| Marlon Williams releases "River Rival" off of new album 'My Boy' out September 9th -

Marlon Williams releases “River Rival” off of new album ‘My Boy’ out September 9th

Posted on 07/13/2022

Pre-order My Boy

New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams presents “River Rival,” the whirring new single from his forthcoming album My Boy, out September 9th on Dead Oceans. “River Rival” follows “Thinking of Nina” and the previously shared title track, “a sun-dappled dream of a song” (PAPER), and further cements My Boy as the sound of Williams emerging anew. “River rival // No survival,” he haunts atop pulsating synths before charging into soaring arpeggios. “It’s a mirror more than you know.” 

“This tune began with an idle google search. The Latin noun ‘rivalis’ means people competing for the same source of water. That got me excited and seemed to hit upon a central occupation of the record as a whole. Resource scarcity, very generally construed, is at the heart of most conflict: economically, materially, socially. Musically, it started out as a bleary-eyed Nick Drake-esque acoustic rambler but somehow, perhaps counterintuitively, it felt too heavy that way so with a bit of fussing and redressing (largely in pre-production with Mark Perkins) it gradually morphed into the cyclical synth rock-roller before you. Under Tom Healy’s guiding hand, Cass (Basil) and Paul (Taylor) then built up the rhythmic intensity, each stanza pushing the point a little more urgently every time

“I reconnected with my buddy and ‘ Vampire Again’ collaborator Steve Gullick to make the video in a studio in Cambridge while on the recent tour with Lorde. I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered blinking.” – Marlon Williams

Watch Marlon Williams’ Video for “River Rival”

Over the last four years, Williams has forged a fledgling acting career and become an in-demand collaborator, performing alongside Lorde just a few weeks ago. My Boy parlays this flush of experience into a vivid, dynamic record as spirited, complex, and kinetic as the unfolding life of its performer. “I’ve always explored different character elements in my music,” says Williams. “And I think the more I get into acting, the more tricks I’m learning about representation and presentation. I’m trying to make my worlds feed into each other as much as possible. To get braver and bolder with exploring shifting contexts and new ways of doing things.” My Boy does – it sees Williams firmly having fun, even while interrogating the behaviors of himself and those around him. 

Instead of recording My Boy with his trusted, long-time backing band The Yarra Benders, Williams’ demoed half the album with Mark ‘Merk’ Perkins before entering Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios in Auckland in late 2020 with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, The Chills) and a new cast of musicians: LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), Healy on guitars and synths, and appearances from Delaney Davidson, Dave Kahn (the lone Yarra Bender on the record), and Elroy Finn on drums and percussion. 

Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” says Williams. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions.

Gone is the solemn, country-indebted crooner with the velvet voice – in his place comes My Boy, a more playful, shape-shifting creature. “It happened naturally,” Williams explains. “I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine.” 

This fall, Williams will embark on a full North American and European Tour. Full dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now.


Pre-order My Boy

Watch Marlon Williams’ Video for “My Boy”

Watch Marlon Williams’ Video for “Thinking of Nina”

Marlon Williams Tour Dates

Tue. Sep. 13 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair *

Thu. Sep. 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made *

Fri. Sep. 16 – Washington, DC @ The Miracle Theater *

Sat. Sep. 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *

Mon. Sep. 19 – Toronto, ON @ The Great Hall *

Wed. Sep. 21 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *

Thu. Sep. 22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club *

Sat. Sep. 24 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake ^

Tue. Sep. 27 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern ^

Wed. Sep. 28 – Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theater ^

Thu. Sep. 29 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater ^

Mon. Oct. 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour ^

Wed. Oct. 19 – Dublin, IE @ Button Factory # 

Fri. Oct. 21 – Glasgow, IE @ King Tuts #

Sat. Oct. 22- Leeds, UK @ Brudenell #

Sun. Oct. 23 – Manchester, UK @ YES #

Tue. Oct. 25 – Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds #

Wed. Oct. 26 – London, UK @ Koko #

Thu. Oct. 27 – Brighton, UK @ Patterns #

Sat. Oct. 29 – Paris, FR @ La Maropquinerie #

Sun. Oct. 30 – Zurich, CH @ BogenF #

Wed. Nov. 2 – Munich, DE @ Ampere #

Thu. Nov. 3 – Berlin, DE @ Hole44 #

Sat. Nov. 5 – Copenhagen, DK @ Hotel Cecil #

Sun. Nov. 6 – Oslo, NE @ Parkteatret #

Mon. Nov. 7 – Stockholm, SE @ Nalen Klubb #

Wed. Nov. 9 – Hamburg, DE @ Nochtspeicher #

Thu. Nov. 10 – Cologne, DE @ Artheatre #

Sat. Nov. 12 – Antwerp, DE @ TRIX #

Sun. Nov. 13 – Amsterdam, NE @ Paradiso #


* = with Jo Schornikow

^ = with Merk

# = with Reb Fountain