June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Bahamas: Pink Strat (Brushfire Records, 2011)
Bahamas is the moniker of Afie Jurvanen who is a Finnish-Canadian singer-songwriter from Toronto. I was obviously curious about the Finnish background and tried to find some information about it. Couldn’t find much, but if the internet contains the right information, Afie has a Finnish mother. Which is nice, but obviously this Finnish background thing is just an interesting side note. The important thing is that Bahamas is a great songwriter.
Pink Strat isn’t actually a new album. At least for those lucky Canadians who have spent quality time with this beautiful album since 2009. I found him thanks to his excellent Daytrotter session in early april and in may 2011 Pink Strat also finally got a US release thanks to Brushfire Records. Pink Strat won’t change the world as we know it, but it is such a lovely album. Folk songs with simple, but thoughtful arrangements. At times it might even seem like there’s not much going on, but soon I find myself humming along and admiring some subtle and unique twist in the song. It just feels like someone injected all their heart into making this album and created a little bit of down-to-earth magic.
M.Ward always comes to my mind when I listen to Bahamas, but that’s hardly a bad thing. I already love M.Ward and I’m definitely falling in love with Bahamas. If I enter to the scary and oh so pointless namedropping state, I could also add marvelous Canadian songwriter Doug Paisley, because he also operates on the same musical neighborhood. The finest songs of the album like Hockey Teeth, Sunshine Blues and Southern Drawl are so utterly wonderful. Some songs do fall into that “good, but nothing special” -category, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is an impressive debut and I’m really looking forward to the next album.
A couple of great videos from the greatest Canadian music video blog Southern Souls. There’s more at southernsouls.ca.
June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Rollstons: Doing Time (self-released cd-r, 2001)
As a typical indie kid, I have to go with the first demo. Not meaning it was all downhill after this and that they sold their soul or all that garbage. I pretty much love everything they’ve done. But Doing Time was the starting point and damn.. this little disc is still one of the loveliest lo-fi indie rock records made in this country.
The Rollstons “released” Doing Time late 2001. I’m ashamed that I can’t seem to remember how I first heard about them. Did I hear about them at the great huoneistoklubi that took place at Ilokivi, Jyväskylä or did I read about them from one of those web 1.0 emailing lists like molekyyli, oooooo, räkärodeo where people chatted about music at the time? Anyway, I was extremely excited about the fact that there finally was a band in Jyväskylä that played the kind of music that I loved and did it so well. That was definitely something I had been missing. Therefore finding Doing Time and The Rollstons meant more to me than just finding wonderful music. It was also about finding like minded people who shared my passion for indie music (and football). The band members soon became my dear friends and I still love those guys even though I rarely see them nowadays. Plus I found the greatest football team AC Temptation (ok, it’s a tie with FC Kerttu) and a huge amount of great people through them. So yeah, I’m not the most objective guy to write about Doing Time or anything The Rollstons-related, but if you are looking for an objective music website you would have left onechord.net nine and a half years ago.
Doing Time was recorded on 4-track at various apartments. It is definitely very lo-fi stuff, but because I hate everything over-polished, this little rugged, but alive sound palette suits me just fine. Style-wise it’s lo-fi indie rock in the vein of Pavement, Guided By Voices, The Pixies. A lot of witty lyrics, colourful playing and enchanting melodies. And great songs obviously. Especially Still Life With Onions and Garlic and So Real should be categorized as Finnish indie classics, but also things like Heart Burn, Who Would Turn My TV Off? and Depression Grows still rock my world. I’m not saying it’s a perfect record. Heck, it’s a ten year old home recording. It’s not even meant to be perfect. But I loved it then and still love it. And not only for nostalgic reasons. Most big budget indie rock records just doesn’t contain half as much magic as this little album.
Another great cd-r album Earth Against World followed in 2002 and later on they were signed to Stupido Records who released the first real studio album Our Grain Could Fill Your Stadium. Either of these would be equally good selections, but I went with Doing Time for the emotional reasons. Our Grain Could Fill Your Stadium might still be available somewhere somehow and actually contains the finest song material, because it’s got the best songs from both of the early self-released albums and some great new songs. I still think they did a fine job with that album. Sounds better than the early recordings, but not over-polished and still holds that same magic. And I definitely recommend the later albums as well. Taping Trees is my least favorite at the moment (but still mostly very good), but the last two Song Folks and Gauguin’s Trunk that were released by Brunamosse IF are wonderful.
I can’t find any early songs. I suppose I could just add them myself, but will teosto nail my balls to the wall if I do that. Well here’s Very Funny Guy from Song Folks:
And if your computer can still manage myspace and doesn’t crash down whenever you try to visit it, there’s some songs from Gauguin’s Trunk there. I especially recommend Foreign Onions. That’s a huge favourite of mine.
(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 there will definitely be some higher grounds on it and the smell of an artist will be present.
June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
Shotgun Jimmie: Transistor Sister (You’ve Changed Records, 2011)
I often praise only the 90’s power pop groups, but those indie rockers like Pavement, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices did some equally great things back then. Shotgun Jimmie from Canada and his new album Transistor Sister brings to mind some of those north american indie rock heroes from the 90’s. The album is filled with short, quirky and extremely enjoyable indie rock songs that make you smile. It’s got some really fantastic songs like Suzy that ranks among the very best songs of the year 2011 and the title track Transistor Sister. The only minor problems that I have with the album are that a) those less than a minute long soundscapes seem rather pointless and almost annoying b) the album feels a little front-loaded. With some minor editing, this would have a been a five hearts mini-album.
The great openening track Late Last Year:
Wonderful music video One Trick Pony (this is from an earlier EP though, it’s not on the new record):
June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
Again it’s actually a song of the day, because there is no moving pictures. I’m battling with summer flu and spent the midsummer indoors. I’ve been trying to kick the fever out of my body by listening to John Paul Keith’s new album The Man That Time Forgot on Spotify. So far I haven’t really succeeded in that quest, but I’ve really enjoyed every moment I’ve spent trying. This is just delightful stuff altogether. Filled with all kinds of greatness like vintage rock’n’roll, rockabilly, garage rock, soul, country. It’s like a wonderful blast from the past. The Man That Time Forgot was released by Big Legal Mess on june 21st. Here’s a marvelous song called Afraid To Look.
June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
Dawes: Nothing Is Wrong (ATO, 2011)
Oh my. Time Spent In Los Angeles and If I Wanted Someone. That’s one hell of a way to start an album. Two songs that both easily qualify to the “hey, this must the best song ever” -category. At first, it almost seemed like those two songs are just too damn brilliant and the rest of the album just can’t live up to them. Thankfully, this is not the case and the rest of the album is also mostly stunning even though those two beauties remain as my biggest love affairs.
Dawes’ debut album North Hills already featured on onechord.net’s best albums of the year 2009 list, but Paste’s wonderful live premiere of this second album Nothing is Wrong was the final eye opener. After watching them play Time Spent in Los Angeles I was already completely in love with them, bought the album the next day and since I’ve been shouting their name from the rooftops. Of course, I had been following them since the debut, but before Nothing Is Wrong they were still just another really great band. Now they are a huge favourite of mine. During the recent years, hardly anyone has created something equally brilliant from the 70’s folk rock and California sound influences as Dawes does on Nothing Is Wrong. Pretty much only Beachwood Sparks comes to mind right now, but it’s already eleven years from their amazing debut. While Beachwood Sparks flavored their west coast cake with psychedelic things, Dawes’ other main ingredients would be closer to soulful americana.. and the shelf that contains soft rock albums and even 70’s am pop singles is also within reach. The frontman Taylor Goldsmith is an excellent songwriter and I love his mellow voice. Oh and the harmonies are gold throughout the record. Jackson Browne and Benmont Tench make guest appearances on the album and it would be hard to picture anyone more suited for the job.
I kind of understand if someone thinks Dawes’ mellow folk rock is just indifferent and pleasant background music, but I could never feel the same. This is extremely close to perfection in my book. There are a couple of songs that are nothing that special, but in the end, I love the album so much that giving anything other than full five hearts would feel more painful than watching a Steven Seagal movie marathon.
Time Spent In Los Angeles – Live in the Bing Lounge:
If I Wanted Someone – Live in an alley:
June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
The new Burning Hearts EP Into The Wilderness was released on 21st of june by Shelflife Records. Listen to the excellent title track Into The Wilderness below.
Epilä is currently working on their second album due out in the spring of 2012. The first outtake from the upcoming album Pakko tehdä väärin was released as a digital single on the 22nd of june. Sami Sänpäkkilä also directed a music video for the song. Check it out below.
Puskii! have added some songs from their upcoming album Sun sydän paukkuu ku bassorumpu to Soundcloud. I still love these. For example this song called Mä haluun bändin is just so good. Simple but perfect. Check out three others on their soundcloud.
Mr. Tolbiac has written some Finnish pop classics like Purkkaa and Model. Here’s a new pop treat from Tolbiac called (I Don’t Want To) Hurt You.
and the classic Purkkaa:
June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Hezekiah Jones: Have You Seen Our New Fort? (Yer Bird Records, 2011)
Lately I’ve been getting more and more addicted to Hezekiah Jones. It’s a Philly-based folk collective led by Raphael Cutrufello. Their latest album Have You Seen Our New Fort? came out a couple of months ago on one of the best labels there is Yer Bird Records. They don’t have the financial muscle to release a huge amount of stuff, but each and every release is like a handpicked little treasure.
Hezekiah Jones have more instruments and more people than I can name and that could lead to a horrible mess, but that is not the case, because they are all there for the sake of the song. Have You Seen Our New Fort? is definitely another little treasure and contains beautifully arranged alternative folk music. My favourites are the beautiful and slow folk tunes like Lift The Shadow From This Heart and The Last Parade On Ann St that somehow brings to mind another album that I really love, Norfolk & Western’s Dusk In Cold Parlours. It’s all pretty fabulous (apart from Some Things To Help You maybe) and makes you wonder why such a talented guy like Raphael Cutrufello is still relatively unknown. Hopefully this new interest towards folk music means that wonderful folk musicians like Chris Bathgate and Raphael Cutrufello will soon get the recognition they really deserve.
Listen to Lift The Shadow From This Heart:
Listen to a absolutely stunning new song Borrowed Heart