James Yorkston’s Winter Warmers

Five albums to soak up in January…

James Yorkston has built up an imposing catalogue, one that explores the richness of life’s experiences in language both blunt and poetic.

While his voice is quite singular he’s often sought collaboration, and his new album ‘The Wide, Wide River’ is the perfect example of this.

A refulgent return from the Scottish artist, it finds James working alongside the Second Hand Orchestra to wonderful effect.

Clash is enraptured by the record, and invited James Yorkston to write about some of his mid-winter listens, the kind of warming, soothing affairs you often turn to during those long, dark nights.

We had half-expected him to dwell on folk pastures – he’s written for Clash before about such greats – but in the end his list expands those definitions until they are essentially meaningless, a five-strong list of records just waiting to be explored.

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Ed Dowie – The Uncle Sold

I get sent a lot of music. Friends, colleagues etc, people asking to be played on the podcast I do, 46-30… It’s can’t all be good, of course. But when Lost Map released this album, it was clear on the first listen how great it was.

It’s basically a very chilled pop album. Like a classic-era Pet Shop Boys record that’s been remixed by Brian Eno. The perfect songs, the textures, even the nice ‘n’ compact running time – all good. And for me, not knowing of Ed’s past, it kinda came out of nowhere, which is always a pleasant surprise.

A folk album? No, I wouldn’t say it was a folk album at all. But what would I know…

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D’Gary – Malagasy Guitar

This was the guitar album that started a lot of it, for me. The atmosphere and the playing was such that I took out a student loan and bought my first acoustic guitar, although my playing sounds nothing like D’Gary. He’s a unique player, his style rooted in the Malagasy tradition – it’s very easy to hear echoes of the great Rakotozafy in there.

Like so many of the people whose music I love, D’Gary plays with a relaxed grace, he’s not shouting out for attention, just noodling away. I remember bumping into a Famous Guitar Hero once, and we bonded over D’Gary’s playing. We both loved the melodies, but Famous Guitar Hero was all about the speed and the complexity, whereas I was all about the vibe and the silences. And I guess that lot describes this album well.

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Brìghde Chaimbeul – The Reeling

I’m a fan of pipe music in general, especially the Uillean pipes of Ireland, which produce a softer sound than the Great Highland pipes. But most of the players I love – Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy etc – tend to be from the past, and they played with more of a feel, and less of a desire to play 100 notes a second, which it seems a lot of the younger players do. That’s not just in pipe music, of course, it’s evident everywhere in music. People showing off, basically.

But Brìghde’s album – played on the Scottish small pipes – is the opposite of all that. She has such a wonderful feel with her playing, there’s no rushing, no trickery, just beautiful, sensitive playing and a great selection of tunes, delicately produced by Lau’s Aidan O’Rourke.

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Papa M – Live From A Shark Cage

Before I signed to Domino Records, 20 years ago, almost, they sent me a box full of albums, just to show the sort of thing they did, the music they supported. This was one of the albums, and I loved it.

I guess the easiest description would be – imagine if the two twiddly guitar folk from ‘Marquee Moon’ just kept on playing and noodling around each other, after the rest of Television had left the studio. And somehow the tapes were still rolling. And then maybe someone had fed them a load of Valium and encouraged them just to keep playing, keep playing…

It also has a track on it named ‘I Am Not Lonely With Cricket’, which is perfect. This is a great fireside album, but also a great motorway album.

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Ry Cooder & V.M.Bhatt – A Meeting By The River

I guess this was the first “fusion” album I knowingly heard. Andy Kershaw had played the track ‘Ganges Delta Blues’ on his radio programme, whilst the band I was in were sat in a van, either on the way too or from a gig. We listened, transfixed, turning it up and marvelling at the energy and the playing. I tracked it down and bought a CD, which was a huge investment for me, in those days.

Although it sounds daft, what with me being in Yorkston Thorne Khan, I tend to avoid “fusion” bands – when there’s one guy from this culture, with one lady from another, remixed by a group from a third – as it can all seem quite gimmicky. But when it works, as in this album, it creates something not only new, but quite beautiful, also.

Back before Covid, people used to approach me on tour and ask me complex questions about Indian Classical music, but I know almost nothing about it. All I do is sit down and listen and react to what Suhail is playing – and I’ve always thought this album has that exact same vibe.

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‘The Wide, Wide River’ is out on January 22nd.

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Anna B Savage Shares Hugely Touching ‘Baby Grand’ Video

It pulls at the heart-strings…

Anna B Savage has shared the touching video for new song ‘Baby Grand’.

The song itself is a key moment on her incoming debut album, with ‘A Common Turn’ set to hit home on January 29th.

The song encapsulates many of the lyrical themes that dominate her work, while the visuals for ‘Baby Grand’ touch on her own life.

Film maker Jem Talbot shot the clip, and he is Anna’s former boyfriend – indeed, their relationship lingers large in the clip.

Says Anna: “‘Baby Grand’ (the film) and ‘A Common Turn’ (album) are companion pieces: woven together in subject, inspiration and time. Jem was, for want of a better word, a muse for ‘A Common Turn’. Expressing ourselves through our different mediums (mine: music, his: film) became a way for our disciplines to talk, perhaps in place of us.”

For his part, Jem explains: “Having not spoken to me in seven years, Anna sent me a text out of the blue saying she’d had a dream about me.”

“Perhaps by chance, or by cosmic serendipity, I’d been listening to her EP and already dreaming up a film idea the two of us could collaborate on. Three years later, she’s releasing her debut album and I’ve finished that film. In that time, both our mediums have been in a constantly shifting dialogue with each other, a dialogue that has mirrored the ebbs and flows of our connectedness in the present day.”

He says: “The film is an exploration of the how and why some people just crawl into your heart and make a home there.”

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

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.

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Mint Julep Introduce New Album ‘In A Deep & Dreamless Sleep’

It's out on March 19th…

Mint Julep have laid out plans for new album ‘In A Deep & Dreamless Sleep’.

The wife and husband duo took time to focus on separate projects in 2020, before reconvening to work on something together.

Set to be released on March 19th, the duo – Hollie and Keith Kenniff – have shifted their approach in a subtle yet striking way, embracing an openness in their composition.

“Our previous material tended to be structured largely in a verse/chorus setting,” Keith explains, “but these songs are more free flowing and through-composed with a focus on mood and texture.”

He continues: “A lot of the songs are more stream-of-consciousness than premeditated; we went with first ideas and let them guide the composition rather than planning a definitive road map – which hopefully lends itself to creating a specific and unique emotional connection.”

New single ‘Black Maps’ revels in a subtle, soft focus appeal, a kind of hazy, alternative take on synth pop.

Tune in now.

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Escaping Isolation: Kali Uchis Interviewed

"It’s a good time for people to educate themselves…"

Kali Uchis feels like “a lion”. Like many people this year, the seismic shift caused by the Covid-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns sparked a period of deep introspection – except she thrives on the unfamiliar.

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26-year-old hitmaker Kali Uchis is reclining in bed in her LA home, her face covered by a Creme Korean face mask as we catch up for a soul-bearing conversation over the phone. “I feel the most powerful that I’ve ever felt, I feel confident in myself, in my body, in my spirit everything.” – “I’m not the same person I was when I went into the pandemic a lot has changed,” she explains. But, as she points out, this is something she has grown used to. “I already change a lot more than anybody else that I know. Talking to me one year and then talking to me the next is like talking to two different people because a lot of shit goes on in my life.”

In-keeping with this evolutionary energy, Uchis is gearing up to release her first entirely Spanish body of work in homage to her Colombian roots. Since she dropped her high school mixtape ‘Drunken Babble’ in 2012, Uchis has spent the rest of the decade enjoying an envious glo up, her sound and pin-up aesthetic maturing like a fine wine. She’d already been nominated for a Latin Grammy and a Grammy award by the time she released her first album ‘Isolation’, a record of back-to-back hits with the likes of Bootsy Collins, Tyler, the Creator, and Steve Lacy.

Her music always mirrors where she feels like she is in her own life and her new project follows suit. It switches from rambunctious reggaeton tracks to others where Uchis puts her full vocal range to work on crooning classics in the making. The debut single ‘Aquí Yo Mando’ with Rico Nasty is in her words “a little bossy anthem” that represents how she finally feels “grown”. Looking like a cross between goths and 90s R&B alt-girls, the partners in crime dance to the alternative reggaeton track in the visual while robbing men who are literal pigs. “It’s about empowerment, and reclaiming the power of your femininity, being the person who takes charge and makes decisions,” she says.  

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Her choice of collaborator was intentionally one of the most out-of-the-box rising female rappers in the game right now. “She felt like a no brainer for me. She’s a strong woman and everything that she does is bold,” Uchis says praising Rico’s maverick punk-rap musical style, make-up and fashion. The pair met over dinner and drinks at one of the singer’s favourite Mexican restaurants in town and they “clicked immediately”.

“It was like talking to someone from high school or something like we started telling each other all types of stuff. We were having girl time and that night we went back to my house and I played her the song.” Though her mother is Puerto Rican, Rico Nasty struggled to rap in Spanish but with Uchis’ coaching the track came together quickly. “I love people who are willing to take risks,” she adds. Other collaborators on the record include PartyNextDoor and Jhay Cortez, the Puerto Rican hitmaker who has written for Jay Balvin and Bad Bunny.

There’s no guarantee that risk equals reward and with such an established sound, Uchis admits that she’s a little scared of venturing into new and unfamiliar territory. However she quips that she doesn’t want to make a song like “Loner” (from her ‘Por Vida’ EP) over and over. Some artists dream of producing such a coherent track, one that attracted the attention of the Gorillaz and sparked their eventual collaboration. However to Uchis it represents her comfort zone as she wrote it in “literally 15 minutes”. Safety seems to bore her. She adds: “(My new album) is a new market but your fans love you for the first stuff they know you for so it’s a challenge”. Plus with the likes of non-Spanish singers like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran releasing Spanish-language hits in the last couple of years, you can easily argue she has far more claim to that space.

Overall, her goal is to learn to liberate herself from other people’s expectations. “I live my life, I do whatever the fuck I want to do. I don’t answer to anyone,” she says. “I’m very disconnected from people’s perceptions of me this year. Before I’d be so hurt when I would see negative opinions about myself. But there’s a certain freedom to not caring at all like these people don’t actually know me.”

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So who actually is she? Uchis was born Karly Loaiza, the youngest of five in a “hard-working family” that lived in Pereira, Colombia, a small city in the foothills of the Andes. When she was seven the family moved to Alexandria, Virginia and throughout her childhood spent time in Washington and New York soaking up musical influences along the way developing a love of “Bolera, reggaeton, gogo music, latin pop, R&B”.

When she was 17 she found herself living out of cars and sleeping on sofas as her parents threw her out of the house so she had to become fiercely independent. “I was raised to know what everything you want in life you have to work your ass off for it. Nothing is ever going to be handed to you,” she explains. “I was always hustling as a teenager which is how I came up. I actually have some really funny DMs on my Twitter from when I first started the account of me negotiating with people to make money. I was selling art, making clothes. I had so many odd jobs.” She eventually channelled this creativity into music and posted her songs online garnering her a cult following and some famous fans like Snoop Dogg, Diplo, and Kaytranada. 

She’s also deeply spiritual and speaks about God a lot in our conversation. It comes naturally to her to think philosophically as it’s in her “bloodline”. “My grandmother, she’s an indigenous Colombian shaman, she used to read people with cigar ashes, she used to do exorcisms in the house, she was real brujas,” Uchis says. “I tap into it as much as I can because that is what makes me feel reconnected with myself and reconnected with God.”

To stay connected to her previous life, she also travels to Colombia as much as possible, saying she feels “charged up” as soon as she touches South American soil. “It’s a magical place, everything is exaggerated, we’re an exaggerated people,” she says. In 2018, Uchis would sell clothes that were gifted to her on Depop and donate her profits to communities near Pereira who needed medicine, food, house modifications to cater to disabled relatives and help to flee guerilla warfare. On her last trip she uncovered photographs of her great grandmother and other distant relatives which is important to her as she tries to get “a better understanding of where this body comes from”.

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It’s hard not to theorise that her search to not care about what people think and her quest to reconnect with her heritage go hand in hand with her turbulent relationship with family. At many junctions she alludes to this lack of support leaving her out in the cold as she first navigated the entertainment industry. “Telling someone that you believe in them or that you’re proud of them goes a long way. I didn’t feel like I even had that basic minimum level of support as a kid,” she says, clearing her throat. “I felt like all of the cards are stacked against me in an industry where it’s like, everybody knows someone or has someone to support them.”

It sheds light on why Uchis is so keen to feel in control given that by the sounds of it this is something that she lacked in her formative years. “There were a lot of people who tried to take advantage of me, there’s a lot of people who try to take advantage of young artists in general, but especially girls,” she says ominously.

Without getting into specifics she alludes to “uncomfortable situations”, and “manipulation” explaining that she would be unable to count how many times her path crossed with industry vipers when she was at her most vulnerable around 18-years-old and needed a place to sleep and record her music. People would try and sign her, take control of her publishing or make deals with other people behind her back on her behalf. “I experienced all types of shit. Everybody is your friend,” she adds sarcastically.

While she won’t offer any names she does provide a warning to other musicians on the come up: “Be careful of who is around you. It’s hard to say who has the best intentions as this industry is super shady. You need at least a few people who have your back… I didn’t but I’m alright.” She also likens telling these superficial friends your ideas for future projects to passing out $100 bills for free.  

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However, she’s keen to highlight it wasn’t all bad as in the midst of all of this she met Tyler, the Creator (who she has “learned the most from” in the industry), and is actually as great as he seems. “He just believed in me, no strings attached, literally never tried to be on any weird shit,” she says. “He’s a really good example of what artists should strive to be like. He looks out for people and when he believes in people he’ll give a feature to a smaller artist or be in their music video, go to their shows and like just. He loves music and he’s actually a real person. He hasn’t lost himself in and become Hollywood.

Perhaps this is why, despite being a high-profile musician, Uchis doesn’t seem to have much time for the notion of celebrity, electing instead to see everyone as equal. 2020 has seen a significant clout drought as people disengaged with unrelatable ideals as they were forced to simplify their own lives. Similarly Uchis has been spending some time trying to connect to things that ground her like her spirituality, heritage, and political beliefs.  

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Instead of touring South America and launching her album earlier as planned, she was forced to have a break from music and re-evaluate what was important to her, “becoming enlightened” politically. In May after the death of George Floyd, the musician was one of many thousands of people who took to the streets of Los Angeles in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. She used her social media platforms to highlight the deaths of Afro-Colombian Anderson Arboledo who was beaten for breaking the quarantine curfew, and Giovanni López who was tortured in Mexico for not wearing a mask.  

“Even though capitalism brainwashes us to feel like we’re not doing shit when we’re not grinding there’s a lot to be said about just doing internal growth and maintenance on yourself when you can’t go out,” she explains. “It’s had a horrible effect on everybody’s livelihood but the civil rights movement that is happening wouldn’t have been able to happen if we weren’t in a pandemic, people wouldn’t have been paying attention. It’s a good time for people to educate themselves and figure out other things that we can be doing, how we can change our way of life.”  

Uchis’ 2020 mantra seems to be paying off as she seems to have found inner peace among the chaos. “Peace of mind is my main priority, not one bitch can ruin my day or burst my bubble,” she says. For her the year has been a much-needed checkpoint for her to gain perspective on how far she’s come over the years. “I got my house, my life, all the things I dreamed of having when I was a little girl. I’m super proud of myself.”

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Words: Kemi Alemoru
Photography: Kombucci
Fashion: Alejandro Collection
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.

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CHAI Announce New Album ‘WINK’

It's out on May 21st…

Japanese garage-pop mavericks CHAI will release new album ‘WINK’ on May 21st.

The band’s third album overall, ‘WINK’ is their first for new home Sub Pop.

Out on May 21st, the record takes their cheekily infectious thrash-pop sound to a new level.

Of its title, the band comment: “A person who winks is a person with a pure heart, who lives with flexibility, who does what they want. A person who winks is a person who is free.”

YUUKI notes: “With this album, we’re winking at you. We’re living freely and we hope that when you listen, you can wink and live freely, too.”

New single ‘ACTION’ is out now, and it’s a superb slice of three minute rama lama punk-pop that attempts to channel the energy of those Black Lives Matter protests.

“Seeing how the world came together during the protests really moved me,” said YUUKI. “I wanted to dedicate that song to the year of action.”

CHAI comment: “The world as we know it has changed, but even with that, it’s still a world where nothing really changes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there more ACTION rooted in happiness? Be the change that you want to see!… I’m going to be the pioneer in seeing the world I want to see, meeting the people I want to meet! We start off by expressing the fun in ACTION with this music video♡ Why don’t you join us?! It’s that type of song♡.”

Tune in now.

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Nigerian Star Joeboy Returns With ‘Lonely’

His new album lands in February…

Nigerian star Joeboy has shared the video for new single ‘Lonely’.

His 2019 EP became a breakout project for the afro-pop wanderer, who peppered 2020 with some high profile feature spots.

Entering the New Year determined to shine on his own, new album ‘Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic’ hits home on February 4th.

He says: “Working on this project was life changing – I met a version of myself I never knew before. The plan was to come up with a title that best describes love, without actually using the word love. Hence Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic. Because love is a perfect blend of beauty and magic.”

New single ‘Lonely’ is out now, and it places Joeboy front and centre of his musical vision.

The full video is online now – tune in below.

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Elisabeth Elektra Returns With ‘I Am The Love’

It's a bold, colour-soaked new single…

Scottish femme-pop trailblazer Elisabeth Elektra returns with new single ‘I Am The Love’.

Matching future-facing pop to some (genuine) moments of witch-craft, Elisabeth is a digital shaman who conjures a melodic storm.

New single ‘I Am The Love’ is a mid-winter blessing, and it finds the vivid figure reflecting on the link between love and grief.

Loss and meaning intertwine on this digi-pop burner, with Elisabeth Elektra commenting: “‘I Am The Love’ is at its core a song about love and grief, and how we can’t have one without the other. I wrote it while thinking about my dad who died when I was really young. I was thinking about how what remains when we leave this planet is the love we shared, that’s our real legacy – how we made others feel…”

Marina Fini directs the video, which takes the ambitious alt-pop rulebreaker out into the desert.

Colourful and otherworldly, it’s packed with hidden meanings, a cavalcade of deeply symbolic imagery.

Tune in now.

Related: The Divine Feminine – Elisabeth Elektra Interviewed

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Alfa Mist Announces New Album ‘Bring Backs’

It's out on April 23rd…

London multi-hyphenate Alfa Mist will release new album ‘Bring Backs’ on April 23rd.

A nine track song cycle written and recorded in London, the new album saw Alfa Mist act as the pivot for a variety of guests.

Bringing these disparate sounds into one distinct entity, ‘Bring Backs’ is tied together by a remarkable poem written by Hilary Thomas.

Out on April 23rd, the record is trailed by new single ‘Run Outs’, with its jazz-leaning arrangement punctuated by Alfa’s Fender Rhodes piano lines.

“‘Run Outs’ is a street game I remember playing when I was younger,” says Alfa. “I used to think of making beats and playing with a band as separate worlds until I realised I was always trying to achieve the same thing. Making the music I want to make.”

“With the song ‘Run Outs’ I’m bringing together the vibe of my earliest beats with where I’m at today.”

Tune in now.

‘Bring Backs’ will be released on April 23rd.

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.

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Goat Girl’s ‘Badibaba’ Hones In On Climate Change

"It touches on how the Earth’s existence is controlled by exploitative systems…"

Goat Girl have shared their new song ‘Badibaba’.

The London group’s new album is out at the end of this month, and they’ve decided to pencil in an Autumn tour.

Could it happen…? Well, with increased test and trace – alongside an effective vaccine roll out – then perhaps it does stand a chance.

It would be a dream come true to see Goat Girl onstage once more, especially given the power of their new material.

Out now, ‘Badibaba’ unpicks the link between the micro and macra in green politics, and how huge, planet-wide issues can cause a sense of “existential helplessness” in our daily lives.

Guitarist/vocalist L.E.D. says: “‘Badibaba’ is a song about environmental catastrophe and the pessimism and self-destruction that this causes to the human spirit.”

Cream adds: “It touches on how the Earth’s existence is controlled by exploitative systems, and the feeling of existential helplessness this induces.”

Tune in now.

Goat Girl will release new album ‘On All Fours’ on January 29th. Catch the band at the following shows:

September
14 Bristol Trinity
15 London Islington Assembly Hall
16 Birmingham Mama Roux’s
18 Dublin Whelan’s
20 Liverpool Phase One
21 Glasgow SWG3 Warehouse
22 Manchester Gorilla
24 Brighton Concorde 2
25 Southampton The Loft

Photo Credit: Holly Whitaker

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Waiting In Line: Clash Meets Kiwi Jr.

Hotly tipped Canadians make their bow on Sub Pop…

Melding together renowned musical influences such as The Kinks with more modern contemporaries like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Canada-hailing Kiwi Jr. have garnered praise for their jangly sound, left-field observations and their firm grasp of humour they exhibit in their work. Their self-released debut album arrived just last year, but the four-piece have been hot on their heels to produce a quick follow-up.

Now signed to Sub Pop (Nirvana, Fleet Foxes, Beach House), Kiwi Jr.’s sophomore album ‘Cooler Returns’ will be unveiled to the world on the 22nd January. It’s an album that allows storytelling to take centre stage as the band considers the complexity of their motivations through songs inspired from true stories as well as wider political observations. Like their debut, humour is also rife throughout and this makes for a listening experience that’s both brisk and acutely engaging.

We chatted to Jeremy Gaudet and Brian Murphy from Kiwi Jr. to find out how they’ve coped during the pandemic, the creative process behind their new album and their hopes to make up for missed opportunities here in the UK.

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How are you all holding up? Does life in Canada feel a little more optimistic compared to the lockdown status here in the UK?

Jeremy: I don’t know how it feels in the UK, but it doesn’t feel good here. I just hope I don’t lose my job or have to move apartments or have something major happen.

How does it feel to have been signed by the same record label (Sub Pop Records) that picked up the likes of Nirvana in the past?

Jeremy: Everyone at the label is so nice and they work hard for us. I liked Nirvana as a kid, but I haven’t listened to them for a long time.

What was that, like over thirty years ago they were on Sub Pop? I’m not really worried about it. For me, it’s cooler that they signed The Constantines and Wolf Parade. They have great current artists that I’m excited about being label mates with. If we ever get to play live again, there could be some cool opportunities.

The Kinks were renowned for their left-hand quirks and observations in the 60s. How important are the band as a musical influence in your own songwriting?

Jeremy: My favourite Kinks album is unsurprisingly, ‘Village Green’. We tried to do a harpsichord effect with stringing and tuning some acoustic guitars really high up, and sort of plucking them in a percussive way. Lately, I listen to later Kinks albums like ‘Misfits’ and ‘Sleepwalker’. A lot of records get overlooked.

I try not to think of other artists when I write songs, otherwise I steer the ship right into the iceberg, but yeah… I’ve listened to enough Kinks in my life that I think the band has an influence on my songwriting.

Were there any changes in the creative process of ‘Cooler Returns’ compared to your debut?

Brian: I guess quarantine changed a few things during the process of this album. For several months we weren’t able to get together, so we would work on parts at home. I remember overdubbing various guitar and keyboard parts on Jeremy’s demos and sending them back and forth. Once we all got together, it was back to basics, I guess. Four of us in a room barking about what the drum fill going into the second chorus should sound like.

We were lucky to find a nice big rehearsal space that was very pleasant to be in. In the past, we would get together in really dank, poorly lit basement rooms which would sometimes stifle creativity because we couldn’t wait to get outta there. This time we found a nice big room with a kitchen and bathroom, so we would stay all afternoon and into the evening.

What are the main themes running throughout your new album?

Jeremy: I don’t have them written down or anything, but if somebody listens to the album enough times, I’m sure that certain patterns will become obvious enough. I don’t like to analyse my own writing too much or else I become self-conscious.

There are ideas I had for this album: simple things like having more acoustic instruments, and having a set of lyrics written out in front of me when recording the vocals rather than going by memory, but I can’t (and won’t) define a through-line for you. That’s sort of the fun in getting to know an album, isn’t it?

Do you have a favourite line/lyric on the album?

Jeremy: There’s a list of people and places that I’m trying to squeeze into songs, and it doesn’t always work. It has to feel right.

On this album I was quite pleased to include Amy Adams on a train, and the Dufferin Mall line. The Dufferin Mall is a shopping mall in our neighbourhood. There’s a parody account on Instagram you can check out if you want to get the general vibe. I spent a lot of time in the mall before the pandemic.

Like you do so well in your music, do you think now is a more important time than ever for us all to embrace a sense of humour in our lives?

Jeremy: I don’t know. The humour in the songs is unrelated to the pandemic and other current affairs. I’m worried about approaching anything with some sort of cynicism or slant, songwriting included. But I’m not going to tell someone to embrace your sense of humour when there’s a deadly virus everywhere.

What’s your goals for the year ahead?

Brian: It’s hard to have any lofty goals when you technically aren’t supposed to leave your apartment, but I guess playing a show would be up there. Hopefully Fauci is right, and concerts can resume in a safe manner come the fall. If that is the case, we would love to get back to the UK. We were there in January of 2020 for a few shows, and they all went really well and we all had a blast.

Also, we cancelled a May UK tour in 2020 which include Great Escape, Gold Sounds Festival, as well as an in-store at Rough Trade East so we would love to get over there to make up those missed opportunities.

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Kiwi Jr. will release new album ‘Cooler Returns’ on January 22nd via Sub Pop/Kiwi Club.

Words: Jamie Wilde

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Zara Larsson Details New Album ‘Poster Girl’

It's out on March 5th…

Zara Larsson will release new album ‘Poster Girl’ on March 5th.

The Swedish star is back, with her huge Young Thug-bolstered single ‘Talk About Love’ making headlines.

The lavish video is online now, with Zara detailing her soon-to-be-released second album.

A fresh chapter, new album ‘Poster Girl’ hits home on March 5th, through tastemaker label Black Butter.

Available to pre-order HERE it follows her debut album, which remains the second most streamed debut album by a female artist on Spotify.

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Track Of The Day 18/1 – Lizzie Reid

'Been Thinking About You'

Lizzie Reid knew she had to act quickly.

Set to record her debut EP with producer Oli Barton-Wood, the pair watched the headlines unfold last year in shocked horror.

With lockdown looming, Oli packed his microphones along with his studio gear, and drove – on his own – to Lizzie’s flat in Glasgow.

Working with alacrity, the two put down song after song on tape, working instinctually as the deadline drew near.

Lizzie’s debut EP ‘Cubicle’ is the result – it’s the sound of someone working in an entirely natural setting, with speed and velocity forcing moments of self-doubt out of her mind.

Set to be released on February 10th, it’s led by beatific new single ‘Been Thinking About You’, a song that is a real pearl.

Folk-flecked acoustic framework melded to moments of jazz-leaning soul, it’s a profoundly honest piece of lyricism.

Lizzie comments: “This is almost an appreciation song for a friend of mine. He was such a support for me at a time I wasn’t feeling my best. I was going through quite a confusing time and felt guilty that I couldn’t support him in the same way he supported me…”

Tune in now.

Lizzie Reid · Been Thinking About You

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Flo Milli’s ‘Roaring 20s’ Feels Like A Mission Statement

Check it out now…

Flo Milli has shared her new single ‘Roaring 20s’ – tune in now.

The rapper exploded last year, with her mixtape ‘Ho, why is you here?’ becoming her calling card.

Amplifying her vivid approach in 2021, new single ‘Roaring 20s’ feels like a mission statement.

Brash yet tongue-in-cheek, the Kenny Beats production half-inches a sample from Fiddler On The Roof staple ‘If I Were A Rich Man’.

Flo shares: “The Roaring 20s was a period in history of dramatic social and political change. Last year I was able to break through during a very difficult time for not only our country but, the world. Born in 2000, and having my breakout year in 2020, I feel like I’m living in the new age of the Roaring 20s.”

“One of the most familiar symbols of the ‘Roaring 20s’ was the birth of the new independent woman, known in those years as a flapper. A flapper is a young woman; unbothered by conventional standards of behaviour.”

“In addition to being more sexually free than previous generations, the women of the Roaring 20s had the bobbed hair, the short skirts, the drankin’, the smokin’, looks and participated in activities that were deemed ‘unladylike’. My lyrics, my style and my lifestyle all resonate with that freedom and I AM the Roaring 20s.”

Tune in now.

Becoming Bowie: Johnny Flynn On Stardust

The story of his remarkable new film role…

Johnny Flynn is a man of many talents.

Alongside his wide-ranging musical endeavours, he’s also developed a celebrated acting career, including roles as disparate as a cad in the BBC’s recent take on Les Miserables to a central role in breakout comedy Lovesick.

His new role, however, brings together his deep and abiding love of music with a daunting cinematic task – bringing the early life of David Bowie to the silver screen.

Stardust – directed by Gabriel Range and written by Christopher Bell – aims to pin-point the moment when Bowie went supernova, re-visiting his shaky start and peeling back the layers to capture the icon’s humanity.

Out now on streaming, Stardust is an ambitious independent feature, one that up-ends expectations in order to reveal a different side to the David Bowie story.

Johnny Flynn takes the central role, a daring act of creation that saw him lose two stone and undergo a psychological transformation to inhabit pop’s premiere alien.

Clash spoke to the actor and songwriter to find out more.

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– – –

Has Bowie’s music played a big role in your life?

I mean, it is impossible to escape his orbit. I grew up loving Bowie. But you get Bowie fans and you get… Bowie fans! And he was a figure amongst many who I loved listening to. I wasn’t this absolute devotee – I had other people that I gave my heart to in a big way – but I love him, and I listen to him all the time. My nine year old and I get records out on vinyl, put them on, and go deep into Bowie. It’s fun to listen to.

Does that knowledge help or hinder you, from an acting perspective? Do you have to put personal attachment to one side, almost?

A little bit, yeah. This is a David that – hopefully – we don’t know. You’ll be learning stuff about him. And I had to go on a journey of learning new stuff. So it quickly became a person that I really didn’t know at all as I searched it – things that I didn’t know about him at all, in terms of his brother. A lot of this wasn’t out there so much – he would talk about Terry and what an influence he was later on, but not in those early years. It was incredible.

You think of him as this forever-very-successful god of pop culture, and learning that he saw himself as a failure at one point was interesting. Before Ziggy, things weren’t commercially successful. He was always experimenting and doing different things but he had a string of flop singles and it was amazing to think of ‘Space Oddity’ being this outlier in a run of singles that… well, a lot of them are just weird! It’s like, what are you doing?

‘Laughing Gnome’ and all these. I find them interesting now, sitting in the canon of everything he’s done are these songs in that voice. Points of interest! But it’s fun to go to a time when that’s all that he is. He hasn’t worked out this great innovation. I feel like the story is him learning to look in a different direction to deliver his message.

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He’s become such a marbled figure since his death – is part of this project about restoring Bowie’s humanity?

Yeah. Absolutely. It is. We’re restoring the humanity – that was really how I saw it. There’s a book by Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet, and it’s about him writing to this young writer… and in that book Rilke sees himself in the young person, and he’s pouring his investment back into a younger version of himself.

And it was interesting for me – having been through the music biz washing machine! My first album came out on Mercury Records, I’d done all the goofy stuff that you have to do… turning up with the wrong visas.

To be somebody as iconic and beloved as Bowie… obviously everybody has their own Bowie in their minds and in their hearts, for me it was going back to this young artist who is very fragile, and who hasn’t found their way yet, and to tell that story with care was an interesting thing to do.

And you even lost a lot of weight to play the role, don’t you?

Yeah! A couple of stone.

A mere couple of stone! How did you go about it?

The way my body is, I was never going to look exactly like Bowie. But I had to do a bit of a crash diet – various fasts. I read some books! I was filming up until we started doing Stardust so I had to have enough energy to be filming everyday. So it was difficult, as I was preparing for this while working on something else. Ideally, you’d take six months to prepare for it, but it’s such a small film that there wasn’t that novelty.

But that kind of stuff was good – I like physical things, because they help to prepare your mind as well. Making sacrifices or spending time studying interviews with him… that stuff is always great for character work.

You came out of one role and went straight into another!

I was filming Emma right up until we started this. For quite a time during Emma I was doing prep on this. I was off on location filming Emma, so I spent the evenings reading various biographies of David and doing voice work.

– – –

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Is it tough to remove yourself from one character and insert yourself into another?

I mean, I quite like doing different things at the same time just because of the way my brain is. I think it’s quite hard. It’s not ideal in terms of acting – sometimes it’s just the way it has to go – but you don’t often have control over the way that dates will land.

In the film world things do move around a lot, and invariably producers will try to make things fit seamlessly. It will literally be a case of finishing one project one day, and starting a new one the next. It’s part of the job.

Did you have any tricks to get into that Bowie mindset before a take?

I would listen to the music. I listened to a couple of interviews on repeat that took place during this period. There’s one from the tour that he’s on. And it’s nice, because he’s pretty fragile. I don’t think he gets particularly confident way until the 70s – if you watch him in the mid 70s then, without making assumptions, he might not be completely sober, as it were. But he’s quite fragile in the early 70s, and I listened to that.

There’s a brilliant BBC film that came out just before we started shooting that I found really useful because there’s a lot of footage that I hadn’t seen before. It’s called Finding Fame and it had interviews with people talking about him during that period, and stuff about his childhood home.

I’d been in New York, I went around the David Bowie Is… exhibition, and that was also very helpful. But yeah, listening to him all the time!

Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging?

As with any job, there are bits that are hard for one reason or another. We were making this film on a very small budget – it’s a highly ambitious film for the budget. Gabriel and I were so ambitious in the story that we wanted to tell… and I think that’s how good films are made – you try to do more than you’re allowed to with what you’re given.

Often we’d be shooting a scene and because of the North American union rules they’d say they were going to pull the plug on the lights, and then you’d only get one or two takes on a scene. Sometimes that was really hard to deal with, in terms of the limits of budget and time. That was the biggest thing to deal with. It was amazing.

We had an 80 year old cinematographer who had actually filmed David back in the day – he worked with a lot of musicians in the late 60s and early 70s – and he was incredible, because he could make the digital camera we were using work like an old film camera. I think because he’d grown up filming things in that style, it was an important choice for Gabriel in terms of making it look like the 70s.

We had an amazing costume designer, people who could make it look and feel right considering our limitations. It was a film more than anything that I just loved while doing it!

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Has making this given you a greater understanding of Bowie? Or do you think he’ll always be somewhat out of reach?

I mean I learned tonnes about him that stayed with me. I read three or four biographies and spent months staring at pictures to try and figure out where he was at in his head at this point. It’s made me appreciate the records loads more – when I listen to ‘Hunky Dory’ or ‘The Man Who Sold The World’.

Studying something will also breed compassion, and thinking about him as a human being and not as a pin up figure was really great. I’m a bigger Bowie fan than I ever was.

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– – –

I watched your recent live stream with Cosmo Sheldrake, which was excellent. Can we expect new Johnny Flynn material in 2021?

I’m near the end of recording a new album, it’s a collaboration with a friend of mine called Robert McFarlane. He’s a writer. We’ve been writing together this year, and recording when we can. That’s going to happen. And then we’ve got a score together – which includes some new ones from me – and that’s going to be a record. And then I’m hoping to start work on a new album as well, too. So there’s loads of stuff planned!

Well, you did say you enjoy having lots of projects overlapping at the same time!

I did! And sometimes to my downfall. I get excited about things and I can’t help myself… but it’s good to be busy.

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Number One Popstar’s ‘I Hate Running’ Is Perfectly Satirical Pop

It's the anti-workout song you've been waiting for…

Number One Popstar flips the script on new single ‘I Hate Running’ – tune in now.

Pop provocateur Kate Hollowell returns, with a perfectly satirical pop song in her back pocket.

Gleefully up-ending those resolutions, ‘I Hate Running’ urges us all to forget about improving ourselves – let’s face it, it’s just too much effort!

Combining 2k21 pop tropes with some neat ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’ era Britney breaths, it builds to a superb disco strut.

She says: “‘I Hate Running’ is a play on the constant pop-up health movements in our society that make us feel like we can never do enough to better ourselves.”

“The song explores facing the hard emotional work instead of the physical. I really don’t enjoy running, and I wanted to troll the exercise industry and write an anti-motivational song. Although in the end, I think a little reverse psychology and the 80’s inspired, manic-pace of the song might actually make you want to exercise. Tricked you!”

Number One Popstar co-directs the video with DP Jordan Black, playing the leader of a bizarre self-help group turned aerobics cult. She adds:

“The concept for the music video stemmed from me watching way too many cult docs this year… Those stories are always so captivating and strange and I loved the idea of portraying a money driven, quasi-cultish exercise instructor who wears a crown made of cigarettes while trying to hawk her new self help book. Now get out there and work on yourself, losers!”

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Kate Hollowell

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Lou Hayter Up-Ends Steely Dan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind’

It leads into her new solo album…

Lou Haytor has shared her take on Steely Dan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind’.

The London based polymath has just completed work on her debut solo album, which lands later this year.

Out in May via Skint, ‘Private Sunshine’ is a burst of 80s leaning synth energy, with the other-worldly feel providing a meeting point between house and Francophone pop.

Deciding to lead her solo album with a cover, Lou Haytor injects Steely Dan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind’ with some scintillating energy.

She comments…

Steely Dan are my favourite band. So I approached this cover with my utmost respect and tried to be reverent. I chose a bit more of a deep cut from their album ‘Gaucho’. My friend Jeff Wooton who plays with Gorillaz very kindly added this mega guitar solo on the record, he nailed it in one take which was amazing to watch. I hope it has the same happy sunshine sound that Steely Dan brings to me when I listen to them.

A deft, ethereal treatment, you can check out ‘Time Out Of Mind’ below.

Tracklisting:

Cherry On Top
Telephone
My Baby Just Cares For Me
Time Out Of Mind
Cold Feet
Private Sunshine
You Again
Still Dreaming
This City
Pinball

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Octo Octa Confirms New EP ‘She’s Calling’

It's out on February 5th…

Octo Octa will release new EP ‘She’s Calling’ on February 5th.

The producer’s plans were ripped up in 2020, forcing her to cancel her touring schedule and return to the United States.

The energy of this period is channelled in new song ‘Find Your Way Home’, the lead in to her incoming EP.

Out on February 5th via T4T LUV NRG, half of all proceeds from ‘She’s Calling’ EP will be donated to the legal aid organisation Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP).

It’s the first Octo Octa project since her 2019 album ‘Resonant Body’, although she did partner with Eris Drew on a recent fabric mix.

Check out ‘Find Your Way Home’ below.

T4T LUV NRG · Octo Octa – Find Your Way Home (from She’s Calling EP – T4T004)

Photo Credit: Eris Drew

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Animal Collective Confirm New ‘Crestone’ Soundtrack Project

It will be released on February 16th…

Animal Collective will release new soundtrack album ‘Crestone’ on February 16th.

The band have worked on the new cinematic venture, which follows a group of SoundCloud rappers who live in solitude in the Crestone, Colarado desert.

The film traces the path of an old friend who comes to make a movie, allowing reality and fiction to overlap.

Animal Collective composed the score, which will be released through Domino on February 16th.

The band’s Geologist comments…

Living in the Sonoran Desert in the early 00’s had a long-lasting and profound effect on me, especially after multiple years in New York City. Since then I’ve had a vague idea for a sound that would reflect that experience, but no project ever led me to it. The images, sounds, stories, and structures created and documented in Crestone finally did.

Many thanks to Marnie, her crew, Dead God, the land, and as always, my brother Josh for the inspiration and opportunity to work on this project.

Check out the Crestone trailer below.

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Listen: Caroline Polachek Holds Down The Morning After Mix For 6Music

Including an unreleased song…

Caroline Polachek curated a special edition of The Morning After mix for 6Music this morning (January 18th).

The songwriter took charge of the regular segment, piecing together a blissful, down tempo selection of tracks.

Music from the likes of Roisin Murphy, Moses Sumney, The Durutti Column, Chic, and more appear in the mix, alongside her own previously unreleased track ‘Lover To Lover (For Syd Barrett)’.

The song flips the words to Barrett’s ‘Golden Hair’ – originally penned by James Joyce – on their head, offering the perspective of the sitting person.

A near ambient piece with neo-psychedelic overtones, it’s a beautifully immersive experience.

Listen again to the mix on BBC Sounds HERE.

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The Savoir-Faire Behind the Dior Caro

A masterpiece in 18,000 stitches…

The house of Dior has a knack for knockout bags, we could write a thesis on Galliano’s saddle, from conception to Carrie Bradshaw to Kim Jones resurgence. But we’re here today to discuss the new ‘Dior Caro’ bag from Maria Grazia Chiuri. Debuting on the Cruise SS21 runway, the Caro is an intricate masterpiece in leather craftsmanship. 

 

As part of the brand’s ‘Savoir-Faire’ series, the house of Dior has unveiled the steps and secrets behind the conceptualisation and manifestation of the soon-to-be It bag. A striking silhouette crafted from fine Italian calf leather, the Caro requires no less than 18,000 stitches to create the subtle geometric wave of its cannage motif alone.

 

The Dior Caro is available in two sizes and an array of shades with elegant gold hardware. 

 

 

Visit Dior.com

– – –

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Chip Lashes Out At Stormzy On ’10 Commandments’

His new mixtape is incoming…

Chip has released his new Stormzy send ’10 Commandments’.

The beef erupted last year, with Chip releasing two huge Stormzy sends.

The BRIT Award winning icon aired the beef, however, and refused to get involved.

Chip’s new mixtape ‘Snakes & Ladders’ hits home on January 29th, and he’s started with a bang.

’10 Commandments’ is online now, and it’s an ice cold return from the rapper, one that finds him in full war mode.

He doesn’t hold back, either – calling Stormzy a “coconut” and mocking his hair line…

Will the Croydon don hit back? Time will tell.

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Danny L Harle Unveils ‘Harlecore’

It's an interactive club experience…

Danny L Harle has unveiled plans for interactive club experience ‘Harlecore’.

The project opens its (virtual) doors on February 26th, and could well be the producer’s most ambitious project yet.

2020 brought production work with Rinas Sawayama, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Charli XCX, but ‘Harlecore’ is put, undiluted Danny L Harle.

Offering a glimpse of his spiritual home, the club’s four residents – DJ Danny, MC Boing, DJ Mayhem and DJ Ocean – all occupy a different room of Club Harlecore.

Two tracks are live online now, with DJ Danny’s ‘On A Mountain’ and MC Boing’s ‘Boing Beat’ moving from lush trash through to eye-melting gabber.

Check out the video for ‘On A Mountain’ below.

‘Harlecore’ opens on February 26th.

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Georgia Twinn Manifests Confidence With Pop Burner ‘Raccoons’

She's only 17 years old…

Prodigal alt-pop rulebreaker Georgia Twinn has shared her new single ‘Raccoons’.

Still only 17 years old, Georgia plays the game by her own rules, and so far she’s winning hands down.

Out now, ‘Raccoons’ follows last year’s scintillating debut single, and it marks out fresh territory for Georgia.

The single finds the alt-pop trouble-maker manifesting “confidence”, a means to remove herself from her worries.

She says: “I listen to it when I’m down, to remind myself of how strong and powerful I can be. I hope you can too.”

Creative Director Courtney McWilliams returns on the new video, who adds:

“Georgia is such a dream to work with creatively because she has the spirit of a smart rebellious female soloist, and the talent to actually pull it off. Directing ‘Raccoons’, with my co-director and friend Ciaran Linden Beale, was my first venture into directing, and I wanted to make sure that we told the story in the most slick visual way possible, simply because the story is so personal to Georgia. We wanted it to be a contemporary ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’; a story of twisted teenage-hood, resilience and revenge.”

Tune in now.

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Riz Ahmed Is The Fourth Face Of Clash 117

Order your copy now!

Actor, musician, and voice of progressive engagement Riz Ahmed is the fourth cover of Clash 117.

Riz Ahmed has emerged as an unfiltered voice for the marginalised and minoritized, with totemic performances across music and film. For years, Ahmed has embraced the gift and burden of representation. Now, he’s ready to hone in on the micro.

“We can use our creativity to cultivate this land and build a home within it.”

Also featured in this issue is Arlo ParksTy Dolla $ign, CelesteRoisin MurphyBackroad GeeZara LarssonEnnysleaford modsHope TalaOliver MalcolmBaby Queen, and more. Other covers to follow this week.

Pre-order Issue 117 HERE. Clash 117 will be shipped to your home in fully recyclable zero-plastic packaging from 26th January 2020.

Words: Shahzaib Hussain
Photography: Nou Una Studio
Stylist: Jordan Boothe
Grooming: Tiago Goya
Creative Direction: Rob Meyers

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Kara Marni’s ‘Trippin’ Settles Into Love

It's about that "honeymoon period…"

Kara Marni’s new single ‘Trippin’ is online now.

The North London star’s sound – R&B meets soul under a pop umbrella – is wonderfully engaging, expressed across a series of vital projects.

Her third project is incoming, and it follows Kara’s platinum-selling RUSS collaboration ‘YOUNG HEART’ in 2020.

With all eyes on the UK talent she’s just dropped ‘Trippin’, and it’s a soulful blast of loved up songwriting.

A song about a lockdown romance, it finds Kara finding love in isolation. She comments:

“‘Trippin’ is very much about that honeymoon period of a relationship, inspired by a guy I met just before the lockdown. I’d always wanted to try and re work Amerie’s tune ‘1 Thing’, and as it described a similar situation I wanted to talk about in this song, it felt like the perfect thing to do! Hope you all love it as much as I do!”

Tune in now.

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KAM-BU’s ‘Are You On?’ Is Thrilling

It offers something different…

South London rapper KAM-BU does things his own way.

The MC’s elastic flow expands and contracts, with his near telepathic intuition able to see around rhythmic corners.

Hitting home last year with debut cut ‘Different’, he ramps things up with his follow up release.

Out now, ‘Are You On?’ is a thrilling piece of music, the taut production from Leon Vynehall sitting alongside his barbed rhymes.

The video is a disorienting experience, with the monochrome set against electricity pylons and concrete facades.

It feels like a statement – tune in below.

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Veronica Leoni Brings High-Octane Femininity To Moncler For SS21

Runway skiwear…

The skies may be grey and the temperature sub-zero, but there’s optimism in the air for 2021. Off to a rocky start still in lockdown, we’re learning to appreciate the little things. For one, the gift of time, always too much or too little, we’re enjoying having ample, luxurious hours to get dressed and beautiful for daily (government approved, of course) daily excursions into the wilderness, Sainsbury’s or the local park, if you were wondering. But as the ever looming prospect of snow throws us and our severely underused wardrobes into despair, fate (and Moncler) has gifted us with a perfectly timed spring-summer collection from Veronica Leoni.

 

Renowned for her overtly feminine codes and experimental silhouettes, Veronica Leoni has transformed the luxury Italian skiwear brand into a series of transitional and covetable ski-slopes-cum-runway collections. Laying the groundwork for her signature style with her debut collection in 2019, the Philo-Celine and Jil Sander alum has redefined Moncler house codes with sexy high fashion, curated accessories and enviable mixed textures.

 

Leoni’s latest collection for SS21, much like her previous work, is rooted in understanding and celebrating high-octane feminine pieces. Cinched waists on exaggerated coats, belted and tucked over chunky knits and fitted skirts, each look is finished with layering of bold collars and wide stripes, fitted hoots and subtle hardware all on a Phoebe approved colour palette, define this collection. 

  

Continuing to champion Moncler’s pledge for a more sustainable future, Veronica Leoni’s latest collection also introduces new low impact materials, including a recycled ripstop nylon treated with natural dyes.

 

Visit moncler.com

 

 

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Track Of The Day 15/1 – Justin Nozuka

'summer night o8'

Justin Nozuka has always sought inspiration in the most natural way.

An artist who is relaxed enough to take the world at its own pace, the Toronto raised songwriter seems able to uncover these shards of light that most of us miss.

Nominated for a JUNO in his native Canada, Justin Nozuka’s rise to folk-tinged fame has coincided with a remarkable deepening and broadening in the emotional richness of his work.

Recently teaming up with Clash favourite Mahalia, his next step is superbly under-stated new song ‘summer night o8’.

Taken from his incoming EP, it’s a fragrant, finely contoured example of his artistry, softly soulful in its execution.

There’s a shimmering element to the surface texture, while underneath Justin Nozuka seems able to conjure the deepest emotions.

We’re able to share the full video for ‘summer o8’, directed by Justin’s close friend Julia Hendrickson. It’s a shoot which exhibits the level of trust the two place in one another.

Says the songwriter…

“Making the video for ‘summer night o8’ was really letting Julia do her thing. She came to me with the idea and I was absolutely down. Don’t want to speak for everyone, but I think a lot of us walk into corner stores, grocery stores, convenience stores and we rarely imagine the lives of the people working there.”

“Creating something that explores this unconventional perspective, featuring Asian actors really connected with me. And Julia has a really graceful approach, I really just trust her vision. She’s a really special artist, and so were the actors, Cinematographer, and crew she brought on.”

Tune in now.

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Tommy Newport’s ‘Yellow Lines’ Is A Funky Pop Bouncer

It's out now…

Tommy Newport had already travelled the world before he became a teenager.

A wandering soul, the Manchester born talent moved across the Atlantic with his family, winding his way across the United States.

Settling in Wichita, he immersed himself in all kinds of music, from classic rock – step forward Rolling Stones – through to cutting edge jazz, such as BadBadNotGood.

Making his bow in 2018, Tommy has progressed ever since, finessing and evolving his sound.

New single ‘Yellow Lines’ is out now, and it’s a ridiculously catchy release, with plenty of unleashed energy.

The colour-soaked video perfectly encapsulates this, and we’re able to show it off for the very first time.

Tune in now.

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Ashnikko – Demidevil

Sheer exhilaration from start to finish…

If you’re in desperate need of a solid pick-me-up, then look no further than Ashnikko’s mixtape ‘Demidevil’ – unless you are a cisgender heterosexual man with a particularly fragile ego and penchant for misogyny, then this probably isn’t for you…

Ashnikko’s ‘Demidevil’ brings a certain comedic flair to the table of sassy songs surfacing, tailor made to empower womxn and poke fun at the kind of men who live for toxic masculinity. Never one to half-arse anything, the North Carolina rapper went full ham on this meaty mixtape, offering listeners an array of tasty tracks to satiate even the biggest of appetites – potentially more than some can stomach. ‘Demidevil’ is not one for the faint of heart. Bold and brazen in her approach, Ashnikko leads a mission to champion the strong independent womxn who prioritises their own pleasure over being a slave to a soul sucking relationship.

Continuing her charge towards decimating the patriarchy, Ashnikko enlists a few artists within a similar realm to join her video game style quest for sex positivity. An artist averse to the idea of subtlety or nuance, her self-proclaimed brand of “cuntry music” says it like it is and refuses to recoil from pretty much anything. Ashnikko rides in with a distinct distain for men, particularly of the fuckboy or softboi variety, to show us how not to settle for less or give any fucks, except to ourselves maybe.  

It’s not a secret how little she cares for men or how much she endorses self-pleasure and ferocious womxn standing up for themselves. Ashnikko plays on lesbian fantasy in ‘Slumber Party’ with Princess Nokia and retires the idea of needing a man at all in ‘Deal With It’ with Kelis, as she makes declarations like “I don’t need a man, I need a rabbit” followed by the buzz of a vibrator.

Pure brilliance exudes in ‘L8r Boi’ where Ashnikko updates cult classic ‘Sk8er Boi’ by Avril Lavigne with her own personal brand of narrative, “he didn’t try to make her cum, on top of that he was a little dumb.” Culminating in ‘Clitoris! The Musical’, a pithy piano number with lines like “cisgender heterosexual men, I’m bored of your fumbling hands, it’s not hard.”

Ashnikko uses cogent and wisecracking lyrics thrown in to a vat of saccharine pop, punk, rap and trap as her weapon of choice. She promotes her sex positive ideals with genuine laugh out loud humour as she explores the movement throughout the mixtape. Hilarity and anime aesthetics aside, Ashnikko maintains a consistency in the serious subject matter of the effects of toxic masculinity on womxn, particularly in the context of sex and relationships.

As much fun as ‘Demidevil’ and the Ashnikko archetype is, don’t let it distract from the gravity of some of the content. Instead of shying away from addressing issues of sex shaming, emotional abuse and mistreatment in relationships, Ashnikko unapologetically exposes the toxic traits and actions of some men whilst serving their balls on a silver platter with a devilish grin.

8/10

Words: Yasmin Cowan

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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.

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