Sasha Sloan doses Moroccan Lounge with sad catchy jams

Sasha Sloan Moroccan 2018 mainbar

The first time I saw Sasha Sloan was earlier this year at an early-afternoon set at Outside Lands 2018. The beautiful gloomy San Francisco weather was a perfect match for her sad-girl tunes and I walked away hooked.

Sasha Sloan played Outside Lands after dropping her debut EP Sad GirlĀ earlier this year. She’s not new to the music scene though. You’ve certainly heard her as the vocalist on a number of big EDM hits and she also has songwriting credits. She was on the ODESZA tune “Falls”. She collaborated with big-time DJs Kaskade and Kygo on a couple tracks. Now, she’s striking out on her own as a singer and if her two sold-out shows at the Moroccan Lounge last week are any indication — it’s a great move.

She just dropped her second EP Loser a few weeks back. With just two EPs to her name, she’s already built a strong following. It was an 18-and-older show and many of the girls at the front of the crowd were right in that age range.

I see a lot of indie-pop singers. A LOT. Sasha Sloan ranks right up there with the best, especially in terms of songwriting and vocal clarity. You hear her sing a song live and if you closed your eyes you’d accuse it of being manipulated in a studio. But it isn’t. She also relies very little on a vocal track (only a backing vocal track from what I could tell). Her live band is a solid complement.

Sloan kicked things off with “The Only” – completely obscured except for her outline and hoop earrings for much of the song because of the lighting. It made her look like a character in Sin City when she ripped her Juul e-cigarette midway through the track. That’s something Sloan did a lot of. I wonder how much of that is anxiety or if it’s like me at a bar where if a drink is in my hand it’s something to do in between talking (or in her case, singing).

One of my favorite songs of the night was her Kygo collaboration “This Town”. “All of my friends are settling down / They’re only kids but they’re married now,” Sloan sings. As someone who grew up in a suburban bubble in NorCal and then moved into the hustling and bustling LA, I related to the sentiment.

“How depressed are you guys right now?” Sloan asked the crowd after finishing “This Town”. There’s a self-deprecation to her humor that must help offset singing tear-jerking tunes every night. Another standout song of the night was an unreleased song “Good Enough”. The heaviness of the track gave me goosebumps.

“Version of Me” is the song I’ve been playing the most in the days since the show. It’s easy to imagine this song get remixed by a big-room DJ and blowing up. The guitar riff reminded me of this earworm by The Script that I must’ve played 20 straight times at some point.

Sloan later referred to “Chasing Parties” as the only love song she’s ever written — and “hopefully not my last” she said before singing it. It’s the most R&B-sounding tune from her batch of songs. She later closed things out with “Runaway” that was the biggest crowd favorite.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Sasha Sloan enjoys a Billie Eilish-like meteoric rise in 2019. She just played her first-ever headline show in April and is already easily selling out in LA and NY. Billboard referred to a tune of hers as “catchy introvert anthem” and it’s a perfect description. It’s also great to hear more indie-pop singers address somber themes in such a relatable way.

Chloe Lilac opened all of Sasha’s LA and NY dates last week and impressed me. She just dropped a three-song collection featuring “Heartbreak City”. She jumped between singing over a track to playing guitar to playing keyboards while showcasing her immense vocal talent.

She described “Heartbreak City” as being about being objectified in NY while still underage and it proved Lilac possesses some really strong songwriting skills. She kind of reminded me a bit of Alina Baraz when the singer worked with electronic producer Galimatias. She also fits into that lo-fi indie-pop lane Clairo has helped shape earlier this year. She’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Justin Higuchi