December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
The work day was easier than I expected. So let’s do one of these list things today.
TOP 10 FINNISH ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2013
10. Devil Box – Ceci n’est pas une guitare (Kääntö Records, 2013)
Devil Box album came out a few weeks ago, but still managed to claim a place on this list. Especially loving the song Réunion Pacific that almost sneaked into the top songs list as well. If I’m not mistaken this the first instrumental album ever to appear on any kind of year end list that I’ve created at onechord.net or elsewhere.
9. Antero Lindgren – Talking With The Dead (Eino Records, 2013)
Antero Lindgren’s second album Talking With The Dead is also another fairly new entry to the list. Of course it’s been out since may, but it was crawling under my radar until I saw the light and bought a copy earlier in December. This is like an inch away of being something out-of-this-world brilliant and the next album might well be an album of the year contender. This one already falls into the damn good category.
8. Janne Laurila & Tuhlaajapojat – Janne Laurila ja Tuhlaajapojat (Lumpeela julkaisut, 2013)
I’ve been a fan of Janne Laurila since Office Building days and I do not expect this to change. One of those lifelong things I suppose. These days he is making music with Tuhlaajapojat and they released a self-titled album in January. I think it had a song or two that weren’t much more than ok, but I don’t hold that against them, because there’s also several magical moments on that album. Like Taika haihtuu pois and this song called Laura.
7.The New Tigers – The Badger (Soliti, 2013)
The New Tigers are getting better all the time. I probably haven’t been praising them enough here at onechord.net, because this new album The Badger is damn good as a whole and then the song Secondary City is just magnificent and one of the songs of the year.
6. Matti Jasu & The Close Encounters – Pin On the Map
Matti Jasu has become a really prolific songwriter and release a new album every year. That’s not a bad thing as long as he can keep the quality high enough. Doesn’t seem to be a problem, because this 2013 release Pin On The Map is an excellent album that has been spinning a lot in my head.
5. Samae Koskinen – Hyvä päivä (Fried Music, 2013)
I have a bit mixed feelings about the new Samae album. I’ve been struggling a lot with a couple of songs, but on the other hand it contains some of the finest music released this year. If you want examples. I don’t really like the title track Hyvä päivä that much, but I could marry the songs Hullu nainen and Olit kaikki. The good stuff is just so brilliant that this goes ahead of some albums that might be more consistent.
4. Astrid Swan – Astrid4 (Soliti, 2013)
This stunning work of art has gotten way too little recognition on this little blog. Astrid Swan’s new album is a bit of challenge to my taste, but it is a magnificent album. If I was some real journalist trying to objectively pick the finest piece of music released in Finland this year, I might go with Astrid4. My top three picks will just be closer to my comfort zone.
3. Penniless – Rows Of Houses (A West Side Fabrication, 2013)
If I had to rank all Penniless albums in order, this new one Rows Of Houses would go somewhere in the middle of the pack. However, even the average Penniless album is friggin’ amazing on everyone else’s standards. Not a masterpiece like the previous album A Cab to the City, but a great record nevertheless.
2. The Lieblings – Take Us To Your Leader (GAEA, 2013)
I had this excellent power pop creation as #1 for a long time, but there was one late riser this year. I’m still loving this The Lieblings album a lot and it probably is the Finnish album I’ve listened to the most this year. It might not be anything inventive or earthshattering, but I enjoy every second of it. Somewhere between power pop and fuzzy Creation bands.
1. Topi Saha – Kolme veljee (Warner Music Finland, 2013)
What is happening? A major label release as my #1 choice. Well credit when credit is due. As I said on the song list, at first I was mildly disappointed with this second album by Topi Saha. I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking. Some temporary bug that caused blindness to true beauty. Well I got over it, bought the album and started spending more and more time with it. During the last few months of 2013, Kolme veljee turned from pleasant acquaintance to a close warm-hearted friend. Therefore Kolme Veljee is rightfully the album of the year 2013.
December 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
This was a tough one. Maybe I should have written a top 20.. or a top 30 for that matter. I had to leave out so many important ones that it hurts. Like Vikesh Kapoor, Wes Tirey, Doc Feldman, Jim Guthrie, The Provincial Archive, Samantha Crain, Math and Physics Club, Pickering Pick, Buffalo Gospel and so many others. Anyway, this goes like this today. Album lists most likely next weekend.
10. The Heavy Blinkers – Child Of The Radio
The Health by The Heavy Blinkers is amazing piece of orchestrated harmonic pop music that works best as a whole album. But of course these individual songs are also fabulous. Like this beauty entitled Child Of The Radio.
9. Jeremy Squires – A Warm Glow
My favourite song from the best EP of the whole year. A great song and a really magnificent voice.
8. Marine Dreams – Morning
Marine Dreams aka Ian Kehoe was a huge favourite of mine during the year. I love the album Corner Of The Eye and this is my favourite moment of that beautiful album. A song called Morning.
7. Austin Lucas – Splinters
Splinters might be a bit weird choice from the magnificent new Austin Lucas album Stay Reckless, but this is the one that really strikes me the hardest.
6. The Weather Station Featuring Daniel Romano – Can You See Her In My Eyes
That latest Daniel Romano album is full of amazing songs and will feature on the upcoming albums of the year list, but I will go with this beautiful duet with The Weather Station on this songs of the year list.
5. Small Houses – The Last Night Of The Summer
The highlight of the year 2013 was Small Houses & Ochre Room Finland tour. Even though I only managed to see the concerts in Turku (shame on me), I loved every second of those two concerts. The latest Small Houses album Exactly Where You Wanted To Be is also magnificent and contains 8 great songs. I’ve changed the one on this list for a few times already while sketching this. Tonight I’m gonna go with The Last Night Of The Summer.
4. John Moreland – Blacklist
In The Throes by John Moreland is a brilliant album full of gorgeous songs. Tough choice between Gospel and Blacklist, because I have ridiculous rule to only include one song from each artist. I will go with Blacklist this time around.
3. Jason Isbell – Elephant
Jason Isbell’s Southeastern was one of the best albums of the year and I pretty much love all the songs. If I have to choose a favourite, it has to be Elephant.
2. Frontier Ruckus – Eternity Of Dimming
I could make a pretty awesome top 20 songs of the year list just by using this double album. It might make me look like a sad case, but my favourite out of these wonderful songs has always been this amazing title track Eternity Of Dimming.
1. Widower – Thoroughbred
I kept changing the order of the first two several times, but maybe this is the one that has to be song of the year (Frontier Ruckus will get their own title in that other category next weekend). Widower’s Thoroughbred is just brutal, but oh so achingly beautiful. Break-up song with the sweetest melody. I love every second of it.
December 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
10. Janne Laurila & Tuhlaajapojat – Taika haihtuu pois
This one almost slipped out, because it came out very early in the year. The whole Janne Laurila & Tuhlaajapojat album was really good, but I especially loved this opening track Taika haihtuu pois.
9. Gim Kordon – Ei ole helppoo
I really love this early demo version of Ei ole helppoo. Even more than the second Gim Kordon that soon followed. But a real indie kid loves the first rough demo song of course. It’s all downhill from here haha. I still have high expectations for the debut album due out next year on Soliti.
8. The New Tigers – Secondary City
My favourite song from the second The New Tigers album The Badger that will appear on the album list as well.
7. Ochre Room – Garbage Trucks Are On The Move
First outtake from the forthcoming Ochre Room album due out spring 2014. One of my most anticipated albums of the year 2014.
6. Koria Kitten Riot – Between a Pillow and a Soft Place
The second outtake from the excellent forthcoming Koria Kitten Riot album that will hit the stores in January 2014.
5. The Lieblings – She Motorway
Classic Coma from the excellent The Lieblings debut Take Us To Your Leader
4. Hills (Of Vaasa) – It Was There
Classic Coma part 2 from the Hills (Of Vaasa) digital single.
3. Nicolas Kivilinna – Rauhattoman rukous
I’m not a very logical person. I left Eino Leino -EP by Nicolas Kivilinna out from the EP list only because it didn’t feel right to include something that I haven’t bought. However, I wasn’t able to leave the lead song Rauhattoman rukous out from this list, because I’ve been listening to it a lot online and think it’s just so utterly wonderful.
2. Samae Koskinen – Hullu nainen
Hyvä päivä is not my favourite Samae Koskinen album (Ok, still a great one and easily among my top 10 Finnish albums of the year), but this song. Everything about this song from that Kaseva-like verse to that awesome chrous. I love it. I had this as #1 for a long time, but during the last week or two something sneaked past it.
1. Topi Saha – Kolme veljee
At first, Topi Saha’s second album Kolme veljee felt like a minor disappointment. In some sense I still feel like the album could have been even better. Which might sound like a really odd statement after you’ve red my upcoming Finnish albums of the year list. Anyway, this is the song list and there’s plenty of wonderful songs on this one. There might be several worthy of that Finnish song of the year award, but during the recent weeks it has become clear to me that the title goes to the amazing title song Kolme veljee.
December 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
Time to write these year end lists. The Christmas time is always extremely busy in this food factory / warehouse job I’m in these days and therefore I haven’t had any time or energy for the blog lately. I think the next week will be the same, but after that it gets easier. That’s a good thing, because there’s a huge amount of excellent Finnish releases coming up in January that I need to write about. But first I need to get these lists out of the way. I’ll kick of with this short EP list today. Album lists will probably go until next weekend, if the work week will be as busy as I expect it to be.
EPs of the Year 2013:
5. Paper Beat Scissors – Live at St.Matthew’s Church (Forward Music, 2013)
I’m not really into live recordings and I hardly ever buy them. Therefore it was a bit of surprise that I ended up spending a huge amount of time with a digital live EP. Paper Beat Scissors aka Tim Crabtree is a just so good and with a help of talented musicians he creates a magical intimate atmosphere. Especially this song Tendrils is perfect in every way. One of my favourite moments of the year.
4. Robin Pahlman – Robin Pahlman (Monkey Records, 2013)
Robin Pahlman’s long-waited debut EP came out late in the year on Monkey Records. This is my favourite Finnish EP of the year, but it has to settle for a place outside the top 3, because I decided to make just one list for the EPs. I have posted the excellent lead track Miss Lonelyhearts so many times and therefore I’ll go with this song called Ghosts this time around.
3. The Weather Station – Duets #1-3 (You’ve Changed Records)
A recent purchase, but an instant favourite. Might have challenged the top 2, if I had spent as much time with it. I don’t know why I waited so long, because I love The Weather Station aka Tamara Lindeman and I love two of her duet partners Daniel Romano and Marine Dreams. Not that familiar with the the third duet partner Baby Eagle, but I should check him out as well, because those two songs are also absolutely wonderful. Both Daniel Romano and Marine Dreams will be under the spotlight on the upcoming best albums of the year list, so I’ll go with a song by The Weather Station featuring Baby Eagle. This is Brook and Branch.
2. Wes Tirey – I Stood Among Trees
One of the big finds of the year (thanks to April). One day Wes Tirey will be huge.. or at least should be huge. Things don’t always go the way they should. Anyway, Wes Tirey is a magnificent folk singer-songwriter and he released two amazing EPs this year. False Idols EP was a really good one, but this debut EP I Stood Among Trees was the one that was out of this world great. This one is The Time Leaves So Soon.
1. Jeremy Squires – Central Nervous Station
It was a tough decision between the first two. If I think pure artistic value, Wes Tirey probably takes the first spot by an inch. But I’m an emotional guy and hauntingly beautiful Central Nervous Station by Jeremy Squires was something that took care of me emotionally. I’m not sure am I completely fucked up to say that, because the lyrical content is often really dark and melancholic. However, heartwarming vocals wrapped into gentle folk melodies is a perfect way to tackle that darkness within us and soon it reminded me that even the longest night leads to daylight. Therefore Central Nervous Station is a friend that holds me together if I stumble into the dark. Whole thing is wonderful, but my favourite songs are these two, Central Nervous Station and A Warm Glow.
December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
Austin Craig’s debut EP A Country Dark was released in June 2012, but I completely missed it back then. I think I just picked up Austin Craig from another favourite Austin a few weeks ago. Austin Lucas mentioned him in some tweet and because I love Austin and trust his judgement, I went and checked out this singer-songwriter over at Bandcamp. I found something brilliant and I’m fairly sure that this guy should be famous at least in the folk, americana communities. A Country Dark is indeed dark and therefore it might not be the most comfortable thing to listen to, but it is a very impressive record and the songwriting is world class. This is the amazing title track A Country Dark.
I’ll add another 2012 release. Sometimes in the blog world it kind of feels that you should write about something the week it came out or it’s yesterday’s news and not worth of a post anymore. Sometimes I’m guilty of that too and that’s just incredibly stupid. A lifespan of a record or a song shouldn’t be a week or a month what it often seems to be. It’s just as valuable to me, if I find it on the release date or if I find it two years later. Anyway, this song below is from Timid The Brave’s self-titled album that came out on Canadian Other Songs Music back in November 2012. Timid, The Brave aka Tim Selles has written an album full of amazingly beautiful folk songs and all of the songs would be worth posting. I will go with Colors this time around.
December 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
I love Bandcamp and I love browsing it aimlessly. There’s always some exciting new arrivals on the front page and the fan accounts are just wonderful. I love seeing the collections of other fans who have similar taste, because it’s a great way to find both new and old releases that you have missed. Nothing beats an actual record store, but Bandcamp is the next best thing. It just encourages you to buy music. Like some other bloggers (Hi54lofi) have said it makes you even want to buy albums that you already own, because you want to see the record in your fan collection.
I also found folk singer-songwriter Jordan Nichols with the help of Bandcamp. A week or two ago I was again browsing the new releases in the folk category and this beauty was there. I hit that play button and instantly liked it. I added his new release Songs For Leaving to my wishlist and after a week or so, play button wasn’t enough anymore and I had to hit that buy now -button. During the last few days I’ve spent literally hours listening to this excellent album. I think all the songs are rather amazing. My own favourite is probably Never Been One, but this is the opening track Trouble Comes Trouble Goes.
December 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
It looks like I’m not following British folk music closely enough. I didn’t know anything about Dave Gerard & The Watchmen until I found this magnificent album Wooden Castles at Bandcamp a few weeks ago. I’ve had this on heavy rotation for the past week and I have especially fallen in love with this song called Broken Horses. A modern take on traditional british folk music maybe. Not that I’m really an expert, but the song and the vocals kind of reminds me of Kevin Ayers (not the experimental side, more like the Kevin who wrote beautiful songs for the first three classic solo albums). This one below is Broken Horses. Listen to / buy the whole beautiful thing at bandcamp.