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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: 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: Switzerland vs Poland

The round of 16!

Our first game is between Jizelle of Switzerland and Saszan of Poland. Jizelle is singing a female empowerment anthem and I’m not clear whether Saszan’s song is pro or anti drugs, but it’s certainly about drugs.

Game on.

Whose pop princess is more princessy?

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Niämals – Jizelle [Lady-empowerment song, made even more emphatic by being in Swiss German]

Dizzy – Saszan [Chirpy, perky, kid friendly song about going out and doing drugs]

 

 

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Game on: Iceland vs Hungary

The Icelanders are casually telling us that Hekla is stirring. It’s the geological equivalent of saying “It’d be a shame if you angered the gods of the earth by not facilitating the progress of Icelandic football” and I hope that the Austrians are listening. I don’t fancy a reprise of the Eyjafjallajökull affair.

So we have some heavy stuff indeed from Iceland in the shape of the most recent single from Great Grief and some very not heavy stuff from Austria from a band called VIECH, who’ve done nothing wrong.

Which was better? Iceland or Austria?

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Knives – Great Grief [Very noisy and abrasive metal that starts out all hardcore-esque, tours a dozen metal sub-genres and is almost short enough to enter into Eurovision]

Zentrale – VIECH [Extremely jaunty pop rock stuff with brass enhancement from some chirpy and clean cut Austrians]

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Game on: Germany vs Poland

This was the fixture that prompted all this nonsense – originally you were going to get Miss Kiss Kiss Bang vs My Słowianie because these are German and Polish songs that attempted to smuggle boobs into Eurovision (with varying levels of success), but then I remembered that MKKB is an awful racket, and that these two great nations could do a lot better.

So, for Germany we have the ridiculously talented Naima Husseini from Hamburg, who makes really gorgeous music – if you liked Sterne, try some of her ‘At home’ videos  where she performs huge multilayered compositions with her voice and a loop pedal.

For Poland we have Maja Kleszcz and incarNations. Maja was in the Warsaw Village Band, who are well worth taking a look at, but now she’s with the incarNations and making music that is in touch with the Polish folk tradition, but wouldn’t be out of place in the charts.

Which song was better? Naima Husseini or Maja Klezcz & the Incarnations?

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Sterne – Naima Husseini [Twinkly and beautiful pop with a warm heart]

Zanim Wstanie Miasto – Maja Kleszcz and IncarNations [Propulsive, lively folk pop with sensitive production and Maja’s lovely singing]

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Game on: Germany vs Ukraine

Well, well, well, it’s the country that just won Eurovision vs the country that came last in the final. In football I hear that it might be a bit tighter than that though.

Germany are represented by rock diva Jennifer Rostock and her song Kaleidoscop, and Ukraine are represented by Stoned Jesus, a band that rock in a similar way to Red Fang, and their song Here Come The Robots.

Which did you like better, Germany or Ukraine?

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Kaleidoscop – Jennifer Rostock [Impressive, energetic rock with Jennifer’s fabulous vocals and bonus mirrorball leotard]

Here Come The Robots – Stoned Jesus [Riffy, hooky intense rock with a nice stoner rock breakdown]

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Game on: Albania vs Switzerland

Euro 2016 is the kind of competition where anything can happen. But what happens when we set the Albanian music scene – represented by hype-generating pop starlet Era Istrefi – against the Swiss one, represented by Dabu Fantastic?

Albania vs Switzerland: who wins?

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BonBon – Era Istrefi [Super modern slightly Rihanna-fied pop]

Sunne – Dabu Fantastic [Summery pop with guitars]