Jan 14

PWC14: Group B Match 1 (Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia)

FT + Pop World Cup 201436 comments • 2,764 views

Ricardo-Villalobos Today’s Pop World Cup game is the Group B opener. It’s a very open group – nowhere I think of as a real powerhouse in pop competition, so this is a strong opportunity for all four teams. Spain is managed by PWC veteran Carsmile Steve, Netherlands by Job De Wit, Chile by lartsaegis, and Australia by Matt Powell.

It’s the usual Group Stage format – four tracks, you pick two, the poll is down the bottom of the post. Click through to see what our managers have come up with! (And remember you can STILL VOTE in the Group A game until Thursday morning).

SPAIN: Angy – “Boytoy”

“No messing about with tika taka for the opening game! Ms Fernandez goes straight for hoofing it up to the big chorus. A graduate of Spanish X-Factor, now working her way through various other reality formats (she was eliminated in the first round of the local version of Splash! (marvellously called “Splash! Famous Water” in Spain) last year) Angy has the nous to bring it to the other teams in the group with this vibrant neon video and punchy attitude.”

NETHERLANDS: Yellow Claw and the Opposites – “Thunder”

“Hallo! We are a small nation with not much of an international pop presence – except for dozens of EDM cheese merchants. They are all in Las Vegas raking in dollars however, and anyway, they’re not much cop at scoring quick pop goals. For our opening group match, I’m fielding a total pop team effort by DJ team Yellow Claw and hip-hop two-piece The Opposites. Both the artists’ names and the song’s title are in English to let you know we are internationally minded, but the rapping and the hardcore beats are very much with a Dutch touch. Throw on something orange and sing along.”

CHILE: Ricardo Villalobos ft Washington Miranda – “Tu Actitud”

“For years, Chilean national and German transplant Ricardo Villalobos has been regarded as a totemic wunderkind of minimal techno and microhouse, even as he’s flourished far past what these terms today signify. Tu Actitud is a prime example of his style of dancing footy: verdant textures, drunken focus, amorphous androgyny, and his seemingly acid-washed or warped sense of groove. Villalobos sways with no automation into the further reaches of pop maximalism in this cut, as fellow Chilean wingman (deemed responsible for getting Villalobos to practices after nights of “residence” at the local clubs) Washington Miranda’s vocal imbue it all with winding undulations of passionate and weird lyricism that stem from the Spanish: “amo que ames…” Villalobos and Miranda cross well together and aren’t afraid to go deep. Put your headphones on for this one.”

AUSTRALIA: Beaches – “Send Them Away”

“Beaches are a psych-rock (!) quintet from Melbourne. Send Them Away is taken from their ‘She Beats’ LP, one of my highlights of 2013. It’s both beautifully layered and totally straightforward – comparisons with MBV are obvious (but never a bad thing in my book)”

THE POLL: The usual deal – tick the two you liked most. Poll ends next Monday morning, and we’ll have the results up with the first Group D game.

B1: Which TWO tracks do you pick?

  • NETHERLANDS: Yellow Claw and The Opposites 80%
  • AUSTRALIA: Beaches 30%
  • CHILE: Ricardo Villalobos ft Washington Miranda 23%
  • SPAIN: Angy 18%

Total Voters: 207

Poll closes: 3 Feb 2014 @ 09:00

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  1. 1
    Tom on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Spain: Good start, pacy enough Europop, not convinced there’s enough of an idea behind it (or ANY ideas really).

    Netherlands: They haven’t completely escaped the EDM cheese-merchants, I think! But the ominous synth drones and occasional drops into 4/4 aggression are the best bits – the rapping is so-so.

    Chile: Very bold choice, even if an appearance by this veteran playmaker was inevitable – there are tracks which would have wrapped up a 4-0 win by the time this one gets round to lacing up its boots. I think against weak opposition this very languid version of tiki-taki might be the right choice, though: once it starts going through the gears the delayed gratification pays off somewhat in terms of slow but emphatic pressure. Lovely touches on the ball but not the dominant performance I’d hoped for.

    Australia: As promised, happy memories of the 1988-89 season in the John Peel Conference. Can that approach to pop still compete at the highest level, though? I’d suggest we’ve not quite been at the highest level in this group so far, so this might do the job.

  2. 2
    Jo bdew it (@JobdeWit) on 27 Jan 2014 #

    NL speelt zijn 1e match in de Pop World Cup: http://t.co/pyqxsP2m6j Met @YellowClaw & @TheOppositesNL maken we goede kans, denk ik. Stem nu!

  3. 3
    Rory on 27 Jan 2014 #

    “Nowhere I think of as a real powerhouse in pop competition”: the Green Fairy sheds a tear.

    Spain and Oz for me. Better sound on the Beaches track at Soundcloud.

  4. 4
    Alan not logged in on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Hmm, it seems that the caching on our site can, but not always, make it look like non-registered people have already voted and prevents them from voting.

    looking to fix this…

    Alan, later logged in: I’ve exempted all “PWC14” posts from the cacheing – which should be OK. (it needs the URL to have pwc14- in it)

  5. 5
    admin on 27 Jan 2014 #

    “once it starts going through the gears the delayed gratification pays off somewhat” – i think i must have fallen asleep^K^K^K^K^K^K blinked and missed this bit

  6. 6
    Cumbrian on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Spain – competitively playing the game as we know it.

    Netherlands – appear to be playing GTAV rather than the game as we know it.

    Chile – like watching a team line up in 3-2-4-1 after years of seeing 4-2-3-1, took a while to get my head around what they are trying to do – initially seems quite disjointed but comes together once you can see what they’re attempting. Intriguing.

    Australia – playing the game (well) as we knew it 25 years ago.

    Spain and Chile go through on my scorecard. The Australian team’s old school tactics win a war of attrition to come third.

  7. 7
    Phaser on 27 Jan 2014 #

    The Spanish track plays an exciting game here. Angy’s aggressive attack is certainly the right move against weak opposition. Probably a bad sign that even though I can’t speak the language, you can tell The Opposites are pulling out all the same hip-hop tricks we see all over the world, and not doing them with any great facility to boot.

    The Chilean side is certainly the bold move the comments have said it is. Not quite sure how ‘bold’ and ‘phenomenally dull’ can be used to describe the same track, but there you go. It’ll be the kind of thing those who like that sort of thing like, but it’s not the kind of play needed to get higher up the table. Australia’s cheery but oddly bleached-out pop-rock might just net it a win. A more straightforward game from Chile would have made this a closer competition. Still, an overall more interesting couple of games than the first Group A matches.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Spain make a show of aggression but seem lacking in ideas. The Netherlands pick up a yellow card or two for some crunching tackles but have a strong team spirit. Chile seem content to play keepy uppy, oblivious to the opposition. Australia want to show off their replica kit but their game is also stuck in the past and they prove little challenge to more modern minded teams.

  9. 9
    Matt DC on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Well there’s a real clash of footballing philosophies going on here Gary. Spain are content to play it strictly route one, full marks for enthusiasm but they’re somewhat hamstrung by a lack of ideas. This might have worked in the 2006 PWC but I feel the game has moved on.

    Very brave decision by the Chilean manager, Ricky V is their star player but he can do better than this. Intriguing posession football but I’m not sure there’s a goal in there, certainly I was waiting for a payoff that never quite arrived.

    Holland are content to forsake such outdated concepts and ‘skill’ and ‘flair’ almost entirely and settle for roughing up the opposition. But there’s pace, power and aggression in abundance and this would work as well on a wet Wednesday in Stoke as it does here. Ball off the arse, into the goal even before that ridiculous chunky midfield general turns up in the second half.

    This Australian side would be trampled in a tougher group but I reckon they’ll pick up points here by virtue taking a totally different approach. That Byrdsian guitar player has some eyecatching moves and despite some diffidence upfront they’re in sight of the goal.

  10. 10
    Chelovek na lune on 27 Jan 2014 #

    I’m not even sure these four teams are all playing the same game, to be honest. Spain and the Dutch do little to appeal to me. I did wonder if Chile were going to get penalized for taking over 45 minutes to get to the point, but, well, the way it’s played these days, last minute victories are not uncommon. And Australia makes me think of huddling over bovril at the Bayside Ground in Methil. There is a beach nearby, you understand, but East Fife is hardly surfing territory for all but the masochistically inclined. My two more or less go through by default, I’m afraid, but my team will be happy to take any of these on in a future round should we qualify.

  11. 11
    tonya on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Australia reminds me of how much I loved the Church in 1983, back when everything was jingly jangly. In those days you only saw international soccer on the Spanish-language channel…therefore my votes go to Spain and Chile.

  12. 12
    thefatgit on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Spain go for the formulaic approach, but there’s attitude also. They just about pull it off, but they’ll have to step up a couple of gears next time.

    Holland abandon Total Football and employ Total Hooligan. They can’t expect to keep all their players on the pitch on this showing. You can tell they’ve spent a lot of time studying their SA distant cousins; Ninja and YoLandi. Flair stays firmly on the bench.

    Chile are interesting, as though a League 1 side have discovered intricate triangular passes can bamboozle a less skilled opposition. By cracky! It works. I’m pleasantly surprised. Play patiently and let the game reveal itself in time. An unorthodox approach, but one that works for me. Opposing fans will chant “Boring, boring Chile”. I’m here to tell them they’re “wrong”.

    Australia play a laid-back game, maybe too laid-back at this level. There are some neat one-touch riffs and harmonies hark back to an imagined past of lank-haired, wiry wingers playing down the channels, crossing into the box for the big centre-forward to get his nut on the end of, but he’s by the corner flag tripping on a daisy. Glory days of future past. Passed.

  13. 13
    Query on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Spain phone in a perfunctory effort that fails to impress. I suspect the lyrical coaches will receive a talking-to after the match.

    The Dutch make up for a lack of team depth with some endearing bluster and punchy enthusiasm. But the Dutch Eleven will have to do more than tweak their old EDM tactics to outsmart the opposition.

    Chile is clearly playing the long game here, though astonishingly they have just enough discipline to tire out the competition and score in extra time. This team clearly hasn’t played all its cards yet; I’m looking forward to their next performance.

    As other commentators have pointed out Australia is relying on the tried-and-true. I doubt it’s enough even for this group.

  14. 14
    lartsaegis on 27 Jan 2014 #

    I’m reveling in this commentary, dudes. I love it. I love this game. I’m glad I’m here, managing. I wanted to start boldly, definitely — perhaps there are none bolder than Richard Wolfsdorf of Chile. He’s the quintessence of the Chilean mantra: “Por la razón o la fuerza.” I figured IDM might work here in either force or reason. When Nicole, perhaps the biggest national pop sensation (and on Madonna’s label no less), fails to score one up against Spain, you wonder what you have to resort to, what risks one must take to eke out a win. I feel like Chilean Pop has never been stronger than it is currently, so if you’re looking for more solid play from our sect, you won’t have to hold on for much longer. The only thing sure about the PWC is that nothing’s for sure, so I had to roll the dice in the outset, as the most exciting moments of football are the chances.

    “In Villalobos tracks, all doors are trap doors. The music he makes is loose, chaotic, and highly detailed, but the overall effect of it is like watching traffic: In the end, nothing really happens. His gift, though— and this is where the worshipers start to worship— is that a different kind of nothing seems to happen every time.

    There comes a point in listening to his music that almost any sound feels like it might belong. That’s the exciting thing about it. That’s the disorienting thing about it, too. Dependent cements a slow evolution from left-field house music to something like sound collage or electroacoustic composition pinned to a house beat. Every element is carefully managed, but the outcome mimics that haphazard feeling of real life. And like life, Dependent moves in a straight line. Whatever repetitions are there feel accidental, like a trick of perception. (Your brain, after all, craves patterns, and will make them whether you like it or not.) Even drums– techno’s anchor– can vary from bar to bar, sprouting weird extraneous noises as they go. ”

    — from Mike Powell’s 8.2 scoring review of Dependent and Happy. I felt if there as anytime to play him, now would be the best.

    I’m definitely impressed by all the teams I’m against. Angy’s video is annoying as hell, but musically, I’m pretty down with it. Definitely NOT what I was expecting in terms of Spanish playstyle, but I like. I like it the least. There should never be that many flourescent colors in a kit for no good reason.

    As for the Netherlands, I gotta say, the Dutch Touch groped trap EDM and rap is appealing to me in a way I never expected. And for all it’s appropriation, it doesn’t seem flagrant, though it borders on the distasteful in the video (that lesbian kiss), it doesn’t seem like the acts involved are doing this as a joke, or for irony’s sake, they all look extremely committed to their bars, to the thunder, even if they do have a sense of humor that’s directed at themselves: *de blanke boie danse* *de blanke boie shaken*. It’s a lot of fun.

    I’m split between that and the Aussie track — perhaps (PERHAPS) the most substantial and consistent of all the tracks up for match today, a group I’d definitely like to hear more of. All the styles of play today are divergent, and the chill of this one is definitely lulling, yet not vacuous, it builds, it’s textured and it’s strikes me as fine c-86 gaussian blur pop. I might have to think about this and play both tracks again.

  15. 15
    Carsmile Steve (@CarsmileSteve) on 27 Jan 2014 #

    My first match in #popworldcup is up! http://t.co/Og7b45doGZ very interesting group, here, Brian.

  16. 16
    Pete Baran on 28 Jan 2014 #

    Can’t add more to the comments above, except Australia is better than I expected, the Dutch are all elbows, and Chile seems to have fielded the right team in the wrong kit. All very different, hard to choose. I’ll wait a few days on this one…

  17. 17
    Garry on 28 Jan 2014 #

    Chile was the only team which made me want to rewatch the match to try and work out how they nicked it. There are a lot more movement and short passes than I realised on first listen. The striker might be lethargic to the point of irrelevence but the midfield and defence ensure none shall pass. A vote for me.

    I acknowledge the Australian song sounds 25 years old but it also sounds very 2010-2013. I’ve lost count of the number of Indie bands I playing bleary, jangly rock over the last few years. And I have a fondness for the sound. And I’m Australian. Voted.

    As for Spain and the Netherlands: the first was showy but predictable and the second full of fouls and remonstrations with the referee.

  18. 18
    @garrymck on 28 Jan 2014 #

    Second game of Pop World Cup 2014: Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia: http://t.co/fWfqFm4tAm

  19. 19
    Kat but logged out innit on 28 Jan 2014 #

    I had high hopes for the Chilean team, especially given my fond memories of their star’s fantastic work whipping up the terraces into a frenzy in the 2007 Fabric Champions’ League. But there’s only so far fancy midfield footwork will take you, if the striker can’t find the back of the net. Solid work from the Dutch squad though – a goal is a goal, even if it was scored while the goalkeeper was ‘distracted’.

  20. 20
    lartsaegis on 28 Jan 2014 #

    @Kat, I feel that would have been an excellent pick, really! Unfortunately, that’s out of the year range — but I could have picked a shorter track from D&H and on second thought, I perhaps could have chosen Hansup, which I think is a good current analog to the cut you presented. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tToDaU5RkO4#t=633)

    But you know, bygones. Tu Actitud was a sentimental thing for me. Part of my challenge with Villalobos was trying to stray too far from a commonplace definition of pop. So, a vocal cut (bonus if it’s about or related to love), dancable body music, not too out there but interesting stylistically, from a widely popular musician. These are the criteria I had to use in his case. Wolfsdorf is left of the middle in all these categories. So I’m not so surprised by the tracks reception, though I am sort of enchanted that it’s been doing different things for different people.

    Sepultura, from last WC, was chosen — and though it seemed like even the manager knew he was making a stretch (and he was) — Sepultura is definitely the most popular Brazilian music group that I know of, bar none. Further more, Roots is their most popular song and album, for good reason (Pavarotti sung a cover of it even). It reminds me of Deicide’s Believe The Lie in that it was infectiously catchy in a way one wouldn’t expect the genre to be. Unfortunately for PWC play, its fury made for some rough challenges which led to red cards.

  21. 21
    koganbot on 28 Jan 2014 #

    I seem to be the only one hearing grace, pace, and tonal variety in the Dutch track. Yes, it kicks, but it’s not all the same kick. Not that I’d mind it if it were. Anyway, clobbers the opposition. It kicks.

  22. 22
    koganbot on 28 Jan 2014 #

    (Also, recalling Martin in the Jukebox praising GD&TOP’s great “High High” by saying “Imagine ’80s Dutchmen with no sense of embarrassment, in the best possible way,” I wanted to find a way to compliment this by saying it sounds Korean. But it doesn’t, so I’ll compliment it by saying it sounds Dutch.)

  23. 23
    Tom on 29 Jan 2014 #

    Looking at the voting here I think I’m going to have to bring a new rule in, which is that you’re encouraged to tweet the match, but not to bring it to featured artists’ attention. We’ve had one of the acts tweet us after being mentioned in a tweet, and it’s REALLY distorted the voting. The distortion is made worse by the fact the vast majority of visiting fans of said act have only voted for that act and nobody else, which is understandable from a fan POV but fucks up the point.

    We’ll let this vote stand, cos obviously I didn’t say any of this in the rules! But in future games please promote the match, not the artist. The alternative is to only let voters through who pick two tracks, which we can’t enforce in our poll software and would be a hassle to sort out later.

  24. 24
    S on 30 Jan 2014 #

    Hey Tom, YouTube loads terrible for me. Is there a way to have the audio-only links like there were for 2 songs in the first match?

  25. 25
    Tom on 30 Jan 2014 #

    Hi S –

    I put the tracks up in the form they’re given to me – MP3 or YouTube. I’ll try and source the tracks on Spotify too though, and if there’s time I can try a YT-MP3 rip, but I can’t guarantee it!

  26. 26
    jeff w on 30 Jan 2014 #

    YouTube no good for me either :( But I missed the first Group A match anyway :((((

    Also re #23, the obvious solution is to “delete twitter plz Tom” :)

  27. 27
    jeff w on 31 Jan 2014 #

    I take it back. Miraculously, my rubbish phone is curren–t-ly lett-ing me play y–ou–tube vids al-beit in——–st-ut–tering fa—shion. Which isn’t doing any of the teams concerned any fa—vours. Spain vid “not available on mobile” however, so off to the library this weekend for that one, I guess.

  28. 28
    Weej on 31 Jan 2014 #

    Wasn’t going to mention it as it’s a geographically specific problem (at in-laws for Chinese New Year, no VPN available) but I can’t watch Youtube vids either. On the plus side I’ll be back by the time my group is up, so no great crisis.

  29. 29
    Tom on 31 Jan 2014 #

    OK, I’m hearing in general we should have audio streams as well as YT.

    I think what I’ll do – in the absence of Spotify for some tracks – is put the groups up as I find them, and then add audio streams in the day or so after posting.

  30. 30
    Cumbrian on 3 Feb 2014 #

    The involvement of teams in this group with gambling syndicates surely warrants investigation. Suspicious gambling patterns definitely in evidence when stacked up against the result.

    Still, even without this, I don’t know whether the result would have been much different. It might well simply be a matter of how many goals the Dutch scored. I’m sorry to see Chile go. Not everyone’s favourite but I thought that they were the most interesting team seen in the tournament thus far.

  31. 31
    Tom on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Two more matches in each group, so Chile can fight back from this easily.

  32. 32
    Cumbrian on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Is there? Oh good. I wasn’t around for PWC2010 and am obviously not au fait with the rules.

  33. 33
    Alan not logged in on 3 Feb 2014 #

    spain very much robbed there, and australia doing surprisingly well

  34. 34
    jeff w on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Yes, I thought the Spaniards performed much more strongly in this particular electro-glamstomp-revival formation than some more lauded pop acts (R Stevens, Goldfrapp) ever did. The Dutch obv benefited from parachuting in some extra players while the ref’s back was turned, but I voted for them too.

  35. 35
    lartsaegis on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Yes, don’t bury us yet — we’ll be back, dare I say with vengeance!

  36. 36
    Erithian on 18 Feb 2014 #

    Chile got my first vote for being quietly mesmerising, and Australia for being breezy and generally right up my street. Holland as thuggish as they were in the “other” World Cup Final four years ago. Good luck next game Chile…

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