Topi Saha – Lopunajan rakastavaiset

Finnish folk songwriter Topi Saha released his latest album Lopunajan rakastavaiset on the 16th of March (vinyl delayed until 6th of April). I’ve spent the weekend blissfully stuck in the comfort of the final song Valo tulee alhaalta. I’ve only skimmed through the rest of this most likely great album, because here I am rebuilding my heart and thought process with this song on repeat. There are few lines here that capture my daily inner feelings almost frighteningly precisely. Topi Saha sure knows how to write a perfect ending to an album. Helsingin taivas was a glorious end to the previous album Nykyaika and Valo tulee alhaalta does the same for Lopunajan rakastavaiset. I love this song wholeheartedly.

Topi Saha Website

Continue Reading

Penniless – The Great Marquis (single/video)

Major news alert! The Finnish alternative rock legends Penniless are back in this ball game and will release a new album later in 2018 on Soit Se Silti. They are one of my all-time favorite bands and therefore I’m thrilled about this. The excellent first single The Great Marquis from the forthcoming album surfaced a couple of days ago in form of a gorgeous music video.

Penniless at Facebook

Continue Reading

Top 25 Finnish Songs of the Year 2017

One more pointless year-end list before it’s time to move on to 2018. Things are already looking bright on that front, because the Canadian music wizard Daniel Romano just dropped a couple of surprise full-length albums that are utterly wonderful. Anyway, here’s the final list and it’s the Finnish songs of the year. Order is again not that significant. Music is life, not a contest. Just some Finnish songs that mattered to me. A few songs that I love aren’t here, because I already had them on the 2016 list (Korpit, Spark, Work of Art and The Laughing Man at least. Korpit by Salaliitto would have been a contender even for the first place, if it had not been on the list a year before). I kept it short, because it’s the songs that matter, not my silly ramblings. I hope I didn’t forget anything important. There’s a Spotify list too, if you are into that sort of thing.

Top 25 Finnish Songs of the Year

25. Antti Alanko – Weissenborn Improv in G Minor
24. Tomi Nordlund & Syvä Joki – Syvä joki
23. Painikerho – Mä voisin pilata sun koko elämän
22. Iron Country Sisters – Bonfire
21. Hell Cat – Countless Miles
20. Laura Moisio – Keltaiset verhot
19. The New Tigers – Three Shadows
18. Pöllöt – Silmät kiinni
17. Daisy – Little Love
16. Verandan – Gold in the Hills
15. The Lieblings – Isle of Man
14. Janne Laurila ja Tuhlaajapojat – Nuolia avaruuteen
13. Astrid Swan – Skeleton Woman
12. Koria Kitten Riot – Hold on Tight
11. Salaliitto – Ollaan nuorii

10. Hulda Huima ja hitaat sekunnit – Viimeiset hetket

The new Hulda Huima ja hitaat sekunnit album is filled with super catchy songs that make me smile even during the times when the lyrics deal with darker issues. I’m extremely reserved, shy and quiet man, but I would seriously consider making some moderate dance steps if I heard songs like this in a bar.

9. Vähäsarja – Ehkä sä tanssit

The whole contrast-filled experience of the new Vähäsarja album where beauty collides with sadness and comforting can turn to disturbing in a split second and vice versa matters more than just one individual song, but if I have to pick just one, then I’ve always been rather obsessed with Ehkä sä tanssit.

8. Bone Moon – The Writer

Lauri Myllymäki is one of my favourite Finnish songwriters. Ochre Room was such a great band and so is Bone Moon based on a couple of live shows and the debut EP The Writer. All four songs are wonderful, but let’s go with the title track on this list.

7. Vasas Flora och Fauna – Min Förtvivlan

Vasas Flora och Fauna’s Veneziansk Afton was the first that didn’t make the cut on the album of the year list and that decision continues to haunt me. The highlight of that album was this melancholic beauty Min Förtvivlan.

6. John McGregor – Astuit maailmaani

I’m a huge fan of John McGregor. Joki was my album of the year back in 2005 and Maa ei oo pimee was #2 a few years later (and at that time I didn’t have separate lists for Finnish and international). I was thrilled that he finally released a new album Luota, but I did struggle with it a little bit. It’s just because of my narrow music taste. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of the music and there’s a lot to love for me as well. For example the first two songs Ajatukset juoksevat and Astuit maailmani are both among the finest Finnish songs I heard during the year.

5. Hullu Ruusu – Mikael

Not sure is this necessarily the best song on the gorgeous Hullu Ruusu debut full-length, but it’s the one that first galloped into my heart and I haven’t been able to shake it off. Not that I even want to, because this is one of those pleasant ear worms that I don’t even want to get rid off.

4. Mikko Joensuu – Pearly Gates

Amen 3 didn’t make the cut on the albums of the year list. Mostly because I’m a narrow-minded ass who is madly in love with Amen 1, but have some minor troubles with the other two. Of course Amen 3 is a phenomenal record objectively speaking, but style-wise just not that close to my heart. However, I absolutely love this last song Pearly Gates.

3. Mitä helvettiä nyt taas – Joka päivä töitä teen

Every year-end list needs a lot of Timo. Mitä Helvettiä Nyt Taas released three singles that all could easily fill the compulsory EOTY Timo Quota. I will go with Joka päivä töitä teen, because this Matti & Teppo meets Superjussi song brought the most joy to my life.

2. Lokit – Kasevaa

Lokit is such a great band and both Kasevaa from their new 7″ and earlier Blades of Steel are wonderful songs. I’m so eager to hear their debut full-length. Hopefully that will see the light of day in 2018.

1. Litku Klemetti – Juna Kainuuseen

And the song of the year is Juna Kainuuseen by Litku Klemetti. It’s so obvious and the silly indie snob part of me would probably want to pick something more obscure or some other wonderful Litku song, but honesty is the only way to go and this is by far the Finnish song I loved the most during 2017.

Continue Reading

Top 10 Finnish Albums of the Year 2017

This is a good day for the next chapter of the year-end lists. These are my favourite Finnish albums of the year. There might be some surprise omissions. At least to me and it sure hurts to leave out some of my favourite artists, but this is how it went today. Thankfully most of those will get their moment under the spotlight on the songs of the year list. As if spotlight and this little blog have anything in common. Alphabetical order would probably be better because I kept on changin the order several times while I was making this and even in general it’s a bit silly to rank albums in order. Music is life, not a contest. Anyway, here it goes.


10.The Lieblings – Let Them Have It

The Lieblings can do the honors and kickstart the list with a thoroughly enjoyable fuzzy pop blast Let Them Have It. It’s a damn good energy booster, when all the sad bastard stuff that I listen to way too much is bringing me down.

9. Pöllöt – Metsäpalo

When it comes to Pöllöt, I think I’ve always liked the songs Janne Kauppinen has written (or what I assume are his songs), but sometimes I’ve struggled a little bit with the work of the other two songwriters Jaakko Tolvi and Jukka Herva. I think the struggles are behind me now. The album Metsäpalo has been a real grower during the year and I’m beginning to understand the brilliance of the band.

8. Daisy – Ornament & Crime

Daisy returned from their long hiatus and released a brand new album Ornament & Crime. It’s definitely great to have them back, because they still know how to write brilliant pop songs.

7. Hullu Ruusu – Hullu Ruusu

Next some blissfully twisted folk songs from Hullu Ruusu whose debut album came out on Helmi levyt this fall. There were some moments that felt even somewhat annoying during the first listening sessions, but those days are long gone and it’s all love from now on. It’s unique, fun and captivating. I haven’t spent enough time with it yet and it might have claimed a higher place, if I had started listening to it sooner than just some weeks ago.

6. Koria Kitten Riot – Songs of Hope and Science

A long time favourite Koria Kitten Riot released their latest Songs of Hope and Science back in January and I carried it with me throughout the year and I have no intention of letting it go. There’s a giant cloud of guilt hanging over me, because I haven’t really praised this enough. This is high quality pop music and somewhere quite close to the foundation of my music taste.

5. Hulda Huima ja Hitaat Sekunnit – Hulda Huima ja Hitaat Sekunnit

This Hulda Huima ja Hitaat Sekunnit album has been the surprise of the year for me. I think I’ve listened to this more than any other Finnish album and therefore I certainly could make a case for it being even the top pick. It’s just super catchy and despite some darker topics listening to it is a whole lot of fun. I probably should not listen to this in public places, because it’s impossible to hum-along during the choruses.

4. Salaliitto – Melankolia

Hurts a little bit to leave this beauty out from the top 3 and on another day it could be there. The new Salaliitto album wasn’t as instantly catchy as I expected after that incredible monster single Korpit, but after a few spins I loved the rest of it just as much.

3. Astrid Swan – From the Bed and Beyond

Astrid Swan created a remarkable album From the Bed and Beyond. The album was written in the aftermath of her breast cancer diagnose and it’s both fragile and powerful. I’m especially fond of the middle part of the album from Skeleton Woman to Special Ones. Incredible run of songs.

2. Vähäsarja – Uusi iloinen Petri

Vähäsarja continues to rip me apart, but I don’t mind because he does it so tenderly and is kind enough to put back all the pieces he tore out and in the process somehow is able to make me feel less damaged than before. Ok, the “vielä eilen pidit mua” line and the way he delivers it on the song Ajan autoa is just pure annihilation, but that’s still the moment I love the most on this record. A wonderful songwriter and a brilliant album.

1. Litku Klemetti – Juna Kainuuseen

The Finnish album of the Year 2017 is Juna Kainuuseen by Litku Klemetti. So obvious choice, but how could I possibly pick anything else. It’s not a perfect record though. I think there’s a few songs in the middle that aren’t anything that special, but I don’t really mind, because more than half of it is absolutely tremendous. Especially the ending trio Muurahaiset juhlii, Tähtiyö and Juna Kainuuseen is just whoa! and out of this world. It has also been fun to follow the rise of Litku. I’m a daily victim of the format radio and being forced to listen to it at work often makes me lose a) the will to live b) the hope that good music can be successful. Therefore I’m thrilled to see someone magnificent like Litku Klemetti beating the odds and getting a lot of recognition. Sure the level of her success might not actually be nowhere near as high as it looks like from my bubble, but I try not to think about it like that. She is absolutely wonderful and Juna Kainuuseen is the best Finnish album of the year.

Continue Reading

Top 10 EPs of the Year 2017

So it begins and a bunch of pointless, way too long and entirely subjective end-year lists are heading your way during the coming weeks. Sorry about that. The plan is to make The Finnish albums of the year list on Wednesday and international albums next weekend and then take a little breather before the songs of the year lists. No definite promises though. Things might take far longer. Anyway, time to get it all started with Top 10 EPs of the year 2017. I didn’t make separate lists for Finnish and international.


10. Paper Beat Scissors – All We Know

Montreal-based Paper Beat Scissors aka Tim Crabtree always challenge my own taste. When I have his music just playing there on the background, I might not find a whole lot to hold on to and I might feel like that there’s nothing for me here. However, when I put the headphones on and devote myself to the music, I begin to see the light and the haunting melancholic beauty of the songs eventually lure me into a magical and dazzlingly beautiful atmosphere. Didn’t Know and The Weather Station cover are my particular favorites on this new EP.

9. Pinkerton/Black – How’s the Weather Over There

Henry Black could easily have his debut ep Folk is Dead on this little list as well, but I kind of prefer this tour ep he did with Riley Pinkerton. Maybe this is not really even a proper release, but hey my list my rules and I’m very fond of this. Due to reasons that a) Looked Like Eve is my favorite Henry Black song I’ve heard so far b) this one has 3 excellent songs from both artists.

8. Michael Nau – Load

Michael Nau’s Load EP contains songs from same the pool as the ones that formed his Some Twist album, but somehow these didn’t fit into the full-length. It certainly doesn’t sound like the reason was the quality of the songs, because these are just as lovely.

7. MAITA – Waterbearer

MAITA’s debut EP came out in January and kept its charm throughout the year. I like the whole thing and I’m passionately in love with the title song Waterbearer that reminds me of Laura Veirs. I look forward to hearing more songs from this Portland-based indie-folk songwriter.

6. Hip Hatchet – Hellhound in the House

Hip Hatchet released a wonderful Hellhound in the House EP in January. These are all protest songs and we would all be better off, if the world was in a state where there wasn’t a need for these songs to be born. Unfortunately that’s not the case and therefore we must live, love and resist. The other two songs are really good too, but Burden of an Empath is the song that I really love wholeheartedly. One of my absolute favourite 2017 songs. Despite all the overwhelming sadness, I still feel like the beauty, warmness and love is able to overshadow the darkness in that song. That is where the hope lies and that is what we are also seeing taking place. People coming together and standing up against the lack of compassion and empathy. To love is not a weakness. Love is the way.

5. Matt Paxton – Hunter Street Station Blues

Canadian Matt Paxton is a long time favourite and claim a place on these lists nearly every year. His 2017 release is a marvellous EP Hunter Street Station Blues. I’m a big fan of his songwriting and that voice always grap my attention. I think this lead track Baby Don’t Go is actually the worst song on the EP. The worst meaning still pretty amazing in this case of course.

4. Verandan – Verandan EP

Ville Hopponen is stepping under the spotlight with his own songs. He has been or is a member of such great bands like Cats On Fire, Le Futur Pompiste and The New Tigers and therefore the man is partly responsible of some of the finest Finnish indie pop albums ever. Verandan shows that besides being a skilled musician, he is also a really good songwriter.

3. Julie Arsenault – Softness

This is a last minute entry in a sense that I just bought it. I had this Julie Arsenault EP on the shopping list for months and thought that it’s time take appropriate action and support the artist by buying the release. Now I’ve been listening to it for hours and it’s even better than I remembered. Chain and Monsters are sort of phenomenal and the whole EP is a treasure.

2. Bone Moon – The Writer

The other Finnish entry to this list and therefore this would be the Finnish EP of the year, if I had such a category Bone Moon is a new group led by Lauri Myllymäki. Ochre Room called it a day, but no worries because Bone Moon is equally wonderful. Sure I miss Minttu’s vocals a little bit, because I loved how beautifully they sang together. Hopefully Bone Moon will release a full-length in 2018, because I sure would love to hear more after this tremendous EP.

1. Charlie Whitten – Playwright

Playwright by Charlie Whitten is the EP of the year 2017. Actually it’s one of my favourite releases of the year in general. Probably only The Weather Station album mattered more to me than this magnificent EP. I can listen to these four songs repeatedly for hours. These are timeless, heartfelt and beautifully arranged folk songs. It feels like a lot of thought and love went to each line, note and detail. The songwriting is magnificent, but the way he warmly and softly carries them into my heart is even more impressive. A perfect EP on all accounts.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 66