Review: The .357 String Band – Lightning From The North

April 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

The .357 String Band: Lightning From The North (2010)

String bands with a little punk and rock’n’roll background seem to be the thing for me at the moment. My latest finding is The .357 String Band from Milwaukee and I’ve been listening to them an awfully lot lately. Lightning From The North is their third album if I’m not mistaken and while I don’t think it’s absolutely perfect as a whole, it certainly has a lot of drop dead gorgeous moments. Especially Oh, Adilene, Days To Engrave and Rags to Rags are totally brilliant and you just can’t get tired of them. Believe me, I’ve tried and listened to each of these 3 tracks about 50 times during the last couple of weeks based on last.fm.

Lightning From The North contains a lot of highly energic, hard driving and banjo-driven bluegrass ready to bite into your bones, but in the end, the moments when they take the foot of the gas are the ones that leave the most lasting mark on my body.  This doesn’t mean that the songs that fall into that first category aren’t any good. All of this biteful bluegrass that they call streetgrass is extremely enjoyable and the songs are either really good or just awesome like Darkness In My Soul and the already mentioned Rags To Rags. It’s just that when they slow down just a little bit, they are able to deliver something heavenly brilliant like Oh Adilene and Days To Engrave. Even though about 2/3 of the album is only really good and nothing totally exceptional, it’s still totally impossible not to fall in love with Lightning from the North, because the remaining third sounds like the best thing ever and contains some of the finest songs of the year.

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Listen to Oh, Adilene:

The .357 String Band Website
The .357 String Band at myspace

Review: Hi-Lo & In Between – The Lonely Bird

April 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hi-Lo & In Between: The Lonely Bird (Lumpeela julkaisut, 2010)

Recently I reviewed The Fox Hunt album and mentioned that more bands should have violin, mandolin and upright bass in their instrument arsenal. Therefore it’s about time to write about this wonderful finnish folk & country band called Hi-Lo & In Between who have all those instruments and are pretty marvellous in every other perspective as well.

The Lonely Bird is the second Hi-Lo & In Between album. I liked their debut album White Whale, but for some reason I never completely fell in love with it. I should pick it up from the shelf and check out have my opinions changed.  It might have been just a case of me being an ignorant fool. If this was the case, I plea on temporary insanity. Anyway, I’m cured now, I’m in love with The Lonely Bird and I’m thrilled that there are bands like Hi-Lo & In Between in this country. This is just beautiful and magical folk music that is so carefully and thoughtfully arranged. Take a combination of traditional british and american folk & country music, flavour it with a spoonful of finnish melancholia and you might get somewhere close. Even though the closest compatriots come from abroad, old Office Building fans should also take note, because I think this gets suprisingly close to debut-era Office Building on a couple of occasions and if you know me that is definitely not a bad thing (especially title track The Lonely Bird could be a brilliant lost outtake from To See Only Shadows, both style and qualitywise).

The Lonely Bird is a wonderful album and the band Hi-Lo & In Between deserves a lot of credit for creating this warm and gentle folk treasure.  It really doesn’t get much better than this and hopefully more and more folks will introduce their hearts to Hi-Lo & In Between. The Lonely Bird is my favourite finnish album of the year so far.

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Hi-Lo & In Between at myspace

News: Topi Saha

April 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Topi Saha has three new song on his myspace and oh my.. I’m in love.. the songs are absolutely wonderful. This guy is ready to become one of the finest folk troubadours in the country. We need a record. These three beauties and some old treasures (like Hämeentie 61) could be a really strong foundation for a brilliant folk album.

Topi Saha at myspace

News: Jukka Takalo

April 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Jukka Takalo’s new Homo EP will be released on 28th of april by SOF. This is a new dogma video for the lead track Jokainen on vähän homo.

Jukka Takalo Website

News: Penniless

April 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Well old news actually, because I’ve been a lazy boy suffering from playoff fever. Anyway, the next Penniless album is due out next fall and the first single Brothers was released some weeks ago. You can buy it for example here. The song is of course wonderful and I’m really looking forward to the album.

 

 

Penniless Website
Penniless at myspace

Austin Lucas in Finland

April 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Austin Lucas will play five concerts in Finland next week (at least hopefully, I suppose there might be some problems if he is planning to fly over and the volcanic ash continues to cause flight cancellations). He has toured here before so lot of you probably know how great he really is. I haven’t seen him live, because I didn’t know his music before last december. Then I heard his latest album Somebody Loves You and totally fell in love with it. Recently I bought that Bristle Bridge album he made with Chuck Ragan and it’s almost as wonderful. He is definitely a first class country troubadour. Unfortunately he is not coming to my hometown Turku this time around and if I’m true to myself I probably can’t afford to go to see him in another town. However, I’m good at lying to myself and in the end I might find myself from one of these places:

 
TUE 4/27 TAMPERE, Klubi
WED 4/28 HELSINKI, Belly w/ Jarkko Martikainen
THU 4/29 LAPPEENRANTA, Lucky Monkey’s w/ Mambohammer
FRI 4/30 JYVASKYLA, Lutakko w/ Presley Bastards, Deathbed, Lighthouse Project
SAT 5/1 HEINAVESI, Gasthaus
 

Austin Lucas at myspace
Austin Lucas Website

Elvyn

April 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

A lot more about this later on. It’s 3 am here in Finland and I’ve been trying to go to bed for an hour now. But I’m finding it hard to stop listening to Elvyn. It’s a canadian pop group that I found tonight (thanks to Absolute Powerpop). They have a new album out and you can listen to it on their website. I didn’t get very far before ordering the album. I just instantly fell in love with their songs. Think of things like Big Star and TFC and throw in a little bit of soft country. It just sounds perfect to my ears. But like I said, it’s late, I need to sleep and I don’t really know that much about them (an hour ago I didn’t even know they existed). So more later on. I was just so excited about them that I had to get this out of my chest and make a quick entry. This is simply fantastic music and I’m already in love with Elvyn.

Elvyn Website
Elvyn at myspace

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