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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

 

Gotas De Agua Dulce – Juanes

I’ll hold my hands up, this one isn’t European but Juanes sings in Spanish so I’m going to for it ‘Drops of Fresh Water’ as the title translates is just too wonderfully relevant to today’s weather.

This song is from 2007 by Juanes a Colombian singer/songwriter and activist who has been very successful in the two stages of his career. Firstly in a thrash metal band Ekhymosis and from the turn of the millennium as a solo artist.

I don’t think this song sounds 9 years old, it has a pretty tune and Juanes voice sits well, it took time to select a good song that didn’t have a video that made me cringe but this ‘in studio’ style is usually interesting to watch. The lyric is sweet and simple a love song that (hopefully) will offend no one.

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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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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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: 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 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.]

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