World Cup 2019: Group F

And we’re back through the groups again. Maybe there’ll be another loop through before the knockout stages, maybe?

Chile: Paz Court – Pajarillo Negro

The first lady of Chilean jazzpop has gone epic! There’s a quite nice video which for some reason we’re not allowed to embed. The song builds from gentle acoustic intro to a martial conclusion, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Her previous album, Veranito de San Juan is an adorable retro-sonic evocation of summer.

Sweden: Kårp – Kuiper Belt

Let’s be honest, when am I not going to pass on a recommendation for some chilly Swedish female-fronted electro indie which has cosmic lyrical themes? Kårp are from Gothenburg and judging from the first album released in April, are well worth keeping an eye on.

Thailand: coconut cream – ทุกๆวันเวลาที่เราเคยมี (pass the time)

This is lovely! Thai indie folk that reminds me of Vashti Bunyan. Cinematic melodies and a very chill vibe. Support them by buying the EPs on Bandcamp.

USA: Sunn O))) and Hildur Guðnadóttir – Between Sleipnir’s Breaths

Even if you’ve not actually listened to them, you might be ambiently aware of Sunn O))) because of their punctuation abuse and general critical acclaim. You’re probably also at least ambiently aware of the hit TV drama Chernobyl. Hildur Guðnadóttir composed the soundtrack for Chernobyl, and worked with the O))) (as no-one calls them) on their most recent album Life Metal. Iceland aren’t playing in the World Cup this summer, but here I am cramming some Icelandic action in with Seattle’s finest and doomiest. Enjoy.

Game On: Sweden vs England

I considered making this a normal Game On post, but no. Today is about football songs.

Sweden have not one but two top class novelty World Cup singles for 2018.

Exhibit 1: Samir & Viktor – Put Your Hands Up För Sverige

Exhibit 2: Du Vet Du – Vi Sjunger

What do England have for 2018?

There’s nothing official, but there’s the majestic earworm of the Kick Song.

And I’m sure you’re familiar with Three Lions, but I thought you might enjoy this energetic thrash of a cover from WALWIN. Is it… coming home

Game On: Sweden vs Switzerland

Phoneme-wise, it’s been a wee while since we’ve had a double ‘sw’ match in the knockout stages of the World Cup. In fact, since Swaziland have renamed themselves to eSwatini, this is now your only option.

For Sweden, home of sophisticated space age synth pop, we have some incredible throwback Italo disco from Carino Cat.

For Switzerland, home of the world’s largest particle accelerator, we have some ambient electro with absolutely fantastic sci-fi artwork.

Game On: Sweden vs South Korea

Two absolute pop powerhouse nations here, and we’re going to have fun with this. I know almost nothing about South Korean pop, but I know that I have some research to do (especially if Eurovision Asia turns out to be a thing) and well, Sweden gonna Swede.

With a bit of a paucity of actual football songs this year, I have to give Samir and Viktor’s ‘Hands Up For Sverige’ a spin. Could this be a more concentrated dose of Swedishness than Petra Mede’s Swedish Smorgasbord?

For South Korea, let’s have the new release from GIRLKIND. I think I’m going to enjoy  a voyage of discovery into K-pop, because it turns out that the pure pop sounds I’m enjoying at the minute (Carly Rae Jepsen, Lea Sirk) have at least a little bit in common with the sound of Seoul.



Curtain Up On Eurovision 2018 – A Tale of Two Idas

We’re starting to see the first few national final line-ups for Lisbon 2018, and there is a bit of Listen Outside interest scattered all over the contest. Let’s take a tour. Let’s start with the ScandiNordics.

In Sweden, Ida Redig  will be taking part in Melodifestivalen. We were obsessed with her Swedish-language pop which sounds like stripped-back Italo house, complete with breathy vocals. It’s unlikely she’ll wrestle the ticket to Lisbon out of the hands of Liamoo or Mariette, but it’s lovely to see someone new and this exciting come through Christer Bjorkman’s neo-schlager factory.

Next door in Norway, it’s not been confirmed yet, but we’re expecting Ida Maria to be participating in Melodi Grand Prix. Last year, she was the songwriter for Mama’s Boy -a piece of sexually assertive uptempo pop with the melodic hookiness you’d recognise if you were a fan of Ida’s first album Fortress Round My Heart. Her style has also encompassed roots and acoustic blues, but last summer she popped out a beautifully mellow and melancholic song called You. I love the vocal mellotron effect on the harmonies.

Over in Estonia, there is plenty to get excited about in Eesti Laul. Perennial Listen Outside faves Frankie Animal have brought the deeply slinky and sophisticated (Can’t Keep Calling) Misty which makes me want to turn up the collar on my trenchcoat and disappear into the fog under a gaslamp after breaking someone’s helpless heart.

We’re also going to be treated to a song by Iiris (whose recent single Stranger was one of my sounds of the summer) and Ago called Drop The Boogie which I’m expecting to be a shimmering dancefloor confection.  New to me, but no less thrilling is Sybil Vane and they’re as sexy and thematically dark as you’d imagine a band named after an Oscar Wilde character to be. Their song Thousand Words isn’t out at time of writing, but gosh, give me some of that noir.

In other intriguing Estonian prospects, Girls In Pearls bring lush pop (also, they are twins), Evestus have industrial new wave type stuff, there shall be various pop tracks, some rough naughty hip-hop, a dollop of ambient dubstep and some guy named Stig.

We already know that Finland are totally spoiling us by bringing Saara Aalto to the party, with presumably a huge stage production and an epic power ballad banger hybrid, which the 100 year old nation will select on March 3rd.

That just leaves Denmark (about which I’m none the wiser) and Iceland. So far there haven’t been any rumours about participants in Songvakeppnin, but I am pretty sure there’ll be something almost almost as good as Is This Love?

Next up: an in-depth look at the Latvia Supernova semi-finalists and some rending of garments over songs already lost to their process.

Lay All Your Love On Me – Pale Honey

Continuing our accidental miniseries of slightly downbeat covers of Swedish pop masterpieces, here is Pale Honey with a slouchy, twangy cover of Lay All Your Love On Me.

Pale Honey are an indie-rock two piece from Gothenburg – they’ve got a superbly louche vibe and are splendidly dry and funny on their blog. This is the first single from their upcoming second album, which is due to land in September. More like this please!

Pale Honey are on Facebook

Pale Honey are on Soundcloud

Pale Honey have a website

Fångad av en Stormvind – El Perro del Mar

In Sweden, even the sad/earnest cover versions of pop songs that they use on adverts are a cut above the usual. Here’s El Perro Del Mar stretching the three minute masterpiece that is Fångad av en Stormwind into a languid, transcendently miserable ode to offshore wind generation.

Weirdly, there’s not a full version on YouTube, but you can use this link to find it on the streaming service of your choice.

And I’ve just realised I ought to do a bit about how wind turbines are similar to schlageriffic wind machines, but they work the other way round. Still, I think if you were wearing a big frock on the top of an offshore wind platform, you’d get quite a billow going.

Racist Friend – Naomi Pilgrim

It’s a busy time of the Eurovision year and while I’ve been disgracefully absent from your music recommendation screens, things have been happening.

One of those things is that Swedish/Barbadian artist Naomi Pilgrim has released this pointed and timely cover of The Specials’ Racist Friend. A chant-a-long social message that you can dance to. What could be more good for the world?


Mer Jul – Adolphson & Falk

Apologies to readers in Sweden, who will no doubt be familiar with this Christmas song.

For readers outside Sweden, this is something like their equivalent to Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry. The chorus is ‘More christmas, I want more Christmas, give me more Christmas’ and there’s some lovely festive Swedish vocab in the verses. Enjoy. Add to your Christmas playlists and thank me later.