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Game On: Brazil vs Switzerland

I enjoyed the retro synthwave for Costa Rica vs Serbia so much that I had a look for similar stuff from Brazil and Switzerland so that we could continue to party in pastel neon shades. Oh boy, was that a good decision.

Brazil’s Lola Disco produce beautiful, heartfelt simulacra of 80s pop-funk tracks that you’ll swear you heard first time round. And the cover art is fantastic! This is the kind of artist that produces a tribute track to San Junipero. Sheer sunny positivity.

For Switzerland, I didn’t find any perfect 80s throwbacks, but I did find the delicate building ambience of Odd Beholder.

 

Game On: Germany vs Mexico

Ooof, here we go. Are Germany going to win their 5th World Cup as defending champions or is someone else somehow going to manage to get past them?

Representing Germany, we’ve got Cold Leather, a group of excitingly noisy punks who absolutely get the job done and in a quite entertaining and aesthetic manner to boot. Their album Smart Moves is well under 30 minutes long but contains 100% of your RDA of grit, yelling and frantic guitars.

Representing Mexico, we take a long draught from the well of doom metal witchcraft with Spacegoat. They’ve got my favourite combination of heavy riffing, huge female vocals and esoteric lyrical themes. I recommend you start with Transmuta to experience a bit of doom metal en español. 

 

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Game On! Costa Rica vs Serbia

Morning! Wake up and smell the football and feel the quality of the retrowave synth pop that I have sourced for you.

Representing Costa Rica we have Patterns, whose cool 80s throwback synthpop makes me think of a version of CSS that the NME weren’t adventurous enough to pick up on.

Representing Serbia we have Isidor who makes what I can only describe as hard-hitting sci-fi music. Don your technojackets and wear your cyber-sunglasses at night.

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Game On: France vs Australia

It’s only the third day of the World Cup and already I’m scrambling to catch up with the cascade of footballing fun.

For France, have something chill and beautiful from PV Nova & Hippocampe Fou. I love a bit of Francophone rap, and I especially enjoyed Hippocampe Fou’s previous song Las Estrellas. 

For Australia, I give you the magical sound of Nardean with Creatress. She’s absolutely fantastic and I want to hear more.

Game On: Portugal vs Spain

Let’s be real, this is the first Big Game of the tournament. And appropriately, we have some big songs.

Representing Portugal, it’s the Anarchicks. I’ve got a nice interview with Rita and Ana from the band in the can, which I need to get round to editing for your listening pleasure. We Claim The Right is all about how it’s basically up to you to keep pushing and disobeying and creating your own world. Also, it has a great riff. The Anarchicks are working on new material (the last I heard anyway) and I can’t wait.

Representing Spain, we’ve got a bit of heartfelt pop with the very recent new single from Alice Wonder. With a video featuring a bit of rock and roll destruction and the fabulously telling refrain “You’ve got me making songs for you” it’s something I’m surprised I’ve not heard on UK radio.

Which of our Iberians wins the musical battle?

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Game On: Morocco vs Iran

So the first Friday of the World Cup brings us the fun of Group B. Morocco and Iran are the teams in Group B that aren’t Portugal (current European champions) or Spain (highly skilled but disappearing into a drama vortex)

Representing Morocco, we have a bit of incredibly smooth jazz infused beats from saib. Relax yourself and think of this sort of thing drifting out of a balcony in Casablanca.

Iran has a strong tradition of instrumental post-rock and atmospheric metal. Across The Waves fit nicely into this tradition and provide a nicely chill counterpoint to the music from Morocco.

Who's chill is greater? Morocco or Iran?

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Game On: Egypt vs Uruguay

Team Egypt are missing the lovely Mo Salah for the first match, and tbh I have no strong feelings one way or the other about the current Uruguay line-up. Let’s dance!

Representing Egypt, FRKTL is the project of Sarah Badr. She’s from Cairo and began making deeply exciting, slightly threatening, expansively ambient music during her undergrad in Creative Computing at Goldsmith’s. The album I’ve embedded is called Prose Edda – yes, all the titles are in Icelandic. Yes, Iceland will be coming up soon.

Representing Uruguay, we have Montevideo’s premier brass-enhanced funk rock outfit Croupier Funk. All they ask is that you dance.

Which moved you more, Egypt or Uruguay?

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Game On: Russia vs Saudi Arabia

We find ourselves on the brink of a month of footballing excitement and Listen Outside is back to bring you another instalment of the GAME ON series. But first! The dubious spectacle of the opening match.

Listen Outside has a bit of a commitment to bringing you music that challenges your ideas about places, so for Russia vs Saudi Arabia we are bringing you two all female bands

For Russia, we have a brief, intense burst of feminist punk from Stresshold. This 53 second yell is Toshnota (Nausea). Sample lyrics: “Dreary everyday life, patriarchal lies“. Heck, I’ve embedded the whole album, it’ll only take ten minutes of your time.

For Saudi Arabia, we take a look back to The AccoLade, a 4 piece all-female rock band from Jeddah. Necessarily operating under difficult conditions, they got to the point of recording an EP in 2009. I wonder what they’re doing now? I would love to hear from Lamia and co.

So, while you contemplate the World Cup’s least democratic ever match (According to the World Bank’s index of democracy, Russia are 135th of 167 and Saudi Arabia are 159th) please do a couple of things for me. Vote for your favourite song below, share Listen Outside with your friends and drop Amnesty International a couple of quid.

Feminist rock: Russia vs Saudi Arabia. Who wins?

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