Located to the north of the Netherlands the Dutch city of Groningen is one of the country’s real jewels.
A small but immaculately formed conclave dominated by a historic university, the narrow streets, cobbled stones, and winding canals render it with an immediately recognisable, highly individual character.
Once a year, though – in January, to be precise – the streets overflow with music fans, and the debauchery begins. Eurosonic Noorderslag is one of Europe’s key showcase events, a place for fans and music industry bods to mingle, to swap tips, and drunkenly debate the merits of the next Hot New Thing long into the wee small hours.
Clash has its bags packed – toothbrush ‘n’ all – for another Dutch adventure, and we’re thrilled to be seeking out fresh talent alongside the denizens of Groningen.
With the weekend almost upon us, we’ve decided to leaf through the line up and pick out seven acts you simply cannot miss.
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Finland’s ALMA is no stranger to these pages, whether they be digital or printed. We’ve been enraptured by the Nordic artist’s provocative pop stance for a while now, and she could well be set to make 2018 her year.
With her brightly coloured hair and vivid melodies ALMA is an easy artist to spot in a crowd – just as well, given the competition in Groningen this week.
“When I’m angry, I want to listen to punk,” she told Clash last year. “When I’m very happy I want to listen to 90s R&B, when I’m sad I want to listen to something Scandi-pop - it depends on the mood. I’m that type of girl, y'know, it depends really on the mood.”
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Staying on a Scandinavian tip we’re eager to catch up with Soleima, an artist spearheading a fresh pop charge from Copenhagen.
Devoutly independent – her most recent video was shot on an iPhone – Soleima can only play the game her own way, making each song a real statement of purpose and intent.
Only a few tracks have been released thus far, but each one has ratcheted up some astonishing streaming figures. With hype already settling on her shoulders, it will be interesting to see how Soleima treats one of the first shows in what could be her breakout year.
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Neon-clad vintage-mish-mash charity-shop-rumbling glam-rock pop outcasts who indulge in effortless gender fuckery. If HMLTD didn’t exist somebody somewhere would have to invite them, and we’re happy to report that the bowels of South London did exactly that.
One of the most exciting, unhinged, completely unpredictable live bands around just now, HMLTD are set to go international with a set at Eurosonic.
How will our continental friends take to their debauched behaviour? Given the tolerant mindset of the Dutch, we imagine they’ll get on just fine.
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Clash Live and Metropolis Studios hooked up just before Christmas, live streaming a set from their West London base. Manchester’s IAMDDB made the trip down, hype only just beginning to settle on her shoulders.
A powerful and precocious set, IAMDDB melded together elements of hip-hop, jazz, straight spoken word, and soul, a stunning mixture that left those in the audience – and those online – completely speechless.
We’re tipping her for a breakthrough, and it should hopefully start in Groningen.
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What else is left to say about Sigrid? The winner of the BBC Sound Of 2018 poll, this is her moment, the point where sublime potential becomes inspired reality.
Each release from the Norwegian talent seems to go viral within seconds, while live shows have inspired absolute road block queues that stretch on for miles.
For those lucky enough to catch her set, Sigrid should be one of Eurosonic’s real stars.
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Seamus Fogarty (Ireland)
Irish songwriter Seamus Fogarty has long been a Clash favourite, first releasing material on Lost Map Records before hooking up with Domino.
Recent album ‘The Curious Hand’ is a wonderful winter listen, a warm, bewitching collection of songs that move from plaintive balladry to impish experimentation within a few seconds. A witty, self-effacing performer, Seamus comes into his own in the live arena, the inherent character of his songwriting rendered bold onstage.
One of those artists that you might not intend on seeing, but accidentally catching that performance could well become the highlight of your weekend.
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At some point last year Superorganism became sentient. An eight-member, 16 legged beast, the project stretches from Maine to London and includes all manner of influences, sonic hues, aural tricks, and addictive resonance.
Only a handful of tracks have gone online so far, and the lack of information surrounding the group has given rise to all manner of conspiracy theories. So, cap in hand, Clash has set off to Groningen in search of the truth.
How will we get on? Well, check back shortly to find out...
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For the full rundown of the Eurosonic Noorderslag line up click HERE.
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