Group B is to me a pretty fascinating group, both from a footballing and a musical perspective. On the pitch we’ll hopefully get to watch an excellent Spanish side thrash Portugal, and then all enjoy Ronaldo looking thoroughly miserable about it. Musically it allows me to introduce you to Iran, maybe not a nation known for alternative music, but with some interesting musicians both living in Iran and also elsewhere in the world. [AY]
My interest in featuring Portugal was heightened when I discovered a Portugese band name Sensible Soccers – named after the excellent computer game, for those of that era – but I think there are better selections to represent the country. Not quite sure what happened to the Portugese indie band Los Waves who released an excellent This is Los Waves, So What three years ago, and from a post rock perspective there’s really good bands such as First Breath After Coma and Homem Em Catarse. But my Portugese representative is the dark multi-influenced project from Pedro Code, iamtheshadow – check out “Everything in this Nothingness”.
Of course Spain has a great reputation for good indie music, and a popular destination in the last few years with the growth of excellent music festivals too. Of course Hinds will lead the way for many people, and there was Los Planetas too, and Triángulo de Amor Bizarro have released consistently good tracks over the years. But my selection is a lovely indie pop band with a great name from Vigo, When Nalda Became Punk, with easy listening melodies and jangling guitars, it’s pretty impossible not to like them…
It’s difficult to write about the challenges for Iranian musicians in a single paragraph, because whilst (if my interpretation is correct) rock music is not banned in Iran, I’ve seen it described as a “constant battle” to make music. Tehran based The Langtunes are definitely worth taking a listen to, as are O-Hum who play what is described as “Persian rock”. I’m a big fan of gothic Iranian/Danish duo Black Dog Howl; we’ll hopefully come back to Kavus Torabi at some point. I like the London based Ali Azimi too. But surely the world needs more Iranian progressive rock, especially based on this release by Mavara: “Time Makers” from their recent album Consciousness.
Morocco complete an interesting group, with a rich musical culture and a proud heritage of folk music. Later on in our World Cup of Music we plan to feature some more traditionally influenced sounds, but our search for indie and alternative projects has led us to some great bands such as the electronic/post rock influenced Raskas, as well as Soundtrip. I’ve enjoyed listening to Barathon Lane too. My Moroccan representative, however, is an outstanding blend of every music style imaginable – metal, punk, reggae, you name it, they include it – from Betweenatna. This is mighty cool music.
Group Winner: Spain
[Tomorrow: Group C follows Group B – of course.]