Motherfolk shares cathedral-set long-take video for “Fold II”

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Ohio’s Motherfolk made a strong impression with their 2016 sophomore record Fold, and now they're sharing a series of live performance videos in support of its newly-released deluxe edition. Fold's gutsy folk-rock is sprinkled with found-sound recordings and other production flourishes, but this new video for "Fold II" pares the six-piece down to original members Bobby Paver and Nathan Dickerson to raw effect. The video was filmed at St. Francis Xavier Church in the band's native Cincinnati, and features a single long shot that opens tight on Paver's guitar and slowly skates backward down the sanctuary aisle to reveal more and more of the cathedral's dazzling interior.

Part of a series of three tracks that punctuate and bookend the record, "Fold II" has Paver addressing God, asking "Are you happy with what you've done?" and asserting "You made us bound to fall", before finding resolution in the song's last verse. Check out the video for "Fold II" below.

Watch Madison Cunningham and Osso String Quartet’s performance of "Little Things With Great Love"

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For anyone who cares about good worship music, the Porter's Gate Worship Project is like manna from heaven. Over the summer, the initiative convened a huge, ridiculously talented pool of musicians (there are way too many to list) in New York City to collaboratively write and record songs for the project’s first volume, entitled Work Songs.

Mason Jar Music put together a live video for the album’s opening track, by singer-songwriter Madison Cunningham, and it is astonishingly beautiful stuff. "Little Things With Great Love" was written by Audrey Assad (with Cunningham and Bifrost Arts producer Isaac Wardell providing additional lyrics and melody), and was inspired by Mother Teresa's famous statement, “God does not call us all to do great things, but calls us to do small things with great love". The deeply poetic verses are perfectly served by Cunningham's silken delivery, and the emotive, shuddering accompaniment by members of Osso String Quartet multiplies the song's impact many times over. Watch “Little Things With Great Love” below. 

Kesha has a new video and it might actually give you chills

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Yep, that Kesha.

Over the last several years, the creative output by The Artist Formerly Known as Ke$ha has been eclipsed by her high-profile legal battle with her producer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of continuous sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Multiple lawsuits from both sides concluded with no convictions, but Kesha has by no means let it go.

Or, maybe, she has. On her new single, "Praying", Kesha directly addresses Luke with a message that is shocking for the audacious grace it displays. After stating that "You brought the flames and you put me through hell", she sings that, "I hope you're somewhere prayin'/I hope your soul is changin'". 

She said this about the song: "I've found what I had thought was an unobtainable place of peace. This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It's a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It's also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal."

The song's music video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, features stunning visuals, many of which come courtesy of on-location shooting at the late Leonard Knight's incredible, wonderful folk/outsider art landmark Salvation Mountain in the Colorado Desert. Check out "Praying" below. 

STREAKING IN TONGUES debuts video for the tenderhearted lament "Baby Bird"

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In 2016, songwriter Ronnie Ferguson shut himself in a remote cabin in northern Michigan to sit, pray, read a pile of spiritual books, and face the grief that had lingered since his father's death when Ronnie was only a teenager. STREAKING IN TONGUES' Life Support was the eventual product, a raw document of Ferguson's depression and grieving process. Like similarly-themed records, Sufjan Stevens' Carrie and Lowell and this year's A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie, it's a gauntlet of a listen, but a work of sterling quality.

Today, Spirit You All is proud to premiere the music video for one of Life Support's most beautifully melancholic tracks. The visuals for "Baby Bird" come directly from the 1935 Dave Fleischer cartoon Song of the Birds, and somehow the film clip syncs perfectly with the song's tragic themes of guilt and isolation (as well as, you know... birds). Watch it below.

Watch John Coltrane's stunning elegy for the victims of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing

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54 years ago today, four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted dynamite beneath the front steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Four young African-American girls were killed in the explosion, and many others attending the Sunday morning service were injured.

Jazz legend John Coltrane wrote "Alabama" in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and he modeled his tenor sax playing on the cadence of Dr. Martin Luther King's eulogy for the four girls, delivered at their funeral in the bombed church's sanctuary only three days after the attack. On December 7, 1963, Coltrane and his quartet played the piece on the television program Jazz Casual. It's a singularly powerful, gut-wrenching dirge, one that evokes a bottomless sorrow, but also, as Dr. King says in his speech, "God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace." Watch it below.

Loud Harp shares lyric video for "Immanuel" from upcoming record

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Post-rock-influenced worship duo Loud Harp recently announced a new album, and as part of the record's Kickstarter campaign they've shared a brand new track with a fetching lyric video to boot. From the sound of "Immanuel", Hope Where There Was None is picking up stylistically where 2014's Asaph left off, with shoegaze-y tones and punchy drums that slowly swell around a resolutely sanguine piano melody. Check out the lyric video below, and support the band by pre-ordering on Kickstarter here.

Grab a phone and watch Chance the Rapper's awesome video for "How Great"

Probably the only event this year harder to foresee than Donald Trump becoming a major US party's presidential nominee was Chance the Rapper borrowing a Chris Tomlin song whole-cloth for his third mixtape. Coloring Book was released earlier this year to much acclaim and much hubbub over its Christian references and gospel stylings (though the weirdness of "How Great Is Our God" being on such a massive hip-hop album is totally lost on non-Christian music critics). Now Chance's version of "How Great" has gotten an official music video, which he unceremoniously shared on Twitter. The song has two distinct halves, the first featuring Chance's cousin Nicole and a gospel choir singing the contemporary worship standard, while the second features Chance and Jay Electronica spitting Scripture-heavy rhymes accompanied by the choir.

The video was shot on an iPhone and meant to be viewed on one, with an orientation that flips 90 degrees at every cut, making you keep rotating the phone to keep the picture right side up. Honestly, it's kind of annoying. Let's hope this style doesn't catch on. But if you happen to be reading this on a computer, you should still grab your smartphone or - for those blessed, beautiful folks who don't have one - use someone else's, because it's a wonderful video and absolutely worth the trouble. Check it out:

The Chairman Dances share video for their slice of garage-fuzz gold "Augustine"

Time Without Measure, the new LP by The Chairman Dances, is far and away one of the most unique concept albums to come along this year - a left-leaning hagiography of Christian heroes, it's like a book of saints edited by Howard Zinn and Cornel West. One of the record's best tracks, "Augustine", recently got a music video in the form of a layered motion collage featuring lead singer Eric Krewson, guitarist Luke Pigott, and (briefly) backup vocalist Ashley Cubbler. The song reaches far back in history to honor the Church Father, but listen for clever lyrical hat-tips not just to John Calvin, but to "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" by Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat". 

Watch the video for "Augustine" by The Chairman Dances below.

Watch the magnificent video for Vic Thrill's "The Creator"

If you're a hardcore This American Life listener, you might remember the classic episode where the Williamsburg, Brooklyn musician Vic Thrill asks God for a chance to meet the neighborhood's "other half" and has his prayer answered when he meets a young Hasidic man named Chaim, whom he helps to launch a meteoric indie rock career as "Curly Oxide". A member of Williamsburg's indie music since 1998, Thrill (aka Billy Campion) is still going strong, even though the spectre of gentrification and rapidly rising rents that has long floated over the neighborhood has led to the recent closure of many of its beloved venues.

Campion recently shared the video for "The Creator", from his upcoming double album Bollywood Hula Bard, and it's both mesmerizing and powerful. The video was shot in the South Williamsburg basement that serves as both his studio and home, and there's a conscious Bowie influence in the magnetic aura he affects (Bowie, a huge inspiration for the artist, died the day before the video shoot, and if you watch closely, at one moment you can see some of the "Ashes to Ashes" video projected on his chest). The song itself has an intensely spiritual feel, with bodhrán and a heavy drone ringing as Campion imagines the world "through the eyes of the Creator". He says nearly the whole thing came to him in a dream: "I dreamed I was being given a ride by the spirit of GOD, which had taken a form that was several football fields in length and moved like a water snake to propel itself through outer space. I was being given a tour of the universe by the One who made it and an opportunity to see everything how IT did. I was singing 'Through the eyes of the Creator!' just like you hear it in the song. I woke up and sang it right into my iPhone, went back to bed and woke up again in the morning where I finished the rest of it at breakfast."

Watch "The Creator" below.

Eagle Rock Gospel Singers announce Staples tribute EP, share sizzling live performance of "Hammer and Nail"

One of last year's best albums was the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers' debut Heavenly Fire, which resurrected old-timey gospel/bluegrass with its lifeblood still pumping vigorously. Now, the LA group is announcing their next release: a three-song EP called Hammer and Nail: A Tribute to the Staple Singers. While the Staple Singers are an obvious influence for a band like Eagle Rock, vocalist Kim Garcia has said in the past that Mavis Staples in particular has played a large role in her own formation as a singer: "When I write something, I try to think about what Mavis would sing, and go from there."

The group played the title track at Sofar Sounds in Los Angeles recently, and you can watch the dynamite performance below, and see the cover of the new EP below that. Hammer and Nail: A Tribute to the Staple Singers is due out June 17. 

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