Tag Archives: Sufjan Stevens

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 35

TESHA – Dreams

TESHA

Brooklyn-based TESHA shares her mesmerising new single, ‘Dreams’.

TESHA effortlessly displays breathless vocal whispers with imaginary Japanese strings and a steady electronic backbeat.

Listen below.

Sounds like: Björk, FKA Twigs, Lykke Li, Joanna Newsom

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LUMINAR – Stand Down

Luminar

Dutch production duo LUMINAR shares ‘Stand Down’,

A slow starter, but bare with it, as ‘Stand Down’ does build and burn into a stream of dream pop with spacious synths and drums.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Sigur Rós, London Grammar

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Nina June – Out to Sea

Nina June - Out To Sea

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’.

Listen below.

Nina June’s album BON VOYAGE is out today.

Sounds like: Rhye, Seinabo Sey

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Superheart – After Midnight

Superheart - After Midnight

Superheart‘s new single ‘After Midnight’ has a serious sense of nostalgia to it, despite us not hearing it before today.

It reminds us a little of the music from The Beach soundtrack thanks to its warming vocals and subtly powerful tropical licks.

Sounds like: Brian Eno, Sugar Ray

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Joshua Worden – Tennessee

Joshua Worden

Adorned in flowers and a “no sweat” approach in his press shot, Joshua Worden oozes an effortlessly cool approach to his music.

Joshua’s new single release ‘Tennessee’ is both raw and organic, yet electronic and processed, and we’re not the slightest bit confused…in fact we can’t get enough of his nonchalant vibe.

Sounds like: The Strokes, James Blake, Toro y Moi, Jamie Woon, Sufjan Stevens, Tame Impala

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Retro Kid – Retro Kid (RK Version)

Retro Kid

So it turns out you can make music from literally anywhere, including a studio with equipment sitting on ironing boards!

Usually one for more indietronica stuff, the bedroom producer Retro Kid has pulled this one out the bag for his DJ set, which is to be aired on BBC Introducing’s Big Bangers weekend on 29 March.

The track takes influence from the many late nights in Copenhagen and was largely produced with a headache the day after.

Sounds like: Röyksopp, Jungle, Hot Chip, Little Dragon

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JINKA – Countdown Forever

JINKA

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.”

Sounds like: Kate Boy, I BREAK HORSES

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Dan Flynn – Across The Wire

Dan Flynn

Melbourne musician Dan Flynn shares ‘Across The Wire’.

Much like all good folk songs, there is a soft melancholy throughout the song, and the addition of the lo-fi choir makes it an all atmospheric feat.

‘Across the Wire’ is the lead single taken from Dan Flynn’s upcoming solo album ‘Ghost Melodies’, out on 22 September.

Sounds like: The Slow Show, Sufjan Stevens, The National, Arcade Fire

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Playlist: Erin K

Erin K

Anti-folk artist, Erin K, has been keeping herself very busy. Originally born in London, but now residing in the States via Italy, she has just shared the video for ‘No Control’, filmed across Iceland, and released her album ‘Little Torch’, which you can listen to on Spotify here.

To celebrate, Erin K has put together a playlist for us.

Tennis – Night Vision
I love the immediate hood of this cool drum beat and the contrast between the closeness of the verse against the dreamy delayed vocals in the chorus. I just walked to the flight gate listening to this in my headphones. Great walking song!

Perfume Genius – Learning
The simplicity of Perfume Genius is a breath of fresh air, reminiscent of the honest lyrics encountered in Andrew and the Johnsons or (kids soundtrack guy). I especially love the lyrics “blah blah blah” at the end of this intimate song. I’m inspired by this artist! I have tickets to see him at Heaven in London in a few weeks!

Hospitality – Going Out
I don’t have much to say about this other than it’s been my song to start my day with for the past 2 weeks! Makes me feel like dancing! I’d love to see them live.

Whitney – No Woman
I LOVE this artist. It’s rare that you find a drummer that is also the lead vocalist. Check out their live sessions online, definitely one of my top favourite new discoveries at the moment.

Cass McCombs – Bum Bum Bum
A friend of my from Fort Lauderdale introduced me to this band (amongst others) recently and I think I had this song on repeat for an hour after the first listen. I love songs that push along with a constant repeated beat and sound. Check out his other songs, they are all beautiful. Something very nostalgic about this sound.

Sufjan Stevens – All of Me Wants All of You
This is one of my favourite songs at the moment. It’s so beautiful. He recently came out with a live version of this, amongst others. Personally, I prefer the live versions but worth checking out.

Leon Bridges – River
When I first heard this I assumed it was an old recording from the 60s. I love the way this song builds and Leon’s voice is flawless and emotive. Goose bumps.

U.N.P.O.C. – Here on My Own
What’s not to love about early Modest Mouse! Great build, beautiful lyrical rhythm, one to scream along to at home, or in my experience, the customs line at Heathrow Terminal 4 (in my head of course).

Shuggy Otis – Strawberry Letter 23
Yes Yes YES! I love the every part of this. If you like retro 60s jams, you’ll dance along to this.

CAN – Vitamin C
I remember the first time I heard this in some shop in London. I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to it properly. I’ve loved this song for years. The vocal, the consisting arrangement and cool organ sounds. Might not be a new find for me but I’ve included it here nonetheless.

Sounds like: Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Alev Lenz, alt-J, Pam Ayres, Susan Vega, Kim Boekbinder, Lily Allen

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Playlist: Violet Days

Violet Days

Violet Days

Stockholm artist, Violet Days (aka Lina Hansson) has been busy collaborating of late (Hotel Garuda, The Chainsmokers, Fraser T Smith), so we thought it was only fair to catch up with her.

The result is a playlist of Violet Days’ current favourites for inducing feels.

Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me
Perfect key change, and perfect cheese.

Sufjan Stevens – For The Widows In Paradise
This is my evergreen. Always.

Tame Impala – Let It Happen
Latest obsession.. Love the soundscape

Kavinsky – Nightcall
Genius song from a genius movie.

Troy Sivan – FOOLS
Love the whole idea of Blue neighborhood, it’s beautiful and honest.

The Ronettes – Be My Baby
I’m never getting over this song, it had me ever since Dirty Dancing.

The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Well, Brian Wilson…

Miike Snow – Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)
The melodies and lyrics are so playful and instantly has my interest.

Moby – When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die
Melancholy perfection.

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
This track has all the pieces for all types of modes.

Brandi Carlile – The Story
Her storytelling is stunning.

Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Nothing feels like that verse.

Bon Iver – 8 (Circle)
HOW GOOD?!

Sounds like: Ellie Goulding, Monogem, Lorde, Chrvches, Evvy, Tove Lo, VÉRITÉ, Imogen Heap

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Gallant – Bourbon

Gallant

Gallant

Gallant is a rising Los Angeles-based star, who has already found fans in Elton John, ZHU and Sufjan Stevens, and now Indietronica. Not bad for a newcomer.

His latest release, ‘Bourbon’, is a smokey and robust track. It stirs with soulful vocals, all topped up with ice blocks of 80’s-inspired synths.

Recline back. ‘Bourbon’ is the perfect nightcap.

Gallant’s debut album, ‘Ology’ will be out on 4 April.

Sounds like: Alex Vargas, Jack Garratt, TENDER, Wølffe, Lucas Nord, Great Good Fine Ok, LANY

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Interview with VÉRITÉ & Sober

VÉRITÉ

VÉRITÉ

Electro pop New Yorker, VÉRITÉ continues her musical journey with her latest endeavour; a cover of Childish Gambino‘s ‘Sober’.

It is about time we had a chat with her.

How and why did you start making music?

I started playing music when I was eight or nine. I started out covering The Cranberries, Four Non-Blondes and Nirvana. Eventually that progressed into writing and brought me here. I started because I was capable and loved the challenge of captivating people. Now the challenge has grown into attempts to create a world for people to live in and experience with me.

Describe your sound in three words.

driving dynamic pop.

Your new track is a cover of ‘Sober’ by Childish Gambino. This is your first cover to date. What were the reasons behind the cover?

I don’t particularly like the idea of arbitrarily covering songs. If I work on something that’s not my own writing, I want to be sure I can deliver an original, compelling interpretation that will do the song justice and feel natural to me. I love Childish Gambino and was totally invested in Because the Internet at the time. When I sent the cover demo to Zach Nicita, he was stoked and we worked to build a spinning, trippy soundscape.

Where do you cite your musical influences from?

I think there are a lot of influences. I grew up on 90’s alternative radio. I fell in love with Bright Eyes, Elliot Smith and Sufjan Stevens when I was fifteen. I studied jazz when I was seventeen and contemporary composition in undergrad. Other than those things, I’ve tried to listen to as much as I can and be open to letting everything influence me.

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

Recently Son Lux, Sufjan Stevens, The Weeknd, Battles, and Florence and The Machine have been on repeat.

Listen to the cover below, and catch her in the UK before she heads off to this year’s Iceland Airwaves.

03/11/2015 – Underbelly (London)
04/11/2015 – Prince Albert (Brighton)
05/11/2015 – Castle Hotel (Manchester)
06/11/2015 – Iceland Airwaves (Reykjavik)

Sounds like: Banks, The Weeknd, La Roux, Noosa, Evvy, Ellie Goulding, ASTR, MS MR

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