Years ago, Jamie xx has proven he can do it alone. In 2016, the beatmaker of The xx did not just play a show on Best Kept Secret, but closed the main stage as a DJ with an equally full-fledged and exotic headline set. As a true selector, he drew from the entire music history, but of course he could not miss a track like his own ‘Loud Places’ (feat. Romy, his bandmate at The xx). Now Jamie xx is back, and how. Put on his new track ‘Idontknow’ if you forgot what a banger sounds like. The Friday evening of Best Kept Secret 2021 is still far far away, but we can already ensure you it will end in euphoria.
Octavian’s fear of classification is precisely why he is one of the most pioneering artists of this moment. After the viral success of his mega hit ‘Party Here’, his debut album SPACEMEN became a mercurial showpiece of his indomitable creativity: a free-spirited mix of grime, drill and modern house. Octavian’s productions sound colorful and extraterrestrial but at the same time zoom in on our unvarnished reality. Few rappers nowadays sound so experimental and yet so accessible.
After collaborating with The National on their previous record I Am Easy To Find, London-based musician Eve Owen is taking her first strides as an acclaimed solo-artist. The first glimpse, “She Says” happens to be breathtakingly beautiful; a crystalline, dream-like piano-based song that suddenly takes an ominous, intense turn. Aaron Dessner, one of the talented twin brothers in The National, helped out with the first recordings. Something tells us that we will hear a lot more from Owen in the near future: the umpteenth well-kept secret making her first appearance at the ultimate festival of well-kept secrets!
Waltzburg’s sound is partly indebted to Real Estate’s languid guitar pop, Kevin Morby’s twangy folk and Vampire Weekend’s jittery indie rock. Above all, Waltzburg are a tight-knit band of longtime friends, so despite all the inherent contradictions in life, ultimately, they do not weigh the world all too heavily. Waltzburg’s music is a sweet and tuneful case of ‘glass half full’: warm, whimsical and always up for a cheer.
Although musician and producer Ela Minus is considered a rising name, this bustling Colombian has traveled quite a drastic artistic path. She play the drums with a hardcore band for over ten years before studying at the renowned Berklee College of Music in America. Now she operates within a totally different spectrum of music: an eccentric though highly infectious combination of delicate electronics and sweeping synth pop.
With The Road to Glastonbury in the rear-view mirror, the Pip Blom freight train rides on full-throttle. Who doesn’t fall head over heels for those whip-smart songs, kinetic shows, sheer joyousness and nonchalance? The group’s excellent first album Boat floats exuberantly between blistering indie rock and catchy alternative pop, as Pip expresses everyday observations with a sly disposition. The spry quartet has already shared stages with like-minded indie heavyweights The Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and Garbage. In the meantime, the band remain an essential cog within the flourishing Amsterdam indie rock scene. Best Kept Secret welcomes Pip back with a larger, more ambitious show.
We recognise the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Jófríður Ákadóttir from the group Samaris, who played the very first edition of Best Kept Secret. Under the stage name JFDR Ákadóttir writes beautiful subcutaneous folktronica, where ambient soundscapes wrap themselves like a blanket around her warm acoustic melodies. Pop music that caresses the ears like the ebb and flow: calm, sky-blue voids and submerged backdrifts in which the smallest of details jump out.
Tinariwen is just as much a movement as a band: always on the move while bridging multiple generations. The Tuareg blues of this nomadic collective started in Mali as radical music in which traditional folk movements and Western influences melted together in unprecedented fashion. The hypnotising, melancholic cadence of the Tinariwen remains the group’s anchor on latest album Amadjar, assembling guest contributions from Supreme Bad Seed Warren Ellis, Sunn O)) – founder Stephen O’ Malley and singer-songwriter Cass McCombs.
Bands like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, but also homegrown heroes such as Mozes and The Firstborn and Iguana Death Cult made a huge splash last decade. Yet the garage revival started with one of the genre’s most iconoclastic bands: The Black Lips. Cole Alexander and his gang of insurgents always had a special knack for scuzziness and crude, pitch-black humor. These anti-heroes from Atlanta continue to follow their own path unpredictably, proudly steeped in shady atmospheres and unhinged madness, like some smelly hotel lobby where The Stooges and The Plastic Ono Band conspire.
Producer and DJ Violet sets the nightlife of Lisbon in motion like no other. Inês Borges Coutinho views her role in the underground as something more than just making and mixing music, funnelling her boundless energy into empowering other artists in her scene. Pan-African influences form an exciting symbiosis with modern electronics, the ideal moment for gourmets on the dance floor to rejoice. Violet’s debut is called Bed Of Roses – indeed, named after that famous Bon Jovi ballad – and forms, as it were, a diary of sound that jumps from one mood to another.