LA based August Royals has shared his exhilarating new single 'Blue Football'.

The Georgia born artist grappled with viral fame in 2019, when a snippet of his song 'Restless' scorched across Instagram.

With hundreds of thousands of views, August entered into a new world, one that pushed his music into different arenas.

A chance meeting with Kevin Abstract at a show in Los Angeles saw the two become friends and collaborators, swapping ideas on a near daily basis.

Freshly signed to RCA Records, August Royals hits a new level with his latest single.

Out now, 'Blue Football' is a carefully finessed song, one that balances the micro with the macro in its search for meaning.

A song about tackling personal demons, the Andrew Sandler directed clip expertly builds upon his lyricism.

Tune in now.

– – –

London polymath Laura Dre returns with new single 'Moving Spaces'.

Adept as producer, lauded as a songwriter, there's very little that Laura Dre can't do – she's toured the world, for one, and also served as a PC with the Met Police.

With a new 10 track album incoming, her creative journey is positioned to take another turn.

New single single 'Moving Spaces' is out, smashing through 50,000 streams in one week on YouTube – and that's not counting other platforms.

A clinical mixture of synth wave and electronic pop, her sound structures call to mind the Drive soundtrack in their cinematic tendencies.

Discussing the new single, she says: "'Moving Spaces' is the title track on my debut solo album. The whole album covers themes of unrequited love and this song is about moving backwards and forwards in love."

"The lyrics refer to an 'oasis' which can be taken as a metaphor for the loneliness and sometimes one-way traffic in feeling love for someone else. But I use indirect writing styles and a lot of the tracks on this album have multi-dimensional meanings which can be interpreted in their own way for the listener.”

The dazzling video is online now, and you can check it out below.

– – –

returns with emotive new single 'Kindness'.

Out now, it's self-described as "a love letter to my fans" and is an attempt to repay them for their ongoing support and warmth.

Pulling down the veil, MØ lets her feelings hang out, resulting in a single that is dazzling, direct, and fizzing with new ideas.

Penned alongside Ariel Rechtshaid and Yangze, the trio worked across timezones and lockdowns to complete the track.

MØ explains: "'Kindness' is a love letter to my fans. I wrote it at a time when I was feeling, like a lot of people, disconnected from the physical world. Despite being isolated, there was this beautiful connection and support from my fans and from our little online community, which I was so thankful for."

"I wrote the first demo in Copenhagen on a beat by my friend Yangze. Ariel Rechstshaid then joined the process and – working online and across timezones – we made this song take shape."

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Fryd Frydendahl

– – –

Laurie Anderson has led a singular life.

Her career – if we can even use such a reductive term against her work – has moved from the depths of the New York art underground to the pinnacle of the charts, slipping between high profile collaborations and staunch individuality.

Still working, still creating, and still moving forwards, Laurie Anderson won a Grammy back in 2019, and spent lockdown focussed on a multitude of projects.

Clash spoke to Laurie earlier this year for our Rock & Rules feature, prompted by the re-issue of her 1982 album ‘Big Science’.

Available once more on vinyl, it became an unusual crossover success, spawning the bona fide hit single ‘O Superman’.

The wide-ranging conversation touched on her family, her experiences in academic, and more than four decades of stunning work; as such, we’ve decided to run the transcription at length, for a special online interview.

– – –

– – –

I’m told you’ve just had your vaccine?

I did! I just had the second one just now. We’ll see what happens. Generally it just blows by and you’re fine, I think. I’m looking forward to it.

When you look over your catalogue and achievements, there’s so much breadth and diversity there. Has that always been a key aspect of the way in which you approach creativity?

For me, it’s a lot of fun… but it’s not for everyone! I think a lot of people get a lot of challenges by going way deep into what they’re doing. I’m just thinking about someone who just loves to play piano really fast! The good thing is there are no rules, everybody has got their own thing. For me, I just started doing this type of thing really by default. Nobody ever said “hey what are you going to be when you grow up?” I’m from a big family, I just kind of got lost in the crowd. Nobody ever asked me that question! So, I never asked myself that question.

I just started doing things that I liked and for me, it’s been really nice. Because if I don’t have ideas for painting then I can make music or something. I always did all of that stuff. So it doesn’t feel weird to me. So I think every artist, every musician has their own way to figure it out, and that was mine.

Do you think academic helped or hindered you in your path?

Oh no. I went to a school where you couldn’t do graphic things or painting or anything physical. They thought, let’s just do mental things! It was very limited. I don’t know if that’s for everybody at all. And also that’s depending on the school, too. Sometimes they can just be the greatest thing for an artist. It can be a time when you don’t have to be in the marketplace and you can just be in a school and try things out, or you can read a lot of books. All of those things can be cool.

So I’m not the kind of person who says ‘learn on your own and schools can’t teach you anything’ because, y’know, some people like ‘em. It’s also true that sometimes academic life can make things seem smaller rather than bigger. They categorise stuff, so that’s a bit of a drag. Sorry to be so cagey in my answer! It could be good, it could be bad!

No two paths are the same, ultimately.

That’s true. Yeah. But the thing is, don’t feel guilty if you didn’t go to school. There are so many ways to learn things in this world now. It’s really opened up in really great ways for everybody.

Do you mean the growth of the internet?

That, yes. And I suppose there’s just a lot of access. I find that there’s a more open situation across the board and I’ve have to say more democratic. For example, I mean culture – in New York City, anyway – is super popular now. And it used to be – when I started out as an artist – just a very egghead thing to do. Now the museums and clubs and concert halls and opera houses are packed with people. There’s no longer a stigma about liking that kind of stuff, like dance or theatre or music or anything. So I think it’s easier to be interested in that stuff and easier to see it now.

Of course, I’m not talking about the last year… but before that, it really strikes me as wildly different, to go into the Museum Of Modern Art and have it be packed with people who would not really have done that 10 years before, or five years. It’s now presented as being like the movies. Like, go and see that show… and people do. They treat it like that.

– – –

– – –

We mythologise those 60s and 70s shows, but now there’s a bigger audience…

Oh yeah. I’m not saying bigger is better – cos I’m a snob! I did love the art world probably more when it wasn’t such a blockbuster thing. That’s sad to admit, but I do like to be in a museum where I’m the only person in the room. As opposed to, 80 people with their cellphones taking pictures.

Now, as a democrat, I like the idea that everybody goes, and as a snob I hate it. So, I kind of feel both ways. But of course now, in the pandemic, all our museums are open – or most of them – and there are real restrictions on the number of people that can go but its heaven! It’s so great, you can go and be the only person in a particular collection! Looking at all this horse armour from the 13th century! It’s really, really cool! So much fun.

I have to say, though, like most people I really miss live music more than I can say. That part really feels like a big hole.

Why is that? Is it because the audience is such an integral part of the live experience?

Yeah. And people play differently. They play with more freedom, and more craziness, than their records. It’s also not as organised. I love that chaos! And I like seeing people.

When I went to get my vaccine this morning, it was the biggest social event of my year! I haven’t seen that many people in a year. There were thousands of people there! And they were all happy, so it reminded me of a concert or something. We were all moving, trudging along, in our six foot distanced line… and it was just great! Everyone was super happy. And I thought: gosh, I miss people!

The sense of chaos within a performance must be exhilarating.

Yeah. When I started doing improv I really got into that. I always like it as a social situation, and I’m an artist who does stuff in real time. Generally, I’m not so much about recording as about live events. So I love the mistakes that can happen, and the way things can go south really fast. It’s like a tightrope. It’s fun!

I love not knowing who’s gonna start. When you get to be in the absolute present like that, it was just a thrill for me! Also, when you’re playing with really good players, it’s like building a big ship in the air, and then you get to look at it, turn it around, and also… the audience is in on the whole thing, and they know when you’re lost. They know when you have no ideas. They can hear it! So, it’s like they’re in a funny way sort of rooting for you. It’s a very conspiratorial thing to do, it’s a lot of fun in that way. And then when you find it, and you find the thing… you’re like: yeah! So it’s not a show saying, look at me! I have such a cool song, and I’m cool! It’s not like that. It’s much more vulnerable.

And that is the world I want to live in. Otherwise it’s just people parading their egos around, and going: look at me! And I’m sick of that… I try not to do that myself, but it’s easy to fall into that trap because our whole culture insists on finding something original. Stick out from the crowd – be different! And I’m just thinking: why can’t we all be the same? Let’s get out of this game! Let’s just be the same! Why do we all have to work so hard on this so-called individuality aspect. Take a break!

But you’ve had actual hit records as well – ‘O Superman’ is a radio oldie, for instance.

Well, like I said before – I’m a snob! In the art world in New York we thought pop culture was idiotic. I mean, that’s also really stupid, too, because there’s a lot of really interesting stuff going on in pop culture! A lot! But we were stuck in our little ideas, like: nothing could be interesting out there!

Anyway, when I walked around in the pop world for a little bit I did it really as an anthropologist. I realised this is a fluke, this is really a weird fluke, and I’m going to just have a good time looking around but it did surprise me. I’d get out of the car and 100 people are waiting for you there screaming, and I thought: what are you, out of your minds?! I found it ridiculous. And I thought to myself then, do not be seduced by this! Because I think… I don’t know why some people want that but they do. They want that attention. It’s horrible. It’s weird. It’s not fun. And it gives you a really weird impression. A distanced feeling of yourself.

So I decided not to go for that, but to enjoy it. And I also thought, this will go really fast – it comes and it goes! So I think I was cool with it. When you get something you don’t want it’s different than when you get something that you do want. So it was a different kind of thing, for me.

– – –

– – –

You’ve won a host of awards in your time – a Grammy in 2019, for example – does the external validation of an award mean anything to you?

Gosh, it didn’t make a big impression on me. Again, because I’m not like somebody who’s like: I gotta get a Grammy! And again I don’t mean to sound ungrateful because I really like it when people say that they like your work, that means a lot to me because it means that you’re not working in a vacuum. But I’m an easily pleased person, and I was never really going for recognition, I think. I’m kind of a loner. A loner who goes out and does things in public… so it’s kinda weird! What kind of a loner is that? (laughs) Wait a second!

I do like it, and I am grateful. I’m not sneering at it for one second. I think people who win prizes or whatever they are get opportunities and many times it’s because they’ve worked really hard to make beautiful music, and I really respect that a lot. I’m not… just blowing it off! It’s cool. It’s just that it isn’t my goal. I guess my goal is to be enlightened. That’s my goal. To understand life, and try to be kind to people and try to be happy with whatever it is. That’s really my goal. Try to live life as it is, not like some dream that I have about the future that is never going to come true anyway. That’s so frustrating. You can’t be happy in the future and you can only be happy now.

I guess I also see the upsidedown-ness of so much of the world in the last year, and also… I just see so much anger in the United States. It’s really pronounced. There are a lot of people here who are very deeply angry in a wild way, not just in a sad angry way but in a furious angry way. And they have reason to be. If you look around at this country it’s abandoned. If you look around New York City right now then there’s no one in these big buildings. No one. It’s a ghost town. And a lot of people are… you go out to a factory, it doesn’t exist any more. It’s a ruin. You go out to a big mall, it’s closed. Where is there a lot of activity? Vaccine centres, drug centres. This is not a great situation right now in the life of human beings.

It’s a very tough time and New York City is, in a way, in a beautiful moment. There’s no one here, like I said, and it’s like that in all the major cities. All the tourists are gone. I love it! You get to see who really lives in the town. And who lives in New York? Weirdos! It’s a city of weirdos. When all the tourists in their Bermuda shorts leave we’re left with the artists and the weird people. It couldn’t be better in my book. Because this city never used to be a tourist town, it just got to be that over the last while. And now that we have it to ourselves again, the people who live here, it’s a dream come true for me. And a lot of that pressure is gone.

And of course, sadly, a lot of that business is gone, too, and I don’t think they’re coming back any time soon. You would be shocked at seeing it. If you stand in any of the business districts of New York, you look into the buildings and they’re not just temporarily empty they’re abandoned. Everything is totally cleaned out, they’re not coming back. So what is this? It’s really a wild, wild place now. So we’ll see what happens.

It’s been a huge communal moment of reflection, hasn’t it?

And hopefully we can come back with a better idea of how to do it. I think a lot of people have learned a lot of things in this year of solitude and strangeness. I’ve also lost a lot of friends, who died of COVID. There’s that as well. And we still have… it’s still an epidemic here in many ways. Even though tonnes of people are getting their shot. It’s really, really a lot of people. It seems to be really well done.

The choreography of this big trade centre that I was at this morning to get my shot… it was run by the army. And I’m not exactly a ‘support our troops’ kind of person, but I was supporting our troops this morning. I was like: hi guys! (laughs) I think they were just happy not to have to shoot at anybody for a change. They just kind of go: right this way! Go on! Hurry up! You’re gonna walk 8000 steps in the next hour so keep going! It was a cheery thing. It was a really positive thing.

I think most of these places where people are getting vaccinated it’s turning into a major industry, and everyone is together in it and it’s a very happy moment for everyone to be able to think about going to their house again and doing some things and feeling free.

You’ve developed an incredible catalogue, one that spans different genres and disciplines. How do you interact with that?

I think for people who have done a lot of work then it’s cool to treasure your catalogue. A lot of people have done beautiful things and they get to perform them over and over and they learn that way too. I don’t know what’s innate and what you learn to do, but I am somebody who actually only believes there is a present. My mind training goes that way. So I don’t want to think about things in the past. Which is sort of stupid, because you can learn a lot of things from your past mistakes and your past good decisions, too. I just try, though, to not mull that stuff over, as circumstances change and what worked in the past isn’t necessarily going to work now.

So it’s good to be able to think on your feet and go: well, I know that worked then, but it’s so different now… and everybody is in that same boat at the moment because we don’t know how to go on. When this world comes back will it even want us there? What is that world going to be? It’s taken a toll on a lot of people. On their sense of self.

Especially people – like me, too – who get a sense of self from being with other people. It’s like reflection. You say something, and then it becomes part of your self image. Nobody is being your mirror. A lot of people don’t know who they are any more. They’re lost. And that’s cool, too, because being lost is a good thing. You can kind of go: wait a second… what do I want to look for now? You can be a new person again. You’re a new person anyway, whether you want to or not.

– – –

– – –

What is it you’re looking for, then?

You’re searching to be lost! It’s the first line in Dante’s Divine Comedy. “I found myself lost…” He’s in the woods, and he’s lost, but he puts it like that! So, I think that it’s kinda cool not to be doing your whole thing on and on. We get trapped into this self-image thing. Can’t we get beyond that? It’s so exhausting to be honing your image.

When I first started to do that – when I first started working with record companies, long ago – they’d go, well, we need to figure out a way to brand you! And I always thought it was a joke, but now people take it seriously. Branding themselves, having an image. It’s like, you become your own PR firm! What are you doing? Forget that, forget trying to present yourself in this careful way.

Of course, that’s what we have to do on Zoom every time. This carefully posed individual with certain hobbies and hair dos. You’re like: ahhh… I’d like to get beyond the world of individuality. But you know, it’s hard because everything in our culture says not to do that. You’ve got to sell yourself, sell yourself.

How do you break out of that cycle, then?

You know, I don’t know what’s innate and what you learn. I’m someone who’s always looking for teachers, and I’m always looking to think: why would you do that? Tell me why you do that! Of course I’m sure we’re born with certain instincts, and we all have slightly different ones, but we all have to find teachers, and that’s what I’m interested in. It doesn’t have to be a formal teacher, it can just be someone who is like doing it in a different way. Teach me how to do that!

But with ‘Big Science’ it was funny, because today – when I got my vaccination – they gave me a badge, and it had an arm making the muscle on it. And it said: you’ve been vaccinated! And it’s like, wait a second: that’s the cover of ‘O Superman’, this arm flexing! So it’s like ‘OK, wait a second…’ that’s a really good graphic. And what is this vaccination campaign except ‘Big Science’? The whole thing is big pharma, big collapse… big everything!

The record ‘Big Science’ was about the collapse of corporate America in many ways. It’s part of an eight hour work called ‘United States’ and it looked at this collapse. And so now, 40 years later, it is like that. It’s really unique. We’re very lucky to be in this era when the merry-go-round stopped. It’s a disaster in many ways, and it’s a big opportunity as well, for everybody to think: what do I want? Really. Not what you think other people think you should want… but what you actually want. So I’m having a good time, basically!

What are you focussing on for the rest of the year?

I’m writing an opera, and I’m making a lot of big paintings. They’re really bad paintings, but they’re really big. They’re really big! I’m leaving them outside to see what happens. That’s making me happy as I like painting a lot. And then also, making some music. And doing some… writing a couple of books. A little of this, a little of that! And just trying to stay in touch with my friends, as you can forget how important friendship is… when you get so hermity!

Remember the time when you could just go out for a really long walk with somebody who knows you, and you know them? That’s the greatest. So, we’ll have that again, but in the meantime fans the flames of friendship with people you’ve lost touch with, I think. That’s what makes me happy.

– – –

– – –

‘Big Science’ is out now.

Words: Robin Murray

– – –

Soul music is timeless. But many fall into the trap of producing musical tributes rather that blossoming in the face of inspiration. Durand Jones & The Indications need not worry. Dancing with disco beats, synthesisers, velveteen vocals and funk grooves, they toy with what it is to be retro-inspired whilst driving a genre forward.

And what perfect a time for this album to come out, when the world isn’t a “sea of love” and instead we’re faced with hardship. “At the end of the day, I just want people to close their eyes and forget where they are. Just the way a Stevie Wonder album does for me,” says Jones.

It’s immersive and ambiguous, these tales belong to you as much as they do the person next to you on the train. You’re invited into a private space, unaware that a mirror stands between yours and others lives. Because our internalisation of events often struggles to transpire into understanding and relatability. We are blind to how mundane the drama in our lives is. As we fall in love, heal our soul and reminisce, we do so alongside thousands of others.

And it is this very essence that Durand Jones & The Indications capture. The beauty of the normal. From the classic, “I know you came with your friends but who you leaving with” ('Witchoo') to the comforting “if you need me, you just need to reach out” ('Reach Out'). They’re comfortable and familiar, much needed in a time where we can’t quite grasp onto the idea of “normal”.

“We’ll be arriving into people's lives as they're exiting a really tough period,” Aaron Frazer (drums/vocals) observes, “hopefully this allows people to get together again, to share and experience catharsis.”


Words: Megan Walder

– – –

– – –

Rising songwriter Tom King has shared his emotive new single 'Hollow'.

Still only 19 years old, Tom King speaks with extraordinary experience on his new single, a document of heartbreak and vulnerability.

Out now, 'Hollow' aims for a minimal arrangement, lingering on his voice as he intones those words of raw emotion.

Crafted alongside Ollie Green, it will features on his Tom King's incoming EP 'Confessions Of A Lonely Heart' which is out on October 22nd.

He comments: "Ollie and I wrote this song together from the ground-up – both of us bringing together lyrics and melody with Ollie on the piano. It’s about the sad part of a breakup and that feeling of utter emptiness you get after all the anger has gone. It’s a sad one… you might want a tissue."

A new live clip has been shared, which features a spine-tingling rendition from Tom King.

Check it out below.

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Roberts

– – –

Raleigh Ritchie returns with new single 'Say What You Mean'.

It's quite the seven day spell for the actor and songwriter, who was recently cast in a high profile Doctor Who part.

Musically, it's continual progress, with new single 'Say What You Me' presenting Raleigh at his most defiant.

Produced alongside Chris Loco, it injects some energy into his songwriting, an up-tempo return with shades of melancholy.

He croons: “Say what you mean / Honestly say what you see…”

Raleigh comments: “I write songs for myself, to get things off my chest and process my emotions, but then I release them and I don’t own them anymore; they belong to other people. I hope there is someone who listens to it and hears themselves… I hope that makes them feel less lonely.”

Tune in now.

– – –

Jordan Stephens returns with brand new feel-good statement 'Wicked'.

The creative all-rounder impressed with his 'P.I.G.' EP, with recent single 'Son Of A Gun' ushering him into a new era.

Out now, 'Wicked' finds Jordan Stephens embracing self-love, and the ability to define yourself by your own rules.

Produced by J.AR.J, it's a song about evading the clutches of consumerism, and refusing to join in the hyper-competitive social media race of comparing yourself to others.

The video is a trippy performance, with Jordan Stephens tasked with bringing his message to life… in a field!

Directed by Ricky Valentine, it's a simple yet snappy clip – tune in below.

Photo Credit: Ricky Valentine @valentinedirector

– – –

DaBaby will not be appearing at Parklife festival this summer.

The Manchester event was due to host the rapper as part of its 2021 line up, but a recent change to the bill has seen him drop out.

The move was spotted by fans, who immediately linked it to his atrocious onstage comments at Rolling Loud festival over the weekend.

Since then, the likes of Elton John, Madonna, Questlove, and former collaborator Dua Lipa have all called out his behaviour, which was homophobic and used misinformation about HIV and AIDs.

DaBaby doubled down, sharing a video which referenced AIDs before slating his critics online.

According to TMZ, DaBaby's departure from the Parklife bill isn't actually to do with his behaviour – he cancelled some time ago, citing concerns around COVID.

Parklife have yet to comment on the line up change.

– – –

Canadian alt-pop riser Leith has shared her new single 'Love Vibes'.

The Berklee graduate was born in Toronto, but her myriad of musical adventures have taken her across North America, and on to her current base in London.

Whether she's in Canada, Los Angeles, or the UK however, Leith applies the same devoutly personal style to her songwriting.

'Love Vibes' is her debut single, and it's the launching pad for an alt-pop trailblazer; contoured of chorus, finessed of lyric, her melodic touch allows Leith to stand out from the crowd.

Blending gauzy synth sounds to biting guitar, Leith seems able to bring opposing forces together, resulting in something unified.

Out now on her own label Big Trees via AWAL, it's a dazzling introduction. Tune in now.

– – –