Favourite Songs of the Year 2019 – International Edition

Finally the last of these pointless year-end lists and then onwards to 2020 tunes. This world song category is kinda impossible, because there’s so much great songs released within a year. This comes with a playlist that has over 350 songs. No, I do not expect anyone to listen to the whole thing. If you follow my social media pages, you may have seen and listened to this playlist that I posted before the Christmas. That was the basis for this, but I did change a few songs to different ones. Impossible to choose which one to pick from Matthew Milia, Anna Tivel and Josienne Clarke albums for example. Plus I selected these 30 songs and put them on the top of the playlist in some arbitrary order. The list might change on a daily basis, because there’s a couple hundred songs that were dear to me. The playlist is in random order after these first 30. Maybe slightly top heavy, but there’s very important ones in the end too. You’ll find it at the bottom of the post. Anyway, here’s my 30 (or well 365) favorite songs of 2019. Thank you to every one who followed the blog during 2019. It matters more than you know.

30. Erin Enderlin – Broken (Blaster Records)
29. Ian Noe – If Today Doesn’t Do Me In (National Treasury Recordings)
28. Little Mazarn – Vermont (Self Sabotage Records)
27. Carla Geneve – I Hate You (For Making Me Not Want to Leave the City (Dot Dash Recordings)
26. Vagabon – Every Woman (Nonesuch Records)

25. Clara Baker – Things to Burn (independent)
24. Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective – You & Me Kid (Broken Sparrow / Burst & Bloom Records)
23. Erin Durant – Rising Sun (Keeled Scales)
22. Julia Jacklin – Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You (Transgressive Records)
21. red steppes – Madera (Native Cat Records)

20. Caroline Spence – Sit Here and Love Me (Rounder Records)
19. Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron – Belief (P.W.Elverum & The Sun)
18. Friendship – Dusky (Orindal Records)
17. Will Johnson – Need of Trust and Thunder (Keeled Scales)
16. Andy Shauf – Try Again (ANTI-)

15. Kassi Valazza – Mama (independent)
14. Black Sea Dahu – How You Swallowed Your Anger (Mouthwatering Records)
13. Josienne Clarke – Dark Cloud (Rough Trade)
12. The Delines – Holly the Hustle (Decor / El Cortez)
11. D.H. Scott – Long Arms of Regret (independent)

10. Christian Lee Hutson – Northsiders (independent)

Starting the top 10 with the wonderful and deeply moving Christian Lee Hutson single.

Christian Lee Hutson Website
Christian Lee Hutson at Facebook

9. Matthew Ryan – On Our Death Day

One of the most moving and powerful songs of 2019. A heavy one, but there’s love, gratitude and beauty shining through the darkness.

Matthew Ryan Website
Matthew Ryan at Facebook

8. Ian Daniel Kehoe – Evil People (You’ve Changed Records / Tin Angel Records)

My pop obsession of the year. I’ve been blasting this with full volume all year long. One of the most listened by my neighbours too.

Ian Daniel Kehoe at Facebook

7. Matthew Milia – Congratulations Honey (Sitcom Universe)

More difficult to make one song standout, if you make a perfect #1 record. Quite frankly, any of these songs could be my song of the year. I kept changing the song multiple times.

Matthew Milia at Facebook
Matthew Milia Website

6. Joanna Sternberg – This is Not Who I Want to Be (Team Love Records)

I love the last song Don’t Ever just as much (and well the whole record), but this vulnerable yet powerful debut single is the reason I first became a Joanna Sternberg fan.

Joanna Sternberg at Facebook
Joanna Sternberg Website

5. Twain – Royal Road (Keeled Scales)

Call us gay, straight, bi
call us what you like
I call it all romance
and I call the man who hates romance a sad man

Twain at Facebook

4. Le Ren – Love Can’t Be The Only Reason to Stay (independent)

A really powerful song from Montreal-based songriter Lauren Spear aka Le Ren. Works on its own too, but makes an even deeper impact when its accompanied by this music video that was directed by Ali Vanderkruyk.

3. Matt Dorrien – Teddy Wilson (Mama Bird Recording Co)

Matt Dorrien only released one song this year, but it was more than enough to claim a spot in the top three for the second year in the row. The song is gorgeous ode to jazz pianist Teddy Wilson and gives us a beautiful warmhearted escape from this messed up the world. We all need to spend beautiful moments in the arms of the people and art we love. Such moments will give the strenght to carry on fighting for what is right.

Matt Dorrien at Facebook
Matt Dorrien Website

2. Anna Tivel – The Question (Fluff and Gravy Records)

I think almost all songs on this Anna Tivel album would be worthy of a spot on this list. The title song The Question is still the one that rises slightly above the rest, because transgender rights are an important issue and this song is so powerful and deeply moving.

Anna Tivel at Facebook
Anna Tivel Website

1. Steve Sloane – Let All In (independent, 2019)

My favorite song of the year is Let All In by Toronto-based songwriter Steve Sloane. It’s not necessarily and objectively the best song on his wonderful 2019 album Near Death, but this fragile, humane and powerful song resonates deeply within me. Sometimes it just can be so damn hard and scary to feel something else. I love the way the song unfolds into a hopeful future. I love the way Steve sings and how Julie Arsenault’s voice comes to carry it deeper into my heart. I love everything about this song. It’s a shoulder and kindred understanding soul.

Steve Sloane at Facebook

And here’s the full playlist with 365 songs. One for each day.

Playlist link

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TOP 60 Finnish Songs of the Year 2019

Just a couple of these very delayed year-end lists this weekend. First my favorite Finnish songs of the year and then my favorite international songs of the year. Both will be done very quickly without hardly any writings. Just need to finally get these done, because 2020 tunes have started to drop into the record stores and our hearts. If the ranking with the albums is silly, then it’s downright impossible with songs because there are so many great ones. So this is just 60 songs that I loved during the year by 60 different artists and the numbers have zero relevance. First 40 are in completely random order and then some sort of top 20, which might look different on another day.

There’s a Spotify playlist too. It’s pretty similar to the ongoing list of 2019 favorites, but that will carry on for 2020 and I’ll slowly delete the 2019 stuff from it. This one stays for “history books”. There’s actually 61 on this list, because Tvärtom is not on Spotify. I wanted to make that playlist 60 songs too. Astral Brain is kind of the bonus pick here, because they are half-Finnish and based in Stockholm. So could be on the international list as well. And as usual, I’m just one man and I know I’ve missed a ton of great ones. Probably also just simply forgot a few.

Lehtojärven Hirvenpää – Alaovella (Helmi Levyt)
Eden Prairie – Ana Lucia (independent)
STINAKO – Kun viimein saavuit (Soliti)
Hot Heros & Janne Laurila – Anna vähän siimaa (Soit Se Silti)
Jukka Nissinen – Kirkonpolttaja (Humu Records)
Hermaja – Anna kyynelten tulla (Balladi Jari Aarniolle)
White Jackets – Fumes (Pinetree Music)
Astral Brain – Five Thousand Miles (Astronime Records)
Klasu – Näkymättömiin (Soit Se Silti)
JLaine – Tuuli (Way Beyondo Records)
Pasi Salmi – Talvipäivänseisaus (Way Beyondo Records)
J. Matkala – Laululintu (Lumpeela julkaisut)
Tuomo & Markus – Predator (Grandpop Records)
Mara Balls – Kylmä sää (Stupido Records)
Treemer – The Great Void (Soft Monsters)
Mitä helvettiä nyt taas – Tuu mun luo (Nature Sucks Anyway Records)
Message Field – Hold Time (Soit Se Silti)
M – Jos tulen takaisin (Solina Records)
MeriTuuli – Minä odotan (independent)
Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L – Musta kimppu (Svart Records)
Anne-Mari Kivimäki & Palomylly – Ei hauta tää (Kihtinäjärvi Records)
Kynnet – Tavoittamattomiin (Luova Records)
Litku Klemetti – Sinä tiedät sen (Luova Records)
Tams – En halua nähdä sun lähtevän (independent)
Pykäri (feat Nick Triani) – Pumped Up With Memories (PME Records)
Spring Teeth – Land of Bones (I Call It Blood Detective Records)
Mental Market – Wild Poppies (Money Laundry Records)
The Lieblings – Girl on the Run (Stupido Records)
The New Magnetic North – Letters on the Floor (independent)
Grant Wood Company – Childs, Minnesota (independent)
H.C. Slim – Keep Your Eyes on the Road (Svart Records)
Baby Sweetcorn – Thousand Yard Stare (Way Beyondo Records)
Tomi Nordlund & Syvä Joki – Vuodet (Soit Se Silti)
Knipi – Hölösuu (The Friend Music)
V.Härkönen – Elokuun vaimo (Soit Se Silti)
Veroes – Something Precious (independent)
Hullu Ruusu – Käsipohjaa (Helmi Levyt)
Pintandwefall – Ah-Ah-Ah (Soliti)
Veli – The Director (Evil Veli Recordings)
The Phonies – Good Night New Day (Iso Pinkki, 2019)
Salaliitto – Outoja valoja (Soit se silti)

Everything above was in completely random order. Here’s my favorite 20 in some sort really vague order, which might look different on another day. A song or two might change too, because I had heated arguments with myself about what song to include at least from Ylva Haru, Kielo Kärkkäinen, Räjäyttäjät, Iron Country Sisters and Liila Jokelin albums.

20. Maanvaiva – Rakkauslaulu (57 Records)
19. Antti Autio – Mustaa (Soit Se Silti)
18. Joose Keskitalo – Luistelen kirkasta selkää (Helmi Levyt)
17. Lokit – Pelastusvene (Joteskii Groteskii / Roku / Combat Rock Industry)
16. Arppa – Vartiovuori (Arppa Music)
15. Rock Siltanen – Uskon huuhkajiin (Rokkia ja Sporttia Levyt) (on some level this is #1)
14. Tvärtom – Iltariennot (independent) Not on Spotify, but here’s the music video
13. Räjäyttäjät – Samassa veneessä (Räjä Records / Ektro Records)
12. Maustetytöt – Talvi Talvikin kanssa (Is This Art!)
11. Laura Moisio – Ohi ajettiin (Texicalli Records)

10. Viitasen Piia – Meidän jälkeemme hiljaisuus (Texicalli Records)
9. Liila Jokelin – Kahdeksas ihme (Helmi Levyt)
8. Janne Tapion Sisäinen Avaruus – Kaikki oli paremmin ennen (Lumpeela Julkaisut)
7. Kielo Kärkkäinen – Kukaan ei osaa kertoa (Texicalli Records)
6. Sur-rur – Fleetwood Macin villi välikausi (Joteskii Groteskii / Roku Records)
5. Iron Country Sisters – Leaves (Soit se silti)
4. Hulda Huima – Jalat laahaa tätä maata (Helmi Levyt)

3. Jari Raaste – Ilmalaiva (Fonal Records)

And then the three I loved the most. First we have a smooth earworm and sweet soulshaker from Jari Raaste. A perfect single and a superb concert too at Ilmiö Festival.

Jari Raaste at Facebook

2. Ylva Haru – Oikeiden luona (Soit Se Silti)

Next a song from my favourite Finnish album of the year. Ylva Haru created a remarkable album and at least half of the songs could be on this little list. I’ll go with Oikeiden luona, but it could just as well be Tähän hetkeksi jään or Vapaa tuntemaan. I love these three songs more than my words can express.

Ylva Haru Website

1. Amuri – Halla (Helmi Levyt)

My favorite Finnish song of the year is the debut single Halla by Amuri. Their second single is pure gold too and equally wonderful. However, this one came first and it was a homerun. I love everything about this one starting from that Asko Raivio homage in the cover art. I hope we get an album full of Amuri barogue pop in 2020. It would be a mighty good reason to keep this blog alive for another year.

Playlist link

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100 Favourite Albums of the Year 2019 – Part Seven and the Top 10

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

And finally the last part and the top 10. As usual this list was entirely subjective. Just the albums that I loved the most. There’s not an ounce of objectivity. And like mentioned in the previous post, music is love and not a competition. So the numbers are rather vague and arbitrary and mostly just there to help me count to ten with my limited math skills. Not a a whole lot of ramblings this year, because I just want to get these done and then either quit, take a break or move on to 2020 music. It’s the music that matters, not what I write. Oh and then there’s a a Spotify link at the bottom of this post that contains one song from every record on this list.

10. Josienne Clarke – In All Weather (Rough Trade, 2019)

The final chapter of the year end story begins from Isle of Bute in Scotland with a melancholic beauty from folk songwriter Josienne Clarke. I’ve really fallen for this one during the last couple of months of the year. Poignant, poetic and starkly beautiful.

Josienne Clarke at Facebook
Josienne Clarke Website

9. Joan Shelley – Like The River Loves the Sea (No Quarter Records, 2019)

The Shelley family keeps on bringing so much joy to my life. The adventures of Dwight and the music of Joan are so very dear to me. Like The River Loves the Sea is another amazing record from the Louisville, Kentucky based folk songwriter Joan Shelley.

Joan Shelley at Facebook

8. Ian Daniel Kehoe – Secret Republic (You’ve Changed Records / Tin Angel Records, 2019)

You may know him as the drummer extraordinaire for the likes of The Weather Station, Julia Jacklin, Andy Shauf etc or you may know him from Attack In Black where played with the Romano brothers. Still the best part about this multi-talented musician is his own music. First he did it under the moniker Marine Dreams and nowadays under his own name. Synth pop with 80s vibes is something that in writing seems like something that I would hate, but when I hit play, I love it passionately. I have been blasting the whole record and especially the songs Evil People and Doing Fine (without Your Trust) on my work commute all year long. Such an enjoyable record.

Ian Daniel Kehoe at Facebook
Ian Daniel Kehoe Website

7. D.H. Scott – My Body Longed For the Summer (independent, 2019)

On the way to new Albuquerque, New Mexico for the wonderful D.H. Scott album. I can’t say I know much about him, but I instantly fell in love with his songwriting and voice when I somehow stumbled upon this on a streaming app. One probably shouldn’t ever compare anyone to Townes Van Zandt, because how could anyone live up to that. However, there’s a bit of Townes here and I love that.

D.H. Scott at Facebook

6. Caroline Spence – Mint Condition (Rounder Records, 2019)

Back in Nashville for the new album from songwriter Caroline Spence. The personal Sit Here & Love Me is my biggest favorite, but this one is filled with brilliant songs. What a magnificent album.

Caroline Spence Website
Caroline Spence at Facebook

5. The Delines – The Imperial (Decor / El Cortez, 2019)

The Delines from Portland, Oregon set the bar really high for the new year in January with this perfect country soul album The Imperial. An exceptional band led wonderful songwriter and storyteller Willy Vlautin (Richmond Fontaine) and superb vocalist Amy Boone.

4. Twain – Adventure (Keeled Scales, 2019)

A late diamond for 2019 is this new suprise Twain album. I knew it was coming fairly soon, but I thought it wouldn’t arrive before the end of the year. I love Twain and this is again such a remarkable album. Twain makes my world better.

Twain at Facebook

3. Steve Sloane – Near Death (independent, 2019)

This one by Canadian songwriter Steve Sloane (formerly released music under the name Hinindar) is one of the most striking, fragile, humane and powerful records of the year. Back in 2017 Steve Sloane was assaulted and held to a gunpoint and two years later he released this remarkable album to release him from grip of near death. Let All In is my favorite song of 2019, but this album still needs to be listened in its entirety from first word to last. Some perfect backing vocals too from Julie Arsenault.

Steve Sloane at Facebook

2. Anna Tivel – The Question (Fluff & Gravy Records)

This one couldn’t fail, because Anna Tivel from Portland, Oregon is one of my favorite songwriters and Shane Leonard is one of my favorite producers. An album full of warmth, empathy and deeply moving songwriting. She is a true poet and always able to make the characters of her songs come to alive.

Anna Tivel Website
Anna Tivel at Facebook

1. Matthew Milia – Alone At St.Hugo (Sitcom Universe)

My favorite album of the year comes from Detroit, Michigan and was written by Matthew Milia. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the frontman of Frontier Ruckus. This new solo album is just as wonderful as the Frontier Ruckus catalogue. It’s a bit more pop than especially the early days of Frontier Ruckus, but that direction isn’t all that suprising after the last couple of Ruckus albums. I just love this album wholeheartedly. It’s got the sweet pop melodies and lovely harmonies gently colliding with warm folk rock sounds. Super easy to enjoy, but also has so much depth and detail due to the arrangements and Matthew’s literate lyrics. I’m not gonna do the decade list, but if I did this would easily claim a spot along with Eternity of Dimming by Frontier Ruckus. Matthew Milia is my favorite songwriter of the past decade and Alone at St. Hugo is the best album of 2019.

Matthew Milia Website
Matthew Milia at Facebook

And finally here’s a playlist that contains one song from each of these records. Except Freschard, because her album was not on Spotify (at least not in Finland).

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100 Favourite Albums of the Year 2019 – Part Six

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Seven

And here’s the 25 in some sort of vague order. However, the numbers are mostly arbitrary and just helping me to count to 25 with mu limited math skills. It might make just as much as sense after a vertical flip. Music is love, not a competition.

25. Kacy & Clayton – Carrying On (New West Records, 2019)

The journey starts from Wood Mountain Uplands, Saskatoon with the new beautiful and timeles folk, psych folk record from Kacy & Clayton.

Kacy & Clayton at Facebook
Kacy & Clayton Website

24. TK & The Holy Know-Nothings – Arguably OK (Mama Bird Recording Co, 2019)

Again this year-end review finds its home in Portland, Oregon. This time enjoying the debut album from Taylor Kingman’s new band TK & The Holy Know-Nothings. Rowdy rock’n’roll, Gritty boogie and captivating storytelling.

TK & The Holy Know-Nothings at Facebook
TK & The Holy-Know Nothings Website

23. Yola – Walk Through Fire (Easy Eye Sound, 2019)

Heading over to Europe and more precisely Bristol, UK. Yola Carter released an album full of extremely enjoyable country soul songs and carries them into your heart with outstanding vocal delivery.

Yola at Facebook
Yola Website

22. Kassi Valazza – Dear Dead Days (independent, 2019)

Kassi Valazza from Portland, Oregon is one of my big new favorites. This is such a magnificent album. Country, psych, folk and Hazlewoodism. Who wouldn’t love that.

Kassi Valazza at Facebook

21. Jason Hawk Harris – Love & The Dark (Bloodshot Records, 2019)

Off to Los Angeless via Houston. Very fond of this powerful debut album from americana/country songwriter Jason Hawk Harris. A fair bit of rock’n’roll here too. Dark but also really enjoyable.

Jason Hawk Harris at Facebook
Jason Hawk Harris Website

20. Damien Jurado – In The Shape of a Storm (Mama Bird Recording Co / Loose Music, 2019)

Just the fact that new Damien Jurado’s new album came out on Mama Bird Recording Co was pretty damn cool on its own, but even more important is that it’s again a really beautiful record. This time a sparse solo acoustic kind of beauty.

Damien Jurado at Facebook

19. Shane Leonard – Strange Forms (Wayward Chicken, 2019)

Shane Leonard had a big part on at least five albums that I really enjoyed during 2019. One of them is this wonderful solo album that he released under his own name this time. If you remember seeing the name Kalispell here or elsewhere, this is the same man. An excellent songwriter and one of my favorite producers too.

Shane Leonard at Facebook
Shane Leonard Website

18. Will Johnson – Wire Mountain (Keeled Scales, 2019)

Again in Austin, Texas and this time for the wonderful new Will Johnson album. Need of Trust and Thunder is one of my songs of the year and the rest of the album is almost equally amazing.

Will Johnson at Facebook

17. Julia Jacklin – Crushing (Transgressive Records, 2019)

One more from Australia too. After hearing the stunning single Body in 2018, the expectations were almost unfair but somehow Julia Jacklin managed to meet them. An incredible record. Body and Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You standout, but the rest of is also magical.

Julia Jacklin at Facebook

16. John Calvin Abney – Safe Passage (Black Mesa Records, 2019)

Next we are back in Oklahoma for the beautiful, hopeful and kindhearted album from long time favorite John Calvin Abney.

John Calvin Abney at Facebook
John Calvin Abney Website

15. Sidney Lindner & Silver Wilderness Collective – Summer Ghosts / Night Falls (Burst & Bloom Records / Broken Sparrow, 2019)

Getting a new album from Sidney Lindner was one of the best surprises of the year. Long time readers might remember my love for The Hotel Alexis and it turns out that I still love his songwriting just as much.

Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective at Facebook
Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective Website

14. Ian Noe – Between the Country (National Treasury Recordings, 2019)

This Ian Noe album was one of the most anticipated releases of the year. The EP was already wonderful and a couple of those songs reappear on the album too. Along with a whole lot of new exceptional ones. Strong, heavy and captivating songwriting.

Ian Noe at Facebook
Ian Noe Website

13. Erin Durant – Islands (Keeled Scales, 2019)

Back to the Keeled Scales treasure vaults, but this time to Brooklyn, NY instead of Austin, TX. Songwriter Erin Durant has written such a compelling and heavenly beautiful album.

Erin Durant at Facebook
Erin Durant Website

12. Joanna Sternberg – Then I Try Some More (Team Love Records, 2019)

The most moving album of the year on a personal level. This resonates deep within my soul, because I’m shy man with a low self-esteem. This beautiful and courageous album fills my heart with warmth and hope.

Joanna Sternberg at Facebook
Joanna Sternberg Website

11. Micah Schnabel – The Teenage Years Of The 21st Century (independent, 2019)

Wrapping this second to last entry in this year end story with a new album from long time favorite Micah Schnabel. This one probably doesn’t appear on many of these EOTY lists because it came just a while ago in December 2019. Thankfully I’m making mine a bit later this time, because it would have hurted to miss this one. A really powerful album that tries to find ways to cope in this messed up world. There’s anger and frustration, but also hope and empathy. It encourages to be resilient instead of silent.

Micah Schnabel at Facebook

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