Albums of the Year 2011 – The Finnish Edition

Trying out some new tricks this year and I made two lists. The Finnish edition and the international edition. This is how the real magazines do these, so I suppose it’s alright. I’ve felt that doing these lists separately somewhat underestimates the Finnish releases. As if they are not good enough to make it to the list, if you make just one list. My top three Finnish albums would have made the top 10 in any crowd. Anyway, at least I get to choose two albums of the year.

Here we go (again)..

10. 22-Pistepirkko – Lime Green Delorean

There’s a few tracks on the new 22-Pistepirkko album that I’m not a big fan of. On the other hand, the album contains couple of songs that I really love. Especially Sweet Rodeo Heart and Ufo Girl are absolutely brilliant. Legendary band are still delivering the goods.
9. Kim Curly Band – So Long, King Desire

Kim Curly Band broke up after this album. I don’t think it had anything do with the quality of the music, because this second album from the masters of Finnish americana was a really good effort. A bit of Ryan Adams and Neil Young influences can never hurt.
8. The New Tigers – The New Tigers

Not too keen on the last three tracks, but up until that point The New Tigers debut was awesome. They won my heart over, even though I wasn’t the easiest soul to reach due to the fact that fuzzy pop and shoegazy vibes aren’t things I would take with me to a desert island.
7. NT’s White Trash – Mourning Becomes Electric

Nick Triani’s record label Soliti has gotten a lot of praises in the music media and blogosphere. I adore the label as much as any other, but my favourite Nick Triani -related album is Mourning Becomes Electric by his own band NT’s White Trash. Pop distortion with great melodies. Works for me.
6. Regina – Soita mulle

A welcome reminder that it’s still possible to become popular and hit the charts with great songs. Regina’s latest album Soita mulle was a thing of beauty and their new direction suited me perfectly.

5. Hi-Lo & In Between – We Are Not The Wind

This should have gotten much more recognition. This one ticks all the right boxes for me. Beautiful (but sometimes haunting) atmosphere and well-crafted folk songs. A couple of really amazing songs like the first single A Clear Silence and The Day When The Madness Came.
4. TV-Resistori – TV-Resistori

A tough task to beat those early TV-Resistori albums. Maybe they didn’t quite achieve that, but they definitely kept the quality really high and again released a delightful pop album. The loveliest of songs by the loveliest of bands.

3. Samae Koskinen – Kuuluuko, kuuntelen

Samae Koskinen released his best solo album to date and I love it to bits. Hän, jolla on kaikki is my favourite Finnish song of the year and the whole album is brilliant. The album compassionately handles low self-esteem issues in such caring manner that real-life Crane brothers would struggle to do a better job at it. And more importantly, it’s incredibly catchy pop album.
2. Mirel Wagner – Mirel Wagner

Mirel Wagner proves that pitch black can shine brightly. A graveyard full of black metal guitarists couldn’t create anything half as heavy and raw as Mirel Wagner’s self-titled debut album.” Just quoting my own review. Is that allowed? Anyway, Mirel Wagner’s debut album still sounds stunning. A truly remarkable effort from a young folk/blues singer-songwriter.

1. Mummypowder – Centuries Later

Extremely easy decision in the end. Mummypowder’s fourth album Centuries Later is the Finnish album of the year. It is also the greatest pop album of the year 2011 even all countries considered, because if I would have made just one list Centuries Later would have taken either second or third spot on that list and the only one(s) ahead of it would fall more into the folk/country zone. I think this is just heavenly good pop album. The lyrics are the best Janne Lehtinen has ever written. The songs have been perfect before so it’s hard to become any better at that, but this might be the most consistent Mummypowder album to date. There’s not a single bad track on it. Everything sounds brilliant. I just can’t understand why this beauty doesn’t rule every year-end list.

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Year 2011 Round-up Part 7: Favourite Finnish songs vol 2.

Moving on to Finnish songs that actually came out on a label. More about many of these when I write that albums of the year 2011 list. Not in any order except that Samae Koskinen’s Hän, jolla on kaikki is definitely my favourite Finnish song of the year and Mirel Wagner’s No Death was the clear #2. Otherwise I didn’t think about the order. I also went with the easy route and just picked my favourite songs that were easily available (youtube / soundcloud). In few cases I might have picked a different song from the album, but I do love all these. A proper top 10 songs of the year list might or might not appear. The album list is first on the agenda.

Samae Koskinen – Hän, jolla on kaikki (from the album Kuuluuko, kuuntelen)

Mirel Wagner – No Death (from the album Mirel Wagner)

Burning Hearts – Into the Wilderness (from the EP Into The Wilderness)

NT’s White Trash – You & Me (from the album Mourning Becomes Electric)

The New Tigers – Velvet Jam (from the album The New Tigers)

Regina – Unessa (from the album Soita mulle)

TV-Resistori – Ilta aikaa (from the album TV-Resistori)

Hi-Lo & In Between – A Clear Silence (from the album We Are Not The Wind)

Mummypowder – Part of the Fun (from the album Centuries Later)

22-Pistepirkko – Sweet Rodeo Heart (from the album Lime Green Delorean)


And last but not least. Finally “a new” The Sugarrush song surfaced on the Miettinen box set and I have to mention this great track even though I can only give a spotify link to it.

The Sugarrush – Posterboy (available on the Miettinen Box set)

Posterboy at Spotify

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Album of the Month: Samae Koskinen – Kuuluuko, kuuntelen

Samae Koskinen: Kuuluuko, kuuntelen (KHY Suomen Musiikki, 2011)

I’m totally in love with this album. I know I just got this eight days ago, but I think I already know all the songs by heart. This album instantly became a friend that entertains me, comforts me and takes care of me. Isn’t that what good friends are supposed to do.  Like all the regular readers know, I’m a shy guy with a lot of insecurities and huge self esteem issues and this album (especially with the songs Tarinoita and Nuorelle miehelle) finds the way to deal with those subjects so beautifully and therapeutically that real-life Crane brothers would struggle to come up with a better way to make one feel better about himself/herself . There’s no pity, judgement or cynicism. Just open-hearted warmness and straightforward emotions. My life is good and even during the miserable days I’ve always had a strong belief that even the longest nights lead to daylight and things will eventually work out well. However, I know that on some level I will battle with low self esteem all my life and therefore it’s good to have Samae around ready to tell me that I’m beautiful. That’s a voice that I will hear. I’m listening.

Kuuluuko, kuuntelen is a delightful pop album. This album is a whole lot of fun and full of pure excitement just as much as it is moving and influential. Samae shows that you can leave a mark and handle difficult subjects without cutting your heart in two with the wrong side of a knife. The album is insanely catchy and melodic and the arrangements are gorgeous throughout the record. Even though I’ve kind of focused into those songs that deal with insecurities and lack of self belief, that’s only one side of this thoughtfully crafted story. Actually, the key track for me, and by far the greatest song of the year so far, is Hän, jolla on kaikki. A perfect song about getting married. It’s so beautiful. Just like Samae. Maybe just like me.

Samae Koskinen Website

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New albums from Samae Koskinen and Matti Johannes Koivu

A really hard week. Physical work and my non-existant muscles wasn’t the best combination and I was extremely tired all the time. Therefore I failed to mention these great Finnish releases that came out midweek and I wasn’t even able to drag myself to record store until saturday. At this moment in time, I’m listening to Samae Koskinen’s new album Kuuluuko, Kuuntelen for the second time and I’m totally loving it. Some of these lyrics just capture my own feelings and insecurities so perfectly. I could really learn a thing or two by listening to this record. Sure it’s early days, but now it really feels that Samae has created something that matches the greatness of Sister Flo’s Tragician’s Hat (a huge favourite of mine and definitely one of the 10 reasons). Kuuluuko, Kuuntelen was released by KHY Suomen Musiikki on 16th of march.

Samae Koskinen Website

Matti Johannes Koivu released his third solo album Toisen maailman nimi. I have not listened to the full album yet, but based on the couple of songs I’ve heard, I have high hopes for this one. The first single 80-luvun lapset was so wonderful that maybe I need to change my semi-fan status to a huge fan when I will hear the whole album. You can listen to that great song on his website. Toisen maailman nimi was released on 16th of march by M.Dulor.

Matti Johannes Koivu Website

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