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Noches de Sol – Cuzo

Tonight, some music from beautiful, vital, excellent Barcelona. Cuzo are an experimental prog band with an expansive, groovy approach to including psych and world music into their sound. Noches de Sol (Sunny Nights) combines poundingly heavy drums with sunshine laden guitars and shifts rhythmically away from you every time you think you’ve worked out where it’s going.

Cuzo are on Bandcamp

Cuzo are on Facebook  Myspace, apparently

 

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Thanks (To All My Friends) – Flying Frogs

 

Yet again I find myself solving the Eurovision problems of a country that hasn’t actually asked me to stick my oar in. Spain loves Eurovision but is basically stuck in that horrible zone where what they send isn’t matching up to the modern contest (cf UK, Ireland, Denmark) but the expectation of the Spanish Eurofans is raised and dashed every year. It’s a difficult cycle to break.

I think it’s probably time to send something like Flying Frogs to Eurovision. Melodic hardcore is theoretically a very good Eurogenre: it’s melodic, uptempo, singalong stuff, usually with stirring themes that are reflected in a huge chorus. The chorus could even contain technically difficult passages that would accrue loads of jury votes, and if one or more of the singers in the band were super attractive and wore eyeliner and artfully ripped muscle shirts then I think you’d be looking at a top ten finish.

Anyway, Flying Frogs are great fun and a very serious band who are almost certainly not thinking about entering the world’s largest pop competition. I picked this song because it’s the one with the most Eurovision sentiment (friendship, solidarity) and the title reminds me of Cliff’s Power To All Our Friends. It’s 3 minutes long too. Think about it, Spain.

Flying Frogs are on Bandcamp

Flying Frogs are on Facebook  

 

Sofia – Álvaro Soler

Now then you lot, listen up. Ellie has gone on holiday and has left me in charge. Be prepared. Love Milly x

Getting straight to it we have a bouncy pop track by Álvaro Soler, it’s fun and there’s a bit that you’re definitely going to catch yourself whistling along to in the introduction. It’s all about how he wasn’t particularly nice to his ex girlfriend and now he regrets it because she’s happy with someone else. Funny how that happens.

The video was filmed in Havana, Cuba and it’s good to see a music video with an (almost) equal mixture of men and women doing the dancing.

I love songs with this sort of sound because it’s so summery and given that Álvaro had a hit across Europe last summer featuring Jennifer Lopez it could be something he does well, we’ll keep listening out for him.

 

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La Modernidad & Apesta – Nave Nodriza

Anarquía en España! It’s Friday night so we’re having some totally daft, thoroughly ridiculous and wonderfully sincere punk. Nave Nodriza (which means ‘mothership’) are from A Coruña and they make a bloody racket. Their album opens with a song called Teletubbies and contains a song called ‘No hay nada’. Nihilism sounds a lot better in Spanish.

They’ve put their whole album Apesta (‘stink’) on youtube. It’s the kind of album that has 13 tracks and is about 25 minutes long. Make some space for it and enjoy while wearing a black leather jacket, dousing yourself with the nastiest Spanish lager you can get your hands on.

Please come to the UK and do some shows, lads.

Nave Nodriza are on bandcamp

Nave Nodriza are on Facebook

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Game on: Italy vs Spain

It’s punk o’clock! As far as I know, everything is still going to hell, so let’s enjoy a bit of the old anarchy in the EU.

For Italy, the delightful Deluded By Lesbians show their passion for football with a spirited cover of Felicita! You might also enjoy their song, Onion Rings.

For Spain, the energetic young lads of ¡Mahalo! are showing us how to have fun with their song Fun.

Who has the better fun punks? Italy or Spain?

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Felicita! – Deluded by Lesbians [Spirited punk rendition of a deeply naff pop song]

Fun – ¡Mahalo! [Summery, surfy, echoey, hooky punky stuff]

 

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Game on: Croatia vs Spain

In the football, they’re deciding who’ll top Group D. Over here, it’s a bit less tense.

We’ve got something from Vatra of Croatia that owes a bit of a musical debt to Joy Division and Spain’s delightful Chenoa singing about being human.

Which country had the better song? Croatia or Spain?

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Saturn – Vatra [The sound of 1980’s Manchester transposed to the Balkans]

Soy Humana – Chenoa [Constantly building, structurally interesting indie-ish pop song]

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Game on: Spain vs Turkey

It’s Friday night. Let’s cut loose with a bit of modern punk stuff.

From Spain, we have Futuro Terror whose press material is so slangy that google translate cannot deal with it, and consequently about whom I know nothing. But they’re raucous and good.

From Turkey, we have Athena who you may recognise,  who appear now to be sufficiently establishment punk to contribute a song to the soundtrack of an animated film. Their song Geblo is catchy and and energetic and I was singing along in terrible phonetic Turkish by the end of the first play.

Is the Spanish or Turkish punk spirit more punk?

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Ectoplasma – Futuro Terror [Spooky punk with a holler-along chorus and splendidly tinny main riff]

Geblo – Athena [Don’t be fooled by the cartoon tie in – full of energy and passion!]

 

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Game on: Spain vs Czechia

Look, they’ve changed their name and they want to be called Czechia. Also it’s less to type so I applaud that. This afternoon it’s two nice bits of alternative indie type music. MUCHO from Spain are doing a sort of anthemic, danceable indie rock, where Charlie Straight of Czechia are more from the Ben Folds Five wordy, nerdy indie mould. Which do you prefer?

Whose song was better, Spain or Czechia?

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Nuevas Ruinas – MUCHO [Smart indie rock with a beat you can dance to]

Try Some Stuff You Don’t Think You Should – Charlie Straight [Wordy, poppy indie from Czechia. That’s right, Czechia.]

Gabak Zerueri Begire – Gatibu

The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and you’re listening to the anthemic sounds of Basque rock group, Gatibu. Like a lot of regional language groups and subsumed nations, the Basque speaking parts of Spain and France have a strong musical scene in their own language. Gatibu, which means ‘captive’ in Basque, aren’t avoiding the political implications of singing in their own language, but on songs like Gabak Zerueri Begire (which means something like ‘Nights looking at the sky’), they’re also not about to be po-faced about when they could party. I can explain all the bums in the video – there’s a line in the chorus about how it would be cool to dance naked, and that’s what all the Gatibu fans are doing.

But this song. It’s lovely, summery, slightly ska-influenced singalong pop rock. It makes you think that there’s still time to book festival tickets. Ey-oh, ey-oh.

Gatibu have a multilingual website

Vampiros y Banqueros – Barón Rojo

Vampires and bankers! Some spirited anti-capitalist rock for you.

This is not new music, but if you’ve not heard it, it’s quite a thing. Barón Rojo are a Spanish hard rock/metal band who’ve been trucking almost continuously since 1981. If you need a higher recommendation than mine, try Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. It also sounds from some of the rhythm guitar like they’ve got some of the same songwriting harmonic template as The Misfits. Anything halfway between Maiden and The Misfits is going to be of interest to me, and that’s precisely where this song lies.

I found some of the studio albums I sampled to have aged somewhat badly in terms of production technique, but the live album that this version of Vampiros y Banqueros comes from is extremely powerful, putting their musicianship and showmanship centre stage. Their website reports that the current line-up is touring. It’s probably worth a look.

Barón Rojo have a website

Barón Rojo have tour dates