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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.

Weekly Gems 37

Ben Khan – 2000 Angels

Ben Khan

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 (PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode, 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

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OTR – Close Feat Kai Straw

OTR - Close Feat Kai Straw

OTR manages to get the chilled but tense vibe just right with his latest single, ‘Close’, which includes the soulful vocals by Kai Straw.

The 25-year old aerospace engineer-turned-producer uses his mathematical mind as a key component when it comes to his music, producing off-kilter melodies and electronic sounds.

Sounds like: Hotel Garuda, Gryffin, ODESZA, Petit Biscuit, Porter Robinson

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NAVA – Ritual

NAVA

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.

‘Ritual’ is out now on Factory Flaws.

Sounds like: Nimmo

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Betablock3r – Make You Happy

Betablock3r

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.

Sounds like: Goldroom, Chromeo, RAC, Nightdrive

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Tanners – Holy Water

Tanners

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.

Sounds like: Shura, Monogem, Ronika, Jessie Ware

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Young Sierra – Next To You

Young Sierra - Next To You

Meet emerging alt-pop trio Young Sierra, who were born from a school friendship, and bonded “over a shared love of low bit-rate Drake mp3s, eighties pop and hot-sauce”.

They have the kind of frantic energy of Arcade Fire and the cheeky nature of The 1975. Naughty.

Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Electric Youth, The 1975, Night Panther, Bad Sounds

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ANNALIA – Dust

ANNALIA - Dust

Los Angeles-based ANNALIA shares ‘Dust’ – a summertime song for rainy day.

‘Dust’ doesn’t normally glisten, but this definitely does, as the nostalgic, 80’s inspired pop synths swirl around the listener in an infectious manner.

Expect a five-track EP later in the year.

Sounds like: HAIM, Wet, MUNA, The 1975, The Japanese House, Pale Waves, Monogem

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Weekly Gems 33

STEELE – Know Her

STEELE

Kicking off our weekly gems on International Women’s Day is dark pop project STEELE with ‘Know Her’.

Comprised of producers Charles Elmi, Dejan Sajinovic and Swedish vocalist/artist STEELE, the heavy and progressive sounds they create slot nicely alongside the likes of Monogem or Banks.

Listen to the sultry ‘Know Her’ below, which is taken from their forthcoming LP on Firegate Music.

Sounds like: Monogem, Banks

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Tiaryn – Falling

Tiaryn

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.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Jorja Smith, Caswell

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Alexx Mack – Wine In Bed

Alexx Mack

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

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SAGE – Not Really

SAGE - Not Really

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.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Grimes, Billie Eilish, Britney Spears, Linney

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Lucy Neville – Ransom

Lucy Neville

Young choir singer-turned songwriter Lucy Neville has hit us hard with her sweet vocals and striking lyrics on ‘Ransom’, a song about falling in lust and then in love.

Australian-born, you’d be forgiven for thinking Lucy was brought up in Nashville surrounded by country and pop, a true testament to her talent.

Sounds like: Kygo, Griffin

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Y.A.S – VIBRATIONS

Y.A.S

Scottish born “ethereal pop” artist Y.A.S is sending good ‘VIBRATIONS’ with her new single.

A Drake-style loop kicks off the track preparing us for Y.A.S’ rapturous vocals to kick in. A song about an incredibly rare connection so deep with someone that you can communicate without words.

Sounds like: Billie Eilish, Caswell, JONES, Raye, Jake Alder

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PLYA – Adrenaline

PLYA - Adrenaline

With just two tracks under their belt, PLYA‘s sound is already becoming very recognisable as energetic pop that is full of adrenaline. Handy that, as their second ever single is called ‘Adrenaline’!

Speaking on the single, PLYA explain,

“Adrenaline is about that perfect high you feel when you fall for someone new. For us, the track captures the rush of living in that care-free moment, but not knowing where it will take you.”

Lock in, watch below and enjoy the ride.

Sounds like: Fickle Friends, Draper, Sykes, Broods, Phantogram, Monogem

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Weekly Gems 28

Vivienne Chi – Blood Brother

Vivienne Chi

Alternative pop artist Vivienne Chi shares the enticing ‘Blood Brother’.

With a broad vocal range and a story to tell, ‘Blood Brother’ is about the correlation between light and love, submerged by driving synth hooks and magical moments throughout.

Sounds like: Jessie Ware, London Grammar, GRADES, RUNAH

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LeyeT – Drip Drop

LeyeT

Meet Los Angeles-based pop artist and songwriter, LeyeT (pronounced ‘light’).

Speaking from a hugely painful personal experience, LeyeT’s single ‘Drip Drop’ channels feelings of heartbreak, as if the waves were pummelling over and over again until eventually stopping.

Sounds like: Halsey, Imogen Heap

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LOVE SICK – Hope

LOVE SICK

Scottish cosmic pop duo LOVE SICK share ‘Hope’.

It’s a shout out to everyone who struggles with anxieties of daily life, a supportive song that urges you to maintain your passion and drive, something that LOVE SICK are very much doing within the music industry.

Sounds like: ASTR, Dagny, COSBY

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Me Not You – Eventually

Me Not You

Vintage keys and delicate vocals highlight ‘Eventually’ by Me Not You as a short and sweet song that is straight to the point.

Speaking of the track, “…it’s a personal song for me… a sort of hyping up of myself to the idea of squashing the beef with someone. the baggage of relationships can linger, and it does no one any good to keep that shit around.”

Sounds like: Melis

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ISLAND – Ride

ISLAND by Mel Tjoeng

DIY London band ISLAND take us on a journey with them.

Their new single ‘Ride’ is taken from the upcoming debut album ‘Feels Like Air’, and is led by a guitar riff full of nostalgia that builds throughout the track.

Sounds like: Foals, Amber Run, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Libertines, Mystery Jets, The Lapelles, Circa Waves

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Disco Shrine – Up in the Air

Disco Shrine

Let’s throw it back with Los Angeles-based electro-pop artist Disco Shrine (aka Jessica Delijani) and her new single ‘Up in the Air’.

As Disco Shrine’s first release in a year, ‘Up In The Air’ hits the ground running with infectious synths and a catchy chorus.

Sounds like: Monogem, Jessie Ware, FOXES, Le Youth

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Robokid – Worth It

Robokid

…And finally in this week’s roundup, a truly honest rendition from DJ/producer Robokid.

Robokid makes interesting and progressive indie-pop music with a generous nod to early 2000s sounds.

Listen to ‘Worth It’ below, taken from his debut EP ‘Apart’, out now via Moving Castle.

Sounds like: Hellogoodbye, EXES

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Weekly Gems 25

LKA – I’m Fallin’

LKA

Finnish artist LKA has teamed up with HANNAH on her new single, ‘I’m Fallin”. It’s a welcome retreat from the cold weather.

Written about a crush, the stripped-back song showcases LKA’s fruitful vocals, and swirling, tropical production.

Sounds like: MØ, Grimez, Paperwhite, Calypso

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Nat Reed – Flow

Nat Reed - Flow

Boston-based Nat Reed is an exciting new R&B artist.

Her ethereal sensuality works magic with the minimal electronic production used in her music, which creates an otherworldly experience for the listener.

Listen to ‘Flow’ below.

Sounds like: Beyonce, Solange, Banks, Jorja Smith, FKA Twigs, Mabel

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SUMif – In With Me

SUMif

San Francisco-based electro pop up-and-comer SUMif sets off 2018 alight with her new EP called ‘Pretty Cage’.

SUMif has already opened for indie and electro-pop darlings such as VÉRITÉ, Lauv, Ella Vos, Kučka, and Little Boots, and hopefully a headline slot will be hers very shortly.

‘In With Me’ is the lead single.

Sounds like: REMMI, CAPPA, Monogem, Evvy, Noosa, Sizzy Rocket

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namaka – Cellophane

namaka - Cellophane

We don’t hear very much Swiss indietronica, but namaka‘s new song ‘Cellophane’ proves we should be listening to more.

Their music is both feminine and masculine; production both analogical and digital, as the band tackle the conflict of man vs machine in the most delicate and rough ways possible.

Sounds like: Bat For Lashes, Daughter

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Western Scene – Strange But True

Western Scene

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.

Sounds like: Band Of Horses, Midlake, Lake Jons

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Weekly Gems 23

French Horn Rebellion – Rooftops Feat. Natalie Duffy

French Horn Rebellion

Brooklyn brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari, aka French Horn Rebellion, ask us to meet them on the ‘Rooftops’ in their new single, which also features the delicate vocals of Natalie Duffy.

The boys maybe harnessing down the electro funk on this one, but it doesn’t mean ‘Rooftops’ lacks energy, quite the opposite. Take a listen below.

Their label YouTooCanWoo will be expanding its ‘Night Out’ series of collaborative performances including dates in New York and London. More info here.

Sounds like: Monogem, RÜFÜS, Flight Facilities, Van She

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BATTS – Somedays

BATTS

Melbourne-based folktronica artist BATTS returns with her beautiful new single ‘Somedays’.

Using space as a reference (specifically the NASA recording of Saturn’s rings), ‘Somedays’ showcases BATTS’ knack of creating psych-tinged pop that is extremely grounding, but also feels otherworldly at the same time.

Expect her mesmerising and melancholic debut EP ’62 Moons’, to be released through the newly announced THAA Records.

Sounds like: London Grammar, Ficci, GEMS, MS MR, Daughter, James Blake, Jon Hopkins, MØ, SOHN, Broods, M83

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Jinka – Shock Mounted

Jinka

Quirky songstress Jinka shares the ‘Shock Mounted’.

The surrealist video, directed by Ossian Melin (Yung Lean, Little Dragon), features Jinka reading Swedish porn magazines and microwaving sushi. As you do.

Sounds like: Charli XCX, Vera, Billie Eilish, Gwen Stefani, Talking Heads

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Lake Jons -Call Me

Lake Jons

Following on from the brilliant ‘Colors‘, Finnish trio Lake Jons release ‘Call Me’.

Once again ethereal vocals clash and blend with tinny drums. We can’t help but think severe isolation in the woods is the way forward – it really does produce inspirational music!

Expect their forthcoming self-titled debut album to come out on 19 January through AntiFragile Music.

Sounds like: Midlake, Band Of Horses, Paul Simon, Ásgeir, Bon Iver, Nick Mulvey

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Dream Estate – You

Dream Estate

Wow, ‘You’ is some serious spine tingling stuff from Dream Estate, an exciting ambient pop outfit on the scene.

The band was originally founded by William Tse in 2015, but later was joined by Dan Hvorostovsky (bass, backing vocals), Dan Noble (lead guitar, backings vocals), and Joe Dawson (drums) in 2017. Since then, the band have been working alongside producer Sam Winfield (Fickle Friends, Pixel Fix, Amber Run, Motherhood).

Watch their video about insecure love below.

Sounds like: Bon Iver, The Japanese House, Aquilo

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Rainsford – Intentions Feat. Twin Shadow

Rainsford - Intentions Feat. Twin Shadow

Wow Rainsford has pulled this one out of the bag. Her new single ‘Intentions’ is a sensual duet with Twin Shadow nonetheless.

Rainsford’s ever-so sultry vocals sweetly surrender to the nostalgic temptation of Twin Shadow.

Turn the lights down low, slip into something more comfortable and listen below.

Sounds like: Monogem, Jessie Ware, Blood Orange

Rainsford
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Twin Shadow
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Weekly Gems 19

Saavan – Slow

Saavan

Alt-dream pop duo Saavan share their heavenly new single ‘Slow’, taken from their new EP.

‘Slow’ sounds more like a poem with its spiritual lyrics that Saavan wrote during a coming of age road trip. Listen below.

Sounds like: Mome, Petit Biscuit

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Kinship – It’s You

Kinship - It's You

Kinship is the project of North London twosome Tom Butler and Dave Crawford.

Seeking inspiration from past and present electronic spheres, their debut release has a dance energy that works in contrast with its chilled out, minimalist production.

Sounds like: Elderbrook, Caribou, Odesza, Ry X, Kllo, Four Tet, Maribou State

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Kazy Lambist – Be Yourself

Kazy Lambist by Grégoire Alexandre

French newcomer Kazy Lambist shares the video to his motivational track ‘Be Yourself’.

The chic video follows Lambist in two worlds, where blissed out fantasies crash into an intergalactic land full of luxury and excess.

Watch below.

Sounds like: RÜFÜS, Joe Goddard, RAC, Ghost Beach, Goldroom, Zimmer, Jape, Penguin Prison, Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Calvin Harris

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SUMif – Drifting

SUMif

Time to drift away from the dark and wintery nights onto a sun kissed sandy beach in Calfironia.

SUMif‘s goal with this track is to make you dance, regardless of whether you are at a desk or live show. She’s certainly done that – we can’t stop spinning around on our seats!

Sounds like: REMMI, Cappa, Monogem, Evvy, Noosa, Sizzy Rocket

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Icarus – Machine Heart

Icarus - Machine Heart

Icarus is Swedish producer whose futuristic sound reaches to us from the universe where he originates from.

The dark synth-wave track, ‘Machine Heart’, may well resemble Daft Punk and Lady Gaga but is firmly set out of this world.

Sounds like: Daft Punk, Lady Gaga

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