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Mrs Alex Vause – KNASH

This one managed to escape my notice when it came out in 2015 – but it remains ever relevant to my interests. KNASH are a wonderfully energetic Swedish band of feminist rockers – like all the best bands they look like a gang, but it’s a friendly, inclusive gang that can tell you all about your reproductive rights and would cheerfully mess up some dude if he was treating you badly.

They have a couple of new songs out – Let A Sister is about female freedom and Our Time is a razor sharp, dead pan response to a street harasser (‘there should be a curfew for men, they shouldn’t be out after 1am’)

Mrs Alex Vause, embedded above, is a very fun homage to everyone’s favourite raven-haired temptress in Orange Is The New Black. It’s full of cute references and in-jokes, as well as having a great chorus that goes “Be my lover, be my wife!”

KNASH are great. If I were putting a gig on, I would book them.

KNASH are on Soundcloud

KNASH are on Facebook

 

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Drinking Party In A Train Compartment – Go Away Bird

I’m off to the football tonight to watch the England vs Estonia game in the qualifiers for the Women’s European Championship. So, I’ll continue this week’s party theme with a song about having a party in a train compartment on the sleeper service from Tallinn to Moscow. I like Go Away Bird, on the strength of this single and their 2016 Eesti Laul entry Sally with its layered, collaged sound effects.

They’ve also got a new song, Alcohol, which interpolates various Johnny Cash numbers to a very lovely effect. But now, off to the football.

Go Away Bird are 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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Game on: Wales vs Belgium

The marvellous people of Wales are doing us proud in the football and also in the musical world. Did you expect to be listening to some hot New Orleans-style Welsh language brass band hip hop tonight? Neither did I, but do enjoy Band Pres Llaregub.

For Belgium we have something slightly more conventional, in the shape of Liege band Hollywood Porn Stars who are back from a long break with some new wavey indie rock.

Which country had the better song? Wales or Belgium?

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Nythod Cacwn – Band Pres Llareggub [Funky Welsh language hip hop via New Orleans]

Be Scared – Hollywood Porn Stars [Angular, paranoid new wave indie rock]

 

 

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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: Italy vs Sweden

Two lovely bits of insouciant, rough around the edges female-fronted indie here for a match that I’m sure will be a cracker.

Maria Antonietta is a really interesting artist – she’s making spirited feminist music with a punk ethos, but it’s also informed by her background in art history and her interest in the feminine aspects of religion.

Pfemme Records are a feminist musical collective, and we’ve recommended this song before, but it’s so massive that I am posting it again and I’ll post it again until you all like it.

Whose song did you like more? Maria Antonietta's or Pfemme Records?

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Quanto eri bello – Maria Antonietta [Smart indie pop for thoughtful gals]

Ingen är bara här för att dansa – Pfemme Records [Dancefloor indie with a punk spirit and Swedish swearing]

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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.]

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Pudasjärven Ufo – Lasten Hautausmaa

I had a listen, then I had another listen immediately after and googled the song name. It really is in reference to UFO’s guys, I’m not sure why that makes it even better but it does. They’re Finnish which makes this lovely sounding, indie shoe-shuffling bit of pop quite a departure from what you’ve come to expect from the music scene in Finland. Think Belle and Sebastian at their best. I like the male and female voices together with the rather haunting backing vocals floating in and out behind them. It’s very well put together and really wouldn’t sound out of place on that playlist you have for impressing people with your indie credentials, we know you have one.

Lasten Hautausmaa are on Soundcloud

Lasten Hautausmaa are on Facebook

 

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Count to Ten – Mew

Mew have been around for ages now, their blend of doomy indie songs and whimsical sometimes creepy artwork have kept a core group of fans sustained throughout changes to the line up (and back again.) This song was written and recorded for a tribute sampler for the Transformers called ‘Transformers Roll Out’ that was released in April this year – yes, I just wrote that no, I haven’t made it up.

There is a recognisable signature to a Mew song, which other artists have rarely imitated. It’s a signature that hasn’t dated. Count to Ten is recognisably a Mew track and not as challenging as some of the tracks on ‘and the Glass Handed Kites’ which was the last album I picked up by them back in 2005 and could be a difficult listen for indie rock. The piano sounds great and references back to their earliest albums. They released a new album last year ‘+ -’ charted at 59 in the UK and topped the chart in Denmark. Count to Ten is good enough to be an album track so it’s looking good for any new music they record this year!

Mew have a website