Mid-Year Favorites 2021

Just a quick pointless mid-year list of things I’ve loved during the first half of the year. Things might change a lot before the eoty lists, because there’s plenty I haven’t listened enough at this point. For example from last friday, there’s only a few here. I’m sure Hiss or Dacus could easily make the cut, but I haven’t even had the time to listen to the whole records yet. There’s no order in any of these lists. The covers and text is actually in different order, so that already shows how much the order mattered to me. There’s already been a lot to love this year and I already had about 70 international albums on the first draft, but forced myself to cut it down to 30. I’ll make the (even more) ridiculously long list in December, if the blog is still alive at that point. There’s some playlists at the bottom, if you are into such things.

INTERNATIONAL ALBUMS:

Hurry – Fake Ideas (Lame-O Records)
Melissa Carper – Daddy’s Country Gold (Mae Music)
Michael Feuerstack – Harmonize the Moon (Forward Music Group)
Joe Bourdet – Meadow Rock (Mountain Sounds Recorderds)
Evan Cheadle – Fault Like Serenade (Victory Pool)
The Deep Dark Woods – Changing Faces (Six Shooter Recordings)
Teenage Fanclub – Endless Arcede (PeMa)
The Weather Station – Ignorance (Fat Possum)
Flora Hibberd – Hold (independent)
Vincent Neil Emerson – Vincent Neil Emerson (La Honda Records)
Vanessa Peters – Modern Age (Idol Records)
Jesse Aycock – Jesse Aycock (Horton Records)
Rosali – No Medium (Spinster)
Turner Cody & The Soldiers of Love – Friends in High Places (Capitane Records)
Tristen – Aquatic Flowers (Mama Bird Recording Co)
Johanna Samuels – Excelsior (Mama Bird Recording Co / Basin Rock)
Esther Rose – How Many Times (Full Time Hobby / Father/Daughter Records)
Bobby Dove – Hopeless Romantic
Will Stratton – The Changing Wilderness (Bella Union)
Quinn Pilgrim – Jericho Dream (Partially Sealed Records)
Dillon Warnek – Now That It’s All Over (independent)
Libby DeCamp – Westward and Faster (independe
Wes Tirey – The Midwest Book of the Dead (Dear Life Records)
Damien Jurado – The Monster Who Hated Penssylvania (Maraqopa Records)
Isaac Vallentin – “…” (independent)
Charlie Marie – Ramble On (Soundly)
Pony Bradshaw – Calico Jim (Black Mountain Music)
Austin James Craig – Violet and Still (independent)
K.C. Jones – Queen of the In Between (independent)
Quivers – Golden Doubt (Bobo Integral / Ba Da Bing)

FINNISH ALBUMS:

Eden Prairie – Give Up the Ghost (independent)
Joose Keskitalo – New Songs For Old Motifs (Helmi Levyt)
Tams – Menolippu ei minnekään (independent)
Sami Heikkilä & Kolme Viljaa – Sami Heikkilä & Kolme Viljaa (Kitka Records)
Marian Valinta – Kahden valtakunta (independent)
Janne Laurila – Janne tuu jo tänne (Soit Se Silti)
Palor – Lähenee Nyt (Musakonttori)
Janne Laurila & Hot Heros – Nuotiosavua (Playground)
AK-77 – Lowdown Kryptoniitti Blues (independent)
Litku Klemetti – Kukkia muovipussissa (Luova Records)
Jani Matti Juhani – Laulaa Elvistä Suomeksi Vol 2 (Ainoa Productions)
Antero Kaksikäsi – Pihapihlaja (Hyvät Levyt)

INTERNATIONAL EPs:

Clara Mann – Consolations (Sad Club Records)
Dan Wriggins – Mr. Chill (Orindal Records)
Alexis May – Killing Pain, Memories and Time (independent)
Jess Jocoy – Brighter Eyes (independent)
David Myhr – And Now This (Lojinx)
Sarah King – The Hour (independent)
Leche Malo – I Wouldn’t Forgive Me Either… (independent)
Jeffrey Silverstein – Torii Gates (Arrowhawk Records)
Katie Spencer – Hurt In Your Heart (KRS Music)
Tiffany Williams – I’ll Be Back Soon (independent)
Porlolo – No Praise, No Blame (independent)
Emmett Morris – A Better World’s To Come (Gunn St Music)

INTERNATIONAL SONGS:

No clear cut absolute favorites this time around, but here’s a couple I love along with a 60 song mid-year playlist.

Melissa Carper – I Almost Forgot About You (Mae Music)
Isaac Vallentin – Diane in the Morning Light (independent)
Will Stratton – Infertile Air (Bella Union)
Esther Rose – Songs Remain (Full Time Hobby / Father/Daughter)
Carlene – Time Passes (independent)
Flora Hibberd – Night, Perpetual (independent)
Summer Dean feat Colter Wall – You’re Lucky She’s Lonely (independent)
Kelly Sloan – Tangled / I Wanna Wake Up (independent)
Charlie Marie – El Paso (Soundly)
Hurry – A Fake Idea (Lame-O Records)

And here’s the playlist. There’s a few Finnish ones in the playlist mix too. Random-ish order. Or well not in order of preference. For example the pop stuff is lumped together and so forth. It could also easily be three times longer, so I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff missing.

FINNISH SONGS:

Not a clear cut favorite in this category either. Plenty of ones that I love equally. For example these:

Eden Prairie – Birch Street (independent)
Joose Keskitalo – The Doors (Helmi Levyt)
Laura Moisio – Kirje (Texicalli)
Kielo Kärkkäinen – Ajattele tulevaa (Texicalli)
Burning Hearts – Where You Belong (Betula Pendula)
Teini-Pää – Näin sen unessa / Kissat ja koirat (Stupido)
Hulda Huima – Luomet kuin tähdet (Helmi Levyt)
Rock Siltanen Group – Pizzaa ja kaljaa
Haamusoittajat – Ahvenheinä (independent) (this came out in December, but I wanted to revisit, because I love it and it wasn’t on Spotify before January)
Astrid Swan – Silvi’s Dream (Soliti)
Maria Milvus – Love While You Still Can (independent)
Mosaiikkisiipi – Tiedätkö kuka hän on (independent)

I actually was making a mid-year list out of Finnish too and narrowed it down to 30-ish songs, but then I just threw most I remembered that I’ve heard on the ongoing Finnish songs playlist (that I haven’t really updated during 2021). So there’s a bit of an overwhelming number of songs, but you’ll find it here if you want to take a look. I know there’s something missing too, because I should go through all the weekly posts.

I didn’t do Finnish EPs, because that would be pretty much listing everything I remember. Which was pretty much V.Härkönen, Palor and Treemer. All great though.

Continue Reading

Favorite Finnish Songs of the Year 2020

And here goes the final year-end list. No reissues lists anymore, because there’s so much new music that a) I don’t really have the time to listen to reissues b) I most definitely don’t have the money to buy reissues. Anyway, here are are my favorite Finnish songs of the year. This is mostly just a big playlist with 80+ Finnish songs. Mostly one song per artist with some small exceptions. Veli has two. One in English and one in Finnish. Kielo Kärkkäinen has the new solo single and a song from the 2020 EP with Matti Salo. And well Kalevi Suopursu and Mikko Siltanen have a few too, but different projects. Haamusoittajat is only available on Bandcamp, so you won’t find that from the playlist. I typed about 40 of the biggest favorites here in random order, but that’s barely enough to get started so the playlist has about double. Only top 3 are sorta “ranked” and even that is not important. It’s just a playlist of Finnish songs I loved during the year.

Haamusoittajat – Ahvenheinä (not on Spotify, listen/buy at bandcamp)
Robert Ensio Niemistö – Tasahaikka (Jukan Musiikki)
Metsäheikki – Puut tanssivat hiljaa (Helmi Levyt)
Isse – Loimii (Helmi Levyt)
Joni Ekman – Mikään ei riitä (Soit Se Silti)
Sam Shingler – Fight or Flight (Soit Se Silti)
Matti Jasu – A Love Story
Message Field – Numbers (Soit Se Silti)
Verandan – Pink Clouds (Soliti)
Arppa – Laavalamppuja (Arppa Music)
Janne Laurila – Neljä tonnii pilvee (Soit Se Silti)
Bizzarro & Jukka Nissinen – Rankaisen lempeydellä (Humu Records)
Litku Klemetti – Mona (Luova Records)
Antero Kaksikäsi – Yödösä (Hyvät levyt)
Janne Tapion Sisäinen Avaruus – Rantaan vie moottoritie (Iso Pinkki)
Vino Puu – Hullu Lintu
Bad Sauna – Tehdään jotain tyhmää (All That Plazz)
Maustetytöt – Äiti älä huoli (Is This Art?)
joku iiris – Hyvä tyttö (Humu Records / Jukan Musiikki / Hillotehdas)
Joose Keskitalo – Nukkekoti (Helmi Levyt)
Mitä Helvettiä Nyt Taas – Et ole yksin (Nature Sucks Anyway Records)
Sami Heikkilä – Eiväthän kukat (Luova Records)
Punomo – Anna aikaa (Solina Records)
Lätsä – Keskiyön Cowboy (Helmi Levyt)
The Sugarrush – Yeah (Nature Sucks Anyway Records)
Puhelinseksi – Valomerkki (Svart Records)
Mummypowder – Sara’s Song (All That Plazz)
Kielo Kärkkäinen – Saman ihmeen nähnyt (Texicalli)
Viljami Kukkonen – Heikolla päällä (Karhuvaltio Records)
Rock Siltanen – Tulevaisuus ei oo sitä mitä se oli (Joteskii Groteskii)
Guggenheim-projektz – Matematiikon poika (Helmi Levyt / Jukan Musiikki)
Jani Matti Juhani feat Sini – Talven kylmät kyyneleet (Ainoa Productions)
Tvärtom – Järkytys
Teini-Pää – Hotelliin (Pop-Antik Kustannus / Goosebumb Record) – also check out their perfect ABBA cover 112 here.
Amuri – Masa (Helmi Levyt)
Veli – Elokuussa (Evil Veli Recordings)
Rosita Luu – Kuollut Monta Kertaa (Helmi Levyt)

3. Nightbird – Travelin’ Baby (Ella Ruth Institutet)

This great album from singer-songwriter Nightbird aka Anna-Stina Jungerstam has several songs worthy of a spot on this little list, but perhaps this album opener and title track is sthe finest of them all.

2. Kalevi Suopursu – Sinä olet minun sunnuntai (Helmi Levyt)

Sinä olet minun sunnuntai by Kalevi Suopursu is the the Finnish song I listened to the most this year. Not necessarily the best song from the album, if you use some silly objective parameters but definitely the one that I loved the most. That chorus is just pure perfection. Probably because I never learned to love the weekdays.

1. Laura Moisio – Kaukana onnesta (Texicalli)

My favorite Finnish song of the year 2020 is Kaukana onnesta by Laura Moisio. I instantly fell in love with it when I first heard it January and it never lost its poignant and profound beauty. In fact, it may have found even new and deeper levels during the year, because back in January I was still blissfully unaware how this year would unfold. I’m grateful that I had this compassionate song on my side warning me about the dangers of sinking in too deep. The devastating darkness of this song might have been the shining light that I needed. A work of art.

And here’s the big playlist with 80 plus Finnish songs from the year 2020.

Playlist link

Continue Reading

Favorite Songs of the Year 2020 Part Three (incl. Song of the Year + Playlist)

And here’s the final part to this with the song of the year and longer playlist than anyone is willing to listen. I could go on and on and write 20 parts, but I don’t have the time and well nobody would probably care anyway. So let’s wrap this up now. First a few randomly selected picks from the playlist.

Part Three
Part Two
Part One

The Posies – Sideways (23 Records)

Like everyone knows The Posies is my all-time favorite band and Amazing Disgrace is my all-time favorite album. So it’s a big deal when there is a no The Posies song. This one is mighty good too. Classic Jon Auer therer for you.

Teenage Fanclub – Home (PeMa)

Like everyone knows Teenage Fanclub is on the second place on that all-time favorite band list and Grand Prix is second on that all-time albums list. So it’s a big deal when there is a new TFC song.

Benchmarks – Technicolor

I think my lists need a bit of rock too and who better to provide it than Benchmarks. I really love this song Technicolor from their new album.

Kyle Nix – Blue Eyes (Bossier City Record)

I have no idea why this album from Kyle Nix wasn’t on the album list. For some reason, I just haven’t listened to the whole album that much yet. I need to work on that, because I absolute love some of these singles. This Blue Eyes especially. lovin’ and losin’ sure beats not living at all. Now that’s an universal truth.

Nat Vazer – Like Demi (Hotel Motel Records)

Something from Australia for a change. This is a really wonderful opener from Nat Vazer great record Is this Offensive and Loud?.

Gus Clark and the Least of His Problems – Thoughts and Prayers (Plastic Pistol Records)

Gus Clark is one of the many songwriters I’ve found thanks to the Western AF video channel. He had a bunch of great singles and all of them become favorites.

Lily McKown – B-Team

This song from Lily McKown’s excellent debut album resonated with me deeply.

Ashley Ray – Warm Body

Ashley Ray also released a damn good album. The highlight for me was this powerful song called Warm Body.

V.V. Lightbody – If It’s Not Me (Acrophase Records)

This V.V. Lightbody song is a spectacular anti-jealous anthem.

Waylon Payne – Shiver (Carnival Recording Company)

Speechless.

Abby Hamilton – Change Things

And before the song of the year, I want to share a couple of songs that I really loved this year. These did appear on the earlier eoty lists, but they mattered and the songwriters perhaps aren’t that household names yet. First Abby Hamilton who made one of my favorite EPs of the year. This live video is how I fell in love with the song.

Jeremy Ferrara – Ourselves

Jeremy Ferrara’s great album With Every Change has a lot of beautiful songs, but Ourselves is the one that made the biggest impact on me.

McCarthy Trenching – Asking for a Friend

What a sweet story song. I can listen to it on repeat for an hour and I still enjoy it every time. And even though I know how the story unfolds, I’m always very relieved that Bruce is just fine.

Flora Hibberd – I’m Gonna Leave You

Flora Hibberd made my favorite EP of the year. I love all five songs and I can’t really pick a favourite. So I’ll cheat a little bit and post the video of I’m Gonna Leave You and put It Will Come True on the playlist. Now what do I with the other three beauties. Incredible EP from start to finish.

Evangeline Gentle – Sundays (Sonic Unyon Records)

Evangeline Gentle was a big new favorite and I really love her album. Half of the songs could be on the songs of the year list, so let’s use the same cheating method and put the video of Sundays here and the beautiful album closer Good and Guided to the playlist.

Everything before was not on any order. I just wanted to highlight some artists that weren’t on the earlier lists along with a couple of big new favorites. The playlist is slightly top heavy, so you’ll find the album cuts that made a big impact on me. There’s plenty of songs that should have essays written about them. But yeah, I do want to select the song of the year and it has never been easier.

J.E.Sunde – I Don’t Care to Dance (Vietnam)

The song of the year is I Don’t Care to Dance by J.E. Sunde. I’ve loved this song since I first saw the live at Pony Rug video back in 2018. I’m thrilled that it finally arrived to a record and that it sounds absolutely perfect. I’m happy they kept it small, because a song so pure at heart don’t need any sugarcoating. A dance at a wedding reception. A kind gentle sway against toxic masculinity. Subtle, but full of heart. I’m a shy, self-doubt ridden, overly romantic unmanly man and this song is everything to me. A very few songs have ever resonated with me as deeply I Don’t Care to Dance. I love it as much as you can possibly love a song.

And here’s the insanely long playlist with more 2020 favorites. And no I don’t expect anyone to listen to whole 26 hours of it. I’m 100% sure something very important is missing from it, because it’s hard to control such a monster. At least with my non-existant organizing skills. It’s just difficult if not impossible to remember what I already added and what I didn’t. But there sure is plenty of great songs on it and should keep you busy for a little a while. It’s slightly top heavy, but not in any order after J.E. Sunde. And completely random after first 50 or 100.

Playlist link

Continue Reading
1 2 3 39