Review: Bahamas – Pink Strat

Bahamas: Pink Strat (Brushfire Records, 2011)

Bahamas is the moniker of Afie Jurvanen who is a Finnish-Canadian singer-songwriter from Toronto. I was obviously curious about the Finnish background and tried to find some information about it. Couldn’t find much, but if the internet contains the right information, Afie has a Finnish mother. Which is nice, but obviously this Finnish background thing is just an interesting side note. The important thing is that Bahamas is a great songwriter.

Pink Strat isn’t actually a new album. At least for those lucky Canadians who have spent quality time with this beautiful album since 2009. I found him thanks to his excellent Daytrotter session in early april and in may 2011 Pink Strat also finally got a US release thanks to Brushfire Records. Pink Strat won’t change the world as we know it, but it is such a lovely album. Folk songs with simple, but thoughtful arrangements. At times it might even seem like there’s not much going on, but soon I find myself humming along and admiring some subtle and unique twist in the song. It just feels like someone injected all their heart into making this album and created a little bit of down-to-earth magic. 

M.Ward always comes to my mind when I listen to Bahamas, but that’s hardly a bad thing. I already love M.Ward and I’m definitely falling in love with Bahamas. If I enter to the scary and oh so pointless namedropping state, I could also add marvelous Canadian songwriter Doug Paisley, because he also operates on the same musical neighborhood. The finest songs of the album like Hockey Teeth, Sunshine Blues and Southern Drawl are so utterly wonderful. Some songs do fall into that “good, but nothing special” -category, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is an impressive debut and I’m really looking forward to the next album.

A couple of great videos from the greatest Canadian music video blog Southern Souls. There’s more at southernsouls.ca.

Sunshine Blues:

BAHAMAS – Sunshine Blues from Mitch Fillion (southernsouls.ca) on Vimeo.

Hockey Teeth:

BAHAMAS – Hockey Teeth from Mitch Fillion (southernsouls.ca) on Vimeo.

Bahamas Website

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Review: Shotgun Jimmie – Transistor Sister

Shotgun Jimmie: Transistor Sister (You’ve Changed Records, 2011)

I often praise only the 90’s power pop groups, but those indie rockers like Pavement, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices did some equally great things back then. Shotgun Jimmie from Canada and his new album Transistor Sister brings to mind some of those north american indie rock heroes from the 90’s. The album is filled with short, quirky and extremely enjoyable indie rock songs that make you smile. It’s got some really fantastic songs like Suzy that ranks among the very best songs of the year 2011 and the title track Transistor Sister. The only minor problems that I have with the album are that a) those less than a minute long soundscapes seem rather pointless and almost annoying b) the album feels a little front-loaded. With some minor editing, this would have a been a five hearts mini-album.

The great openening track Late Last Year:

Wonderful music video One Trick Pony (this is from an earlier EP though, it’s not on the new record):

Shotgun Jimmie Website

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