April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
It was pretty hard to decide the album of the month because both Austin Lucas and Jason Isbell released wonderful albums and either of them would be a great choice. But if I have to choose, in the end my selection has to be A New Home in the Old World by Austin Lucas. The album is just so totally freaking amazing and it feels damn good to listen to it. Are you looking for punk energy, old bluegrass, country rock, folk ballads, moving lyrics or just a whole lot of fun? Well no need to look any further. This album delivers all that and more. Especially that opening quartet of songs Run Around, Sit Down, Darkness Out Of Me and Thunder Rail is almost out of this world. Usually I prefer if the country and folk-minded singer-songwriters keep things as simple as possible, but in Austin’s case also the fuller band sound material works perfectly and it becomes clear that the guy can master anything from beautiful down-to-earth folk ballads to energetic country-tinged rockers. That variety and richer sound palette maybe even makes A New Home in the Old World rise above his previous album Somebody Loves You, which is also an amazing album and was my #7 pick on the onechord.net’s albums of the year 2009 list. Just excellent stuff once again from Indiana’s Austin Lucas and really close to full five hearts.
Music video for the first single Thunder Rail.
A couple of Finland-related additions:
a) Combat Rock Industry released the album in Finland, so you should be able to get it from all the good record stores.
b) Austin Lucas will play at Bar Loose, Helsinki on the 14th of may (with Digger Barnes)
April 20, 2011 § 2 Comments
April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Sugarrush: Blackie’s Wig (Popatak, 1999)
The Sugarrush’s debut album Blackie’s Wig was produced by swedish Kjell Nästen (who had produced plenty of swedish guitar pop classics during the 90’s) and it was released in 1999. It was just the kind of music I had fallen in love with during the last couple of years. Full of catchy songs, power chords and gorgeous singing. I was so extremely excited about it when it arrived and I’m sure that the excitement also reached stupid heights. For example I remember writing to Miettinen that it’s the best pop album ever released. But hey that’s me and hey, I still almost agree with my past self. After all, I think Amazing Disgrace by The Posies is the only album I’ve listened to more in my life than Blackie’s Wig. Sure all those Pet Sounds and Odessey & Oracles are technically better (even The Sugarrush’s second album Mirrorball Ballerinas might be), but no matter how much I adore them, they’ve never been even half as influential in my life as Blackie’s Wig and The Sugarrush. I still know every song and every chord by heart. Therefore Blackie’s Wig still hold a place in my all stars line up and Rubber Soul and Pet Sounds has to settle for a place on the substitute bench.
Why do I love The Sugarrush so much? Well basicly they make me happy. I know that some of the readers might think that I mostly enjoy sad whining and it’s true that I enjoy all kind of sad country and pop songs and being miserable is one of the few things I’m really good at. But that’s only a part of the truth.. and maybe part of the reason that power pop is so dear to me. I love power pop and I love The Sugarrush because they make the world so damn bright and enjoyable. Listen to Blackie’s Wig and you can feel the summer in your heart even during the darkest november days. Here’s one onechord.net description of the band:
“Hardest rockin’ pop band in the world and one of my huge favourites. Want some power chords, killer hooks and bunch of great pop tunes. It doesn’t get much better than this if you are lookin’ for pop that actually rocks. They just make you smile, they might even make you shake your booty. It’s like power pop for the masses. Dynamic songs. Powerful melodies, strong vocals and wonderful harmonies. It is catchy as hell. They are like the boy band with guitars and better songs and have been influenced by The Posies, Matthew Sweet, Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub. Not forgetting those swedish bands like Popsicle and Wannadies. Looking for sing-along pop anthems or gorgeous rockin’ pop music. Well look no further.”
Blackie’s Wig isn’t the only wonderful The Sugarrush release. I love pretty much everything they’ve done. The follow-up Mirrorball Ballerinas is equally wonderful and We Rock Heavy and Useless Information are killer EPs. There’s also a new excellent The Sugarrush album coming up at some point. Hopefully during 2011, but maybe it’s not yet advisable to go camping outside a record store because this pretty baby has been in the working state for quite some time. Anyway, if you are not yet familiar with The Sugarrush, get started with these two videos. The first one Stereo is the opening track of Mirrorball Ballerinas (2001) and 90’s Salute is an outtake from their latest release, Useless Information EP (2005).
The Soft Rabbit
The Sugarrush boys Andy J. Prinkkilä, Coma Silvennoinen and Paati Wägar have featured in lots of great bands and I won’t go through all of them, because this post is already longer than anyone wants to read. But I have to mention The Soft Rabbit in every possible situation. The Soft Rabbit is Coma from The Sugarrush and he delivers some of the finest pop singer-songwriter stuff this country of ours has to offer. The real crime is that none of it has ever been officially released, but the songs have been on his myspace for a couple of years and they are so beautiful (or I’m not sure can you say that Your Street is beautiful, that’s pretty fucked up stuff but so damn brilliant nevertheless). I demand at least a digital release. I want to write a review and I want to give full five hearts. Absolutely wonderful material.
(The reason why I started making One Chord To Another was the fact that I had totally fallen in love with Finnish guitar pop / power pop bands and wanted to make them better known. Nowadays onechord.net seem to cover a lot of obscure country bands from all over the globe, but Finnish pop was the starting point and still is the main reason this website/blog exists. One Chord To Another becomes 10 years old on 17th of september, 2011. It’s been a long journey and therefore I think I’m allowed to feel a little nostalgic. This not-so-cleverly named 10 years & 10 reasons writing series is meant to select 10 albums/releases that were a huge reason why I either started making One Chord To Another or why I’m still making it. So basicly just 10 finnish releases that will always have a huge place in my heart. One every month I think, so it will be december until the nostalgia is over. Bear with me
Next month: well it’s difficult to see that far ahead, because I see only shadows).
April 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
This was one of those instant love affairs. Great power pop blog Absolute Powerpop reviewed this the other week. I red the review, checked out a couple of song samples I found and instantly knew this is my kind of band and my kind of music.
Snowbirds comes from Wisconsin and just released their self-titled debut album. It’s a fabulous album full of pop melodies, mellow country sounds and beautiful singing. The music reminds me of such fantastic alt.country heroes like The Jayhawks and Grand Drive (and the verse of the song Lila Nae sounds like Jellyfish going country). Especially The Jayhawks comes to mind a couple of times and one could certainly picture Gary Louris & Mark Olson singing the chorus of Dirty Streets Of Downtown. The song material is strong throughout the record and there’s only a couple of songs that I’m not that thrilled about. The last track Shakedown is the weakest one for me. That’s an ok rocker, but nothing earth-shattering especially when compared to their wonderful americana songs that are heavy on the pedal steel and light on useless nonsense. The lyrics wouldn’t win a poetry competition, but when they are wrapped around warm country-tinged pop melodies and are injected into your veins with such a beautiful voice, they are bound to find the core of your heart. A cynical mind probably could find some kind of minor flaws, but my romantic heart loves the sound, the style and the songs. A really strong debut.