they make up for in heart.  If you’ve ever lived in a small town, had band practice in a garage, or had trouble saying goodbye, you’ll instantly connect with this.   You might even have a few hairs stand on the back of your neck at some point.

Either way, good luck getting the song out of your head.

“I miss it, too…”

By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

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Tyler The Creator – She (feat. Frank Ocean) [MUSIC VIDEO]

Narrative:  Tyler falls in love with the girl next door and tries to woo her away from her boyfriend. Performance: Tyler raps as he moves through the video – on a bike, at a creek, sniffing his paramour’s panties. Frank Ocean hovers in the backyard.

Song: One of the less brutal tracks from Bastard. Ostensibly a love song.

Why You Should Watch It: Tyler’s made it known that he wants to be known for directing more than he wants to be known for his music, and the kid’s off to a good start.  Though it’s difficult to draw a consistent stylistic line between this and “Yonkers,” it’s clear he has an eye for visuals that compliment the music he and the rest of the collective produce. It’s especially obvious when you take into account the Golf Wang videos, the promotional spots for Bastard, and even the “Sandwiches” performance on Fallon – with its wandering hospital-gown zombie girl, garden gnomes and green ski masks.

While I can’t say for sure, I’d suspect the hand-drawn upside-down crosses and rounded, jaunty font used consistently across anything Odd Future is Tyler’s version of branding as well. If this is all the product of the same mind, it’s hard to argue against a consistent vision.

It’s impossible to say if Tyler’s developed a cinematic style to go with this content, but the sure-footed use of a tilt-shift lens in  “Yonkers,” and “She”s use of Steadicam in the bedroom sequences display an understanding of visual grammar. In terms of their pacing, the Golf Wang videos and promotional piece below seem to borrow liberally from an unlikely source.

I couldn’t place it at first, but after a couple views it clicked: they look like early millenia MTV promos. The cutting, the canned sound effects, the sketch-like content – an MTV tag could’ve come up on the end of any of those clips and I wouldn’t have been surprised.

This is part of what works so well in “She” – how it takes elements of music videos almost everyone of a certain age will recognize and puts them into an otherwise bat-shit crazy narrative. Of course the boyfriend character is a shirtless, Uzi-wielding punk, of course the adults are played by members in wigs, of course the object of Tyler’s affection meets him at the lake (even though whoever left her that instruction was clearly a creep). These things are all foregone conclusions drawn from dozens of gangster rap, Beastie Boys and cheesy pop videos, the way Tarantino knows from years of obscure Seventies films that dirty cops are named Scagnetti. It’s a reflection of the music: “here’s what I’ve been fed, isn’t it awful?” Is it a stretch to point out that his Twitter profile picture was one of him displaying a mouthful of chewed up food? It’s like he’s showing us the deranged, evil kid all these influences should have made him, but didn’t. Instead, he’s content to just rub our faces in it.

Of course, compiling references does not make a good video:

– but Tyler and crew just use the references as dressing, not the content. The content is all black-eyed obsession and suggested murder. Instead of casting himself as a hero (which, given the lyrics would be unlikely), Tyler is a grade-A creeper. Everything around him seems to be operating at various Lynchian levels of insanity and surreality.

No one here is redeemable, and considering the video ends with Tyler about to kill a girl watching the video on TV, it would seem that goes for the audience too.

By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Arsonist & Dot The One – “Let My Tape Rock” [Music Video]

This is the newest from Philly rapper Arsonist feat. Dot The One and Jimmy Konway. The Biggie sample on this beat is dope. Off of Arsonist’s new mixtape Human Torch Swagger hosted by Dj R to the Izza, this is “Let My Tape Rock”:

Dot The One has really been gettin busy lately, readying up for his new mixtape Above. Ground. Level., to be released on July 6th. This will be the must-have underground hip hop mixtape of the year, if you want my opinion. Here’s a little preview of what you can expect on A.G.L.:

Download the full song here

Here’s a sick freestyle a cappella from Dot The One too. This mixtape is looking promising.

Stay tuned for more on Dot. I’ve been sayin it for a while, but really, it’s just a matter of time with this dude. Crazy talent.

– Dante Cullari CEO Beat-Play, LLC

The Dodos – “Companions” [VIDEO]

The Dodos No ColorHaving just released their new album No Color in March of this year, it was just a matter of time until we saw The Dodos drop a video for the fan favorite track “Companions”. Such a beautiful acoustic riff to carry throughout this natural driving tune that comes with an added twist, offered in this new music video release. The San Francisco based duo has developed quite a large following throughout their 4 album career. 3 of which, including the more recent No Color, were released with Frenchkiss Records. This is a very exciting group with a bright future ahead as they continue to quickly grow on the west coast. Visit their Facebook for updates on shows and music and be sure to check out their site for their albums. So please enjoy this hipster road-trip set video and prepare for an eye-popping 180° turn of emotion.

Foster The People “Torches” [NEW MUSIC]

I hate Ticketmaster.  I hate Ticketmaster with the fieriest of passions.  With that said I also pride myself on being an actual “ticketmaster.”  I’m that guy who signs into the site like 30 minutes before a show goes on sale, pulls up a world clock and does a quick stretch of my index finger for optimal ‘submit’ clicking capability.  I’m really f-bomb good at it and rarely does a show come around that I don’t get a ticket or tickets for.  With that said let me introduce you to an LA band called Foster The People.  Two nights at the El Rey (one of my all time favorite venues) completely sold the double f-bomb out and I can’t get a ticket… anywhere.  Did I mentions the shows are in July?  WHAT?  After hearing their new record I can see why.

Helena Beat – Foster The People

At the time I found out about this band I had only heard one song and thought I would check them out just for the sake of this blog, why not right?  New band, catchy electro pop?  Great!  I’ll check em out and see what happens.  Embarrassing for me I’m jumping on the “Foster” band wagon a little late because they are massive in LA right now and gaining momentum.  I had no idea.  Good news is their first full legnth release “Torches” was released today.  Holy shit.

Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People

In 2009 keyboardist, guitarist and singer Mark Foster started making sweet sweet dancy rock pop with bassist Cubbie Fink, and drummer Mark Pontius.  They basically make radio friendly great hit potential music.  I rarely say that about any band.  All danceable fun songs.  Honestly there isn’t a weak link on this record.  Their sound is extremely popular at the moment and this record is a great example of a band using this type of music to their advantage.  ‘Waste’ is my favorite track and in my opinion is the best song on the record.

Waste – Foster The People

I’m pissed I didn’t know about these guys earlier.  I guess you can’t win em all, but what you can do is see this band live.  I haven’t had the privilege yet, but they are playing a FREE in store show TOMORROW at Amoeba Records (greatest record store on the planet) on Sunset in Hollywood.  I will be there seeing as how I can’t get a friggin’ ticket to see them anywhere else.

Houdini – Foster The People

Foster The People are playing a bunch of festivals this summer including Lollapalooza in Chicago, Outside Lands in San Fran and Sasquatch up in Washington State as well and a bunch of dates on their own.  Their live page is HERE.  Hopefully they are coming to a city near you.

If you like to dance, buy this record.  Simple as that.  If you like to pretend you can dance, buy this record.  If you like to watch people pretend to dance, buy this record and play it for them so they can do so.  It’s 8 bucks on iTunes right now.  One of the best purchases I have made music wise since the dawn of time.  To far?  Just buy it HERE.  Here’s the last tune from “Torches”.  Front to back this record is a party and honestly I couldn’t find a sour note throughout. NOW SOMEONE PLEASE GET ME A TICKET TO ONE OF THE LA SHOWS!!!

Warrant – Foster The People

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Double Adapter – “Adapt or Die” [MUSIC NEWS] [DOCUMENTARY]

From their beginnings in 2009, Double-Adapter have been blurring the line between DJs and ‘live acts’ with their high-energy audiovisual performances. Signing with Griet Artists in 2010, they’ve surpassed the confines of the Joburg/Pretoria nexus with regular forays into Cape Town.  On April 14th 2011, they embarked on their first European tour playing in Holland, Austria, The Czech Republic, Italy and Germany, while filming a documentary that follows the chaotic steps of the brothers.  It will show African and world audiences that South African artists are here to stay. The documentary takes the shape of six 1-minute video inserts that sum up the experience of each gig, and two 24 minute specials that together create one 48 minute show. It’s raw but cinematic. It’s rock and roll.  Double-Adapter will be launching the first episode of the documentary at the Assembly tonight.   Adapt Or Die episode one premieres tonight at 21h00 and episode two on June 3rd 21h00 – only on MK. You can also watch the performance inserts on YouTube. See you tonight!

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Wonder Years – “Melrose Diner” [VIDEO]

Narrative: Backyard wrestler The Lone Wolf must defeat the The Evil Kraag to get his title and his girl back.

Performance: The band plays in the ring.  Singer Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell performs from the audience and in closeup.

Song: Top shelf pop-punk from one of the best bands in the scene.  If you haven’t heard The Upsides, buy it here immediately.  No one’s more relatable, honest or hardworking and the songs are instant classics.

Why You Should Watch It:   The band is amazing and the effort is noteworthy – it’s a great example of applying a record’s themes (never giving up, victory through persistence) to a video concept and having some fun with it.  The video’s just a little too scattered to be a classic.

“Melrose Diner” seems to want to make up for its lack of flash by overloading it with content. The video starts as a wrestling promo, then briefly takes on the feel of a movie trailer before going into the song and Lone Wolf’s battles.  The action is frantic, but moves so fast it’s hard to follow until the final fight.  The video’s flat, unlit look is spiced up with filters throughout, and it works with the back to basics energy of the song but isn’t a highlight.  So why the recommendation?  It’s a perfect example of what friends can do with some perseverance and camaraderie – just like the album itself.  Everyone involved is clearly having the time of their lives, and that goes a long way.

Also, you’ll want to know these guys before they blow up.  They’re readying a new release, “Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing,” that’s shaping to be as much or more of a touchstone than “The Upsides.”  Check out one of the new tracks below:

“Local Man Ruins Everything”

Honest, hooky punk, an album named after a Ginsburg poem, and a Simpson’s reference as a track name?  Sold.

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

Here’s The RUNDOWN (4/29 – 5/6) [CHARTS]

Hollerado – “Americanarama” [VIDEO]

Number two: this time, a video from our neighbors to the north.

Narrative: Oh, my God!  Are they all trapped in boxes?

Performance: Jittery, jerky, all in one ridiculous take.

Song: Awesome.  Buy and bump the album here, or from your online retailer of choice.  “Juliette” is one of my favorite tracks from last year.

Canada, you’ve made up for Simple Plan.

Why You Should Watch It: OK Go aren’t the only band experimenting with awesome viral videos.  While it’s easy to shoot your friends being stupid on a Handicam, slap your song under it, and call it “viral,” you gotta give people something they’ve never seen before if you want your virus to actually infect anyone.  It’s gotta be something people watch and immediately watch again to figure out how it was done, then pass along out of amazement.  While the concept here isn’t as pure as a lot of OK Go’s work, you gotta figure Hollerado’s resources were a little more limited.  The strongest moments definitely come towards the end as perspective is played with, but the video starts strong and never really lets up.  The only real fault with the video is that it suffers from what any video with a “one take” concept suffers from: very little energy.  For as spastic and complex as all the movement within the frame is, it just a “motion picture” in the most literal sense of the phrase (something Kanye recently experimented with as well, though he had some stupid name for it).  Still, this is a case of pure substance over style, proving you don’t need a lot of money to make something awesome, just a lot of practice.

**Last minute update** Click the picture at the top of the article to visit the band’s website and see their NEW video for “Got to Lose.”  It’s another choreographed wonder – slicker and sexier, too!

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

Goot – “Pretty Eyes” [VIDEO]

Music videos are in a weird place right now.  No one really airs them, and as artists make less and less money, the bells and whistles of slick promotional materials become harder to justify.  Can’t knock it; that’s how it should be.  A musician’s music should always come first, but as a guy who loves the artform and enjoys making them, it’s kind of sad.  Artists still want nice videos, they just don’t want them to cost anything either, leaving us film/video/moving picture makers constantly challenged to turn out eye-catching work for free or with minimal resources.   The bright side is that the people who are left doing it are as passionate as the musicians.  We’re a slightly disturbed bunch, ready to put our rent on the line to do what we love.

This ongoing column will highlight videos for/by/with/from independent bands and directors making the most of what they have to kick your eyes and ears out yo’ head and earn a spot on your Twitter feed.

Narrative: Alex Goot meets a wide-eyed faerie and squires her through an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

Performance: Goot backlit at a piano.  It’s revealed he’s playing to the faerie at the end.  Meh.

Song: Cheez-Whiz pop.  For crackers, etc.  As far as talented youngins go though, Goot is one of the best.  He almost makes “Fireflies” bearable.  Almost.

He also plays all his own instruments and produces all his own tracks:

Kid’s been in the game since MySpace was popular (learn more about that here) and has not slowed down.  When the industry comes knocking, he’s going to make an amazing songwriter and producer if nothing else.

Why You Should Watch It: Because holy crap we live in a day and age where a camera available at Best Buy can be pointed at just about anything and make it look like   It’s a little miracle called the Rebel t2i, and along with its older brothers the 7D and 5D, you’ll be seeing its name in this column pretty often so click here and learn a little about the camera line changing micro-budget videomaking.  Granted, director Kurt Schneider has a solid eye and knows how to use locations, available light and attractive people to his advantage.  Images like the ones at 1:03, 1:18, and 3:23 don’t happen by accident.  They’re not beautiful in the “we spent thirty minutes composing this frame” way, but they feel honest.  They pluck at a nostalgic place in our brains, give us the feeling we’ve been there, like a handheld Norman Rockwell. The budgetary limitations are obvious – not everything is lit well, and there are occasionally double and triple shadows that look cheap – but for the most part, it’s a cute doc-style video that features some prettier than average pictures and will play well to its target audience.

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |