With comparisons to soul heavyweights, Jessie Ware and Jorja Smith, it’s difficult not to stop and listen to London-based Billie Black.
Taking a slightly different direction to her former releases (including those with Mura Masa), Billie’s ‘After All’ has strings and delicate vocals, perfectly showcasing vulnerability, passion and desire.
This is the first song by Malika that we’ve heard and we are instantly hooked.
Starting with gorgeous jazz-inspired piano chords, the Jae Eaux-produced track quickly develops with Malika’s soulful words about a lost long coupled with subtle choir-backing vocals.
Speaking on ‘Stranger Things’, Malika explains,
“Stranger Things is one of THE MOST personal songs I’ve written, it describes a real moment in time for me, and a real struggle between two people. For me it was necessary to tell this story this way. When I got back in the studio to work on new music it was with the idea of saying what I wanted to say, making what I wanted to make, without restriction. And I think you can hear that and feel that on Stranger things. Ultimately my hope is always to connect with people. But especially with this new set of music, I hope that others who have had the same or similar struggles find, or listen to, Stranger Things and the EP ‘Tension’ when it comes out next year and feel connected.”
Re-introducing Billie Black, a London-based artist who creates an effortless combination of RnB, jazz and electronica.
Following a stint of writing with Paul Statham (co-writer of Dido’s breakthrough hits ‘Here With Me’ and ‘No Angel’), Billie Black was encouraged to release the music and the result is a three-track EP called ‘The Last Time’.
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!
Brixton-based Sam Frankl is making waves with his groovy new number ‘Patina’.
Also a thin layer that forms on various metals due to oxidisation, ‘Patina’ is a song about a girl inconspicuously enquiring about her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship, scraping away at the surface to discover the boy’s true emotional state.
Wow, does this 21 year old have natural soul or what!
Brett Castro fuses folk music and timeless R&B to tell stories about growing up in a small town. His new single ‘Much About Sadness’ is written to a girl in his hometown who was diagnosed with depression, letting her know she is never alone.
Sounds like: Fleet Foxes, Tame Impala, Bon Iver, Prince
Tiaryn is an exciting Australian artist who is making waves this side of the world.
Her new single ‘Falling’ is the first single off an upcoming EP. It’s laid back and feel-good song that reflects on the evolution of a young relationship; from initial infatuation to the thrilling discovery of true connection.
A refreshing break appears to be just what Alexx Mack needed, because she is back with a song of epic proportions, and something that we all can relate to – ‘Wine In Bed’.
Inspired by her own toxic coping mechanisms, Alexx explains,
“Wine in Bed is about me learning that my coping methods were adding to the toxicity in my life and relationships. I would drink and cross my fingers to feel better, and almost every time I’d end up making another mistake. I thought that every sign was pointing to me needing to be alone, the truth was that I was pushing everything good in my life away.”
Sounds like: Charli XCX, Julia Michaels, Halsey, Kate Boy, The 1975, The Magnettes
It’s a battle of the pop songs this week, that was until we heard ‘Not Really’ by SAGE. There really is no competition!
The feminist pop track has been produced by double-diamond producer PJ Bianco (Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, ARIZONA) and written by SAGE alongside famously rumoured actual Britney Spears vocalist, Myah Marie Langston.
This little lady has already sung for the Swedish royal family and is now working with acclaimed US producer JKey (Beyoncé, Jay Z). Meet Adée.
Her new single ‘Wasted On You’ is out today and delves more into the realms of pop than she has ever done before. If you know Adée’s music, it is usually more soul and hip-hop based (just check out ‘Woman‘ on her YouTube channel).
This is an exciting new direction for the young producer, one we are very excited to hear more about.
Disclosure: I am Adée’s publicist.
Sounds like: Jorja Smith, Mary J Blige, Iggy Azalea
Do not be deceived, ‘Strange But True’ by Western Scene is not a Christmas song, despite the countless bells and chimes in the song. Instead, it is a call for decent music.
Formed by front man Tom Pritchard in Los Angeles, Western Scene is an indie rock band through and through, spending years self-producing music that has been written and recorded in bedrooms and studios across the coast.
‘Strange but True’ is out now via Grand Jury Music.