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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.

LANY – Good Girls

LANY

Always the ones to make heart-wrenching pop songs for ‘Good Girls’, your favourite boy band LANY share a new video and release their debut, self-titled album.

The video for ‘Good Girls’ focuses on lead singer and songwriter Paul Klein’s hunt for his girl in a bittersweet manner, one that LANY are becoming all too well known for.

‘LANY’ is out now on Polydor Records.

Sounds like: Crozet, Pistol Shrimp, Brotherun, Goldroom, Scavenger Hunt, Still Corners, Paperwhite, Pawws, Sykes, Washed Out, New Navy, X Priest X, Roosevelt, Great Good Fine Ok, Lostboycrow, MOTHXR, X Ambassadors, Halsey, Tove Stryke, Twin Shadow, The 1975

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LANY – ILYSB

LANY

LANY

Devastating pop trio, LANY, have cheered us right up with the new video for ‘ILYSB’ (I love you so bad), probably our favourite LANY song to date.

Speaking of the video, lead singer, Paul Klein, says, “I turned ‘ILYSB’ into a tragedy of unhealthy obsession and unrequited love that ultimately led to psychotic behavior and total derailment.” We’ve all been there, Paul.

LANY create new wave electronica with heart melting lyrics and pop riffs, and you can catch them at one of their shows below.

Tour Dates

Feb 28th Sydney, Oxford Art Factory
Mar 1st Melbourne, Howler
Mar 4th Manilla, Wanderland Festival
Mar 6th Birmingham, O2 Institute
Mar 7th Manchester, Gorilla
Mar 8th London, KOKO
Mar 10th Brussels, AB Club
Mar 11th Cologne, Artheater
Mar 12th Utrecht, Tivoli Vrendenburg – Pandora
Mar 13th Amsterdam, Melkweg (Old Hall)
Mar 15th Copenhagen, Vega Small Hall
Mar 16th Stockholm, Kagelbanan
Mar 17th Oslo, Parkteatret
Mar 19th Hamburg, Nochtspeicher
Mar 20th Berlin, Privatclub
Mar 21st Warsaw, Hydrozagadka
Mar 23rd Milan, Tunnel Club
Mar 24th Zurich, Exil
Mar 25th Paris, Nouveau Casino

Sounds like: Crozet, Pistol Shrimp, Brotherun, Goldroom, Scavenger Hunt, Still Corners, Paperwhite, Pawws, Sykes, Washed Out, New Navy, X Priest X, Roosevelt, Great Good Fine Ok, Lostboycrow, MOTHXR, X Ambassadors, Halsey, Tove Stryke, Twin Shadow

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Interview: Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands is an electronic project by Swedish born songwriter, producer and sound designer Catharina Jaunviksna.

We caught up with Catharina to talk music and life.

For those of you who don’t know you, tell us a bit more about Badlands and how you got into music.

I’ve always been into music. As a teen it saved me, like so many others. I was listening to a lot of post-hardcore, shoegaze, synth and new wave. And even though I started to record early, I was always very private about it. Music was this huge and intangible mountain to climb, I thought I wasn’t worthy. And I didn’t know anybody else that was into synthesizers, midi and sampling back then. So I hid away and made music for myself and external projects, such as movies and plays, so that I wouldn’t have to uncover myself. I did make a few failed attempts to form a band too. But something needed to get out. I was missing something that only I would be able to materialize. So eventually I thought it was time to start arranging and finish the huge pile of soundtracks and experiments that was lying around on my hard drives. And that’s how Badlands was born. The first EP was released together with my friend Nikals Tjäder, it was great fun at the time but pretty obvious whose baby it was, so after the first release Badlands became my solo project. It was a big relief, now I could just nerd out and do whatever turned me on, without having to compromise with anything. Then I released the single Tutu, and now the new album Locus.

Describe your sound in three words.

Melodic, lush, interstellar.

You were born in Sweden, but also call Ireland and Italy your home. What do you like and dislike about each place, and why?

Scene-wise? Well, I suppose I’ll have to generalize here quite a bit, so don’t hold me too much to it. Sweden… We have great judgement and taste when it comes to music, but we can be pretty anxious about trend and rep. Doesn’t make good pioneers, not any more. But I’m sure we will again someday. The Irish scene on the other hand is very vibrant, a great balance of DIY and professionalism. Fortunately, the country’s stubborn and silly old values don’t reflect in the music, it’s the complete opposite. And Italy… I think they’re on their way. I meet a lot of Italians who idolize the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon scene though, and try to copy that, instead of finding their own thing. I believe they have to take whatever they’re insecure about and turn that into their strength instead. Like they used to.

Your album, ‘Locus’, is out now. Tell us a bit more about the process of creating ‘Locus’, and the meaning behind the album.

I don’t intellectualize around music, at least not my own. It’s not until the end of the process that I start to realize what it was all about. And the meaning can change with the process too, or hold several meanings. That’s why music is magic and not rational. But the process is usually the same, pretty much.

These transient melodies and pictures appear in my head like capsuled mini revelations, and from there I walk in to the studio and try to communicate that exact feeling somehow. Sometimes that process takes only a couple of weeks, sometimes several months. I love the start and the end of a tune making process, but the 90% in-between is a chaos of doubt and self-contempt. Haha.

I think it’s funny how many people seem to look at Locus at this apocalyptic prophecy though. To me Locus is magnanimous, tender even. It’s more a study over human kind, rather than an assessment. It’s a lot about how much power we have over who we are and the decisions we make. But each song has its own story, and I don’t want to sabotage my listeners own interpretations either.

Where do you cite your musical influences from?

A lot of stuff that inspire me is either from the late 70’s or early 80’s, even though I wasn’t born then. Music that lead on new wave, before it even became a concept. Both commercial stuff and more obscure space- and Italo disco. But I don’t try to sound retro or anything, I’ve never understood the thrill in trying to copy a sound myself, although I enjoy listening to others neo-synthwave and retro-futuristic work. But yes, the 80’s…I believe there was just enough technology to nurse creativity, but not restrict it, like today. It colored the sounds, made them re-assuring, warm and invincible. I build stamina and find strength in what they had then, that we lack today. I love the softness of the sounds too, that’s why my masters aren’t pushed so hard and ran through tape.

We love new music at Indietronica. What new music are you listening to?

Most new music I listen to is unestablished. I spend many hours every week digging around in the huge tank of indie anarchy that is Soundcloud. I think that’s the closest thing to crate digging in the digital world you get these days. It’s the darknet of music, but in a good way. I love finding and pushing overlooked gems. I think many of the major music blogs have lost their sense of passion, excitement and courage, that’s why I don’t look there for new stuff anymore, like I used to. But of course I listen to a lot of signed music as well. If we’re talking labels I really dig Warp, Mute, Secretly Canadian, Italians do it better, Ghostly, Captured Tracks, Lucky Number to name a few. And my friends. I’m lucky enough to know a bunch of super talented people. You find them where you find me.

Badlands’ album is out now. Order on iTunes now.

Sounds like: Tei-Shi, Glasser, Still Corners, Enya, Be Forest, Lilies on Mars

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LANY – Where The Hell Are My Friends

LANY by Alessio Boni

LANY by Alessio Boni

Getting all emo on us, the LANY boys return with ‘Where The Hell Are My Friends’.

A reflective number about the loneliness of a big city, and the immense pressure to go out at the weekends. It all gets too much sometimes. Watch the result below!

Sounds like: Crozet, Pistol Shrimp, Brotherun, Goldroom, Scavenger Hunt, Still Corners, Paperwhite, Pawws, Sykes, Washed Out, New Navy, X Priest X, Roosevelt, Great Good Fine Ok, Lostboycrow, MOTHXR, X Ambassadors, Halsey, Tove Stryke, Twin Shadow

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Flor – Unsaid (Instant Karma Remix)

Instant Karma

Instant Karma

Female DJ duo Instant Karma have reworked the gorgeous ‘Unsaid’ by Flor.

Both Instant Karma and Flor reside in Los Angeles, which may explain why it is such a match made in heaven. With Flor’s dream-like vocals and Instant Karma’s progressive flare, this is a remix worth writing about.

Head over to Instant Karma’s Soundcloud page for a free download of the remix.

Sounds like: Goldroom, RAC, Gryffin, Le Youth, Hotel Garuda, Owl City, Death Cab for Cutie, Still Corners, Chrvches, Hello Goodbye, Sleep Lust, Of Monsters and Men, Mew, For Esmé

FLOR
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Instant Karma
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Harriet – Bring Me When You Go

Harriet by David Kitz

Harriet by David Kitz

Feasting on a rich blend of all things Americana, Harriet have unveiled another album track gem called ‘Bring Me When You Go’.

The forthcoming album, ‘American Appetite’, is produced by Sean O’Brien (The National, Jeff Bridges) and (Nickel Creek, The Replacements), and seeks inspiration from the American condition; the controversy, alienation and fear that it ensues.

Pre-order ‘American Appetite’ on iTunes. It will be released worldwide on 29 January on Harvest Records.

Sounds like: Bad Sounds, MRCH, Local Natives, The National, TW Walsh, Still Corners

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LANY – Kiss

LANY by  Alessio Boni

LANY by Alessio Boni

Nashville-born and now Los Angeles-based, LANY are developing into a better and better band every time we hear them.

When discussing the meaning behind new track, ‘Kiss’, lead singer Paul Klein says. “This song is about liars. It’s about people who don’t have the balls to tell you the legitimate truth. They’ll water it down, beat around the bush, spin it whatever way they have to. They’re probably scared to tell you what really happened or how they really feel because they ‘love you.’ But they actually just love themselves.”

‘Kiss’ has been taken off their new EP, ‘Make Out’, to be released on 11 December via Polydor Records.

They are also opening for Elle Goulding during her UK tour in March. But remember, we saw them first!

Sounds like: Crozet, Pistol Shrimp, Brotherun, Goldroom, Scavenger Hunt, Still Corners, Paperwhite, Pawws, Sykes, Washed Out, New Navy, X Priest X, Roosevelt, Great Good Fine Ok, Lostboycrow, MOTHXR, X Ambassadors, Halsey, Tove Stryke, Twin Shadow

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FLOR – Let Me In

FLOR by Jade Ehlers

FLOR by Jade Ehlers

Staying on track with straightforward indie pop, Los-Angeles based FLOR returns with another bubbly number, ‘Let Me In’.

Sounds like: Imogen Heap, Owl City, Death Cab for Cutie, Still Corners, Chrvches, Hello Goodbye, Sleep Lust, Of Monsters and Men, Mew, For Esmé

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CHVRCHES – Leave A Trace

CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace

CHVRCHES – Leave A Trace

The Scottish synth masters are back!

CHVRCHES return after a nine month break with a new gem, ‘Leave A Trace’.

Staying true to what made them such a successful trio in the first place, ‘Leave A Trace’ has strong repetitive vocals (courtesy of Lauren Mayberry, who really has a knack of getting her point across), crammed in over unique luscious sounds.

It’s fair to say that CHVRCHES will be leaving some serious musical traces, once again.

And check out the luscious Goldroom remix (added 17 Dec).

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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