You've seen Chelsea Davenport and Felix Snow on the scene before, but you've never seen them like this before
"'Reboot' is what country should sound like right now, in 2019."
That's what Felix Snow of 17 Memphis has to say about the band's latest offering. Released in August, this catchy genre-crossover about a couple fighting for their relationship just got the music video treatment, and Popdust has the exclusive on it right here. It has classic MTV feel, glossy 21st century sheen, and shows us how country music should sound and look at the close of the 2010s.
"We did this video with the very talented Rachel Deeb. We wanted to keep the concept simple and beautiful," says Chelsea Davenport, the other half of 17, "We filmed at a giant paint warehouse in Nashville, got the band together and just went for it." In contrast to the borderline improvisational nature of the shoot; the final product has a polished and almost David Fincher feel in places. Notably, the use of black and white and the recurring shot of Davenport interacting with a mirror create this impression. "This is our first official music video as 17 Memphis," adds Davenport, "so it's our big 'hello' to the world."
17 Memphis is not your typical country group. Apart from their sound, that blends influences from all corners of the musical world, they have a story that feels ripped from the pages of a novel. Both Davenport and Snow had successful careers as solo acts, but after ending up in a Memphis hotel room together following a cross-country road trip an acoustic guitar brought them together into a musical and romantic partnership. "17 Memphis is our heart and our life. It's literally us. No put ons, no masks. Every time we play, whether it's in front of our dogs or in front of a crowd, it feels like home," enthuses Snow, "We are proud to be a part of music that's so free and unencumbered."
There is certainly something special about these two, and about "Reboot." The piece, both as a visual and an auditory work, is a wonderful indicator of what they are capable of. The song speaks to feelings we've all had in a relationship at some point, the feeling of righteous anger that flies in the face of the love you feel for the person you are angry with. All of that followed by regret, and the desire to get back to a moment deceptively close-by, before feelings were hurt and egos bruised. The video presents this story in a way that puts the duo front and centre, and then lets them tell you what they're all about. It's a fantastic video debut, and the world is ready to see more of what these two have to offer.
Follow 17 Memphis Online!
The rocker celebrates his 45th birthday today
Jack White almost became a priest.
But then again, did he? The iconic rocker has regularly beguiled the press. "I'd got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin," he told 60 Minutes Mike Wallace back in 2005 in what seemed like a moment of genuine candor. "At the last second, I thought, 'I'll just go to public school."
Whether you believe that story or not, the blues-rock polymath, who turns 45 today, has led an undeniably punk life and crafted some of the most sacred rock music in history. Two decades after The White Stripes' self-titled debut, Jack White has remained purposefully slippery with the public. He told publications that he and Meg White, his then-wife and White Stripes-cohort, were the youngest of ten siblings and claimed that his label, Third Man Records, used to be a candy company, among other outlandish claims.
Dodge & Burn by The Dead Weather<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="59052057d58747fe96735fc4bb4c2b46"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/98oMvKF-78Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Cocked and loaded, The Dead Weather's 2015 effort, <em>Dodge and Burn,</em> finds the band at their most calamitous. "I got a bloodhound tooth hanging like a dagger," Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart cackles on "Let Me Through" with distorted hisses. With White on drums, The Dead Weather is White at his most implacable. </p><p>When he announced no touring would be done in support of <em>Dodge & Burn</em>, the implication was that TDW was formed as a sort of catharsis for White, somewhere to put all the rock-and-roll tar that he's built up over the years. The Captain Beefhart inspired super-group all but detonated on <em>Dodge & Burn</em>, with their slinky grunge guitars and feral growls all sounding extra crunchy.</p><p>The band reflects on the inevitable apocalypse with a bombastic snap that gladly welcomes violence and destruction ("Open Up") and rolls their eyes at anyone who threatens to ruin their demolition, even if its Jesus himself ("Buzzkill(er)." <em>Dodge & Burn</em> is reserved exclusively for those who need to let off a little steam...or start a bar fight.<br></p>
Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a8ba051ea61ebd21775ad6dc743cd0b3"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7lL1CW140FQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Before Beyonce's surprise album redefined the marketing of new releases, The Raconteurs rushed the arrival of 2008's <em>Consolers of the Lonely</em>, all but upending press coverage and flipping mass media the bird in the process. Announced and released within a week, <em>Consoler's</em> remains one of The Raconteur's grittiest records. </p><p><em>Broken Boy Soldier's</em> light-hearted buoyancy was nowhere to be seen. "Haven't seen the sun in a week, my skin is getting pale," calls out Brendan Banson before cackling guitars snap the necks of anyone who has a problem with it on Consoler's intro. </p><p>Jack White is dripping in manic swagger as The Raconteur's co-frontman. He makes the big hooks sound comfortable and casual as if he's jamming with some friends in his garage. He morphs the country twang of "Top Yourself" into a crude, braggadocious declaration of anti-love, ("How you gonna get that deep, when your daddy ain't around here to do it to you?") and uses bright, uplifting horns on "Many Shades of Black" to affirm to the same lover that their tumultuous relationship was destined to end, so it's okay. </p><p>It's all so petty and punk, with White at times bordering on deranged, but it's what adds to The Racounter's unsettling charm. They refuse to be your favorite rock band.</p>
Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="42a95cacb5b448443b5dcfaee6f342ff"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hrcum8DHDpo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While highly contested, <em>Get Behind Me Satan</em> is The White Stripes boldest album, taking the blues-rock sounds of <em>Elephant </em>and <em>De Stijl </em>that brought them national fame and throwing it to the wolves in favor of oddball piano arrangements, acoustic guitars, and many marimbas. It finds White spiraling into despair, with quirky tracks like "White Moon" and "Little Ghost" sounding like a real-time emotional breakdown, the latter's narrator performing obscure tasks like "dancing" with "the wall" as he falls in love with a ghost only he can see.</p><p>While the record left critics confused, it's jarring sound redefined The White Stripes' identity. Known for their hard-hitting arena rock, <em>Get Behind Me Satan</em> blew open the door for what came after. They were no longer confined to anything and were free to create whatever they pleased. It was inherently a move that was super rock and roll.<br></p>
Lazaretto by Jack White<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c43c41a2df22aba84ac16ddf5c1d9b5"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qI-95cTMeLM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Lazaretto</em> is Jack White as his most relentless. Each song on his magnetic sophomore work is a show of force. While Meg White's absence is notable and at times the album borders on Jack White just flexing his guitar chops, each song is full of intricacies that tumble into each other, redefining what's possible under the "blues-rock" moniker. It's inherently busy, with tracks like "High Ball Stepper" descending into chaos with its screams, crisp guitars, organs, and banjo slowly closing in on you–but <em>Lazaretto </em>found White pushing himself endlessly. What was he truly capable of when alone in a room with other bold musicians? The answer was: a lot. </p><p>The cover-art finds White sitting elegantly on a stone throne decorated by angels, a casual flex by White, who believed himself to be a tour-de-force, otherworldly musician, unconfined to the creative restrictions of the mortal world. It was a bold claim that only Jack White could make.</p>
The infectiously energetic bunch discuss sound waves, vulnerability, and stratospheric ambition from Rough Trade's green room.
Onstage and in person, Oxymorrons are uncontainable. Even just sitting and talking, they emit crackling energy that translates seamlessly to the Rough Trade stage.
Combining thunderous beats with electric guitars and virtuosic bass lines, layering emotive lyrics against infectious refrains, theirs is a stadium-ready brand of hip-hop-rock fusion that manages to sound totally unique.
Oxymorrons "See Stars" [ Offical Music Video] www.youtube.com
The project of Queens-based brothers KI and Deee, who have been making music together almost their entire lives, Oxymorrons is a hybrid of genres, visions, and emotions, bound up into one super-charged entity. The band has been blending hard rock with hard hip-hop long before Kevin Abstract and his peers rose to the top of the charts. Oxymorrons' come-up has been a long one, but they're finally breaking through to the mainstream.
Popdust talked to Oxymorrons about the grind to the top, being simultaneously vulnerable and ambitious, and how in the end, we're all made of the same energy.
Congrats on all your recent successes. It seems like you guys have had a crazy upswing.
DEEE: It's been cooking. Between touring, new management, and the festivals we've booked right now, the upswing has been crazy. Everything we've worked for for a long time is culminating, so it's kind of like, "oh shit, let's ride the wave."
ADAM NOVEMBER: I got lucky and came for the good part.
What was the not-so-good part?
MATTY MAYZ: There were a lot of ups and downs.
KI: Empty rooms. Sometimes you gotta share a sandwich. A lot of sandwiches.
D: To be somewhat serious, it's a grind. We built this shit on our own. There was no one investing in us. It's been a push and pull, but it's all culminating now, so it's worth it. Before, it was like, what the fuck are we doing?
MM: The light at the end of the tunnel helps.
D: We've figured out our sound. Now, it's cool to blend genres and break rules, but we've always been doing that. We've been misunderstood for so long. The labels would tell us—you guys are great, but where are we going to put you? They wanted to put us in a box, but one of our rules is to be unapologetically ourselves. Now, sound is catching up and being more accepting to a black fucking rock band, to tell you the truth.
KI: We had to wait for our time. And it's beautiful.
D: I think it was the cosmos, and us working really hard for a long time. Labels told us we were too black for rock, and too rock for hip hop. We were dealing for that back and forth for so long that we thought no one was ever going to get it. But now people are getting it, and we're feeling good as a band, and we're gonna keep shooting for the stars.
Over the past few years, mixing genres has become so prevalent, so some of your early work is almost prophetic. What made you start blending rock and hip hop?
D: We grew up listening to all different types of music, and our rule was—if it feels good and sounds good, then it's good. Sonics are sonics; it's all just sound, just vibrations. You can put vibrations in a box and you can put a name on them, but if people feel it, they just feel it. The reason you call something rock is because someone classified it that way. But really, it's just sound.
KI: We grew up with so many different genres of music, so we were like, why settle for one? That's why we called the band Oxymorrons in the first place. It's about marrying different things together.
Oxymorrons Green Vision (Official Music Video) youtu.be
You've said before that you have a bunch of different influences.
D: I'm a huge fan of Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and Billy Joel. Queen is my favorite band, but then I'll turn around and listen to Kanye and Kid Cudi. It's across the board. Right now I'm listening to Cool Schoolchildren and before that, it was Bless the Fall and Lil Wayne's album.
KI: I listen to elevator music and Korean pop music; I listen to anything. Big Bang is my favorite Korean band. So we take all of that stuff and put it in. Music is music.
Do you [KI and Deee] feel like growing up in Queens influenced your music?
D: Subconsciously, it did. Queens is the most diverse borough. Growing up there and having foreign parents keeps your palate open. We never put ourselves in a box, though we easily could have. Where we grew up in south Queens, we were the only kids listening to rock; everybody else was listening to hip hop. There wasn't a name for what we were doing.
KI: Queens changes every four or five blocks. That's the beauty of it.
You can kind of hear that in your music's texture. So was there a moment you realized this band was going to work?
KI: It was always bigger than us. Touring just opened things up. We were able to connect with people in a really cool way.
D: When people told us they're inspired by us, we were like—if we can inspire ten people, we can inspire ten thousand.
MM: We didn't realize how wide the spectrum was for people who care about what we were doing.
D: We bring people together, people who would never be in the same room. You'll see a dude who just listens to straight hip hop, standing right next to a dude who listens to nothing but metal, and they're enjoying it together. It's kind of like, shit, we are the world.
Oxymorrons- Brunch (Official Music Video) youtu.be
You've got some amazing support from people in the industry, too.
D: Sway [Calloway]'s been a supporter from damn near day one. Lupe [Fiasco] took us on his first tour; a lot of people connected the dots and helped us a lot along the way.
KI: Those people who came up and gave us a dollar—everyone who helped us, even a little—they're as much of celebrities as anyone who helped us in the industry.
D: Remember when we used to be in one hotel room? We toured the entire country in an SUV.
MM: Sixty-nine trips with me sitting Indian style.
KI: My legs…
Your music toes the line between vulnerability and these huge ambitions and energy. Was that an intentional contrast?
KI: That's just who we are. I want to be vulnerable and I want to be real; but at the same time, we're not gonna hold back on showing our light. We don't want our fans to hold back on showing their light; either. We're all doing this together. We're all on this globe together.
D: There's no reason to minimize yourself for someone else's comfort. Just because I'm shining doesn't mean you can't shine next to me. Even in a business this competitive, we're all in the same space; there doesn't have to be war. We just want to be authentically ourselves. We are vulnerable; we go through things.
KI: Everyone's trying to hide themselves by keeping it cool, but being yourself and showing that side is the cool.
Photo by Tommy Vu
Often they're viewed as mutually exclusive—toughness and emotional vulnerability.
AN: The balance between confidence and doubt is definitely something that all people deal with. We try not to hide that.
D: Let it out; it's all good. We have an open-door policy with each other. We tell each other about all our emotions no matter what. If someone's pissed off, we say it; if we love you, we say that too. We hug each other. It's weird to not be real. We're a family. We're manifesting one of the largest things you can ever try and manifest as a person—we're breathing life into a dream, this thing that didn't use to exist, that started as an arbitrary concept. Now we're all sitting here, talking about some shit that was created in a basement.
KI: Thank you for caring.
D: Sometimes even mid-show I'll just gaze into the crowd like, "Holy shit, why do you even like us, why are you all here?" It's so crazy. I'm actually self-conscious, whereas Deee's the one who's like, I'm fucking divine, I'm the greatest.
It's so powerful to sing out something that you wrote in a moment of vulnerability and hear it sung back in crowds.
D: And to have people say, hey I felt like that too.[That's] something I don't take for granted at all.
AN: In terms of the coolness factor between an audience and the artist—we need each other to survive. I don't know where that coolness comes from. I might be onstage, but we can only do this together. Only together can we relate and feel something.
Oxymorrons - Asleep [Offical Music Video] www.youtube.com
So what's next?
D: We're finishing a project; I can't put out any dates, but in late June, there will be a lot more content. There are things I can't say, but there's a lot going on, and this is our year.
You seem to have a very loving communion together as a band that probably translates to the stage, and I think a lot of people will connect with that.
D: If you took us out of here and put us in a bar, it's the same. We act exactly the same no matter where you place us. It's easy; when I'm onstage, I do what I do in front of the mirror at home.
Anything you want to add?
D: Live long and prosper. We're all one energy. We might be living in this space, but it's absolutely all one energy.
KI: More shows coming up, more festivals...be there.
Image via The 405
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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