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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 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 SubmitHub Gems 5

CENTVRIES – Tension

CENTVRIES

Born in 2015, CENTVRIES create explorative electronica, pushing the boundaries of standard indietronica sounds with techno beats and vivid lyrics.

Their new single ‘Tension’ is out now via Beans & Bacon.

Sounds like: Dead Ceremony, The Kite String Tangle, The Aston Shuffle, Tube & Berger

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Men I Trust – Tailwhip

Men I Trust

Finally, a song has been written about the most epic BMX trick known to man, the ‘Tailwhip’! Thank you Men I Trust!

Now based in Montreal (previously residing in Québec), this mellow song is full of bittersweet nostalgia.

Sounds like: Tame Impala, Wet, MUNA, Lucius, The Japanese House

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Lolahiko – Alone

Lolahiko

Ambient electronic duo Lolahiko share brooding new number, ‘Alone’.

They remind us of an early Broods or GEMS with a melancholic edge.

Listen below.

Sounds like: Broods, GEMS

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The Franklin Electric – Burning Flame

The Franklin Electric

Another Montreal-based band to be included in this week’s SubmitHub gems.

Meet indie folk band, The Franklin Electric, who have shared their video for ‘Burning Flame’, a cinematic showpiece filmed in Toronto.

“This was a spontaneous last minute addition to the record about the fire that feeds us and brings us to do all the things we do, or ignore the things we don’t do but wish we had. A voice inside most of us that can easily be ignored but the burn is a constant reminder. This video was all about the casting! I walked in the day of the shoot and met George, who plays the main role in this music video. He is the most endearing, honest, pure, yet driven 17 year old kid I have ever met. From that moment I was sold on the director’s story & concept. I invite you to meet George for yourself.”

It’s taken from their sophomore album, ‘Blue Ceilings’.

Sounds like: The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Ben Howard

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Ava Raiin – Tree

Ava Raiin

Brooklyn-based singer Ava Raiin may have worked closely with the likes of Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen and Solange, but what we are really interested in is her solo material.

‘Tree’, taken from Ava’s self titled album, has a sentimental R&B sound throughout, with modern vocal libs – a theme that runs throughout the album, and the main reason why she grabbed our attention.

Her self-titled album is out now.

Sounds like: Blood Orange, Solange, Jessie Ware

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Tennis – No Exit

Tennis

Dreampop husband and wife duo Tennis ramp up the b.p.m on new single, ‘No Exit’.

It’s one of those songs that catches your breath upon first listen – woozy synths and vocals that are just about sensual enough to get you hot under the collar…no more, no less.

Sounds like: Niki & The Dove, Stevie Nicks, Alvvays, Beach House

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Tkay Maidza – Follow Me

Tkay Maidza

We randomly discovered Australian artist Tkay Maidza on YouTube, and we’ve had her video for ‘Follow Me’ on repeat ever since.

Tkay’s urban-pop swagger immediately got our attention as the retro, Calvin Klein-styled video pursues Tkay in her mirrored boiler suit.

Sounds like: Blood Orange, Solange, George Maple, Kiiara, Dagny, Charli XCX, Grimes, M.I.A

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Playlist: Glassio

Glassio

Glassio

Meet Glassio, the alt-pop project of Sam Rad and Charlie P.

Glassio have put together a playlist for us about the influences behind their recent atmospheric cover of Iggy & The Stooges‘ ‘Search & Destroy’.

You can listen to/find out more below.

“These are 11 songs that played a role in influencing our production of “Search & Destroy,” and that we still often reference when working on new music.

Individually, there might not be much in common with the cover, but there are elements from each that either exist in the cover or that we had on our mind when working on the track.

Most notably is the idm-electro inspired cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” by German producer Schneider TM –originally performed by The Smiths. That served as a specific influence by taking something from one genre and fitting it into another.

I (Sam) have also been listening to a lot of UK garage and 2-step lately. Sticky is one of my favorite producers in that area, and the song we’ve included on here, “War Rhythm” played a big part in influencing a portion of the beat in the cover.

Lately, we’ve both been digging deep into old Philly soul, MFSB, and then lots of 90s and early 2000s R&B. That’s been having a major comeback lately, and you can hear it all over the Chance album. The voices on “Same Drugs” are particularly uplifting, and we wanted our voices in the gospel section of our cover to resemble the same mood.

“Heartbeats” by Joakim and “Transformer Man” by Neil Young are both basically singer-songwriter songs performed through vocoders, and that idea was really attractive to us, so we added that very faintly in the vocals on the first verse.

Our cover ends with a Beach Boys-inspired ending, emanating the trapped feeling that the vocals at the end of “’Til I Die” give off.

The playlist also starts off with a song by a former classmate of ours at Clive Davis. We never spoke in person, but his album is pretty fantastic, and definitely removes you from your current headspace with lots of controlled and orchestrated noise-rock. We wanted the ending of our song to have that same feeling.”

Sounds like: Aquilo, Foals, Jagwar Ma, Rüfüs

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Bianca Gisselle – You

Bianca Gissellle by Anna Maria Lopez

Bianca Gissellle by Anna Maria Lopez

Try stop yourself singing along to Bianca Gisselle’s newest single, ‘You’. Go on, we dare you.

Los Angeles-based Gisselle has collaborated with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Steve Rusch (Solange, Miguel) and co-writer Rocco DellaNeve on the track. Fusing electronic production with soulful melodies, ‘You’ is about a relationship coming to an end, but we have no doubt that this is just the start for Gisselle.

‘You’ is the first single off her upcoming ‘Get Back to Love: Side B’ EP which will be released later this year.

Sounds like: Caswell, Nina Yasmineh,

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Phantom Runners – First Time

Phantom Runners

Phantom Runners

Phantom Runners is the moniker of pop producer ADAL (aka Adam Al-Hilali).

Forged through a love of R&B, pop and 80’s music, Phantom Runners are embarking on a journey of collaboration. Working on an album featuring several vocalists, the initial track is the aptly named ‘First Time’, featuring Brooke Bailey.

“‘First Time’ is a track about chasing that first feeling you get with someone, that initial rush,” explains ADAL.

Co-produced by John Beck (Izzy Bizu, Delilah, Corinne Bailey Rae), ‘First Time’ is three minutes of scintillating 80’s nostalgia over fresh electronic beats, boasting retro synths eloquently blended with sun-splashed soulful vocals.

Live Dates

24th July – Sofar Sounds, London
9th July – Lee Fest, Kent
27th August – Victorious Festival, Portsmouth
1st October – Southsea Fest, Portsmouth

Sounds like: Blood Orange, Futurecop!, Years & Years, Caribou, Sky Ferreira, Solange, LANY

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MUNA – Winterbreak

MUNA

MUNA

Los Angeles alternative girlband, MUNA return with a video for ‘Winterbreak’, which features Ione Skye of ‘Say Anything’ fame.

Speaking about the video, MUNA says:

“The ‘Winterbreak’ video is about the dual experience of belonging and non-belonging involved in returning to a former home. Often when we’ve visited the places we grew up in, we’ve found ourselves in the strange space between nostalgia and total regression. We visit familiar places in which we no longer fit, surround ourselves with familiar people with whom we don’t necessarily connect anymore, and engage in familiar activities that might normally strike us as incredibly immature. Despite being in the same world we were immersed in as children and adolescents, there is a sense there that almost everything about ‘home’ has changed. Generally for us, the only solace has been really great friends. So we tried to show some of that.”

Their debut, ‘The Loudspeaker EP’, will arrive on 6 May via RCA Records.

Sounds like: KALEIDA, The Levity, Paperwhite, Monogem, Shura, Solange, Charli XCX, Kita Alexander, VÉRITÉ, Salt Ashes, Palmedo, Prinze George, The Japanese House, Imogen Heap

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Miles From Kinshasa – Kaya

Miles From Kinshasa

Miles From Kinshasa

Tending to our earlobes is Miles From Kinshasa, a South London based multi-instrumentalist and producer who makes “rumba-pop”.

His latest offering, called ‘Kaya’, is infectious and intense. Imagine the essence of the late 80’s has been captured in a glass bottle, which has been stored until current day, only to be shattered in an underground R&B club.

Miles says of the self-produced track “The name Kaya itself means little and wise amongst other things but generally has to do with some kind of wisdom”.

‘Kaya’ will be released as a double a-side on new South London based label One Time – available digitally and as a 7″ vinyl single.

Sounds like: Ben Khan, July Child, Solange, Blood Orange, Jai Paul

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The Album Leaf – New Soul

The Album Leaf

The Album Leaf

The Album Leaf returns with ambient electronic track ‘New Soul’, which was out on 9 November.

“I wanted to experiment with my vocals,” Jimmy LaVelle says about the song. “I’ve never been fully comfortable with the inconsistencies of my voice. I’m not a singer, I just choose to sing sometimes. I wanted to keep the honesty and not think about it too much. Lyrically, the song is about moving forward, getting out of your comfort zone.”

The video was directed by Michael Raines, who has previously worked with the band on the 2014 tour documentary ‘Beyond There’, and the award winning cinematographer is Mike Simpson (Alt-J, Lil’ Wayne, SolangeDavid Byrne).

“We had little resources,” LaValle explains, “So we spent a weekend in Joshua Tree desert with friends and family contributing to the making of this video and I’m amazed with the result.”

Raines elaborates: “We never had a conversation about the song’s meaning or intentions, and Jimmy gave me a great deal of freedom when it came to creating the concept. Listening to “New Soul”, I looked to the films of Larisa Sheptiko, American Westerns, and more specifically, a scene from Béla Tarr’s Satantango (which I blatantly ripped off). My hope was to make something that alluded to a larger narrative, as if the video was a slice of a feature film. I wanted to make something that felt expansive, like the song itself, but ultimately let the viewer decide who this women was and whether it was a story about death, rebirth, or both.”

Sounds like: Mew, Nordic Giants, Sigur Rós, Saxon Shore, Explosions in the Sky, Alt-J

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