Darling, It'll Be Alright features both a larger sonic palette and a more organic sound than the artist's previous releases. It features the single "Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles," dropping on March 29.
Allman Brown, a Hong Kong-born, British singer-songwriter, has a new album coming out later this month, Darling, It'll Be Alright, on New York's Orchard record label.
While the album makes use of a large sonic palette, it represents a return to a more organic approach after his previous release's dip into electronica. A good example of the album's expansive vibe is "Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles" that you can stream now on Popdust, which explores not only big city loneliness but the artist's struggle with tinnitus. He spoke to Popdust from London, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
So you have this new album coming up, Darling, It'll Be Alright. I'm curious: how has your experience in the studio changed over the years since [2013 single] Sons and Daughters?
The main thing that's changed is my confidence level. The first time I was in a studio I felt like a bit of an imposter. Now I feel like I'm on more stable footing.
How about in terms of style? Where has your music gone in the last few years?
Good question. The first album [2017's 1000 Years] was a bit of a hodge-podge of songs written over a few years. This album is more cohesive, composed over the course of just one year. Stylistically, with the Bury My Heart EP that came out before this album, I was experimenting with electronica and synths, trying to marry an organic singer-songwriter approach to a more electronic style...which is really hard to do, as it turns out! A few people can really pull it off, and while I'm proud of those songs, I don't think I really nailed it. So this is a return to my roots.
It does seem to be a trajectory that many artists are following. For instance, I recently reviewed Benjamin Leftwich's new album and then listened to his previous work. He seems to have gone that route: from analog indie-folk to more electronic textures.
It's a seductive route. If you listen to Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens, you think, "Oh yeah that sounds awesome, I wanna try that out!" But its really hard! It's a lot more complicated than it sounds.
Is Darling, It'll Be Alright your first collaboration with Ian Barter?
No, so Ian produced a bunch of tracks on my first album, including "Sons and Daughters," "Sweetest Thing," "Foolish Love." So he's a great friend. Recording with him is just a lot of fun.
Did he have anything to do with your shift back to a more organic sound?
Not really. I was playing live the whole year [prior to the album's release] and working on these more organic songs, and people were responding to them. So I said, "Why don't I just embrace that?"
Could you describe your and Barter's working relationship in and out of the studio?
We spend about an hour having theological debates [laughs], mainly about the Catholic Church, and talking about our trials and travails in the music industry. Then we look at film trailers for about an hour and then we get started.
I don't like messing around too much in the studio, second guessing myself. And he works incredibly fast, a total savant. He'll do things in 30 seconds, things that take other people 10 minutes.
Going back, describe your background a bit.
I was born in 1984 in Hong Kong and lived there until 1997 when it was handed back to the Chinese. I grew up in the end-of-the-British-Empire bubble, a charmed existence. In '97 we moved back to London, and I've lived there ever since.
What was it like growing up in Hong Kong?
We had a lovely flat and a maid, Margie. It always seems sunny in my memories, besides the typhoons. The colonial thing kicks in in the sense that there was a tight-knit group of people, mostly British and sometimes American. It's an interesting blend of an eastern city with influences from all over.
Did that affect your music at all?
Not really, no. I only really started to write and make music after university. I had always been in choirs and things, but in terms of the music we heard, it was the same as anywhere else. All western artists were being played in Hong Kong. My dad loved Glenn Campbell and my mom liked Neil Diamond and Lionel Richie.
And then when my older brother hit puberty he stopped playing with me and got "super cool" and started making mixtapes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. To this day I can't listen to those band without feeling slightly pissed off.
The sound of betrayal?
[laughs] Yeah, pretty much. If I hear "Better Man" I'm like "Fuck you, brother!"
When I was in my teens in London I listened to a lot of Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and, sad to say, Ryan Adams. It's made his subsequent downfall quite sad.
Is it officially a "downfall"?
Yeah. I mean, he's had three albums pulled, a world tour pulled. We shouldn't expect artists to be perfect, but it seems he's been deeply, deeply hurtful to a lot of people.
Do you have any main influences as a lyricist?
Hmm, it's more about things I CAN'T do that help me. I listen to Bon Iver, for instance, but I realize I can't do lyrics like that, esoteric, erratic lyrics. But I listen to a lot of Feist, and she's incredible. Also my wife: she's a tough crowd. She'll be like, "That's a bit bad."
That sounds very British, that kind of brutal honesty.
Yeah, we're 11 years in now. She'll let me know when I'm repeating myself.
Moving to "Lonely Hearts, Los Angeles": tell me a bit about how that came about.
Yes, I was staying in an Air BnB in Los Angeles. I've been to a lot of places, but LA is a weird place, with such a distinct identity. Everything about it is strange: the geography, getting around, the ambiance.
For Europeans, it is very strange, for sure.
Yes, that's a key distinction. The song is an attempt to marry my experience in this hotel alone with this mythic idea of LA, the romance, the glamour of the film business - which is simultaneously glorious and beautiful and also quite sad. You need a lot of resilience there; 90 percent of the entertainment is rejection.
So you were sitting in this hotel feeling woebegone, and added to that was your tinnitus?
It's not fun to have. It's happening in my life all the time, so it found its way into this particular song. Especially at night, when everything's quiet, it can be very loud and all-encompassing. But after a while, you adapt to it. It's quite interesting, actually: people hear different things, and it spikes at different times.
There's a lovely sense of space to the track.
I was keen to have that level of space from the beginning. That vibe of being awake at 3 am, and you can hear the whole city.
It builds nicely towards the end, too. It reminded me a bit of Sigur Ros.
That's a wicked comparison. They're not a direct influence, but the idea of creating a soundscape as they do, especially when they play live, yeah. Embracing the idea of scale. I wanted to really sit in the big bit at the end.
Having a family and being a musician is kind of a bitch, or so I've heard. What's been your experience as a married man with two daughters?
[laughs] I mean for me it's been amazing. The only bad thing is when you're on tour. But when I'm not touring I'm home 24/7.
Your tour is starting soon, correct?
Yeah, in May we'll be all over America and Canada. East coast, west coast, flyover states. We're trying to hit as many places as possible. This'll be my third time there.
Do you have a regular band you tour with?
Oh yeah [laughs]. They've been groomed over the course of years. My drummer Mike Worthington, he's been with me since the beginning. He's a great friend, the Jay to my Silent Bob. I love him. If there were a zombie apocalypse, I'd choose him to back me.
Any other instruments besides the guitar in your own arsenal?
I've learned two songs on piano now [laughs]. So I'll be breaking that out. But I try to keep my set up as simple as possible. Whenever I see somebody setting up a laptop or something, I just feel bad because it looks like a fucking nightmare.
Some people thrive on it!
Yeah. I saw Radiohead recently, with Jonny Greenwood in the corner with like 25 guitars and four pianos, a mad genius. But know your limits: I'd probably get confused by a tuning pedal.
Where would you like to see your career go at this point?
I mean, my dream is that this is my job for the rest of my life. The idea of being a global superstar, that's not what I'm aiming for. I wanna play all over the world, though. I just did a tour of Asia and it was so much fun. I was in Columbus, Ohio and this lady in the audience offered me a free tattoo! You meet all these interesting people. I guess I just want to be an artist with a body of work.
Preorder Darling, It'll Be Alright here.
Allman Brown US Tour Dates:
05/02 - Nashville, TN @ The End
05/04 - Columbus, OH @ The Basement
05/05 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
05/07 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
05/08 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
05/09 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
05/14 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
05/15 - Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
05/17 - Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
05/18 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
05/21 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe
05/22 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw
StopMatt Fink lives and works in Brooklyn. Go to organgrind.com for more of his work.
POP⚡DUST | Read More...
The ice cream company released a powerful statement this week.
With Black Lives Matter protests popping up left and right, lots of well-known public figures and companies are taking a stand against police brutality.
Celebrities are putting their lives on the line protesting, childrens' toy companies are donating tens of thousands to organizations like the NAACP, and even infamous YouTube stars are hitting the streets. But Ben & Jerry's—yes, the ice cream brand—have made the most detailed statement of all.
"The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy," reads a lengthy statement on the Ben & Jerry's website. "What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning."
The statement continues: "Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms."
Ben and Jerry then outlines a four-step plan to end white supremacy. First is calling on President Trump to disavow white supremacy, instead of calling on the military to shoot American protesters. Second is calling on Congress to pass H.R. 40, a bill with instructions to study racism, its deep roots in American history, and how antiquated beliefs are still prevalent today. Third is creating a task force to help increase police accountability, and fourth is a "call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people." Trump has never made plans even half that detailed!
It's a little sad that ice cream companies are more adamant about ending centuries of white supremacy than our own government officials even at the state level. Especially when other companies have issued statements that attempt to overshadow their previous racist actions, Ben & Jerry's commitment to justice is admirable. Ben and Jerry are officially the two coolest white boomer men we know, and we will be celebrating by vacuum-inhaling three pints of Chunky Monkey.
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To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now
You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?
With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.
The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."
In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:
You Know How to Look Tough<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTE5Nzc3M30.9B4CSWzpZGjBq7APFv_KJKf-QV8n2kEIYcBIOTUt02k/img.jpg?width=980" id="0a07e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="980538d3ccf27d180ce2f7e147f1259f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump eagle scared" /><p>Joe Biden is always trying to challenge you to push up contests or saying he would "<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/politics/joe-biden-donald-trump/index.html" target="_blank">beat the hell</a>" out of you, but you don't engage with that nonsense. You know that it's not important for a leader to actually be tough as long as you look tough. That's why you avoid protesters like the plague. In 2018 you <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests" target="_blank">canceled your London trip</a> amid protests there, and more recently, you authorized the use of violent force to disperse peaceful demonstrators <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-calls-tear-gas-reports-fake-news-protesters/story?id=71052769" target="_blank">so you could have a photo-op in front of a church</a>.</p><p>Whether it's because you don't want to be seen as having less than absolute control over the unruly crowds, or just because you pee a little bit whenever you're around political activism (probably that), we all owe you a debt of gratitude for avoiding any confrontation or engagement with <a href="https://www.popdust.com/jimmy-fallon-blackface-2646105674.html" target="_blank">the mass protests against police brutality</a> that are taking place throughout our country right now—why engage when you can just use more police brutality to avoid them altogether?! It's the only way for you to maintain that all-important facade of toughness that makes you undeniably the most respected current president of the United States. And now that you've <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/white-house-fence-protests-washington-1508703" target="_blank">surrounded the White House with two miles of barricade—</a>#BuildThatWall—we never have to worry about press cameras catching sight of a faint stain spreading out from the crotch of your pants.</p>
You Know Who the Real Enemy Is<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzg3NjY1M30.J6PsxmoxCL_8jSPRBcTHkFrHNRm7bgVmYzBcXmfDNHQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="c7b59" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f8a213c28f6c8ba27cef403b76ff012c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump after you tweet" /><p>Earlier this year FBI director Christopher Wray announced that racist domestic violence was <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/02/10/804616715/fbi-announces-that-racist-violence-is-now-equal-priority-to-foreign-terrorism" target="_blank">being prioritized just as much as foreign terror threats</a>. On one level that could be seen as a sign that white supremacy is a major problem in the US, and that perpetrators of deadly hate crimes should be labeled terrorists, but you know better—obviously, since you're both very stable and a genius. If we start labeling white people as terrorists, then it will just make it harder to keep stoking fears about Islam, bad hombres, and other brown people problems.</p><p>Besides, if white men can be bad guys too, then that could include you! And as we all know, an attack against you is <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7808431/Trump-channels-Uncle-Sam-tweet-saying-Democrats-just-way.html" target="_blank">actually an attack against all good, patriotic Americans</a>. Therefore the real enemy is anyone trying to aggressively call out and push back against white supremacy and white nationalism. That's why <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/antifa-group-trump-designate-terrorist-organization/story?id=71045287" target="_blank">you want to designate Antifa a terrorist organization</a>. Who cares that they <a href="https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/trump-cant-designate-antifa-or-any-movement-domestic-terrorist-organization/" target="_blank">aren't even an organization at all—</a>it's just an ethos of publicly and aggressively confronting fascism and related ideologies. And who cares if there's no way to single out anti-fascist activism from wider, constitutionally protected protests like the Black Lives Matter movement?</p><p>Treating people who oppose you as terrorists will free you up to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">unleash state violence</a>, <a href="https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/watchlists" target="_blank">surveillance, and travel restrictions</a>. Besides, we already have <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">a hyper-militarized police force</a>, which has worked out great—apart from a few "<a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500328-national-security-adviser-blames-a-few-bad-apples-says-theres-not" target="_blank">bad apples</a>" (who seem to operate with impunity for some reason, right up until there's a mass uprising). So put "<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-my-generals-my-military-2017-10" target="_blank">your military</a>" to work and crack down on all of them with the full force of martial law! Or, as you put it, "<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2020-daily-trail-markers-trump-declares-we-will-dominate-the-streets/" target="_blank">Dominate the streets.</a>" Keep <a href="https://theintercept.com/2020/06/04/fbi-nypd-political-spying-antifa-protests/" target="_blank">interrogating protesters about their political beliefs</a>, and if enough of them end up too scared or too imprisoned or too dead to keep opposing you, you won't even have to take away their voting rights (although, we should look into that) to be a shoe-in for reelection!</p>
You Know that Free Speech Is Not as Important as Guns<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="528bc162ed6e6a07fe1e0245016bffff"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-K7XJGk8lyQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In your recent announcement that you were "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting," you said you were doing so "to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second amendment rights." It was the only amendment you mentioned, and you even gave it some extra emphasis <a href="https://www.indy100.com/article/trump-second-amendment-speech-george-floyd-protests-9544011" target="_blank">as though encouraging "law-abiding Americans" to exercise their gun rights</a> in the face of rioting—because gun-toting Trump supporters to mass demonstrations of institutional racism and white supremacy will...calm things down?</p><p>We don't have to fully understand you to appreciate the fact that you skipped over that pesky first amendment—with the free speech and right to assemble that could get in the way of your military dominating the streets—and got to the important one. Maybe the "innocent" man you touted in your speech—<a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/05/31/unfounded-trump-tweet-echoes-heavy-metal-guitarist-claim-that-antifa-beat-machete-wielding-dallas-man/" target="_blank">who chased after people in Dallas while wielding a machete—</a>wouldn't have been "savagely beaten," if he'd been wielding a gun instead. Besides, everyone knows that the only real enemies of free speech are <a href="https://www.popdust.com/mark-zuckerberg-trump-2646117777.html" target="_blank">private companies who call you out for "glorifying violence."</a> As long as the American people retain the right to retweet you with impunity, they have all the free speech they need, and they should stay inside and protest in ways that don't disrupt established order or do anything to upset the status quo (because no one has the right to make you pee a little bit).</p>
You Value the Economy<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" id="twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1268968348278292484&created_ts=1591380605.0&screen_name=CNN&text=The+President+went+from+talking+about+jobs+to+praising+police.+Then+he+claimed+it%27s+a+%22great+day%22+for+the+man+whose%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FP3mMAREHMc&id=1268968348278292484&name=CNN" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="51cee049686210db564d6bbf94f563e3"></iframe><p>Every president knows that the maintaining the economy is important, but as a business man—with that eagle-eyed focus on short term growth that has <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-business-failures-were-very-real" target="_blank">led several of your businesses into bankruptcy</a>—you've made it clear that you value the economy more than anything else. Whether it's <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-economy-models/index.html" target="_blank">the thousands of lives that will be lost</a> to the COVID-19 pandemic as we "reopen the economy" or t<a href="rgy-infrastructure-environmental-review-coronavirus" target="_blank">he dismantling of environmental regulations</a> that were getting in the way of cost-saving pollution, you don't let anything get in the way of a quick economic boost. You know that what's good for major industries today will be good for the American economy...also today.</p><p><span></span>Who cares about tomorrow?! We're having a hard time right now, and people want to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/trump-unemployment-numbers-protests/index.html" target="_blank">hear about how you've reduced unemployment</a>, not about 110,000 dead Americans or the necessity of police reform in the wake of <a href="https://www.popdust.com/derek-chauvin-hat-2646109506.html" target="_blank">George Floyd's murder at the hands of a police officer</a>. You can commemorate <a href="https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/" target="_blank">World Environment Day</a> by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-environment-oceans/trump-plans-to-open-atlantic-sanctuary-to-commercial-fishing-sources-idUSKBN23C26N" target="_blank">opening up ocean conservation areas to commercial fishing</a>. Have ocean fish populations been cut in half over the last 50 years? Sure, but that means we have at least another decade or two before <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/stories/report-million-extinctions-and-ecological-collapse-are-way" target="_blank">the total collapse of marine ecosystems</a>, and by then it will be some other jerk's problem!</p>
You Could Probably Cure COVID-19 if You Really Wanted<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTY4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTQ4Njg1OX0.UrYXJOB4Wut0GXnPkWhdOIOzYHq4pAS3JSSKg2qvSlA/img.jpg?width=980" id="cad7c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d96bd6d9c28bdbcb31a1d0c32f23083" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump covid tester" /><p>Thanks to the fact that you have your priorities in order, and are purely focused on the economy, you haven't worried too much about all this pandemic nonsense—by, for example, providing adequate testing or not stealing vital PPE and ventilators from the states. You did <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-confirms-that-donald-trump-tried-to-buy-firm-working-on-coronavirus-vaccine/" target="_blank">try to get Americans exclusive access to a potential vaccine—</a>which would really stick it to all those jerks dying in other countries—but that didn't really pan out, so you'll probably just have to until the economy's sorted out so you can come up with a cure yourself.</p><p>After all, you have "<a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/30/donald-trump-iq-intelligence-1347149" target="_blank">one of the highest</a>" IQs, "<a href="https://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/trump-foreign-policy-adviser-220853" target="_blank">a very good brain</a>", and "<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-healthcare-us-medicine-coronavirus-centers-for-disease-control-a9384441.html" target="_blank">natural ability</a>" for medical science. It only took you a matter of moments and the most superficial level of thought to come up with a brilliant new avenue for research—injecting disinfectant into people's bodies—so you can probably have this whole thing sorted out in a day or two once you get around to it.</p>
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