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.
Rising pop artist Malory shares the beautiful ‘Blue Umbrella’, which we have had on repeat all week.
Seeking inspiration from life actions, ‘Blue Umbrella’’ started life on a tube journey after Malory had observed a family and noticed the father had a sadness in his eyes and seemed strangely discontented.
The Londoner was later in the studio making an experimental instrumental with producer Danny George when they noticed there was a blue umbrella left in the studio, which Malory found represented the image of an unhappy corporate figure in the rain on his way home from work.
Expect her debut album ‘Cornucopia’ out on 1 March.
Brooklyn-based duo Drinker shares ‘Something I Want’ – a track slightly darker than your average musical tipple.
Inspired by a mututal love of James Blake, songwriter Aaron Mendelsohn and producer Ariel Loh “wanted to create a visually diverse and bold message with the video for “Something I Want” and enlisted the help of NY based LGBTQ focused film maker Tyler Byrnes. With the implementation of stop motion animation and found footage, we aimed for a stark and surreal aesthetic to paint America’s multi-generational story of consumerism.“
Sounds like: Thom Yorke, James Blake, Trentemoller, The Acid, Fever Ray, Sevdaliza, Tame Impala
Externalising her thoughts, Ariela Jacobs considers the concept of missing her old self in new song ‘Missing You’.
New York born and Melbourne bred, indie-pop singer-songwriter Ariela Jacobs was raised on a diet of literature and art. Her songwriting sends the listener on a journey both intimate and other-worldly; with melodies with clear folk-based lines, underscored by lush chords and pulsing rhythms.
We are super excited about TENDER‘s new single, ‘Slow Love’, taken from their album ‘Fear Of Falling Asleep’, out via Partisan Records.
Much like TENDER’s other offerings, ‘Slow Love’ has a delightful bassline throughout with soulful vocals, inspired by the moments that come just before sleep when silence descends, and doubt and fear and desire take over.
Sounds like: MOTHXR, Jungle, Glass Animals, HUNTAR, Caribou, Air, The National, Tame Impala, Boxed In, Honne, Colouring
Meet Gentry, an LA-based, London-bred performer, composer, and producer who creates eccentric, pop-tinged electronica inspired by a broad array of influences.
Born from performances with the Heritage Orchestra since 2013, playing the grand piano, bass, guitar and synths in their Blade Runner and Joy Division performances and keys for the recent Pete Tong worldwide shows and was invited to join Quincy Jones for his 85th birthday celebration this year at the O2, Gentry’s own production perfectly blends classical tendencies with groovy, disco-led “retroisms” and a nonconformist nod to modern dance music.
Check out his double A-side release below:
Sounds like: Ben Khan, Prince, Chromeo, James Blake
Benji Lewis takes a contemplative stance in new single ‘Ride’.
It has an effortless simplicity, which Lewis wanted to come across on the single, written about relaxing, doing what is right for you, and just enjoying the ride. True to form, the track was recorded by Lewis and produced by Los Angeles artist Lincoln Jesser within a few hours.
Sounds like: The 1975, The Kite String Tangle, Antony Hegarty, Active Child, Gallant, Sam Smith, Solomon Grey, James Blake, Yazz, Jack Garratt, Disclosure
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.”