Durand Jones & The Indications

KRCL Presents
with 79.5
Friday, September 17, 2021
Doors 8 | Show 9
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“At the end of the day, I just want people to closetheir eyes and forget where they are. Justthe way a Stevie Wonder album does for me,” says Durand Jones. Pushing beyond the boundaries of the funk and soul on their previous releases, Private Space, Durand Jones &The Indications' third album, unlocks the door to a wider range of sounds and launches boldly into a world of synthy modern soul and disco beats dotted with strings. It's an organic, timeless record that’s as fresh as clean kicks and familiar as your favorite well-worn LP.

Developed after being apart for much of the year, Private Space is creatively explosive and delights in upending expectations. Its 10 tracks are both an escapist fantasy and a much-needed recentering after a tumultuous 2020. Throughout, The Indications highlight acollective resiliency – as well as the power of agood song to be a light in the darkness.

Anchored by a crate-digging sensibility and the high-low harmonies of Aaron Frazer and Durand Jones, Private Space shows The Indications' mastery at melding revival sounds with a modern attitude. From an Indiana basement (where the band recorded their 2016 self-titled debut LP as college students), The Indications have catapulted into the soul limelight and onto an international stage. Following their sophomore album American Love Call-- a dreamy but pensive record of big string arrangements and sweet soul stylings -- The Indications became revered by vintage music fans, the lowrider community and late-night television.

The Indications (Durand Jones - vocals, Aaron Frazer- drums/vocals, Blake Rhein - guitar,Steve Okonski - keys, Mike Montgomery - bass) are equally beloved for their energetic, joyous shows, dual lead singers and thoughtful songwriting. Between production work, soloefforts and major sold-out shows, Durand Jones & The Indications continue on an unstoppable upswing. With live music temporarily out of the equation, The Indications were able to dive deep into recording their third LP. They carved out their own private space for creation and are now sharing it with you.

Uptempo tracks like “Witchoo,” "The Way That I Do"and“Sea of Love”conjure theflicker of a disco ball, their pop-funk grooves recalling Idris Muhammad and Raphael Saadiqas well as Pete Rock and DJ Premier. After reconnecting and shaking off your gloom on the dance floor, Private Space’s seductive nod to Philadelphia soul invites you to head backhome and ease into a room with a lover. You’ll slowit down as the group evokes the likes of Teddy Pendergrass, the Isley Brothers and Sylvia on“Ride or Die”or“More Than Ever”(“I’ve never felt so sexy as when I was singing thattrack,” says Durand).

While Private Space is an intentional departure fromThe Indications' roots in ‘60s funk and soul, its exploratory vibe is true to their origins and evolving tastes. “There’s a lot of theband’s original DNA, but it’s not a time capsule,” says Blake Rhein. “The stuff I get most excited about is an amalgam of genres and retro influences, as well as modern pop conventions.” The sound of Private Space isn't a stretch, Aaron adds. "We're actually revealing more of ourselves, a deeper and broader look into who we are as musicians andfans."

Settled in a cabin in upstate New York, the five-piecespent significantly more timeexperimenting with sound than previous releases. “It was like this buildup of all the ideas, the love, and the need to make music with these guys again,” Durand says. They leaned into songwriting and brought in vibraphonist Joel Ross (Blue Note), an eight-piece string section and friends from the group 79.5 to sing backups. From ideation to the final album cut, Private Space is a meditation on what gets us through isolationand loss: community, love and friendship.

Each Indications album opens with a statement of political consciousness; a musical State of the Union that sets a tone. As Nina Simone once declared, "I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That to me is my duty." Private Space leans into hope, coalescing around the idea that joy can set us free. “I want listeners to know that through really rough times something beautiful can be birthed,” says Durand, who proclaims on“Love Will Work It Out”that “ All the people lost made me fall right onto my knees/all I could do was cry and shout/I knew I had to trust the faith that love would work it out.”

Durand Jones & The Indications have long providedthe soulful soundtrack for such deepthoughts, both on stage and on your turntable. But as the world slowly resets from the chaos of the past year, Durand Jones & The Indications’ Private Space is arriving at just the right time. “I feel we’ll be arriving into people's lives as they're exiting a really tough period,” Aaron Frazer theorizes. “We’re not out of the woods, but hopefully this allows people to gettogether again, to share and experience catharsis.”

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Attempting to pigeonhole 79.5 into something as narrow as a single genre would be an ill advised, if not impossible task. The New York City band sounds like someone spinning a radio dial with such passionate intensity that all the stations blend together into a single, transcendent, almost spiritual force. It’s disco to the beat of modern house; it’s a Supremes cover of a Cardi B banger; it’s Roland Kirk playing jazz through one saxophone, funk through another, and the most earwormy pop tune the 1970’s could muster through a third. It’s an experience—one so affecting that with only a self-released 12” single in circulation, 79.5 had been written up twice in The New Yorker on the merit of their live sets alone.

Still, all this mixing and matching, this manic twirling of an FM dial, might seem like a bit of a mess: a recipe for ungrounded noodling and static. And perhaps it would be, were these disparate influences not anchored so solidly by the delicate crunch of singer and keyboardist Kate Mattison’s Fender Rhodes. The Rhodes is the throbbing heart of 79.5, the melodic grit that gives its pristine vocals their edge. And like Mattison, it is the touchstone around which the band was built.

They released their now classic Terrorize My Heart 45 in 2016 on Big Crown Records and it solidified all the hype surrounding them. The 7” sold through the first pressing in just a few weeks and became a staple in DJ sets around the world getting spins from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Q Tip, Kenny Dope, DJ Spinna, and Just Blaze to name a few.

Their debut album Predictions (2018) is produced by Leon Michels (Lana Del Rey, The Arcs) and was recorded at The Diamond Mine in Queens the old school way, with the whole band playing the songs in one take and captured to analog tape. They announced their debut album via Billboard’s premiere of their newest single Boy Don’t Be Afraid, which was accurately described as “Energetic and infectious…a unique, yet easy to listen to experience”. Already getting heavy spins at radio and finding its way into the hearts of all the listeners, the instant classic Boy Don’t Be Afraid is as bandleader Kate Mattison describes, “a sweet little song about being. Being hopeful, being romantic, being brave. A romantic stance and a declaration of love through melody, in honest girl-group fashion. And like a classic New York deli cup of coffee, light and sweet”.