Comprised of Robin French (Cuckoo) and Antonia Thomas (Misfits, Lovesick), these two creatives write seductive bossa nova music paired with calypso pop sensibilities that would fit well on the soundtrack of ‘The End of the F***ing World’.
On the motivation behind Bethnal Green Blues, Robin states,
“Sometimes you write a sad song from a happy moment. This came to me while I was flying to South America to see a girl I’d fallen for. It’s about the emotional ice age after a romance fails, but it was written as that ice melted under the Argentine sun..”
We love an indie anthem, so thank you to five-piece pop-rock, Dancing On Tables.
The band, school friends from school in Dunfermline, a small town just outside Edinburgh, have released ‘Colour Me Good’ – a groove-laced, vintage indie-pop track that encapsulates sun-drenched, dance-able songwriting with a distinct Scottish charm.
Sounds like: Sea Girls, Biffy Clyro, Circa Waves, The 1975
Slenderbodies is a California-bred duo who write forward-thinking, dreamy synth-pop.
Their new single ‘The One’ is intricately subtle musical medication, shared in preparation of their upcoming EP, ‘SORAYA’, to be released through Los Angeles indie label Avant Garden, which is also home to Emotional Oranges.
From summer season to ‘Sad Season’ with former professional cyclist Gavin Haley‘s latest single.
While competing with the national cycling team, Haley suffered an injury that resulted in a collapsed lung, setting back his travel by several months. During his recovery, he explored and found inspiration in Europe’s underground music scene, becoming enamored with energetic live performances filled with a grit and energy.
Starting with a simple West Coast-inspired guitar riff, ‘Sad Season’ soon picks up and exposes determined pop and R&B.
Canadian songstress ROYAL debuts with ‘Vessel’, the first of six new tracks that appear on her upcoming album, ‘Heart of Shadows’.
Covering the topic of heartbreak, loss of identity and raw self-reflection, this is electro-pop at its finest in 2018.
Speaking about ‘Vessel,’ ROYAL says,
“This song is about heartbreak – having to let go of someone you love, and then realizing the emptiness and loss of identity that ensues. I wrote this song it while trying to find myself after getting lost within a relationship for many years and then feeling shattered by the loss of a love I thought would last a lifetime.”
Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Lana Del Rey, Evvy, Noosa, Dominique, The xx
Last but not least, our favourite breakthrough act – self-taught producer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Von Sell.
After a bout of vocal pain and subsequent treatment, we are pleased to say that Von Sell is on the mend and returning to our stereos with ‘Scene OF A Crime’.
Taken from his forthcoming sophomore EP, ‘Digital Sleep’, the song reflects on unrequited love, but, due to its uptempo nature, it will ultimately leave a taste of confusion in your mouth because you can’t help but dance despite the disconcerting subject matter.
Sounds like: Summer Heart, Hazel English, Teen Daze, Peter Gabriel, Alt-J, Thomas Azier
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!
Brixton-based Sam Frankl is making waves with his groovy new number ‘Patina’.
Also a thin layer that forms on various metals due to oxidisation, ‘Patina’ is a song about a girl inconspicuously enquiring about her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship, scraping away at the surface to discover the boy’s true emotional state.
Wow, does this 21 year old have natural soul or what!
Brett Castro fuses folk music and timeless R&B to tell stories about growing up in a small town. His new single ‘Much About Sadness’ is written to a girl in his hometown who was diagnosed with depression, letting her know she is never alone.
Sounds like: Fleet Foxes, Tame Impala, Bon Iver, Prince
Meet Llovers, a Newcastle-based band who write thought-provoking material about disconnection in society.
The soft vocal loops and airy guitar riffs in ‘Just Lust’ gently build to a crescendo of beautiful noise.
Lead singer Jack explains about the songwriting process,
“Just Lust is the sum of a deeply personal exploration in 2017 concerning how I felt within myself. I considered the effect that perception of ‘men’ as a generalised group moulded my own mental health and enforced a feeling of disconnection from a percentage of the population. Musically the track is built to replicate the thought process providing time and thought before erupting in a wave of raw emotion in a cathartic way.”
Josh Jacobson is effortlessly combining modern R&B with dance-pop in his new single ‘Sideline’ featuring co-production from Gigamesh.
On the subject of the song, he explains,
“Sideline is a song about growth and building in new directions, learning to let go when it’s necessary to move forward. It’s about those inner voices at times of transition that are at once exciting but so challenging emotionally. I think these lyrics will resonate with a lot of people in different ways, so I’m excited to hear how people relate to the song.”
Sounds like: Le Youth, Drake, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd
Despite the deliciously boozy bass-lines and woozy vocals in ‘High’ that conjure up feelings of warm stoner summers, the song was written and recorded during the coldest and darkest part of the year, which is only a testament to Florda Well for their positive outlook.
We receive a huge amount of submissions via SubmitHub, and unfortunately cannot review all of the tracks, so we have decided to compile those tracks into a weekly segment of gems we’ve particularly enjoyed.
Dream Lake – Midnight Sun
Swedish electro-pop duo Dream Lake share the dreamy ‘Midnight Sun’.
This song perfectly encapsulates the airy, long days of light during the summer in Sweden, with dreamy vocals and romantic keys.
US-based Tigers and Thieves share ‘Change Your Mind’, an indie rock track that has all the markings of a hit, despite being recorded in their garage studio. It’s been mixed by Brian McTear (TheWar on Drugs, Sharon Van Etten, LocalNatives).
Sounds like: Local Natives, Foster the People, The Neighbourhood, alt-J, Surfer Blood, The Temper Trap, Nick Mulvey
Anti-folk artist, Erin K, has been keeping herself very busy. Originally born in London, but now residing in the States via Italy, she has just shared the video for ‘No Control’, filmed across Iceland, and released her album ‘Little Torch’, which you can listen to on Spotify here.
To celebrate, Erin K has put together a playlist for us.
Tennis – Night Vision I love the immediate hood of this cool drum beat and the contrast between the closeness of the verse against the dreamy delayed vocals in the chorus. I just walked to the flight gate listening to this in my headphones. Great walking song!
Perfume Genius – Learning The simplicity of Perfume Genius is a breath of fresh air, reminiscent of the honest lyrics encountered in Andrew and the Johnsons or (kids soundtrack guy). I especially love the lyrics “blah blah blah” at the end of this intimate song. I’m inspired by this artist! I have tickets to see him at Heaven in London in a few weeks!
Hospitality – Going Out I don’t have much to say about this other than it’s been my song to start my day with for the past 2 weeks! Makes me feel like dancing! I’d love to see them live.
Whitney – No Woman I LOVE this artist. It’s rare that you find a drummer that is also the lead vocalist. Check out their live sessions online, definitely one of my top favourite new discoveries at the moment.
Cass McCombs – Bum Bum Bum A friend of my from Fort Lauderdale introduced me to this band (amongst others) recently and I think I had this song on repeat for an hour after the first listen. I love songs that push along with a constant repeated beat and sound. Check out his other songs, they are all beautiful. Something very nostalgic about this sound.
Sufjan Stevens – All of Me Wants All of You This is one of my favourite songs at the moment. It’s so beautiful. He recently came out with a live version of this, amongst others. Personally, I prefer the live versions but worth checking out.
Leon Bridges – River When I first heard this I assumed it was an old recording from the 60s. I love the way this song builds and Leon’s voice is flawless and emotive. Goose bumps.
U.N.P.O.C. – Here on My Own What’s not to love about early Modest Mouse! Great build, beautiful lyrical rhythm, one to scream along to at home, or in my experience, the customs line at Heathrow Terminal 4 (in my head of course).
Shuggy Otis – Strawberry Letter 23 Yes Yes YES! I love the every part of this. If you like retro 60s jams, you’ll dance along to this.
CAN – Vitamin C I remember the first time I heard this in some shop in London. I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to it properly. I’ve loved this song for years. The vocal, the consisting arrangement and cool organ sounds. Might not be a new find for me but I’ve included it here nonetheless.
Sounds like: Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Alev Lenz, alt-J, Pam Ayres, Susan Vega, Kim Boekbinder, Lily Allen