Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Georgia 2015 - Niutone - Run Away

Looks like Georgia are trying the difficult time signature route again. Last year if was folk prog fusion. This time? Jazz funk fusion. Boy they do like to fuse.

Still, it's got to get through a five song final first. Mind you, it surely should be too much trouble for them. After all, the smart musicianly music schtick worked so well for them last year...


Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Albania 2015 - Gjergj Leka – Himn

More from the seemingly bottomless pit of Albanian Apocalypse joy - and there's a lot going on with this one.

Marvel as the earnest middle-aged chap nods and assures his way through another of those reflective Balkan buildo ballads. But wait, what does that old man at the piano signify? Is it some kind of moist-eyed look back at a past lived well? Oh, hang about... Now he's turned into a young boy hammering away at the keys? And what does that bloke keep running about with a hollowed out cello for? It's all very confusing.

This, dear reader, is Albania in a nutshell. You'd like it there.

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Muzzart - Only Dance

You've got to feel just a little bit sorry for Muzzart. Rarely has a band done pretty much everything you have to do to win a slot at big Eurovision, only to have made the fundamental error of coming from the wrong country.

First up, the song. An insistant little Electro Swing number with just a smudge of Gypsy Tek, they covered all the currently hip dance fads, while leaving in something for grandad too. Then there was the routine. Just about the only act with any kind of movement on stage (unless you count Milki's random shuffling about), they owned the Belarussian final on the visuals.

Then of course came the adverts. Their people must have spunked thousands playing TV commercials in evey single ad break during the show. Surely they were onto a winner? And it was all looking so good for them when they absolutely waltzed the televote.

Unfortunately though, that was only one seventh of the final total, and now it was time for juries. Oh dear. After the usual interminable break while the entire Belarussian top 20 plied their wares on the cramped stage, the jurors came to, ahem, their conclusions, and poor Muzzart were awarded such a long string of zeroes and ones that they must have thought they were being scored in binary.

Oh well, I guess the good people of White Russia are kind of used to their opinion being noted, and then resoundingly ignored by now...

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Monday, 29 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Altin Goci - Rock Dhe Për Gjithë Jetën

If Albania was the national final that kept on giving, then this is the song where most of the best good were stored. The boy Altin has graced these pages before, of course, but this year he surpassed himself.

It starts off by stomping along with a happy-go-lucky rockist plod, before picking up an unexpected head of steam for the chorus, before getting all baroque on out quaint behinds in the breakdown! It's a thing of absolute beauty, all delivered by a many with contagious bumbling charm.

Hurry back Altin, we want to see what else you've got up your sleeve!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Agim Poshka – Ne rrugen tone

It's a carnival of gloriously grumbly old men in Albania this year.

This time we've got someone's old pop in a bar getting all remorseful about the old days. He gets his geeky son on to sing for a bit while he finishes the crossword and necks his cognac, the stands up like he's ready to deck someone, grabs his jumper and shuffles of in a grump. Fabulous stuff!

The title translates as "On Our Way" so I guess his missus has rung up the pub to tell then their dinner's ready, and they're not best pleased about it...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Albania 2015 - Enver Petrovci – Te Vrane Bukuri

"Grandpa's been beaten up on the way home from the opera again. Looks like they left him round the back of the bins. Yeah, I think he's been sick too..."

(Please Albania, pick this for Vienna!)

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas 2014 - Udo Jürgens - Merry Christmas Allerseits

Merry Christmas to all you Apocalypsers! Looking forward to a great Eurovision season in 2015!

(Sleep well, Jürgen, sleep well. You'll be missed by us all.)

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Milki - Accent

Now I know you like your out of tune singing, scary singers, repeat offenders and half-decent indie rockers, but what you're crying out for is a bit of dumb, fun and unabashed Europop. I can tell, it's Christmas.

Well in these heavily jury-blighted days it's all gone a bit serious, with everyone wearing waistcoats and looking earnest. So what a delight to see a gang of Minsk lovelies in short folkloric outfits bouncing about (nearly) in time to a repetative dance tune!

Actually, this might be the one to watch in Belarus, because not only to they play a more chaste, family friendly take on last year's Polish smut fest (although with a name like Milki, we suspect there's at least a cheeky wink going on somewhere), but it was written by former Eurovision winning monkeyboy Alexander Rybak too. Hmm, methinks the dear leader may favour this onecome Christmas eve!

Videos from YouTube. Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips

Monday, 22 December 2014

Cyprus 2015 - Lady Ava - The Key Is Love

Clap your eyes on this little beauty. While we're glad that someone in Cyprus has had the nerve to think outside the box and try their luck with something that wasn't either holiday disco or a doe-eyed ballad, Lady Ava here may have just been a tad too ambitious with her spooky bit of pub goth.

The video is only very short, and a bit spit spotty here and there, but you'll soon get the gist.

The key is love? The key is undetermined, more like...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Estonia 2015 - Elephants From Neptune - Unriddle Me

The quality tunes continue to flow over in Estonia, and this edgy little blues fuelled indie rockster is expected to do well on the big night.

There's always something cool and guitary that reaches the later stages, and the more serious jury members are almost certain to rate this highly. But remember also that this paid that Super Hot Cosmos mob some pretty low dividends last year.

It may not quite have the chorus or the deepest groove that little number had - nor indeed the pure insanity of the Puhh from the year before - but it's bound to be troubling the scorers in the run in, before losing to a casting show fave in the superfinal. Sigh.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Nash Milani - Hyenas

So the Moldovan shortlist came out yesterday. Rather than the original 60 promised, they cut it down to first 57, then a more crisp 50. Of course, all the songs that you and I like got snipped in the second cut - most criminally Sasha's Wounded Swan - boo!

But there was some welcome quality control. Obviously the Belarussian zombie chancers got the eventual snip. And then there was this. Hyenas. 

Haunted sounding 1981 post punk techno doesn't quite cover it - and you should see what they rhyme the song's title with. Sit back and, erm, enjoy. And to think, ex-X Factor desperado Kitty Brucknell got further than this.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Sasha Bognibov - Emigrantului

(Click here if the border control guards of the iDevices stop you from viewing this clip...)

News just in from Moldova. TRM have received 68 entries for this year's national selection process. And Sasha Bognibov has just announced that he has entered a second song into the fray. This song.

The music is all his, but the words are written by his mum. Brilliant! And while it may not have the glorious pomp of the masterful Wounded Swan, it's achingly fragile folksy refrain may just nudge the attention of the selection panel.

Today that selection panel are due to trim all the entered songs into a long list of 60 songs to forward to the next stage of live auditions. And when you consider that it's been an open application and at least seven of the songs are written by UK composers, surely that means that by the law of averages our Sasha must get at least one of his tunes through to the next bit.

Fingers crossed Sasha lad, this could just be your year...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hungary 2015 - Leander Rising – Lőjetek Fel

For 14 sweet seconds this feels like it's going to be the most exciting, thrill-enhancing moment of the Eurovision season so far. Dirty chugging riffs spew out over a breakneck double kick drum underlay, while all manner of other thick bits of noise puncture the carpet of noise fug. For 14 sweet seconds it feels like we're finally on for our first proper metal song in years - and from pop-conservative old Hungary of all people.

Then it all stops dead and some lad starts whining in a thin, watery voice and the neo-prog bassline start noodling about. From this point in it just gets worse and worse, like the third song over the credits of some teenage vampire movie.

Sure it tries to redeem itself by bringing back some chug in the third quarter, but by then all cred is lost and you've stopped caring a long time since. Leander Rising, you've let us down chaps. Still, I'll always have that opening fourteen-second flush of excitement to keep me going until someone submits a real metal song again.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Estonia 2015 - Airi Ojamets - Saatuse Laul

Some of the Estonian songs are creeping out, and there's the usual high quality mix of interesting songs from across the pop genres. I'm sure I'll be introducing you to a few of them over the next few days - however this likable little ditty has firmly anchored itself into my subconscious.

It's a happy, folksy little tune that sounds as though it could have come from practically any year this funny old contest has been running. But somehow Airi's charming wobbly voice and those glorious circular Estonian vowels lift it above the formula jangler and give it an extra sweet lift.

The tune's title translates as Song Of Destiny, so maybe it's all written in the stars anyway...

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Moldova 2015 - Sasha Bognibov - Wounded Swan

And now for my favourite moment of the Eurovision year. The  Moldovan goth lord Sasha Bognibov's latest tune. And this time it's a cracker.

Wounded Swan forgoes much of the highly sexually charged content of past years, instead laying on the melancholic symbolism in beautiful trowels and sending shivers down spines with with well-pitched and unexpected chord progressions. His voice is still fragile and pained, but now offers a new confidence and maturity that we haven't seen before.

And what's best is that this is a cracking song in its own right. You can imagine one of your favourite bands playing it. You can imagine it gracing a Eurovision stage. Or a national final stage at the very least. Come on TRM, do the decent thing. This surely, SURELY, is Sasha's time to shine. Let's have one less of the fame-hungry ballad girls in shiny frocks in your semi finals and give a berth to Bognibov. It's what the people want.

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Netherlands 2015 - Trijntje Oosterhuis - Walk Along

So the Dutch released the song they hope will take them to their third top ten finish in a row this morning. And while's it's a servicable enough mid tempo Radio 2 singalong plodder, the chorus gets me smirking every time.

There's nothing rude or naughty about it, you must understand, it's that I just wonder what the good folk of the North East of England are gong to make of it.

It could be the new Geordie national anthem!

(This may not make any sense to our continental readers, so if you happen to know anyone from Newcastle, ask them).

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Switter Boys & Katya & Volga - Ice-N-ice

More from Belarus. Undisputed heroes of qualifying last year were the delightful Switter Boys with their multi-layered slice of awesomeness Eternal Love - which is, genuinely, one of the finest three minutes of Eurovision splendor this century.

So it was obvious that they should have another pop at the prize this year - although sadly this little beaut wasn't quite up to last year's incredible standard. For a start, where are the track-suited Chuckle Brothers? And the late big lad gag has been blown far too early!

OK, so this was only a fairly stilted audition video, but I feel strangely let down by the boys. let's hope they weren't a one-trick pony and bounce back with something thoroughly splendid and world beating next year, eh!

Underlying © lays with the owners of the clips.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Belarus 2015 - Sweet Brains - Run Away

So I go away for a few days in a place beyond all wi-fi connections (Lisbon). When I did finally get a wispy signal in a dodgy backstreet fado bar in Bairrio Alto I found a barrage of messages all saying just one thing - "You've got to see this song!"

But by the time I finally got a link strong enough to play the video,  I learned that it had been saxked from the Belarussian final already! There is no justice!

You will love this one camera audition video for the backing monster on the right's leg dancing alone! A sad loss to Eurovision and all who sail in her.

It turns out that no one at TRM has ever played Plants Vs Zombies either, as they've shortlisted it for the Moldovan audition process. Oh mercy - who's going to tell them?


All you people who are still inexplicably looking at this from last year - bring yourself forward in time for a look a t'Brain's effort from this year! Just click here...