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Listen to Alt-J’s crypto-skewering new single, ‘Hard Drive Gold’

It's the third single from forthcoming fourth album 'The Dream'

By Joe Goggins

Alt-J press shot, 2021
'Hard Drive Gold' follows 'Get Better' and 'U&ME'. (Photo: Rosie Matheson)

Alt-J have shared an uptempo new single, ‘Hard Drive Gold’, the third to be taken from next month’s fourth album, ‘The Dream’.

The track, scored through with the trio’s signature groove and which builds to a softly anthemic chorus, was inspired by cryptocurrency, prominently featuring the line “don’t be afraid to make money, boy”. You can watch the accompanying video, which marks the directorial debut of frontman Joe Newman, below.

“Hard Drive Gold is a slightly tongue-in-cheek song written at what we thought was the height of the cryptocurrency gold rush.,” said keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton in a press release.“It’s the story of the ultimate childhood fantasy, the schoolboy who becomes a millionaire overnight, and the different interactions he has with people in his life from teachers to neighbours. How ironically you interpret its message is entirely up to you.”

Newman, meanwhile, provided some insight into the track’s video, as well as his decision to helm the clip. “Growing up enjoying cinema greatly I saw our music videos as opportune moments for directors to create stories purely and so we the band did not appear in our videos. By avoiding cuts to a band playing in an ‘aeroplane hanger’ the audience could focus on the cinema over the indie band music video tropes.”

Reflecting on his first experience as a director, he continued: “I had ideas for videos that I passed on to directors to develop, watching these directors execute some of these ideas inspired me and now I want to understand and experience the process at a deeper level.”

‘Hard Drive Gold’ follows November’s ‘Get Better’ and lead single ‘U&ME’. ‘The Dream’ will be the Leeds three-piece’s first full-length since 2017’s ‘Relaxer’; the band discussed it in-depth in issue two of Rolling Stone UK. The band will play six UK dates in May, starting at Glasgow’s Barrowlands – see the full dates below.

Alt-J, May 2022: 

7 – Glasgow, Barrowlands

9 – Leeds, O2 Academy

13 – Manchester, O2 Apollo

18 – London, O2 Academy Brixton 

25 – Belfast, The Telegraph Building 

27 – Birmingham, O2 Academy