In every World Cup the media pundits call out “the group of death”, where one highly rated country will get inevitably get knocked out early, and I’m calling out Group F as the earthings! World Cup of Music group of death, with four countries all with some pretty amazing indie bands to consider. [AW]
Let us start with South Korea, where of course K-pop could easily be a multi-part series in itself, and I clearly won’t even scratch the surface of the musical output of this country. So here’s a list of bands you might want to take a listen to: hyukoh and Nell are pretty well known, then there’s 3rd Line Butterfly and Billy Carter, the lovely Okdal, Jaurim (incidentally returning just this week) and the unusual Danpyunsun and the Sailors, with a great violin contribution, all of whom you might want to check out. But my choice is a band I’ve been listening to for some time, maybe because of their undoubted British influences in their music. This is the duo Laybricks with their track “Make You Silly”.
On to Mexico, a country where I’ve spent many happy hours enjoying a soft drink watching mariachi bands. But our focus of the group stages is indie and alternative music, and there are many bands to consider – from the excellent the Plastics Revolution to post-rockers A Shelter in the Desert, Kill Anniston, Hello Seahorse, Porter, Molotov and Flip Tamez, to name but a few. However my choice to represent Mexico is the Candelights from Tijuana, who’ve released a really good single that brings together a range of indie influences. This is “I Want You”.
There is clearly a vast selection of music I could clearly choose from Germany too, so we’ll start with a reference to some of the more well known bands from the last few decades – Kettcar, The Whitest Boy Alive, Fools Garden, and then there’s more up and coming bands from the excellent Still Talk (take a listen, they’re great) and CNGRTS. Indie pop band Hiding, meanwhile, have just had their EP released through Hong Kong label Sweaty and Cramped. But I’m going to be slightly self indulgent and go back a few years because I love Konstantin Gropper’s Get Well Soon project, and if you haven’t come across them before please check them out, this is one of my favorites, “Seneca’s Silence”.
As for Sweden, well, the musical output from this country is simply mindblowing. Every week I get sent seemingly dozens of new releases from Swedish bands and songwriters, a country with an incredible musical history from Abba to the Hives to a stream of well known metal bands. My preference is to concentrate on some of the lesser known names, so recently I’ve been listening to post rock band Star of Heaven but last years release from Teller was really good, then there’s Ox, Cinnamon Space Machine, Pale Honey, Strange Hellos, The Culture in Memoriam – and who can forget the timeless Bob Hund, well known in Sweden but not so much outside? But my favorite Swedish listening in the last year has been courtesy of the excellent the School Book Depository, with a self titled album so packed full of great and varied tunes that I’m struggling to choose my favorite song – “Airport Aprons” is probably my favorite, but I’ll grab your attention with “A Fork in the Road’ for Behavioural Science”.
Group winner: Sweden
[Tomorrow: on to Group G.]