Australian singer/songwriter Benji Lewis today shares ‘Us Again’.
Working again with friend and talented producer, Golden Vessel (remember the beautiful ‘Hesitate‘?), Benji effortlessly expresses his feelings and emotions about reuniting with that special someone, and thinking about them every day.
“The song is about wanting to be in the same space as the other person, breathing in the same air, being able to look into their eyes, and have them look at you in the same way. It’s about wanting to have that again, and feel all of things that come just from being around them.”
Expect the release of his third EP, ‘Together Apart’, very soon!
Sounds like: The Kite String Tangle, Antony Hegarty, Active Child, Gallant, Sam Smith, Solomon Grey, James Blake, Yazz, Jack Garratt, Disclosure
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!
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.
Finding artistic inspiration during a 700 mile solitary walk through France and Spain, while listening to the film music of Thomas Newman (American Beauty) and Michael Nyman (The Piano), as well as the ethereal pop of Rhye and Zero 7, Nina June has created the cinematic pop song, ‘Out To Sea’.
Berlin-based artist JINKA shares the experimental and rather sporadic ‘Countdown Forever’, full of plonky synth sounds.
Speaking about the track, JINKA states,
“Countdown Forever is about an illusional state of infinite hedonistic experience. The title is paradoxical. But just because something is paradoxical it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the idea of it. I think, what I generally do when I’m writing is that I try to take a different perspective on the mundane, dip crude reality into some sort of surreal glossing, romanticize it without smoothening the contours.”
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
Josh Jacobson is effortlessly combining modern R&B with dance-pop in his new single ‘Sideline’ featuring co-production from Gigamesh.
On the subject of the song, he explains,
“Sideline is a song about growth and building in new directions, learning to let go when it’s necessary to move forward. It’s about those inner voices at times of transition that are at once exciting but so challenging emotionally. I think these lyrics will resonate with a lot of people in different ways, so I’m excited to hear how people relate to the song.”
Sounds like: Le Youth, Drake, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd
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
Haux is the project of rising photographer-turned-musician Woodson Black.
His most recent release, ‘Heartbeat’, is a stunning piano-led track that once again showcases his ability to effortlessly combine film and storytelling with music.
The short film set in the Cape Cod seaside town of Truro, Massachusetts features Sam Laiz and model Chloe Nørgaard, and explores the depths of love. Woodson explains,
“I get the chills anytime I remember this day at the beach. The landscape was so desolate it somehow made us shiver even more. I tried my best to capture that haunting feeling of being completely alone with your thoughts; those relentless kind of thoughts that never leave you. I wanted to show that while there is always pain in remembering, there is tenderness too.”
His forthcoming sophomore EP & companion short film ‘Something To Remember’ is set for release on 30 March via Ultra Records.
European Tour Dates
12 May – Berne, Switzerland – ISC
13 May – Zurich, Switzerland – Exil
16 May – Vienna, Austria – Chelsea
17 May – Berlin, Germany – Musik & Frieden
19 May – Copenhagen, Denmark – Ideal Bar
21 May – Stockholm, Sweden – Bar Brooklyn
22 May – Hamburg, Germany – Nochtspeicher
23 May – Cologne, Germany – Yuca
24 May – Roubaix, France – la Cave aux Poètes
26 May – Utrecht, Netherlands – EKKO
28 May – Groningen, Netherlands – USVA
29 May – Paris, France – Le Point Ephémère
1 June – London, UK – Omeara
2 June – Glasgow, UK – Stereo