As we head deeper into the ’00s-garage-rock-revival revival, there are plenty of up-and-coming bands revitalizing the riot-grrrl-inspired sounds of Sleater-Kinney and dance-punk energy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs—but only one of them is doing so in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure story. The album rollout for the new album Fortress of Fun from Portland’s J. Graves has involved a two-singles-at-once approach which allows the listener to plan their next move on the band’s official site as a visual narrative accompanies each choice.
Today, two new videos arrive after the listener/viewer has made the choice to have bassist Kelly Clifton don chainmail. Although the two tracks that come with these visuals—“Ass u Me” and “Bested”—are paired together at this point in the narrative, vocalist Jessa Graves notes that the former was the first track written for the album, the latter the final one they penned. She continues, noting an interesting distinction between the two:
“Both songs have some unique group efforts—‘Ass u Me’ has what we call ‘calps,’ a misspelling of ‘claps’ which is us doing our own clapping stunts. In ‘Bested,’ we each played a singular note on the piano to later be reversed and distorted which funnily enough was labeled as ‘pinao,’ much like our ‘calps.’ The bassline is the star of ‘Bested’ and the plot of the music video reflects as such.”
As for the videos, Graves reveals that they may not be as fantastical as they may seem. “Kelly really is an archer, and yes that is her horsebow. The sword and chainmail found in the FOF music videos all belong to her. All the heartbreak, loneliness, longing to be known, that’s all mine—but there’s plenty in these songs to go around and surely I’m not alone.”