Video of the Day #27: Big People

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is the greatest Christmas song ever, Piece For Christmas by Big People. I was a little surprised that I actually found this Räkärodeo classic on youtube. The song obviously should be more famous than Jingle Bells, but in the real world it probably isn’t. Anyway, if you haven’t heard this one yet, check out this homemade video now. There’s just no Christmas without this lovely song.

Favourite EPs of the Year

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is not really a list. I didn’t buy enough EPs to make a top 10, but there were two little discs that I really loved and therefore I want to mention them.

Nopat: Kaupungit ihmiset

If Kaupungin ihmiset had been an album, it would have made the top ten on the album list. If there had been “the best finnish releases of the year” -list  on this blog, Kaupungin ihmiset would have taken the second spot after A Cab To The City. This is a fantastic little disc and Nopat can really turn an everyday struggle into stress-free and serene beauty. They are the perfect antidote against all those “self-made hurry” situations that most of us are so good at creating. This is warm & beautiful in the vein of Excuses Of Travellers. What a lovely release.

Nopat at myspace

Heartjet: Goodbye, Stan

Heartjet’s digital only EP Goodbye, Stan introduces a new finnish power pop band/duo. There certainly aren’t too many of those around nowadays and therefore I’m obviously excited about the fact that there’s a new power pop band in the country. However, that excitement wouldn’t last very long, if they weren’t any good at it. Thankfully there’s no need to worry about that. They are pretty damn good already and all five songs on the EP are wonderful. Extremely highly recommended.

Heartjet at myspace

News: Sister Flo & Snow Coloured Kid

December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

New Sister Flo album Ystävyys/Friendship has just been released by Fullsteam Records. You can stream the album on their website.

Sister Flo Website

Snow Coloured Kid have a little christmas present for you. You can download five songs for free. These great songs are available at mikseri.net.

Snow Coloured Kid at mikseri

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part four 10-1

December 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Part one 40-31, Part two 30-21, Part three 20-11

10. The Posies: Blood/Candy

The greatest band in the world according to One Chord To Another made a most welcome return with this wonderful album. Sure I wished there would have been a little bit more distortion & grit on the record, but it doesn’t change the fact that the album contains a huge amount of magnificent pop songs like The Glitter Prize and Take Care Of Yourself.

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9. Sweatmaster: Dig Up The Knife

The finest Finnish rock band Sweatmaster was once again in top form. Dig Up The Knife introduced a little darker and heavier side of Sweatmaster. That might sound a little scary for a pop fan (well based on this list I probably should start calling myself country fan and not pop fan), but there was no need to be worried. I trusted them and they didn’t let me down. Dig Up The Knife is awesome.

8. The Genuine Fakes: The Striped Album

Swedish The Genuine Fakes are a power pop band that hasn’t forgotten the first word of the term. Power chords, catchy melodies, killer choruses and a lot of fantastic pop songs. Sure it might too typical power pop for some, but I don’t mind at all. This is the kind of music I love the most and The Striped Album is a brilliant album. If you love 90’s swedish power pop, you will love this one as well.

7. Elvyn: The Decline

I instantly fell in love with Canadian pop group Elvyn and it wasn’t just a little crush. Our relationship has only gotten stronger during the year and The Decline is definitely one of the greatest pop albums of the year. Kind of like Teenage Fanclub with a little country influences. What a lovely, harmonic and extremely beautiful  pop album.

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6. Laura Veirs: July Flame

This one came out already in january, but such a fabulous and magical album like July Flame can’t and won’t be forgotten. Laura Veirs made the finest album of her amazing career. She’s such a wonderful songwriter and this time the production and arrangements also work perfectly. The album just sounds warm, rich, unique and colourful.  Intriguing music.

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5. Teenage Fanclub: Shadows

Teenage Fanclub once again made a magnificent pop album. Especially Norman Blake really hit the jackpot. Baby Lee and When I Still Have Thee are future classics. Not that there was anything wrong with Gerald’s or Raymond’s output either. Songs like Shock and Awe and Past were almost equally perfect slices of pop heaven. Pretty much perfect pop music from start to finish. I also loved their concert at Nosturi, Helsinki.

4. Two Cow Garage: Sweet Saint Me

Probably the band I’ve listened to the most during the year. I bought the whole back catalog early in the year and in the autumn it was time for a brand new Two Cow Garage album. Sweet Saint Me turned out to be just as great as I had hoped. It’s a fantastic rock album that causes a beautiful havoc in your heart. There’s some acoustic beauties and power pop choruses as well. Micah Schnabel is a brilliant songwriter and a fabulous vocalist. Lydia is one of the songs of the year.

3. Penniless: A Cab To The City

A Cab To The City is the best finnish album of the year and should have gotten five hearts when I reviewed it. I don’t know why I was such an ass back then and only gave four and a half. Penniless have always been fantastic, but this is their finest album so far. Extremely convincing stuff and full of stunning songs like The Missing and Hail Of Bullets. It definitely would be about time to make that pilgrimage to Nakkila.

2. Micah Schnabel: When The Stage Lights Go Dim

The top two albums were in their own league. Of course someone could say that this #2 pick isn’t eligible, because Micah Schnabel self-released this back in 2009. However, Suburban Home Records re-released it in 2010 to wider audiences and therefore it easily qualifies. If it’s possible, I love this solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim even more than I love Micah Schnabel’s band Two Cow Garage. Micah is a real hardcore troubadour and he just sings his heart out. He is passionate, honest and truly convincing. Brutal views about the glory of touring life delivered with emotion-filled vocals. Marvellous stuff.

1. The Fox Hunt: Long Way To Go

And the album of the year award goes to… The Fox Hunt. In the end it was an easy decision. I’m just totally addicted to Long Way To Go and I love every second of it. It just feels so damn good to listen to it. Even during the times when the lyrics are heartbreaking. A string band playing old-time country music. Fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, banjo and guitar. That’s what I love to hear. The best part is still the singing. Vocals and harmony vocals are amazing throughout the record. It just doesn’t getting any better than this. Long Way To Go is a perfect album.

Listen to Troublemakin’ Woman:

[audio:http://www.onechord.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-trouble-makin-woman.mp3%5D

Listen to Lower Than I Should Be:
[audio:http://www.onechord.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/10-lower-than-i-should-be.mp3%5D

Mountain Stage Interview:

The Fox Hunt Website

That’s it. Thanks for reading. If anyone actually red the whole long list. Hopefully someone did, because it took hours to make it. A lot of good records are missing from the list. I’m especially a little bit sad that I had to leave out lots of good Finnish albums. Maybe I should do separate top 20 lists for foreign and finnish albums instead, but somehow I prefer this method even though there won’t be enough places for all good finnish albums. Anyway, that’s all for now. I didn’t buy enough EPs to make even a top 10, but I’ll write something about the ones that I loved (=Nopat & Heartjet) before christmas. Best of Retro/reissue list will be coming after christmas. I will get a few of those for christmas present (I know because I bought them myself, heh) so I can’t do it before that. Take care.

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part four 10-1

December 13, 2010 § 4 Comments

Part one 40-31, Part two 30-21, Part three 20-11

10. The Posies: Blood/Candy

The greatest band in the world according to One Chord To Another made a most welcome return with this wonderful album. Sure I wished there would have been a little bit more distortion & grit on the record, but it doesn’t change the fact that the album contains a huge amount of magnificent pop songs like The Glitter Prize and Take Care Of Yourself.

9. Sweatmaster: Dig Up The Knife

The finest Finnish rock band Sweatmaster was once again in top form. Dig Up The Knife introduced a little darker and heavier side of Sweatmaster. That might sound a little scary for a pop fan (well based on this list I probably should start calling myself country fan and not pop fan), but there was no need to be worried. I trusted them and they didn’t let me down. Dig Up The Knife is awesome.

8. The Genuine Fakes: The Striped Album

Swedish The Genuine Fakes are a power pop band that hasn’t forgotten the first word of the term. Power chords, catchy melodies, killer choruses and a lot of fantastic pop songs. Sure it might too typical power pop for some, but I don’t mind at all. This is the kind of music I love the most and The Striped Album is a brilliant album. If you love 90’s swedish power pop, you will love this one as well.

7. Elvyn: The Decline

I instantly fell in love with Canadian pop group Elvyn and it wasn’t just a little crush. Our relationship has only gotten stronger during the year and The Decline is definitely one of the greatest pop albums of the year. Kind of like Teenage Fanclub with a little country influences. What a lovely, harmonic and extremely beautiful  pop album.

6. Laura Veirs: July Flame

This one came out already in january, but such a fabulous and magical album like July Flame can’t and won’t be forgotten. Laura Veirs made the finest album of her amazing career. She’s such a wonderful songwriter and this time the production and arrangements also work perfectly. The album just sounds warm, rich, unique and colourful.  Intriguing music.

5. Teenage Fanclub: Shadows

Teenage Fanclub once again made a magnificent pop album. Especially Norman Blake really hit the jackpot. Baby Lee and When I Still Have Thee are future classics. Not that there was anything wrong with Gerald’s or Raymond’s output either. Songs like Shock and Awe and Past were almost equally perfect slices of pop heaven. Pretty much perfect pop music from start to finish. I also loved their concert at Nosturi, Helsinki.

4. Two Cow Garage: Sweet Saint Me

Probably the band I’ve listened to the most during the year. I bought the whole back catalog early in the year and in the autumn it was time for a brand new Two Cow Garage album. Sweet Saint Me turned out to be just as great as I had hoped. It’s a fantastic rock album that causes a beautiful havoc in your heart. There’s some acoustic beauties and power pop choruses as well. Micah Schnabel is a brilliant songwriter and a fabulous vocalist. Lydia is one of the songs of the year.

3. Penniless: A Cab To The City

A Cab To The City is the best finnish album of the year and should have gotten five hearts when I reviewed it. I don’t know why I was such an ass back then and only gave four and a half. Penniless have always been fantastic, but this is their finest album so far. Extremely convincing stuff and full of stunning songs like The Missing and Hail Of Bullets. It definitely would be about time to make that pilgrimage to Nakkila.

2. Micah Schnabel: When The Stage Lights Go Dim

The top two albums were in their own league. Of course someone could say that this #2 pick isn’t eligible, because Micah Schnabel self-released this back in 2009. However, Suburban Home Records re-released it in 2010 to wider audiences and therefore it easily qualifies. If it’s possible, I love this solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim even more than I love Micah Schnabel’s band Two Cow Garage. Micah is a real hardcore troubadour and he just sings his heart out. He is passionate, honest and truly convincing. Brutal views about the glory of touring life delivered with emotion-filled vocals. Marvellous stuff.

1. The Fox Hunt: Long Way To Go

And the album of the year award goes to… The Fox Hunt. In the end it was an easy decision. I’m just totally addicted to Long Way To Go and I love every second of it. It just feels so damn good to listen to it. Even during the times when the lyrics are heartbreaking. A string band playing old-time country music. Fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, banjo and guitar. That’s what I love to hear. The best part is still the singing. Vocals and harmony vocals are amazing throughout the record. It just doesn’t getting any better than this. Long Way To Go is a perfect album.

Listen to Troublemakin’ Woman:

Listen to Lower Than I Should Be:

Mountain Stage Interview:

The Fox Hunt Website

That’s it. Thanks for reading. If anyone actually red the whole long list. Hopefully someone did, because it took hours to make it. A lot of good records are missing from the list. I’m especially a little bit sad that I had to leave out lots of good Finnish albums. Maybe I should do separate top 20 lists for foreign and finnish albums instead, but somehow I prefer this method even though there won’t be enough places for all good finnish albums. Anyway, that’s all for now. I didn’t buy enough EPs to make even a top 10, but I’ll write something about the ones that I loved (=Nopat & Heartjet) before christmas. Best of Retro/reissue list will be coming after christmas. I will get a few of those for christmas present (I know because I bought them myself, heh) so I can’t do it before that. Take care.

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part three 20-11

December 12, 2010 § 3 Comments

Part one 40-31, Part two 30-21, Part four 10-1

20. Justin Rutledge: The Early Widows

I’m a long time fan of canadian singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge and have loved pretty much everything he has ever done. The Early Widows isn’t an exception to the rule albeit I’m not 100% happy with all of the production/arrangements choices (less gospel choirs next time around). Justin Rutledge is  such a master in creating poignant, poetic and beautiful folk songs.

19. Eels: End Times

Eels released two albums during the year. I didn’t like the second one Tomorrow Morning that much, but End Times was a really strong album.. Or maybe strong is not the right word. Maybe fragile, confessional & captivating would be better adjectives. End Times became one of my favourite Eels albums, but of course Beautiful Freak will always be the Eels album for me.

18. Pete Molinari: A Train Bound For Glory

Pete Molinari’s concert at Bar Kuka was one of the highlights of the year. We bought three records from the show as well. I think A Virtual Landslide is my favourite, but this new one is also brilliant. Although I’m not that big fan of the single Streetcar Named Desire. It’s actually one of my least favourite songs on the album. But just listen to those old-fashioned ballads. Oh my, just perfect.

17. Joe Pug: Messenger

I know there’s a huge amount of country & folk troubadours on the list, but what can I do. That’s the kind of music I love nowadays. And a person like Joe Pug is certainly not just another folk troubadour. This man is a real talent and a fantastic songwriter. At first, Messenger didn’t seem anything that special, but soon the whole subtle beauty was revealed and I was amazed about two things. 1.) How great Joe Pug was 2.)How stupid was I, because I didn’t instantly see/hear it.

16. Hi-Lo & In Between: The Lonely Bird

One of my favourite finnish albums of the year was Hi-Lo & In Between’s wonderful second album The Lonely Bird. Finnish folk rock & americana, violin & mandolin, great songs & beautiful singing. Country & folk tradition and some finnish melancholy. My kind of music. I hope these guys will soon get the recognition they deserve. I’m really looking forward to the next album.

15. Trembling Blue Stars: Fast Trains & Telegraph Wires

A last minute entry. Just got this four days ago, but I don’t have the heart to leave it out, because Trembling Blue Stars are one of my all-time favourite bands and this list seriously needs some (melancholic) indie pop. I almost owe my sanity to Bobby Wratten. Even if everything else was collapsing, Bobby Wratten’s voice has always been able to pull my heart together. It’s a bit too early to make final conclusions about Fast Trains and Telegraph Wires and a month later this might be ten places higher or lower. What I do know is that it’s certainly another great album. This will also be the final TBS album and it’s certainly a bit sad that there will be no more sad songs.

14. Possessed By Paul James: Feed The Family

I first bought the movie The Folk Singer and after watching that I knew I needed to buy some Possessed By Paul James albums. Feed The Family is definitely a passionate album. Mixture of energetic bluesy bluegrass and captivating folk songs. Extremely convincing stuff. It demands attention and doesn’t work that well as background music. But it really doesn’t need to, because music as pure and passionate as this will grab your attention.

13. Darren Hanlon: I Will Love You At All

Darren Hanlon’s wonderful song Scenes From A Separation took the song of the year award. This album is also steadily climbing up the charts and bypassed several albums that got a higher amount of hearts in a review. The first half of the album contains some of the best stuff released during the year. If it had all been that good, I Will Love You At All would have taken the album of the year award as well. However, the latter half is a bit weaker (albeit still really really good) and therefore this amazing australian (indie) pop troubadour has to settle for a place outside top ten.

12. Imperial State Electric: Imperial State Electric

This list needs a little bit of rock’n’roll and Nicke Andersson is the right man to deliver it. I’m a little surprised that this hasn’t gotten more attention. I just love this stuff and haven’t been this excited about Nicke’s band since the days of Payin’ The Dues. Sure it ain’t anything new and inventive, but it’s a whole lot of fun, fun & fun. Good old rock’n’roll and some rockin’ power pop. What could be better than that?

11. Have Gun, Will Travel: Postcards From The Friendly City

I’m not sure is Postcards From The Friendly City a 2010 release. I think this originally came out in november 2009, but later got wider distribution by the ever lovely Suburban Home. At least there was some writing about february 2010 street date on the Suburban Home website. I’ll trust that, because this wonderful album deserves all the love. Have Gun, Will Travel wrote stories that take place in their hometown Bradenton and wrapped them into lovely folk & americana songs. And it works like a charm. Let’s end this chapter of the albums of the list with a fan made video of the opening track Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothes.

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part two 30-21

December 11, 2010 § 4 Comments

Part one 40-31, Part three 20-11, Part four 10-1

30. Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River Blues

Justin Townes Earle didn’t totally amaze this time around, but Harlem River Blues was still a strong country album.  I suppose the only issue was that while like everything on the record, there’s only a few things I really love. There’s nothing that I love as much as I love some of his earlier songs like Lone Pine Hill for example. Nevertheless, Justin Townes Earle is still one of the best country troubadours.

29. Le Futur Pompiste: Le Futur Pompiste

It’s true that I’ve lost touch with the indie pop world during the last couple of years. Maybe not completely, but time and money is limited and country music addiction has taken its toll. Listening to the new album by Le Futur Pompiste is a welcome reminder that I still have the need, hunger and love for beautiful indie pop. I still enjoy Le Futur Pompiste as much as I did back then in 2004 (?) when the debut album came out and I was completely addicted to all things Indiepages and Think Small recommended.

28. The .357 String Band: Lightning From The North

I gave this 4 and a half hearts in a review. At the moment, it feels that it was a little too much, but I’m still enjoying this a lot. Especially the song trio Oh, Adilene, Rags To Rags and The Days Engrave is magnificent and actually worth all five hearts. However, some of the high tempo “bluegrass meets punk” songs leave me exhausted. Perfect in small doses though.

27. Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field

New country singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc sound like Ryan Adams and made almost faultless debut album. Actually the only reason why I haven’t completely fallen in love with the album is that somehow it sounds too faultless. If it had been an EP, I would be shouting his name from the rooftops. But a whole album full of slow, beautiful and carefully crafted country balladry starts to get a little boring at some point. A little bit of rock and a couple of rougher corners would have been refreshing. It doesn’t change the fact that there’s plenty of great songs like Emma Hartley and Paupers Field is a very convincing debut album.

26. Kort: Invariable Heartache

One Chord To Another (well me) don’t care much about cover albums, but this one is an exception to the imaginary rule. Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell have dived into Chart Records’ vaults and have given a new lifeline to some wonderful country songs. A really lovely album.

25. Turnpike Troubadours: Diamonds & Gasoline

It says 2009 now on the back cover of the album, but Turnpike Troubadours’ website states that it was released on august 31st, 2010. I suppose that means I can add this wonderful country album called Diamonds & Gasoline to this list. This is pretty basic country stuff. Nothing I haven’t heard  before. But damn, I just don’t mind at all. Not when it’s done as perfectly as this. 7 and 7 is one of the songs of the year.

24. Bookends: Proud Of My Stereo

Bookends’ second album Proud Of My Stereo is a really delightful pop album. It’s often piano/keys-driven pop music. It’s full of details and clever arrangements. But always in the sake of the song. And the songs are of course mostly wonderful. Well done.

23. Ben’s Diapers: Up In The Mountains, Deep In The Sea

The new Ben’s Diapers album Up In The Mountains, Deep In The Sea was again a great reminder that they are one of the best alt.country / power pop bands in the country. Some great country rockers and some beautiful 70’s influenced ballads. I just enjoy everything on the record.

22. Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans: The Falcon Lake Incident

Jim Bryson is one lucky fellow, because he has one of the best bands in the world as his backing band. Good for him. Good for us that Jim is also a really good songwriter. Together Jim and The Weakerthans have created a warm folk / folk rock album that also contains some beautiful pop moments.

21. Otis Gibbs: Joe Hill’s Ashes

It took a while to get used to Otis Gibbs’ rough voice, but after that I got addicted to his music. Otis is a wonderful folk & country singer-songwriter. The music is down-to-earth, honest and very convincing. You just sit & listen and believe every word that comes out. Let’s close this chapter on the albums of the year list with Otis Gibbs’s Kansas City.


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