February 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
I haven’t selected an album of the month for almost a year, but this album Mowing by Michael Nau inspired me to bring this feature back to the blog. I fell in love with this one like 17 seconds after I started listening. Here’s what happened. I was browsing my Bandcamp feed and saw that Mr. Hi54lofi had bought this. I did remember the album announcement from a couple of months ago and knew that I need to check it out once it arrives. However, I had forgotten about it until saw it sitting there on my feed and I instantly hit play and almost instantly I fell in love and started writing overenthusiastic tweets about it. Fast forward a few days and our relationship is still just as strong as when our hearts collided. A remarkable album.
Michael Nau has a great band called Cotton Jones with his wife Whitney, but unfortunately that lovely band has been on a hiatus lately. Solo-Michael now comes to the rescue by delivering an album full of sweet and timeless folk-tinged pop sounds. According to the press release it’s more like just bits and pieces recorded in different sessions and that he just wanted to get these out of his system and didn’t really plan on creating an album. Nevertheless, the end result is the best thing I’ve heard in 2016 so far. The down-to-earth, low key beauty of it is completely irresistible. It’s remarkable that something that is in a way so small, can have such a huge impact. I love everything about this album. Sometimes it falls close to Bahamas-like sweet and charming pop songs and other times it might be in the same ball park as Little Wings and his careful sonic experiments. One thing is certain. It’s absolutely magnificent all the time.
Mowing by Michael Nau is now out on Suicide Squeeze Records. This is Smooth Aisles from the album.
March 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
My problem with this blog thing often is that I keep on neglecting the albums that matter the most. The new Small Houses album Still Talk; Second City is a great example of this cruel behaviour. This beauty has been out for a month, but I still haven’t found the ability to write anything that could even remotely describe the brilliance of it. I still have to get this done now or this will keep on haunting me forever.
The new album of the month is Still Talk; Second City by Small Houses. I’m a long time fan of singer-songwriter Jeremy Quentin aka Small Houses. His previous albums North and Exactly Where You Wanted To Be have both been on my year-end top 10 and it’s fairly easy to predict that the new one Still Talk; Second City will demand a place on my best of 2015 list.
After a brief stay in Philadelphia, Jeremy moved to Atlanta in order to work with producer Damon Moon. This was a good move, because together with Damon, Jeremy has created his most convincing album to date. The album flows through beautifully and contains a lot of magical moments. The highlight for me is 17 in Roselore that features Samantha Crain on backing vocals. I’ve seen several live versions of the song even before hearing this album, but that song still takes my breath away every time. Staggers and Rise on the other hand is one of the most instant Small Houses songs ever and should be a hit. And that’s just a couple of examples. The whole album is absolutely gorgeous and a treasure that keeps on revealing more with every listening session.
Still Talk; Second City by Small Houses is now out on Cottage Recording Co. This is Seventeen in Roselore from the album.
And this is the music video for the first single Staggers And Rise.
Oh and one more thing. Small Houses will be touring in Finland with Ochre Room in April! More about this when the tour schedule is set!
February 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
I don’t know Viljami Kukkonen personally. We’ve briefly met once after a concert and that’s all. Still I feel some kind of spiritual companionship with him. It doesn’t really make sense I guess, but that’s how it is. That’s kind of how it has been ever since I first heard his debut album Mörönsyötti. There’s no way of denying that for me it’s one of the best albums ever released. Yeah, you can throw your Pet Sounds or Revolvers against my face, but no, not even close. These are subjective matters. Those things are truly wonderful and monumental, but there’s nothing there that could match the connection I have with Mörönsyötti. The kindness and overall warmness of that magical record is something that always comforts me and eases my troubled mind. The last months have been tough. I’ve battled with headaches and numbness on my limbs. A normal person probably wouldn’t freak out at all, because I’ve been told several times that there’s nothing wrong except a tension neck. But try telling that to my neurotic mind when the symptoms kick in and I should be able to sleep. That’s the moment when my mind is good at not believing what the neurologist say, but despite that vulnerable state of being, there’s something in the world that makes sense. I have a friend called Mörönsyötti that I can listen to and I believe him when he whispers that I will be alright. I suppose it’s kind of weird, because there’s definitely a bit of fragility in there as well, but it’s presented in such a kind fashion that the human weaknesses turn into strengths.
But enough about Mörönsyötti. Viljami Kukkonen has a new album called Jos Rakkaus tapahtuu and it’s another wonderful release. After that preview above, I assume you won’t take it negatively, if I say that this isn’t as important to me. Only a couple of albums have ever been that important, so it’s certainly no wonder that this one isn’t either. Nevertheless, I think this one is also absolutely brilliant and there’s still that highly personal connection as well. This next sentence doesn’t make much sense, but this kind of defines the person that I would like to be. Not that I could ever achieve such warmness. It just sounds so everlastingly beautiful to my ears. I can’t really describe it, but I can feel every note. I know that this is not a very informative post and I apologize for turning Viljami’s music into something way too subjective. That might be rather annoying and doesn’t even showcase the content of the album. So forget everything I said and just listen to this. Keinuta mua is probably my own favourite song on this one (love the backing vocals), but this is the wonderful opening track Joko lähdetään, one of the many highlights of this lovely album.
November 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus is pretty much the best band in the world right now. I joined the party rather late maybe a couple of years ago and when the previous album Eternity of Dimming came out in early 2013, they completely won my heart over. I kept on listening to that wonderful thing throughout the year and it was clearly my favourite album of that year. Despite all that new music that keeps on coming through the doors and windows that album is something that I still return to on almost weekly basis and still play a couple of songs from it each time I’m on DJ duty at Flavour of the Month club.
Their fourth album Sitcom Afterlife came out yesterday and after listening to it about 8 or 9 hours today, I can already confirm that it’s another wonderful album. This time they’ve gone into more melodic direction and even namedropped most of my all-time favourites like Big Star, Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet as influences. It looks like they are onto me or something. It’s still pretty far from your typical pop record though. It’s not as lyrically heavy as Eternity of Dimming, but it still has more words than I can count. So we are certainly not going into that “She loves you yeah yeah” -territory. This new more melodic side fits nicely into their unique sound galore and the end result is once again magnificent. You are going to need this album. It’s now out on Quite Scientific.. and it’s also out and available in Finland, so I’m going to pick my copy from the local 8raita record store when it arrives. Here are a couple of songs that tell you much more than my pointless ramblings. Bathroom Stall Hypnosis and Crabapples in the Century’s Storm from the new album.
May 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’ve been mostly exhausted for a month, because the day job has been a bit of a nightmare. Therefore I haven’t even selected a new album of the month until now. But of course I knew it all along that it was going to be this debut album Ei ole helppoo by Gim Kordon. Heck, this thing pretty much kept my body running and mind somewhat sane during those 10-12 hour shifts. This isn’t entirely flawless, but damn it feels good to listen to this. In some way, I come from the same place as this album. This is influenced by the same music that reshaped my heart back in the 90s and early 00s. A bit of US indie, a bit of Australian indie and a whole lot of Finnish obviously. This is my youth squeezed into a box. Despite all this, it doesn’t feel like this is something old and borrowed. I do find Ei ole helppoo unique and original 2014 album. And damn how I love listening to it. The early singles Ei ole helppoo and Sä oot mun unelma, beibe still sound perfect to me. Other big favourites are the candy machine -flavoured Kaikki on hyvin and Sateessa which has my favourite chorus of the year. I can pinpoint that exact moment in my life.
Ei ole helppoo by Gim Kordon is a wonderful album. It was released by Soliti Music on 9th of may, 2014. You’ll find a few samples below. First Sä oot mun unelma, beibe and then the video of the title track Ei ole helppoo.
April 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
You might have noticed that there has been new Album of the Month on that sidebar for a week or so. I changed that photo when this beautiful album came out. Either life has been busy or I’ve been lazy, because it took me this long to write a couple words about it. Not that couple words is even enough. One should write an essay or a novel about the brilliance of this band and their new album. Ochre Room has been a big favourite mine since I saw them play at FOTM for the first time. I have to be grateful that I’m not really writing reviews these days. I would be running out of scale, because the debut was already magnificent and this thing is just getting better all the time.
In case you need a short introduction. Ochre Room is a Finnish americana / folk rock band from Tampere. Their second album Box, Bar & Diamond came out on Lumpeela julkaisut in the beginning of April, 2014. Central Europe and UK release will follow in May. Their beautifully arranged americana is pizza to my ears and I really love the way Lauri and Minttu sing together. These magnificent male-female harmonies are definitely a big part of their charm. Minttu also sings some lead vocals on the new album and does it exceptionally well. Box, Bar & Diamond is a wonderful album and I’m thrilled that it seems to be getting the attention it fully deserves. This is the opener of this gorgeous album, Other Side Of The Town.
February 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
The month is almost over and I haven’t selected the album of the month. Of course I selected it a few weeks ago in my heart, but I’ve just waited and waited for the right time to write about it. It happens to me. I push aside albums that really matter in hope that one day I actually have the energy and time to write something meaningful about them. In the end, that time never comes and I realise the album I really cared for haven’t even gotten a mention on this blog. So if I haven’t mentioned your album, there’s two possibilities a) I don’t like it b) I like it too much.
Gudrid Hansdottir’s new album or mini-album Taking Ship falls into that b category. This faroese singer/songwriter has released a wonderful album that is easily worth that Album of the Month spot. I’m not sure is it her finest album, because the previous album Beyond the Grey was also very impressive. But Taking Ship is a dazzlingly beautiful album that contains seven wonderful songs. All of them have been favourites at some point, but lately the songs I love the most have been I Had In Mind To Stay (that reminds me of Frida Hyvönen) and that awesome You Blossom Like A Flower duet with Ochre Room’s Lauri Myllymäki. It’s all gorgeous though and this amazing little record works best as a complete work of art. This is the title track Taking Ship.