Durand Jones & The Indications announce their new album, Private Space, out July 30th on Dead Oceans in association with Colemine Records, and a fall North American tour. Following the “immaculate and eternal soul” (The Guardian) of The Indications’ 2019 album, American Love Call, Private Space unlocks the door to a wider range of sounds, boldly launching the band into a world of synthy modern soul and disco beats dotted with strings. Anchored by the high-low harmonies of Aaron Frazer (drums/vocals) and Durand Jones (vocals), and rounded out by Blake Rhein (guitar), Steve Okonski (keys), and Mike Montgomery (bass), The Indications are true masters at melding revival sounds with a modern attitude. The ten tracks across Private Space provide for both an escapist fantasy and a much-needed recentering after a tumultuous 2020.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, they share Private Space’s lead single/video “Witchoo.” Reflective of the track’s vibrant, playful energy, the Weird Life-directed video features the five band members and close friends, transitioning from a live performance to an electric backstage soirée.
“At the end of the day, I just want people to close their eyes and forget where they are. Just the way a Stevie Wonder album does for me,” says Jones. Developed after being apart for much of the year, Private Space is creatively explosive and delights in upending expectations. Throughout, The Indications highlight a collective resiliency – as well as the power of a good song to be a light in the darkness. 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 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.
Between production work, solo efforts 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. Uptempo tracks like “Witchoo,” “The Way That I Do” and “Sea of Love” practically manifest the flicker of a disco ball, their pop-funk grooves recalling Idris Muhammad and Raphael Saadiq as well as Pete Rock and DJ Premier. You’ll slow it 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 that track,” says Jones).
While Private Space is an intentional departure from The Indications’ roots in ‘60s funk and soul, its exploratory vibe is true to their origins and evolving tastes. “There’s a lot of the band’s original DNA, but it’s not a time capsule,” says Rhein. The sound of Private Space isn’t a stretch, Frazer adds. “We’re actually revealing more of ourselves, a deeper and broader look into who we are as musicians and fans.”
Settled in a cabin in upstate New York, the five-piece spent significantly more time experimenting 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,” Jones 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 isolation and 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 Jones, 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.”
As the world slowly resets from the chaos of the past year, 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,” Frazer theorizes. “We’re not out of the woods, but hopefully this allows people to get together again, to share and experience catharsis.”