Popaganda is a little late this year, taking place in September instead of its August, but the line-up remains as packed as ever. They’ve squeezed 19 artists into the festival’s two days, and we’ve picked out the six not to miss.
Probably the biggest thing in the Norwegian pop scene at the moment, sort of like their mirror version of Zara Larsson, having also risen to national prominence on a tv talent show (Norwegian Pop Idol). Astrid Smeplass (that’s what the S stands for) makes music that’s a little softer than Larsson’s, and her recent EP Party’s Over showed off her ability to mix big pop songs (Such A Boy) with music a little heavier and darker (Bloodstream).
Saturday, Lilla scenen, 16:55
Fuck the Grammis or P3, is there really a bigger honour in Swedish music than getting to perform on Lotta på Liseberg? Janice knows, having performed Charlotte Perrelli’s Tusen Och En Natt on the iconic singalong show. But her musical pedigree goes (obviously) deeper than that, having also spent time the Tensta Gospel Choir, just as Lykke Li once did. The soul in Janice’s voice does the emotional heavy lifting in her music, and the raw R’n’B-pop of her recent single I Got You has already racked up nearly 400,000 Spotify plays.
Saturday, Lilla scenen, 13:45
Phoenix have always been one of the more chic bands in the indie sphere, even to the point where their track Too Young from their debut record United was used by Sofia Coppola (who is married to vocalist Thomas Mars) for her alt-glamour film Lost In Translation. Their new album Ti Amo landed in June, and they headline on Friday.
Friday, Stora scenen, 21:45
We hung out with LÉON in Stockholm about this time last year, and since then her career has really exploded, touring around the US and even popping up on the late-night show circuit. The flow of new music from her has been constant in that time, with a new single, Body, arriving last week, and after playing Lollapalooza and Way Out West, she returns to her home town for Popaganda.
Friday, Lilla scenen, 17:25
Tove Lo is standing pretty close to the top of the world of pop right now. After her breakthrough in 2014 with her debut album Queen Of The Clouds and its monster hit Habits (Stay High). She made her return in late 2016 with new album Lady Wood, a record a little more dark in sonic tone than the fireworks of Queen Of The Clouds, but still came packed with whopper choruses on songs like True Disaster and Influence.
Saturday, Stora scenen, 21:40
As is Popaganda tradition at this stage, Shura cancelled her show this year, as she did in 2016, at short notice (just kidding Shura, we love you, please come back in 2018). Luckily, they’ve been able to secure a high-quality replacement. Thomas Stenström has recently wrapped up his tour in support of his record Rör inte min kompis!, which featured the Silvana Imam-boosted hit Det här är inte mitt land. He plays on Sunday.
Saturday, Lilla scenen, 15:05
For full line-up see www.popaganda.se. Check out the offical Popaganda playlist below.
Words: Austin Maloney