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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.

Playlist: Austel

Austel

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.

‘Water is my eye / Most faithful mirror’

Sounds like: Kllo, IDER

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The Kite String Tangle – This Thing We Got

TKST

Time to start cruising with The Kite String Tangle‘s unusually upbeat new single, ‘This Thing We Got’.

It’s a song about the butterflies you feel when you first get with someone, cleverly represented by the rosy horn section (think Mark Ronson, Rudimental). Originally planned to be 30 b.p.m slower than it now is, the slower melody is sampled in the chorus as a “song within a song”.

Watch the live video below.

‘This Thing We Got’ can be found on The Kite String Tangle‘s self-titled debut album which is available everywhere now via Exist Recordings.

Sounds like: RÜFÜS, Dead Ceremony, M83, TDeL2, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, The Weeknd, Active Child, Mount Kimbie, Fever Ray, James Blake, Cloud Boat

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Playlist: So Below

So Below

We’ve been fans of New Zealand talent, So Below, for a while now.

We wanted to find out what helps So Below write her incredibly reflective, dark electronic pop, so what better way than her expressing it in a playlist?

“In this playlist I feel like a have a memory or feeling associated with each song, they all have a nostalgic quality to them. Like The Dodos track for example makes me think of sitting on my mums roof at her old house in Auckland and drinking beers with my friends in summer. Or the Trentemoller track makes me think of waiting at the bus stop for the bus to go to work and its pouring down with rain. All such great songs!”

Sounds like: Raindear, Kate Boy, The Naked And Famous, MUNA, Ofelia K, Monogem, Bo Rocha

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The Kite String Tangle – The Prize Feat. Bridgette Amofah

The Kite String Tangle

Taking more of a contrasting RÜFÜS kind of vibe, singer/songwriter/producer The Kite String Tangle shares ‘The Prize’ featuring Rudimental’s vocalist, Bridgette Amofah.

Full of belated energy, this track explores the intense relationship between two falling lovers, but the question of what if? appears too late.

Expect the release of his debut self-titled album for 14 July on his own newly founded label, Exist Recordings.

Sounds like: RÜFÜS, Dead Ceremony, M83, TDeL2, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, The Weeknd, Active Child, Mount Kimbie, Fever Ray, James Blake, Cloud Boat

TKST
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Bridgette Amofah
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LUHA – Blue Whale

LUHA

LUHA

We all know the Swedes are the best when it comes to creating brooding music, so it’s no surprise that LUHA’s ‘Blue Whale’ ticks this box.

Not only that, but the impressive dark pop debut is a song dedicated to her fisherfolk ancestors and relatives who live in the Philippines.

Sounds like: Björk, iamamiwhoami, Fever Ray

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Playlist: MIYNT

MIYNT

MIYNT

MIYNT is a Stockholm-based artist and musician. Having listened to a couple of her previous tracks, we decided to get the girl to put together a playlist for us.

You can check it out below.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home 
I was blown away by this song, it has a timeless feel to it.

Touchy Mob – Crooked Lust 
I love the lo-fi feel and the melancholia in this song. It’s brilliant.

Alabama Shakes – I Found You
Brittany Howard must be one of the greatest singers alive. I love this song.

Mild High Club – Windowpane 
Man, I almost wanna steel that synth in the beginning, or in the whole song. It’s an amazing song.

Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill 
I think that all of my favorite songs includes the chord bm. This one included. It just catches some sort of melancholia. Damon Albarn 4-ever.

Fever Ray – I’m Not Done
I think that this is one of the best electronic songs of this decade.

Buscabulla – Sono
This makes me wanna dance

Valerie June – Wanna Be On Your Mind
This song falls in the same category as the Leon Bridges-track. It just feels timeless. So chill and beautiful.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Because I’m secretly in love with PJ Harvey.

Angel Olsen – Shut Up And Kiss Me.
I just discovered Angel Olsen and I think she is awesome.

You can listen to MIYNT’s new single, ‘You Were Never Too Much’, below.

Sounds like: CAPPA, Banks, Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Kate Boy, IYES, Zola Blood, I AM KARATE, Tula

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Röyksopp – Never Ever (Feat. Susanne Sundfør)

Röyksopp

Röyksopp

Norweigian artists, Röyksopp and Susanne Sundfør are no strangers to working together, having collaborated on ‘Running To The Sea’ and ‘Save Me’.

New number, ‘Never Ever’, is a highly danceable, electronic track, seeing Röyksopp return in full force.

“The track has its own cosmos and its own place.” says Svein Berge. “The whole idea of us going away from the whole album concept was that we do have many musical expressions that we want to do,” says Torbjørn. “One of them might be a club track, but we don’t necessarily want to do an album of it. It’s that way with ‘Never Ever’ – we love it, but we don’t need 12 tracks like it.”

Sounds like: Robyn, Digitalism, Fever Ray, Little Boots, Goldfrapp

Röyksopp
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Susanne Sundfør
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Interview: Amanda Merdzan

Amanda Merdzan

Amanda Merdzan

Australian-born and London-based, Amanda Merdzan, has been gearing up to release her ‘Commands’ EP, which is finally out today.

We had a chat with Amanda about its release and her music, in general.

For those of you who don’t know you, tell us a bit more about yourself and how you got into music.

I started playing guitar when I was really young, and spent a lot of my younger years at all ages gigs after discovering the world of grunge and pop-punk music! I formed a few bands back then and would always be jamming with them in my parents garage or at one of the other kids houses. One thing lead to another, a punk rock EP, a few folk records later and here I am! It’s been an interesting progression.

Describe your sound in three words.

Dark Electro Pop.

Your EP, ‘Commands’, is coming out on the 25th July. Tell us more about the meaning behind it.

Leading up to writing the EP there were a lot of significant changes taking place in my life, which became the focal point of the songs. The title ‘Commands’ comes from the feeling of having very little control in the situations I was experiencing.

A close friendship of mine was on it’s way out the door, and I was learning that people can change very quickly when being guided by the will of others. I’d also just revealed the relationship with my girlfriend that I had been hiding from everyone for a long time, and I was trying to navigate my way through all the challenges that came with that.

Where do you cite your musical influences from?

I’ve always had a large folk influence, but when I was writing this EP I was listening to a lot of Broods, Grimes and Fever Ray.

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

Bat For Lashes, Haux, Anna Of The North and Amanda Bergman.

Order ‘Commands’ on iTunes here.

Sounds like: Leena Ojala, Rhye, Emma Louise, MUNA, Shura, Chinah, Wet

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Kate Boy – Midnight Sun

Kate Boy - Midnight Sun

Kate Boy returns with new track, ‘Midnight Sun’ which will be featured on their debut album ‘ONE’, set for release this November.

‘Midnight Sun’ was written and recorded by Kate Boy in Stockholm last December and draws inspiration from the endless days of sunlight during Swedish summers, often described as a magical experience.

Kate Boy enlisted esteemed Swedish producer Christoffer Berg (Depeche Mode, Fever Ray, I Break Horses) to assist on the production of the track, together the collaboration created brooding synth lead verses that erupt into an explosive, anthemic chorus.

It is out on 10 August via [FICTION RECORDS], but can be purchased now on iTunes.

Sounds like: Niki & The Dove, Death Rattle, I BREAK HORSES, MSMR, Soft as Snow, The Knife, Chvrches, Grimes, Color War, Graingerboy, Mr Little Jeans, Kate Bush

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