January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
There might not be much blog action in January, but at least I’m going to quickly select the Album of the Month before the month is over. After the extremely busy Christmas period at the factory and writing the end-of-the-year lists for this blog, I’m mostly just taking it easy for the time being. Goal for January is to just rest, watch Finnish hockey (JYP) and NFL playoffs, read books and listen to good music. And not really worry about updating the blog or anything like that. I try to get back to full force starting February 1st and make this 13th year of onechord.net the best one so far.
I admit that this is an awfully bad month to take a break from the blog. It’s mid-January and already four pretty amazing Finnish albums have been released. Koria Kitten Riot, The Wonderminers, Laura Moisio and Delay Trees have kickstarted this year in perfect fashion. I’m very much into all of them and anyone of them could well be the album of the month. That spot still goes to the album that I’ve listened to the most. Koria Kitten Riot is just getting better all the time and have released their finest album. I’ve also read a few reviews that have been a bit lukewarm, but I’m very much into Rich Men Poor Men Good Men and it has been a constant companion for the past month. Maybe I’m not entirely comfortable with some minor things on the arrangement side of a song or two, but these are really small things and a matter of personal preference. Nothing that could even remotely spoil the magic of this beautiful pop album. This is just the kind of music I love. I suppose it might seem just pleasant at first, but there’s enough details both on the lyrics and in the arrangements to draw your attention and keep you hooked for weeks.
January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
New year, new month and a new Flavour of the Month. This friday 10.1.2014 at Pikku-Torre, Turku. Markus Perttula, Nightbird and acoustic version of Ben’s Diapers will share the stage. See you there.
Markus Perttula – Lankakerä
Nightbird – In My Dream
Ben’s Diapers – Warriorette
Flavour of the Month
BEN’S DIAPERS ACOUSTIC
+ Flavour of the Month DJ team
pe 10.1. 2014, klo 21-03
Pikku-Torre, Yliopistonkatu 30, Turku
Flavour of the Monthin vuosi 2014 käynnistyy perjantaina 10.1. Tuolloin päämaja Pikku-Torren lavalle nousevat Ben’s Diapers-yhtyeen kitaristi-laulajakaksikko Jaakko ja Huuki, mielenkiintoinen laulaja-lauluntekijätuttavuus Nightbird sekä turkulainen Markus Perttula yhtyeineen.
Aiemmin FOTMissa sooloartistina esiintynyt Perttula on luvannut tällä kertaa tuoda mukanaan kokonaisen bändin. Yhtyeeltä on lupa odottaa kappaleita aiemmin tänä vuonna ilmestyneeltä Tuhon sydän-albumilta.
Nightbird on yhtä kuin vaasalainen Anna-Stina Jungerstam ja musiikkinsa akustista country/folkia, joka on saanut innoitusta myös vanhasta bluesista. Nightbirdin omien sanojen mukaan ” musiikkia, joka antaa toivoa yökyöpeleille”.
Turkulainen powerpop/americana-ikihonka Ben’s Diapers on määrittelemättömän mittaisella telakkakomennuksella, mutta bändin laulajakaksikko Jaakko Söderström ja Harri ”Huuki” Huuhtanen rikkovat radiohiljaisuuden akustisella duokeikalla illan avaukseksi.
January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Lady Luck compilations and Black Cotton compilations were by far the most important releases last year in this category, but I think none of them were released last year. Therefore I won’t include them. I didn’t buy any of the great box sets that came out due to lack of money. I’m sure I would have loved many of them. Like that Lee Hazlewood box for example. A lot of single album reissues also had to be left on the wantlist due to same issues. I mostly just bought different kind of rhythm & blues, soul, rock’n’roll and pop compilations. Here’s a short top 5 list and after that it’s time to move on to 2014. So many great Finnish releases coming up in January.
Edit: I compeletely forgot latest Fading Yellow volume and had to add it. Therefore I made it top 6 instead of top 5.
6. Peter Bruntnell – Retrospective (Loose Music, 2013)
A career spanning retrospective of a great British singer-songwriter. A couple of my own favourites are missing, but I’m pretty sure there has never been a music fan on this earth who has completely agreed with a compiler of any career spanning collection.
5. Book A Trip 2 – More Psych Pop Sounds Of Capitol Records (Now Sounds, 2013)
The volume one was even better, but Now Sounds has again found plenty of great psych pop songs from the vaults of Capitol Records.
4. Fading Yellow Volume 15 – Sunshowers US/Canadian popsike & Other Delights
Oh my. I did this too fast and forgot that there was a new Fading Yellow volume in the spring. A big favorite serie and it’s a crime to forget it. Shame on me.
3. New Breed Blues With Black Popcorn (Ace Records, 2013)
Not the best New Breed compilation, but another great entry to one of my favourite compilation series.
2. The Bottle Rockets – The Bottle Rockets / Brooklyn Side (Bloodshot Records, 2013)
Alt.country classics getting a deluxe treatment from Bloodshot Records. I never heard them back then, so this was reissue was extremely useful to me.
1. Townes Van Zandt – Sunshine Boy – The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971 – 1972 (Omnivore Recordings, 2013)
January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
12. Jeremy Squires – When Will You Go
Jeremy Squires was clearly a big favourite artist this year and he is on my every year-end list. Central Nervous Station EP was my favourite release, but probably mostly because it was the first one and therefore hold a special place in my heart. This full-length album When Will You Go is equally amazing and full of magnificent songs.
11. Buffalo Gospel – We Can Be Horses
Milwaukee’s Buffalo Gospel has been steadily rising on my rankings. I instantly liked this album We Can Be Horses, but during the last few months it has become more and more important and it has been one of my most listened to albums lately. It really hurts to leave it just outside the top 10, because it’s such a wonderful record.
10. Daniel Romano – Come Cry With Me (Normaltown Records, 2013)
Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Romano deliver some of the finest old-fashioned country sounds these days. This is how this country thing should be done. Come Cry With Me was a huge favourite early in the year and has hold its charm throughout the year.
9. Marine Dreams – Corner Of The Eye (You’ve Changed Records, 2013)
I’ve loved this from the start. The arrangements sound a bit sketchy and questionable (drum machines and such), if I just read about them from a press release. However when I actually listen to the album, it just sounds beautiful to me. And damn how I love that voice, the harmonies and those melodies. Well done Ian Kehoe. This is a fantastic album.
8. Jim Guthrie – Takes Time
Takes Time by Canadian pop mastermind Jim Guthrie is another late favourite. I bought this amazing record a month ago and it has been on heavy rotation in this household ever since. I love the songs and I love the way it sounds. It’s a bliss to listen to it.
7. Widower – Fool Moon (Mama Bird Recording Company, 2013)
I’ve been highly addicted to Widower lately. Fool Moon was the album of the month in December and Thoroughbred is my favourite song of the year 2013. I’m not sure how can a break up album sound so sweet and spiritually beautiful. There’s five songs that I love wholeheartedly. A couple are only good and that’s the only reason Widower isn’t also contender for the album of the year award.
6. Small Houses – Exactly Where You Wanted To Be (Yer Bird, 2013)
I’ve been a huge Small Houses fan for a few years now. His Finland tour was the highlight of the year and pretty much the best thing ever that has somehow partly happened because of onechord.net over these 12 years I’ve been writing this. The new album Exatcly Where You Wanted To Be is also magnificent and full of amazing songs.
5. The Heavy Blinkers – Health
A most welcome comeback from the master of harmonious and beautifully orchestrated pop music. Canadian The Heavy Blinkers wrote one of my favourite 2004 albums The Night and I Are Still So Young, but it took them a long while to create a follow-up. Health finally saw the light in 2013 and it was just as magnificent as I expected. Canadians seem to make my favourite pop music these days, because the few pop albums in the top 10, Takes Time, Corner Of The Eye and Health are all by Canadian artists.
4. Austin Lucas – Stay Reckless (New West Records, 2013)
I’ve been changing the order of the next three several times while making this list. I suppose these could all be on a tied second spot, but I forced myself to put them in some kind of order (even though making these lists and ranking albums is kind of stupid. This is music and not a sports event). Anyway, Austin Lucas was signed by New West Records and created probably his finest album Stay Reckless where every song is a winner. Highlight being the last track Splinters that really hits you hard.
3. John Moreland – In The Throes (Last Chance Records, 2013)
These next two don’t need an introduction if you’ve been reading the year-end of lists of americana, country and folk magazines/blogs/websites. These are completely worth all the love and hype they’ve been getting and are fantastic albums worth all hearts. First we have John Moreland and his brilliant In The Throes album on the third place. Reminds me a lot of early Bruce, but I don’t mind at all. John Moreland is a fantastic songwriter and In The Throes is one hell of a record.
2. Jason Isbell – Southeastern (Southeastern Records, 2013)
Jason Isbell has been a great songwriter for a long time and Southeastern is his masterpiece. This is a record that will stand the test of time and I’m sure this will be regarded as a classic 20 years from now on. Super 8 is probably the only song that isn’t anything special and even that is an ok rock song. The rest of the songs are all utterly wonderful.
1. Frontier Ruckus – Eternity Of Dimming (Quite Scientific, Loose Music, 2013)
And the Album Of The Year 2013 award goes to Eternity Of Dimming by Frontier Ruckus. I’ve been listening to this by far the most during the year and it still feels like I don’t know every corner of this amazing double album. It’s easy to enjoy, but difficult to master completely. And impossible to become tired of it. I know because I’ve tried real hard by spending countless amount of hours listening to it. There’s twenty songs and all of them are absolutely wonderful. Eternity Of Dimming is a treasure vault like no other and my favourite album of the year.
January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
This is always the toughest list to make. It could easily be twice as long.. or even longer, but I suppose the point of these isn’t to list all good albums you’ve listened to during the year. Therefore I forced myself to cut it down to 25 albums. Top 10 probably would make more sense, but this was already difficult enough. This is the first part. The missing top 12 will be on another blog entry within a day or two.
25. T.Hardy Morris – Audition Tapes (Dangerbird Records, 2013)
I don’t think I had even heard the name T.Hardy Morris before I was listening to American Songwriter (magazine) sampler earlier this year. His song on that sampler was the title track of his album Audition Tapes and it instantly grabbed my attention and I bought the album a while later. There are 4-5 damn great songs here and the rest of them aren’t bad either.
24. Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward (Bloodshot Records, 2013)
I hadn’t really been listening to Robbie Fulks since 2005 and Georgia Hard album. Then this marvellous thing came along and reminded me that Robbie Fulks is one great country singer-songwriter. Gone Away Backward is a very impressive traditional country record.
23. Michael Feuerstack – Tambourine Death Bed (Forward Music Group, 2013)
The real last minute entry to this list. Sure I had listened to Michael Feuerstack’s new album on Spotify and even shortly featured it at onechord.net months back, but I didn’t bought it until Zunior’s boxing day sale. Therefore it might be slightly questionable to include it on a year end list, but it’s just so good that I don’t have the heart to leave it out. A very strong (and fragile too) album from this fine Canadian singer-songwriter.
22. Doc Feldman & the LD50 – Sundowning at the Station (This Is American Music, 2013)
It feels like Sundowning at the Station has been on pretty much every year-end list I’ve red and onechord.net is not going to be an exception. Doc Feldman & the LD50 fully deserves all this recognition from the folk and americana communities. Convincing stuff.
21. Drag The River – Drag The River (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2013)
This is a very singer-songwriter heavy list and seriously needs some alt country or countrified rock music. I’m a long time fan of Drag The River and own most of their back catalogue. This new self-titled album is not the very best thing they have ever done, but a wonderful record nevertheless.
20. Pickering Pick – (Tropic) (Yer Bird, 2013)
Pickering Pick is one of my favourite singer-songwriter and seem to release an excellent folk album pretty much every year these days. (Tropic) wasn’t as brilliant as his previous album Prayer Flag, but it’s another beauty for sure. Even when the words seem to be more likely to hurt you than heal you, the songs always sound so warm and kind. And I love that.
19. Huck Notari and The River – Huck Notari and The River
This was the first Kickstarter project I took part in. I’ve been so addicted to the beauty of Huck Notari’s earlier work that it was really easy decision to set up that account and pledge some money. At first I was mildly disappointed (meaning that I really liked it, but not as much as the earlier albums), but during the last few months I’ve really learned to love the easy-flowing beauty of this album. In The Candlelight is such a sweet song. First it kind of feels like there’s nothing happening, but in the end I felt like the song was everything.
18. Samantha Crain – Kid Face
I’ve liked Samantha Crain’s music since her debut full-length, but her songwriting rose to another level on her 2013 album Kid Face. There’s so many magnificent songs here that I’ve lost count. This is one of them called For The Miner.
17. Pokey LaFarge – Pokey LaFarge (Third Man Records, 2013)
The local record shop owner tricked me into buying this by putting this on while I was in the shop. Probably knew I was going to a) like it, b) ask what it was and c) leave the record shop with that record in the bag. I haven’t regretted my instant decision to buy it one bit. I’ve spent a large part of the year listening to vintage music and therefore these old-fashioned songs by Pokey LaFarge were a perfect fit. This album always make me feel good. Therefore I probably should listen to it even more than I have.
16. Jacco Gardner – Cabinet Of Curiosities (Trouble In Mind, 2013)
Jacco Gardner is a dutch pop wizard and created a stunning baroque pop / psychedelic pop album Cabinet Of Curiosities. I’m a big fan, but our cat wasn’t entirely convinced when I put this on. She immediately started complaining. Either she isn’t really used to hearing any other instruments than an acoustic guitar and a soft male voice (which is quite understandable if you look at this list) or she just thought the arrangements lacked the feline touch and some meow harmonies will lift it to another level.
15. Vikesh Kapoor – The Ballad Of Willy Robbins (Mama Bird Recording Company, 2013)
Vikesh Kapoor was one of the big new finds to me. I probably wouldn’t recommend starting a recording career by making a concept album loosely based on a newspaper article, but thankfully Vikesh Kapoor never consulted me. The Ballad Of Willy Robbins is a remarkable effort that was a constant companion during last fall.
14. Bobby Emmett – Brighter Days (Mono Edition)
Back in 2009, Bobby Emmett took the album of the year title with his marvellous album Learning Love. It took him a while to make that follow-up, but it finally arrived in 2013. Brighter Days doesn’t match the brilliance of Learning Love (to be frank, I’m not sure does any power pop -related release of the past five years match it), but this one is also filled with gorgeous songs.
13. The Deep Dark Woods – Jubilee (Six Shooter Records / Sugar Hill Records, 2013)
The previous The Deep Dark Woods album The Place I Left Behind is pretty much my favourite album of the decade so far. Jubilee doesn’t quite reach that level, but it’s still mostly brilliant. Not entirely convinced about the last couple of songs, but there’s a huge amount of gorgeous songs like Red Red Rose and Gonna Have A Jubilee.
This perfect version of Red, Red Rose is a magnificent way to end this first chapter of the Album of the year list. Top 12 to follow either tonight or tomorrow.