Album of the Month: Austin Lucas – A New Home in the Old World

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Austin Lucas: A New Home In The Old World (Combat Rock Industry / Hometown Caravan / Last Chance, 2011)

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.

Austin Lucas Website
Austin Lucas at Facebook

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)

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Video of the Day #58: Haroula Rose

April 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve been meaning to write about folk singer-songwriter Haroula Rose’s debut album These Open Roads, but so far I haven’t found the time to do so (= I’ve been lazy). I got it through Reviewshine and it’s a really lovely album. Hopefully one day I write more about the album, but I just saw this video and had to post it at once. Free To Be Me is one of my own favourite songs of that debut album and Ové Pictures have made a really magnificent music video for the song. This is not just a video of the day. This is more like the video of the year.

Free To Be Me from Ové Pictures on Vimeo.

Haroula Rose at Bandcamp
Haroula Rose at Facebook

Ové Pictures Website

Video of the Day #57: Delay Trees

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Delay Trees and their high quality dreamy pop music has gotten a criminally little amount of love on this little blog. It is a really good band and one of the finest newcomers to the Finnish pop scene. Their self-titled debut album will be released in the US by Friendly Fire Recordings next month and Teemu Erämaa directed this beautiful video for one of the finest tracks of that album, About Brothers.

Delay Trees “About Brothers” from friendly fire recordings on Vimeo.

Delay Trees Website

10 years & 10 reasons: The Sugarrush

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you red the first chapter of this 10 years & 10 reasons thing, you already know that The Sugarrush from Vaasa is the dearest band in the world to me (along with Bridget).  The love affair started once again thanks to Miettinen who started a guitar pop / power pop label called Popatak, signed The Sugarrush, Cartoon Tree & Ben’s Diapers and released a seven inch single from each of them back in 1998 (and a Popatak CD compilation with 2 songs from each band).  A year earlier I had fallen in love with power pop and I was in the process of getting to know all these great 90’s power pop groups. Yeah, even though I often talk about 90’s power pop in a nostalgic way, I wasn’t really there when most of it happened (maybe that sounds too much like 90’s power pop was a huge thing in the world, it wasn’t). I didn’t buy Amazing Disgrace, Grand Prix, Girlfriend or Lacquer the day they hit the record stores. In fact I didn’t knew they even existed at that point in time. I found all this great pop music in early 1997 thanks to Miettinen (Räkärodeo), Jukka Väänänen (Rumba), Lasse Kurki (Lemonator) and Mikko Lappalainen (Elysium zine, Ben’s Diapers). Without those four guys my music taste could be very different and onechord.net probably wouldn’t exist. Especially finding Miettinen & Räkärodeo in the spring of 1997 pretty much changed everything and I bought all the The Posies, Popsicle, Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet, The Jayhawks, Sloan, Jellyfish etc back catalogues between 1997-2000. So 1998 was definitely the right time for the Popatak bands to find a place in my heart and they all succeeded in it. So even though The Sugarrush became my biggest favourite, all of them are very important to me.

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 Sugarrush at myspace

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 Soft Rabbit at myspace

(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).

Video of the Day #56: Dean Fields

April 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Josh Rouse was one of my favourite artists 6-7 years ago and his albums 1972 and Nashville are classics. I haven’t been that impressed with Josh’s latest albums, but here comes an artist that reminds me of the days when Josh Rouse ruled the world. Dean Fields is his name, he comes from Richmond, Virginia and has just released his new EP Under A Searchlight Moon. Forever Never Knowing is an outtake from the new EP. A perfect blend of pop, folk and americana. The whole EP is brilliant and a welcome reminder that it is worth it to go through all those promo emails my amateurish blog gets. Most of them contain music that I don’t find that interesting, but sometimes you might find real treasures like Dean Fields.

Under A Searchlight Moon by Dean Fields

Dean Fields Website

News: The Wonderminers release their debut single

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

My Part Of Town, the debut single of The Wonderminers is now available at iTunes. A digital EP should follow before the summer. As you may or may not know The Wonderminers is ex-Red Carpet hero Petri Nakari’s new group and that basicly means that this will be marvellous stuff. Petri’s partners in crime are the greatest indie musicians on earth and coolest guys in the universe Samuli Toivonen and Olli Moilanen. In case you are not yet convinced that this is amazing guitar pop and that you need to buy this, you can listen to the single on their myspace.

The Wonderminers Website
The Wonderminers at Myspace
The Wonderminers at Facebook
The Wonderminers single at iTunes

Review: Snowbirds – Snowbirds

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Snowbirds: Snowbirds (Self-released, 2011)

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.

Snowbirds Website
Snowbirds at Facebook

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