DARLING BOY - the alias of actor, writer, musician and all-round creative Alexander Gold presents his invigorating new single: Air Conditioned Gypsy. LISTEN HERE

Borrowing its title from a lyric in The Who classic ‘Going Mobile’, ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ has all the vim and vigour of that Whos Next cut, while archly weaving-in Smiths-y interloping guitars and an Oasis-like bravado. The creation and homage of a true music aficionado, Darling BOY proudly wears his influences on his sleeve here and fashions them into something fresh, exciting and entirely his own.

Written over a weekend while staying in Dublin, ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ is a celebration of being carefree, living on your wits and approaching life with a willingness to find hope in times of adversity. “Well steal a future... now Ive found you, Ill never see a day without you” Gold sings, his crystalline vocal etching optimistic words over intricately layered arrangements.

With history full of musical mavericks who have dared to break the mould to create some of their most enduring work, Darling BOY outlines some of the rock greats who came to inspire this latest song:

Musically theres a nod and a wink to the Smiths and Oasis” says Gold, “before it morphs into something (in my head at least) approaching latter-day Arctic Monkeys, back-to-his-original-accent Paul Weller and Give Out But Dont Give Up-era Primal Scream. The freewheeling vocal near the climax of the song is a small homage to Pink Floyds Great Gig In The Sky and is sung by one of the members of a very famous girl band - also one of the authors of that bands biggest hit. But Im sworn not to tell you who it is. ;-)”

Recently taken under the wing of XTCs Andy Partridge, it is surely not too bold or brash a statement to suggest that Darling BOY is perhaps one of the most intriguing and precocious young men in popular music today.

Darling BOY, or Alexander Gold, (for that is his given name) is an entirely self-taught multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and actor. He’s starred alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Joe Strummer as The Clash's Topper Headon in the feature film London Town, and more recently named as Musical Director of the smash hit musical All Or Nothing in London's West End having played Ian MacMcLagan of Small Faces and The Faces and is playing John Lennon as part of one of the world’s biggest cruise ships’ resident Beatles.

He's a member of The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra, been a guest of Dolly Parton in deepest Tennessee and asked to join two - two! - of Libertines mainman Carl Barât's bands. He's been a member of Joey Ramone's favourite band of all time, got talked out of setting up a London squat by Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, and been taken out for dinner by Moby.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Alex has also joined Supergrass’ Danny Goffey’s new band, switching between bass, guitar and drums.

I bought my first Supergrass record in my teens after hearing Richard IIIand thinking f**k me, that drummers good”, Alex explains. “They were obviously a great band (and, uniquely among their peers, always remained so), but being a new drummer myself and totally obsessed with the instrument it was Danny Goffeys playing that hooked me in. To be asked to join the band is completely mental.”

Ultimately though it’s creating music that spurs Alex on, and Darling BOY is the vehicle that finds him well and truly in the driving seat. Bursting from the speakers in an eddy of amplified acoustic thrum, blindsiding time-signature changes and soaring break of stand-out vocals, guitars, brass and banjos; ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ is a release that spells-out his big ambitions and to make it of his own accord.

Produced and mixed by Matt Terry and Gethin Pearson (The Enemy/Kele/Charli XCX) alongside Darling BOY himself, additional mastering for the track was completed by John Rivers (The Specials). Enthusiastically referential and expertly self-aware, ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ is a modern-rock masterclass from one of the genre’s most prominent rising stars.

Watch ‘So This Is Now’

When not performing with the Bad Seeds, George Vjestica is the driving force behind Bandante, a moveable feast of a band, recording and performing George's music for which other musicians, artists and film makers, are brought in to contribute. It is the experimental nature of Bandante and in particular his work with Tim – the overlapping of lenses through a collaborative process - that allows George to develop new, interesting and unexpected creative dynamics and outcomes.

Bandante’s debut limited edition vinyl single (Bang Bang b/w My Friend) earned critical acclaim – a vinyl of the year at Rough Trade and a UK Official Vinyl Singles Chart entry. So This Is Now is the latest offering from Bandante where music and imagery are seamlessly combined in a video piece made by the artist, Timothy Shepard.

Work on So This Is Now began at Vale Studios with the recording of an instrumental piece written by George. Joining him were musicians, Ian Matthews (Kasabian) on drums, Nikolaj Torp (The Specials) on Hammond and Mellotron, and Tim Hutton (Dub Pistols, Prodigy) on horns. From this session came an intense 5-minute blast of killer riff-driven music, inspired by 60's American psychedelia, Arthur Lee’s ‘Love’ and the Haight-Ashbury/Monterey scene – a soundtrack that George had always imagined being set to film.

“I wanted the chorus to feel like a call to arms, to hear a cacophonous fanfare of blaring trumpets – a massive release, with a verse I wrote to be full of tension and suspense.” George explains.

Timothy Shepard is an American contemporary fine artist based in London who uses collage (in a very broad sense of the term) working in 2d, film making and music composition. He has been a regular collaborator with Bandante, creating videos for Bang Bang/My Friend as well as super 8 films projected at Bandante’s immersive shows. He has previously worked with other musicians including Paul Weller (a series of country walks which resulted in the cover for 22 Dreams), the quite possibly deceased enigmatic film maker CS Leigh, and a very close collaboration with Kevin Ayers on the making of his swan song album The Unfairground.

George continues the story. “After the Vale Studio sessions, I got very busy with the Bad Seeds whilst the track I had recorded kind of went in the drawer. One morning in mid-June, during lockdown, while going through some playlists on my laptop, I found a file labelled, ‘Protest/Revolt into Style/Vale Studio‘. I put it on and was blown away. It sounded and felt like what was going on outside at the time when it seemed that an unstoppable momentum was building for a summer of protest.”

“I've known Tim for a while – he lives up the road from me in Notting Hill and we’d often meet for a coffee. Our conversations always ended up trying to figure out what the fuck was going on around all the talk of Trump, Brexit and the rest of it. This continued during lockdown over the phone. I asked Tim if he would make a short film set to this piece of music I’d recorded in Vale Studios, “it's all the stuff we've been talking about.” I said. He chewed on it, I heard him draw hard on his E cigarette, pause and say to me in his laconic Bostonian drawl, ‘Let’s see’.”

“He came back with what was, to me, a stunning piece of art. The music had the soul and the film, a ‘visual lyric’, had the mind and the conscience. It’s a hopeful, sad yet defiant, audio/visual collaboration that, in some visceral way, reflects the times we are living in right now.”

For the project, Tim made a film comprised of hundreds of sequenced cut-up and collaged images, in which we are shown a world through a dystopic like window of now, teetering on collapse and chaos with a message of only-hope that, “the power of the people is greater than the people in power”.

“We are at a moment of choice,” Tim explains. “George and I would talk about this a lot, and in great part the collaborative process with George and what informed the making of the film were these conversations – about how this point in human history is so pivotal - when we either have global social, economic, and climate collapse or we don't.”

Tim continues: “It is by no means impossible that we can achieve an understanding whereby we can live sustainably and flourish. There is this idea of decentralizing the power which is very interesting – whether it’s the media or politicians or whatever force that is enacted in order for us to behave in a certain way or impart some 'truth' - and in place of all that we could bring about a more collaborative sense making approach. We've all "had enough of reading things by neurotic-psychotic pig-headed politicians”.

“To get ourselves to a good place we’ve got to take an honest and positive look at ourselves - realise and empower ourselves. But because we’re all guilty of something, if not the same faults we point out in others. Change must start with ourselves and be enacted upon even more urgently than the call for others to change.”

So This Is Now is currently available to watch on YouTube – it’s something that’s just out there. Meanwhile during Lockdown George has been busy in his studio, there are plans with Tim for a sound and vision installation and whilst touring and performing remain on hold we can expect the two of them to bring a whole bunch more of overlapping lenses.

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