Every year during the sunny season Brussels concert venue Botanique invades the park around its gorgeous premises to throw a lovely outdoor festival which is mainly dedicated to discovering new talents but also to reinforcing musical careers. The whole shebang just kicked off last night, and on the occasion we’re bringing you our selection of Belgian and international must-sees to guide you through the eclectic line-up of Nuits Botanique 2015.
Jacco Gardner + The Sunday Charmers
Sunday, 10 May
Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner just released his second album under the name of “Hypnophobia”, once again a delicious, dreamy odyssey into nostalgic psychedelia mixed with chamber pop. His atmospheric soundscapes reveal a passion for vintage instruments and are undoubtedly inspired by one of music history’s greatest: Syd Barrett. The same night you can discover Belgian newcomers The Sunday Charmers, who are currently working on their debut EP. Don’t let their comical image misguide you: these guys are serious musicians. Their surf pop-infused indie rock is inspired by The Beach Boys, The Smiths, The Kinks, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and even Francoise Hardy. “It’s a big honor for us to play at Nuits Botanique considering we’re such a young band”, they say.
Sunday, 10 May
Although Brighton darlings Phoria have only released two EPs so far, they’ve created quite a buzz in the blogosphere. The five-piece makes inventive, ethereal, captivating electro pop that has us waiting impatiently for their first longplay effort. Plus, their live shows frequently incorporate visual shows and string sections.
Great Mountain Fire
Tuesday, 12 May
We’ve always been fans of Belgian five-piece Great Mountain Fire, and now the indie pop rockers are back with their brand new second album “Sundogs”. They’ve enhanced their signature sound with new elements, offering a slightly less poppy and more experimental but very groovy sound,a kind of joyful psychedelia with a tropical feel to it and their best effort to date. Plus, they’re always a true force on stage.
Wand + Twerps + Jessica93
Wednesday, 13 May
Wand marries melodic dreamscapes with psych and garage rock and makes the kind of rocky psychedelia that’s more like Ty Segall than Tame Impala. Segall actually signed the foursome to his very own label – quite a stamp of approval. And don’t expect them to just replay their album songs when live on stage: “We’ll take a song that’s three minutes long on the album and stretch it out to 13 minutes in a live setting”, says Cory Hanson, the frontman of the Los Angeles outfit which just released their second record “Golem”. They share the stage with Australian four-piece Twerps, known for their direct, fuzzy guitar pop and with Parisian Jessica93, who offer a rather somber blend of shoegaze, cold wave and dark noise.
Thursday, 14 May
We discovered Icelandic singer-songwriter Soley during a magical acoustic performance at intimate Brussels concert concept Oh My Garden, and now can’t wait to see her in a different setting at Botanique, where she’ll present her most recent album, “Ask The Deep”. Her minimalistic music oscillates between the dreamy and nightmarish, blending her bewitching voice with piano and electronics.
Thursday, 14 May
This year might be a big one for Belgian indie pop band Balthazar. Having just released their third album “Thin Walls”, they’re on the verge of an international breakthrough. The title of the record refers to the lack of privacy during the time of writing, which was all done while on tour. On “Thin Walls” they once again draws you in with their typical stripped-down, groovy and charismatic indie pop, showing the five-piece from Ghent and Kortrijk at its peak.
Friday, 15 May
French-Finnish indie electro pop duo The Dø made up of Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy released their third album “Shake Shook Shaken” last year, taking a big step towards a more electronic synth-pop sound. The record shows their willingness to experiment and grow and is as spellbinding as it is dancy.
Recorders + Tops
Saturday, 16 May
After having sold out Rotonde this February to present their first full-length effort “Above The Tide”, Recorders are back at Botanique, this time with “Lapland Skies”, the name of the fivesome’s special atmo-acoustic set that lets you experience their crafty soundscapes in a whole new light. Expect a stripped-down mix of wide sounds, atmospheric keys, folk guitars and pumped-up drums that even includes a 140 years old harmonium and a 70s Rhode, taking the Belgian band to more psychedelic and dream-poppy horizons without abandoning their dancy, powerful indie rock roots. “We don’t necessarily go healthy when we go vegetarian, so we won’t always go soft when we go acoustic”, explains frontman Gordon Delacroix. And just before “Lapland Skies” you’ll have the chance to discover Canadian foursome Tops, which recently released its new album “Picture You Staring”, a charming, lush and dreamy pop record.
The Soft Moon
Sunday, 17 May
The Soft Moon is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez, who seems to use his musical project quite a bit as a personal outlet for his tortured mind. Accordingly, his magnetic soundscapes are dark, gloomy, intense and moody, interweaving krautrock, dark wave, post punk and goth pop in a fresh way. The Soft Moon’s second album “Deeper” is out now on Captured Tracks.
Sunday, 17 May
Electro pop rock veterans Hot Chip definitely need no introduction. Proving that they’re still not running out of ideas, they just put out their six full-length album under the name of “Why Make Sense?”, offering the perfect mix of intelligent and kitschy. Pitchfork unsurprisingly directly honored the first single “Huarache Lights” with its infamous best new track label, and the band has made clear in several interviews that they consider this most recent record to be their best album to date. Come and see for yourself.