BLVFF make indie rock with a touch of darkness.

The Coventry based three-piece are cult favourites across the Midlands, with a touch of venom to their sound.

Reminiscent of Royal Blood or perhaps a heavier Interpol, the gothic sweep to their songwriting is set against a crunching immediacy.

New single 'Want For Nothing' makes good on the early hype, with BLVFF adding definition to their sound.

It's a killer single, one with a swaggering chorus and a finely wrought verse, emblematic of a group moving with confidence.

Tune in now.

BLVFF · Want For Nothing

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Scottish songwriter Tommy Ashby has always sought to let his life interweave with his music.

An artist who refuses to place barriers between himself and his songwriting, his work matches acoustic sensibilities to often ruthless honesty.

With his fourth EP set to land this summer, the Scottish artist has decided to share something new, another insight into his life.

'One Word' is about anxiety and over-thinking, and how he's learned to try and move past that. It's about the impact that being open can have, but ends with a note of gentle satisfaction.

He says: "I am a serial overthinker and procrastinator, my every decision is over-analysed, and any wrong one leaves me in a guilt-ridden mess."

"I think this is a pretty common feeling made more prevalent by social media and the pressure to have a ‘successful’ modern life. This song is an attempt to show the other side of the coin – there is a point at the start of all relationships where you kinda need to be vulnerable, say something honest and hope the person doesn’t laugh at you."

"The tune ends on an uplifting vibe, it tries to capture the point where you are so comfortable with someone that you can say anything and it’ll be OK – a happy place…"

Tune in now.

tommyashby · One Word
 

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Mahalia is music’s new mononym, and you better remember her name: she’s in it for the long haul.

– – –

– – –

Hype and relevancy: two elusive, antithetical entities that can make or break any artist. For Mahalia Burkmar AKA Mahalia, ‘buzz’ has shadowed her since she was primed for stardom at just 13. After signing with Atlantic Records, she released her first collection in the summer of 2012, an EP titled ‘Head Space’. A flurry of studio releases followed, but the enervating pressures of careering through an industry at such a malleable age almost derailed her desire to continue.

“Towards the beginning of my career, I couldn’t understand why my music wasn’t connecting and I was putting an immense amount of pressure on myself,” Mahalia tells Clash. “Not knowing exactly what you want to say can make it difficult for people to stay invested in you, but the industry was just waiting for my vision to fully form. I had to learn to be patient with myself.”

Now, at 21, Mahalia – an industry veteran – has a firm handle on her artistic flight path. After releasing the five-song ‘Seasons’ EP last year Mahalia is being touted as UK R&B’s next success story. Shortlisted for both the BBC Sound of 2019 and the Brits Critics’ Choice Award, the London-based songstress also topped YouTube Music’s inaugural Ones To Watch list. Additionally, Burkmar garnered transatlantic buzz when she performed ‘Sober’, her boom-bap ode to drunk dialling, for the COLORS studio – a go-to global prescriber of popularity, racking up a staggering 32 million views. So, how does Mahalia cope with the mounting adoration?

“Mum used to say, ‘Be aloof and be humble,’ and I’ve taken that with me as I’ve matured. Validation is important, I’m so grateful, but in order to thrive you can’t let it faze you,” she asserts.

– – –

– – –

It’s 2.30pm on an airless summer afternoon and we’re conversing via phone. Prior to our chat, Mahalia was posing for the cover shoot, beautified in high-fashion paraphernalia. Now she’s in an Uber – clad in sweats, make-up removed – en route to the studio to put the finishing touches on her long-awaited full-length, ‘Love & Compromise’, the seminal work of her career. Eight years in the making, the record charts Mahalia’s journey from tween upstart to a woman rejoicing in her own self-cultivated splendour.

“It’s the most fucking amazing feeling,” she beams in a Midlands accent. “It’s been such a long journey; I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life. In the beginning I didn’t know what I wanted, that meant that it was easier for people to mould me and sway me. So many artists don’t come through that phase. I’m thankful I did, because I learnt to say no.”

During the course of our tête-à-tête, Mahalia flits between graciousness, conviviality and an astute mindfulness of her place in it all. She doesn’t mince her words; her answers are measured but also refreshingly unfiltered. Touching on “the influencer generation” and the pitfalls of social media, Mahalia’s response underscores just how vital an artist who has worked assiduously on their craft is to the generation coming up.

“The people that call themselves influencers are never actually influencing. It’s dangerous. What I find influential are artists, public speakers or activists trying to change the world for the better, getting me to think about the world in a different way. It’s this whole Instagram versus reality thing. So much of it is fake. The message I want to get across to young people is don’t look at me and think everything I’m doing is perfect. I’m a 21-year old kid making the same mistakes. I’m still figuring my shit out,” she explains.

– – –

– – –

Asked about things she wouldn’t compromise on, Mahalia’s riposte mirrors the realness and relatability she interlaces so effortlessly into her songs: “Wearing heels on a night out in London, Two for Tuesday Domino’s Pizza, and taking the bins out are things I won’t compromise on. I am not lugging those bins down the stairs.” Her tone changes. “I will never compromise my personality, I will never again dilute myself in the name of love. I’ve had so many relationships where they’ve picked apart my personality. I will never let anyone change me again.”

Mahalia’s obdurate rules when it comes to boys and relationships resonates with Generation Y, who lean on her wry openness and steely sense of self-preservation, no more evident on single ‘Do Not Disturb’. Her words have been reduced to “man-hating” platitudes by some critics, which she vehemently rejects, insisting her goal is to exhume the sometimes irrational, ugly thoughts women universally harbour in moments of anguish.

“I constantly get asked, specifically by older men, ‘Are you just going to write about love? Are you only going to write about how much you hate men?’ Shut up! If you think that my songs are only about hating men, then you’re not really listening. For me the album title is a little gibe at all those naysayers.”

– – –

– – –

Mahalia had actually conceived a version of the album title years ago, recalling the time her mum showed her a clip from a 1982 documentary, All By Myself: The Eartha Kitt Story. The clip has since become a viral, gif-able soundbite, diluting the full exchange between the iconoclastic Eartha Kitt and her male interviewer. The crucial part comes when Kitt is asked if she would compromise for a man.

“What is compromising?” she poses, her expression an amusing merge of outrage and utter bafflement. “If a man came into your life, wouldn’t you want to compromise?” he stresses.

Kitt, now exasperated, delivers the killer blow: “A relationship is a relationship that has to be earned, not to compromise for. When you fall in love, what is there to compromise about?”

The sermon had been signed, sealed and delivered. The media historically has not been generous in its depiction of black women, but Eartha remained steadfast in her beliefs and, for Mahalia, it was a no-brainer that this gospel would embed itself into the empowered narrative of her work.

“When it went viral, I was like fuck, it’s not my secret anymore! I had this emotional connection with Eartha and her words long before. Her words have always inspired me; they’ve lived with me through relationships. These are the words of a black woman, passed down by my mum, another black woman, to me. Do you know how important that is?” she says with vim.

Burkmar was born into an interracial family, but the inverse of those shared by her friends. “I grew up with a few mixed-race friends, but they all had an English mother and a Caribbean or African father, whereas I had a black female role model in my mum and a white Dad. I didn’t necessarily have it easier, but my mum instilled in me this pro-black attitude and my dad nurtured me artistically. I recognise my privilege and that I was one of the luckier ones.”

– – –

– – –

Nevertheless, growing up in a predominantly white neighbourhood in Leicester meant Mahalia developed the facility to endure racial discord early on, subsequently imbuing her songs with a central orientation to unabashed blackness.

“For a very long time, I struggled with where to place myself. It’s that typical cliché of being too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids…” She pauses mid-sentence. “I have to be careful here, but there was so much small-minded bullshit where I grew up in Leicester. A lot of racism. But I love my origins, I love where I’m from. I’m unapologetically black and unapologetically Leicester.”

With ‘Love & Compromise’, Mahalia has promised a cohesive composite of the guitar-strumming “psycho-acoustic soul” that defined her earlier cuts, with earthy, Erykah-esque neo-soul, ’90s R&B and programmed hip-hop concocted by the likes of Sounwave – Kendrick Lamar’s primary collaborator – and DJ Dahi.

The LP is a vitrine for Mahalia’s angsty melodrama, with lamentations on fuck-boys but also boys who love deeply, friendships and identity – retaining a buoyant feel throughout. “I want it to be a communal experience, for people to feel close to me when listening,” she says. “My favourite records, the ones that I love, soundtrack my day: when I’m cooking, when I’m dancing, when I’m crying. I want my record to do the same.”

Mahalia’s basking in the glow of a “healthy phase” in her life. She’s creatively at the peak of her powers and she has a man – a welcome transition that has enhanced her scope as a songwriter.

“I used to find it hard to write about being in love, until I met a guy that I really liked and was good for me. When I was writing all my break-up songs, I was genuinely heartbroken, and the idea of writing a love song would make me genuinely sick,” she admits. “Now, I’m in a good relationship, which is rare for me. I’m happy, but in a year I might not be. But I’m good with that. I’ve always been a go-with-the flow type of person, but it’s refreshing to feel fulfilled; I don’t particularly want to kill anyone. That’s growth!”

– – –

– – –

Mahalia will release new EP 'Isolation Tapes' on May 1st.

Words: Shahzaib Hussain
Photographer: William Spooner
Fashion: Justin Hamilton
Creative Direction: Rob Meyers

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

British indie rock band Sea Girls pack a punch in the upbeat single, ‘Do You Really Want to Know?’ and announce their debut album, ‘Open Up Your Head.’

The four-piece have been taking the indie world by storm recently, and their latest drop proves why. With dancey beats and catchy lyrics, Sea Girls’ indie-pop anthem offers an easy, fun listen that will help you get out of bed.

“Do you really want to know / What I’d change about my self? / Do you really want to know? / You’ve been messing with my head,” the chorus teases. Filled with bursts of energy, the feel-good song is vibrant and honest, bringing together quick rhythms with subdued synth beats with a groovy bassline as the track's backbone.

The group is known for their high-energy, entertaining live sets – currently, their April dates have been rescheduled until November when the band will be able to play songs off their album during their UK tour.

The track will be featured on their highly-anticipated upcoming record, coming out on August 14th via Polydor. Until then, listen to their other singles, which are just as fantastic and lively as the latest single.

The single is out now and you can pre-order the album now.

Words: Caroline Edwards
Photo Credit: Matthew Parri Thomas

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

R&B artist Jonah Mutono has dropped a serene, nature-filled video for his soulful ballad ‘The Low.’

The video feels intimate, filled with shaky filming and close-up shots. Nature is at the forefront, with footage of waterfalls, branches, and rivers filling the screen. Amongst the beauty, Mutono hides behind a mask made out of a tee-shirt, hinting at the fact that the track is about a secret relationship. “I really can't take you to my mama / She couldn't bear / Waiting on 16th at the place we meet,” Mutono sings sorrowfully.

The track includes Mutono’s silky falsetto during the chorus, letting out his built-up emotions on ‘Don't you love and leave / Love and leave.’

In a personal essay, which Mutono dropped with the release of the track, Mutono shared a heart-breaking experience of his secret relationship, hiding his sexuality due to his evangelical Christian upbringing and surrounding community.

“I had just found something tangible that I didn’t want to give up,” Mutono wrote in his personal essay. “Whatever remained of my beliefs, I knew they’d never recover after this. Uganda is still one my favorite places, but with so little exposure, a fear of the LGBTQ community is violently planted in every mind. That fear is hard to shake.”

Turning his emotions into something tangible and beautiful, Mutono uses his affliction to inspire his songwriting, which will be found his the upcoming album, ‘GERG,’ out on May 15th via Island Records.

Watch the video here.

Words: Caroline Edwards

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Highly rated UK artist 169 is one of the go-to men in forward-thinking beats.

A songwriter and producer of real depth, his 'SYNC' EP saw 169 emerged from the shadows.

Having produced Dave (and AJ Tracey's) absolute banger 'Thiago Silva', his own work is taking on some hype of its own.

'Millies' is out now, and it finds 169 leaning more towards R&B, allowing soulful vibrations to infiltrate his sound.

Working alongside rapper Jaiah, it's a potent offering from an artist who is only 22 years old.

Terry Paul directs the visuals, and it's a stylish midnight shoot in the city.

Tune in now.

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

“The way music makes me feel, I just want to give that feeling to other people.” This is what Mae Muller describes as her essential reason for becoming an artist. Reeling off the release of her debut EP ‘Chapter 1’ last year and fresh off her own headline tour – as well as a tour with Little Mix, Mae has managed to grasp fans all over the world, and she’s only getting started. Crediting the Little Mix tour for boosting her confidence, she now feels equipped to take on any stage.

However, performing in front of others isn’t something new to Mae. Growing up, she was heavily invested in music, constantly putting on performances for her family with songs she created in her mind inspired by multiple artists “I loved Gwen Stefani when I was younger and realised that’s what I wanted to do and I would force my family to watch things I’ve come up with.”

– – –

– – –

Releasing collaborations alongside the likes of Ms Banks and Steel Banglez – and a release with Kenny Beats incoming – Mae maintains that pop music is where she wants to delve deeper.

“I would really love to work with Steve Mac,” she adds. Describing her sound as very Britpop, she ensures that her accent remains clear and not watered down or Americanised. “It makes me sound different from the rest without having to really try. I want to keep my sound as honest and natural as possible”.

– – –

– – –

The future appears to be extremely bright for this North Londoner. With Grammy awards, BRITs, number ones, and huge tours set in her sights, multiple lessons have already been absorbed. But with some highly ambitious plans on the horizon, her main focus lies in not losing herself. “In doing so, I feel like my music will touch more people,” she says. “My vision will grow and therefore people will still be listening”.

“It’s very important not to compare yourself to anyone else,” she adds. “It’s not productive. Social media enables you to buy into the idea of comparison but it’s important to remember that there’s only one you.”

– – –

– – –

Words: Debbie Ijaduola
Photo Credit: Vicky Grout

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Markus Lake has been making music in bands and under various guise for almost two decades. However, it was not until he started releasing music under the Markus Floats moniker in 2010 that we started to get a better idea of what he was all about.

After his auspicious ‘Untitled’ mini CDr in 2010 there was a seven year wait for his flawless debut album ‘First Album’, which was was then followed by 2018’s sublime ‘Second Album’. Now he has returned with, you guessed it, ‘Third Album’.

The standout track is ‘Always’. Here Lake changes tempo from the measure soundscapes to something that pops. Synths shower down on a subdued bassline before an energetic beat kicks in. As ‘Always’ progresses, things slow down and understated synths take over, before gently petering out. This change of pace was important, as it broke up the tonal progression of the opening tracks, and ushers in the appearance of more beats and blips.

Throughout ‘Third Album’ there is a glacial slowness to the productions. Lake takes his time. There is no need to rush. Rushing would only speed up the point he is making, thus leaving us with a shorter track and a slightly unfilled feeling when it ends. Instead, Lake painstakingly constructs layers of sound that create emotional responses. This is evident on ‘And’ and ‘Froward Again’. ‘Forward Again’ opens with joyous keyboard while brooding synths, and the sound of waves, before it reaches a glorious peak. This peak is one of the pinnacle moments on ‘Third Album’. It may only last a few moments, but it lingers with you long after ‘Forward Again’ ends.

‘And’ consists of drone, after drone, after drone, like gently waves breaking on the shore. As one hits another has already started in the distance. Lake just keeps setting up the drones, until he is happy with the results and just lets them fade out.

‘Third Album’ is not an album to listen to, but to experience. As the songs are more about emotional responses than digging a beat, or melody. Of course, there are incredibly crafted melodies throughout, but Lake is not just interested in that. He wants his music to mean something. There is a heady optimism to the album. Instead of claustrophobic soundscapes, Lake has built elegant drones around pockets of space that allow the songs, and listener, to breathe.

Rather unexpectedly the album also gives us more information on Lake and his work ethic. When read together the track titles tell a tale. ‘Forward’, it starts, ‘And’, Forward Again’. ‘Always’, ‘Moving’ ‘Forward Always’. And moving forward Lake is. Here Lake delivers another collection of songs that build on his first two albums but showcase a new confidence in his songwriter and compositions.

Let us hope ‘Fourth Album’ is not too long in the offing.

8/10

Words: Nick Roseblade

– – –

– – –

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Combining psychedelics with whimsical theatrical tracks and classic rock bass lines, Caleb Landry Jones' debut album ‘The Mother Stone’ is a unique listening experience.

The Twin Peaks and X-Men star switched the big screen for a recording studio to create an hour-long 15-track pop-rock orchestra. Although Jones is known foremost as an actor, he’s been a musician since he was sixteen, but it wasn’t until a crucial meeting with indie director Jim Jarmusch that Jones was able to turn his back catalog of 700 songs into a full-fledged album. Sorting through old music, Jones was able to create an album that reads like a book, filled with unpredictable chapters and stories.

‘Flag Day / Mother Stone’ offers a brassy and melodramatic seven-minute introduction to the album, letting listeners get a grip on what to expect. The song is genre-bending, to say the least. There are elements of Arctic Monkey’s ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ and The Beatles’ haunting tune ‘Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!’, but there’s also a nightmarish and circus quality to the track, with sharp strings and steady drumbeats. Is the song something that’s going to be on a Spotify weekly playlist? The simple answer is no. But the track is imaginative and obscure, just like the rest of the album, twisting and turning with each note.

Each track fades into the rest, giving the record a lucid and musical-like quality, weaving together a complex story. The heavy influences of The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ and Syd Barrett’s solo work are evident throughout the record, but mostly on the second track, ‘You’re So Wonderfull.’ “Welcome to the show,” Jones croons on another seven-minute track. The song is eerie, giving off a ‘Rocky Horror’-vibe, but still indulgent. Switching between piano, wobbly bass – and wait, is that a tambourine? – and keys, there’s little that’s not included in the track. It’s hard to believe it’s only Jones singing, as his voice changes its tone nearly every minute, from tender crooning to forced bursts of laughter and slight screamo, making it the most expressive and narrative tune on the record.

‘All I Am In You / The Big Worm’ leans into classic psychedelic rock. Starting with a simple bassline, the track was inspired by Dale Hawkins’ ‘Susie Q,’ but Jones adds his own twist with somber lyrics and dark undertones. The song transitions unexpectedly to ambient, experimental sounds. The track, like the lyrics, is puzzling. “He takes a light rag / And drags across the broom / Just like a fruit worm,” is how Jones opens the song. The track is interesting, but combines too many elements and tries too hard to be something it's not that it comes across as messy.

Let’s be clear: Jones isn’t trying to be the next Beatles or Led Zepplin, but the album is a bit of a guessing game of “which classic artist inspired this track?” In an attempt to transcend earthly-bounds, Jones tries to fit everything in at once. The album is cohesive, yes, but falls a victim to imposter syndrome.

That being said, the record is refreshing. In a world of autotune and formulaic singles, Jones’s music is raw and vulnerable. Jones’ slow-burn ballad ‘For The Longest Time,’ is a soft symphony with drawn-out vocals and harmonies, as he repeats “space amounts to sleep." The track combines fewer elements than the other songs, but that doesn’t make it dull. Jones’ voice is mesmerising, and the more subdued tune is much needed on the rock-heavy record.

‘The Hodge-Podge Porridge Poke’ is a funny number, with a 50’s rhythm and Southern twang, complete with light banjo strumming. It’s country Western at its core, with shaky vocals that slowly transition to grittiness as the track turns psychedelic. Elsewhere, ‘No Where’s Where Nothing’s Died (A Marvelous Plan)’ includes organ playing and scatty jazz notes to build to a crescendo. There’s ambient noise adding padding to the tune while keyboards bring texture. The track sounds like a farewell, a song that would be performed as the curtains draw together, but it only signifies that the record is coming to a close soon.

A piano reprises the familiar ‘Flag Day / Mother Stone’ track, but this time electronic guitar shreds over it in the closing number, ‘Little Planet Pig.’ More instruments are added, and suddenly in a computer overload-like event, it sounds like glitches and scratches. It fades, and the song is left with a chorus singing against the carnival-like tune. As the track fades away, listeners are released from the hypnotising, eclectic record.

‘The Mother Stone’ is unlike anything else out in music right now. It’s risky and at times, clumsy, but overall, effective. The record is fun and isn’t afraid to be weird – it’s evident Jones was passionate about the project and that it wasn’t just a second thought. While it won’t be played on Radio 1 anytime soon, listening to the album is artistic at its core, and more so, a cathartic and worthwhile experience.

7/10

Words: Caroline Edwards

– – –

– – –

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

 

Trrmà are ready to share their ambitious new album 'The Earth's Relief'.

The two-part project take their inspiration from left field electronics and deep jazz, with their explorations recalling Clap! Clap! or Flying Lotus.

Saluting the afro-futurist philosophies of Sun Ra, the duo delve into the possibilities offered by improvisation.

Splitting their time between the southern tip of Italy, and the Sicilian town of Messina, the pair have charted a course for their new album.

'The Earth's Relief' lands on May 1st, a collection of immersive, spiritually aligned pieces that could well sit alongside UK adventurers Portico Quartet.

Speaking of the overall album, Trrmà tell us:

“"The Earth's relief" is dedicated to unreachable peaks, at the same time it represents the desire to challenge the highest goals, a metaphor for the research behind our music with which we always try to surprise ourselves.”

Tune in now.

Album pre-order: https://song.link/RT4fgxsMZb2cD

Join us on the ad-free creative social network 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, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine