January 31, 2016 § Leave a comment
I’ve been following the adventures of Drew Beskin since I heard Slowburner by The District Attorneys some years ago. The DA called it a day late last year, but thankfully we now have PURSES ready to hit our hearts (and there was that pretty damn fine album by Party Dolls in between as well). In my imaginary wonderworld, Drew Beskin has the same kind of following as Westerberg, Malkmus, J.Mascis. Not that this really sounds like any of them that much, but he is just damn good and breathes life back to this US indie alt.rock thing that I grew up listening to.
There seems to be a small danger that I’m entering into an excessive praising mode (ok probably already did do that), so let’s just post some music. PURSES just debuted with their first single Hitchhiker / Wheels On The Run and both of these songs are brilliant. For example Hitchhiker is almost overfilled with great things. It kind of has foundation for several great songs, but PURSES blend those ingredients together wonderfully. The debut album Obsess Much is due out in the spring of 2016 on Laser Brains / This Is American Music. And sorry if I made this a one man show. PURSES is a band and a damn fine band. Members have previously played (or still play) in such great bands as Tedo Stone, Crooked Fingers, The District Attorneys, Blue Blood etc. Here are the songs from the first single that is now out and available.
January 31, 2016 § 1 Comment
Major news on the One Chord to Another scale. The wonderful Richmond Fontaine will be touring in Finland this April in support of their new album You Can’t Go Back If There Is Nothing To Go Back To. The full band isn’t backing Willy Vlautin on this Finland tour, but I’m 100% sure that these duo performances will still be something really special. A big thanks to 8raita for making this dream come true.
Richmond Fontaine -duo Finland Tour (support Fernando)
5 – Helsinki, FI – Korjaamo
6 – Tampere, FI – Telakka
7 – Turku, FI – Gong
(I’ve heard rumours of another Finnish concert, I’ll add it later if the rumour turns out to be true)
The unfortunate part of this tour is the fact that it’s a farewell tour and record for Richmond Fontaine and we have to say farewell to one of the best band of the past twenty years. I personally joined the party rather late. That was when Fitzgerald came out in 2005, but that instantly won my heart over and I bought most of the back catalogue and have bought all full-lengths they have released after that and enjoyed them all. Ok, I do struggle a bit with The High Country, great lyrics of course, but the music is a little challenging. Winnemucca (2002), Post To Wire (2004) and The Fitzgerald (2005) is my favourite part of their catalog. It might be mostly because those were my introduction to Richmond Fontaine, but whatever the reason, I extremely highly recommend all of those albums. Five heart classics in my books and the rest of the catalog isn’t far behind. Actually Thirteen Cities is so damn good as well that I’m already having seconds thoughts about naming those three above as my favourites. Just listen to all of them.
The new album is due out in March 2016 on Decor Records. The first two outtakes are both absolutely wonderful. This is Wake Up Ray from the forthcoming album.
And here’s one from the support artist Fernando. I’m such an ignorant fool that I haven’t heard about him before, but this does sound mighty good. Another great reason to wait for this tour. In case you need some dreadful namedropping there are people like Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey playing on this record. So the guest musician list is rather impressive, but the most impressive and important part is still Fernando Viciconte’s excellent songwriting. This is The Dogs from the latest Fernando album Leave The Radio On that just came out in Europe on Decor Records.
January 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
Matti Jasu & The Loose Train released a mighty good music video during the last stages of 2015. I never posted it back then, because making those year-end lists and packing potatoes at the factory took its toll. Let’s correct that mistake by posting this fine tune a month later. It’s the second single from the forthcoming Matti Jasu & Loose Train album Gone to the Dogs. More about Matti Jasu when that most likely wonderful album hits the record stores and our hearts.
And here’s the first single Sideshow Heartbreak.
January 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
It’s time to move on to 2016 and it’s time to fall in love with new music again. It’s also time to make that final push until this blog is fifteen years old next September. For the last few years the guilt of continuously neglecting the blog and continuously neglecting plenty of amazing releases due to various reasons has overshadowed the positives. So I’m gonna try this one more time and do it as well as I still can. Let’s see where I am next fall and whether it feels like it’s still worth it to continue.
Let’s kickstart the year with Josephine by Pony Bradshaw. This is the first outtake from their forthcoming album Bad Teeth. I assume forthcoming. It does say on that Bandcamp page that it comes out fall 2015, but I didn’t found any proof of its existence so I’m assuming the release date has been pushed for later. I hope it’s out soon, because I love this song and I’m eager to hear more. It even gives me some early Songs: Ohia vibes in a few places. Might be just me and I’m letting the name Josephine play tricks in my head. A damn great song nevertheless.
January 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Moving on the final end of the year 2015 list. My favourite Eps of the year list. I won’t do the reissues list, because I only bought a few. So much good new stuff plus close to two thousands euros spent on various doctors, chiropractors and physios didn’t leave any money whatsover left for the reissues. I highly recommended the Epic Soundtracks vinyl reissues, if you don’t own those records yet. The classic DM3 also had a new remastered compilation out on the Alive/Bomp lavel. And of course everything that Light in The Attic or Ace puts out is always worth a visit. Anyway, here’s the EP list and then it’s time to finally move on to 2016, The fifteenth and quite possibly final year of One Chord To Another. I guess I should also start planning the 15th birthday celebrations that takes place next September. Would be fun to organize something special. We’ll see how it goes. It’s quite possible that nothing happens.
15. Widower – Dark Blue
The album Fool Moon by Widower holds a very special place in my heart. During 2015 Kevin Large returned with a new EP Dark Blue. Your Copy of The Catcher In The Rye was the highlight. I hope we will get a new album during 2016.
14. Darrin Bradbury – The Story of Bob
Darrin Bradbury is a damn fine storyteller and songwriter. This is The Story Of Bob.
13. The Provincial Archive – The Provincial Archive
The Provincial Archive became a trio and took a step towards 90s power pop and melodic indie rock on their self-titled EP. I don’t have anything against that.
12. Aaron Lee Tasjan – Telling Stories to The Wall
The most important Aaron Lee Tasjan release of 2015 was the album In The Blazes, but this EP also got a lot of airplay in this household. There was a couple of even better ones on the album, but Living Proof is still among my favourite ALT tunes.
11. Wilder Maker – Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire Vol I, II & Vol III
Wilder Maker finished their EP trilogy (or will there be more?). Vol 1 was late 2014 and the other two came out during 2015. They do also contain a couple of not-that-great tunes as well, but mostly brilliant.
10. Kent Eugene Goolsby – Minor Wear
Kent Eugene Goolsby also made the album list, but the prolific songwriter also released a really good Minor Wear EP late in the year. This is just as good. Sometimes it feels like it’s even better.
9. John Calvin Abney- Vice Versa Suite
John Calvin Abney also released a damn fine album Better Luck early in the year, which was close to making the cut on the albums list. Thankfully he also released a damn fine EP Vice Versa Suite late in the year, so I can still show some year end love to this fine artists who besides making great solo releases also plays on a lot of other albums that I love.
8. Andy Reed – Relay Vol 1.
A long time favourite Andy Reed now operates under his own name and delivered a great melodic pop treasure Relay Vol 1.
7. Pearl Charles – Pearl Charles
Pearl Charles from LA delivered a really delightful blend of garage pop, psych pop/folk and west coast rock. I’m so eager to hear more material from her. Irresistible stuff.
6. China – Toward The Sun & The Wall
I teamed up the two China EPs here, because I bought them at the same time and have been listening to them together as well. The Wall was a Dec14 release and Towards the Sun came out in Apr15. Odawas is often on the borderline of my comfort zone, love some of the material, don’t even like all of it. China is more my cup of tea and these are both wonderful releases.
5. Micah Schnabel – Not The Boy You Used To Know
A long time favourite Micah Schnabel who also kicks ass with his band Two Cow Garage released another great solo release. An Ep called Not The Boy You Used to Know. The best part of Micah’s year was Two Cow’s Let The Boys Be Girls that also appeared on my songs of the year list, but this one is really good as well.
4. Jay Gonzalez – The Bitter Suite
Jay Gonzalez plays the keys in Drive-by Truckers, but the man is also a bit of pop wizard on the side. Making a 5-song rock medley is a rather ludicrous idea, if you ask me, but Jay was able to make this work wonderfully.
3. Buffalo Gosbel – Waiting For The Lights To Go Out
I’m not entirely sure does a two song digital release count as an EP, but they call it themselves an EP so who am I to disagree. There’s no doubt about the greatness of it though. I really loved the previous Buffalo Gospel album and this is equally brilliant. Especially the title track Waiting For The Lights To Go Out is just stunning.
2. Taylor Knox – Lines
Toronto-based Taylor Knox has played the drums for some of favourite artists like Hayden, but Lines EP shows that he is also more than capable of leaving the drum set behind and stepping under the spotlight. This is wonderful Sloan-ish melodic pop and rock’n’roll. Basicly my favourite EP of the year 2015, because my #1 pick is technically a late 2014 release.
1. Courtney Marie Andrews – Leuven Letters
I’m still arguing with myself is it alright to name Leuven Letters by Courtney Marie Andrews as my favourite EP of the year, because it actually came out in late 2014. In the end, I just don’t have the heart to leave it out, because it’s by far the EP I loved the most during the year. I can never get enough of They Say or Near You. I’m so looking forward to the next full-length from this gifted singer-songwriter, because this EP is so remarkable and beautiful.
January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
The pointless end of the year lists continue today with my favourite Finnish albums of the year. A lot of good albums came out and the list could easily be twice as long and there’s tons of stuff that I haven’t heard yet and stuff that I’m not even aware of. Perhaps the only downside was that I didn’t really completely fell in love with a Finnish album this year. Even the finest ones had a song or two I didn’t like that much. These below are all magnificent albums, but still they didn’t leave as huge impact on me as Box, Bar & Diamond, Mörönsyötti did for example.
Oh yeah and I still haven’t properly listened to a couple of releases that came late in the year. At least Tyynyt, J Karjalainen and Nightbird fall into this category and might easily have the quality to be on this list, but I haven’t bought them yet. The one by Jukka ja Jytämimmit is the hard one, because sometimes it feels like the best thing ever and sometimes I just can’t be bothered with it at all. Except for Ei mun aikani ole vielä. That works every friggin’ time.
10. Skip Zone – When The Dust Blows Away
Skip Zone can do the honors and make the opening kick off. It’s kind of criminal that I never properly featured this during the year. My only bad excuse is that there was a lot of bad things going on in my life that tried to take my attention from good music. Thankfully I can make some amends by showing some love to this fine album called When The Dust Blows Away on this end of the year list. It’s a beautifully arranged album full of finest Finnish americana and folk rock and I highly recommend picking up the vinyl if you have the chance.
9. Nicolas Kivilinna – Joka laulun laulaa vaan
I think I expected this album by Nicolas Kivilinna to be even greater than what it turned out to be. Not that there’s anything wrong with the album. The reason for that was just my sky high and even unfair expectations. A couple of marvelous concerts and THE EP just had lifted the expectations to a rather ridiculous level. But once I got over the fact that this wasn’t the second coming of the Christ, I learned to love the album just as it was. A damn good and refreshing Finnish rock album from a gifted young artist. I’m a huge fan and I can’t wait to hear what he has to offer during the coming years.
8. Egotrippi – Vuosi nolla
Egotrippi returned and released a great new album Vuosi Nolla. Unlike most of the bands that I feature on this page, they are actually successful and also people who aren’t related to them know them. I hope including them doesn’t hurt my indie snob (or should say country snob) reputation that I’ve so carefully build during the past 14 years. Just joking around. I always try to remember to credit when credit is due. And there were a couple of grammy-nominated albums on the international edition as well, so it isn’t a must to be an unknown east Nashville singer-songwriter to won my heart over (even though it probably helps). Anyway, Vuosi Nolla is a wonderful pop album and listening to it is a pure delight.
7. Onoila – Onoila
This might be a bit of a surprise choice. Even for myself. If I had made this list a month ago, this wouldn’t be on it. I first stumbled into the name Onoila during the H2Ö festival. I Didn’t see the concert, because I was only able to attend on Saturday due to work related issues. However, the name got stuck in my head and later in late November or early December I started listening to their album. Instantly loved some of the songs and I keep on returning to this. There’s definitely a little bit of room left for improvement on every department and therefore I probably should leave the biggest praises for future releases. But what the hell. It’s a gorgeous blend of folk, indie and the good kind of Finnish schlager and I’m really enjoying it.
6. Vasas Flora Och Fauna – Släkt Med Lotta Svärd
Mattias Björkas is the frontman of one of my all-time favourite Finnish bands Cats On Fire. His new group Vasas Flora Och Fauna has gotten a good reception in Sweden where he currently lives. Rightfully so because the man is still more than able to write melodies and words that get stuck in your heart and will live there for as long as you will. A mighty good album and Mattias is always able to reach corners of my body that you can’t find from a human anatomy encyclopedia.
5. Vähäsarja – Vähäsarja
This solo debut by Mr Vähäsarja sure isn’t a happy happy joy joy kind of release, but I’ve still been enjoying it a lot during the year. Peili, Palava silta and 13 Kerrosta are perfect songs and there’s nothing really wrong with the rest of it either. It came out early in the year, but it’s still something that I return to regularly. That’s quite rare, because I’m a music addict and always in the hunt for new things to love.
4. The Rollstons – Swiss Time
One of my all-time favourite Finnish bands The Rollstons got out of offside and released a new blend of their blissfully twisted indie rock and called it Swiss Time. Being walrus is overrated, I am asparagus. Such a great album. Not the most predictable one or the easiest to enjoy, but always refreshing and interesting.
3. Topi Saha – Nykyaika
Topi Saha finds his way back to the podium, because during 2015 he delivered again and released another beauty of an album called Nykyaika. A master of Finnish folk music tradition that captures part of the past and brings it to modern times. The final song of the album Helsingin taivas is one of the songs I loved the most during the year all countries considered. The only fault that I can think of is that sometimes this sounds too good to me. And well, that’s not really a fault. That’s just me being an ass.
2. Salaliitto – Salaliitto
I think I promised an imaginary culture award to the label who will release this album by Salaliitto. Thankfully Plastic Passion claimed that award in December and this beautiful album is finally out and available. I’ve only had this for a few weeks, but it has lived up to expectations. Perhaps given time it might have challenged Viljami, but second place isn’t that bad either. And yeah, it’s still rather fucked up to rank these in order anyway. Music isn’t a competition. This band led by Ossi Alisaari has created a fantastic album that will be on my playlist for years to come. It’s also rather remarkable that music that is even loosely described as progressive is on my list. That’s usually a curse word around here.
1. Viljami Kukkonen – Jos rakkaus tapahtuu
And the Finnish Album of the Year award 2015 goes to Jos rakkaus tapahtuu by Viljami Kukkonen. In the end it was quite clear that it has to be this one. This is the album that I love the most. This is the music that I hold dear. These songs contain that vulnerable warmth and kindhearted romantic feel that I like to have my world built on. No, it’s not as great as Mörönsyötti, but I’m not gonna hold that against him, because neither has been any other Finnish album during the current decade. It’s kind of a crime that there hasn’t been that much talk about the beauty of this album. This contains everything that the real world seem to lack these days.
The overall warmth and that gentle, compassionate atmosphere is what I always love about Viljami’s music. Sure it contains its own share of sadness and fragility, but his choice of words and carefully floating melodies turn that fragility into a strength. This is the music that makes all those “how to be a better person” and other self-help guides useless. I may never be able to spread heartfelt warmness and compassionate care around me the same way these songs do, but I try to remember to live my life the way these songs have taught me.