Meet Sam Frankl. The Brixton, U.K.-bred vagabond pop newcomer dropped his debut single “Gold Rush” earlier this year. Recorded with RAK Studios producer Rob Brinkman (Mumford & Sons), the track sonically treads the line between the augmented bossa nova of Glass Animals and the romantic lyricism of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.
A published poet and former editor of le cool in London, the multi-talented newcomer’s works have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Ardor, Cent Magazine and Ginosko Review. Back in 2013, he also created a video series called The Surrogate Poets, which featured strangers reading his poems. One of those that agreed to participate was famed beat poet laureate Jack Hirschman – one of his idols and a contemporary of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
For the pop upstart, socio-political issues serve as the main inspiration for his lyrics, with “Gold Rush” inspired by the housing estate crisis in the U.K., and specifically the Heygate Estate in South London — a 5 minute walk from his flat. “It was in the process of being demolished, as it had fallen into disrepair due to systematic de-funding,” Frankl explains. “Eventually only a handful of tenants remained where once 3,000 family units had lived. Those tenants refused to leave.”
Today, he shares the official video for the track, premiering exclusively via Billboard.
Serving as a rallying cry against the demolition, the clip features Frankl and his crew sticking around for one last dance despite the crumbling structure around them. “An exercise in storytelling, ‘Gold Rush’ evokes the image of a man’s experience inside his home as it’s being demolished and his plaintive cries of dissent,” Frankl tells Billboard. “The result is both a protest song and an homage to the very idea of place.”