Everyone was talking about it. Summer 1995 and, for me and a lot of people at the time, this was important. The two biggest Britpop bands were in battle. On August the 14th of that year Blur and Oasis released a new single, both to lead in to a new album release (although the albums would be a few weeks apart and Oasis had already released Some Might Say as a single earlier that year). Despite massive things happening in the world this was also important, to a generation at least; who would sell the most? Who would be Number One? Country House by Blur or Roll With It by Oasis became a national dividing line. As a teenager at the time I was having arguments with friends and conversations with strangers over this issue. The Question “Which one did you buy?” was the first thing you asked when meeting someone that week. Good times.
I was Team Country House all the way, I still feel it is a far better song. Who won? Blur did! It was nice to be on the winning side. But what would you have “voted” for?
Brainstorm (or Prāta Vētra as they are known in their home country of Latvia) are a band I loved for years… then said to say I forgot about. I discovered them in the early 2000s and even saw them live in Camden. Then life moved on. A few months ago they released a new single and I came across it on YouTube almost by accident; they are still just as good. Looks like it’s time for me to start catching up on all the things I’ve been missing. In the meantime the below is the new song and some of my favourites.
After a year off, which is more of a shame because there were some excellent songs in 2020 (I’ll put my favourites up later), Eurovision is back this week. The Semi Finals start Tuesday. https://eurovision.tv/
In what is a somewhat mixed year I wanted to share four of my favourites in no particular order. I try and keep away from Spoilers and betting odds so I have no preconceptions on what will do well.
SWITZERLAND – Song: Tout l’Univers– Artist: Gjon’s Tears
Returning from last year with a new song, I do love this second effort, although I slightly prefer Répondez-moi from last year. With two great songs for both entries though (an accomplishment not every returning artist managed) I’d say he is one to watch.
GREECE – Song: Last Dance – Artist: Stefania
Not as sophisticated as Switzerland and basically general Eurovision pop, this is still at the very good end of the scale and a vast improvement on last year. As much as there isn’t much substance to this, it’s a great pop song.
ICELAND – Song: 10 Years – Artist: Daði & Gagnamagnið
They had a very good chance of winning it last year, as I love nearly everything about Iceland I was disappointed they didn’t get their first victory. This is not quite as good as Think About Things but I’d still be very happy if they won.
UKRAINE – Song: Shum – Artist: Go_A
I did not get on with their song last year so was surprised by how much I love this. The below is a longer, and far better, edit than the three minute version allowed at the contest, although that is also well worth listening to. It’s very different from what some of the general public expect at Eurovision and this is a good thing.
A well known musical style is a song that builds, the classic composers did it and it is still a method used to great effect today. Below are two different examples, and songs that I love.
Going straight for the epic this is one of Woodkid’s finest (also check out I Love You if you like this). You know this is going to end up on a grand scale, but when it comes it’s immensely satisfying.
Song: Run Boy Run – Artist: Woodkid
Not to the same scale, but shortlisted for a Mercury Music Award you’re not quite sure where this is going to go which makes the track surprising as well as enjoyable.
It’s been a while since I updated this blog, I’ve been busy with other literary pursuits. But I wanted to get this going again and who better then to start off with than the magnificent CoCo And The Butterfields? Described as a Fip Fop band (don’t worry I’m not entirely sure either) this is a band that not only sounds great on record, but also live (I know I’ve been to their gigs).
If you like English Folk, Rock, Electro and just plain good music, give the links below a listen. They also do free gigs online whilst we’re under lock down. I can give no better recommendation than to just say, listen to them and let their music do the talking. – https://cocoandthebutterfields.com/
Song: Puppets – Artist: CoCo And The Butterfields
Song: Battlegrounds – Artist: CoCo And The Butterfields
Song: Crash And Burn – Artist: CoCo And The Butterfields
This March I had planned a weekend in Paris. I’d not been for years and as well as finally realising it was about time I saw the Mona Lisa I’d chosen the dates to be able to see Tim Dup in concert. Fortunately I’d not booked anything before Europe went into Lockdown so I didn’t lose any money, but I can now add another to my list of gigs I still need to see at some point.
Tim Dup is a French artist who has just released his second album Qu’en restera-t-il ? and new single Une autre histoire d’amour (below).
It’s said his genre is Electronic but this just seems to be a box that needs to be ticked by reviewers as, even judging by the three examples below, he is far more varied.
Song: Mourir vieux (avec toi) – Artist: Tim Dup
Song: Le visage de la nuit – Artist: Tim Dup
Song: Une autre histoire d’amour – Artist: Tim Dup
The below are two songs that have a lot in common. Both are from American artists and are sing-a-long pop (or is that just me?). They are the kind of songs that can be easily missed but actually are worth going back to.
Song: Half Love – Artist: Red Hearse
Song: All The Feels – Artist: Fitz And The Tantrums
In my ramblings around the internet I’ve discovered some good alternatives to the pop that fills our radios. Each of the below hail from Denmark*, they are a few years old and although somewhat different to each other both are quality pop tracks. Dark dreamy pop vs synth upbeat gets-stuck-in-your-head= both win for me.
*Although exact information can be vague.
Song: Black Sun – Artist: JØRCK
This is an effortlessly cool piano dark track that creates a universe of its own.
Song: Frozen Days – Artist: doula
On the surface an 80’s retro synth pop but with a more modern edge, there’s a lot to love in this track.
There is no time limit on good music, so although Petite Meller released her album in 2016 I still wanted to post a couple of the tracks here. When looking for a good way to describe her music I found it defined as “art pop” – which in itself apparently means: pop music influenced by high and low culture. To be honest just take a listen to the below tracks and work it out for yourself. Oh and try and not have the The Flute stuck in your head afterwards.
Songs: The Flute / Barbaric – Artist: Petite Meller
Formed in 2009 Ewert and the Two Dragons are an Estonian Indie Folk band. You may notice there are four in the band, one of them is called Ewert, apparently one of the dragons has two heads, or something. Four albums in and they are still producing quality music. Specifically their third album Circles captures you from the opening bar and carries you through to the end. If you are looking for an album to start you Estonia Indie Folk collection, this is the one to do it with.
Song: Pictures – Artist: Ewert And The Two Dragons