Spazz Cardigan is another exciting artist from Nashville who leans on the slight left side of pop, and it’s no surprise considering his wide array of influences spanning Queen, NSYNC, KanyeWest to Björk, David Bowie to Sun Ra.
A classically trained piano player, Spazz Cardigan is also self-taught at guitar, bass, drums, and production. His new single ‘S.O.S.’ is catchy indietronica with popular vocal chants and a steady and highly contagious clap that ticks gently throughout the song.
Karim is the solo electro pop project of Italian-born singer, songwriter and producer Karim Afas.
Combining ancient cultures, art and music, Karim’s latest endeavour, called ‘Dance’, explores the complexities of modern love within an alt-pop ballad.
“‘Dance’ is the love, pop song I’ve always wanted to write and then sing at the top of my lungs.
It’s gloomy yet so vivid, it celebrates a triumph filled with melancholy – ‘Dance’, among other
things, is a song about the fickleness of love and life.”
Sounds like: Sampha, Tobias Jesso Jr., David Bowie
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!
We don’t often feature rock music on the site, but The Fluids have blown us away with their debut single, ‘Creatures’.
It’s a glimpse into the frenetic offerings featured on their debut album ‘No Kidding!’ – witty lyrics and thrashing synths, laced together by lead singer Mike Tony’s punchy yet endearing vocal tone which we find quite reminiscent of David Bowie, Brandon Flowers or David Byrne.
Fuck, this is good!
‘No Kidding!’ is out on 27 October via Axis Mundi Records and available for pre-order here.
Sounds like: David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Killers
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
Iceland has a reputation for producing some magical and forward-thinking music.
However, there is something quite familiar about ‘Free As A Bird’ by trio, One Week Wonder. It might be because of the serious Pink Floyd sounds going on, or the fact that member, Arni was a founding member of Of Monsters And Men and Helgi was a touring member of Asgeir’s live band.
Put the kettle on, sit back and listen to the sweet twangs of folktronica and velvety vocals on the track.
Sounds like: Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Air, Tame Impala, Of Monsters And Men, David Bowie
Based in Sydney, Sloan Peterson has grown up recording songs, filming music videos and playing vintage records with her sister and friends. Her music is a nod to the garage rock music of the 50’s.
The video for her single, ‘105’ is the first to be shot in the historic building of The Strand Arcade since scenes from David Bowie‘s music video for ‘Let’s Dance’ and features Sloan Peterson as well as a cast of alumni dancers from the Australian Ballet School and Sydney Dance Company.
This is her debut single taken from her upcoming debut self-titled EP, out on 14 July via Mirror Records.
Sounds like: Marika Hackman, Wolf Alice, Fazerdaze, Laura Marling, Lucy Rose, Courtney Barnett, OH Wonder
We wrote about London based, multi-instrumentalist, HudsonScott, a few months back.
Since then, Hudson’s been in the studio with Rodaidh McDonald (Låpsley, KingKrule, Thexx).
Lucky for us, Hudson has taken a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to put together one hell of a playlist for Indietronica.
Talking Heads – Born Under Punches
This is one of my favourite opening tracks of any record for sure- the perfect blend of groove, adventure and hooks.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – First World Problem
I’m an album listener, I like a body of work to sink my teeth into, but its sometimes nice when a band you love throws you a loose bone as good as this.
Chris Cohen – In A Fable
This song is so good. I love how warm and meandering it is and how the form has hardly any repetition but every melody is beautiful.
Shuggie Otis – Special
Shuggie has been a proper hero of mine for a while now but this one is pretty new to me. Its real bouncy.
Arthur Russell – You And Me Both
Another of my hero’s. This song is another meanderer, loads of breathing room. Arthur Russel has this amazing ability to balance romance and groove without it ever being cheesy and I think I’ll listen to him for my whole life.
Orange Juice – Rip It Up
Two things I wanted to get on this list was some 80’s tunes and some synth nerdery so I ticked both boxes with this song. Amazing song and inspired use of what I’m pretty sure is a Roland TB-303 (the synth that birthed acid house) for the bass- you hardly hear that synth in this pop context and it works so well.
Blood Orange – Desiree
Definitely his best record so far- I love it right now and this track is a standout.
Little Cub – Intent
These guys are my best pals an they’re gonna do big things in the next few years. Huge beat at the end.
David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes
Needs no introduction.
Gwen Guthrie – Padlock (Larry Levan Mix)
I’m telling you to never doubt the triangle as an instrument- you’ve got to be pretty confident to have it pretty much on its own for almost 30 seconds though! This song’s chorus kills it.
UK Tour Dates
September 4 | We Are Your Friends, The Bullingdon, Oxford September 15 | The Victoria, London October 14 | What Became Of Us Festival, The Cookie, Leicester October 15 | What Became Of Us Festival, The Bullingdon, Oxford October 28 | Beacons Metro Festival, Headrow House, Leeds
Sounds like: The Maccabees, Foals, Morrissey, Prince, Simply Red, Simple Minds, Miles Davis, Chet Baker
Sticking their middle fingers up to social media, rising four-piece October Drift are causing a stir amongst the gigging scene.
Kiran from October Drift has put together a really great playlist together for us.
Nick Drake – Hazy Jane II
Got this album (Bryter Layter) for a birthday sometime in my early teens. Took me a couple of years to really get into it, I don’t think it was instant enough for me to appreciate its subtleties at the time. Nick Drakes music gets better the more you hear it – which is the right way round, obviously.
The Velvet Underground & Nico – Sunday Morning
Easily one of the most important records of all time in my opinion. And this track is the go to for me. Not sure what it is about it but its so warm and dreamy. I’ve found myself the owner of one of the early editions of the vinyl where Andy Worhols banana peels. Apparently it could be worth some money, although I’ve accidentally ripped it a little trying to peel it!
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Bob Dylan’s songwriting constantly surprises and impresses me with every listen (not ALL of his stuff, I have to say). The intricacy to his story telling from song to song and the imagery and descriptions can blow my mind and make me smile.
Simon and Garfunkel – America
Simon and Garfunkel have such a clarity and innocence in their style and again are instantly recognisable. The imagery and story of this young couple hitchhiking their way across the states is full of hope and optimism and as the song progresses maybe a sense of disillusionment creeps in as they try to ‘Look for America’ – trying to chase a false American dream perhaps.
Neil Young – Down By the River
Neil Young – Also extremely nostalgic for me, Neil Young got played a lot in the house while I was growing up. His voice is thin and kind of winey but its really emotive, the same goes for his guitar playing – he’s not the best in the world but he’s got a really distinctive sound and style which is far more important than being technically good. That’s important. His songwriting and melodies seem really natural and not over thought if that makes sense.
David Bowie – Five Years
The opening track to one of my favourite albums by one of the most inspiring, iconic and important artists ever.
Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
Leonard Cohen’s baritone voice and sad songs have without question directly influenced us and many more of our biggest musical influences (NickCave, TheNational to name a few).
The Beach Boys – I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
A look into the messed up genius head of Brian Wilson. It’s a really sad song, but its got The Beach Boys happy sheen on it. I think there’s something really interesting in that – the juxtaposition of the care free surfer kid image and the troubled reality. I read his autobiography a few years ago, it’s really sad.
Steve Harley – That’s My Life In Your Hands
I heard this song for the first time in years and years not too long ago and it really took me back to my childhood, my dad used to play this album and this song I particularly liked. Really great melodies and an emotive chorus.
Sammy Davis, Jr. – Mr. Bojangles
I really like the story telling of this song. I don’t think it is originally Sammy Davis Jr’s but it fits perfectly with his character. It’s a sad story really of an old alcoholic dancer or entertainer Mr. Bojangles who from within a prison cell tells the story of his life and does a dance. I guess it could be a worry of most performers, be it bands, musicians or whatever that they’ll end up washed up, telling story’s of what they used to be.
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line
The man in blacks influence on modern rock and pop music is un-chartable. There’s something so sincere and confident about this particular song. His work with Rick Ruben too at the last part of his life is so powerful and cemented that he will never be forgotten.
Syd Barrett – Baby Lemonade
I loved Pink Floyd growing up and they certainly have an influence on what we do, although it may not be as direct as other artists. They can be at times a bit too cliche druggie stadium-y but that came much later than Syd. This song is from after he left the band and put out some solo records. His story is very sad, yet has this (false) romantic side – the tortured artist kind of thing. He was very out there and original for the time and at the forefront of psychedelia.
JULY 2016 9th / LIVERPOOL CALLING FESTIVAL, LIVERPOOL
15th / HUDDERSFIELD, THE PARISH
16th / HARWORTH, THE BLACKSMITHS
17th / BLACKPOOL, BOOTLEG SOCIAL
18th / EDINBURGH, THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS
19th / HULL, THE ADELPHI
21st / DERBY, THE VENUE (Radar Love Club Night)
22nd / NOZSTOCK FESTIVAL, THE HIDDEN VALLEY
23rd / TRAMLINES FESTIVAL, SHEFFIELD (Crystal Stage)
24th / THE SUMMER WESTIVAL, ALDERSHOT
25th / TUNBRIDGE WELLS, THE FORUM
26th / LONDON, THE LEXINGTON
28th / ST ALBANS, THE HORN
29th / PLYMOUTH, UNDERGROUND
30th / READING, OAKFORD SOCIAL
AUGUST 2016 6th / KAYA FESTIVAL, PORT TALBOT
Sounds like: Interpol, The National, Editors, White Lies, Future Islands, Spector