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An Indietronica Preview of NOS Alive 2018

NOS Alive

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

Friendly Fires

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.

Sounds like: Fenech-Soler, Two Door Cinema Club

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Jain, Sagres Stage

Jain

Jain is a multi-cultural singer/songwriter and self confessed beat-maker, originally from France, but who has also spent time in Dubai and The Congo.

Jain means achieving liberation of the soul, and that’s exactly what this music embodies with its flecked sounds of African rhythms with simple, yet vibrant vocals.

Watch the video for highly recognised song ‘Makeba’ below and catch Jain at the Sagres Stage on Thursday.

Sounds like: Brigitte, Santigold, L.E.J, Yodelice, Lilly Wood & The Prick

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Khalid, Sagres Stage

Khalid

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

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Wolf Alice, Sagres Stage

Wolf Alice

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

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Sampha, Sagres Stage

Sampha

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

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FRIDAY 13 JULY

Two Door Cinema Club, NOS Stage

Two Door Cinema Club

We have watched Irish electro-poppers Two Door Cinema Club play live countless times, and that’s why they’ve made this list.

It’s hard to believe these youngsters have been around for over eight years. Still full of energy and banging tunes, catch them on the Friday!

Sounds like: Phoenix, Hot Chip, Passion Pit

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Future Islands, NOS Stage

Future Islands

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.

Expect big things on stage!

Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Perfume Genius, Twin Shadow, Sylvan Esso, Austra

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CHVRCHES, Sagres Stage

CHVRCHES

Feisty feminist attitudes and catchy lyrics is what CHVRCHES brings to the table.

Lauren Mayberry has faced her fair share of trolls online, but to her testament, the Scottish trio continue to go from strength to strength. We are very much looking forward to this show!

Sounds like: Kate Boy, Avec Sans, Purity Ring, Vogue Dots, R.A.B.B.I.I., Kaleida, Gems, IYES, For Esmé, ALMA, Pale Hands, Acre Tarn, Prinze George, Leitbur, Monogem, PALMEDO, NONONO, Still Corners, MUNA

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Portugal. The Man, Sagres Stage

Portugal. The Man

Bold American rock band Portugal. The Man have been making serious waves of late, and if you haven’t heard of them, you soon will.

An iPhone soundtrack waiting to happen; expect goosebumps, sway inducing vocal harmonies and a fist pumping bass line.

Sounds like: Foster The People, Broken Bells, Grouplove, Circa Survive, MGMT

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Surma, Coreto Stage

Surma

Imagine if M83 and Joanna Newsom met one day and decided to make some music. The result would be the quirky and ambient tones of Portuguese Surma (aka Débora Umbelino).

Working with loop pedals, the solo artist works with analogue and digital sounds creating a primal yet sonic environment.

Sounds like: Yellerkin, Yoke Lore, M83, Joanna Newsom

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SATURDAY 14 JULY

Lotus Fever, Coreto Stage

Lotus Fever

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.

Sounds like: Alt-J, Pink Floyd

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Mighty Sands, Coreto Stage

Mighty Sands

Mighty Sands is a Lisbon-based quintet.

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!

Sounds like: Father John Misty, Tame Impala, MGMT

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MGMT, NOS Stage

MGMT

Less under the radar than the counterparts in this piece, but still worthy of a slot on one’s to watch at this year’s NOS Alive. The mighty MGMT!

The eclectic US-based duo are known for their otherworldly take on modern indie rock music, often combining psychedelic synths, crunchy guitars and stodgy vocals with fun videos.

Sounds like: Empire of the Sun, Foster the People, Tame Impala, Portugal. The Man

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Perfume Genius, Sagres Stage

Perfume Genius

Covering topics such as sexual abuse, suicide and alcohol abuse, Perfume Genius (aka Mike Hadreas) is one such musical role model we want to be more involved with.

His music represents such struggles and recoveries in a camp but delightfully magnificent way.

Sounds like: Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Kate Bush, M83, David Bowie, Future Islands, Fever Ray

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Bernado, Coreto Stage

Bernardo

Wow, Bernado‘s vocals have blown us away after watching her live performance of ‘The Boy Is Mine’.

The London based British/Portuguese singer/songwriter effortlessly combines modern attitudes from London attitude with a jazzy flair.

Sounds like: Amy Winehouse, Jorja Smith

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Real Estate, Sagres Stage

Real Estate

With a warming lo-fi sound, Brooklyn-based dream team, Real Estate is our last act to consider watching at NOS Alive.

Run by childhood friends who played in their backyards during the summer months, Real Estate write simple and endearing songs full of luminous guitar riffs and delicate synths.

We envisage this show to be a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Sounds like: Summer Heart, Washed Out, MGMT

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Find out more info about NOS Alive and purchase remaining tickets here.

TEEN RAVINE – Hall of Horrors

Teen Ravine

Toronto’s Teen Ravine (Nick Rose and Dan Griffin) share the John Smith-directed video for ‘Hall Of Horrors’, a melancholic track about feeling lost and reaching out for someone who’s no longer there.

This dreamy song is ironically about nightmares – running around in circles, trapped in a fuzzy lovesick state surrounded by a “mirrored hall of horrors”.

Sounds like: The Carpenters, The Avalanches, Chet Faker, The Japanese House

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Interview: Solomon Grey

Solomon Grey

Electronic duo Solomon Grey are gearing up to release their sophomore album ‘Human Music’, out on 16 February via Mercury KX Records. The record was mixed by Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and features a full orchestra recorded in Budapest.

We caught up with Tom and Joe…

1. Describe your sound in three words.

Emotive, cinematic, classic (we held to hold back from writing average or something similar).

2. Where did the name Solomon Grey come from?

There was a day of flinging names around, Tom said Solomon Grey (the inspiration for that is another story) and we thought it sounded right. At the time we wanted people to think it was one person. We always enjoyed reviews wrongly thinking Floyd or Gnarls Barkley were one artist.

3. Your music is hugely emotive, and your visuals and live shows, hugely atmospheric. Which comes first when creating music?

We normally talk about the visual aspect of a track once the first few ideas are down. It’s always present in the idea from an early point. Also, atmosphere is vital to how we work with a tune. Always trying to find where a track sits and how to achieve that. We are always discussing and sharing ideas, it’s part of the joys of working as a duo.

4. You toured with Above & Beyond in 2016. What was that like?

Amazing. Performing live on the tour ended up inspiring a lot of how we wrote this latest album. Those venues, the acoustics, the seated audiences. The whole Above and Beyond family were so great to us, we owe them everything. Still can’t quite believe that we played the Hollywood bowl. What a privilege.

5. Your upcoming sophomore album, ‘Human Music’, is out next month, and follows Joe’s extremely difficult journey with his mother. Was this album particularly hard to make?

Joe, “in places. This is hard to explain but it was a very lovely time spending that last summer with Sandy. We were together for the end and it was special. I think the whole point of the album is that from the offset I thought something like this would be as you described it ‘an extremely difficult journey’ but it turned out to be a beautiful celebration of our lives together and an honour and pleasure to be there at the end. There were difficult moments of course but mostly it was a time I will cherish. We were best friends and it was good being there together at the end”. Tom, “Making the album was challenging because of the amount of musical ideas Joe brought but we got through it.”

6. We love new music at Indietronica. What new music are you listening to?

Arctic Lake recorded all their latest tracks next door and we think they are amazing. Msafiri Zawose has an album out called Uhamiaji which we keep playing on the way into work. Also, @iamofficer is recording his second album next door at the moment and we keep humming the melodies on our way home. It sounds beautiful, but he is still working on it so keep a look out for its release.

Sounds like: Aquilo, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Ásgeir, Chet Faker, James Vincent McMorrow, Hozier, Lane 8, The National, Son Lux, M83, James Blake, Bon Iver

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Weekly SubmitHub Gems 11

Marble Empire – OMEGA

Marble Empire

UK artist Marble Empire (aka Matt Berry) has been making music since 13. You’d therefore expect his new single ‘OMEGA’ to be relatively complex, despite Marble Empire being reasonably new to the music scene, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

The song – written about progressing from adolescence into adulthood and the future of young people – was actually written two years ago, but despite the nostalgia, it is evermore relevant today than ever.

Omega by Marble Empire on VEVO.

Sounds like: Ben Khan

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Teen Ravine – Hall of Horrors

Teen Ravine

Toronto’s Teen Ravine (Nick Rose and Dan Griffin) share ‘Hall Of Horrors’, a melancholic track about feeling lost and reaching out for someone who’s no longer there.

Running around in circles, trapped in a “mirrored hall of horrors”, the song is highly dramatic, yet magnificent in both its vocal and production techniques.

‘Hall Of Horrors’ is the first single release from their upcoming album, out in October.

Sounds like: The Carpenters, The Avalanches, Chet Faker, The Japanese House

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MILKK – IDWK

MILKK

MILKK is the latest project from Nashville singer/songwriter Pat Kiloran, Minneapolis producer/musician Jack Vondrachek, and touring/session drummer John Ogelby.

Hot on the toes of LANY and The 1975, MILKK offer catchy pop hooks and bittersweet lyrics about lost love.

Listen to ‘IDWK’ below.

It’s out now via Good Time Records.

Sounds like: The 1975, LANY

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Wilderness Shout – For Another Night

Wilderness Shout

Wilderness Shout share ‘For Another Night’.

It’s a ballsy debut from the Australian-based four-piece – brooding soulful vocals and guitar riffs with a rock edge.

Listen below.

Sounds like: ASTR, Imagine Dragons

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Belle Mt. – Hollow

Mt Belle.

The sad tone continues in this SubmitHub feature with Belle Mt.‘s new single ‘Hollow’.

Belle Mt. (pronounced ‘Belle Mont’) will definitely tug at your heartstrings with this one – sky-high vocals and scene-setting strings.

Belle Mt. explain, “There’s the impression of a fork in the road for this woman and ultimately she takes the tragic path, as she can’t accept the intimacy or love that this man is committed to giving. Hollow is as much about her loneliness as his eventual emptiness…”

‘Hollow’ is out now on LV Music.

Sounds like: Local Natives, Ray LaMontagne

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Sorcha Richardson – Waking Life

Sorcha Richardson

Sorcha Richardson shares the reflective ‘Waking Life’, as she considers how reality is often different to dreams you hold onto in your head.

Sorcha’s clever lyrics really do shine through here.

Sounds like: Poema, Bo Rocha, First Aid Kit

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Weekly SubmitHub Features 10

JOHN.K – OT

John.K - OT

We all have to do it. Work overtime. But what if it wasn’t a bummer, but something you wanted to do?

JOHN.K takes a different approach. ‘OT’ is an Autumnal track that is about spending that one extra day with your far away friend.

Sounds like: Sam Smith, Justin Bieber

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REGN – WATR

REGN - WATR

Who is REGN? We’re glad you ask.

REGN (pronounced Reagan) is a Los Angeles-based songstress who has just dropped her latest single, ‘WATR’.

Co-written with Robokid, the song has delicate Nordic-inspired vocals chopped into a romantic format.

It’s out now via Moving Castle.

Sounds like: Dagny, Sigrid

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Martin Luke Brown – Opalite

Martin Luke Brown by Bjorn Franklin

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

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courtship. – Tell Me Tell Me

courtship. - Tell Me Tell Me

Well, it’s very sad that summer is over for us here in the UK, but keeping the feeling very much alive is electro pop duo courtship..

They’ve just released their new single, ‘Tell Me Tell Me’, a declaration to not hold emotions back, especially when it comes to those love feelings!

Sounds like: Cut Copy, Van She, Summer Heart, Jagwar Ma, Two Door Cinema Club, MGMT, Passion Pit

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Donkeyboy – Kaleidoscope

Donkeyboy

Goosebumps galore with the new track by Norwegian trio, Donkeyboy.

Driving analogue synths predominate the song, followed by sky-high vocals and a massive chorus. Listen below.

Sounds like: Pnau, Mew, LANY, The 1975

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Sasha – Skin Deep

Sasha

London-based Sasha shares ‘Skin Deep’.

Equally as soft on the electronic side of things as the beautiful ‘Picking Flowers‘, ‘Skin Deep’ is a contemplative track about ways to get over a lover through emotionless actions.

‘Skin Deep’ is out now via Lemon Zen Records.

Sounds like: Lucy Rose, Daughter, Maggie Rogers, The Japanese House, Bon Iver, Fenne Lily

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Loud Forest – Wake Up
Loud Forest - Wake Up

California couple Loud Forest are a force to be reckoned with.

Their new single ‘Wake Up’ is about loving an independent person, who is always slightly out of reach, making it all seem like a dream.

Sounds like: Arcade Fire

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Tailor – Blame

Tailor - Blame

Birmingham-born singer/songwriter Tailor has already written for the likes of , TĀLĀ, Huntar, FTSE and Peking Duk, and his own solo material is pretty decent too.

Bordering on alt-pop and electronic music, Tailor has a knack of discussing both sides of the story. His most recent release is a double-A side single called ‘Disillusion / Blame’.

Whilst ‘Disillusion’ is more upbeat in production, ‘Blame’ is about taking the hit in a relationship to benefit the unit as a whole.

Sounds like: Chet Faker, Francis and The Lights, Toro Y Moi, Lauv, Huntar, Sam Smith

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Weekly Submithub Gems 6

LCAW – Staring at the Sun

LCAW

LCAW (aka 22 year old Leon Weber) is sharing an interesting message in his new track ‘Staring at the Sun’, which features the lush vocal tones of New York City-based singer/songwriter, Sophie Hintze.

LCAW says,

“‘Staring At The Sun’ has a clear message – If you feel trapped in a place or a situation you need to break free, pack up your things and just go. The Sun is quite symbolic in this picture, on the one hand it stands for hope, a better future, adventure; and on the other hand it is a burden. Staring directly at the sun for too long blinds you, leaving you on a path without navigation. The lyrics embrace a loss of direction. Hypnotised by yellow lines, moving faster than the speed of light, renegades without a plan. In the end it’ll be worth it.”

It’s out now via Ultra Records / Columbia Records.

Sounds like: Claire Ridgley, Lorde

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Magdalena Bay – Move Slow

Magdalena Bay - Move Slow

Magdalena Bay is a duo comprised of Mica Tenenbaum (Singer/Songwriter) and Matthew Lewin (Songwriter/Producer).

Kylie-esq pop melodies combine with modern disco-infused guitar riffs create a song that will make you up your game on the dance floor.

Sounds like: Kylie, Robyn, Tame Impala, Miami Horror

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Cassia – Sink

Cassia by Niall Lea

Manchester indie band Cassia share the uplifting ‘Sink’.

Despite shows at Reading and Leeds Festivals, the trio’s agenda is to make their fans dance and not mosh, and it’s quite understandable that this would happen with their calypso-infused offerings.

The new song will form part of the band’s debut EP ‘Movers & Shapers’ which is due out later this year.

Sounds like: Two Door Cinema Club, Jake Bugg

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Derrival – Ice Cream

Derrival

Vancouver-based five-piece Derrival share new track ‘Ice Cream’.

Despite the two year hiatus, the band are very much up to facing the challenges thrown at them from the music industry.

Sounds like: Youngr, Young the Giant

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Temptress – What I Want

Temptress - What I Want

South London duo Temptress have just dropped the awesome ‘What I Want’, which has been produced by Chris Zane (Passion Pit, Friendly Fires, Holy Ghost!)

It very much has a nu-disco vibe throughout, which works well with Jess’ soulful vocals and the retro basslines.

Sounds like: Pat Lok, Goldroom, Jessie Ware

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Inner Tongue – Dig Deeper

Inner Tongue by HELMUT BERGER

Inner Tongue is a solo project that almost didn’t happen.

In 2013, its exponent was diagnosed with a vocal cord disorder so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it. He worked day and night to raise the funds necessary to pay for the required operation, followed by a period of silence.

Luckily the procedure worked and the result is a vocal tone that fits somewhere in-between Tame Impala and SOHN.

The video for ‘Dig Deeper’ is like a party, and even includes footage of Inner Tongue dancing to David Bowie records.

Much like the project, there is a little confusion about where the track might take you as gentle jazz drums lead you into a false sense before it takes a moodier, more electronic turn towards its end.

‘Dig Deeper’ is taken from Inner Tongue’s forthcoming debut album, which will be released early next year.

Sounds like: Tame Impala, Phoenix, Chet Faker, The Weeknd, SOHN

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Evan Crommett – Goldilocks

Evan Crommett

New York-based Evan Crommett has music in his blood.

Brought up by musicians, Evan has always used music to convey his emotions, rather than hide away from them. The result is sensitive songwriting, that combines elements of neo-soul, folktronica and hip hop.

Listen to his new track, ‘Goldilocks’ below.

Sounds like: Chet Faker, Elliot Moss, James Blake

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Simon Zion – Ego Avenue

Simon Zion - Ego Avenue

Swedish artist, Simon Zion is determined to make it this year, despite exploring his faults in new single, ‘Ego Avenue’.

Just about enough retro guitar riffs and not too heavy on the auto tune, ‘Ego Avenue’ is a strong debut that immediately draws comparisons to Bon Iver and Francis and The Lights.

Sounds like: Chet Faker, Bon Iver, Francis and The Lights, Jack Garratt, Prince, Paul Simon

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TEIP – Tipsy

TEIP - Tipsy

TEIP – Tipsy

Anglo-Norwegian producer collective, TEIP, return with a ‘Tipsy’ number.

It tells a story of youth and social axiety, cleverly portrayed with a combination of samples, synthesisers and unorthodox instruments.

It’s out now via daWorks.

Sounds like: Flume, Chet Faker, Glass Animals

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