Marie/Lepanto – Inverness

Temporarily moving on to the best of 2018 list. Marie/Lepanto is a new duo formed by Will Johnson (Centro-Matic and lots of other great things) and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (Water Liars, solo). Their album Tenkiller is due out 26th of January on Big Legal Mess. The first single Inverness surfaced last week and sounds magnificent. This one is going to be a great album.

Marie/Lepanto at Facebook

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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.

TOP 10 FINNISH ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2017

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.

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Lokit – Blades of Steel (song+video)

I’m eagerly waiting to hear a full-length album from Lokit. I just love pretty much every song I’ve heard so far. Great songs with gorgeous vocals, beautiful melodies and 90s indie rock vibes. I’ve been living under the impression that the album was actually coming out sometime in 2017, but we are close to December now, so it doesn’t seem too likely. I guess I don’t have to save a place for it on my top 3 Finnish albums of the year list anymore. Oh well, one more reason to carry on doing this blog in 2018, so I can praise the Lokit album when it eventually arrives. However, the first outtake Blades of Steel from the forthcoming album is out and available and it’s an excellent contender for the Finnish song of the year category.

Lokit at Facebook

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LUKA – What Kind of Animal

LUKA is a songwriter Toronto and he will release his new album What Kind of Animal on the 28th of November. It was recorded live-to-tape and will be released as cassette/digital. Luka’s songs always feel just charming and lovely at first, but further listenings tend to reveal far expanded range of emotions and far more depth and detail. His subtle soft voice challenge my thought process and conscience with insightful and unpredicted lines. Jonathan Richman influences are still there, but not as apparent than on the previous album. The album opener Near Collision is my early personal favourite, but that’s not yet available for sharing. No harm done, because this first available outtake Quick Reflex is also equally magnificent.

LUKA at Facebook

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Last Leaves – Other Towns Than Ours

I’m running out of time, because I would like to get end of the year lists done before all hell breaks loose on the day job in a week or two. So soon I’ll focus on those, but during the next few days I try to go through a couple of important ones that I’ve failed to mention properly.

Last Leaves are from Australia. Former The Lucksmith members Marty Donald, Louis Richter and Mark Monnone put together a new band with Great Earthquake’s drummer Noah Symons. They took their time, but the full-length Other Towns Than Ours finally appeared this fall on Matinee Recordings (USA) and Lost and Lonesome Recording Company (Australia). The album is a thoroughly enjoyable and completely worth the wait. It’s quite moody and at times even complex and perhaps therefore not as instantly catchy as one might have hoped or expected. Absolutely no worries though, because it grows on you and even in the beginning there’s certainly more than enough of wonderful pop jangle and beautiful melodies too to keep the pop kids onboard. Great to have these heroes back in this ball game. This is The World We Had from the new Last Leaves album.

Last Leaves at Facebook

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Lincoln Le Fevre & The Insiders – Come Undone

Going back to Hobart, Tasmania for a bit. I’ve been vaguely familiar with songwriter Lincoln Le Fevre for a few years, but haven’t picked up the earlier records. I’m pretty sure I would like them, but the most basic factory job with small-ish salary does put some limits to the quest of buying all the records my heart desires. However, I did pick a download of the latest Lincoln Le Fevre & The Insiders album Come Undone that came out in July on Poison City Records. It’s a damn fine alternative when I get temporarily tired with all my beloved country troubadours and feel the need to add a little bit of energy and rock’n’roll to the mix. This is folk punk, indie rock and alt-country passionately delivered. It might not be exactly similar, but if you like the work of Lucero and Frank Turner for example why not give a chance to Lincoln Le Fevre. Especially the finest songs like Undone, Summerhat and Constellations are utterly wonderful. Extra bonus point for the Lucero cap in the music video for album outtake Useless Shit. Not that he really needs one, because Come Undone is an awesome record.

Lincoln Le Fevre Website

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