Music videos & releases: lockdown edition!

Check out videos from Katie Melua, Ben Harper, Jamie Lawson, Lainey Wilson and many more!

Hot on the heels of our contemporary country release roundup, we’ve compiled a selection of music videos either created during lockdown or just before that you may have missed it with everything going on.

Katie Melua is back with a cinematic new video
Ben Harper‘s videos explore loneliness through dance
Jamie Lawson‘s moving images
Lainey Wilson asks What Would Dolly Do?
Native Harrow directed themselves during lockdown
Hailey Whitters has a song you need to know
Tim Prottey-Jones‘ weekly Country Collective
Did Make Them Suffer predict social distancing?
Phantom Isle‘s eerie lockdown video
Musician Cristóvam and director Pedro Valera joined forces to reassure you that everything will be alright
In Earnest‘s honest lockdown video
Award winning director Pedro Romhanyi (Pulp, Blur) directed a lockdown video for unsigned teenager, Tom King
Foust found footage
Dance Gavin Dance gave fans Three Wishes by crowdsourcing their video
Check out Denai Moore‘s 3D CG animated visualiser video
The Imbeciles release a surreal animation
Sauce serve a retro animation for All Of Us
Children of the State go back to Big Sur
Rory Butler‘s explosion of colour
Basia Bulat explores emotions
Amanda Rose Riley gets Better
Thumper celebrated the release of Topher Grace with a frenetic livestream
Explore the countryside with Ian Roland & The Subtown Set
Afel Bocoum has Damon Albarn’s seal of approval
Missing festival season? Have a dance to Orchestra Baobab at home
Grammy-winning artist Blake Mills portrays emotional dissonance
Josiah Johnson documents life in a mask

Katie Melua is back with a cinematic new video

A Love Like That is the first of a series of videos that Katie Melua has made with award-winning director Charlie Lightening (Paul McCartney, Liam Gallagher, Kasabian) featuring Billy Howle (Star Wars, Dunkirk) to promote songs from Melua’s new record, Album No. 8, due out in October 2020.

“I’m really proud of the video. I loved working with Charlie Lightening, we had lots of talks about how to make it a meaningful work and deal with the new limits on filming. We went with just me and Billy Howle on screen, we tried to show with subtle gestures and nuances the truth of love in its early stages. Hopefully everyone can enjoy watching it.”

Ben Harper’s videos explore loneliness through dance

GRAMMY award winning musician Ben Harper may not have known it at the time, but he wrote something of a soundtrack to lockdown.

“Don’t Let Me Disappear is about the fine line between loneliness, isolation and invisibility, to where you can’t seem to find a way not to be hiding in plain sight”

Ben Harper

The song’s stark black & white video features two modern dancers sharing fragmented movements while Harper accompanies them on acoustic guitar. Last year’s video for Uneven Days also showcased interpretative dance.

Harper has somehow also found time to produce records for his ANTI-label mates including Christopher Paul Stelling and the excellent We Get By by Mavis Staples.

Jamie Lawson’s moving images

Fitting to promote an EP called Moving Images, Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson’s a series of sessions on Instagram, and recorded lockdown versions of his new songs.

Lawson inadvertedly adjusted to the new normal for musicians earl as most of the EP was recorded at this home studio. He explained the motivation behind the release:

With the need for full length albums being less and less, I suspect I’ll do more of these types of releases, small collections of songs that we can hopefully tour around and keep active with.”

Jamie Lawson

Well, that’s the reason for the format. One of the songs had a more pragmatic origin. A Perfect Year was written as a first anniversary present for his wife, while she had “nipped to Tesco,” after the gift he had ordered didn’t arrive!

Lainey Wilson asks What Would Dolly Do?

Lainey Wilson decided to respond to lockdown by releasing a new song each month. Rolling Stone premiered Lainey Wilson’s cheeky parody video for WWDD, and ‘Whispering Bob’ Harris gave the song the first spin on radio on BBC Radio 2.

I don’t know anyone who don’t love Dolly. From her sense of humor, to her look, to her songwritin’, to her singin’ to how she has such an incredible giving heart, to how she’s an awesome businesswoman…Dolly does everything just a little better with a little bow on top.

Lainey Wilson

The new release comes hot on the heels of the Lousiana native’s Redneck Hollywood EP which showcased her brand of funky, soulful ‘bell bottom country.’

Native Harrow directed themselves during lockdown

“Twilight twang and vintage vibes”

Rolling Stone

Fittingly for a film made during lockdown, Native Harrow’s video for Shake explores the emotional impact of loneliness and absence. Due to the exigences of the situation, the video was developed, directed and shot by the band, despite them having no previous filmmaking experience. The result is lush.

Native Harrow’s second album, Closeness, is due out on September 4, 2020, on Loose.

Hailey Whitters has released a song you need to know

Janice At A Hotel Bar by Hailey Whitters has been named a Song You Need To Know by Rolling Stone and was included in Paste Magazine’s 25 Beston Songs of 2020 (So Far) list.

“I met a woman named Janice in a bar one day and this is what she told me…”

Intrigued? Here you go!

Tim Prottey-Jones’ weekly Country Collective

Since leaving The Wandering Hearts, Tim Prottey-Jones has collaborated with several UK country rising stars, and recently became the voice of a UK country show on Chris Country radio.

Not surprising, then, that he’s used his time in lockdown to showcase the talents of a huge range UK country singers and musicians. His split-screen cover videos, released once a week, have featured Kezia Gill, Liv Austen, Jake Morrell and countless others, plus Americana talents like Daisy Chute and C.J. Hillman. There have been 13 collaborations so far, and over 6,000 people have tuned in. Here are two examples.

Did Make Them Suffer predict social distancing?

Erase Me was made and released just before the UK and Australia went into lockdown, yet the band coincidentally demonstrated excellent social distancing in the video that has now been viewed over 1.3 million times. The Australian band balance scattergun drums and Sean Harmanis’ confrontational metal voice with Booka Neal’s clean vocals . Their new album How To Survive A Funeral is out now on Rise Records.

Musician Cristóvam and director Pedro Valera joined forces to reassure you that everything will be alright

Musician Cristóvam and director Pedro Valera collaborated to represent Andrà tutto bene, which means everything will be alright in Portuguese. They saw the need for a message of hope during lockdown, and remotely created a socially distanced film to match.

Stay safe. Divided we fight but united we stand.”

Film by Pedro Varela 
Music and Lyrics by Cristóvam
Production Company: Blanche Filmes

Cristóvam was the first Portuguese musician to win an award in the International Songwriting Competition, judged by Tom Waits, Grant Lee Phillips and Keane, among others. He’s in the finals again this year.

Actor turned director Pedro Varela made his directing debut with stage version of Trainspotting, and has represented Brazil at a theatre festival in Brazil. He’s also written and directed cult television series, commercials and a feature film.

In Earnest’s honest lockdown video

When In Earnest decided to film Sarah every day for ten weeks to document her changing mental health, they had now idea that it would coincide with a lockdown. The resulting video for Put Me Under is a fascinating document of that time.

In Earnest’s new single, Come Upstairs came out on July 3, 2020.

Phantom Isle’s eerie lockdown video

Channeling hypnotic, goosebump inducing sounds in their new single, Phantom Isle continued the theme by using lighting and shadow to create a mysterious atmosphere within the lockdown aesthetic.

The lyrics were actually written about feeling anxious and alone

Sam Thorne, Phantom Isle’s lyricist and drummer

Award winning director Pedro Romhanyi (Pulp, Blur) directed a lockdown video for unsigned teenager, Tom King

18 year old Tom King was supposed to be sitting his A-Levels. Instead, the 2014 Chorister of the Year found himself being directed by acclaimed creator Pedro Romhanyi (Pulp’s Common People, Blur’s Parklife) after the director’s friend recommended the self-released track to him. The single came hot on the heels of the 2019 release of Why Are You Here? which received 200,000 Spotify streams without label involvement or promotion.

“When I started talking to Pedro on FaceTime I had no idea he was such a legend; he was so friendly and unassuming and said he really connected with the song. He was super quick to come up with loads of creative ideas and really understood the song.  It’s super exciting and I’m very grateful

Tom King

Foust found footage

Nashville rock band Foust used judiciously chosen atmospheric stock footage to accompany their new single, The Fountain.

Dance Gavin Dance gave fans Three Wishes by crowdsourcing their video

Dance Gavin Dance asked fans to send in footage of themselves cleaning their houses, their dogs or themselves to promote their song Three Wishes, from the band’s ninth album Afterburner. Over 1500 videos were submitted, with hilarious results!

Refusing to rest on their laurels, they’ve aimed to top that by following up with a stunning animated video directed by Rob Shaw (At The Drive In).

The band has amassed over 800 million career streams and 1 million album sales to date.

Check out Denai Moore’s 3D CG animated visualiser video

Denai Moore wrote Motherless Child several years ago but it finally found its place after she worked with Alex Robertshaw to remake the track entirely from scratch. The accompanying video is a compelling 3D animation.

“It suddenly felt much more fresh and exciting. This song is about detachment, loneliness & feeling really isolated from the world around me, which feels crazy releasing it in isolation during a pandemic.

Denai Moore

The Imbeciles release a surreal animation

Once again collaborating with Shane Bean to give life to Tommy and his battles with a serpent, The Imbeciles want you to make your own mind up about whether the surreal narrative is biblical or manifesting contemporary societal concerns.

The video is also an homage to the classic French short film Le Balloon Rouge, with a nod to Picasso’s Guernica thrown in.

The band’s spring tour dates have been postponed to November 2020. Tickets are on sale now with all original tickets remaining valid for their respective rescheduled date.

Sauce serve a retro animation for All Of Us

Manchester band Sauce have also chosen the animated route, but this one has a distinctly retro flavour. Motion Graphics (Luke Dewhurst) created the visual artwork.

Children of the State go back to Big Sur

Children of the State’s deliciously vintage sound captured by producer Ian Kelly from The Coral was depicted on video by director Sam Crowston.

“Big Sur was born out of a lot of grey days on an industrial estate in Doncaster wanting to be at the beach. We were listening to a lot of Dick Dale and Beach Boys at the time and wanted to capture that 60s surf sound but bring it into 2020.”

Rory Butler’s explosion of colour

“The most exciting Scottish talent to emerge in recent times”

Roddy Hart, BBC Radio Scotland

Indie folk singer-songwriter Rory Butler has received support and airplay from the likes of Mark Radcliffe, Robert Elms and Roddy Hart. Mind Your Business is taken from Butler’s debut Mind Your Business which was funded by Help Musicians.

Basia Bulat explores emotions

The cinematic video was directed by Brian Sokolowski and filmed in northern Quebec. It comes from the Juno award nominee’s new record Are You In Love? that captures an emotional time, spanning finding new love and the death of her father.

“I wrote Your Girl during a snowstorm in Montreal and recorded it under the warm desert sun in Joshua Tree. Someone once told me you can’t sing and cry at the same time but that wasn’t true for me when we were recording this one. There’s joy in finally being free from a painful situation, relief, laughter—even as it feels impossible to ever forget the pain or understand why that storm came through your life the way it did. And so, light on your feet, you dance with the memory instead.

Basia Bulat

Amanda Rose Riley gets Better

Amanda Rose Riley’s album Better came out in May and in the absence of touring and open mic opportunities, she’s turned to weekly live streams with themes like positive songs, friends’ favourite songs, positive songs, and Frank Turner covers. The latter is not so surprising when you realise she played at the Boston edition of Turner’s Lost Evenings festival and the Last Minutes part of the same festival in London. You can check her streams out on Facebook.

Thumper celebrated the release of Topher Grace with a frenetic livestream

Irish band Thumper have received rave reviews from Abbie McCarthy and Phil Taggart from BBC Radio 1. The noise-rock group celebrated their latest single, Topher Grace, with a full band socially distanced livestream, including their two drummers! Head to 13:30 of the video below to relive the show.

Explore the countryside with Ian Roland & The Subtown Set

Having been stuck inside for so long, it’s particularly pleasing to simply amble around nature in the video for Butterfly, taken from Ian Roland the Subtown Set’s new album Double Rainbow. It was filmed in South Downs National Park near Brighton.

Afel Bocoum has Damon Albarn’s seal of approval

“Afel’s voice is one of the treasures of Mali and this record is a gift to us all”

Damon Albarn

So impressed was Albarn with Afel Bocoum’s talent that he became executive producer on his new record, Lindé, due out on World Circuit Records on September 4, 2020. Musicians featured on the record include the late Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, Vin Gordon (Bob Marley) on trombone, and Joan as Police woman on violin.

“Here’s a safety demonstration. Remain standing. Sing and dance.”

Missing festival season? Have a dance to Orchestra Baobab at home

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab. They blend Afro-Latin styles, international pop, and West African griot music. To celebrate this remarkable milestone, they’re rereleasing their landmark 2002 reunion album Specialist In All Styles in September on vinyl for the first time. The album features Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer and Youssou N’Dour

Check them out in this unseen footage of Jiin Ma Jiin Ma from their 2015 set at for the first time.

Grammy-winning artist Blake Mills portrays emotional dissonance

Grammy-winning producer, composer, guitarist and songwriter Blake Mills new album, Mutable Set, is out now on New Deal Records/Verve. He’s collaborated with luminaries like Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes, John Legend, Jay-Z, Laura Marling, Phoebe Bridgers in the past.

For his fourth album, he chose a talented team of his own: Aaron Embryon on keys (Elliot Smiths), Sam Gendel on saxophone (Vampire Weekend), Rob Moose on strings (Alabama Shakes, Bon Iver), Abe Rounds (,Andrew Bird) on drums and Pino Palladino (The Who, D’Angelo) on bass.

For an album about the emotional dissonance of modern life, the video for Vanishing Twin the video is devoid of human involvement, with everyday objects examined and utilized in unexpected ways.

Josiah Johnson documents life in a mask

Josiah Johnson lost his place in Billboard chart-topping band The Head and the Heart due to the consequences of addiction. In his video for Nobody Knows, he explores living life behind a mask. Not the PPE style we’re getting used to know but the kind that makes life difficult and obscures emotions.

Johnson’s debut solo album, Every Feeling On A Loop, is due out September 4, 2020, on ANTI-Records.