One by one the coins fall by the wayside. RAINDEAR‘s latest jam continues the theme of authentic, experimental melodic pop.
It’s written about “the last efforts you give to someone before you (not a day too soon) give them up completely. Just like when you pay your last coins to something, you don’t really care where they go anymore cause you’re so exhausted and broke and have zero fucks left to give.” Damn right girl!
Sounds like: Little Dragon, Ballet School, Kate Boy, Lykke Li, Phantogram, Santigold, SBTRKT, CSS
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!
Her new single, ‘Girls’ – written with Born Stranger – is a dark disco infused song to empower woman, and one that can be listened to both at home in your pjs or in the club.
Speaking on the track, Salt Ashes explains,
“‘Girls’ is about a situation that I’m sure many can relate to; when someone makes an assumption that you want more than just friendship based on their interpretation of how you act or dress. The track is about breaking the stereotypes of people who want to express themselves and their sexuality freely without the “slut shaming” or being told that they’re “asking for it”. I’d hope for the song to inspire confidence within people to stick to their decisions with who they want to be… I wanted the photo shoot to build on that with a strong message by trying to mess with stereotypes and ‘seeing with the eyes of the other person’ before making assumptions or judgements. The track was produced by Tom Fuller, and I co-wrote it with Born Stranger who are a band I performed with last year, after having experienced that exact situation for the millionth time.”
Sounds like: Tove Lo, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Kylie
London artist Austel creates highly emotive music, so we thought it would be worth asking her to put together a playlist for us of the same! The result is below, and includes her brand new single ‘Crows’.
Crows – Austel
Our debut single, which we’re very excited to be able to share with the world.
Love Me In Whatever Way – James Blake
I had this album on repeat for months after it came out. I love the recurring vocal riff and building tension in the first half of this track. The drop is immense – that saw bass synth riff… so good.
‘Tell me when I have to go / And then love me there’
The End – Daughter
This track embodies everything I love about Daughter – Elena’s cutting lyrics, their trademark washes of guitar and ever-evolving sections and poignant vocal chants.
‘Let’s spend the future talking about the past’
Dry and Dusty – Fever Ray
I’m a big fan of the self-titled Fever Ray record and Karin Dreijer’s androgynous vocal style. On ‘Dry and Dusty’, she combines her tribal voice with developing synth motifs and simple percussion, conjuring a surreal, dream-like mood.
‘I am a capsule of energy’
Sugar Pill – The Japanese House
This track opens with delicate, melancholic piano chords but soon evolves – introducing Amber Bain’s washes of vocoder-treated vocals, glitchy beats and expansive synths.
‘You can use my ribcage as a pillow’
Hazmat Suits – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
I went through a stage of being a bit obsessed by the Stranger Things soundtrack – it’s so hypnotic. The bass synth glide on ‘Hazmat Suits’ is huge and hits me in the stomach every time.
Form By Firelight – Jon Hopkins
Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is a huge sonic influence on us; it has so much life amongst all the electronic sounds. It’s just brilliant.
This Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey
One of my favourite songs of all time, on one of my favourite albums of all time. The addition of Thom Yorke’s ghostly vocals are a dream collaboration.
‘I have seen the sunrise over the river, the freeway / Reminding of this mess we’re in’
Outlier – Bonobo
Bonobo’s music has a great driving, energetic feel to it. Adam and I were both obsessed with Migration when it came out. The track ‘Outlier’ builds really strongly adding layer after layer. Tracks like this really influenced the Austel production process.
Sleaze – Klangstof
One of my more recent discoveries – I love the expansive space Klangstof create with those pulsing synths and soaring hooks.
‘The tide needs a night to set up and collide’
Europe Is Lost – Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest is one of the most powerful performers of our time – the rising tension and cutting message of this track is profoundly resonant, and a haunting reflection of the days we’re living in.
‘We have learned nothing from history / The people are dead in their lifetimes’
Silhouettes (I, II & III) – Floating Points
Adam’s a big Floating Points fan. ‘Silhouettes (I, II & III)’ has this amazing string part in the middle section which is a wonderful merger of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.
The Eraser – Thom Yorke
This whole record is incredible, another one of my favourites. The opening title track is Thom Yorke at his best – trademark moody piano chords, glitchy rhythms and those beautiful, haunting vocals.
‘You know the answer so why do you ask?’
Teardrop – Massive Attack
‘Teardrop’ was my entry ticket into trip hop. Elizabeth Fraser is one of the greatest singers of all time and this track perfectly exhibits how much power you can create with moments of fragility and dynamic range.
Sonic production leads the way for Francis Novotny‘s new single ‘The Wire’.
It’s a brooding, electro-soul song by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist that is extremely reminiscent of JackGarratt or Asgeir, and captures that addictive quality of a nonetheless-toxic relationship, and the feeling (says Francis) “when a person leaves you hanging on without answers – and you know you should get out of it – but you keep winding back towards them.”
NYC-based duo Glassio share ‘Back For More’, a song for anytime of the day!
Built on an orchestral-electronic backbone that nods to the likes of MassiveAttack and Air, the pining, heartsick anthem is a penned love letter to a paramour after a strained relationship has come to a close.
Sounds like: Hot Chip, Metronomy, Foals, Jagwar Ma, Rüfüs, Flume, Odesza, Bob Moses, Glass Animals, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
POLO is an exciting new band comprised of Luke Lount, Kat McHugh and Daniel Edgell.
The trio base themselves out of “a total dive” town in Leeds, and use this rough’n’ready surrounding as inspiration for their music, which is full of heart and substance.
We asked POLO to put together a few of their favourite songs, and here they are!
Porches – Country
A song written like no other.
Baloji – Soleil de Volt
Got this on repeat at the moment… There are so many hooks throughout and there’s heaps of energy and life in the recording. Probably the funkiest song of the year so far
Patrice Rushen – Remind me
The slowest of slow jams.
Phoria – Red
Sonic bliss! These guys are super talented, and seem to always hit you right in the feels with their song writing ability.
Young Fathers – In My View
LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound young fathers are putting out at the moment. They’re nailing it for me with experimental lyrics through rap and spoken word and combining that with a big bodyshaking production. Also well worth a youtube for the music vid.
Olympia – Smoke Signals
A party favourite for the band. Feel good, fun and really damn catchy.
SZA – The Weekend
We all absolutely love SZA and this is just one of the many bangers from her amazing debut.
Amandla Sternberg – Let Me Stay Baby
Silky, smooth, sexy. A feast for the soul and ears.
Nils Frahm – Sunson
Beautiful and serene from start to finish. We had the pleasure of seeing him live recently and it was breathtaking.
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’.
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.”
Emma McGrath continues to make waves in the pop world with the release of ‘Butterfly’ taken from her ‘Silent Minds’ EP, out on 13 April.
The song shows a more feisty and upfront side of Emma than her last release ‘Love You Better’, inspired about getting rid of fake people in your life and doing what is morally right instead of following the crowd, even though it may be detrimental to your own situation.
Disclosure: I am Emma’s publicist at the time of writing.
Sounds like: Soak, Florence + The Machine, London Grammar, Birdy, FOXES, Ed Sheeran
Emerging London-based artist, BLAKEY, shares the simple but effective video for ‘Prism Of Love’.
The track is sparse at its core – a seesaw between BLAKEY’s velveteen falsetto/baritone interludes that melt alongside a graceful instrumental.
Opening up about ‘Prism Of Love’, Blakey states,
“It’s a very direct song. I put my most authentic and honest feelings to music. Sometimes I think it’s important to cut through all the bullshit and present exactly how you’re feeling, and not filter yourself for anything or anyone. It’s not vulnerability; it’s liberation.”
Sounds like: Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver, Coldplay