10 years & 10 reasons: Penniless

Penniless: A Cab to the City (West Side Fabrication, 2011)

This series has mostly focused on my old favourites, but now when the 10 year anniversary party is three days away, I thought it’s time to blow a bit of that nostalgia away and celebrate the fact that Finnish indie music is still very much alive and constantly producing future classics. A Cab to The City by Penniless is a definitely a future classic and the best Finnish album of the last few years.

Penniless (and formerly Penniless People Of Bulgaria) has been around since the late 80s / early 90s producing a huge amount of great indie rock songs. I found them probably around 1997 when I bought Velocity. Even though I really liked them from the start, if being brutally honest, I don’t think they were that important to me until the single Adam’s Apple Pie and the album Anola came out in 2001. Adam’s Apple Pie definitely was the final enlightenment and the moment I completely fell in love with them. After that I’ve been planning my pilgrimage to Nakkila (which I shamefully still haven’t done) and enjoyed each and everyone of their releases. The back catalog is extremely convincing, but yet they managed to release the finest album of their career last year. A Cab to the City is just damn brilliant. Power, melancholy and beauty wrapped inside glorious rock songs. It might cause a gentle havoc inside you, but that will only help you feel better. The Missing, Hail Of Bullets, Brothers.. There’s a huge amount of utterly wonderful songs. A perfect album.

Penniless Website

Watch Brothers:

Watch Hail Of Bullets:

Watch Panic:

(The reason why I started making One Chord To Another was the fact that I had totally fallen in love with Finnish guitar pop / power pop bands and wanted to make them better known. Nowadays onechord.net seem to cover a lot of obscure country bands from all over the globe, but Finnish pop was the starting point and still is the main reason this website/blog exists. One Chord To Another becomes 10 years old on 17th of september, 2011. It’s been a long journey and therefore I think I’m allowed to feel a little nostalgic. This not-so-cleverly named 10 years & 10 reasons writing series is meant to select 10 albums/releases that were a huge reason why I either started making One Chord To Another or why I’m still making it. So basicly just 10 finnish releases that will always have a huge place in my heart. One every month I think, so it will be december until the nostalgia is over. Bear with me)

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10 years & 10 reasons: Cats On Fire

Cats On Fire: The Seelonce Mayday Demo / The Province Complains

Oh well. I’m a real music snob and have to pick some cd-r demo. But looking back, the most meaningful moment in my relationship with Cats On Fire was the moment when that little yellow cd-r disc entitled The Seelonce Mayday Demo arrived in the mail sometime in the spring of 2005. They had previously released two seven inch singles/eps and while I really liked them I didn’t start to practise my proposal speech until I heard that demo and especially the song Higher Grounds. Up until that moment I was just happy to stay as good friends, but after that song there was no turning back. I was in love and ready to commit to a lifelong relationship with one of the greatest indie pop bands in the country/world.

Listen to Higher Grounds:

Swedish label Fraction Discs released the songs from the demo plus a new song Draw In The Reins next year and German indie pop label Marsh-Marigold finally released the debut album The Province Complains in early 2007. Even just the fact that there finally was a Cats On Fire album available was thrilling and the excitement reached stupid heights when one noticed that it was just as magnificent as you expected. And you pretty much expected something like the best Finnish indie pop album ever released. Just perfect indie pop songs. Melodically superb and lyrically aware wrote some weird website onechord.net once upon a time. I’ve never been a follower of Morrissey, but I would follow Mattiassey to the moon and back.

I Am The White-Mantled King from The Province Complains.
 

 
One of the greatest things during these past ten years has definitely been Cats On Fire and it’s been great to see them gain some international success as well. Nothing like universal stardom obviously, but indie pop fans know them and love them all around the globe. It was always bound to happen, because such great music just can’t go unnoticed. However, finnish folks still have to learn a thing or two, because often it feels like Cats On Fire is more respected abroad than in Finland. Hopefully the third album that will be released by Nick Triani’s new Soliti label will make the Finnish media and audiences notice that one of the best indie pop bands in the world comes from Finland.

 

Tears In Your Cup from the second album Our Temperance Movement (which is equally wonderful five hearts album)


 
The Hague live video (courtesy of The Songs They Played)


 
Cats On Fire Website

(The reason why I started making One Chord To Another was the fact that I had totally fallen in love with Finnish guitar pop / power pop bands and wanted to make them better known. Nowadays onechord.net seem to cover a lot of obscure country bands from all over the globe, but Finnish pop was the starting point and still is the main reason this website/blog exists. One Chord To Another becomes 10 years old on 17th of september, 2011. It’s been a long journey and therefore I think I’m allowed to feel a little nostalgic. This not-so-cleverly named 10 years & 10 reasons writing series is meant to select 10 albums/releases that were a huge reason why I either started making One Chord To Another or why I’m still making it. So basicly just 10 finnish releases that will always have a huge place in my heart. One every month I think, so it will be december until the nostalgia is over. Bear with me)

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10 years & 10 reasons: The Rollstons

The Rollstons: Doing Time (self-released cd-r, 2001)

As a typical indie kid, I have to go with the first demo. Not meaning it was all downhill after this and that they sold their soul or all that garbage. I pretty much love everything they’ve done. But Doing Time was the starting point and damn.. this little disc is still one of the loveliest lo-fi indie rock records made in this country.

The Rollstons “released” Doing Time late 2001. I’m ashamed that I can’t seem to remember how I first heard about them. Did I hear about them at the great huoneistoklubi that took place at Ilokivi, Jyväskylä or did I read about them from one of those web 1.0 emailing lists like molekyyli, oooooo, räkärodeo where people chatted about music at the time? Anyway, I was extremely excited about the fact that there finally was a band in Jyväskylä that played the kind of music that I loved and did it so well. That was definitely something I had been missing. Therefore finding Doing Time and The Rollstons meant more to me than just finding wonderful music. It was also about finding like minded people who shared my passion for indie music (and football). The band members soon became my dear friends and I still love those guys even though I rarely see them nowadays. Plus I found the greatest football team AC Temptation (ok, it’s a tie with FC Kerttu) and a huge amount of great people through them. So yeah, I’m not the most objective guy to write about Doing Time or anything The Rollstons-related, but if you are looking for an objective music website you would have left onechord.net nine and a half years ago.

Doing Time was recorded on 4-track at various apartments. It is definitely very lo-fi stuff, but because I hate everything over-polished, this little rugged, but alive sound palette suits me just fine. Style-wise it’s lo-fi indie rock in the vein of Pavement, Guided By Voices, The Pixies. A lot of witty lyrics, colourful playing and enchanting melodies. And great songs obviously. Especially Still Life With Onions and Garlic and So Real should be categorized as Finnish indie classics, but also things like Heart Burn, Who Would Turn My TV Off? and Depression Grows still rock my world. I’m not saying it’s a perfect record. Heck, it’s a ten year old home recording. It’s not even meant to be perfect. But I loved it then and still love it. And not only for nostalgic reasons. Most big budget indie rock records just doesn’t contain half as much magic as this little album.

Another great cd-r album Earth Against World followed in 2002 and later on they were signed to Stupido Records who released the first real studio album Our Grain Could Fill Your Stadium. Either of these would be equally good selections, but I went with Doing Time for the emotional reasons. Our Grain Could Fill Your Stadium might still be available somewhere somehow and actually contains the finest song material, because it’s got the best songs from both of the early self-released albums and some great new songs. I still think they did a fine job with that album. Sounds better than the early recordings, but not over-polished and still holds that same magic. And I definitely recommend the later albums as well. Taping Trees is my least favorite at the moment (but still mostly very good), but the last two Song Folks and Gauguin’s Trunk that were released by Brunamosse IF are wonderful.

I can’t find any early songs. I suppose I could just add them myself, but will teosto nail my balls to the wall if I do that. Well here’s Very Funny Guy from Song Folks:

And if your computer can still manage myspace and doesn’t crash down whenever you try to visit it, there’s some songs from Gauguin’s Trunk there. I especially recommend Foreign Onions. That’s a huge favourite of mine.

The Rollstons Website
The Rollstons at Facebook
The Rollstons at myspace

(The reason why I started making One Chord To Another was the fact that I had totally fallen in love with Finnish guitar pop / power pop bands and wanted to make them better known. Nowadays onechord.net seem to cover a lot of obscure country bands from all over the globe, but Finnish pop was the starting point and still is the main reason this website/blog exists. One Chord To Another becomes 10 years old on 17th of september, 2011. It’s been a long journey and therefore I think I’m allowed to feel a little nostalgic. This not-so-cleverly named 10 years & 10 reasons writing series is meant to select 10 albums/releases that were a huge reason why I either started making One Chord To Another or why I’m still making it. So basicly just 10 finnish releases that will always have a huge place in my heart. One every month I think, so it will be december until the nostalgia is over. Bear with me)

Next month: Well there will definitely be some higher grounds on it and the smell of an artist will be present.

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