How about some totally chill French hiphop just as the temperatures in the UK start rising? Hippocampe Fou, the crazy seahorse, who describes himself as an underwater troubadour brings us a cloud of verbiage including the phrase “I couldn’t make friends with my 3D printer” and name-checking Prince, Queen, GTA and the Kingdom of Hyrule.
Continuing the party theme that we seem to have spontaneously dropped into on this unseasonably hot week in September, we’ve got a bit of French dance pop that seems to suggest the drinking of cocktails next to perfect azure hotel pools and the wearing of expensive sunglasses on French beaches.
Lockhart is a Parisian DJ/producer and Fishbach is an extremely interesting alt-pop singer songwriter. Together, they conjure up a bit of louche magic.
And here’s the second half of our Grand Final. This time we’re looking at some music that sits somewhere within the broad church that is pop.
The Gift are an alternative band from Portugal who’ve been going for over 20 years. Their most recent single, Classico is an expansive, emotional piece of chamber pop, with a big billowy string arrangement and a weepy chorus. The rest of the band’s work seems to reach from the Jesus & Mary Chain to chart anthems that you could give to the winner of the X Factor. This band should be enormous everywhere, really.
From France we’ve got the new single from Parisian dance chaps, It’s A Fine Line. You’ll recognise the voice on the track as being that of Alex Kapranos. Even after a few listens I’m still not quite sure what this is about, or what it even is. It’s definitely got a film noir slink to it, so give it a couple of listens to sink in.
Clássico -The Gift [Huge, sophisticated widescreen cinematic anthem]
The Delivery – It’s a Fine Line ft. Alex Kapranos.
The end of this marathon of music sharing draws near. Because it’s the final, and because I had some extra tunes filed away for Portugal and France we’re having two posts for this game. This is the heavy post. There’ll be a pop post later.
Astrodome are a Portuguese doom band with very visually appealing merch. To be honest I’m not sure if they’re currently active because their website is down and the mech is out of stock, but their self-titled 2015 record Astrodome is pretty cool and the artwork reminds me of the wedding invitations I spend dozens of hours hand-crafting.
Gojira shouldn’t need any introduction to the long-term metalheads in the audience. They’re a doom metal band of an ecological bent from Bayonne in south-west France. This song, Low Lands is from their new album which came out just this weekend. Share and enjoy.
Into the Deepest Space – Astrodome [Groovy, melting atmospheric doom]
Low Lands – Gojira [Bleak, eschatological atmospheric doom]
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.
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]
This one is MASSIVE. What a game. I mean, Iceland could do anything at this stage. Áfraaaaam!
For Iceland we have some distinctly hairy good time party rock from Churchhouse Creepers. It’s called Party, it depicts a party and evokes a party. It is party.
For France we have some more distinctly hairy good time party rock, which I think is probably mocking the aesthetics of the American rock group from a French point of view, but maybe not. Anyway, it’s fun!
Party – Churchhouse Creepers [Fun time rock and roll]
Goin’ Down South – Dirty Deep [More fun time rock and roll]
Come on you Boys in Green! And other such exhortations to sporting endeavour!
For France we have the wonderful FM Laeti, whose song Sanctuary made me prick up my ears and say ‘woah’ like Keanu. For Ireland we have traditional music specialist Jarlath Henderson whose voice is ever so powerfully sad.
Sanctuary – FM Laeti [Splendidly dignified and majestic. Full of humanity and warmth]
Courting Is A Pleasure – Jarlath Henderson [Cutting edge interpretation of a traditionally grim folk love song]
And we start the last round of games with something a bit nice. If you want something loud, try the other match.
For Switzerland we’ve got James Gruntz from Basel, who isn’t the punk tribute to James Blunt, but a pop balladeer.
For France we have Christine and the Queens. They’re famous enough outside France to be advertised on the London Underground, but I thought you might like her song Christine.
Dark Side of the Moon – James Gruntz [Delicate, spacey ballad. Not a cover]
Christine – Christine and the Queens [Laid back but melodic pop with a spoken word middle eight]
I am really starting to get into French pop music. And the football is quite diverting, I suppose. Tonight’s final match is France vs Albania. France is represented by epic pop diva Shy’m who has a song called Tandem which I don’t think is about cycling. From Albania we have some quite mellow hip-hop from MC Kresha. The song is called Hip Hop and as far as I can tell, it’s the story of how much hip hop meant to the rappers as kids in a communist country.
Tandem – Shy’m [Fashion forward pop with a massive chorus]
Hip Hop – MC Kresha & Lyrical Son feat Ledri Vula [Rather old school Albanian rhymes over some rather old school Albanian samples]
Football eh? Let’s get into Euro 2016 by deciding which nation’s Listen Outside recommended song is better. There’s two videos and a poll. You know what to do.
France: With You – Clément Bazin [Floaty tropical dance with steel drums]
Romania: Dream About Your Face – Antonia [Solo female electropop with a big chorus]