One by one the coins fall by the wayside. RAINDEAR‘s latest jam continues the theme of authentic, experimental melodic pop.
It’s written about “the last efforts you give to someone before you (not a day too soon) give them up completely. Just like when you pay your last coins to something, you don’t really care where they go anymore cause you’re so exhausted and broke and have zero fucks left to give.” Damn right girl!
Sounds like: Little Dragon, Ballet School, Kate Boy, Lykke Li, Phantogram, Santigold, SBTRKT, CSS
Australian singer/songwriter Benji Lewis today shares ‘Us Again’.
Working again with friend and talented producer, Golden Vessel (remember the beautiful ‘Hesitate‘?), Benji effortlessly expresses his feelings and emotions about reuniting with that special someone, and thinking about them every day.
“The song is about wanting to be in the same space as the other person, breathing in the same air, being able to look into their eyes, and have them look at you in the same way. It’s about wanting to have that again, and feel all of things that come just from being around them.”
Expect the release of his third EP, ‘Together Apart’, very soon!
Sounds like: The Kite String Tangle, Antony Hegarty, Active Child, Gallant, Sam Smith, Solomon Grey, James Blake, Yazz, Jack Garratt, Disclosure
We do like a good festival, and after hearing that NOS Alive in Lisbon, Portugal is up there as one the world’s best music festivals, we decided to plan a trip in July to find out what all the fuss is about!
In the mean time, buckle up and check out our ones to watch within the indietronica genres (looks like we’ll mainly see you at the Sagres Stage then!).
THURSDAY 12 JULY
Friendly Fires, Sagres Stage
Energetic Brit boys Friendly Fires return to the festival circuit after a hiatus.
Having already had massive success with hits such as ‘Paris’, ‘Jump In The Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’, their new single ‘Love Like Waves’ doesn’t disappoint and continues the theme of tropical-tinged synth sounds.
Expect a highly fun and bold performance at NOS Alive.
One artist we are super stoked to check out live is Khalid.
The American singer/songwriter originally started writing music during his college years, where he was also declared prom king. Amalgamating an array of sounds from classical, pop to hip hop, Khalid shows a real sense of urgency in his music.
We can’t get enough of his track with Billie Eilish, and can’t wait to see him perform at NOS Alive.
Sounds like: Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Father John Misty, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, James Blake, Billie Eilish
Indie rockers Wolf Alice have been our firm favourites from the UK for some time now. They never disappoint at a live show, fronted by a fresh-faced Ellie Rowsell’s seemingly blasé but endearingly nervous attitude.
Expect a set full of their most brilliant tunes…so that’s all of them then!
Sounds like: Black Honey, Peace, Superfood, Foals, Circa Waves, Harry
Sampha is to be one of the UK’s best musical exports in 2018.
He has a knack for writing songs with deep and personal lyrics of pain and reflection, some of which have unfortunately has stemmed from health hardships suffered with his family at home, and we can’t help but think we are supporting him on this journey.
Truly thought-provoking stuff, definitely worthy of a slot at NOS Alive.
Sounds like: Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean, Solange, Moses Sumney, James Blake, Chet Faker, SBTRKT, Dallas Green
Future Islands‘ front man Samuel T Herring’s dancing is reason enough to go watch these guys at NOS Alive. And of course, the US synthpop band are wildly brilliant in as many unique, refreshing and inspiration ways possible.
Kicking off Saturday’s ones to watch are Lisbon natives, Lotus Fever.
They fit somewhere in-between Alt-J and Pink Floyd and it’s really refreshing to hear. We are expecting a super tight performance, thanks to their longstanding stint together since 2011 and it being their local city.
Their music has tendencies to sway in the 60’s, psychedelic market – imagine riding on a surfboard in space. However, we expect their set at NOS Alive to be a relaxed affair, where you can chill out and have a cider…or ride a surfboard in space, whatever takes your fancy!
Synthpop sisters REYNA may want you to forget it, but baby please don’t!
Comprised of Victoria and Hannah Gabriela, the girls have already worked with the likes of Drew Pearson (Kesha) and performed with CHVRCHES.
Speaking of their new single ‘Baby Forget It’, Vic says,
“The song is about a former love who kept something of mine after a dramatic breakup. I wasn’t the best version of myself in this relationship and I can admit that I really messed up. That’s why I was so surprised when I saw that she would wear my jacket, I was like hmm maybe it wasn’t so bad, maybe every time she puts the jacket on she thinks about the good times instead of the bad. This song is for everyone who has had their heart broken then somehow muster the courage to put their hearts out there again. It’s learning from those sour episodes in your life and making them part of who you are like a scar you’re proud of.”
Her new single, ‘Girls’ – written with Born Stranger – is a dark disco infused song to empower woman, and one that can be listened to both at home in your pjs or in the club.
Speaking on the track, Salt Ashes explains,
“‘Girls’ is about a situation that I’m sure many can relate to; when someone makes an assumption that you want more than just friendship based on their interpretation of how you act or dress. The track is about breaking the stereotypes of people who want to express themselves and their sexuality freely without the “slut shaming” or being told that they’re “asking for it”. I’d hope for the song to inspire confidence within people to stick to their decisions with who they want to be… I wanted the photo shoot to build on that with a strong message by trying to mess with stereotypes and ‘seeing with the eyes of the other person’ before making assumptions or judgements. The track was produced by Tom Fuller, and I co-wrote it with Born Stranger who are a band I performed with last year, after having experienced that exact situation for the millionth time.”
Sounds like: Tove Lo, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Kylie
London artist Austel creates highly emotive music, so we thought it would be worth asking her to put together a playlist for us of the same! The result is below, and includes her brand new single ‘Crows’.
Crows – Austel
Our debut single, which we’re very excited to be able to share with the world.
Love Me In Whatever Way – James Blake
I had this album on repeat for months after it came out. I love the recurring vocal riff and building tension in the first half of this track. The drop is immense – that saw bass synth riff… so good.
‘Tell me when I have to go / And then love me there’
The End – Daughter
This track embodies everything I love about Daughter – Elena’s cutting lyrics, their trademark washes of guitar and ever-evolving sections and poignant vocal chants.
‘Let’s spend the future talking about the past’
Dry and Dusty – Fever Ray
I’m a big fan of the self-titled Fever Ray record and Karin Dreijer’s androgynous vocal style. On ‘Dry and Dusty’, she combines her tribal voice with developing synth motifs and simple percussion, conjuring a surreal, dream-like mood.
‘I am a capsule of energy’
Sugar Pill – The Japanese House
This track opens with delicate, melancholic piano chords but soon evolves – introducing Amber Bain’s washes of vocoder-treated vocals, glitchy beats and expansive synths.
‘You can use my ribcage as a pillow’
Hazmat Suits – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
I went through a stage of being a bit obsessed by the Stranger Things soundtrack – it’s so hypnotic. The bass synth glide on ‘Hazmat Suits’ is huge and hits me in the stomach every time.
Form By Firelight – Jon Hopkins
Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is a huge sonic influence on us; it has so much life amongst all the electronic sounds. It’s just brilliant.
This Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey
One of my favourite songs of all time, on one of my favourite albums of all time. The addition of Thom Yorke’s ghostly vocals are a dream collaboration.
‘I have seen the sunrise over the river, the freeway / Reminding of this mess we’re in’
Outlier – Bonobo
Bonobo’s music has a great driving, energetic feel to it. Adam and I were both obsessed with Migration when it came out. The track ‘Outlier’ builds really strongly adding layer after layer. Tracks like this really influenced the Austel production process.
Sleaze – Klangstof
One of my more recent discoveries – I love the expansive space Klangstof create with those pulsing synths and soaring hooks.
‘The tide needs a night to set up and collide’
Europe Is Lost – Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest is one of the most powerful performers of our time – the rising tension and cutting message of this track is profoundly resonant, and a haunting reflection of the days we’re living in.
‘We have learned nothing from history / The people are dead in their lifetimes’
Silhouettes (I, II & III) – Floating Points
Adam’s a big Floating Points fan. ‘Silhouettes (I, II & III)’ has this amazing string part in the middle section which is a wonderful merger of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.
The Eraser – Thom Yorke
This whole record is incredible, another one of my favourites. The opening title track is Thom Yorke at his best – trademark moody piano chords, glitchy rhythms and those beautiful, haunting vocals.
‘You know the answer so why do you ask?’
Teardrop – Massive Attack
‘Teardrop’ was my entry ticket into trip hop. Elizabeth Fraser is one of the greatest singers of all time and this track perfectly exhibits how much power you can create with moments of fragility and dynamic range.
Big news. Ben Khan returns with the announcement of his debut album (hurrah!) and a self-directed dystopian video for spine-tingling new single ‘2000 Angels’.
The album – set for release in the summer – was produced alongside Flood (PJHarvey, DepecheMode, Nine Inch Nails) and mixed by Spike Stent (Björk, Frank Ocean), with Ben playing every instrument on the record.
Always with a creative hands-on approach, Ben also plans to launch his new interactive website, The Foundation, which offers an insight into the richness and depth of the album’s story.
Sounds like: Leo Kalyan, Twin Shadow, Jai Paul, JUNGLE, Disclosure, Prince, Blood Orange, Harts, Oyinda, Shy Girls
NAVA is the highly energetic project of Persian songwriter Nava Golchini and three other Italian musicians. Visually, NAVA is a mix of horror and fashion inspired by the works of visionary designer Gareth Pugh.
The debut single ‘Ritual’ gives us a glimpse into the NAVA world – full of electro arrangements, tribal instruments and dark metropolitan landscapes.
It could be 2014 again, and boy it feels good! During your visit, expect luscious vocals, addictive synth drops and and nu-disco undertone. All this, courtesy of Betablock3r and the new single ‘Make You Happy’.
It is the first single off their debut EP Monolith, out now.
It wouldn’t be a decent weekly gems feature without some pop in there. This week Tanners is the chosen one.
Tanners is the moniker of New York City-based songwriter and producer Tanner Peterson. Leading the way for women in creative music tech, Tanners has also spoken at TEDxTeen.
Inspired by her childhood love for the beach, ‘Holy Water’ celebrates the beauty and electricity born from allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable and enveloped by the ocean. “It’s a thank you song to the ocean for teaching me to embrace vulnerability,” Tanners says of the track.
Sonic production leads the way for Francis Novotny‘s new single ‘The Wire’.
It’s a brooding, electro-soul song by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist that is extremely reminiscent of JackGarratt or Asgeir, and captures that addictive quality of a nonetheless-toxic relationship, and the feeling (says Francis) “when a person leaves you hanging on without answers – and you know you should get out of it – but you keep winding back towards them.”
NYC-based duo Glassio share ‘Back For More’, a song for anytime of the day!
Built on an orchestral-electronic backbone that nods to the likes of MassiveAttack and Air, the pining, heartsick anthem is a penned love letter to a paramour after a strained relationship has come to a close.
Sounds like: Hot Chip, Metronomy, Foals, Jagwar Ma, Rüfüs, Flume, Odesza, Bob Moses, Glass Animals, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
POLO is an exciting new band comprised of Luke Lount, Kat McHugh and Daniel Edgell.
The trio base themselves out of “a total dive” town in Leeds, and use this rough’n’ready surrounding as inspiration for their music, which is full of heart and substance.
We asked POLO to put together a few of their favourite songs, and here they are!
Porches – Country
A song written like no other.
Baloji – Soleil de Volt
Got this on repeat at the moment… There are so many hooks throughout and there’s heaps of energy and life in the recording. Probably the funkiest song of the year so far
Patrice Rushen – Remind me
The slowest of slow jams.
Phoria – Red
Sonic bliss! These guys are super talented, and seem to always hit you right in the feels with their song writing ability.
Young Fathers – In My View
LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound young fathers are putting out at the moment. They’re nailing it for me with experimental lyrics through rap and spoken word and combining that with a big bodyshaking production. Also well worth a youtube for the music vid.
Olympia – Smoke Signals
A party favourite for the band. Feel good, fun and really damn catchy.
SZA – The Weekend
We all absolutely love SZA and this is just one of the many bangers from her amazing debut.
Amandla Sternberg – Let Me Stay Baby
Silky, smooth, sexy. A feast for the soul and ears.
Nils Frahm – Sunson
Beautiful and serene from start to finish. We had the pleasure of seeing him live recently and it was breathtaking.