Perfect Pop & Denmark’s Delia Derbyshire

Alphabeat have got a new single out!

If you don’t know them, they were all over the place around 2007-2008. They hit the radar of the hipsters as the token pop band it was OK to like – “Fascination” was their big hit:

I was actually at this gig at the Borderline in London. They sound incredibly tight live, which isn’t as easy as you think to achieve for full-on pop music.

There were signs even on the first album that they could have life beyond mere novelty, notably “What Is Happening”, a perfect Chairmen Of The Board / Dexys-sounding mature pop song, hinting at what they could conceivably achieve in years to come.

They even did A Public Image Limited cover version, which is frankly not their finest hour but worth hearing for novelty value. Daughter #1 was astonished to hear this was not an original (and she hates the original too, but then nobody’s perfect).

Alphabeat have a new album out soon and the lead single is called “Vacation” which is an homage to Madonna’s “Holiday” . God bless ‘em for staying the course.

Etferklang are an indie band from Copenhagen who release albums every few years which are always worth hearing. This track is lovely, it just gets into your head and won’t leave.

Now, to counter all this fresh-faced pop and dreamy indie loveliness, to Elsie Marie Pade, one of the first Danish practitioners of electronic music.

This track is from 1970. The repeated phrase is Danish for “Hitler is not dead”. Before it was censored, the track ended with the line “He lives on in Nixon”.

If you think THAT’S weird for its time, how about this one from 1958?

And this one from 1962 sounds absolutely contemporary. Still.

Else Marie Prade was born in 1924 and is still making music.

For more on Else and others, I recommend this excellent blog on women in electronic music

Finally, I couldn’t really write anything on Danish music without mentioning The Raveonettes.

For ten years, The Raveonettes have been one of my favourite bands. Yeah, they sound like Duane Eddy and The Jesus And Mary Chain and Blondie. Yeah, they’re dead retro, stuck in the late 50s / early 60s surfy gutar sound, with maybe a punky buzzsaw update.

But like all my favourite bands down the years, I have a total blind spot for them and I can’t really put my finger on what is so great about them.

With The Ravs, the basic test as to whether you will like them is to listen to this song

If you like this, you will like everything they’ve done. If not, then move along. Nothing to see here. And I don’t want to be your friend anyway. It would never have worked out.

Next in our journey around those bits of Europe that are slightly better at football than some of the other bits  – the Former Soviet Republic Of Russia.