Game On! The Netherlands vs Norway

It’s summer again and that must mean that it’s time for some international football. We’re celebrating the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros with another set of Game On! posts.

First up, it’s the hosts The Netherlands vs Norway.

The Netherlands are represented by Amsterdam based dance duo Secret Rendezvous, with summery 90’s tinged anthem Don’t Look At Me That Way. Secret Rendezvous have been doing their thing for a few years now – if you like a chill dance vibe, check out their Soundcloud page.

Norway are represented by thoughtful and ecological trop house anthem ‘Save Tropical House’ by R.E.D.D and DL Marlene Martinsen. You’ll love the lyrics, you’ll love the message and you’ll love the bit where they repeatedly shout ECUADOR! Yes, they are comedians.

Does The Netherlands or Norway win the Women's Euro 2017 curtain raiser?

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Game on! Mexico vs Germany

And we’re on Day 2 of sport in Rio, but we’ve still yet to see the opening ceremony. There are six games of football on tonight – the most intriguing of which is Fiji vs South Korea at midnight (imagine!) but the most Listen Outside match is Mexico vs Germany. I’ve developed a real soft spot for Mexico after doing an extended business trip there (it was the food that got me) and I’m really glad to have an excuse to listen to some Mexican indie.

For Mexico we have Natalia Lafourcade, who is a huge Grammy winning star and wonderful songwriter. Hasta la Raíz is her latest single, which is beloved enough to have a 1300 word wikipedia entry and is just absolutely gorgeous acoustic pop.

For Germany we have Sebastian Block, who is a former indie band member turned solo artist. I don’t think he’s the guy trying to attend the totally Pinteresty birthday party in the video, but I think he might be one of the chaps playing the guitar at the end. Either way, this is super cute and one of the nicest German language indie-pop songs I’ve heard in age

Which country had the better song? Mexico or Germany?

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Hasta la Ráis – Natalia Lafourcade [Dreamy acoustic pop]

Halb so schlimm – Sebastian Block [Adorable folk pop]

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Game On! Sweden vs South Africa

The sport is BACK! The very first event of the whole Olympic shebang is the women’s football that starts two days before the opening ceremony. The first match is Sweden vs South Africa, which gives us a chance to bring in some recommendations from another incredible music nation (who are also Associate Members of the EBU – I am just saying).

For Sweden we have Hanna Nutti, who is a singer/composer from the part of the Sápmi (Sami landss) at the very north of the country. She had a go at Sveriges Idol in 2014, and now she makes sophisticated, cinematic pop music, contributes to artworks and is an activist for Sami rights. Her voice is incredibly rich and expressive, and if the rest of the album (soon to come apparently) is as good as Hold Me Like I’m Her, then she is one to watch.

For South Africa we have a brand new single from the superbly dapper Toya Delazy. Her music is so fun, her style is incredible and I can’t believe she’s not a megastar. Her family history is amazing – her grandfather is major historical figure Mangosuthu Buthelezi and her great-grandmother is another historical figure – the boundary-smashing musician Princess Magogo.

Which country has the better song? Sweden or South Africa?

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Hold Me Like I’m Her – Hanna Nutti [Widescreen and sad, grown up pop]

Nu High – Toya Delazy [Wonderfully infectious, nostalgic and danceable]

 

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Prędko, Prędzej – HEY

Well, this is a weird one. This fab slab of alt-pop-rock from Polish superstars HEY  has been on my Listen Outside playlist for a while, but it wasn’t until today I realised that it gives a lyrical shout out to Derby, the 2nd city of the East Midlands (ooh, burn). This is the first single off their 2016 album “BŁYSK” and I cannot for the life of me work out what the bit about Derby means. Still, cool song.

HEY are on facebook

 

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Game on: Portugal vs France [POP VERSION]

And here’s the second half of our Grand Final. This time we’re looking at some music that sits somewhere within the broad church that is pop.

The Gift are an alternative band from Portugal who’ve been going for over 20 years. Their most recent single, Classico is an expansive, emotional piece of chamber pop, with a big billowy string arrangement and a weepy chorus. The rest of the band’s work seems to reach from the Jesus & Mary Chain to chart anthems that you could give to the winner of the X Factor. This band should be enormous everywhere, really.

From France we’ve got the new single from Parisian dance chaps, It’s A Fine Line. You’ll recognise the voice on the track as being that of Alex Kapranos. Even after a few listens I’m still not quite sure what this is about, or what it even is. It’s definitely got a film noir slink to it, so give it a couple of listens to sink in.

Which country has the better music? Portugal or France?

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Clássico -The Gift [Huge, sophisticated widescreen cinematic anthem]

The Delivery – It’s a Fine Line ft. Alex Kapranos.

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Game on: Portugal vs France [METAL VERSION]

The end of this marathon of music sharing draws near. Because it’s the final, and because I had some extra tunes filed away for Portugal and France we’re having two posts for this game. This is the heavy post. There’ll be a pop post later.

Astrodome are a Portuguese doom band with very visually appealing merch. To be honest I’m not sure if they’re currently active because their website is down and the mech is out of stock, but their self-titled 2015 record Astrodome is pretty cool and the artwork reminds me of the wedding invitations I spend dozens of hours hand-crafting.

Gojira shouldn’t need any introduction to the long-term metalheads in the audience. They’re a doom metal band of an ecological bent from Bayonne in south-west France. This song, Low Lands is from their new album which came out just this weekend. Share and enjoy.

Which country has the better music? Portugal or France?

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Into the Deepest Space – Astrodome [Groovy, melting atmospheric doom]

Low Lands – Gojira [Bleak, eschatological atmospheric doom]

 

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Game on: Germany vs France

And after the disappointment of yesterday’s Wales game, I bring you some good stuff to enjoy during Germany vs France, a game which feels more like the final than the final actually will.

For Germany we have Richard Istel, who I understand to be something of a child music prodigy who is now a grown adult and still a popstar. Unlike The Biebs, Richard appears to have kept it together, but like The Biebs, he’s making vaguely tropical pop – this sounds like you could mix it very smoothly into Era Istrefi’s big song and then top the whole thing off with Margaret. And you would have a nice time.

For France we have something completely different, and one of the more unsettling videos that I’ve posted. Ina-Ich are an alternative rock band formed by Kim Thuy Ngyuen, jazz prodigy and daughter of political refugees. According to their website, their name means ‘persistent and disturbing’ in Vietnamese and that is a good stab at describing their song ‘Ma chair et mon sang’. It’s lovely, have a listen.

Which country had the better song? Germany or France?

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Still Mir Dir – Richard Istel [It’s the sound of the summer. Es ist zo schön.]

Ma chair et mon sang – iNA-iCH [Very abrasive French art-metal with a nice guitar solo and UNSETTLING VISUALS – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED]

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Game on: Portugal vs Wales

Honestly, it was going to be football songs until I heard the Manics’ lyrically difficult Together Stronger and then realised that it couldn’t be football songs. So instead we’re going to rock out.

Rocking out for Wales is HARK, who come out of Swansea bearing monstrous riffs with big beards and black t-shirts. They’ve got very pleasing graphic design and they’re touring this summer, so you know, go and see them.

Rocking out for Portugal are Twin Transistors, who come from somewhere in Central Portugal and describe themselves as a locomotive in motion, a steamroller, and as having weight, density and power. Physically and metaphorically, they are correct.

Who rocks out more? Wales or Portugal?

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Stelle – Twin Transistors [Admirably restrained and cool stoner/doom]

Palendromeda – HARK [Ankle-deep in riffs, dripping with Welsh rock power]