Ten fresh and seasoned Latvian bands to hear at Positivus

LSM's Latvian-language service author Aiga Leitholde presents a look at ten not-to-be-missed bands at this year's Positivus festival, taking place in sunny Salacgrīva this weekend.

As I'm an active follower of trends in Latvian popular and alternative music, I use festivals as an opportunity to savor the manifold expressions of our music all in one place. This year many fresh local musicians and bands are included in the program, and that's a good enough reason to become acquainted with their repertoire.

The as-of-yet-mysterious Nesen will use the festival for their debut concert. Likewise, it will be the very first concert for the electronic music duo Autographic - Zelma Jēgere and Andis Ansons of Bandmaster fame. Meanwhile Kautkali - formerly known as Du Duo - will debut under their new name. It's Kristīne Pāže, Didzis Bordo and Kaspars Vizulis playing, if one should characterize them in one word, indie music. 

The Jersika Records company will also make its first appearance in front of a larger public with sax players Toms Rudzinskis and Dāvis Jurka (Lupa), as well as drummer Kaspars Kurdeko, pianist Rūdolfs Macats and guitarist Kaspars Vizulis (KlusiKlusi). They'll be playing improvised, experimental music. Jersika Records released their first jazz and experimental vinyls in October 2017, and should add a couple more this year. 

Praga II - Aleksis Lūriņš of Carnival Youth fame, together with electronic producer Kashuks - have been playing together since 2015 and released their debut LP, Unreal Feels Real Feels Unreal, this year. 

Evija Vēbere made her debut in Latvian pop music as part of the Howling Owl due. She's now a solo artist. Her voice sounds like what you would hear in a fairy tale, and she makes experimental pop with references to different music styles and eras. 

The Bad Tones aren't exactly a new band -- they were known as the Pink Elephant before. They keep their standards high, making psychedelic rock music and pretty videos. 

The trio Spāre is one of the most interesting new rock bands, with the energy characteristic of punk and intelligence of prog-rock. Some of their lyrics are written by Latvian poets, quite contemplative over what's what in life. Last year they published their debut album, Masa. 

Meanwhile the Positivus festival is special, in a way, for the Ezeri trio. In the festival's 2016 edition, they presented their debut, Ogle (the Latvian for coal, it should be added). This year you can hear them twice, including with theater director Vladislavs Nastavševs. 

Fridays and the early a.m. hours are perfect for a concert of the electropop duo Podruga. Their creative leader and vocalist Alise Stefanoviča has a feminine, resonant voice leading the audience through the labyrinthine and catchy techno rhythms characteristic of Podruga. 

Find out when they're playing on the festival website or on the Positivus'18 app available on the App Store and Google Play. 

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