Nia Wyn has felt the change in the wind since the credit crunch.

The financial crash left an entire generation with an uncertain future, with the term 'millennial' now practically a by-word for stress, debt, and little prospects.

New single 'Lately (I've Been Thinking)' finds the Welsh songwriter picking this apart, telling it as she sees it.

Simple but powerful, she seems to encapsulate something that not a lot of people can, but that everyone feels deep down.

She explains: "I wanted to write a song that captured how a lot of millennials feel right now – told we have everything on a plate by elders, yet not having stable jobs, having to indefinitely rent in poor conditions and living a life of insecurity…"

Tune in now.

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Axel Thesleff is a composer based in Helsinki, whose work escapes the margins to find its own space.

New EP 'Two Worlds' is about bringing together different disciplines, different methods of creativity.

Out now, the challenging music is linked to a full film, a 30 minute document that neatly parallels the undulating moods and atmospheres of the music therein.

He comments: “The main theme with the EP was to explore different aspects of duality, determinism, existentialism and the human condition. The themes were vaguely emerging already during the production of the tracks and I decided with my team to make it into a visual narrative to really bring those ideas from the background to the forefront. It’s about the desperate search for meaning and identity, and the internal turmoil it causes. But ultimately it’s about letting go of the ego and waking up to the present moment.”

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Multi-disciplinary artist Peter Xan is a founding member of Sydney Wyatt, an arts collective dedicated to pushing boundaries.

Focussing on his own music, the artist fuses cutting edge club tropes half-inched from trap hip-hop to a pop sensibility.

New single 'Dopamine' airs on Clash, and it matches effervescent production against that stellar delivery.

Speaking on the release, Peter Xan says: "'Dopamine' is a canvas of addictive melodies and cadences to create my unique twist on the UK sound. I painted the piece in the single artwork and the expressionism of this painting represents the energy in the song."

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Brighton riser Luvia has a tremendous sense of atmosphere in her songwriting.

Sitting somewhere between Mazzy Star and Lana Del Rey but with a sense of English melancholia, her raw take on dream pop is imbued with a highly personal sense of songwriting.

New single 'Love Lust' is about growing up, that time when you end up "feeling numb and having a lot to deal with…"

A beautifully sketched return, it's clearly something very personal for the south coast artist. Luvia comments:

"'Love Lust' is a reflection of what it was like growing up for me but also a lot of people I know. Lots of feeling numb and having a lot to deal with and doing things to feel something or anything."

The sepia-tinged visuals were shot on Camber Sands and at legendary South London sweatpit the Amersham Arms, and both locations were afforded a kind of grandeur.

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Clash Tech team are here to help you transform your living room into a vocal booth with Singa and Philips OLED TV.

The holiday season is incoming, that can only mean one thing: karaoke with your gran!

With the new karaoke app Singa you can take on over 60, 000 songs anywhere, anytime – also in the comfort of your own living room using the Smart TV app.

One lucky winner will receive one (1) mighty Philips 65" OLED+ 903 Android TV – featuring sound from Bowers & Wilkins and Ambilight technology, a unique background lighting system that reacts to the sound or the scenes on your screen, and 12 months of Singa Karaoke Premium.

Can't wait – we have you covered, as all Clash readers are entitled to 1 x month free Singa. Simply head to this page now to sign up. 

To take part simply fill in the form below. The deadline for entry is 17:30 pm (GMT) 30th December 2018. Good luck!

 

 

Artful Swedish artist Merely have shared the dreamy video for their new single 'Crazy Heart'.

Classically trained instrumentalist Kristina Florell has been using the Merely banner for her work since 2012, developing a catalogue is in turns challenging and whimsical, daring and immediate.

New album 'Hatching The Egg' should hopefully break – see what we did there? – her work outfit Scandinavia, with its delicious electronic pop recalling early Grimes, or the Kate Bush imperial phase.

Out next year, the record is trailed by new song 'Crazy Heart', a breezy, melodic, but completely otherworldly piece of music.

Essentially a ballad, it pits that personal, searing vocal against beautifully textured electronics, achieving something remarkably singular.

Philip Svensson directs the video, which finds Merely traversing a Swedish forest, juxtaposing a dream world with folk-lore references.

She explains: “With inspiration from fairy tales and storytelling, childish imagination and the spiritual experience of fantasies Philip and I wanted to create a hazy, playful and beautiful video for Crazy Heart in the most enchanted place I know: the woods. Visually, this is equivalent to the musical concept of the whole album.”

Tune in now.

'Hatching The Egg' will be released on February 7th.

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Sometimes, we begin by looking back. ‘Warm’, Tweedy’s follow-up to 2017 acoustic retrospective, ‘Together at Last’, finds him in reflective mood. From the offset, we’re on the memory train – “what will I leave behind?” he asks, reflecting on his legacy. It’s the sound of a musician settling into his autumn and flicking through the scrapbook of memory – with the compromise and conclusions that so often presents.

'Don’t Forget’s jaunty jangle surfs an existential crisis, its graceful little guitar motif urging its subject not to get too hung up on existential introspection – “We all think about dying, don’t let it kill you” – but instead retreat back to the “little galaxy” of love.

The record’s a constant dance between this duality, and spends a fair while musing on death and what it all means. There’s plenty of it kicking about, on the mournful soundscape of the Wilco-esque ‘How Hard It Is For A Desert To Die’ to the more explicit questions (“If I was dead what difference would it ever make to them?”)

Yet it’s this notion of the split self that’s its most fascinating feature, leading right through to the metaphor of a mirror twin – “he’s always looking out, and I’m always looking in”. Throughout, Tweedy seems to be addressing either side of his psyche, holding out perspectives from the other place as a means of restoring balance.

‘I know what it’s like’ ripples with anxiety and ache, yet speaks with the wisdom of someone who knows “what it’s like to keep losing your place”. And while plenty woozy gorgeousness can be found on tracks like ‘Let’s Go Rain Again’ and ‘Some Birds’, there’s an underlying sense of fatigue that never really fades. “I’m sorry when you wake up to me…I just got tired,” he apologises to a lover. But he is there, and that’s his end of the bargain. In the cosmic gamble of love, sometimes all we can really do is to be present, and hope that we are enough.

‘The Red Brick’ shifts it up a couple of musical gears, crowing into gloriously wonky and weird guitar that I could listen to forever, recounting how “I drank myself back into your life and I cried on the telephone” And then we slide into ‘Warm’. There’s barely a breath between them. Taken as back-to- back companion pieces, they’re the perfect representation of the record’s twin moods – both the torture, and the torpor. Just as the red brick in the summer stays warm when the sun has died, so too can love – and life – retain its value when its golden hours have passed. The trick is to keep your eye on the intimate immediate, when the unknown of the outside seems too big to bear.

This record comes on like the voice of a friend, confessional and familiar – full of small, important reassurances. As ‘Don’t Forget’ counsels, “don’t forget to brush your teeth, or else you’ll have a crooked smile’. It serves as a reminder to get up, move thoughtfully, look after your heart and bones and teeth, and remember that love – in whatever form it takes – will always be there.

Tweedy sings he leaves behind “a trail of songs’. But an album of such compassion and clarity? I think he’s doing himself a disservice.

8/10

Words: Marianne Gallagher

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LAUV and Julia Michaels are sat on the couch in the corner of the Clash studio and… well, there’s a spark. Hands linger on thighs, bodies face into each other’s shadow, and a playful peck on the cheek turns into a soft but lingering kiss on the lips. There’s chemistry, for sure.

In Europe ostensibly to promote new single ‘There’s No Way’ – but visiting Paris “just… because!” – the pair look to be inseparable, whispering into each other’s ears so no one around can hear their conversation.

Clash clears its throat. So: the single? “Julia came over to my house in LA,” recalls LAUV. “It was like, hey, maybe we’ll write a song! Then we kind of just hung out and talked about music.”

“We talked about life and stuff for six hours, or something,” he laughs. “Then we wrote the song the next time we hung out, with some friends of ours”.

The actual root of the song came from life, but equally from art; from experiences both past and present. LAUV explains: “Basically, we were both talking about experiences in the past where we were like, you meet someone, you feel some type of chemistry but something is in the way. Whether that’s timing or distance, whatever it might be. And I think we both had that feeling.”

Clash wonders aloud if this is art imitating life, in some form or other. “I don’t think Julia would admit it, but I started to feel that… in our situation. A bit!” he laughs. “But then I got really shy about it because we were writing a song. Like, don’t… say anything!”

Written in just a couple of hours, ‘There’s No Way’ fell in place completely naturally, almost without any effort. It’s a simple but luxurious hymn to love both forbidden and realised, with the melody so delicate it’s almost flirtatious.

“A lot of the songs that I have written in the past in the shortest amount of time have been – for some reason – the most successful,” muses Julia. “That’s just because you’re not over-thinking it. You’re just in the moment. And because of that it just feels right, you’re not getting in your own way.”

Letting things flow naturally seems to be the core of the song’s success – initially, LAUV was due to sing it himself, but with Julia accompanying him to the studio it felt right to her to perform as well.

“The thing about us both singing on it,” he recalls; “it kind of just happened super naturally. We were in the room, so we thought: let’s just both do it. And you were like: OK.”

“A lot of the vocal takes were like noisy, in the room, from the demo. I thought they’d be really bad. If you solo it, there’s a vocal in my first verse and you can hear a car in the background. They were raw.”

A truthful and honest portrait of the first flush of romance, passion, or even love, ‘There’s No Way’ is wonderfully effecting, completely intoxicating. Shooting a video outside of Los Angeles, LAUV and Julia Michaels hooked up once more for a memorable day together.

“We shot the video and it was… probably one of the best days ever,” she says, as LAUV starts to giggle. “It was! So easy and effortless.”

The pair’s evident chemistry set the internet alight, with fans desperate to know more. So light and easy-going in one another’s company, it hardly seems fair to press the issue, but we’re happy to ask if there will be more material from the pair.

“We haven’t written together since,” LAUV explains. “It’s definitely something we talk about. We wonder if the dynamic would be completely different now.”

“We’ve talked about it,” Julia shrugs. “We play each other songs, and give each other hugs and kisses.”

LAUV takes a long, lingering look at Julia, then says: “For sure. It would definitely be a different vibe now that we… whatever.”

 

Celebrating a moment for as long as it lasts, LAUV and Julia Michaels were in the Clash studio to shoot a live version of 'There's No Way' – watch it now.

 

Location: Clash Studios

Shot & Filmed using Olympus Cameras

Recorded using Shure KSM8/N and Lewitt Audio room microphones

Audio & Mastering: Metropolis Studios 

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UK producer ZENDR made his debut on Absent Mind earlier in the year, and continues his creative relationship with the label with a fresh collaboration.

The beat maker and electronic musician sits down with James Chatburn, an Australian born artist who is the perfect foil for his inquisitive production.

Allying club tropes to that deft sense of melancholy, new single 'Simply No Better' is softly euphoric while containing a nagging twinge of melancholy.

A sign ZENDR is a producer to watch in 2019, 'Simply No Better' also underlines James Chatburn's ability to continually side-step expectations.

Tune in now and buy a copy here.

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R&B as a term is so hopelessly broad, so endlessly fluctuating, but it scarcely even suffices as a categorisation.

Yet with its commitment to soul, and it's fluid space for creative, R&B is the perfect summation of Ámani's music.

The New York newcomer has been on our radar throughout 2018, releasing a string of superb tracks, each stamped with their own identity.

New project 'tbh.' is her biggest, broadest endeavour yet, something born from her life, and the changes within it.

"A lot can change, transform, evolve, and grow within a year," she commented recently. "I have. My surroundings have. My relationships have. My perspective on life and death has. This year has been my most successful, to date, but also filled with the most loss."

"This year I became a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the first person in my household to have a college degree. I also mourned the death of six family members and I’m still learning how to navigate my grief. I moved to Los Angeles and gained so many new beautiful and genuine friends while also seeing others for who they truly are and let go of toxic relationships."

Ámani has begun to accept chance, and this has led to some of her most daring songs. 'tbh.' is littered with this, a sense that what is around the corner might not be expected, but is somehow intrinsically correct.

She continues: "Trusting in uncertainty is the most crucial lesson I’ve learned along with committing to honesty within myself and out loud. In a world where being a student is celebrated but then the harsh reality of post grad swept me off my feet, in a non romantic way, I was left to remind myself of my self worth, promising future, and how far I’ve come."

"I had no room to uphold anyone else’s expectations of me. Honesty, Trust, and Faith in the ugliest of days, uncertainties, victories, and the monotony of life kept me moving forward."

Tune in now.

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