Top 10 EPs of the Year 2014

December 21, 2014 § 1 Comment

Let’s get this EP list out of the way as well before the Christmas break. There’s of course that reissue list to do as well, but I’m not sure am I going to do that one. There’s always so much new stuff that I haven’t had much money left to buy a lot of wonderful reissues. Top 3 would be awesome of course Bob Carpenter, Sister Flo etc… We shall see if I do it at all. But first it’s time for this EP list. I have a strange feeling that I’m forgetting something important. Maybe I add an eleventh if I figure it out after posting this. That Love Sport Ep might have made the cut, but I haven’t had the time to listen to it enough at this point.

Top 10 EPs of the Year 2014

harryheart

10. The Harry Heart Chrysalis – Bodensee and Other False Stories EP

Let’s get the list going with Australian The Harry Heart Chrysalis. This lovely EP came out very early in the year. I especially love the song You Are Not A Rarity. This has some rather brutal lines “if I could take you anywhere, I’d take you off my mind”, but somehow I still love it.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4160328498/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2254061853/transparent=true/

redjacket

9. Red Jacket Mine – Pure Delight EP

Moving on to Seattle. Red Jacket Mine released their new soulful EP Pure Delight late in the year and like the title promised, it sure is a pure delight to listen to it. This is Crow from the EP.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=540018949/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=1007095500/transparent=true/

jamesfrost

8. James Frost – Nameless EP

Next stop on our world tour is England where James Frost released a rather amazing folk EP. Traditional British folk gently collides with more modern sounds and the end result touches you deeper than where a doctor could reach. Especially the title track Nameless is spectacular.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=575921926/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=1993066862/transparent=true/

weat
7. The Weather Station – What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know

Back across the pond and to Canada. A long time favourite Tamara Lindeman aka The Weather Station released incredibly beautiful new EP called What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know. Simply stunning like always.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2505560225/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=610274844/transparent=true/

songbirds

6. The Perfectos – Songbirds & Wolves

The Perfectos has been a very big deal at the onechord.net headquarters during the last couple of months of the year. I’ve been listening to their whole excellent back catalogue lately. Their 2014 release was this excellent EP Songbirds & Wolves.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=318481213/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=1237297720/transparent=true/

paxtoni

5. Matt Paxton – Mountain Eyes EP

I’ve been a big fan of Matt Paxton since I first heard his album How The Land Lies. We still have to wait for that next full-length, but Other Songs Music Co put out a really lovely Mountain Eyes EP this fall. A bunch of great originals and a lovely The National cover. I’ve actually never really listened to The National, but after hearing Matt’s version, I kind of like to start. It can work this way around as well. This is Pink Rabbits from Matt Paxton’s beautiful Mountain Eyes EP.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2060154428/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3943175367/transparent=true/

thetaste

4. The Taste – Sea Legs EP

Toronto-based The Taste gave us a magnificent little pop record called Sea Legs. I have big smile on my face when I listen to this one. My kind of pop music. I hope they release a full-length album sometime soon. I would love to hear one.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2471470586/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3235401971/transparent=true/

lacbelot

3. Lac Belot – Elizabeth EP

Because I only had a few Finnish EPs that I had really listened to a lot, I didn’t see the point in making a separate list for them. I couldn’t even come up with ten. Therefore they had to fight for their place on this international list. One made the cut and it’s this wonderful debut EP by Lac Belot. Elizabeth was my Finnish song of the year and all three songs on the EP are magnificent.


 
gudridi

2. Gudrid Hansdottir – Taking Ship

Gudrid Hansdottir’s Taking Ship was one of my big favourites during the year. I’m not entirely sure should it have been on the album list. I think I’ve seen people call it an EP, a mini-album and an album. It feels like a mini-album to me, so therefore I didn’t put it among the full-lengths. One thing is certain though, it’s spectacular.


 

And the EP of the year award goes to..

caletyson

1. Cale Tyson – Cheater’s Wine EP

I really loved and enjoyed Cale Tyson’s EP Cheater’s Wine. Well-crafted and beautifully delivered classic country songs. This was even an album of the month on this little blog of mine, even though it’s not even an album. Cheater’s Wine is just brilliant. I hope we will finally get a Cale Tyson full-length album sometime next year.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=404957015/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=61385949/transparent=true/

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=404957015/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4031113582/transparent=true/

Top 30 Albums of the Year 2014 – Internation Edition (Part Two 15-1)

December 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Moving on to the second chapter. If you didn’t catch the part one you can find it here. Anyway, here we go. 15 more albums to go.

Top 30 Albums of the Year 2014 – Internation Edition (Part Two 15-1)

Sloan_Commonwealth

15. Sloan: Commonwealth

One of my all-time favourite bands Sloan can kick off this second chapter. Each of the four songwriters in the band wrote one side of the record and they all did an excellent job. I suppose the highlight has to be Andrew Scott’s 18 minutes long Forty-Eights Portraits. A stunning song and it’s rather remarkable that a person like yours truly who usually gets bored if a song lasts over three minutes, really loves this song.

sturgill

14. Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

I’m not amazed if I start receiving hate mail when people see Sturgill Simpson’s americana/country masterpiece Metamodern Sounds in Country Music outside the top 10 (thankfully nobody actually reads this, so they don’t see this). If this list tried to be objective, this would go into the top 3, but on a personal level this wasn’t as important as the ones that you will see next. But hey, I still love the record and I really loved the fact that it got such a great reception.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2954949496/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2273263160/transparent=true/

paisley

13. Doug Paisley: Strong Feelings

I’m not sure did I ever feature Doug Paisley’s Strong Feelings at onechord.net, but I did buy it the minute it came out back in January and we have been close friends ever since. Perhaps I felt that there wasn’t really any need to praise him. Doesn’t everyone already know that this guy is one of the best. Such a great songwriter, such a lovely album.


 

nqarbuckle

12. NQ Arbuckle – The Future Happens Anyway

I’m a long time fan and therefore I was thrilled about the fact that there was finally a new NQ Arbuckle album out and available. These Canadian folk rockers should be far better known. Their albums XOK and Last Supper In A Cheap Town are both classic in my head & heart and this new one called The Future Happens Anyway is also brilliant.

caleb

11. Caleb Caudle: Paint Another Layer On My Heart

Caleb Caudle already appeared on the best songs list, but of course Paint Another Layer On My Heart claims a place here as well. It might not be the most original thing I’ve ever heard, but the songs are so well written and the whole thing feels so genuine and heartfelt. This album makes me cry, but in a good way. No matter how many layers you have around your heart, this one will get through and hits the romantic core of your heart.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=950295339/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3181361280/transparent=true/

parker

10. Parker Millsapp – Parker Millsap

This young man from Oklahoma released a stunning debut album. After hearing a song or two here and there, I wasn’t that convinced about the greatness of Parker Millsap. I mean I definitely liked the songs, but I didn’t think they were something that special. However, when I finally started fully concentrating and listening to the whole album, I saw the light and realized that a) I had been an idiot b) this guy is a damn good songwriter. What a spectacular record.


 

thedelines

9. The Delines – Colfax

I’m a huge Willy Vlautin fan so obviously I was extremely excited about The Delines and they sure didn’t disappoint me. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the latest Richmond Fontaine album, but this album by The Delines is just wonderful and dazzlingly beautiful.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=336145849/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2435071654/transparent=true/

robertellisi

8. Robert Ellis – The Lights From The Chemical Plant

Another of those early favourites. The new Robert Ellis album came out in February and have hold its charm throughout the year. I’m not sure what is the general consensus, but I love this one even more than I loved this excellent New West debut Photographs. Adding a bit of Paul Simon and Randy Newman influences to his sound palette was a great idea if you ask me.

jaywilliamhenderson

7. Jay William Henderson – Hymns To My Amnesia

I remember reading good things about the previous Jay William Henderson album, but I never properly listened to it. Thankfully I did start paying attention to Jay William Henderson in July 2014 when his new amazingly beautiful record Hymn to My Amnesia came out. This was an album of the month on this blog probably for three months. Partly because I was too lazy to pick a new one, but partly also because it felt relevant all that time and still do.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2111159718/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=828752405/transparent=true/

hallelujah

6. Hallelujah The Hills – Have You Ever Done Something Evil?

This list needs a lot of indie rock and a couple of sing-a-long choruses and Boston-based Hallelujah The Hills is the best option to provide that. Especially the first half of Have You Ever Done Something Evil? is unbelievably brilliant. Not that there’s really anything to complain about the latter half of it either. A damn fine album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2575058676/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4194554827/transparent=true/

freschard

5. Freschard – Boom Biddy Boom

Like I said on the song list. This one is actually December 2013 release, but it’s my blog and my rules. This was a year of Freschard for me and I don’t have the heart to leave this one out. Boom Biddy Boom by Freschard is totally irresistible. I just love her music wholeheartedly. I’m a sucker for sad music, but sometimes it’s good to listen to something that makes me truly happy. For example the first three songs on this album makes me blissfully happy every time and the whole album is magnificent. I can walk around the town for hours just listening to Freschard. She is so brilliant and it’s a bliss to listen to Boom Biddy Boom.

sunde

4. J.E. Sunde – Shapes That Kiss The Lips Of God

A Blinding Flash of Light is my favourite song of the year and obviously the whole album Shapes That Kiss The Lips Of God by J.E. Sunde is absolutely amazing. I spend most of my free time listening to new music, but I rarely stumble upon something so unique and out of the ordinary that still is somehow easily approachable. The whole thing is gorgeous, but what about Easy Kid and those three songs in the middle, A Blinding Flash of Light, Dream Baby and I’m Gonna Disappoint You. Oh my. That’s a whole another level of greatness. I don’t think they have invented a word to describe that yet.

markham

3. Daniel Markham – Pretty Bitchin’

I’m not sure do I love that title of Daniel Markham’s new record, but I sure as hell love the record. If I look at my last.fm stats that doesn’t count everything, but gives a fairly good idea, Daniel Markham is the artist that I’ve listened to the most (and by far) during 2014. And this thing came out just a couple of months ago on Halloween. So yeah, you could say that I kind of like this one. Whenever I need some energy, I just play this as loud as possible. This one could put those energy drink companies out of business. Perhaps it’s just rock music, but sometimes that’s everything you need. A brilliant album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2588702507/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2188633621/transparent=true/

myriam

2. Myriam Gendron – Not So Deep as a Well

And then something completely different. This was love at first sight. Myriam Gendron from Montreal turns Dorothy Parker’s poetry into folk music and does it so beautifully. Not So Deep As A Well is magical and captivating and you can listen to it for hours and hours. Believe me. I’ve tried and you can’t get tired of this one. It’s the most moving piece of music released during the year. Ballade Of a Great Weariness, The Last Question and Song For A Perfect Propriety are my favourites, but everything sounds wonderful.

And the album of the year award goes to…

frontierruckus

1. Frontier Ruckus – Sitcom Afterlife

No surprise there I suppose. Frontier Ruckus is my favourite band at the moment. Eternity Of Dimming was my album of the year last year and this year they do it again. They took a more melodic approach this time around and released the ultimate break-up album called Sitcom Afterlife. Some lines might even be questionable out of context, but it’s kind of like when The Raspberries sang that Go All The Way tune in the 70s. They get away with it, because they just do it so beautifully. Words like “You say that you’ve forgotten But I know that you’re rotten in your sweet little way” have never sounded as beautiful. Bathroom Stall Hypnosis, Crabapples In The Century’s Storm, Little Henrietta, The Splendid World, Darling Anonymity are all among the very best songs of the year and that’s already half of the album. So yeah, In the end it’s fairly easy decision. Sitcom Afterlife by Frontier Ruckus is my favourite album of the year 2014.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=807185743/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4094643803/transparent=true/

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=807185743/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=445488324/transparent=true/

Top 30 Albums of the Year 2014 – International Edition (Part One 30-16)

December 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Finally time for that Albums of the Year list. Here’s the first chapter and places 30-16. Top 15 to come sometime tomorrow. It was a good year and I could have easily made a top 50, but you have to draw the line somewhere even though it means you have to drop out a lot of great albums. Which is not nice and hurts like hell. Anyway, here’s the first chapter.

TOP 30 Albums of the Year 2014 – International Edition

isle-of-yours

30. I Was A King – Isle Of Yours

My favourite Norwegians I Was a King can do the honors and get this list rolling with their latest album Isle Of Yours. I don’t love this one as much as their 2012 album You Love It Here (which was on my top 3), but this is still gorgeous and contains some of my favourite songs of the year. This is Bygdøy 30 from the album and it sounds absolute perfect to my ears.

arlo

29. Arlo Mckinley & The Lonesome Sound – Arlo Mckinley & The Lonesome Sound

In the real world probably only the selected few are aware of the greatness of Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound, but in the americana blogosphere where I do my online living, he is kind of a big deal and extremely highly regarded. I’ve seen this album on many end of the year lists. Even as #1 on some of them. Thanks to ninebullets for spreading the gospel about Arlo. This is Just Like The Rest from the album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4068525991/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3995012149/transparent=true/

witheredhandnew

28. Withered Hand – New Gods

Withered Hand’s new album New Gods was surprisingly pop, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I love pop music. I can’t stand the song called Heart Heart and skip it every time, but oher than that, this is a wonderful album. Horseshoe and Black Tambourine should be hits and are an incredibly way to kick of the album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3856265135/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2094280900/transparent=true/

ryantanner

27. Ryan Tanner – Together Is Where We Belong

Ryan Tanner is up next with his serene and beautiful album Together Is Where We Belong. This is such a heartfelt record. This almost feels spiritual. Maybe it’s a tad too long, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s absolutely magical most of the time. This is Days To Think Of You from the album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3641287391/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2082981391/transparent=true/

Stinemaybe

26. Caleb Stine – Maybe God Is Lonely Too

Caleb Stine’s new album Maybe God Is Lonely Too is a serene, beautiful and even meditative folk album. You probably can’t find it from many year-end lists, because you can only get it from his shows or by sending him an email. So too few have heard this album that tackles difficult issues beautifully.

The Mountain by Caleb Stine from Allen Moore Films on Vimeo.

lydiaa

25. Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else

Somewhere Else by Lydia Loveless was one of my early favourites. It’s a great record as it is, but perhaps they could have gotten even more out of these wonderful songs. But I’ll stop that annoying whining right now, because each time I hit play, I enjoy every damn second.


 
atkinson1

24. Anthony Atkinson & The Running Mates – Broken Folks

My Australian hero Anthony Atkinson finally released a new album. Together with The Running Mates he delivered a beauty of an album that is filled with wonderful folk-tinged pop music. Broken Folks is another proof that Anthony Atkinson is a great songwriter.

guycapecelatro

23. Guy Capecelatro III: Scatter The Remains

A couple of months ago I didn’t even know this man existed, but Guy Capecelatro III has been a big addiction during the last month of 2014. His latest album Scatter The Remains is a melancholic beauty that deserves a lot of attention.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4003921843/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4269588446/transparent=true/

otisgibbs

22. Otis Gibbs: Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth

Otis Gibbs is the world’s greatest podcast host, but even more importantly he is an extremely good singer-songwriter and storyteller. My favourite Otis album is still Joe Hill’s Ashes, but it might just be because that’s the first one I heard. The latest one is called Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth and it’s once again a great Otis Gibbs album.


 
nikki

21. Nikki Lane: All or Nothin’

Maybe Nikki Lane’s new album All or Nothin’ isn’t the second coming of the Christ, but it sure is a great record that has stayed on my playlist since it came out in May 2014. I never seem to get tired of it. Good Man, You Can’t Talk To Me Like That, Man Up… So many damn good songs on this one.

johndavey

20. John Davey – Living Is Trying

John Davey was another fall obsession. You could argue that I spend too much time listening those sad & beautiful folk songs, so it was refreshing to find a singer-songwriter who also has a great sense for pop music. Living Is Trying is a record that I keep on returning to on a weekly basis and I truly enjoy every listening session.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2955634072/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3741825280/transparent=true/

boldt

19. Ryan Boldt – Broadside Ballads

Ryan Boldt is the frontman of the wonderful Canadian band The Deep Dark Woods (who has made the best album of the current decade, The Place I Left Behind) and late in the year he released his first solo album Broadside Ballads. Wonderful traditional folk songs and that voice. That combination had to work and it did work beautifully. It might have gotten further up on the list, If I’ve had the chance to spend more time with it.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3401017174/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3137490700/transparent=true/

ryani

18. Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams

Another Ryan, but a bit more famous one at this point. Where to put the new Ryan Adams album? That was one of the biggest difficulties I had when making this little list. I haven’t really listened to this as much as I should have. For some weird reason I just don’t seem to be appreciate it enough. However, whenever I actually do flip it on the player, I actually love listening to it. So why does my brain tries to resist this awesome album? Weird stuff.

hurrayfortheriffraff

17. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

The new Hurray For The Riff Raff album Small Town Heroes leaves a long-lasting impression. Alynda Lee Segarra has written a rather stunning album that deals with difficult issues in a beautiful way. Besides being a great songwriter, she has a unique voice that always sounds perfect to my ears.

turnercody

16. Turner Cody: Plans and Schemes

This is the real last minute entry, but I had to include Turner Cody. He was one of my biggest songwriter favourites during the year. I spent an awful lot of time listening to his 2013 release The Last of The Big Time Spenders and really loved that record. Somehow I managed to miss his new album Plans and Schemes that came out in the fall. Probably because it wasn’t on his Bandcamp page. Anyway, I picked up a copy a week ago and I’ve been listening to this a lot since. It’s rather difficult to compare this one to to those that I’ve been listening to for 10 months, but because this was a year of Turner Cody here at onechord.net, I have to include it. And a good way to do that is to end this first chapter of the list with his lovely album Plans and Schemes and his lovely song Memories Of You.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2521725886/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3382404268/transparent=true/

You’ll find chapter two by following this link

Top 10 Finnish Albums of the Year 2014

December 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Another day, another list. This time it’s Finnish albums of the year 2014. I suppose there are a few surprise omissions. For example Mirel Wagner and Pepe Willberg albums are awesome and worth all the hype, but I didn’t really listen to them that much during the year. Objectively speaking they probably are better than let’s say that Common Tones album, but I did listen to Common Tones something like 20 times more, so on my extremely subjective list, that was better and more important. Albums by Saijaa Saijaa and Räjäyttäjät might have been something that I would have loved, but I haven’t bought them yet.

damns

10. Damn Seagulls: Let It Shine

Damn Seagulls took a little break after 2009’s slightly disappointing album Hunting Season. Thankfully they returned in 2014 and were back in top form. Let It Shine might be a little too short, but it’s probably better to release a killer 8 song album than a longer one with a few pointless fillers. Maybe Let It Shine doesn’t reach the heights of their masterpiece Soul Politics, but in the end very few Finnish albums of the past ten years do that. This is my favourite song of the album and it’s called Hold Your Head Up High.


 
commontones
9. Common Tones – Broken Heart Sounds

I was almost beginning to worry that I might have to remove Common Tones from this list, but the official release did finally happen in early December and wasn’t pushed until 2015. This was a big favourite of mine during the summer time when I listened to their melodic pop music for hours and hours. This is Finding Life from the album.

swaying

8. Swaying Wires: Some Blue Sky

Alternative folk from Turku-based band on a UK-based label. That combo doesn’t take place too often. Swaying Wires might still be in the development stage (and probably will get even better during the next couple of years), but they already released a stunning debut album Some Blue Sky. This is such a great album. If you grew up listening to those hauntingly beautiful indie albums by Songs:Ohia, Mazzy Star and the likes, you should give this one a chance.


 
wondermineri

7. The Wonderminers: These Fell Off The Shelf

These Fell Off The Shelf by The Wonderminers came out in January, but it hasn’t been forgotten. A magnificent album full of melodic pop music. Petri Nakari is such a good songwriter. His pop songs might not hit you instantly, but if you give the album a couple of spins, you might want to marry a song or two. This is Steve and The Silents from the album.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1666040197/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=1229768021/transparent=true/

Nopat_Valonkajoa_digi

6. Nopat: Valonkajoa

I’m very ashamed that this beauty didn’t got the recognition it deserved on the blog. Valonkajoa by Nopat is a great record and contains a lot of songs that I hold dear. Highlights for me are Liian täydellinen that you can hear below and that awesome Big White Monkees cover Tukholma.


 

jukkanousiainen

5. Jukka Nousiainen: Huonoa seuraa

That rock’n’roll sure is a blissful thing. Huonoa seuraa by Jukka Nousiainen is a fantastic record and I’m thrilled that it got such a great reception. I don’t exactly understand how that happened. Fantastic diy lo-fi rock’n’roll records just usually aren’t the ones that create a hype around them. Well who really cares ones anyway. Let’s just be happy that sometimes good things happen to good people. And after celebrating that cliche I just wrote, it’s time for some perfect entertainment. This is Roskalavojen rokkitähti.


 

gim

4. Gim Kordon: Ei ole helppoo

Even though Gim Kordon is on the fourth place, Ei ole helppoo might have even been the Finnish album I listened to the most during the year. It’s either this or Pietarin Spektaakkeli. This just gave me energy when I needed it. It just felt damn good to listen to it. It took me to time when Kaksi-Nolla and Manilow ruled the world. Ok, they never actually ruled the world, but allow me to put some colour pen on my own nostalgic memories. And it’s not just salute to the 90s. This all felt awesome and totally relevant in 2014.


 
koriakittenriot

3. Koria Kitten Riot: Rich Men Poor Men Good Men

Koria Kitten Riot set high standards for the year by releasing this beauty of an album during the early stages of January. Antti Reikko has been an extremely good songwriter for quite a long time, but now this thing has reached a whole another level. Koria Kitten Riot became a full band and together they created this little masterpiece called Rich Men Poor Men Good Men. This is an amazing record full of beautifully arranged pop music.


 
pietarispektaakkeli

2. Pietarin Spektaakkeli: Rakkauteen

This was the biggest surprise for me. I never thought I was going to like this and in the end I became almost obsessed with it. I first saw the video for the song Tyttö lähtee tanssimaan and I wasn’t that impressed. Then a while later I saw Janne from Nopat recommending it and then heard it playing at the local record store a few days after. I probably fell in love with it at the store, brought home a copy and after that me and this record have been a tight unit that will take care of each other. It’s just gorgeous. Kind of like blues, hip-hop, 80s Suomi rock and 70s Leevi joining forces in perfect fashion. I love it wholeheartedly. Rakkauteen is a perfect record.


 
And the Finnish album of the year 2014 award goes to.

Box-bar_kansi-300x270

1. Ochre Room: Box, Bar & Diamond

This was hardly a surprise. Everyone who is regular follower of this tiny blog probably knew my Finnish album of the year will be Ochre Room’s second full-length Box, Bar & Diamond. They were pretty much perfect the first time I saw them a couple of years ago and still they somehow manage to get even better all the time. I’m not quite sure how that is possible. I spend pretty much all of my free time listening to folk and americana bands from all over the world and there really aren’t many that I like more than Ochre Room. If I would have made just one list and not separate for Finnish and foreign, Ochre Room would still have been on my top 3. The songs are so well-crafted and arranged and that singing always sounds heavenly good to me. I could listen to them sing all day long. Ochre Room and their magnificent album Box, Bar & Diamond is the Finnish album of the year 2014.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3610574619/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4226647657/transparent=true/

Ochre Room – Cabin Sessions from Monadi-Filmi on Vimeo.

Top 10 Finnish Songs of the Year 2014

December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Another day, another pointless list. This time I give you my favourite Finnish songs of the year 2014. This was a tough one to make and it really hurts to leave out many of my favourite bands. Thankfully most of them will appear on the forthcoming Finnish albums of the year list.

10. Swaying Wires – Some Blue Sky

First we have Swaying Wires and the title track of their wonderful debut album Some Blue Sky that came out on UK-based Battle Worldwide Recordings early in the year. This is such a perfect ending to that beautiful record.


 
9. Joutomies Aleksei – Kolmipäinen koira

I’ve had a soft spot for this one since I first heard it back in 2010. I’m not sure did I list it then, but I’m going to do it this time around, because Ei-No Records officially released Joutomies Aleksei’s lovely folk album in early 2014. It also contains other highlights like Laulu Tuomolan Äijästä and Jack & Arlene.


 
8. Gim Kordon – Sateessa

Gim Kordon’s album has gotten almost a ridiculous amount of air time in this household. If you tried to academically review it, you would run out of paper while listing all the flaws. But if you just hit play, it feels just perfect and you will enjoy every second. The highlight of the album for me is the chorus of this song called Sateessa. That chorus sure captures a moment.

7. Jukka Nousiainen – Ilman sua en elää vois

This might be a little weird favourite song from Huonoa seuraa by Jukka Nousiainen, but I just love it to bits. Minute and a half of perfect Finnish rock’n’roll.

6. Koria Kitten Riot – Cold Cold Arms

Between a Pillow and A Soft Place is probably my favourite song from Koria Kitten Riot’s latest masterpiece Rich Men, Poor Men, Good Men, but because that one took a head start and lured it’s way on my 2013 year end list, I’ll go with the second best this time around. And this awesome song called Cold Cold Arms sure has the quality to be on any list I can think of. Such a great song.


 
5. Pietarin Spektaakkeli – Kuuma mama / Puerto Rico (Haaveissani)

Pietarin Spektaakkeli released a stunning album Rakkauteen that will appear on my top 3 on the forthcoming album list. There’s actually two songs here, because I just couldn’t decide between Kuuma mama / Puerto Rico (Haaveissani). I know those songs are miles away from the music that I normally listen to and I was somewhat surprised that I loved them so passionately. I even tried to resist them at first, but soon I have to give in and admit that they are some of the best songs released in 2014.


 

4. Suomen Zorro & Elämän paineet: 6 syliä

Then something a bit more obscure. This might not even be officially out anywhere, but I don’t really care. I don’t have much rules when I write these lists. It’s just a gut feeling and that tells me 6 syliä by Suomen Zorro & Elämän paineet is one of the best Finnish songs of the year. Absolutely amazing stuff. I can’t wait to hear that Vähäsarja album early next year.


 
uusiviljami

3. Viljami Kukkonen – Säkki

At first I thought that I just leave these new Viljami Kukkonen songs for 2015, because I’m quite sure that they will rule my charts when it’s time to write 2015 year end list. However, in the end I just didn’t have the heart to leave his new song out. I’m a huge fan and his debut album Mörönsyötti is the best Finnish album of the current decade. Follow up will hit the stores and our hearts early 2015 and this song called Säkki was/is the first digital single from the forthcoming album.

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2. Ochre Room – Wistful Smiles

It was extremely difficult to pick just one song from Ochre Room’s latest masterpiece Box, Bar & Diamond. In the end, I had to go with Wistful Smiles and that’s mostly because of the singing. I think there are even better compositions and even better lyrics on the record, but the singing. Just ah. That last two minutes of the song leave me speechless. Lauri and Minttu singing together so beautifully. It sounds heavenly good. Even though this appeared on their second album, this was actually the first song that Tomi and Lauri wrote together years ago. Now that’s just not fair to other songwriters. “Oh, hey let’s try it out and see if we can write a song” and the end result is this amazing song. Oh my.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3610574619/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=900360993/transparent=true/

And the Finnish song of the year award goes to:

lacbelot

1. Lac Belot – Elizabeth

I fell in love with Lac Belot’s debut EP Elizabeth a few seconds after I started listening to it and our relationship is still working beautifully. Some might remember that in my original writing I said that Elizabeth might be my least favourite song on the EP. Well recently I have leaned more towards this magnificent title track and therefore it’s worthy of that song of the year award. It’s a close call between Elizabeth and his other song II and could go either way. One thing is certain though. Lac Belot is wonderful and fully deserves his 1st place. This is the Finnish song of the year. Lac Belot and Elizabeth.

Top 10 Songs of the Year 2014 – International Edition

December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s time to get this listing party started. I don’t think anyone actually cares, but I still love making these. Let’s start with my favourite songs of the year. I didn’t spend ages on this one, because that album of the year list is going to take a huge amount time. The top three are obvious and I kind of agreed on them (with myself) a long time ago. The rest of the spots might look totally different on another day, because I think I could easily come up with 50 songs that I really loved during the year.

Top 10 Songs of the Year 2014 – International edition

10. The Slim City Pickers – About Love

Canadian country rockers, The Slim City Pickers can do the honors and get this ball rolling with their gorgeous song called About Love. This might be rather obscure choice, but I love this simple song so much. One of the most enjoyable things I’ve heard this year.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1016032661/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3847756833/transparent=true/

9. Ryan Tanner – Days To Think Of You

Ryan Tanner’s Together Is Where We Belong album is maybe a little too long, but contains a lot of magical moments. One of them is this sweet little tune Days To Think Of You that will gently destroy you. It’s so subtle, warm and beautiful heartbreaker. Oh how I love the arrangements and those harmonies. Actually it doesn’t destroy me, it makes me whole.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3641287391/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2082981391/transparent=true/

8. Strand Of Oaks – JM

I had some doubts about the new Strand Of Oaks album. I loved half of it, but it had some songs (or should I say some arrangements) that I wasn’t so sure about. However, this Jason Molina tribute JM is just stunning and it took my breath away.

7. Caleb Caudle – Miss You Like Crazy

Caleb Caudle’s wonderful album Paint Another Layer On My Heart has 3-4 excellent candidates for this list, but I had to go with this magnificent ballad Miss You Like Crazy. That moment when Caleb sings the lines “if the lord takes you first / he better takes us both / because I miss you like crazy” might be the most touching moment on any song this year.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=950295339/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2537687512/transparent=true/

6. Marine Dreams – Constant Love

I’m a huge fan of Ian Kehoe aka Marine Dreams. His 2014 album Lemon Tree wasn’t as mind-blowingly awesome as his 2013 album Corner Of The Eye, but it sure is another good one. And it of course contains this amazing pop song called Constant Love.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1998155685/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3954647461/transparent=true/

5. Parker Millsap – At The Bar (Emerald City Blues)

I haven’t even featured Parker Millsap here, because I just ordered a copy a couple of weeks ago and it hasn’t even arrived in the mail yet. But I’ve been spinning it on Spotify and have already fallen in love with it. At The Bar (Emerald City Blues) is probably my favourite, because I’m indeed a sucker for sad songs as well.

4. I Was A King – Oslo Share

I Was A King’s new album wasn’t all about sweet pop harmonies, but I loved their pop songs the most. Oslo Share and Bygdoy 30 are heavenly good pop songs. Either one would be a good pick from these Norwegian heroes, but I’ll go with Oslo Share this time around.

freschard

3. Freschard – Cheese And Crackers

Well I guess this is actually 2013 release. It came out in December 2013. But it’s my blog and my listing rules and I don’t have the heart to leave this out, because this was the year of Freschard for me. I fell in love with her music earlier in the year and I became really addicted to her albums Boom Biddy Boom and Shh.. This song Cheese and Crackers is the loveliest earworm I can think of. This song has been continuously playing in my head for months and I don’t even want to get rid of it (even though I don’t even actually like cheese and crackers). I love it with all my heart. Who wouldn’t? This song is totally irresistible and super catchy.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=171767158/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3279385969/transparent=true/

frontierruckus

2. Frontier Ruckus – Little Henrietta

There would probably be four songs by Frontier Ruckus in the top 10, if I didn’t have this stupid rule that I only include one song per artist. Therefore this was a battle between Little Henrietta and Bathroom Stall Hypnosis and Little Henrietta came on top today. Frontier Ruckus is my favourite band in the world right now.

sunde

And the Song of the Year 2014 award in the international category goes to…

1. J.E.Sunde – A Blinding Flash Of Light

I’m not sure does it make me a sad case, when I tell you that this song A Blinding Flash Of Light by J.E. Sunde is my favourite song of the year 2014 by a large margin. There’s no denying that this extremely fragile song is actually the strongest song of the year. Totally unique and unforgettable. This is A Blinding Flash Of Light by J.E. Sunde.

While No One Was Looking – Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

bloodshot

One more thing to do before those year-end lists. It’s time to celebrate 20 years of Bloodshot Records. They have given us a huge amount of wonderful music during their existence and they are still one of the finest labels out there. While No One Was Looking – Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records is a new compilation where 38 excellent artists cover classic songs from the Bloodshot Records catalogue. There are way too many great versions to mention, but I really enjoyed (for example) Samantha Crain’s rendition of Cold Forgiver by Ha Ha Tonka, Possessed by Paul James singing I Came Around by Murder by Death and Superchunk covering one of my all-time favourite songs, Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams. The list could go on and on. This one below is also excellent. Blitzen Trapper doing another Ryan Adams classic To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High).

Bloodshot Records sure do have a great history, but even more importantly, they are still relevant today and have released a lot of great music during the year 2014. I haven’t really featured their fall releases on the blog even though I’ve been listening to them a lot. So maybe it’s to make amends and shortly go through some of them now.

First we have excellent songwriter Cory Branan and his new should-be hit record called No-Hit Wonder. A really strong record and also a candidate for those year end lists. This is the opener You Make Me that also features mr. Jason Isbell.

Moving on to Luke Winslow-King and his awesome old-fashioned tunes that are timeless and refreshing. His new album Everlasting Arms is absolutely adorable. This is the gorgeous title track Everlasting Arms.

After that it’s time go into darker, but equally beautiful surroundings. Bloodshot’s Danish recruit Maggie Björklund also has a new album out and available. This album called Shaken might not be the closest match with my heart, but it’s still rather convincing effort and I wouldn’t be least bit surprised if someone thinks this is the best piece of music that has been released during the year. Especially this Fro Fro Heart that features Kurt Wagner from Lambchop is just stunning and leaves me speechless.

Bloodshot Records Website

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