The Olympic Symphonium – Glory Of Love & Comedy

Canadian songwriting quartet The Olympic Symphonium is getting ready to release their new full-length album Beauty In The Tension. It’s a beautiful and lush folk album that I hold dear and I plan to return to it here on the release week or thereabouts. However, they’ve already shared three captivating songs from the forthcoming album that demand to be heard, so I better get started and post a couple of them. The single Glory of Love surfaced in December and it’s a Chicago-inspired love song directed to the songwriter’s 1991 Honda Accord. While that may seem a tad ludicrous in writing, the song is actually very beautiful.

The latest song to surface from the forthcoming album is a music video for the song Comedy, where all members took a bit of a hit for the team by eating habaneros and such, because crying on demand was otherwise a difficult thing to achieve. I bet that’s a moment when one regrets not taking at least a few drama & acting lessons in the open college. Beauty In The Tension will be out on Forward Music Group on the 6th of February.

The Olympic Symphonium Website

Continue Reading

Sam Moss – Flowers

This year is already looking pretty great, because during the week several of my personal favourites announced new albums. One of them is Boston-based folk singer-songwriter Sam Moss whose new album Neon will be released on the 2nd of March by Lost Honey Records. The excellent lead single Flowers is now out and available. I’m very fond of it and look forward to hearing the full album in a couple of months.

Sam Moss Website

Continue Reading

H.C. McEntire – A Lamb, A Dove

H.C. McEntire, the singer and songwriter of the great North Carolinian folk rock band Mount Moriah will release a solo album Lionheart on the 26th of January. The lead track A Lamb, A Dove surfaced in November and therefore I took a bit of a head start and already selected it among the best songs of 2017. However, this magnificent gospel-tinged song deserves far more attention now when we are approaching the release of this excellent album. So here it goes. The stunning opening track of the forthcoming solo album that will be released by Merge Records.

H.C. McEntire at Facebook

Continue Reading

Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

One of my most anticipated 2018 releases is the new Courtney Marie Andrews album May Your Kindness Remain that is due out 23rd of March on Loose Music (UK & Europe) and Fat Possum Records/Mama Bird Recording Co. (USA). The lead single and title track of the album May Your Kindness Remain surfaced earlier in the week and it sounds absolutely brilliant. She is phenomenal and her songs always move me deeply. I can hardly wait to hear the full album.

Courtney Marie Andrews Website

Continue Reading

Daniel Romano – Human Touch & Nerveless

Hey, it’s 2018 and Canadian Daniel Romano kick-started it beautifully by dropping two surprise full-length albums on the 4th of January. Human Touch and Nerveless will only be available until the end of his current Canadian tour, so better act fast in case you don’t want to miss out. I suppose it’s possible that these albums or songs will appear again on a later date in some shape or form, but why take the chance because they might not. What I can say is that these are wonderful albums and not just an act of cleaning up the cupboards from old second rate tunes before moving on to new horizons. At least, these aren’t second rate by anyone else’s standards. As for Daniel Romano, who really knows. It sure seems like this man can write a great record every month if he so wishes. Anyway, I’m thrilled that he dropped a couple of them into our hearts, so we don’t have to wait for that 2030 box set that contains dozens of unreleased Daniel Romano albums. I would go with Human Touch if I would have to choose just one. Thankfully I don’t have to, because I love them both and both are extremely highly recommended. Just like everything else in his song catalogue.

Daniel Romano Website

Continue Reading

Top 100 Songs of the Year 2017 – The International Edition

One more ridiculously long year-end list before Christmas. I don’t think I have the time to do Finnish songs before early January. Sorry about that if someone was actually waiting for it. This one really got out of hand and I don’t expect anyone to actually listen to that six hours long Spotify playlist all way through. Just wanted to spread the love a bit wider this year, because there’s so much great music available that’s worth our time and money. Heck, I could easily pick another 100 songs from 100 different artist and there would not be a significant drop in quality. And I’m just one dude with a very limited knowledge about music.

The order is pretty insignificant, so don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. Music is life, not a contest. I did spend a little time choosing the top 20 or so, but after that just went through my vinyl collection, iTunes folder and the blog and wrote them pretty much in order they caught my eye. So it’s partly due to luck if something is 37 or 87. It’s just 100 songs from 100 different artists that matter to me and that are dear to me. I’m sure I forgot something important. Sorry in advance. There’s a Spotify link in the bottom, if you want an easy way to listen to all the songs. A few weren’t available. At least here in Finland. I embedded those from Bandcamp or Youtube as well as the top 10. Anyway, here it goes.

Top 100 Songs of the Year 2017 – The International Edition

100. Gifts or Creatures – Two Hearts (Two Peninsulas)
99. Mark Eitzel – Just Because
98. Allen Thompson Band – River City Blues
97. Last Leaves – The Nights You Drove Me Home
96. The Luxembourg Signal – Blue Field
95. The Sweetback Sisters – I Got Lucky With You
94. Gold Star – Blue Sky To Blue Sky
93. Jeremy Squires – Water Signs
92. John Statz – Bad Man
91. Digger Barnes – Travelin’ Man

90. Aimee Mann – Lies of Summer
89. Porter & The Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes – Your Hometown
88. Ryan Koenig – Am I Still In Your Heart (Or Am I Just in Your Way)
87. El Goodo – It Makes Me Wonder
86. Grant Earl Lavalley – The In-Betweens
85. Mo Troper – Dictator Out Of Work
84. Jonas Lundvall – Borders
83. Alvvays – Dreams Tonite
82. Drew Beskin – Hold Me Down
81. Henry Black – Looked Like Eve

80. Simon Joyner – Atlanta Bypass
79. MAITA – Waterbearer
78. The Wild Reeds – Capable
77. Paper Beat Scissors – Didn’t Know
76. Turnpike Troubadours – Pay No Rent
75. John Andrews & The Yawns – Drivers
74. Haley Heynderickx – Oom Sha La La
73. Michael Rault – Sleep With Me
72. Cale Tyson – Traveling Man
71. Enderby’s Room – Lakeside

70. Dawson Rutledge – Yours, Truly
69. Michael Nau – I Root
68. Ags Connolly – Do You Realise That Now?
67. Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids
66. Hinindar – Dime in the Dirt
65. Little Bandit – Pitiful Heart
64. Scott H. Biram – Righteous Ways
63. Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee
62. Otis Gibbs – Sputnik Monroe
61. Fiver – Pile Your Silver

60. Caroline Spence – Southern Accident
59. Matt Paxton – Hunter Street Station Blues
58. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Pa’lante
57. Bedouine – One Of These Days
56. Caleb Caudle – Empty Arms
55. LUKA – Near Collision
54. Lincoln Barr – Desperate Tormentors
53. Margo Price – All American Made
52. Andrew Combs – Dirty Rain
51. Kashena Sampson – Wild Heart

50. Anna Burch – 2 Cool 2 Care
49. Ryan Oxford – Fa Fa Fa Fired
48. Matthew Ryan – (I Just Died) Like an Aviator
47. Danny & The Champions Of The World – Gotta Get Things Right In My Life
46. The Deep Dark Woods – Fallen Leaves
45. Zephaniah OHora with the 18 Wheelers – Way Down in My Soul
44. Chris Bathgate – Dizzy Seas
43. Sera Cahoone – Ladybug
42. The Country Side of Harmonica Sam – Cry Me A River
41. Julie Arsenault – Chain

40. Jon McKiel – Unknown Source
39. Dori Freeman – If I Could Make You My Own
38. Wharfer – Blue Lewis
37. Taylor Knox – Running Into Love
36. William Matheny – Blood Moon Singer
35. Justin Townes Earle – Kids in The Street
34. Lilly Hiatt – Records
33. Clay Parker – Queen City Blues
32. Kacy & Clayton – Just Like A Summer Cloud
31. Colter Wall – Codeine Dream

30. Taylor Kingman – My Lover’s Bed
29. Jeffrey Martin – October Dark
28. H.C. McEntire – A Lamb, A Dove
27. John Thumb – Nowhere Bound
26. Daniel Romano – When I Learned Your Name
25. Hand Habits – Book On How To Change
24. Joseph Huber – Diminished Things
23. Hiss Golden Messenger – Gulfport You’ve Been On My Mind
22. Ryan Driver – It Must Be Dark Tonight
21. Andrew Bryant – Robert Downey Jr’s Scars

20. The Burning Hell – The River (Never Freezes Anymore)
19. Tyler Childers – Whitehouse Road
18. Phoebe Bridgers – Smoke Signals
17. J.E. Sunde – Capsize and Sink
16. Frontier Ruckus – Gauche
15. BMX Bandits – Love Me Til My Heart Stops
14. Vikesh Kapoor – Down By The River
13. Erin Rae – Wild Blue Wind
12. Craig Finn – God In Chicago
11. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – If We Were Vampires

10. Jon Latham – Yearbook Signatures

I first had a different Jon Latham song here, because I’ve known this one since the Ourvinyl video back in 2016. So in that sense it’s a bit of old news, but damn if the news aren’t fantastic. I was doing the Christmas shopping in the city the other day and had the headphones on and when this came along it absolutely floored me and I had to stop everything for the duration of the song. Then I decided that Yearbook Signatures has to be the one from the excellent Jon Latham album Lifers.

9. Anna Tivel – Alleyway

Anna Tivel’s latest album Small Believer is full of magnificent songwriting and therefore it was hard to choose just one for this list. I think Dark Chandelier, Illinois and Saturday Night would be just as good picks. The characters of her songs don’t usually have luck on their side, but Anna tells their stories with heart and warmth.

8. Hip Hatchet – Burden of an Empath

Hip Hatchet’s protest EP Hellhound in the House probably went a little under the radar, but I think it’s great and important. This song in particular is incredible. It breaks my heart each time, but also reminds how important it is to stand up for what is right and spread love as much as you can.

7. Leah Senior – Pretty Faces

Australian folk songwriter Leah Senior was quite a big favourite this year. The album Pretty Faces was on my top 10 and All My Friends is my favourite music video of the year. This amazingly beautiful title track started it all and I’ve listened to it more times than I can count.

6. Twain – Dear Mexico (Song For Joyce)

There are a few far more soul wrenching and moving songs on the album, but somehow this one is still the dearest song on the wonderful new Twain album Rare Feeling. The last two verses are just pure gold. “There’s a hole inside my heart shaped just like the day we spent in portal park”. Irresistible.

5. Quivers – Pigeons

The pop song of the year comes from Tasmania. Well I think nowadays Quivers live in Melbourne. Anyway, I’m completely addicted to this song (and the music video). This is supposed to be a pop blog and I was a pop kid when I started this sixteen years ago. Now I’m an old dude who mostly listens sad country music, but thankfully every now and again something comes along that removes the wear and tear of those 16 years from my heart and I feel like that pop kid once again. A wonderful song and that “All my best friends are a little broken / all the best people are” line is just perfect and so true. The album comes out in early 2018 and I can’t wait.

4. Joan Shelley – Where I’ll Find You

Joan Shelley and Dwight Lightning ruled my 2017. This song Where I’ll Find You started it all and while there are several equally amazing songs on the album this one remains the dearest to me.

3. John Moreland – Latchkey Kid

John Moreland is one of the best songwriters at the moment. If it was just the songwriting, I think Big Bad Luv would have been #2 behind The Weather Station on the album list, but my own minor arrangement nitpicking dropped it a couple of places. That’s nonsense though. It’s one hell of a record full of incredible songwriting. This is another where it’s so hard to pick one favourite. At least No Glory in Regret, Old Wounds, Lies I Chose To Believe are equally perfect, but I’ll go with Latchkey Kid this time around.

2. Charlie Whitten – Balance

Charlie Whitten’s Playwright was the EP of the year and I love all four songs on it. I’ll go with the opener Balance on this little list. It’s such a beautiful song about falling in love. I really should finally buy the vinyl while he still has copies. I feel awful for only having the promo download and that I haven’t paid anything for a release that matter so much to me. The overseas shipping is just so expensive these days and it’s been difficult to justify paying $30 dollars for 4 songs no matter how dear they are. These songs are worth it though so maybe it’s time to do the right thing.

1. The Weather Station – Thirty

The song of the year 2017 is Thirty by The Weather Station. The self-titled The Weather Station is by far my favourite release of the year. I’m madly in love with it and the biggest struggle I had with this list was to choose just one song from it to this list. There’s at least five equally good choices and if I didn’t have this one song per artist policy, every song of the record would be on this list. Thirty is the most logical choice, because the song and the video started my addiction towards her new album and therefore it’s my favourite song of the year.

Continue Reading