This week on NME.com, Cascada’s dreadful rendition of ‘It’s Christmas Time’, is still one of the most popular single reviews. As a Danish resident, this upsets me. Europe has so many excellent musical acts, yet the one receiving the most attention is vom-inducing Eurotrash. Therefore, I present to you five examples of decent European music. A few of these acts have won prestigious awards in their own countries, but have never been heard of in the UK. So before I receive another rude and unnecessary comment about Aqua, read this blogpost and think about Treefight For Sunlight. Let us know your favourite continental acts in the comments; Europeans and Brits alike!
If you’ve thought about Denmark lately, it’s probably to marvel at their gripping crime thrillers and woolly jumpers, or because you’ve been listening to Alphabeat’s ‘X-Mas (Let’s Do It Again)’. However, it turns out the happiest nation on earth has more bands to offer than Alphabeat and Aqua. Cue Treefight for Sunlight, an indie pop quartet whose 2010 debut ‘A Collection of Vibrations for Your Skull’ won Danish Album of the Year. Their neo-psychedelic style guides you through several layers of irresistible, piano-driven pop melodies and curious, unpredictable structures.
Like all good Frenchmen, BB Brunes’ frontman Adrien Gallo loves to smoke. That’s why he named the band’s most successful single “Nico Teen Love”. Alex Turner and Luke Pritchard style cool hangs around this band, and all members are considered heartthrobs in their home nation. Drawing inspiration from The Strokes and The Clash, their rock pop tunes are infectious and catchy. Their irresistible guitar riffs and hooks have also made this band previous winners of the “Victoire de la Musique” (2009). Incroyable!
If the previous two were a little too upbeat, indie minimalist band Colapesce may be more suitable. With their host of singles from the past year, Colapesce are proving highly successful in the Italian blogosphere. Minimal drum beats, cloudy synthesisers and morose acoustic guitar plucks all support gentle, whispering, Italian vocals that pull you in to the dreamy pop music. If you don’t speak Italian, fear not: just listening to their continental vocals will have you feeling sophisticated. Also, it would appear the Italian “Ch” and rolled “R”s are perfect for giving an extra flavour to acoustic pop.
Listen to: ‘S’illumina’, ‘Oasi’
Apparat creates atmospheric and ambient soundscapes that have made their way onto Skins, and won him a prestigious German Quartz Award. Compelling synths and samples swarm over guitar distortion and steady drum beats, to accompany effected minimalist vocals.
This Swedish sister duo has had a successful year, with second album ‘The Lion’s Roar’ reaching number one in Sweden, and number 35 in the UK. They’re all things acoustic, woodsy and folk, with a heavy emphasis on trying to achieve the most hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies since ABBA. Having toured with Bon Iver and performed with Fleet Foxes, they were the folk crush of 2012. Simple but enchanting melodies with voices like bells to accompany them, anyone with an ear can appreciate First Aid Kit’s talent.
Listen to: ‘Emmy Lou’, ‘The Lion’s Roar’