Today things will likely get bad for the English as French-speaking people gear up to grab an unapologetically boring 1-0 victory over them. In a move that would make the proudest indie rock journalist happy, there is a weird layer of self-awareness going around in the English press for this game. Thanks to it, I have never been more optimistic that I am totally not optimistic about our chances in this game. I am daring to dare to not dare to dream. Also, since the majority of our userbase is American, please don’t make fun of us today. It’s not our fault.
Also, something something about the French.
England: Los Campesinos! – Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)
Pretty hard to know what to choose for this one but if the nation’s hopes have been toned down to some sort of footballing nihilism, we should probably call upon Los Campesinos! to make thinly-vieled analogies comparing the sport to sex and the disappointment in both areas. I honestly think if this was our national anthem, our team would sing it proudly before games. Contrary to popular belief (and much to Gareth Campesinos!’ massive dismay), Los Campesinos! are not a Welsh band. This has happened before- I think the sadly misplaced Ryan Giggs would be happy at home in this band.
France: Air – ‘Run’
France offer us the best in music to…
Though it’s only been a country for about 20 years, Croatia has easily the greater football pedigree of these two nations, having appeared in almost all major finals since rejoining UEFA in 1993 and finished 3rd in the 1998 World Cup. Nevertheless, as the smallest nations in the competition with ~4.5 million people apiece, both tend to punch above their weight in competition play, and this promises to be a very competitive group despite the presence of the last two World Cup winners, Italy and Spain.
Croatia: Rawbau – ‘Vatreno Ludilo’
It couldn’t really have been anything else, could it? Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, who bill bid farewell to the Croatian national side after six years in charge at the end of the championships, wrote this song for the nation’s last appearance at the Euros and reached #1 in his homeland. Rawbau have that kind of Rise Against vibe going on, where you can tell they have a strong punk influence but are still totally douchebaggy enough to make music that would sit well on an ad for a fast food restaurant.
Ireland: Sultans of Ping F.C. – ‘Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass’
I was tempted to go for the (possibly awful) Horslips-sampling classic ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure‘ here, but have instead fallen back on the astonishingly underrated Sultans of Ping F.C. (see the football link here) and ‘Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass,’ a title…
A few years ago this fixture would have had a very different set of standard pundit clichés riding on it (the perennial underachievers vs. the mighty defenders), but this meeting of two European greats nonetheless promises, as it has in its first half, to be one of the hottest contenders for least interesting game of the tournament. Bring on Bono V Croatia!
Italy: port-royal – ‘Flares Pt. 2′
…And what could be more fitting for the Italian defensive geniuses with an “educating” manager than some seriously academic ambient and/or post-rock music? port-royal don’t speak much, which makes their tenuous link something to do with their great defensive prowess. The silent 1-0 victory of instrumental music.
Spain: Los Planetas – ‘Parte de lo que me debes ‘
To keep in theme with the classical geniuses Dave was showing off for that wonderful Czech Rep/Russia game, here’s my take on the classics: Spanish indie pop. Twee but in seductive voices; Shout Out Louds could learn from this.
Portugal and Germany last met in the 2008 Euros with Germany running out 3-2 winners despite being outplayed for the entire game. Alas, Portugal weren’t able to channel their disappointment into any notable musical feats, but at least they’ve got Ronaldo. Germany’s rock and metal scene, on the other hand, has managed to produce a multitude of world class acts, seemingly to spite their shitty dad rock-loving population.
Portugal: Rui Jorge – ‘Touch Me’
I wasn’t exaggerating about Portugal. Rui Da Silva was the first Portuguese musician (well, with one kinda-exception we’ll find out about in later rounds) ever to have a record chart in the UK when ‘Touch Me’ hit #1 in 2001.
Germany: Atari Teenage Riot – ‘Black Flags’
This one really is no contest.
These two sides contested the semi-final of the 1992 Euros, with a star-studded Denmark side featuring Torben Piechnik and John Jensen triumphing over a team of obscure Dutchman featuring forgotten names like Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. The Danes would go on to beat the recently unified Germany in the final, prompting the type of wild celebrations on the streets of Copenhagen not seen since the birth of Niklas Bendtner four years earlier.
Netherlands: The George Baker Selection – ‘Little Green Bag’
The Dutch contribution to pop culture has never really lived up to its fine art history – I see your Johannes Vermeer and raise you a Vengabus – but all sins against good taste are forgiven when you consider the Netherlands gave us the soundtrack to one of the finest moments in cinematic history – the Reservoir Dogs intro. ‘Little Green Bag’ was, remarkably, only the second-biggest hit for the awfully Dutch-sounding George Baker Selection.
Denmark: Alphabeat – ‘Fascination’
From America’s greatest ever export to its second best: industrial-strength paint stripper. The really-quite-good Danish pop group Alphabeat provided the delightfully camp theme for Coca-Cola adverts in Europe a couple of years back. Like all Danish people, Alphabeat dress and style their hair like their king, Niklas Bendtner.
Like most ex-communist nations, neither of these countries is noted for its astounding contribution to modern music, but it was very much the opposite case in the Romantic era when both were at the forefront of European culture. Curiously, the communist era was boom-time for football in both states, whereas Russia have struggled since independence and the Czechs have often flattered to deceive.
Czech Republic: Antonin Dvorak – Symphony No. 9: From the New World
As its title suggests, Prague-born Dvorak composed his ninth symphony while living in New York in the late 19th Century. Fans of my work will be delighted to know I once performed a part of the New World Symphony at music camp when I was like 8.
Russia: Modest Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition
Aha! You all thought I was going to go for Tchiakovsky. In fact, it’s one of the Mighty Five Russian nationalist composers and the one-man Modest Mouse cover band and his piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.
Sputnik has a long and proud history of supporting the world’s best and most popular sport. Two years ago, Nick Butler used the football World Cup as an opportunity for a fascinating study into the musical history of the 32 participating nations. This year, not so much.
We will, however, be using the 32 games taking place over the next 4 weeks to showcase some of the better music that’s come out of each of the 16 European nations taking part, and we begin with the opening game, featuring co-hosts Poland and those lovably spendthrift Greeks.
Use this thread to talk about the match, Lewandowski and, of course, who makes the better music. (Hint: Poland)
Poland: Riverside – ‘In Two Minds’
Warsaw’s most passionate Middlesbrough fans skanked heavily off Porcupine Tree on their mesmeric 2004 debut album, Out of Myself, but originality is overrated when you’ve got tracks as beautiful as ‘In Two Minds’ massaging yer earholes.
Greece: Rotting Christ – ‘Keravnos Kyvernitos’
With a name like Rotting Christ, Greece’s premier black metal act were never likely to curry much favour with The Big Misogynist In The Sky, but it’s worth noting that coming from the Greek Orthodox church they were going to hell in any case.
Lunic – Far Away
Lunic is an all-female electro-pop band from New York City, that released their first album, Lovethief, back in 2009. After its release they were able to perform with such diverse artists as Moby, Mindless Self Indulgence, Meiko, Company of Thieves, Dredg and many more. The trio consists of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kaitee Page, electric midi violinist Megan Berson, and live drummer Masha Mayer and they combine to create a fairly unique style that includes keyboards, violins, guitars, effects, loops, and midi controllers to skillfully and carefully construct each track from the ground up.
With a ton of live shows under their collective belts, Lunic are now set to release their second album, Future Sex Drama, in September. ‘Far Away’ is first single from that upcoming album and if it is any indication of the album as a whole, it will be another dose of moody electro-pop. Lunic are definitely recommended to those into Phantogram, Lykke Li, Metric, Ladytron or The xx.
“All-girl New Yorkers Lunic make distinctive and sultry psychedelic indie with hints of downbeat British electronica acts The xx and Portishead. Mournful dashes of violin and melodic lead guitar flourish.”
**Note: The stream has reached the end, but the album can be purchased at the following locations:
Art By Numbers haven’t even released their debut album, and they’re already receiving a lot of attention. This attention probably initially stemmed from the band’s connection with The Human Abstract, but there’s definitely more to it than that. For those that are curious, Brett Powell (The Human Abstract’s drummer) is the band’s manager and Art by Numbers guitarists Victor Corral and Dustin Georgeson studied with A.J. Minette (also of The Human Abstract). The thing is that any thoughts that the band might be skating by on posts such as the one on The Human Abstract Facebook page that declared Art By Numbers, “the most exciting up and coming progressive band out there,” are put to rest once you hear the album. The band’s upcoming debut, Reticence: The Musical, is deserving of the attention that it is getting regardless of any extraneous circumstances.
This Fresno, California five-piece definitely bring a technical, yet melodic, style of progressive metal that will have people comparing them to everything from The Human Abstract and Protest the Hero to Coheed & Cambria. The thing is that they still have their own sound. For one, the band bring a prominent sense of melody and catchy vocal arrangements that occasionally remind me…
If it seems like only last year that Marissa Nadler was releasing her self-titled fifth album, it’s because it really was only last June. Having never been one to just sit around, she is already back with an album titled The Sister which is set to be released on May 29th. If this new song is any indication, her upcoming album is going to pick up right where the previous one left off — and that is definitely a good thing. ‘The Wrecking Ball Company’ is yet another hauntingly beautiful song which mixes minimalist musical accompaniment, strange lyrical imagery and Marissa’s evocative vocals to excellent effect. The video adds an extra layer of peculiarity over the course of its five minute run time, featuring Marissa Nadler engaged in… I don’t even know… digging, staring, standing, sleeping. Marissa explains it as such, “the song references the walls that can grow up between two people and how painful that distance can be.” In the video, “the couple is sharing the same desolate, unadorned house, but they are apart, and looking for a hopeful sign to bring them back together.” Well okay then; I’ll just take her word for it.
The Sister was recorded and produced by Brian McTear at Miner Street Studios in Philadelphia. The Sister is a companion record of eight new tracks subtly linked to last year’s self-titled critically acclaimed LP, out May 29 via her own Box Of Cedar Records.…
Oh yes, I can dig this. Give me indie-pop made solely with hooks and blow ‘em up. Cut the beat so they stick in your head. Give that familiar indie-wail a little swagger. The lyrics? They weren’t that important anyway. Make them vague and sexual enough to blend into the song, but give me a lyric or two to hold on to. “One love one house/ no shirt, no blouse”? That’ll do.
The Neighborhood have of yet released only two songs, which makes it difficult to say if they’ll blow up the way “Sweater Weather” demands to blow them up, but here’s hoping. “Sweater Weather” is a masterfully done series of ear worms, bridging RNB and indie-folk-with instantly recallable pop-hooks, the kind of genre mish-mosh that likes to explode. It’s simply too irresistible for some company looking to corner the grad-student demographic to not nick the song’s phenomenal chorus for an ad. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t blame you. But if indie-pop with this much potential mass appeal is this good, I’m totally okay with it.