Week in Pop: D.A. Stern, Mary Ocher, Natural Velvet

Sjimon Gompers

Berlin's consciousness expanding pop lord Mary Ocher; photographed by Boris Eldagsen.

Fine China

The Arizona legends Fine China continue their pop mission; press photo courtesy of the band.

The pop world rejoiced in 2016 when Fine China reformed with a reunion show & released a deluxe edition of the influential album The Jaws of Life. In further celebration of the Phoenix band’s new album Not Thrilled available now from the illustrious purveyors of fine pop Velvet Blue Music, we are incredibly thrilled to present the world premiere of Fine China’s video for the album’s lead off track “Anybody Else” featuring found footage collected by Joseph Andreotti & edited by Hunter Christy (who most recently directed Guided By Voices’ “See My Field“). Behold as performance footage of the band’s own Rob Withem, Greg Markov & Thom Walsh is overlayed with vintage film fantasias that recollect & reason the places from the past together with the introspective feelings of the present.

The Joseph Andreotti & Hunter Christy video perfectly conveys that earnest & open hearted aesthetic of Fine China. “Anybody Else” is an addition to the Fine China narrative that serves in many ways to soundtrack our earthly existence where states of the sublime are explored in ethereal & ephemeral approaches & executions. And not unlike those deep-dreaming chord treatments & arrangements that the trio employees on both the single & the new record (built from blueprints that began with the group’s inception in 1997); the selection of celluloid nostalgia are group to underscore the song’s warm hearted composition that recalls the holidays & summer days of yesteryear. “Anybody Else” springs to the frame with a mix of classic Hollywood imagery & beach-side motifs that permeate all throughout the video that cast light on treasured vintage memories seen, heard & experienced like a collage of silver screen remembrances carried forth through the channels of our unconscious. Fine China steers those familiar semblances of thought & longing in ways matched with the styles of eclectic motion pictures seen on TCM & other channels late night where former formalities & affinities find a deep connection from within ourselves to the moving images from mid-twentieth century age of cinema.

Rob Fine China shared a few thoughts on the visual accompaniment for “Anybody Else”:

The video seems to capture the feel of the song which is sad and nostalgic. We liked the interplay of the found film clips with the live band footage.

Fine China’s Rob Withem shared further insights on the making of the song “Anybody Else”:

I started this song fairly early in the process of writing the album and I feel like it is a good representation of my vision for the record. I wanted a sound that hearkened back to singles from the mid to late 80s that I heard on the radio as a kid—stuff like Don Henley, and Dire Straits. But also root it in an elegant guitar pop sound, like XTC or Crowded House. “Anybody Else” started out as just two chords over and over laid over a tight, repetitive drum beat. I wrote and arranged the song over a couple months, slowly adding parts and layers and writing the lyrics the night before recording vocals. All the guitars were recorded on my old Roland JC-120 amp, with true stereo chorus, and I think I used 6 different guitars on the track. The track is also the first—and probably last—time we used hand-drum percussion on a track.

Fine China’s first album in 13 years Not Thrilled is available now from Velvet Blue Music.

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