Bad Moves - One Thing Premieres at AdHoc

Our video for Bad Moves's "One Thing" premiered on AdHoc:

Open collaboration between four members can be difficult to cultivate, but Bad Moves make it look effortless. Featuring members of The Max Levine Ensemble, Hemlines, Art Sorority for Girls, and Booby Trap, Bad Moves is a DC indie punk/power-pop powerhouse. All of its members contribute equally to songwriting duties, making tunes that are more than the sum of their parts. “One of the founding tenets of this band was to compose, arrange and perform such that it’s not clear who wrote what, and at times it’s not even clear who’s singing what,” says drummer and songwriter Daoud Tyler-Ameen, also of Art Sorority. Their latest single, "One Thing,” which we're debuting below, is exemplary of this doctrine: vocals from all members are delicately layered, their owners made an ambiguous part of the whole. While collaborative songwriting isn’t exactly a new concept, Bad Moves’ approach is fresh and purposeful. Catch them tonight at Warsaw with Jeff Rosenstock and Martha.

AdHoc: What was your inspiration for the “One Thing” video?

David Combs: The song is written from an adolescent perspective. It’s about being a kid or teenager and keeping a very personal secret. For the video, we thought it’d be appropriate to take inspiration from two of the most elusive secret keepers from the pop culture of our youth.

What are we going to see / hear from Bad Moves at your upcoming dates with Jeff Rosenstock and Martha?

David: Earlier this year we recorded a record in Philly with Joe Reinhart. We’ll be trying out some songs we haven’t played much live.
Katie Park: You’ll hear a little more noise and a lot more gang vocals.
Emma Cleveland: Even more gang vocals than you thought was possible!

How do you cope with nerves before a tour? 

Katie: Group hug.

Do you find yourselves more or less nervous playing with bands of which you are personally fans?

David: Personally, Jeff and Martha are some of my all time favorite songwriters and both bands have been influential on us for sure. But also as people they’ve been close friends and collaborators for like a decade, so being nervous doesn’t really come into play at all. I know how much fun we all have around each other and that we’re about to have the fucking time of our life.
Emma: We’ve also never been on a tour with a band that we don’t love. We got to tour with the Spook School, Puff Pieces and Nana Grizol last year, and the Goodbye Party before that.

What are you looking forward to most on this tour?

Daoud Tyler-Ameen: The background of everybody who’s in this band and the natural context for it when it started has tended towards playing on small stages and sometimes makeshift venues, where sound is an afterthought and the vibe and atmosphere of the show is the fun of things. That’s great, but the prospect of testing these songs in rooms as big as the sound the songs are trying to achieve is exciting too.
Katie: Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing what tunes we’ll all play in the van. It’s Martha and us in the same van, and Martha makes a killer playlist.
Emma: If we’re being honest it’s going to be all happy hardcore.
David: We’ll probably hear a lot of country music. I’ll jam on some Kacey Musgraves.
Daoud: I’m looking forward to memorizing the entirety of Invasion of Privacy.

How has the use of multiple voices, both literal and figuratively, given you a new approach to songwriting, as compared to each of your previous projects?

Daoud: One of the founding tenets of this band was to compose, arrange and perform such that it’s not clear who wrote what, and at times it’s not even clear who’s singing what. 
David: Part of that is eschewing the idea of the frontperson. Trying to present the songwriting in a way that isn’t about a particular person’s ego.
Emma: The songs are really personal, though, and having them be sung in a more ambiguous way, with multiple people, multiple voices, helps take songs that are written from a very personal place and make them feel more universal.
Daoud: Structuring the band and it’s process in this way has been partly a way of providing armor to each of us. Because it’s true that speaking to vulnerability in your art can leave you really exposed in ways that you don’t always anticipate. 

In your own terms, what do you think defines progress in pop-punk and power-pop? Who do you think it pushing the style into new territory and keeping it fresh for new audiences? 

Katie: Right now it seems as though there's more space in the scene for women, people of color, queer and trans people. Not that there is some high-up Arbiter Of The Scene who is letting women and people of color into the scene, but people are taking more space for themselves, bringing more voices that have traditionally been shut out or overlooked in the past.
Emma: Big ups to our label Don Giovanni. It feels like we landed among peers on our label who are also working to both make music that confronts social issues but also support and encourage marginalized folk to have space in the scene. 
David: We got to play the Don Giovanni showcase at SXSW and it was really evident that we were amongst a very talented and likeminded group of peers.
Daoud: It’s nice to not think much about what does and doesn’t fit in a scene. If I had been trying to perform in this kind of band years ago when I first started playing out, the intimidating thing would have been the lack of open-mindedness to whose stories this music can aim to tell and what it can sound like and what the reference points can be. When we're choosing music in the van, our common ground with our tourmates tends to be gleaming, Top 40 radio pop by women. There's nothing revolutionary about that, but 10 or 20 years ago guitar music was constantly being positioned as an antidote to that kind of culture. It's a relief to see there's at least room for a diversity of taste.
Emma: The non-musical reference points are more open too, when you’re part of a scene where people bring really disparate experiences.
David: To the point of whether we are musically “progressive” though, I don’t think we actually aim to break new sonic ground in the genres of power pop or punk or anything like that. If I look at who the contemporary bands we were talking about when we started the band it was, like, Martha and Haim and Sheer Mag. All of whom were incorporating some nostalgic sounds that we love from Motown or '70s rock but still sounding new and exciting and like their own thing.

What was your favorite Bad Moves show of 2017?

David: We got to go on tour in the UK with the Spook School, which was great. There was one show in Martha’s hometown of Durham where our tour intersected with Jeff Rosenstock and Doe’s tour, and Martha played. It was a STACKED bill and kind of the precursor to the tour we’re going on now.
Katie: I walked over to the Durham Cathedral between bands and had a spiritual experience watching a very British-looking spider crawl up an enormous stone pillar while a choir performed Mozart's Requiem in the background.
Emma: Yeah, that night was crazy. David ate a ton of Spaghetti Hoops straight out of the can. I spilled my whiskey and ginger beer on the 420 rainbow flag at Jeff Rosenstock's merch table and Christine (Jeff’s wife and tour manager) was chill about it.
Daoud: I also spilled a drink on that flag. That flag has bad luck.
Katie: Incredible bands, Spaghetti Hoops, a beer-soaked 420 rainbow flag—all elements we hope will be equally present on this tour.

Jeff Rosenstock's "Melba" Premiere

Stereogum says:

"Jeff Rosenstock started the year off by releasing a new album, POST-, and today he’s shared the first music video based off one of its songs, and it’s a good one. The video for “Melba” was directed by Ben Epstein and David Combs, and it follows a cycle of aggression that starts with a shitty boss making his employees clean up his mess, then follows one of those employees as he takes out his anger on the patrons of a restaurant, and then Rosenstock shows up as a restaurant manager who berates the back kitchen. There’s a lot of smashing glass and cathartic breaking of things, especially in the final sequence where one of the restaurant employees goes back to her room and absolutely demolishes it. Watch below.

Here’s a quote from co-director David Combs:

'Jeff wanted to make a video featuring a character who, consequence free, carelessly destroys everything around them. The idea of such a character reminded me of how often the abuse of power is a thoughtless exercise for those who hold it, so we decided to expand on the idea and make it a commentary on how abusive patterns get replicated — where the effects are passed downward hierarchically and the people with the least power experience the consequences most intensely. You know, also it’s fun to watch people smash shit, so we tried to have a good time with that too.'"

SPIN says:

"Jeff Rosenstock, the Brooklyn-based punk outsider behind Bomb the Music Industry!, has released the first video from his latest solo effort POST-. The visual for 'Melba,' directed by Ben Epstein and David Combs, stars Rosenstock as a restaurant manager who violently loses his temper after dealing with the pent up anger of a disgruntled patron. The cycle of aggression, which ends with another restaurant employee destroying her apartment, matches the frustration in the song’s lyrics: 'This was a shit day/ Can’t power through the haze/ I’m tired of waiting for it to be over.'"

Nana Grizol "Nightlights I" Premieres at Substream Magazine

Our video for Nana Grizol's "Nightlights I" off of their album Ursa Minor premiered today at Substream Magazine. The video stars Jake Starr and choreography from Elisheva Goldwasser, Christine Leggett, and Hayley Cutler.

Substream Magazine says:


Nana Grizol is an indie-rock megalith from Athens, Georgia. An amalgamation of bands of influence, namely Neutral Milk Hotel and Elf Power, it’s no surprise that Ursa Minor is going to go down as one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year. Their brand of indie-rock thrives on quiet swells and nostalgia; feeling more and like the weird and quirky radio rock of the early 2000’s as you continue to dive further into it. Today, we’re bringing you the music video for my favorite track from the record– the infectious and immediately memorable “Nightlights I.”

The music video for “Nightlights I” sees the protagonist staring into a mirror as he gets poked and prodded by makeup artists, staring blankly into his own dead eyes until his sanity begins to slip. He starts to dance, first with other people, and then eventually with these expressionless figments of his imagination; fully embracing this break in normalcy by the end of it. The above video is a Baby Pony Food production that was Directed by David Combs and Ben Epstein and stars Jake Starr.

Light Beams - "Soul Fire Pt. II (For Lee Perry)" Premieres at Washington City Paper

Washington City Paper says:

The juxtaposition of power and desperation in dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry's 1978 classic "Soul Fire" is as relevant today as it was back then. He croons about a "burnin' in my soul," and then a verse later wails with desperation, "And we ain't got no water/ We ain't got no water." It's heavy.

It's that juxtaposition that drives and inspires D.C. electronic-dance trio Light Beams' "Soul Fire Part II (For Lee Power)," and its accompanying music video. "'[The song] is a meditation on the perils of navigating identity in the postcolonial era," says vocalist Justin Moyer (who, full disclosure is a former City Paper contributor). 

In the music video Moyer escapes the clutches of some nefarious characters, fleeing to a TV studio where he and his bandmates Sam Lavine and Arthur Noll perform live on air, only for his pursuers to try and intervene. Music video directing duo Benjamin Epstein and David Combs of The Max Levine Ensemble did the project through their company Baby Pony Food.

"I wanted to write a song as joyful and horrifying as Lee Scratch Perry's 'Soul Fire,' and this is what I came up with, and thought David and Ben tapped into these ideas in an delightfully indirect, user-friendly fashion," Moyer explains.