The black flamingo is a mythical creature, only captured on video once to date. The mystery and magic behind this rare bird caught Venice instrumental rock duo Movie Club’s attention and quickly became the title of their first full-length record. Drummer Jessamyn Violet and guitarist Vince Cuneo have released three EPs since forming in 2018, honing their sound and building an international following. Black Flamingo features special guests on several songs, including Foo Fighter Rami Jaffee on keys, Jessy Greene (P!NK) on violin, and Tim Lefebvre (Davie Bowie’s Blackstar) on bass.
Packed with strong beats and searing riffs, the album is 13 songs that range from ballads to headbangers. “There aren’t many niches left these days,” drummer Violet says. “I feel fortunate to be in a project that’s not afraid to do something different with full force. We want to include everyone, and instrumental music breaks all boundaries.” Black Flamingo was recorded and mixed in Los Angeles by Jeff Thompson, and mastered by Mike Tucci. Additional bass by Kosta Galanopoulos.
The band wanted to incorporate magic into the music video for the title track, so they called upon Ran Pink, magician, musician and owner of Fonogenic studios, to direct. Pink wanted to shoot with miniatures and play with perspective. Set in a tiny spirit house, the band is green screened into the scene wearing masquerade costumes that include authentic Venetian masks, as they dance and perform magic tricks to an audience of themselves.
“We are lovers of film,” Cuneo says, ”so it’s a great joy to make cinematic visuals that pair with our music.”
Black Flamingo is being released November 27th on all streaming services and on vinyl.
“Black Flamingo” track by track commentary
Phantasm – This track started out as a basic groove that always felt great when we played it. Our engineer, mixer and friend Jeff Thompson said we should lead the album with this one, that we sounded like “the band” – whatever that means, we’ll take it!
Starcatcher – One of the wildest songs we’ve written, with built-in tempo speed-ups and slow-downs at the end to make a warped, warbled tape machine effect. The track came out of a jam that transitioned into a sort of a nod to old Tame Impala. When we play this song, we imagine a stadium full of thousands of people rocking out together. It’s all about feeling free and dangerous.
Black Flamingo – The title track is a sort of dark anthem to the times. This song is all vibe, and combines two of our favorite genres – Hip-Hop & Rock. Vince worked on the guitar solo endlessly and then nailed it on the first take. We also loved the unexpected but very cool organ slide by Rami Jaffee during a pause in the song that instantly became the craziest sound on the record.
Broken Pier – In the spirit of Tom Waits, this scrappy song is one of our favorites to play.
This was originally pieces of 3 different jams that we rolled into one.
Thunder – We were kind of doing a Green Day job on this track. We both grew up huge fans of their early records. Definitely think Tre Cool would approve of the bridge. “Thunder” came together because we started with a fast groove and experimented with taking it as many different places as possible.
Sun Dragon – Vince birthed this tune with the goal of writing a bright guitar melody in Drop-D tuning. Usually rock bands write darker songs in that tuning, so a challenge turned into a new song. We love the warm, fuzzy feeling this song gives us inside when we play it. It gets fierce too, though, which is why the name is so fitting.
Rainshadow – Written during a rare rainstorm in Venice Beach, this track was conceived to be a strange and magical journey. With the added beautiful violin from Jessy Greene, vibing keys from Rami Jaffee, & insane bottom melody from bassist Tim Lefebvre, we are thrilled about how it turned out.
Lazy Jacks – This song is basically a tribute to our love for the 90s alternative music scene. The track’s original title was “Slinky Fish.” It’s a groove you can relate to but still has little intricacies and twists to keep you on your toes.
Minehunter – What happens when you lay into the triplets and fuzz out the guitar?
The song GOES HARD! We want to knock you sideways and be out before you even know what hit you.
Bermuda Rainbow – This was the first song we wrote on the record, while dreaming of tropical enchanted places during the elongated lockdown. We made sure to include a surprise ending that captures our excitement about the future.
Torpedo – It was surprisingly hard to track this one. The hardest of the whole album for sure.
We’d been listening to a ton of Radiohead while we wrote this song. The song starts like a torpedo dropping into the water, then goes full speed towards the enemy, and then right before hitting the target it turns and heads somewhere else. Choose-your-own-adventure style.
Bioluminescence – This is the strangest song we’ve probably ever written; a sort of Sabbath-on-mushrooms vibe, or something. It was the most difficult to write of the bunch, but we’re so happy how it turned out.
Devil’s Sea – Pure punk-rock-with-teeth last track of the album. Written with intention to trigger mosh pits. We can’t wait to play this one live. It started out as a funky lick that didn’t quite fit. Then Jessamyn counted off a tempo 3 times the original speed and turned this into a song straight outta hell.