Hear Virgins Singer Donald Cumming Channel Tom Petty on 'Game of the Heart'

New York artist says that his debut solo album, 'Out Calls Only,' will be "as sincere as possible"

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Donald Cumming
Donald Cumming will be releasing his first solo album this summer. Kat Villacorta

When the Virgins broke up in 2013, frontman Donald Cumming wanted to open himself to different possibilities and keep his career moving forward. "I was a young guy and wanted to be in a band and it was great, but I don't feel that way anymore," he told Rolling Stone at the time. "I just want to keep doing new things.... I don't know what the next thing would be except to try something I have never done before."

This, it seems, meant going solo. After performing with a new backing band at last year's Bonnaroo, the East Village artist has tested new material at a series of small gigs, including a spot at Richard Hell's regular "Night Out" residency uptown. Tonight, he plays with Brandon Flowers (whom his old band opened for on a pair of arena tours), and below, you can hear the lead single off his forthcoming LP.

Cumming wrote the song, the easy-going "Game of the Heart," during a moment of transition at the beginning of his sessions. "I was newly single, the band had just broken up and suddenly I had dates to record a solo album," he says. "I couldn't tell what I was thinking or feeling, things were happening so fast. . .When I listened back to the song it kind of showed me where my head was at and what the record would be like."

Cumming will follow the track with Out Calls Only, which is set for a June 16th release on Washington Square Music. "I don't listen to a lot of contemporary music," he says. "But it seems to me there is a trend that favors aesthetics over content. I don't have a sound that I'm looking for as much as I just want to be as sincere as possible."

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