“Punish” begins as musical fever dream as depicted as analog in the music video for the song as singer Nikhil Rao of Bottled Up wakes up to a room with faceless nurses administering to him a mysterious treatment. The surreal sound is reminiscent of an odd mixture of the rhythm of Joy Division’s “Colony” and a particularly funky Talking Heads song. Or like a sanguine Parquet Courts. The song gives voice to the anxieties of a dysfunctional and even abuse relationship that began as they often do with passion and a willingness from one partner to overlook all the warning signs. The clinical setting of the video is perfect for a situation in which one is dissected and being under the enforced mercy of someone you should be able to trust but who violates that trust constantly until it’s too late. Mid-song the synth work and syncopation of the music seems like a nod to Blondie’s “Rapture” before dropping back into the song’s irresistible groove straight to the conclusion where in the music video the faceless nurses high five each other for nefarious work well done. Watch the video on YouTube and follow Bottled Up at the links below. The group’s latest album, the colorful and aptly titled Grand Bizarre released 5/27 on Misra,
The music video for Bottled Up’s “Italo Love” hits some surreal notes and not just in the music. The members of the band are depicted performing on the beach and frolicking in a beach town. And the lyrics make references to Los Angeles with houses that look like something you might see in Encinitas, California. Maybe it was filmed there or on a beach area nearer to the group’s home town of Washington, DC. The smooth jazz, funk and pop aesthetics blended together effortlessly in the song certainly gives the impression of something that might come from a band celebrating the good times and nostalgia of the laid back pace and energy of one of the California beach towns including Long Beach. When Nikhil Rao sings the line “I was born from memories of the drives through Beverly” one wonders if he had a connection to the Los Angeles area or fantasized about it from images on television and film and identifying with the vibe. The song and what has been release of the new Bottled Up album Grand Bizarre (due out May 27, 2022) has that quality of being outside usual time and geography while genre mashing in a way similar to that of King Krule and all the more interesting because of it. Fans of that final Abe Vigoda album Crush (2010) and its lush pop interpretation of glam rock will greatly appreciate this track and what Bottled Up has been going for throughout its career to date. Watch the video for “Italo Love” on YouTube and connect with Bottled Up at the links below.