Mixtape | Discover Australia

oz-flagRemember Jet? You know, Are You Gonna Be My Girl?, Cold Hard Bitch…I don’t know if you guys are aware but, last week or so, they kind of teased everyone with a post saying “Come around again…?” and everyone thought they were reuniting or something, especially as this year would be their 15th anniversary as a band.

One or two days later, however, they revealed the big secret and, although nothing about a proper reunion nor new music was announced, they did confess to be getting back together to support none other than Bruce Springsteen during his tour down under.

Pretty exciting news nonetheless – maybe that’ll inspire them to give us new music (please, thank you, Jet!).

Anyway, this piece of news alone was enough to inspire a whole Australian revival in my Spotify. The last time I had done a playlist with nothing but bands from Koalaland had been over three years ago, so here’s a more current version of it.

Australia has a big soft spot for all things rock, especially the 90s-sounding alternative kind and some country-ish stuff, so expect lots of guitar with a bit of synth here and there – ya know, Empire of the Sun and the likes.

Here’s about 15 hours of music to keep you going and it’s still missing some key artists and bands. I actually think there aren’t enough female voices so, if you’d like to suggest some (or any voice whatsoever!), please do get in touch!

You’ll find classics such as AC/DC, INXS, Men at Work and Silverchair as well as the latest import hits The Jezabels, Birds of Tokyo, Guy Sebastian (you might remember him from Eurovision) and Boy & Bear.

Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself thinking several times “What? These guys are aussie??” You’re not alone. I mean, Savage Garden, The Temper Trap, er…Bee Gees?!

Heads-up to Powderfinger, possibly Australia’s biggest band, yet for some reason I’ll never understand, they never really took off elsewhere having played a few times around these British shores mainly to the antipodean crowd.

The playlist also features a ton of old school, pre-David Guetta Sia which is my favourite Sia. But have a listen and judge for yourself.

If there’s anything you’d like to see here, any artists/genres you’d like to know more about, do hit us up! We’d love to do some research for you. =)

 

Mixtape | Discover Chill

If you’re not familiar with Spotify‘s Discover Weekly, I’ll give you a brief explanation: everyone who has an account with them gets this personalised playlist that is updated every Sunday night and it’s filled with 30 tracks recommended exclusively for you based on what you’ve been listening to.

Now, I don’t know what’s been playing on mine that made Spotify give me all these chill tracks – and I am definitely not complaining!! This past week’s playlist brought me a pristine collection of tunes that transports me straight to Jamaica, or maybe Costa Rica, and if I close my eyes while listening, I’m on a hammock under a palm tree sipping coconut water. beach-hammock

Because the playlist changes weekly, I couldn’t just share it here (or on my Facebook page where I often share tracks, albums and playlists if you’re interested!), so I made one myself with a selection of tunes Spotify sent my way and a couple I thought would fit in.

Are you stuck at work in need of a break? Trapped in a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes? (cough, Reality Bites, cough)

Close your eyes and crank it up:

All hail, queen Madge!

It’s 16 August, which can only mean one thing: Madonna’s birthday! While I might not be nearly as obsessed with her as I used to be in the 80s, I’ll always have enormous respect and admiration for the queen of pop.

 

So, to honour the day Miss Reinvention came to the world, here’s a playlist featuring her greatest classics:

Brazil with Michael Palin: the soundtrack

In honour of the Rio Olympics kicking off today, I thought I’d “repurpose” this old post about Brazilian music.

While I was working at Far Out Recordings back in 2012, the BBC broadcasted the 4-episode travel series Brazil with Michael Palin.

The show consisted of the comedian/actor/writer/TV presenter (!!) travelling around the country showing what a highly diverse place Brazil is.

In each episode, Palin showed a different region in Brazil and, at Far Out, every morning after, I wrote a text about the musical scene’s history of that particular region and put together playlists to illustrate.

It was probably my favourite thing to do during my time there and it was pretty successful. I tried to find an old tweet by then Telegraph writer Rob Fitzpatrick saying something along the lines of “loving it!”, but I couldn’t.

Either way, the purpose of the project was not only to raise awareness to the label’s long-standing status as reference for Brazilian music outside of Brazil, but also to promote some of the label’s catalogue through the playlists.

You can read all four texts below with their respective soundtracks:


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 24/10/12

How can I have claimed to have seen the world if I haven’t seen Brazil?”- Michael Palin gives you the insights to Brazil; Far Out gives you the soundtrack.

Not just of samba and football is Brazil made of. And Michael Palin’s new series shows it from the very first minute of its premiere on BBC1.

As obvious Brazil fans, while we’re much appreciating the new show, we thought we’d add a soundtrack to it by commenting on the local music of some of the places Michael explores.

Last night’s show (24/10) was all about the Northeast, the region where PedroAlvarez Cabral, the dude who accidentally discovered terra brasilis, first set ashore.

As Michael showed us, the region is rich in African culture inherited from the slaves who came with the European bourgeoisie to set up camp and a lot of different music genres were born from that mix.

Like the music from Jorge Ben, for example, who was born to an Ethiopian mother and whose songs have a lot of African influence. He is actually from Rio, but we thought we’d mention him as his 1963 tune ‘Rosa, Menina Rosa’ featured in last night’s show and, coincidentally, last week at Far Out’s HQ!

Also born in the Northeast of Brazil, most precisely in the home to the baiana cuisine Michael had the pleasure to taste, the superstitiously religious state of Bahia, were some of Far Out’s favourites: Hyldon, who recently recorded with Azymuth’s man Alex Malheiros and Raul Seixas.

Father of Brazilian rock ‘n roll in 70s dictatorship-dominated Brazil, Seixas’ work was also influenced by Northeastern rhythms such as baião and forró. The latter, which spread to the rest of the country in the early noughties in a somewhat softer, slightly poppy version and was a big hit among young people from Rio to São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul with its fun and sexy dance moves at nightclubs and even gyms that introduced forró dance classes as workout sessions.

Londoners can actually find forró nights at Guanabara on Sundays and Forró do Galpão at Corbet Place on Thursday nights.

We’ll try to put a playlist together with our posts too so it’s easier for our readers to follow.”


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 31/10/12

Another week, another episode, another playlist.

I have to say, putting the music aside for a moment, I found it very opportune to see Michael asking about the Yanomami tribe’s relationship with the government just as the Brazilian press has been all about the Guarani Kaiowa tribe’s threat of committing collective suicide due to a territorial dispute and following the Belo Monte issue which Michael mentioned too as he visited the Xingu tribe.

Now back to music matters, Manaus: Teatro Amazonas. What a beauty!

Unfortunately there’s no original version of “O Guarani” (the opera the orchestra was rehearsing) but here’s a video someone kindly posted on YouTube.

Wish they could’ve sent that stock of Guaraná Antarctica UK to Far Out’s HQ instead!

Moving on to Belem, what did you think of the Amazonian Beyonce, Gaby Amarantos and her tecno brega? We’ll leave you with your own thoughts on that one…

Brasília, Brazil! Brasília, Distrito Federal.

A mecca for Brazilian rock ‘n roll back in the 80s where not just Capital Inicial came from, but many others like Aborto Elétrico (the one who originated Capital) and one of the most influential bands in the Brazilian rock scene, Renato Russo‘s Legião Urbana, which we add to our playlist twice: “Indios”, considering last night’s show’s theme, seems pretty suitable but we couldn’t leave out one of the greatest rock operas of all time, “Faroeste Caboclo”, which also touches on the subject of caboclos talked about when Michael visited the rubber tappers.

We also add Cássia Eller, who was one of the most distinctive and fearless singer-songwriters in Brazil, Zélia Duncan and Raimundos, a slightly hardcore-ish band with their funny, innuendo-filled lyrics.

It’s a shame the show only dedicated 5 minutes to Brasilia, but I suppose it’s fair considering the city, having been built in the 1950s, is just a little baby compared to the indigenous tribes that have been there for over 500 years.

You, Far Out audience, however, will hear plenty more of the city in the sounds of Sexy Fi, our latest release hailing from the modernist capital which has already been catching the ears of our friends across the pond in the US.

We got quite some good feedback on last week’s post. Do keep them coming, guys! We’re happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this.

As per usual, playlist below. This week’s one a bit rockier than usual.”


“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 07/11/12

I don’t think it was BBC’s intention, but the fact they placed the second pop-rock state right after ending last week’s episode with Brasilia, the first, fits in really well with our musical journey.

Minas Gerais is one large state in the southeast region of Brazil and one can find several different music genres from pagode to country and the in-betweens. But, while Brasilia was the pop-rock capital in the 80s, Belo Horizonte (or, more commonly known as BH) took over in the 90s bringing popular acts (to this day) such as Skank, an often Beatles-influenced band (from songs to haircut); and Jota Quest, whose rise to fame came around the early 90s with their funk-rock version of one of Hyldon’s classic, As Dores do Mundo.

Fast-forwarding to Rio…”cidade maravilhosa cheia de encantos mil

The Marvelous City, as it is very well-known, is very close to our heart. It’s the birthplace of bossa nova, it’s where our very own Joe Davis fell in love with the Brazilian music he so dearly shares with the world and it’s where yours truly comes from. So, with a great deal of homesickness, it was very heart-warming to see Michael portraying such a special place in the best of lights: stunning scenery, happy people, incredible social developments and all that warmth. Unfortunately, Rio and, well, Brazil, is not entirely open and liberal, but it surely has come a long way.

As we learnt, not just of beaches and football is Rio made of.

Bossa Nova was one of the movements which influenced Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) the most. A fusion of samba and jazz, it was made popular around the mid to late-50s by some of the greatest Brazilian musicians: João Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes.

It was around the 60s that some of the musicians who had joined the movement, like Marcos Valle and Edu Lobo, started questioning the heavy influence of American jazz and proposed that bossa nova incorporated more samba, a sound closer to home.

A lot of other artists keen on that new ideology started mixing their music with those of sambistas, which saw that 50s bossa give way to its second generation: the mid-60s MPB, which highlighted greatly acclaimed artists such as Chico Buarque and Elis Regina.

This week’s episode already brought an extensive soundtrack filled with some of the most iconic tunes in Brazilian music history but, since it was so special to us, we thought we’d give you a treat and added loads more.

As usual, any comments or suggestions are welcome. Just email Liv.” [update: email Liv here]


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 14/11/12

Next stop: back to London. Unless, that is, you got ultimately inspired by the show and gave yourself a ticket to Brazil for Christmas!

As Michael Palin’s journey through Brazil ends, so does our soundtrack. Actually, not really. We’re a record company! Do keep up-to-date with our news and releases. Facebook, Twitter, website, DJ decks, airwaves…we’re everywhere! You might even find us on MySpace! Just go pass the spider webs and we’re just around behind the cloud of dust.

The thing with this last episode is that the deep south, for example, is not so deep music-wise so there’s not that much we can say regarding the music scene around that end. We can, however, provide a few mentions about São Paulo.

Not just of skyscrapers, traffic jams and Japanese colonies is São Paulo made of. Their nightlife is extremely popular not just in Brazil, but worldwide. There’s a big electronic scene, it’s a definite stop for international acts playing in the country and the home of various bands from every genre imaginable, from pagode to skater rock, boy bands, metal and even forró!

Non-Brazilians might actually recognise some house names like Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), who had a strong presence in the British indie music scene a few years ago, the original Os Mutantes, with their psychedelic rock and their very own Rita Lee, who, among several studio albums and a MTV Unplugged under her belt, also released a collection of Beatles covers.

Let’s not forget the newcomer, Criolo, whose music has been enchanting not just Brazilians, but have crossed the ocean over to these shores where the poet-rapper has graced the pages of British mags and newspapers as well as the stages.

This last playlist will be, I believe, quite random.

You can find all the others on our Spotify account faroutrecordings plus many more that we’ve compiled dividing our catalogue to make it easier for our listeners to find their favourites. And speaking of favourites, we’ve got a collaborative playlist called “Far Out fan faves” where you’re more than welcome to add the best Far Out tunes in your opinion. Add away and feel free to subscribe to any of them, especially our “NEW RELEASES” one that we regularly update.

Now, would someone please let Javier Bardem know his long lost twin was found on the train with Michael?”

Songs for wallowing: Heartbreak Kid, a mixtape

I was watching a TV show earlier today which reminded me of this playlist I made a few months ago with a text and everything that I had never shared.

In the show, the girl, who had recently broken up with the dude, was trying to stay busy 24/7 in order to move on while people were telling her she should sit with a pint of ice cream for a little bit. She said she didn’t want to be that kind of girl who acts as if her life is over just because of a guy, which is a sentiment I’ve shared one too many times.

But anyway, this isn’t a relationship page, it’s a music one. And although music & feelings are forever intertwined, I’ll move on to the playlist bit now.

It was another Friday that inspired a playlist…we were listening to a re-worked track at work which had turned from a happy tune with sad lyrics to a sad tune with sad lyrics!

While the previous playlist had been all about happiness and inspiration, this one is pretty wrist-slitting, I’m afraid.

But that’s life, hey! Some days we eat salad and go for a run, other days we eat pizza and binge-watch Netflix. And there’s nothing wrong with wallowing in your sadness sometimes…if we were constantly happy, life wouldn’t be as exciting (although I’m pretty cool with some chilled times if life feels like sending some my way…#justsayin).
I could’ve just combined The OC and Dawson’s Creek‘s soundtracks and thrown in a bit of Coldplay with a dash of Iron & Wine. But I didn’t. This mixtape’s got all kinds of heart-wrenching lyrics and melodies to see you through your blue phase. Apparently Mars was retrograde when this came about. That explains!

 

Ps: if your “blue phase” seems to be lasting a tad bit too long, please seek help! ❤️
Ps [2]: if you just need a bit of cheering up after this, here’s that old booster playlist I mentioned before.

Trivia: iconic “Singles” soundtrack turns 24!

Trivia of the day: 24 years ago today the soundtrack to Singles was released.

Legendary director Cameron Crowe was a long time friend of Pearl Jam‘s manager, Kelly Curtis.
It was around 1990 on the night of Andy Wood‘s (Mother Love Bone) death that, following a gathering at Curtis’ house, Crowe decided to rewrite the old script he had for Singles.

 

But the “Seattle sound” wasn’t going to be only heard in the soundtrack. During the rewrite, Crowe immersed himself in the grunge music scene spending a lot of time with Pearl Jam & co. for inspiration. The influence was such that the director actually wrote parts for some of them with Jeff, Eddie and Stone featuring as members of the fictitious band Citizen Dick, fronted by Cliff Poncier, played by Matt Dillon (who really was a dick in the movie!)

 
pj20
 Cameron Crowe went on to direct Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary documentary, PJ20. It was out in the cinemas for one night only, if I remember correctly. I’d never seen the cinema so packed as on that 20 Sept 2011.

New Music: Seafret

You know how when going to a gig, especially the great ones, you want to listen to that band again straight after leaving? I wasn’t able to do that with a few I attended as I was on Seafret mode for so long.

I had read about them quite a few times on Postmodern Mixtape and I knew the writer really loved them so I thought I’d give them a listen and subsequently texted [PMM’s blogger] Zaira: “I don’t know if I slit my wrists or if I buy a concert ticket” (as they had a London gig coming up as part of their “Tell Me It’s Real” Tour).

I often complain people don’t write like Bob Dylan anymore and nowadays a lot of the audience doesn’t even seem to care that most chart hits have very stupid lyrics. They might not be Dylan (I mean, who comes even close?!), but their lyrics hit straight in the heart. I mean, they make me want to fall in love! (*changes record to Metallica*)

Obviously, I didn’t slit my wrists and I can’t even remember why I said that! I was probably in a shitty mood and in need of some more upbeat music. So much that I didn’t realise, the fact that  their sound is more chilled and lofi, didn’t mean the songs were depressing nor sad.

I did buy a ticket in the end and realised how uplifting their music actually is! Jack’s voice is out of this world stunning and Harry is the perfect bandmate to make up this ridiculously exciting up-and-coming duo. seafret2

I cannot remember the last time I saw a crowd so mesmerised by an emerging band like the one for Seafret. Actually, I do, it was Coasts and it was boring because they sound exactly like Two Door Cinema Club while Seafret sounds like no one but themselves. Their music is pure pop, don’t get me wrong. One of my favourites, “Skimming Stones”, is 100% pop formula but they manage to, well, running the risk of sounding like a moronic X Factor judge, “make it their own”.

We hung out after the gig for a chat and they are such nice guys! And actually quite diplomatic while dealing with drunk groupies. I followed PMM and completely fell in love with them too.

Oh! Most importantly, not only they DO NOT have the same set every gig (I know they’ve only got an album, but still…) but they played my favourite song which I like to think was because I tweeted them the night before asking for it when I saw it wasn’t in previous set lists (it wasn’t because of my tweet, but don’t take the illusion away from me! A band that takes fan requests is a band that’ll live in my heart forever!).

 

For those of you familiar with Entourage, Jack reminds me SO much of Vincent Chase! I say the character Vin instead of the actor, Adrian Grenier, because of his attitude. Vinnie is the famous heartthrob dude who doesn’t act like a dick. He’s really friendly and polite yet confident, charming and pretty sly.

I actually tweeted that Jack could be Vincent’s younger brother tagging Adrian Grenier and he tweeted me back! The 1999 version of me was ecstatic.

Seafret’s debut album “Tell Me It’s Real” is out now and you can actually catch them at Glastonbury if you’re heading there on 22 June.

Band spotlight: The Tragically Hip

hip_crest_stickerI was going to share a little bit about The Tragically Hip on the website’s Facebook page (*shameless begging* given a thumbs up yet, btw?) the other day when they announced their farewell tour but then I thought they deserved a bit more.

I’ll never forget my brother describing them to me as “the Canadian Pearl Jam“. No, it’s not the same kind of music but the same kind of following, the same kind of respect and admiration of their respective fans. They’re basically a Canadian rock institution!

I remember they played the last “Canada Day” that London hosted two or three years ago…for free!! I didn’t find out until too late though. Never quite recovered from that one…

hipAnyway, as I mentioned above, a couple of weeks ago the band, who’s been together since 1984, announced their last tour but for a much sadder reason than a relatively simple break-up: lead singer Gordie Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

If that wasn’t sad enough, considering the band’s popularity and the nature of the tour, it’s no wonder tickets were nearly impossible to be purchased but, even worse, scalpers didn’t make it any easier taking advantage of the situation to put their robots in place and snatch most tickets in order to sell them in the secondary market for a premium price which they know they’ll be able to charge.

Considering we, music fans, get extremely frustrated with this happening on a regular basis, imagine when you know it’s the last chance you get to see your favourite band!
Naturally, the situation sparked major outrage across Canada. So much, in fact, that Toronto councillor Josh Colle wants to give scalpers a giant middle finger by throwing a FREE Hip gig.

“I just thought with all the obvious demand out there, and the frustration on the ticket side …It would just be a really fantastic opportunity to let everyone thank, celebrate the Tragically Hip and what they’ve meant to the city and to Canada and to all our music lives.” – Josh Colle for The Toronto Star

Colle is currently using the many music contacts he made throughout the years to try to make this magic happen and I STRONGLY hope he pulls it off!

You can listen to more of The Hip on Spotify:

If you like: R.E.M, 90s alt rock

Sweden National Day requires a special playlist

As the title says, it’s Sweden National Day and this blog couldn’t let it go blank…I mean, “I ♥ Sweden” is actually a category here!

Sweden National Day

I’ve loved Swedish music pretty much for as long as I’ve loved music, even if unknowingly. And it probably started with Ace of Base and Roxette (happiest gig I’ve ever been to back in 2011 at Wembley Arena!). Although it was “Lovefool” and my brother’s First Band on the Moon CD that  The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon (1996)made me listen to The Cardigans at first, I’ve long transcended that underrated gem of a song and have loved pretty much everything they’ve released since, even going into Nina Persson‘s no-longer-in-existence parallel project, A Camp and, most recently, her solo album, Animal Heart.

Sweden is not only a stunning country with a cool hippie vibe, IKEA and Pippi Longstocking, but it’s always been one of the main exporters of music, whether it be bands, singers or songwriters. I mean, having written numerous hits for some of the biggest popstars in the world, Max Martin is probably one of the most important pop songwriters of all times.

To celebrate Sweden Nationaldag, I put together a selection of tracks of some of the country’s most popular artists ranging from obvious classics such as Abba and my dearest Cardigans to iconic Robyn and the latest up-and-coming gems such as Matilda Gratte (with whom I’ve been in love since I first heard her at Camden’s best hidden treasure, Spiritual Bar). Sadly, she’s only got two songs on Spotify, so I’ve added a video down here too.

Although all the artists are deserving of more than a mention, I’ll keep this brief but give you a heads up on this one great musician I was introduced to on a trip to Stockholm: Tingsek. It was love at first listen and I was lucky enough to get to see him play East London’s Cargo a few years ago when opening for Allen Stone. I can’t exactly describe his music…it’s just stunning! And he recorded probably the best version I’ve ever heard of Depeche Mode‘s “Shake the Disease”.

I’ll stop here so you can carry on to more important matters: the actual songs!

If you feel like I’ve missed someone important or want to suggest some new artists, please do feel free, comments are very welcome!

Seriously one of the most anticipated releases finally announced!

Disclaimer: I’m Latin. I do feel very passionately about things that I truly love and sometimes it comes across as slightly obsessive to my European peers. 😂 Oh well!

The reason I’m sharing this information is that I’m possibly about to go very nuts over the latest album release announced. In my defence, I’ve been waiting for this one in particular for over TWO YEARS.

It was on Wednesday 05 Mar 2014 that I was really excitedly waiting to see dear Nina Persson at the Scala. I was just chilling, minding my own business celebrating my 10th anniversary of the first time I left home to leave abroad when the support act came on stage…that was it. Norma Jean Martine began and it was all, well, uphill! from there.

At the time I really liked her but normal, the way I like a billion artists. But then I checked her out online, again, like I usually do with the artists I like, and I got hooked. I’ve long lost count of how many times I watched her videos on YouTube and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I ask myself “why on earth isn’t she releasing these songs so I can actually have them on my daily playlists?!”

Well, guess I (and you. You’ll all love it! She’s amazing!) won’t have to wait that much longer…this is part of the email I got today:

IMG_2668

I was so excited that I forgot to watch the video and check the release date: 09 Sept 16 (aaahhh another 5 months!! But ok, at least now we know it’s happening).

njm_cover

And the video. Seriously, the video. I haven’t been excited about one in forever but reading about it gave me all the feels…I’ll share NJM’s words as she can obviously explain it better than anyone else:

njm_video

And, obvs, the video:

This song was actually released a while ago with a different video but this one really is just beautiful! So personal, so sweet. And I’m not entirely sure as I hadn’t heard the studio version of “No Gold” in a while but sounds like it’s been slightly reworked…sounds cooler, more interesting (even though the original was already a great song!).

Apart from the fact that we still need to wait a few months for the album to be released, one of my favourite NJM songs is not in the track list…but all good, everything is fine, we’ll just have to hope she’ll release a bootleg/acoustic version of it to keep us going (because one album will not be enough!)

[this track, btw]

Hopefully she’ll announce the London gig soon and, better yet, I’ll be able to go!! It’s been too long…about 3 months =)

[NJM at The Lexington, London 16 Feb 2016]

You can find Norma Jean Martine on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.