NYC-based indie outfit Satellite Mode seeks inspiration from afro-disco grooves in ‘Kissing In Photographs’.
Founding members Jessica Carvo and Alex Marko first met in a songwriting session where they quickly found mutual confidence from experimenting with each other’s strengths; Jessica flourished as a powerhouse singer, whereas Alex’s classically trained ear brought structure to the off-kilter soundscapes that the band was creating.
‘Kissing In Photographs’ is laid back but at the same time has an underlying energy that will make you want to get up and dance, pleasantly expecting a big blow out (which comes in at around two minutes).
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!
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.
Blaudzun is a music project run by Dutch artist Johannes Sigmond.
Having already received the highest accolades in his home country, Blaudzun is ready to take the rest of the world on with his new single ‘islands_’, a piano-led, spirited song that is immediately comparable to that of Arcade Fire or Of Monsters And Men.
Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Interpol, Of Monsters And Men, Like Swimming, The War On Drugs, Editors, Spoon
Mysterious UK-based duo Weslee share their visuals for ‘Boy Like You’.
Another lip-smacking and dreamy song, the Alexandra Gavillet-directed video for ‘Boy Like You’ takes inspiration from Kanye West and centres on the infatuation of the lead male figure through a series of personal camcorder style shots filmed around a hazy American summer.
Sounds like: Ben Khan, Kacy Hill, Blood Orange, Wet, Off Bloom
Rising Swedish teenager Amanda Mair shares ‘Empty Blockings’.
In the video, Amanda broaches the highly important topic of anxiety and depression,
“I wanted to show the feeling of the continuously searchers desperation. The every day hope for running away from anxiety and sorrow but the faith is to weak and puts you in a circle of running and running until you don’t know what you’re running away from.”
Londoner Martin Luke Brown has seemingly come out of nowhere with a banger of a indie pop track called ‘Opalite’ and he means business!
Speaking of the song, MLB says,
“Opalite as a song began with this hypnotic little drum loop and the words just came out. I write placeholder lyrics all the time and then chip away at them until they’re complete but I pretty much stuck with what rolled on Opalite. It just felt right. It’s about finding hope in something and not wanting to let itgo. Whether you find that hope in superstition or religion or love. Whatever really.”
MLB plays London’s Servant Jazz Quarters tonight and ‘Opalite’ is out now via LAB Records.
Sounds like: Bon Iver, Will Joseph Cook, Dua Lipa, Kyko, Sody, Dan Croll
Bristol quartet New Carnival have just dropped ‘Solid Gold’.
‘Solid Gold’ a luscious indie rock ballad with a fiery underbelly. Much like the fascination of gold itself, the track draws listeners in, immediately turning them into a hypnotic state as lead singer Max Radford purrs “come a little closer, move a little nearer”.
You can catch them at the Omeara in London on 21 September.
Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Foals, The Maccabees, Coldplay
Mushroom People is a German electronic trio who all used to be in rock bands.
With some decent remixes under their belt (including XYLØ, NoMBe, Rainsford), Mushroom People have released their own track called ‘Wisdom Talk’, which sways more towards the contemporary pop sound than rock, although if you listen carefully you may find some powerful influences in there.
JOME is the project of Los Angeles-based songwriter, Jesse Marc.
He has teamed up with New Orleanian writer/producer Christoph Andersson (G-Eazy, OliviaO’Brien, Monopol) on ‘Crystalline’.
JOME explains, “Crystalline is a song about getting away from our modern addictions to technology and immediacy. It was written for someone really close to us who was going through a tough time, as a reminder that everything will settle in time.”
Some songs, while being well made and well put together, just don’t do it, they don’t hit you, they don’t catch you and pull you in. Some grow on you and with time give you more pleasure than you initially expected but some you feel so disconnected from that you just don’t listen again.
Sadly we’re all part of this world where immediacy counts, people need instant gratification from everything in their lives and if it isn’t instant then it’s on to the next. Weirdly sometimes a song that could be classed as timeless and a song that eventually becomes irritating and subsequently stale will both share that ability to grab you and pull you in to it’s enchanting rhythms from the very start.
‘Every Teardrop’ by the Munich-based duo Aggressive Swans is one of those songs. There is something about its simple, yet driving baseline that really appeals. It has a really simple and understated quality with enough poppy appeal to keep you humming the melody for quite a while.
It’s definitely pop, but it’s got more of an edge than your run of the mill pop song. The instrumentation says 80’s but the feel, fluidity and and space between the melody says more 70’s pop. Either way if you’ll either be drawn into it’s immediate pop charm and subsequently find it either timeless or irritating after a while or you won’t. We suspect we’re going to be closer to the first rather than the latter.