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.
December 20, 2015 § 2 Comments
And here’s finally the final chapter in this album of the year list. Thanks for waiting, if somebody did wait. The Finnish albums of the year and EPs of the year lists still to come, but I think those won’t happen before Christmas. I have a couple of tough work days left before that and then it’s time to rest for a few days. So the rest of the lists will happen just before or just after the new year’s eve.
10. Small Houses – Still Talk; Second City
Time for the top 10 and a long time favourite Small Houses aka Jeremy Quentin will make the opening kick-off. He released a marvellous new album Still Talk; Second City early in the year and that lovely album easily managed to hold its charm and magic throughout the year. Jeremy also visited Finland a couple of times and those were some of the highlights of the year for me.
9. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
Jason Isbell had a pretty impossible task to follow up to his masterful album Southeastern, but he did alright. Actually he did far more than just alright and released another magnificent album. Some like it even more than Southeastern. I personally do prefer Southeastern any day of the week, but this is not a damn competition. It’s great to have them both to love and cherish. Here is the lyric video for the wonderful title track Something More Than Free. It’s actually directed by the next guy on this list, Joey Kneiser.
8. Joey Kneiser – The Wildness
I had the top 10 for the year all figured out and I was happy about it. Then Joey Kneiser messed that all up by releasing this beauty of an album late in the year. I had to make room for it and drop one album that I seriously loved outside the top 10. The Wildness is a great album filled with soulful southern rock’n’roll. Equally magnificent as anything Glossary has put out and that’s a really lot said.
7. Hayden – Hey Love
Moving on to the seven records that are by far the dearest of the year for me. I love all the 30 records on this list, but I can probably find some minor flaw from the ones that came before this one, if I’m really forced to. But these next seven, I love them unconditionally. I can flip them in any order and I think I would still be equally happy with the list. This is how it went tonight.
Hayden has reached a new level of brilliance with last two albums Us Alone and Hey Love. I’m not sure is that a popular opinion, because he has been releasing great albums for quite a long time. Somehow these new ones just really appeal to me. Hey Love took some time though. At first I thought it wasn’t as magnificent as Us Alone, but it grew with me during the year. At some point I just noticed that it’s an album that I keep on listening to all the time. I just couldn’t go past it when I tried to select workday soundtrack from the iPod (I know that doesn’t sound nearly as romantic as spinning vinyl at home, but that’s when I have the most time to listen to records. While packing potatoes at the factory). Hey Love is a wonderful record as a whole, but I’m especially fond of No Happy Birthday, Heart Just Beats and Orange Curtain Light. I couldn’t find legal streams of the songs I love the most, but I highly recommend this amazing Live at Massey Hall that contains some old classics and some from the new album. If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, jump to 11.30 and listen to No Happy Birthday that Hayden wrote for her daughter. Nobody can watch that without being moved.
6. Hezekiah Jones – In Loving Memory of Oosi Lockjaw
Next we have Philadelphia’s pride, Hezekiah Jones, and their new album In Loving Memory of Oosi Lockjaw. The earlier albums/releases have contained a lot of magical moments and songs that I hold very dear, but they’ve not been perfect albums as a whole. This new album on the other hand. This is magnificent from first chord to last. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. A great collection of beautifully arranged folk songs. Here is one of the many highlights of the album, Oosi Strikes Out In Hollywood.
5. Steven Lambke – Days Of Heaven
I was instantly stunned by the poetic beauty of Days Of Heaven. This album by Steven Lambke was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. I’ve liked the Baby Eagle releases, but I can’t say that I’ve been very passionate about them (I think I have to revisit them now). This first one under his own name on the other hand. Oh my, I fell for this after I first heard the title song and my love shows no signs of weakening after the first crush. My biggest favourite Memory Forever was on the songs of the year list, so I’ll lure you into the arms of this beauty of an album with the amazing title song.
4. Simon Joyner – Grass, Branch & Bone
I’ve been a bit surprised that I haven’t seen Simon Joyner’s Grass, Branch & Bone on that many end of the year lists. I think it contains some of the most amazing songwriting of the year (or any year for that matter). Kind of recalling all kind of masters like Cohen, Reed and Van Zandt. In general, you shouldn’t compare anyone to those guys, but you can add the name Joyner to that group and it wouldn’t look out of place. Nostalgia Blues was on the song of the year list, so let’s go with Jefferson Reed this time around.
3. John Moreland – High On Tulsa Heat
In the Throes took the 3rd place a couple of years ago and now the big man is back on the podium with his latest album High On Tulsa Heat. John Moreland is one of my biggest favorites these days and I can’t wait to see him play in Stockholm, Sweden in a few weeks time. The new one isn’t necessarily any better than In The Throes, but that album was worth all the hearts in the world. So I’m more than happy to settle for an album that is equally wonderful.
2. Andrew Bryant – This is The Life
Andrew Bryant’s This is The Life was the real grower of the year for me and about a month ago I noticed that it has slowly become an album that means the world to me and demands a place in the top 3. Actually it got really close to become the album of the year. He may be better known as a member of Water Liars, but this is even better than those amazing albums they’ve put out (no, it’s not a damn competition and it’s great to have both). Emotionally this left the biggest mark on my heart and took care of my soul when I need someone to lift my spirit above the ground. It’s the sweetest work of art. It’s my own saving grace.
1. Barna Howard – Quite a Feelin’
And the album of the year award goes to Quite a Feelin’ by Barna Howard. Barna Howard was already close back in 2012 when his self-titled debut was my #2, so it’s safe to say that I’m a huge fan of his songwriting. He can make an every day moment sound so warm and beautiful. Which they often are, but sometimes many of us fail to see that when are walking around our nose stuck in a phone screen. There’s nothing flashy or monumental here. It’s just an album full of small town nostalgia, warm humanity and well-crafted timeless storytelling in the vein of 70s folk/country singer-songwriters. And that’s everything it needs to be. Something real and true. A gentle companion and a warm antidote against the stress I’m so good at creating out of nothing. The finest album of the year.
Here’s a great Live on KEXP performance that contains four songs from this lovely album.
December 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
20. Hip Hatchet – Hold You Like A Harness
Hip Hatchet aka Philippe Bronchtein kicks of the top 20 with his beautiful album Hold You Like A Harness. There’s a couple of songs that I don’t like that much, but mostly I find it absolutely brilliant. Tacoma Bound and Words of Wisdom in the middle of the album is my favourite moment of the album. I might not be the travelling kind myself, but those songs travel into my heart.
19. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
Occasionally also the major labels get things right. Signing Leon Bridges and releasing his awesome album Coming Home is one of those occasions. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure is Coming Home the masterpiece many think it is. It certainly has some songs where I definitely love the idea and the execution of the song more than the song itself. However, I’m 100% sure that Leon Bridges is wonderful. I’m very much into his southern heavily gospel-influenced soul that he masters so perfectly. It’s also damn sweet to see that you can be successful by doing that. And yeah there are amazing songs on Coming Home. Here Leon is performing River for the La Blogothèque.
18. Christopher Paul Stelling – Labor Against Waste
I had a lot of difficulties to decide where to put this one. Labor Against Waste by Christopher Paul Stelling is an album that is very dear to me. I love half of it so much, but there’s also a couple of songs that I don’t really like that much (especially Horse is not my cup of tea). That’s why I kept on changing it’s position from the the top 10 to the last positions and finally settled somewhere in the middle. A great album despite some minor flaws. And those aren’t really flaws. Just my personal preference.
17. Nap Eyes – Whine Of The Mystic
I didn’t get the greatness of Nap Eyes instantly. It definitely took me some time, but now I can’t understand why I was so blind. Listening to the whole album Whine Of The Mystic opened my ears and now I consider myself as a big fan of the band who is looking forward to the new album that will drop in early 2016. Nap Eyes sort of reminds me of some of my big favourites like The Modern Lovers, The Go-Betweens and The Rollstons, but still they seem very original and unique.
16. Little Wings – Explains
This might not be the catchiest kind of music I can think of, but still I instantly fell in love with the new Little Wings album Explains. Fat Chance, Hill Hidden Nog and Old Apocalypse Style is one hell of a song trio during the early stages of the album. I really need to make a new year’s promise to properly go through Kyle Field’s song vault. So far I’ve only touched the surface outside this album.
15. Jake Xerxes Fussell – Jake Xerxes Fussell
Another treasure from the vaults of Paradise Of Bachelors. This self-titled debut full-length by Jake Xerxes Fussell is a marvellous southern folk/blues record. Old traditional songs wonderfully arranged and brought to the porches of our time.
14. James McMurtry – Complicated Game
Here’s one that might be even higher on an imaginary objective list. James McMurtry is a masterful songwriter and his new album Complicated Game is remarkable and full of astonishing storytelling. I’m actually wondering how is it possible that the idiot who writes this blog forgot to include Carlisle’s Haul on his song of the year list. That is one hell of a song.
13. Andy Shauf – The Bearer Of Bad News
I’m aware that The Bearer of Bad News by Andy Shauf first came out some years ago. I do remember listening to it on Bandcamp quite a long time ago. So it might be a little questionable pick, but it did came out officially on a label in early 2015 and I did buy it in the summer, so I guess it’s perfectly ok to include it. Anyway, I think it’s a wonderful record. Andy is a very gifted songwriter and has an amazing voice as well. I also love the arrangements on most of these songs. Perhaps the album isn’t entirely flawless, but there’s a lot to love. The epic tale of Wendell Walker sneaked on the songs of the year list, but it’s not the only magnificent song on the album. Maybe a couple of just ok ones during the latter stages of the album, but mostly brilliant.
12. Michael Feuerstack – The Forgettable Truth
I probably should make a separate list for Canadian musicians, so other nationalities would have a chance. On the 12th spot we have another Canadian songwriting guru Michael Feuerstack. His latest album The Forgettable Truth has been a loyal companion throughout the year and still sounds fresh and still manages to reveal new layers. He has been one of the artists that I’ve listened to the most during the last couple of years, because I’ve been finding my way through his glorious back catalogue. While I fully recommend all that past stuff, this new album might well be the best album he has written.
11. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’
Well this hurts a little. Leaving the great Daniel Romano just outside the top 10. I kept on changing the positions from 9-11 on this list so many times. So on another day Daniel Romano could easily be on the 9th spot. I don’t know why I bother ranking these albums in order. Maybe alphabetical list next year, if onechord.net is still alive next year (part of me still wants to quit when the blog reaches 15 years next September). Anyway, If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ is the new album by Canadian Daniel Romano who really is the master of the old-fashioned country ballad. I guess my only problem with this beautiful record is that the man has set the bar so ridiculously high with his past releases that I guess I kind of expected the sun, the moon and the stars and when I only got two of them I felt that perhaps the album could have been even better. But enough of this pointless rambling. It’s Daniel Romano, I love him and here’s an astoundingly beautiful song from his wonderful new album to close this chapter of this album of the year list.
December 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Moving on to the albums of the year. It’s been a damn good music year once again. I first made a top 75 for myself and I can honestly say that I really enjoyed each and everyone of those album. Therefore it was a real struggle to cut it down to top 30, but I’m finally done. Again this list is entirely personal. The records that I loved the most. The records that meant the most to me. The records that I listened to the most. It’s not objective at all. And of course there’s tons of beautiful albums that I haven’t heard or I’m not even aware of. If you are wondering where is Kalispell’s Printer’s Son, I didn’t include it on this because it will get an official release in 2016. Otherwise it definitely would have been on this list. I also dediced not to included my latest purchases. The new albums by Craig Finn and Willy Tea Taylor that both seem to be rather awesome, but I just haven’t listened to them enough at this point. I’ll do this in three parts during this week.
Top 30 Albums of the Year – The International Edition.
30. Lilly Hiatt – Royal Blue
Kicking off the list with Lilly Hiatt’s excellent album Royal Blue. I often listen to this at work, because it keeps me going if I need some energy boost. I really love the first half of the album. Easily accessible and energetic, but still holding a lot of value and depth inside. I would listen to the radio a lot more, if songs like this were in there.
29. Marine Dreams – Producer’s Wonderland
Corner Of The Eye remains my favourite Marine Dreams album, but Ian Kehoe keeps the quality high all the time. Producer’s Wonderland is another great album from this unheralded pop genius. Definitely a bit of a challenge soundwise for such a narrow-minded prick like yours truly, but I still can’t resist him.
28. The Deslondes – The Deslondes
The Deslondes from New Orleans slowly won my heart over with their mix of country and southern Rhythm & Blues. I still don’t like the lead single The Real Deal that much, but most of this is absolutely magnificent. Heavenly Home, Low Down Soul, Louise and Still Someone were all candidates for the song of the year list as well.
27. Moonsocket – Eurydice
I have no words. This is something that everyone should hear. Listening to it will be devastating, but when the last chord of the last song Shaped By Your Love fades away, you will notice that the sheer warm humanity of it is what will remain in your heart.
26. Kent Goolsby & The Gold Standard – No Substitute For Handsome
Kent Goolsby is another long time favourite and he delivered a couple of great releases this year. Minor Wear EP came out recently and earlier in the summer he charmed us with this album called No Substitute For Handsome that was full of great old-fashioned songs.
25. The Weather Station – Loyalty
The Weather Station released an absolute beauty of an album called Loyalty. Maybe not something I listen to on daily basis, because I get lost in these songs and can’t concentrate on anything else while listening. That’s not a bad thing. Not at all. Another highlight of the year was her Pickathon performance. I wasn’t there, but there was a live stream of that concert and I loved every second of it.
24. Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands
My love for the new Dawes album has maybe faded a little bit since the early crush, but I still rate it very highly and it was great to see Dawes back in great form after the not-that-great Stories Don’t End. Somewhere Along The Way, All Your Favorite Bands and To Be Completely Honest are very special. And so is Taylor Goldsmith.
23. Great Peacock – Making Ghosts
Harmony-filled southern folk music with sweet pop melodies. Count me in. Great Peacock is almost like a melting pot of all things I like about music. I’m first of all a fan of harmony-heavy pop music and during the past ten years I have drifted more and more towards folk and country music. So this is like in the crossroad of all that. This sort of defines my heart.
22. Joan Shelley – Over And Even
I’ve seen people with great taste recommending Joan Shelley during the past couple of years. This fall, I finally listened to them and introduced my heart to her songs. It was a perfect match and her new album Over and Even became a loyal companion that brought all the colors into the dark fall nights.
21. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Don’t Believe The Hyperreal
Fuck The Government, I Love You by Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom is by far the best song of the year. The rest of the album is not that good, but well.. probably nothing during this current decade has been that good. So we are not gonna hold that against them. Don’t Believe The Hyperreal is also a magnificent little album and there are many songs that I adore. This is the opener What You Want.
List continues later this week. Might go until Saturday, but hopefully little sooner.
December 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
This is the next chapter of the dreaded end of the year lists. The Finnish songs I loved the most during the year. I try to get the albums of the year lists done before the Christmas as well, but it’s possible that you will have to wait a little longer (as if someone is actually waiting). The day job keeps me rather busy during the holiday season.
Top 10 Finnish Songs of the Year 2015
10. Maanvaiva – Kalpeanaama
I have to bend my own rules a bit to include this one. No cover versions policy flies out of the window when Tom Stenman starts singing. Maanvaiva makes a great rendition of Noitalinna Huraa’s Kalpeanaama.
9. Satan’s Fingers – Kangaroo
Satan’s Fingers are onto me and definitely know which strings to pull to get my attention. They pick the name from a song by The Mountain Goats and they sing about Big Star. I definitely recommend seeing them live, because their album doesn’t completely capture their greatness, but it’s still pretty damn good. This might be a slightly weird choice, because there’s far more catchy stuff on the record, but I want to go with this homage to Kangaroo.
8. Vasas flora och fauna – Nog var han en vän
My Swedish skills are rather limited, but my love for the melodic sense of Mattias Björkas has no limits whatsoever. Therefore Vasas flora och fauna reaches my heart, even though I don’t completely understand what he is singing about. Gudförälder would have been equally good pick, but still it had to be a song where Mattias sings the lead.
7. Hiljaiset kallot – Miespaikalla Ruotsiin
Hiljaiset kallot debuted with a 7″ single Miespaikalla Ruotsiin on Fonal Records. This one is a must for TV-Resistori fans, because it has the same guys (no Päivi though) and King Yrjö is still a master of creating unique pop songs.
6. The Rollstons – I am Asparagus
One of my biggest favourites The Rollstons were back in this ball game and they were once again in top form. The lyrics on this one might not be for everyone, but I’ve loved this song from the beginning.
5. Vähäsarja – Palava silta
Vähäsarja’s self-titled debut full-length contains three songs that I absolute love (nothing wrong with the rest of the album either, which you will find out when I list the albums). These are Peili, Palava silta and 13 kerrosta. Palava silta is the choice tonight, but the other two are equally wonderful.
4. Viljami Kukkonen – Keinuta mua
Säkki already made my list last year, so I’ll go with my another big favourite Keinuta mua. Also the first two songs would be just as good picks, but somehow this has appealed to me from the start. I’m still a huge fan of Viljami Kukkonen and love the warmness of his songs. The new one wasn’t as good as Mörönsyötti, but I’m not gonna hold that against him. After all that was/is the finest Finnish album of the decade so far. Actually the new might end up getting the album of the year award this year as well. There’s not a clear favourite and I have a few options.
3. Salaliitto – Kaikilla on aikaa
I just bought the Salaliitto album from the in-store concert at 8raita, so I can’t be sure is this the best song on the album. But if there are songs better than this one, it’s one incredible record. Kaikilla on aikaa appeared as the b-side of their digital single and that’s why it’s been on heavy rotation for several months. The album will now get the same heavy rotation treatment, so I can figure out where it will be on my albums of the year list. I’m quite sure it will demand a very high spot on that list.
2. Topi Saha – Helsingin Taivas
Topi Saha was leading my imaginary rankings throughout the year, but had to give up one spot during the last few months. It doesn’t change the fact that Helsingin Taivas is one amazing song and a perfect ending to his latest album Nykyaika. The song might not be universally considered instantly catchy, but I fell in love with it the first time I heard it and our relationship has remained equally strong throughout the year.
1. Ochre Room – The Fowler
And the Finnish Song of the Year Award goes to The Fowler by Ochre Room. It was a pretty close call with Topi Saha, but in the end my love for Ochre Room was just too strong. It’s kind of like a swan song for the current incarnation of the band, because things are changing. It’s definitely somewhat sad, but thankfully Lauri will continue writing and performing and I’m 100% sure that we will hear more great music from him and Ochre Room in the not-too-distant future. This is The Fowler by Ochre Room.
December 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
Time for the dreaded end of the year lists. I’m gonna kick off with my favourite songs of the year. First the international edition and the Finnish one a few days later. Remember that the lists aren’t in any way objective. These are just the songs I fell in love with during the year. If I fell in love with a simple little tune that lasted two minutes, for me it’s one of the songs of the year. The first 3-5 were very obvious and the songs that meant the most to me. After that the order could be very different on another day. They are all very dear to me. They are the glue that holds me together. These songs are my friends from now on and ranking one’s friends is pretty fucked up business, if I may say so. It was a really good music year. I made this a top 20 instead of 10, because there was so much great ones. I should have stuck with 10 I guess, because I still couldn’t fit in even half of the ones I wanted to. I need to make that album list a top 50, if I want to avoid heartbreak. Nobody wants to read that, so perhaps I’ll do my best and cut it down a bit. Anyway, time to begin.
Top 20 Songs of the Year 2015 (International Edition)
20. Daniel Martin Moore – Sign Of Life
Kicking of the list with my latest favourite Sign of Life by Daniel Martin Moore. Simple words, but when they are wrapped into that beautiful melody they go directly into my heart. Such a beautiful song.
19. Joey Kneiser – To My Younger Self
More fairly new stuff. My favourite song from the new Joey Kneiser album The Wildness might still be changing on a daily basis (this is why one shouldn’t make these list before February), but right now it’s this one where Joey tells life lessons to his younger self.
18. Joan Shelley – Jenny Come In
Joan Shelley’s album Over and Even is full of beautiful folk songs. This is my biggest favourite Jenny Come In. Mr. Will Oldham in harmony vocals. This is a live version of the song.
17. Michael Feuerstack – I Wanted More
The latest Michael Feuerstack album has been a big favourite throughout the year and is filled with wonderful songs. This one called I Wanted More is instantly catchy and rather simple, but still moves me deeply.
16. Jason Isbell – Speed Trap Town
Something More Than Free is no Southeastern, but let’s not get stuck into that. If you win the MLB one year and next year you end up on the losing side of the world series, the latter result is still pretty damn good. Something More Than Free contains some amazing songs like Children Of Children and Speed Trap Town for example.
15. Daniel Romano – Old Fires Die
Daniel Romano delivered another great album with bunch of gorgeous songs like Old Fires Die and The One That Got Away (came back today). I’ll go with Old Fires Die, because it’s a song that I fell in love with during Daniel’s Finland tour that was a big highlight of the year for me. Actually it’s was a damn great year for Finnish country/folk fan, because we got to see Daniel Romano, Austin Lucas, Ryan Boldt, Shuyler Jansen, Michael Feuerstack and Small Houses live in Finland.
14. The Decemberists – Cavalry Captain
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World by The Decemberists is maybe a little too long and cutting a song or two would make it better. Not a big deal, because it’s a really good record as it is and also has a couple of songs that are among the very best of the year. These songs are Cavalry Captain and Make You Better. I love them both wholeheartedly. I flipped a coin and chose Cavalry Captain to this list.
13. Small Houses – Seventeen In Roselore
A long time favourite Small Houses dropped a new album early in the year and also visited Finland twice during the year. Still Talk; Second City is a magnificent album and contains plenty of songs that could make this little list. In the end it was a choice between the catchier single Staggers and Rise and this beautiful song called Seventeen In Roselore that also features the great Samantha Crain.
12. Andy Shauf – Wendell Walker
Sad song beautifully told. I fell in love with this one a couple of years ago, but Andy Shauf’s Bearer of Bad News album got a re-release this year and therefore it’s probably still ok to list it. And well it’s my blog so I can make the rules. This is a live version of Wendell Walker by Andy Shauf.
11. Darren Hanlon – Letter From an Australian Mining Town
Where Did You Come From? probably isn’t my favourite album by Australian pop troubadour Darren Hanlon as a whole (still great of course), but this song. Everything about this song. Classic Darren Hanlon storytelling.
10. Kacy & Clayton – If You Ask How I’m Keeping
New Kacy & Clayton album is only out in Canada at the moment, so we shall continue praising Kacy & Clayton when the album hits US/Europe during 2016. I’ll make a bit of a head start, because I’ve been watching the youtube video of this song If You Ask Me How I’m Keeping so many times that I can’t even count that far.
9. Two Cow Garage – Let The Boys Be Girls
Old favourite band Two Cow Garage was in top form and kickstarted the year in perfect fashion, with this glorious anthem Let The Boys Be Girls. I was slightly disappointed with the previous full-length, but this is just fantastic.
8. Barna Howard – Then and There
We are not good at holding secrets here at onechord.net headquarters, so I can already say that Quite a Feelin’ by Barna Howard will win the album of the year award later in December. It’s pretty hard to pick a favourite song for this list, because they are all so dear and that’s why nothing really stands above the rest. In the end, I thought I go with There and Then on this list. It might be a bit weird favourite, but there are lines there that I really love.
7. John Moreland – You Don’t Care For Me Enough To Cry
John Moreland is a huge favourite of mine and his new album High On Tulsa Heat was full of amazing songs. The album will rank in my top 3, when it’s time to make that album list. I love the whole thing and could pick any song from it to this list, but I go with this sad song called You Don’t Care For Me Enough To Cry. I’m very excited to see John Moreland perform in Stockholm, Sweden in early January 2016.
6. Hezekiah Jones – Borrowed Heart
It might be questionable to select this as one of the songs of the year 2015, if I have been in love with it since 2011. But it’s now out and available on the brand new and brilliant Hezekiah Jones album. Raph and co created a stunning album that you will find from my top 10 albums later and you could pretty much drop any song from it on this list and it wouldn’t feel out of place.
5. Andrew Bryant – My Own Saving Grace
Andrew Bryant might be better known as a member of Water Liars, but he also releases stunning solo albums. His album This is The Life has been a real grower for me during the year. I didn’t even have it on my top 10 on my mid-year list and now it looks like it will end up on my top 3 on the album list. There’s several songs that I really adore (well basicly everything), but my biggest favourite has been My Own Saving Grace. I think it works even better in the context of the album, because for me My Own Saving Grace and Do Your Work wrap the album together beautifully. Still it works wonderfully on it’s own as well. That last minute of the song is a bliss. A hopeful bliss.
4. Steven Lambke – Memory Forever
This might be a bit weird choice. Just two and half minutes and on that exact moment when I fell in love with the song, it starts to drift away. At first I found that a little annoying, but now I think it’s just perfect as it is. The moment is when Tamara joins Steven and they sing the words “strong enough to love / strong enough to be loved / to listen close to love / and hear love” together.
3. Simon Joyner – Nostalgia Blues
Simon Joyner’s Grass, Branch & Bone contains some of the greatest songwriting of the year and several songs worthy of a song of the year title. Two sneaked ahead of him mostly because I just haven’t listened to Simon 7-minute long songs as many times. These days I probably love a few other songs of this amazing album just as much as Nostalgia Blues, but I still have to select this, because It’s the one that I first fell in love with. One of the best songs of the year from one of the best albums of the year.
2. Christopher Paul Stelling – Dear Beast
C.P. Stelling might have to settle for a spot just outside the top 10 on the album list, because I don’t love those energetic songs as much as these beautiful ones. Those are really good as well, but Scarecrow, Burial Shroud, Too Far North and Dear Beast. These are the key songs of the album for me and there’s no limit to my love for these songs. Especially this song Dear Beast is out of this world.
1. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Fuck the Government, I Love You
And the Song Of The Year Award goes to Fuck the Government, I Love You by Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom. There was never any doubt after I heard this for the first time. This is by far the song I loved the most during the year. It’s a lovely story of a couple meeting at a new year’s party and it has the finest singalong chorus I can think of. I just love every second of that song. Perhaps I prefer The Burning Hell version, but if my addiction doesn’t fade away I can make a cunning plan and select that as the best song of 2016.
And here’s the Burning Hell version aka Song of the Year 2016.