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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Kim Curly Band – So Long, King Desire (new album)

Time to visit the record store. The second Kim Curly Band album So Long, King Desire will be released on 14th of september 2011 by Hilland records. There aren’t too many great Finnish americana bands, but Kim Curly Band definitely is one really great one. I’ve only heard the 30 sec samples on amazon site, but I’m already pretty excited about the album and I’m fairly sure that I’m going to love it. This tune called New York below was the first single. You’ll find the second single, Neil Young-ish Way Back From Home from their bandpage on Facebook. The debut album is also really really good.

Kim Curly Band Website
Kim Curly Band at Facebook

Hilland Records Website

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News: Kim Curly Band

One of the finest Finnish americana bands Kim Curly Band just released the first single New York from the upcoming second album (due to be released in september). Oh and Passerby from the excellent debut album recently featured in a Hollywood movie 5th Quarter. Which is pretty cool even if you concider the fact that the movie itself probably isn’t a brilliant work of art like Zerkalo or Fletch and Kim Curly Band’s wonderful song is pretty much the only reason you might want to watch that film.

This is New York:

This is Passerby:

Kim Curly Band Website

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Albums of the Year 2010 – Part one 40-31

part two 30-21, part three 20-11, part four 10-1

40. Olavi Uusivirta: Preeria

There won’t be many major label releases on the list, but I suppose also those big boys need to get the credit when they deserve it. Olavi Uusivirta’s latest album Preeria was a beautiful 70’s kind of pop album. A couple of horrible songs as well, but I can forgive that, because this is mostly either great or really good pop music.


39. Belle & Sebastian: Write About Love

Oh yes, I know this is a shocking place for Belle & Sebastian. Maybe I just haven’t really listened to this one enough, but you have to earn your ice time on hockey and I suppose an album has to earn the “air time”.  Write About Love is definitely a good album. Even a really good album. It might be a bit unfair, but I always expect something special from Belle & Sebastian and therefore just a good pop album feels like a minor disappointment.

38. The Hold Steady: Heaven Is Whenever

Pretty much the same goes here. Basic goodness from The Hold Steady, but nothing really earth-shattering this time around. Well apart from Soft In The Center and Weekenders. Those two songs are pretty damn wonderful and I love them to bits.


37. Kim Curly Band: Kim Curly Band

Kim Curly Band’s beautiful debut album has gotten criminally small amount of attention on this blog. It ain’t perfect, but it’s still a pretty convincing debut album. If you are looking for finnish americana, look no further. For example Beauty and Through My Window are such a magnificent songs.


36. Chatham County Line: Wildwood

Chatham County Line wrote possibly the greatest song of the last decade, The Carolinian. New album Wildwood doesn’t  contain equally stunning songs, but the band is still in very good form and deliver beautiful bluegrass and americana songs.


35. Kasey Anderson: Nowhere Nights

Kasey Anderson was a new find for me and what a great find he was. A wonderful singer-songwriter capable of writing powerful country rockers and captivating folk ballads. Nowhere Nights isn’t perfect from start to finish, but there’s a bunch of really fantastic songs in here.


34. Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do

Certainly not their greatest album, but the highlights like Fourth Night Of My Drinking and Birthday Boy are freakin’ awesome. I think that this time they really succeeded with those rockin’ country tunes, but some of those slower numbers didn’t quite rise to their standard level.


33. Topi Saha: Verta ja lihaa

I’ve been waiting for this album since I heard Hämeentie 61 a couple of years ago on myspace. Topi Saha is a young finnish folk singer-songwriter and this is his debut album. It’s mostly gorgeous. Hämeentie 61 still sounds perfect and there’s at least 5-6 almost equally wonderful songs. There are a couple of “just ok” tunes, but hey.. it’s a debut and pretty damn impressive one.


32. The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang

Maybe the weakest The Gaslight Anthem so far, but still pretty impressive stuff. And I’m not sure is it the weakest either. It could be just the fact that the thrill of finding them is gone and therefore it’s harder to find the same kind of excitement as before. It sounds like they have just one song, but thankfully that one song is so damn good.


31. Lemonator: Shake, Shake, Shake

Most welcome comeback. Lemonator returned to the ball game and made a beautiful 60’s influenced pop album. I’m still not a big fan of the single and title track Shake, Shake, Shake, but the album is indeed a very good one. I’m still addicted to Lasse Kurki’s warm voice.
List continues (probably) tomorrow.
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