‘Blinding’ – the brand new single from East London singer, songwriter and musician J Appiah – is a frank examination of J’s interior anxieties with his developing career. In an industry that literally commodifies artists, it’s a cautionary tale of the mental labyrinths an artist passes through just trying to stay human in a world that peddles idols and products.

It as well as touching on the worship of idols, J’s ‘Blinding’ is heavenly in other ways: featuring shades of gospel and blues – by way of a hip-hop beat – emanating from a soulful vocal delivery, beautifully accompanied by Submotion Orchestra’s Ruby Wood.

The track also evokes Appiah's home city of London, in all its diverse, vibrant, expansive, nocturnal glory: reminding us of what it is to be real and alive – and to be human–  in its cold concrete embrace.

J’s pointed, observational songwriting stems from a lifelong fascination with people on both microscopic and macroscopic levels, having graduated with a degree in Social Anthropology. According to him, people “bring colour to life” and “life is at the heart of everything”.

J Appiah says of “Blinding’: "This new track ‘Blinding’ is about my desire to be well known as an artist but also my apprehension with regards to the pitfalls of it. It’s about people judging you for who they think you are before they’ve even met you.

“It’s also about being seduced by the idea of popularity. I think today there are many ways you can become well known, everyone seems to want their 15 minutes of fame.”

Tune in now.

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There's a deftness of touch to Michael Clark's work that is absolutely stunning.

Hushed folk-hewn songwriting, the Falmouth talent crafts sparse but hopelessly intoxicating acoustic nuggets.

With an EP due to land in January, Michael Clark has confirmed a handful of dates, including an all-too-rare London visit.

New song 'End Is Near' soundtracks this leg of his journey, and it's a delicate but inspired offering, sharply poetic in its lyricism.

Oddly minimalist, it comes backed with some incredible visuals, a deft clip that really sucks you in.

Rachael Olga Lloyd directed the clip, and she comments:

"When I first heard the song, it made me think about the different paths we choose in life, the idea of just surviving life but not really living. The characters inspired by tribal masks were ones I’d already designed in some doodles in my sketchbook. I thought the look would really work with the natural earthy feel I wanted for the video. I wanted to use as many natural materials as possible as well. I used natural linen, sheep's wool and wood for the puppets and spent many weekends foraging in parks and fields for plants and foliage.”

Tune in now.

Catch Michael Clark at the following shows:

December
4 London The Betsey Trotwood
7 London St James’s Wine Vaults w/ John Bramwell

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Say Lou Lou – once Saint Lou Lou – travelled the world with their debut, an effortlessly infectious blend of artful pop tropes.

Initially disliking LA and it's cavalcade of plastic fame, the half-Swedish, half-Australian twins became more and more entranced with its dichotomous vision of deadly glamour.

Basing themselves in the City of Angels for their second album, the group became channelling everything from film noir to trip hop, Bond themes to supple electro pop.

Out now, 'Immortelle' is a remarkable return, a succinct – a mere seven tracks – but incredibly detailed album, one that makes its point with deadly impact.

Miranda and Elektra Kilbey landed in London a few weeks ago, and Clash caught up with the duo to chat about their new record, Los Angeles, and the detailed mood boards that lend a visual air to their sonic creativity…

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It's been three years since your debut, did you have a moment where you drew a line under that project? Or is creativity an ongoing process for you?

Miranda: I think creativity definitely is an ongoing process. Our first record was kind of a weird one. By the time it came out it was a collection. All the songs were across a number of years, rather than one body of work written from start to finish. I think when we came out of that process we wanted a clean slate. So we disconnected ourselves quite actively from what happened before, took a breather, and took stock before we went on to the next thing.

We took some time away, sourced what we wanted to do, and asked ourselves: why are we doing this? What is the point? What do we want to say, and what should it sound like?

Is the new record more tightly defined as a result?

Miranda: think so, yes.

You recorded the new album in Los Angeles, why pick this city?

Elektra: At the end of the tour we were doing we did the last date in LA, so we went to visit some friends for a few weeks. It was a good vibe, a good energy. Something about it felt like I was inserting myself into a community there, and I think that was something we were searching for – both in London and Stockholm. A sense of community. When we ended up in LA I felt a sense of belonging, in a way. Which was strange, because the first time I went to LA I hated it – we were doing the typical major label writing trip, which a lot of young artists do.

It’s pretty spread out…

Miranda: It’s so spread out! And you’re always in cars. It’s like, where is everyone? We ended up there, and really felt a sense of belonging. We met one person, it led somewhere else, and we met the people we ended up doing the record with. We had this sense of being at home, and it felt really right. It was all on instinct, and I felt the most creative I’ve felt since we started Say Lou Lou.

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There is something toxic but also addictive in that…

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In the press note you mention your initial moodboards, including film noir cinema. Did that come from LA? That sense of light and shade?

Elektra: Definitely. There’s something weird about LA. Miranda: There’s this eerie air of 100 years of the entertainment industry, old Hollywood glamour; decadence, and sad destinies lingering in the air. We recorded in Laurel Canyon, so there’s the Manson Murders, and all these weird events, people going crazy.

It’s a place which is so hyper-creative but also so fucking fake. So much intelligence and talent and creativity but also greed. There is something toxic but also addictive in that, and I think that definitely inspired the old Hollywood approach to the string arrangements. But then that doesn’t feature on the rest of the music. A lot of the melodies, and a lot of the production elements, are actually quite lo-fi.

How developed was the moodboard? Are these concepts tightly defined?

Miranda: It’s inspiration points. We always start off by saying, like, this is the world. We get quite specific – like, there’s a woman walking in the street, this is what she looks like, rain is falling on a cobbled street. Then we like to put on films, and mute the sound, and then play stuff while looking at it. Things will grow from there. That will be the starting point, but then we end up in a completely different scenario.

With us, it’s good to have some reference points, and to be really specific – especially with the people we’re working with, as they are our hands and our ears in so many ways. They’re in that feeling as well – we’re trying to paint that image to them. Moodboards are really helpful in that way – music is so different for everyone. When I say ‘dark’ or ‘fear’ it can be so different, so when you combine image with sound it really helps.

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The dichotomy of Los Angeles is very apparent on the record – did some songs begin in a light place, for example, before sliding somewhere dark?

Miranda: ‘Anna’ was the first song we wrote for the record, like a starting point. Then we wrote a few more that we in that world, and we were like: OK we need something to counter this, we’re not all this, this is just one part of our personality, one part of our world. ‘Golden Child’ came about when we were in Laurel Canyon, and we thought: oh so many bands have been living here, and it feels really organic and alive but also politically charged. We had those songs to counter the dark, with something that felt more organic.

How did producers Trent Mazur and Dashiell Le Francis help to achieve that organic feel?

Elektra: They can play more or less anything when we’re writing. They both play all the guitars on the record. After that we brought in amazing bass players, amazing drummer, strings, brass… we brought people in to fulfil their vision or execute their vision better than they were doing on the demos.

It was indulgent. We needed 12 string guitar, so we bought a 12 string guitar. We got half-way through the record and realised we wanted to do way more electronica, so we had to go buy a Moog, a Prophet. And the producers were like, go do it! We wanted to do everything on tape, but they only had one channel tape so they had to sit for days and put every single track through the tape record. We had a lot of those ideas where you realise half-way through that you needed something. It was like: stop everything, we need to go and get that!

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It feels really organic and alive but also politically charged…

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Were the songs flexible enough to enable you to turn a guitar song, say, into an electronic song?

Miranda: Yes! Almost all the songs had a very clear identity in terms of the musicality. I think so many of the songs, just on piano, tell you everything that you need to know. The mood is there. The challenge was to make them come alive and not to feel limited to that mood – I wanted them to feel that there is a dynamic in them, so it wasn’t just a minor key Bond-sounding song. We wanted to add so many more elements, whether that was warm synths or guitar or distorted vocals, to make you feel like it wasn’t just one thing.

Where does that central identity come from, then?

Elektra: It comes from us! All the songs share some sort of common denominator throughout the music. Us cheering that musicality on. Every time we would sit down, the three of us at the piano we would sing something and that would egg him on to go into another space. A shared vision of what our musical world was. We’ve never really spoken about it, it’s just the three of us had this inner feeling that this is where it was going.

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A shared vision of what our musical world was…

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You could have self-produced, why did you want to employ an outside voice?

Elektra: I think to me what a good producer does… obviously I really love working with producers who are really fantastic musicians and instrumentalists, because it gives you so much more freedom in the studio. Dash is an amazing vocal producer because he’s an amazing vocalist himself. And that’s been really, really helpful to us as well, to have someone who can come in the room with us and knows how to vocal produce because he can sing himself. The three of us have been able to develop the vocal sound, the harmonies together.

What I think a really good producer is, is managing people. Managing energy. And being like: this is not good energy we need to start over, or ‘you need to leave!’ It’s about managing. Something I’ve read about Quincy Jones, is that it’s about managing interactions, and how energy is flowing in the room. Knowing how to extract or add in to people and make them the best versions of themselves.

Sometimes you’re not even aware of that.

Miranda: No. I’m not aware of it. Sometimes they would tell me to leave, and let you sing on her own. It’s almost like you need someone from outside who is also in it to give you the cues.

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'Immortelle' is out now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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Sôra has always had a deep thirst to make music.

The Paris-based talent was surrounded by music from a young age, quickly learning the lexicon of composition.

Incoming EP 'Number One' follows a string of vital releases, including a collaboration with acclaimed producer Uppermost.

An electronic talent in her own right, the EP is trailed by new cut 'Lifestorm', a soothing, silken gem that matches effortless soul to digital production.

Rooted in her own life, the lyrics then spiral off into fantasy, all held together by the urgency of Sôra's delivery.

She explains: “‘Lifestorm’ is a very metaphorical song I wrote a few years ago. It's about turns you take or not take, about things that can change your life like meeting someone or music, in my case. This Lifestorm I'm talking about is very positive! I really hope you'll try and have the chance to live yours.”

Tune in now.

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Tom Morello has had many occupations.

The scorched earth guitarist with Rage Against The Machine, the solo balladeer of The Nightwatchman, but now he’s aiming for something different – to bring together multitudinous musical forces, and break down the walls of the mainstream once and for all.

The Atlas Underground is both a solo endeavour and a mosaic, with Tom Morello joined by everyone from Big Boi to Killer Mike, Vic Mensa, Bassnectar, Marcus Mumford, and so much more, all rallying to a righteous political cause.

“My job on this record was curator,” he tells Clash on the phone from the United States. “I wanted to create a sonic conspiracy of diverse artists with similar points of view. And with regards to the music, it was my intention to really forge a new genre of music, an alloy of my Marshall stack riffs and shredding but with big bass drops, and some of the electronic components in 2018.”

“I wanted to make a record that was the Hendrix of now. And that means other-worldly guitar playing, it means songs that are not afraid of the radio, and it means an immersion in the genres of the time.”

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The final record moves from EDM to metal riffs, gathering the incredible shades of hip-hop with some potent pop songwriting. He continues: “I like songs that are catchy but I want those songs to be infused with a moral fibre, and an uncompromising point of view… and guitar solos.”

Punching through the walls erected by the establishment, The Atlas Underground is a looseknit conglomerate of styles and voices, all working with one singular purpose, a purpose guided by Tom Morello himself.

The guitarist tells Clash: “The thematic thread on the record is: Social Justice Ghost Stories. And the idea in various guises throughout the record is how the heroes and martyrs of the past can inform the present, and light the way to a more just and humane future.”

“There’s a great deal of poetic license one can have with that over-arching theme. We took great poetic license, and that’s the whole idea.”

The Atlas Underground is – in Tom Morello’s eyes – a living, breathing thing, an example of the disparate ways in which music is both created and consumed in 2018. He’s overawed by the cooperation he received across the musical spectrum: “Just look at the guestlist on this – it’s a living example of the kind of world that we hope to one day create. Various backgrounds, genres, ethnicities, genders, all in a harmonious potent whole to throw a molotov into the moshpit.”

Someone who has never shied away from his political beliefs, Tom Morello’s role in Rage Against The Machine helped to bring progressive politics to the bedrooms of rock kids across the globe. The group’s output sold millions of copies, a cultural phenomenon which presaged rap-metal and provided a societal connection outwith the established news channels for kids starved of information.

The current context is somewhat different, though. With more choice comes more confusion; Rage operated in an analogue system, we point out. Doesn’t the digital era dilute the impact of these gestures somewhat?

“I think there’s certainly pro’s and cons to the way that music is digested now,” he muses. “On the one hand it’s more democratic, and there’s not a couple of record companies that are the funnel and decide that Kylie Minogue and U2 and Rage Against The Machine will be the music you hear and everybody else will labour in obscurity. Now, everybody labours in obscurity except for a few snapchat hip-hop artists!”

“It does allow many more musicians to participate in the conversation, and if you have ideas and you have beats and a guitar or whatever then you can have a Facebook page just like Metallica does. It is healthy, but at the same time it does water down the potency. There are no more global artists with the point of view of Rage Against The Machine – I don’t see that coming back. However there can be a million little Rage Against The Machines to do that work.”

And that’s in essence what The Atlas Underground is – a collective of individuals working together for a communal end. “Absolutely,” he agrees. “This is my 15th or 16th record and I haven’t been shy in expressing my point of view on any of those albums. But this was a way to curate this sonic conspiracy, this music experience driven by artists… some of whom have been very outspoken in their politics and point of view on what’s going on in the world, and others who are now standing shoulder to shoulder with those artists, and myself.”

“Someone like Vic Mensa who is very much the next generation of revolutionary poets, or an EDM producer like Ethan, who is a teenager and has a very different sonic point of view. But this record is an embodiment of solidarity, and the idea that we’re going to change the world but we’re going to have an awesome mosh pit dance party while we do it.”

Set to play dates across the globe in support of the new record, The Atlas Underground is just one junction on his unstoppable journey of musical dissent. Fans can expect a few more Nightwatchman shows, for instance, with Tom Morello returning to South America for a handful of dates.

“I love that,” he beams. “I haven’t abandoned any element of that – I love the Nightwatchman stuff. There’s an immediacy to that, that with an acoustic guitar you can be on the frontline of any picket line. I can whack a fascist over the head with that thing at a moment’s notice.”

Finally, with the seconds ticking down on our encounter, Clash can’t resist asking… how about some more Rage Against The Machine shows?

He chuckles: “If they happen I’ll be the guitar player. I volunteer to be the guitar player!”

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'The Atlas Underground' is out now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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London three-piece Pozi have shared powerful new song 'KCTMO' – tune in now.

The group's unusual instrumentation – drums, bass, and violin – affords them plenty of space to innovate, to craft something new.

Working with PRAH Recordings the band have shared their debut single, and it addresses the legacy of Grenfell tower and the stark inequalities is exposed.

A raw, visceral piece of music, the motorik rhythms underpin an endless rush of pure feeling, the ragged vocals ending with the chant: “May the residents rest in peace…”

Vocalist / drummer Toby Burroughs: "I wrote this sitting with a guitar the day after the fire, feeling intensely numb. I felt so many layers of anger; and that it's not as simple as one person but a self-serving culture and a political outlook that is to blame".

"Having grown up in Shepherd's Bush and spent a lot of time in Latimer Road and Ladbroke Grove it's an area close to my heart, but one with many harsh truths staring you in the face."

Tune in now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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Amazonica is a force of nature, and – just occasionally – a force of the unnatural.

When October 31st comes round this DJ, producer, musician, and all round cultural force goes all out, embracing All Hallow's Eve with every fibre of her being.

This year is no exception, with Amazonica deciding to release something new, but also rooted in the past.

Unearthing Blue Oyster Cult's epic guitar (and cowbell!) jammer 'Don't Fear The Reaper' she has re-cast it in her own image, with some addictive results.

An icy, sub-zero take on the rock classic, Amazonica lends each word a fresh sense of stylish intensity.

We've grabbed the visuals, a glimpse into a dark afterhours lair in which Amazonica plays host – tune in now…

For tickets to the latest Amazonica shows click HERE.

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Los Angeles is a city that comes to life when the sun goes down.

There's a seedy underworld to Los Angeles, with the ghosts of its past springing from behind closed doors.

Miles Kane has spent some time in the city, and it informs barbed new cut 'LA Five Four (309)'.

Taken from recent album 'Coup De Grace' it's now getting the video treatment just before Miles heads out for a club tour.

"This is a spooky intense number that reflects on a reoccurring dream I would have while I was living in LA," says Miles. "I’d be walking down the corridor of a hotel and then knock on room 309. When I would enter, I would wake up in a shock and the time would be 3:55 each time! The wildness of the verses is me with no reins on, it’s as hard hitting as it comes!"

Tune in now.

Catch Miles Kane at the following shows:

November
22 Glasgow The Barrowland Ballroom SOLD OUT
23 Manchester Academy 1 SOLD OUT
24 Manchester Academy 1
26 Norwich The LCR UEA
27 Birmingham O2 Institute
29 Leeds O2 Academy
30 Hull University SOLD OUT

December
1 Newcastle O2 Academy
3 Bristol O2 Academy
4 Leicester O2 Academy
6 London O2 Academy Brixton
7 Nottingham Rock City SOLD OUT
8 Liverpool Mountford Hall SOLD OUT

For tickets to the latest Miles Kane shows click HERE.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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AMP Lost & Found is set to welcome Octavian, The Black Madonna, Peggy Gou and more to Malta next year.

The festival is hosted on Malta and overseen by Radio 1's Annie Mac, and regularly attracts some of the biggest names around.

Returning in 2019 for its fifth instalment, AMP Lost & Found is set to host sets from Chase & Status, Lady Leshurr, Honey Dijon and many more.

London rapper Octavian has lit up 2018, and his set at AMP Lost & Found will be in high demand; The Black Madonna will perform in Malta, as will Peggy Gou, Krystal Klear, Horse Meat Disco, and the mighty AJ Tracey.

Tickets go on sale this Friday (November 2nd) – watch a preview video below.

AMP Lost & Found runs between May 2nd – 5th.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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Sometimes BRIDGES play tricks, and sometimes they share treats.

With October 31st now upon us, this time round the band want to do both at the same time. Their new EP is incoming, so BRIDGES have handed Clash the spook-tastic video for latest single 'Ghouls'.

BRIDGES singer Ethan comments: “Bit of a coincidence really, with the title of the track being ‘Ghouls’ we thought why not drop it on Halloween? Plus it gave us the chance to do a release show with costumes, and that’s always fun!”

It's far from a Hallowe'en singalong, though, with BRIDGES instead dipping into their own personal lives, focussing on relationships, and the difficulties you can have when moving on.

He continues: “For me the song is nostalgic and probably my favourite on the EP. It’s tied to people moving on before you do and the difficulties that can create. ‘Maybe I’m not your ghoul, to pass straight through’. Things change, but everything works out in time – with our new line up now complete we are starting to feel that.”

Tune in now.

Catch BRIDGES at the following shows:

October
31 London Sebright Arms

November
23 Cardiff Big Top
24 Bristol Rough Trade
25 Plymouth Underground

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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