Apart from the brilliant name, Portsmouth-based quartet Sad Palace also writes some decent songs, all with a quirky tinge…obviously.
Like many other bands based on the British South Coast, Sad Palace’s sound has an upbeat mentality stirred with moody jangle-pop. Speaking about the lyrics, frontman Louis explains,
“The lyrics were born from the frustration of failing to communicate with people, of being overloaded with information, and a feeling that you can’t keep up with the sheer amount of things happening around you.”
Their upcoming ‘Longbaby’ EP, out on Friday, takes from tracks written across a period of two years and recorded in four days at Press Play Studio, influencers of the five-track EP include artists such as Peace, AmericanFootball, TheWarOnDrugs, Ratatat, and Late of the Pier, and follows a string of singles released by Kissability and Kitsuné.
Sounds like: Bad Sounds, Black Honey, Superfood, Arcade Hearts, The Levity, The War On Drugs, Ratatat
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!
Liverpool-based Circa Waves released their full-length album, ‘Young Chasers’, on 18 September via Virgin Records. The British indie-rockers’ debut includes the wonderfully blissful summer anthem, ‘T-Shirt Weather‘, and ‘Stuck in My Teeth‘, described by Apple Music’s award-winning DJ and producer Zane Lowe as his “Hottest Record in the World.”
Of the compliment, bassist Sam Rourke has said, “It’s great getting the thumbs up from someone like Zane Lowe, he’s been such an important figure in British music for so long. Now that he’s leaving [Radio 1], we’re working out a way to sweet talk Annie Mac — we’re sending her a basket of kittens every day this week.”
Read on as Sam and frontman Kieran Shudall answer my questions about musical influences, the touring experience, and what songs they are jamming to these days.
In a DIY interview, you mention Joni Mitchell, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Arcade Fire as favorites out of your own vinyl collection. Could you throw us a couple more gems from your record arsenal? What have you been listening to lately?
Kieran: I have a little old record player by my kitchen and love to cook ‘n listen to old records. Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Club Band] get a lot of use (cliche, me being from Liverpool, I know.) Graceland gets a lot of attention also. I’ve been listening to Michael Head and the Magical World of the Strands vinyl reissue. It’s underrated and totally beautiful songwriting. It must be heard by more people.
You say you write “loads of mediocre material” for every hit you write. I am quite sure this is the case for most bands. The hits you do have have really taken off. Are there any personal favorite songs you think could have been singles, but weren’t?
Kieran: I wrote a lot for the first record, including a lot more laidback songs which got pushed to the side to make a more explosive first album. There is a track called “Lost It” on the album which Is one of my favourites lyrically and has a chorus that competes with any of the singles we released.
Sam — You mention being fired, just before the band took off, from a job at a cathedral’s visitor center café and described it as “fucking terrible.” Intrigued and being nosy — why were you fired?
Sam: To be honest, I was a terrible employee. I was late all the time, left early, and was rude to customers. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did.
You came from humble indie beginnings and blew up as a fairly young band with a lot of buzz. How has this experience changed you?
Kieran: Coming from playing in bands for 8 years previous to Circa, you get knocked down over that time and don’t believe it’s ever going to happen to you. When the band started taking off it was surreal and an almost outer body experience, like I was watching someone else do well. Over recent months I’ve started to really feel like we have earned everything that has come to us. The experience has showed me that we give any band out there a run for their money.
You have toured with some pretty big names, such as Phoenix and The Libertines. How has it been working with such legendary bands?
Kieran: Much like listening to music is good homework for writing songs, I think touring with great bands is amazing for learning from them and their performance. Every successful band has something you can learn from them, be it the energy they put into the show or just how they treat their crew. You need to have your eyes open as a young band and take it all in.
You once mentioned wanting to meet Noel Gallagher, expecting to be called “shit” by him, as he is a well-known sourpuss. You seem to see this as kind of a rock ‘n roll christening. Have you met him since?
Kieran: Ha. I’ve not yet had the pleasure. He has a very similar outlook to writing songs as me and talks about how some songs mean nothing and are just great pop songs and how some tracks mean a lot. I love that way and think it encourages great songs to pour out of you. I’m sure our paths will cross one day.
How has it been touring/meeting bands you admire? (e.g., Arctic Monkeys, to whom you are often compared).
Kieran: [Have] not met the Arctics yet. I hear they are lovely. People say don’t meet your heroes, but that is utter bullshit. The Libertines were so warm and welcoming. They bought Joe a birthday cake! Phoenix invited us for beers and talked about pop music with us. I played ping pong with Interpol. They are just normal people that you meet. The only difference being that you’ve been listening to their records for years and maybe been air-guitaring to their tracks in your bedroom as a kid.
To what extent has the press played a role in your success?
Kieran: We’ve only recently started getting some. We have had bits since the start, but never a lot. Radio 1 and constant touring has been our foundation for building a fanbase in the UK.
What is something you’ve struggled with as a musician. Is it something you’ve overcome?
Kieran: I miss home. Family and my girlfriend are a huge part of my life and I see them a few weeks a year now due to touring. It’s a big sacrifice but luckily I have huge support from them.
You get to kick back, relax, and have a beer with anyone in the world (past or present). Who is it and why?
Kieran: Dave Grohl. He’s someone I’ve been so inspired by since my brother brought home Nirvana Unplugged. I later bought every Foo Fighters record and studied his songwriting. He’s a man who has become so well-known but still maintains this approachable vibe. He seems like someone who would actually have a beer with me one day as well! I’d just have to try and not sweat so much as to drop my pint.
Many thanks to Kieran and Sam, and congrats on Circa Waves’ new album!
Listen to Circa Waves’ latest track on Soundcloud below!
Circa Waves is a four-piece band from Liverpool, England. The band consists of Kieran Shudall, Sian Plummer, Sam Rourke and Joe Falconer.
They today release the video to their new single, ‘Fossils’.
The video, directed by LA based Adam Powell (Jamie T, Michael Kiwanuka), was shot during the band’s recent European tour with The Libertines.
Describing the making of the video, Powell said: ” The boys and I bonded over a game of ping pong. The video was more of an ethos than anything particularly planned or thought out, we just wanted to get into Berlin and lose our minds. I slept in the bunk on the tour bus with the super 8mm camera, lost track of my shoes during our 48hour sleepless stay in Berlin and the whole thing was fucking amazing ”
UK Tour Dates in April:
8th Riverside, Newcastle
9th Garage, Glasgow
10th Leadmill, Sheffield
11th Academy, Liverpool
13th Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
14th Library at the Institute, Birmingham
16th Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
17th Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
18th Ritz, Manchester