From Glasgow we have the gorgeous wordplay, infectious danceability and general fun of Anna Secret Poet. You could say that Tits of Steel is an ode to the power of femininity and the femininity of power.
Have you ever suspected that your actions are being viewed? By nocturnal birds of the Strigiformes genus? Finnish three-piece rock group Kometa know that feeling. Our Finland week continues in a fine, thrashy style.
There’s something very Sunday afternoon about the Mayberian Sanskülotts sound. It’s quite 90s, a little bit shoegazey, a little bit Cocteau twinsy, but with the melancholic, melodic pop edge that might mislead you into thinking you’re listening to something out of a Swedish producer’s Melfest folder.
I’ve picked Nightbus because it builds from a cracking drum beat, via jangly guitars and a synth that sounds like the tripods from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds to a soaring chorus. You should also definitely check out the harmonies on their song Torture.
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.
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.
They also did a very nice bit of pointed Eurovision satire in 2011’s Eurosong – asking ‘Why are we only European at the Eurosong?’ – which for me is actually a better and more fun Eurovision song than anything B&H have sent since Pokušaj.
You’re getting an daytime post today because I’m off to a wedding shortly. Love Milly x
Pips, Chips and Videoclips, other than having a long name to keep typing hail from Zagreb in Croatia and have been releasing music since the early 1990’s.
This raw sounding rock track is accompanied with a really beautiful looking video. It sounds as though it’s from firmly within the mid/late 90’s which was a peak time for angry sounding rock – however to my surprise this song is from their 2013 album, Walt.
The band are associated with one of their early hits Dinamo ja Volim which got picked up by football fans from Dinamo Zagrebs supporters club.
Last week, we described a set of circumstances that lead to Scotland competing as a new Eurovision nation in 2018. Or 2019, depending on administrative timing. We suggested that CHVRCHES would be a great debut choice.
If sending CHVRCHES (or Prides as was suggested in the comments) to Eurovision represents a Scotland with respect for the orthodox form of the contest and an acknowledgement that you have to adhere to the form in order to do very well, then Withered Hand would represent the Scotland that revels in cheekily subverting pomp and bombast. Withered Hand could potentially be Scotland’s Rambo Amadeus.
You might be familiar with the sad troubadour stuff from Withered Hand – extremely downbeat and melancholic, but with a gift for imagery and a perfect turnaround. However, on his 2012 album, there’s a song called Heart Heart which is, on the face of it, a big anthemic stadium rock track, complete with simulated crowd chanting on the massive chorus. Once you actually parse the lyrics, it’s possibly one of the most nihilistic sentiments you could send to the contest. ‘Listen to your heart’, that we can get behind, but ‘all I can hear is my body dying’ is pretty grim. Then there’s the bit about celebrating ‘mindless mediocrity’ which might be a bit close to the bone. However, I can totally imagine something like this ending up representing Scotland at the contest, especially if they do a National Final as part of the Celtic Connections winter festival.
But then there’s the actual process of being in the contest. The whirl of press activity, preview parties and “can you sing us a bit of your song?” would either be a wonderful opportunity for Mr Hand to gently take the piss or would give him something to be truly, truly miserable about.
The Scotland that would send Withered Hand probably doesn’t care about actually winning the contest. Although, even sending something that is actively alienating to the core audience doesn’t guarantee you failure in the topsy turvy world of the modern contest, so I think this would still outperform the rest of the UK.
(As an aside – what do we call the Rest of UK after Scotland leave? We can’t go for Former United Kingdom and it definitely wouldn’t count as Great Britain. Bosnia & Herzegovina prove that you can double-barrel but England, Wales and Northern Ireland is a barrel too far. Who am I kidding? It’ll still be called the UK.)
Anyway, Withered Hand are borderline qualifiers from the semi, but if the song was one where the black-hearted sentiment was even slightly difficult to parse, it would qualify and outperform the UK.
No, I don’t think they’re named after the legendary Tolkein wizard and mushroom fan, Radagast the Brown. They’re Rabagast, with a B. They’re from Norway and they rock. Riffy female fronted rock is definitely my thing and this is definitely that. I’ve had a bit of a listen to their other tracks and it’s not all full-on Stooges stuff, but I think Spit is their strongest song.
According to this indifferently machine translated article in the Norwegian music press, this is from their very recently released debut EP and an album is coming after the summer. I’ll be keeping an eye open.
When the football is over, we’ll be taking a special look at a nation which isn’t yet a Eurovision nation in its own right. But first, and along the same lines, let’s have a listen to N’Deti by The Bloody Foreigners, who are a London-based band of Kosovar academic rock chaps who sound like they might be quite fun. The Bloody Foreigners operate across genre boundaries, mainly concerned with hitting the groove and rocking out.
There does seem to be a lot of interesting and mysterious stuff going on in the Kosovar music scene, and I also read this lovely article about how the Rock School in Mitrovica is helping young people from divided communities communicate.
Apparently, the main Kosovan broadcaster only needs to join the International Telecommunications Union before Eurovision Song Contest participation becomes possible. Dua Lipa & Era Istrefi duet anyone? Or get Nora Istrefi in and make it a supergroup?