Tessa Dixson has just released the emotive ‘Falling’, which one again feature those trademark yearning and goosebumps inducing vocals. To celebrate the release, we asked Tessa to put together a playlist of inspiration for us.
Tessa Dixson – Prayer
This was my first ever release, and it still embodies everything i am today. It’s still so true to what i believe and i feel it’s the kind of anthem for any young adult discovering the beauty and sadness of life.
Frank Ocean – White Ferrari
His album Blonde is the only album i am able to listen to on repeat without getting tired of it, but on the contrary falling in love with it even more every time. He captures your emotions so perfectly and something quite extraordinary happens, he’s a musical genius to me.
Maggie Rogers – Give A Little
I’ve never really been into pop rock, but Maggie is an amazing singer songwriter, and when you hear one of her songs you will directly know it’s hers, and this song is a perfect feel-good-get out of bed-on a sunny morning-dancing in front of the mirror song, start off your morning right with Maggie!
Spooky Black – DJ Khaled Is My Father
I think Spooky Black may be the artist i’ve listened to the most since i was 16 years old. He has this haunting truth telling that is just so sad and he is able to make poetry out of it, that’s beautiful to me. When i listen to this song i feel i am laying on a bed of white roses in the sky slowly falling into a pool of red.
Ama Lou – Tried Up
To me, Ama Lou is the next big thing in the underground world, she has a really strong concept and her latest project DDD is super interesting. Her songs resonate a cool coolness.
Aphex Twin – #3
I have a playlist on my phone called “starfish” and a lot of Aphex Twin’s songs are in it simply because that’s what the songs make me feel like, a starfish underwater, a certain serenity and peace of mind and just gliding with the slow current, i usually listen to this playlist when i’ve smoked a spliff.
The song is 7 minutes long and is very monotonous in the sense that it is the same chords over and over but that is the beauty of the song, it’s not about the chords itself but more about what happens in between.
Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix)
I NEVER GET TIRED OF THIS SONG!!! It has so many ups and downs in it that you never get bored from it. It’s the kind of song you want to listen to when you come back from a party and the sun starts to come up and you still feel a bit buzzed but tired at the same time, thats the feeling i get from this song. Just writing about it gives me sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach.
James Black / Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire
Everything about this song makes me emotional and i don’t know why but that’s why i love it so much. James Blake and Bon Iver is a match made in heaven, everything about this song is perfect, the harmonies, the ad-libs, the beat, the chords, the strength of their voices together, i mean everything.
The Blaze – Virile
If you haven’t yet noticed, i tend to like songs that make me feel some kind of way, that’s usually why i like a song or not. Well this song represents a form of nostalgia and that’s why i like it so much, it tells a story by the atmosphere.
Romeo Elvis/Primero/Tessa Dixson/Halibab Matador – Poliss Massa
Romeo Elvis has really been able to create a sort of empire so i’m very proud to have been a part of it in the very beginning. It’s such a chill song and really makes me think of Brussels somehow.
South Coast-based R&B singer and producer Nakala recently dropped her hefty, eight track ‘GIRL’ EP, which features production from long-term production partner Brad Baker and co-production from Jonah (Ayelle, Dom Mcallister) who at only 19 has been working with Nakala and Brad as part of their in-house production team for the last four years.
To coincide with the ‘GIRL’ release, Nakala has put together a smooth playlist for us. Check it out below.
Nakala – Ringer I finished this track after I came back from LA and it just gives me good vibes
Mac Ayers – Get To You Again I loved Mac Ayers from the first single I heard..
Ella Mai – Trip Ella Mai is out here making waves, fave song from her album.
KHALID, 6LACK, Ty, Dolla $ign – OTW I love all the artists on this track especially Ty, this track is a vibe.
J.Cole – 1985 J. Cole is my one favourite artists, this was my fave track off his latest album.
Drake – In My Feelings This isn’t my fav drake track but it makes me happy.
SZA, Travis Scott – Love Galore I actually love this track because I LOVED the Khalid cover, his cover made me love the original.
Ayelle, Nakala – Actor This is a vibe, I love Ayelle, she’s my girl and we have some great songs together.
Kehlani, Cardi B – Ring I LOVE Kehlani and loved the new Cardi album, this was one of the best tracks for me.
Frank Ocean – Solo This track reminds me of LA, my happy place.
Brent Faiyaz – All I Want Summer vibes, chills me out and love Brent’s voice.
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
Brika is the alternative pop project of Cuban-American, Briana Martinez, who has been a musician since the tender age of three.
Whilst her music maybe lyrically mature, it has a profound pop swagger, which envelopes you immediately upon first listen until you reach the end and don’t quite remember how you got there, much like a taxi ride (which incidentally ties in nicely with her current release, ‘Taxi Man’).
Brika has kindly put together a playlist for Indietronica. Check it out below.
Steve Lacy – Some
Music is a very visual art form that constantly draws pictures from moments of your past. I generally believe that one of the many elements that determine if a song is good, is its ability to make you instantly daydream. The first time I heard this song, it was very early in the morning as I was driving, and it instantly provoked exactly that. Since I’ve been hooked.
Beach House – Space Song
I love this song because there is something very bittersweet about it. It reminds me of the general music I would listen to a lot in high school.
A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean – Purity
One of my recent late-night “what is life” songs for me. I think the structure of this song is very unique and refreshing. Frank Ocean’s voice makes me instantly nostalgic.
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
This… I mean, Thom Yorke is everything. Although this song isn’t in one of my more recent plays, it is definitely a song I always go back to. The production is timeless and Yorke is anexcellent lyricist I have spent several nights just analyzing his ability to make one song perfectly summarize so many emotions.
Demo – Sunshine Girl
The song you blast in your apartment with a bottle of wine as you’re cooking a delicious meal. I am a sucker for excessive harmonies that feel effortless, old-school elements, and wavy sounding tracks.
TOPS – Easier Said
Tops is a very underrated artist.
ROSALÍA – Catalina
Rosalía embodies what the future of music is. She mixes Spanish Flamenco with modern Pop and Hip-Hop beat elements. The music she releases is extremely innovative and her lyrics are also very tasteful. Even in her attempt to do a more commercial sounding track with J Balvin in Brillo, her unique palate of influences thrive.
Feist – A Man Is Not His Song
A Man Is Not His Song is special to me. I love how she uses ‘song’ as a kind of metaphor for saying, just because an artist sings or a person portrays a certain image, doesn’t necessarily mean that is their reality. Her message can be interpreted further to say, that no one can live up to first impressions forever, in the same way, that writers of beautiful songs often create things beyond them. I think this song analyzes and embodies perfectly, what is found often in the music industry, when an artist plays the role of something they are not. Every track in album Pleasure by Feist, had a lot of interesting insights in the lyrics, and inspired me in the creation of my new EP.
Rhye – Song For You
This is a great song to drive to. I saw them live, and was extremely shocked to find the singer was actually a male and sounded exactly as the record!
Lykke Li – I Never Learn
Although this album has been around for a very long time, these are one of the songs I’ve only more recently discovered.
Moses Sumney – Plastic
I think Moses Sumney is incredible and very underrated. Everything that this artist puts out is real music. I love the soft Jazz guitar, the distant reverbed harmonies, and subtle use of strings at the end. He never disappoints in creating beautiful arrangements that are topped by tasteful lyrics.
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.
Introducing Laarsen, an innovative electronic artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.
Slotting nicely into the musical realms of JamesBlake and FrankOcean, Laarsen samples with the electronic (modern synthesisers, beats and production techniques) and natural (vocal recordings, vinyl samples, and organic instrumentation), merging sounds from the past, present, and future.
Listen to the ‘Would U’ below, and expect a debut EP in the Spring.
Sounds like: Ben Pearce, Lane 8, James Blake, Burial, Mura Masa, Jim E-Stack, Jacques Greene, Kelela, Frank Ocean
Ohio based psychedelic pop quartet Captain Kidd share their new single called ‘Wild’, which is a blissful tune full of calming harmonies and shining production.
Lucky for you lot, Captain Kidd put together a playlist for us.
Blood Orange – Best to You
The hardest part about making this list might have been picking the right Dev Hynes track, but we would be lying if we said we’ve been jamming any other more than this one. The man truly is a genius, especially when it comes to writing parts for female vocalists, which is clearly shown in “Best to You.”
McFabulous – I Live Above the Hobby Shop
We were shuffling through discover weekly once and came across this track and thought maybe this was a live version of Glass Animals. We looked it up and realized they had sampled McFabulous for “Season 2 Episode 3,” and we absolutely loved this jam. Plus, McFabulous is an incredible name.
Ariel Pink – Another Weekend
Ariel Pink is the epitome of an artist pushing the boundaries of their sound. In fact, he has no boundaries. He does whatever he wants. Not many people can make experimental music catchy. This track off his new album is no different.
Porches – Find Me
One of our favorite current artists, still unknown to some. We fell in love with his last album Pool. It’s such a progression from his debut release. His latest, “Find Me,” combines that retro 90s house sound with modern day indie pop. We can’t wait for more from his upcoming full length.
TENDER – Machine
We discovered this U.K. based duo on a sub Reddit a few years back. They had one track out called “Armour.” We immediately fell in love with their production and the low and high vocal melody combo, which seems to have become their signature sound. Nate and Eric had a chance to see them live a few months back in Philadelphia.
La Poré – Sad Girl
La Poré is the fast rising solo project of our drummer, Nick Samson, started about a year ago now. If you’re into anything 80s or Foster the People then check out this track, and keep a look out for more of this tasteful pop coming from our percussionist!
Kanye West – Lost in the World
Kanye has been a favorite artist of ours for a long time, and has accompanied us on many road trips back and forth to Cleveland, so a playlist without him just wouldn’t feel right. Between the Bon Iver intro sample and the heavy driving beat, we have always felt this epic album closer is an underrated banger.
Frank Ocean – Self Control
Frank Ocean released Blonde in August 2016, and we instantly fell in love. His raw, emotive vocal style and minimalistic production caught our attention, and the album as a whole continues to get better with every listen. We like this track in particular because it starts out small and simple, but slowly transforms into one of the most moving songs on the album.
Jamie XX – Girl
Jamie XX has been a huge influence on us as self producers, especially with our percussion. We were obsessed with his album In Colour our last year of college. We lived in this enormous house with 9 people total, constantly jamming “Girl” and other accompanying tracks. The people we lived with that year are still some of our best friends, so the combination of nostalgia and the mark Jamie XX has had on us with our production makes this an important track.
Miguel – waves (Tame Impala Remix)
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala continues to amaze us with his progression as a producer and song writer. I mean, who saw Currents coming when Parker first released Innerspeaker? It seams as though he gets poppier with each release, but somehow still maintains that other worldly psychedelic goodness that many fans initially fell in love with. The “waves” remix isn’t what one would normally think of when thinking about a “remix.” It sounds like Miguel and Parker just teamed up to make a banger psych pop track, with those warm drum tones, luscious synths, and of course, lots of flanger.
It’s not long until the end of the year, and what better way to see 2017 through with a playlist from Chelsea Lankes. This one goes out to all the ladies, and is probably one of the best playlists we’ve ever had! Lucky you!
“Here are some favorites over the last couple months including songs from favorite albums this year: SZA, Phoebe Bridgers, YOUTH, Lorde and Wolf Alice. Also I put a few singles from female pop artists I love and respect! To be enjoyed while driving at night, at low key parties, showering or anywhere you might sing really loud alone. 🙂”
…And whilst we have you, give Chelsea’s new track a spin too.
Sounds like: MUNA, Wet, Evvy, Ghost Beach, Kyla La Grange, Ji Nilsson, Tove Styrke, Carousel, Kitten, Nina, Mikky Ekko, Remmi, Cappa
Standing firmly on his own two feet is the young Copenhagen-based Vera (aka William Asingh).
His latest single, ‘Nobody Else’, was a collaborative effort with Off Bloom, and is influenced by the Caribbean novel ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys, which is about a landowner’s Jamaican wife who is locked up in an attic for allegedly being mad.
The ‘Good Job – No Conversation’ EP is released on 8 December through Ultra Records/Ministry of Sound.
Finally, we have the brilliant new indie-pop trio from Portland called Year of the Brother.
We are particularly excited about these guys as they seem to have something special about them. Perhaps it’s the soaring, yet delicate production? Perhaps it’s the on-point falsettos? Or perhaps it’s the enticing lyrics? You decide.