Sex Of Insects make powerful, unsettling music – but it's still pop.

Sure, it doesn't resemble pop in its classic sense, but each song from the duo feels melodic, defined, concise, and contagious.

Take new cut 'I Can Hear The Light'. Part of a full EP package – some top remixes are incoming – it drops on July 21st and is another confident forward step from the pair.

Improvisatory guitar sounds coupled with undulating electronic grooves, the sheer open-ended nature of the music sits alongside the group's pop instincts.

Fascinating stuff, you can check it out below.

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Suffolk duo Amethysts released their debut single 'My Love' earlier this year, a sound that promptly swept across the internet.

Hazy electronics fused with wall-of-sound guitars, the sharply defined pop edge steered the pairing towards viral success.

New track 'Purple Blood' builds on this, with the evocative lyricism set against music that veers between beauty and noise.

Daydream vocals and pirouetting guitar lines, 'Purple Blood' demonstrates that Amethysts' internet fame was no one-off affair.

Tune in now.

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Plastician's Terrorhythm imprint has long established itself as an incubation hub for new sounds and fresh thinking.

Glacci is a key part of that. The Nottingham producer released his terrific debut EP on the imprint, and returns this summer with a long-player.

'Lifeforce' drops on July 31st (pre-order LINK) with the beat maker able to unveil new cut 'Spirals'.

Fusing vaporised trap elements to grime's day-glo futurism, it matches the wild innovations of wave to that ominous low-end weight.

Kareful steps in to add some gloss, and the whole mixture is totally overpowering – a real display of talent becoming realised. Tune in now.

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In one fell swoop Hayden Calnin was able to communicate with millions of people across the globe.

The Australian songwriter was a virtual unknown when his song 'Love' was picked to play over the final scene of the eighth season of the Vampire Diaries.

With his soft delivery and engrossing lyricism, Hayden's quietly beguiling approach was difficult to resist.

New EP 'Dirt' drops this summer, with Clash able to premiere the highly personal new cut 'Collision'. Hayden tells Clash:

"'Collision' is maybe one of the hardest songs I've ever had to write. I wrote it in secret, not really showing anyone until I was comfortable with how it was sounding. It was never meant to be a song with all the hooks and all the standard rules in song structure that you're meant to follow. I avoided that and just let it come out naturally. 'Collision' is an expression about a really dark time for a friend of mine. And, like my previous single, ’Waves’, following that exploration of mental health in young adults."

Tune in now.

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Angus & Julia Stone have travelling in their blood.

Brought up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, the duo quickly skipped town, enjoying extensive trips abroad.

By broadening their horizons Angus & Julia Stone seemed to broaden their minds, giving their music a definitively universal quality.

The duo will release a new album later this year, and with a host of international shows on the books it seems they'll shortly be doing what they love best – playing music and travelling.

Here, the Australian siblings describe their adventures on the road in Good Trip, Bad Trip…

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Worst Trip…
I don't know about the worst trip, but when we first started touring it was a bit of tougher slog…finishing a gig late, packing the car then then driving through the wee hours of the morning to the next destination. Required a lot of song and sugar to keep us all awake.

Our favourite foreign venue…
Well, we have been lucky to play so many stunning countries, see so many beautiful places and great venues. One that comes to mind right now though is the Théâtre gallo-romain, Lyon. Beautiful amphitheatre.

We’re surprisingly popular in…
Lebanon. We played to an amazing crowd there!

Best or worst exotic foodstuff…
Fine dining in Paris is pretty hard to beat. Road side gas station, pit stop snacks leave a lot to be desired…

Most interesting individual you've met on the road…
One would be a long haired, man bunned, deep conversationalist, guitar playing, yoga nidra addicted, music loving American east coaster Ommie who has become a wonderful, fascinating and much loved friend.

My essential travel item…
Noise cancelling headphones.

Essential travel tip…
Sleep as much as you can and then keep a regular exercise and yoga routine.

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Catch Angus & Julia Stone at the following UK shows:

7 London O2 Academy Brixton
8 Manchester O2 Ritz Manchester

For tickets to the latest Angus & Julia Stone shows click HERE.

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Childhood lay down a greasy groove on new song 'Cameo'.

The South London band will release new album 'Universal High' on July 21st, a Ben Allen produced affair fuelled by their love of soul and funk.

Recorded in Atlanta, there's a little of that Southern heat in new cut 'Cameo', the latest track to emerge from the record.

The rhythm section seem to lag a little behind the beat, a superbly relaxed technique that recalls those New Orleans jams from The Meters.

Ben Romans-Hopscraft's delivery is soft as butter, with 'Cameo' oozing its way out of the speakers.

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Adama Jalloh

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Ulrika Spacek's curious evolution takes another step forward on new album 'Modern English Decoration'.

Making full use of their expansive five musician line up, the band inject an artful air of the unexpected into the psychedelic format.

Sidestepping expectations in the process, Ulrika Spacek toasted the release with a flurry of inspired live shows.

Set to hit the road once more in Autumn, the group will play a series of headline dates before supporting Ride.

Ahead of this, Ulrika Spacek's Rhys E spoke to Clash about his literary influences and the contents of his book shelf…

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What is your favourite book and why?
Down And Out In Paris & London by Orwell. It was the first book I read after moving to London. It's the first full length written by Orwell, a memoir about his time living in both cities in poverty. I found it very poignant and could relate to his descriptions of working in kitchens/hospitality. I can't wait to read it again a few years down the line.

What authors do you like?
Orwell, Hemingway, Bukowski.

What draws you to certain books?
I'm really interested in titles, guess it comes from a similar place to titling albums or songs. I would also say that the reputation of certain books draws me to them.

What are you reading at the moment?
Just finished The Outsider by Camus. It had been recommended to me by Ben in the band. The first half I was thinking that it was an overrated book then the last third really showed itself why it's so highly regarded. I will definitely read more of him.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
It was a book called Dig. I found it in my school library and every page just said Dig next to various illustrations of JCB Diggers, I remember being disappointed but finished it quick at least.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
To be honest I wish I read more as I do think it opens doors for songwriting, especially lyrics. As my girlfriend lives in Stockholm I fly quite regularly, and for me this is the time I read, it's probably not a coincidence that this is also a time when I often end up writing quite a lot of lyrics. I would say usually it's more of an indirect influence but it definitely allows you to see a canvas of words, this can be very effective in sparking things lyrically. That said, the final lyric of our second record is based on the very last line of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
Of course, I think relating to the protagonist is one of the main reasons why people feel that there is something of them inside that book. I really liked Winston in 1984. That said, it is possible to enjoy a book without personally identifying with the main character, for instance for most of The Outsider I didn't particularly feel anything for Meursault, that perceived coldness and nonchalance was captivating however.

Have you ever started a book you simply could not finish?
Plenty, a friend of mine lives by the adage that if you are not into it after 100 pages put it down.

Do you read book reviews?
No, but I definitely listen to friends recommendations. Word of mouth is a beautiful thing.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
I haven't but I will. Reading a book locks it with a memory of a certain time. I am looking forward to using books in the future to unlock some sort of nostalgia. I think I am going to reread the S.C.U.M. manifesto again very soon, I read it first time around in a bath, might do that again actually.

Do you read one book at a time, or more than one?
Always one at a time, that can be annoying though. I want to read Infinite Jest but fore well know that will be to the detriment of reading anything else for a long time.

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Catch Ulrika Spacek at the following shows:

6 Nottingham The Angel
7 Dublin The Workmans Club
9 Glasgow Hug and Pint
10 Manchester The Soup Kitchen
11 Bristol Louisiana
12 London Oslo
13 Brighton Sticky Mike's Frog Bar

7 London O2 Forum Kentish Town*
8 Birmingham O2 Institute*
9 Bristol SWX *
10 Leeds Beckett University*
12 Liverpool O2 Academy 1*
13 Newcastle Boiler Shop*
14 Edinburgh The Queens Hall *

* – supporting Ride

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The Maccabees have spoken about their decision to split up as their final batch of live dates get under way.

Well, it's almost over…

Last night (June 29th) The Maccabees kicked off their final run of shows, a trilogy of emotional evenings at London's enormous Alexandra Palace venue.

Felix White spoke to Beats 1 presenter Matt Wilkinson a few hours before, musing about the band's decision to split up…

"We’re all slightly confused with different emotions, but the shows so far have been ridiculous, like really amazing things, and they’ve kind of alleviated any of the previous tension that used to be around us and around gigs, because we always used to be trying to move somewhere or get better, and these have just been… let’s just celebrate how great we are, letting us think that. It’s been an amazing thing, it’s very emotional."

Continuing, he spoke about the overwhelming reaction from fans to the news. "When we did sell the tickets it was a bit like, hang on! But I think the honest answer to that is, as you know, we’ve been together since we were in our teens, so 14 years, and unfortunately, at that time when we started, we were all doing the band for exactly the same reasons, and people change over time."

"The Maccabees was always the only thing in our lives and we did it with all of our hearts, and when it just felt like it might become a thing that we’re just going to do out of habit, or felt like we had to, we felt like maybe the most difficult but bravest decision was to be like, let’s just leave our band here and feel like we did everything in a proper dignified way, and respected the music, and respected our friendship more than anything, because that’s always been the most important thing about us as a group."

The Maccabees will play their final ever show at Alexandra Palace, London tomorrow night (July 1st).

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Copenhagen artist Vera has shared new video 'In And Out Of Love'.

The rising Nordic musician has just signed to Ultra Records, and is clearly in the mood to celebrate.

'In And Out Of Love', however, is much more nuanced than context might suggest; a song of separation, it explores the depth of love, and how it can enrich huge areas of your life.

The video was shot in Denmark, and is split between two people, two perspectives, and one phone call.

Watch it now.

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DJ Khaled’s tenth studio album is a collection of hits and misses. It’s like eating a bag of Revels. One minute you’re enjoying Maltesers, Galaxy Counters and even chocolates with toffee centres, but the next you’re sticking your tongue out in disgust having picked up a coffee creme. There's no questioning Khaled’s ear when it comes to making hits, the problem however is that he doesn’t know trim the fat when it comes to an album. The result? A 23-track offering that plays more like a disposable Now That’s What I Call Music compilation than a carefully constructed rap album that’ll garner respect for years to come.

Showing his cards way too quickly, Khaled drops all four of his recent hit singles in a row straight from the jump. It’s a smart move in terms of drawing the listener in and leading them to believe the same momentum will continue throughout, but like Paul Walker in the first Fast and Furious movie he drops the NOS too early and struggles to cross the finish line, let alone win the race. So while it’s fun hearing ‘Shining’ (featuring Beyonce and Jay Z), ‘To the Max’ (Drake), ‘Wild Thoughts’ (Rihanna and Bryson Tiller), and ‘I’m the One’ (Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne) one after another it’s at this point that creativity exits the building for the most part.

Even with a dope Big Sean verse that includes the line: “Rocafella chain but you can still get ethered,” ‘On Everything’ is messy to say the least. The beat feels like it has too many components and Travis Scott’s inclusion was uncalled for — he takes away from it more than he adds to it. Then there’s ‘It’s Secured’ featuring Nas. Again, Travis Scott appears and it’s just not needed. Whoever thought that Nas and Travis Scott would sound great together on wax seriously needs the wax cleaned out of their ears. If it was in fact solely Khaled’s decision then he’s losing his touch. The record is noisy, it has no soul to it — which is surprising as it’s produced by Cool & Dre — and if Nas’ much-anticipated upcoming album sounds anything like this then there’s going to be a lot of backlash aimed in the legendary MC’s direction.

Other misfires include ‘Major Bag Alert’ with Migos, which lacks originality and sounds like every other trap record out right now, ‘Iced Out My Arms’ (Future, Migos, 21 Savage and T.I.), and ‘Whatever’ (Future, Young Thug, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz). Overall there’s just no enjoyment whatsoever when listening to these particular records, even though they’re decorated with all-star guests.

There is, however, a run of excellence from tracks 15 to 18. Starting off with ‘Good Man’, fans were excited to hear this particular record before it was even released knowing that it brought together two raps titans in Pusha T and Jadakiss. Redeeming themselves after the lacklustre ‘It’s Secured’, Cool & Dre lay down an epic backdrop for King Push and Kiss that samples Them Two’s ‘Am I a Good Man’. Then continuing the lyrical onslaught, Fat Joe and Raekwon bring the pain on the braggadocios ‘Billy Ocean’, which hears Khaled flip The Isley Brothers classic ‘Ballad for the Fallen Soldier’. Rounding off the run, ‘Pull a Caper’ (Kodak Black, Gucci Mane and Rick Ross), and ‘That Range Rover Came With Steps’ (Future and Yo Gotti) are both great examples of how to put on for the south.

Another notable moment comes when Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj collaborate on ‘Nobody’. Sounding incredibly New York, the uplifting soundscape produced by Danja and made up of boom bap drums and a sample of Pastor T. L. Barrett’s ‘Nobody Knows’ makes way for Nicki to hush any doubters who claim she’d rather sing a pop ballad than get her bars off.

Flourishing in today’s single-driven market, DJ Khaled is king when it comes to constructing a top 40 hit. However, the more success he achieves, the worse his albums become. The majority of ‘Grateful’ is forgettable at best, but with enough hits to keep his streaming numbers high he’ll continue to make ‘another one’, and ‘another one’, and ‘another one’ until he no longer has the keys, the keys, the keys.


Words: Will Lavin

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