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Flicker – Lxandra

Eurovision fans will have been listening to a lot of slightly melancholic modern pop not-ballads recently. Here’s another particularly fine example from Lxandra of Finland & Germany. I think there’s quite a lot here for fans of City Lights to enjoy. I particularly enjoy the huge echoing clock tick sound which has replaced the kickdrum, the vast mechanical breakdown and the refrain ‘Time, the killer’.

Lxandra is on Soundcloud

Lxandra is on Facebook

 

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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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Killer Road – Soundwalk Collective with Jesse Paris Smith & Patti Smith

I am… not entirely sure what this is, even on the fifth listen.

Let’s start with the facts. This is a piece called Killer Road by an international group called Soundwalk Collective, previously known for creating psychogeographical poetry tours of major cities amongst other pieces of hauntological sound art.

The vocals on the track are spoken by Patti Smith (yes, that Patti Smith) and there is music by Patti’s daughter Jesse Paris Smith. The words themselves are either about or by Nico (yes, that Nico) and concern her death in Ibiza. The live setup looks like an secret ritual taking place in the Radiophonic Workshop and then there’s this video which is, I think, part of the live art piece that this track is part of.

So here we have it. At the intersection of hauntology, psychogeography and weird ASMR music we find Killer Road.

 

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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: Germany vs Italy

It’s two of the Big Five facing off on a Saturday night, so we’ve got new songs from two Eurovision alumni.

For Germany we have Lena Meyer-Landrut’s 2016 single ‘Beat to my Melody’. You’ll remember that she won with Satellite in 2010, and then came back in 2011 with Taken By A Stranger which is much less ‘Eurovision’ despite having the freaky dancers in the silver bodysuits. Anyway, Lena is a proper pop star and this is her most recent single.

For Italy we have Emma Marrone, whose song ‘La Mia Citta’ was the hot mess of Eurovision 2014 (a contest which wasn’t exactly short of baffling costume and staging decisions, including my faves Twin TwinPortugal’s Suzy and the last recorded sighting of Fun Ukraine with the canonical man in the canonical hamster wheel – blimey 2014 was a great contest). But back to Emma Marrone. Tonight she’s representing Italy and continuing the theme of confusing staging in her music video for ‘Occhi Profundi’ where I can’t even work out what is going on. What do you think?

Which country had the better song? Germany or Italy?

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Beat To My Melody – Lena [Breezy, super-cool dance pop]

Occhi Profondi – Emma [Anthemic chart pop with a massive Sia-type chorus]

 

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Game on: Germany vs Slovakia

Can you believe that I’ve picked three songs for Germany and none of them were really nerdy minimal techno? Neither can I.

Here we go then. For Germany, we have Worst Case with Rocket, which features all the right bleeps in all the right places and a lovely rising tone thingy that must be the titular rocket. Slovakia are no slouches at the old techno techno techno either, because coming straight out of Bratislava is Kevi Anavi with her piece (and excellent accompanying vid) Hypno.

Whose techno is more techno? Germany or Slovakia?

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Rocket – Worst Case [Bleepy, howling, rather chilly minimal techno stuff]

Hypno – Kevi Anavi [Very minimal, very cool, somewhat glitchy]