After the earlier overload of football song cheese, let’s get sophisticated.
Babba are a Russian indie electronica duo from Samara, combining hypnotic spoken word vocals with the electronic dings and whooshes that sound a bit like Orbital.
Croatia are represented by Svemirko, who are doing very smooth melodic electropop.
Poland are represented by the fabulously wonky pop of Ramona Rey. This song, Euvi works just as well in the full gaga-esque production of the single version but also as a low-key jazz version. I can only assume she’s too famous/cool to give the Eurovision a go, but I bet she’d be a right laugh.
Representing Colombia we have musical space/time traveller Bleepolar with a selection of irresistible basslines and a worldwide collage of sounds.
After a first round of matches that turned everything we thought we knew about football on its head, we’re none the wiser about who is going to win the World Cup. But at least at Listen Outside we’ve got good music.
For Portugal we have Best Youth who are surely only one step from being massive in the UK. Get one of those songs licensed on an advert or in a near-future sci-fi program and you’ll have it. They’re a duo who make gorgeous chiffon slow disco songs with Kylie Moments throughout. Enjoy the light from the Mirrorball.
For Morocco we have some absolutely frantic electro. Kinshasa describe their sound as ‘joyful hybrid afro wave’ and that seems about right. Enjoy yourselves.
Bleeps, boops and all manner of electronic fun for you with Poland vs Senegal.
For Poland we’ve got the general Blade Runner ambience of LukHash with Round The World. Shades on, start your light cycle and prepare to overthrow the totalitarian government.
For Senegal, enjoy Djula Dance by Ibaaku and yes, you may never stop moving once you start.
A quick one for Norway vs Belgium!
Norway: IRL by Hanna Hukkelberg
A lovely bit of relaxed, off-centre ambient pop with all sorts of fabulous percussive noises.
Belgium: I Know by Low Land Home
Expansive and gravelly-voiced 80s sounding indie pop (in a good way)
Something totally out of the ordinary from Elohim. Skinny Legs is a cerebral audio journey through dance and ecstatic rhythms with extraordinarily tactile production touches for those of us who like a bit of ASMR in their music.
You might also enjoy Elohim’s lush, dreamy 2016 single Hallucinating.
Elohim is on Facebook (US tour dates there for those of you who can make it)
Elohim has a website
It’s Friday so I am giving you that will simultaneously relax you from the stresses of the week and energise you for the weekend to come. Marez is a Norwegian producer who seems to have remixed all the usual Norwegian pop suspects, but Indigo Child is a thing all of their own.
Make sure you listen to all of the fabulously detailed percussive noises in the mix. Marez worked hard putting them there for you to hear.
I was feeling despondent, because my first pick for tonight turned out to have a really exploitative male-gaze video that didn’t even have a comedy brass band in it, and so I didn’t feel I could post it. We’ve got principles here.
But then this song popped up! It’s Venüs by Turkish electro singer Billur Yapıcı who used to perform as Nükleer Başlıklı Kız (Nuclear Headed Girl) and it is, I think you’ll agree, a pretty great pop song. A nice amount of guitars, excitingly vibrant synths, a chorus that goes wooo-ooo-ooo and a menacing friend in an origami rabbit mask. (If you want a menacing animal mask, I buy all of mine from Wintercroft)
What more could we ask for?
Billur is on Facebook
Continuing our occasional forays into music outside the wider European zone, I submit for your consideration the genuine thrills of Badawiya Lovin’ by Hello Psychaleppo.
It’s the work of producer Samer Saem Eldahr, who comes from Aleppo but is currently prevented from living and working there by the ongoing Syrian war. The UNHCR estimates that there are 63.5 million people in the world who are currently displaced by conflict or persecution.
Badawiya Lovin’ mixes samples of traditional Arabic vocals with ever-shifting modern electronic music to create huge, expressive sonic landscapes. You forget that it’s ten minutes long, because it flows from movement to movement, layering different beats and techniques to create a seemingly endless piece you want to dance wildly to.
Hello Psychaleppo is on Soundcloud
Hello Psychaleppo has a website
Tonight, it’s Iceland, who’ve warmed everyone’s hearts and made loads of friends during this tournament against England who, um, haven’t. Both of these nations have traditions of epic poetry, incredible word play and partying as if the world was ending and that’s what we’re reflecting in tonight’s song choices.
For England, we have eleven minutes of intense bleakness from Richard Dawson. This song, The Vile Stuff, is the sound of Northern working class lives spinning out of control against a background of alcohol and violence.
For Iceland, we have an incredible party anthem from Stykur about going out in Reykjavik. The wordplay and sounds of the Icelandic rapping is just amazing. When she goes into the double speed section in the second verse, my head reels.
The Vile Stuff- Richard Dawson [Intense bardic nihilism]
Reykjavik – Stykur [Massive bouncing party tune with incredible wordplay]