Para ti – Luísa Sobral

We got to see a lot more of the Eurovision winning songwriter than normal in 2017, because not only is Luísa Sobral an excellent songwriter and performer, she’s also a big sister who stepped up to the rehearsal plate for her little brother who wasn’t ready to travel. I’d argue any day of the week that at Eurovision the songwriter should be given just as much prominence as the person interpreting the song on stage, so it’s nice that it worked out this way.

So here’s a bit of love for Luísa. She too survived a reality TV singing competition, and got her first album ‘The Cherry On My Cake’ out in 2011. It’s a very relaxed, accessible retro jazz album and her cooing vocals are delicious. Since then she’s had three more albums out – the most recent being ‘Luísa’ which isn’t available on streaming services, but which you can buy from her webstore. [hint hint] 

She’s touring Portugal over the summer, but maybe if we ask very nicely she’ll come and do some gala performances in various capitals around Europe?

But what I really wanted to show you was her homemade video for Para Ti. Be ready to wipe away a tiny happy tear by the end.

Luisa has a website

 

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Love Without Violins – The Gift

You have to promise me that you’re going to watch this one all the way to the end. The Gift come from Portugal and have been making arch, deeply alternative, extraordinarily visual rock music for ten years. Brian Eno is one of popular music’s most important thinkers. Both of them think in terms of grand artistic statements.

Incidentally, if you are interested in Brian Eno’s process and thoughts on the importance of creativity and expression, have a listen to this wonderful rambling Eno interview by Adam Buxton.

So I’m guessing that you just got to the end of the video (the part with the boobs in, seriously I told you to watch to the end) where they show you the incredible intimacy and ambivalent nature of the process of making the artworks featured in the video. Beautiful. Now, go and make some art yourself.

The Gift have a website

Brian Eno has a website

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Zombie – The Sunflowers

A bit of rock and roll with a louche sort of menace. Portuguese duo The Sunflowers find themselves experiencing a spot of bother from the undead in their song Zombie. It’s good fun for fans of The Cramps, 80’s Matchbox and campy gory horror movies.

I’m considering buying the album, which comes on red marble vinyl. Mmmm tasty.

The Sunflowers are on Bandcamp 

The Sunflowers 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: 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]

 

 

 

 

 

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Game on: Poland vs Portugal

We’re getting close to the end. And also the football is almost over.

In the first quarter final, Poland are playing Portugal. For Poland, we have a very excellent song by a man about who I know almost nothing except that maybe he was on X Factor? He’s called Ralph Kaminski and the song is called Podobno. It’s really very beautiful and I think we should keep our eyes on young Ralph.

For Portugal, it’s time for a duet by Mariza and Sergio Dalma and a bit of delicious fado. It’s in Spanish, which isn’t totally fado as far as I know, but have a look at the chorus lyrics, which are as fado as you like:

soul, it hurts to be the soul
I look like a crazy every night in my window
I can not sleep without the beat of your voice
I look in your eyes and I see nothing, I see nothing

Which country has the more beautiful song? Poland or Portugal?

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Podobno – Ralph Kaminski [Stirring and stunning atmospheric pop]

Alma – Mariza com Sergio Dalma [Big stirring fado duet about lost love]

 

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Game on: Croatia vs Portugal

It’s time for us all to either have a bit of a laugh at Cristiano Ronaldo’s expense or hail him as some sort of a genius. Or for us to totally ignore the football and listen to some nice music from Elemental of Croatia and Marvel Lima of Portugal instead.

Which country has the better song? Croatia or Portugal?

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Sve je moje tude – Elemental [Somewhat askew pop that sounds quite like Squeeze?]

Fever – Marvel Lima [Proggy, summery funk with lashings of wah]

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Game on: Hungary vs Portugal

We’re nearly there! Keep going!

Time for a bit of mind-altering stuff from Hungary and Portugal. The band from Hungary are iamyank, and this is the lead single off an album that I’ll be banging on about for ages. It’s not quite Mick Pedaja but it’ll do. From Portugal we have some decidedly old-fashioned psychedelia from The Lemon Lovers, which I enjoy and hope you do too.

What did you like better? iamyank or The Lemon Lovers?

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Silence – iamyank [A gorgeous slice of galactic ambient techno stuff]

Cosmic Lovers – The Lemon Lovers [Dreamy psychedelia]