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Aldous Harding, the intense singer and songwriter from New Zealand, sat down with me after the Tiny Desk Concert she recorded earlier this month (posting on July 28) to talk about the music she loved growing up. It was a teary and thoughtful conversation around the artists that would go on to have a huge impact on the music she's now creating.
Aldous Harding's second album, Party, was released last month — it's been my constant companion in 2017. (Read her thoughts on the inspirations behind the album and its songs here.)
I first fell for these somewhat disconcerting pieces of music when we premiered her video for "Horizon," a film shot with her mom. About a month later, she played an outdoor space in Austin during SXSW. As can be the case at that sprawling-but-packed event, there were at least three other bands blasting their sounds nearby, bleeding over onto her stage. Aldous, accompanied only by her own guitar and her keyboard sound-wizard mate Invisible Familiars (Jared Samuel), completely transfixed us all, despite the sonic crosstalk. Her stage presence reminded me of an intense version Charlie Chaplin, with exaggerated facial expressions and body language adding commentary to the songs she sang.
So on this edition of All Songs Considered, Aldous Harding plays DJ. We begin our conversation talking about her just-finished Tiny Desk Concert, which most performers find incredibly awkward. She found it comforting.