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)

Continue Reading

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part four 10-1

Part one 40-31, Part two 30-21, Part three 20-11

10. The Posies: Blood/Candy

The greatest band in the world according to One Chord To Another made a most welcome return with this wonderful album. Sure I wished there would have been a little bit more distortion & grit on the record, but it doesn’t change the fact that the album contains a huge amount of magnificent pop songs like The Glitter Prize and Take Care Of Yourself.

.

9. Sweatmaster: Dig Up The Knife

The finest Finnish rock band Sweatmaster was once again in top form. Dig Up The Knife introduced a little darker and heavier side of Sweatmaster. That might sound a little scary for a pop fan (well based on this list I probably should start calling myself country fan and not pop fan), but there was no need to be worried. I trusted them and they didn’t let me down. Dig Up The Knife is awesome.

8. The Genuine Fakes: The Striped Album

Swedish The Genuine Fakes are a power pop band that hasn’t forgotten the first word of the term. Power chords, catchy melodies, killer choruses and a lot of fantastic pop songs. Sure it might too typical power pop for some, but I don’t mind at all. This is the kind of music I love the most and The Striped Album is a brilliant album. If you love 90’s swedish power pop, you will love this one as well.

7. Elvyn: The Decline

I instantly fell in love with Canadian pop group Elvyn and it wasn’t just a little crush. Our relationship has only gotten stronger during the year and The Decline is definitely one of the greatest pop albums of the year. Kind of like Teenage Fanclub with a little country influences. What a lovely, harmonic and extremely beautiful  pop album.

.

6. Laura Veirs: July Flame

This one came out already in january, but such a fabulous and magical album like July Flame can’t and won’t be forgotten. Laura Veirs made the finest album of her amazing career. She’s such a wonderful songwriter and this time the production and arrangements also work perfectly. The album just sounds warm, rich, unique and colourful.  Intriguing music.

.

5. Teenage Fanclub: Shadows

Teenage Fanclub once again made a magnificent pop album. Especially Norman Blake really hit the jackpot. Baby Lee and When I Still Have Thee are future classics. Not that there was anything wrong with Gerald’s or Raymond’s output either. Songs like Shock and Awe and Past were almost equally perfect slices of pop heaven. Pretty much perfect pop music from start to finish. I also loved their concert at Nosturi, Helsinki.

4. Two Cow Garage: Sweet Saint Me

Probably the band I’ve listened to the most during the year. I bought the whole back catalog early in the year and in the autumn it was time for a brand new Two Cow Garage album. Sweet Saint Me turned out to be just as great as I had hoped. It’s a fantastic rock album that causes a beautiful havoc in your heart. There’s some acoustic beauties and power pop choruses as well. Micah Schnabel is a brilliant songwriter and a fabulous vocalist. Lydia is one of the songs of the year.

3. Penniless: A Cab To The City

A Cab To The City is the best finnish album of the year and should have gotten five hearts when I reviewed it. I don’t know why I was such an ass back then and only gave four and a half. Penniless have always been fantastic, but this is their finest album so far. Extremely convincing stuff and full of stunning songs like The Missing and Hail Of Bullets. It definitely would be about time to make that pilgrimage to Nakkila.

2. Micah Schnabel: When The Stage Lights Go Dim

The top two albums were in their own league. Of course someone could say that this #2 pick isn’t eligible, because Micah Schnabel self-released this back in 2009. However, Suburban Home Records re-released it in 2010 to wider audiences and therefore it easily qualifies. If it’s possible, I love this solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim even more than I love Micah Schnabel’s band Two Cow Garage. Micah is a real hardcore troubadour and he just sings his heart out. He is passionate, honest and truly convincing. Brutal views about the glory of touring life delivered with emotion-filled vocals. Marvellous stuff.

1. The Fox Hunt: Long Way To Go

And the album of the year award goes to… The Fox Hunt. In the end it was an easy decision. I’m just totally addicted to Long Way To Go and I love every second of it. It just feels so damn good to listen to it. Even during the times when the lyrics are heartbreaking. A string band playing old-time country music. Fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, banjo and guitar. That’s what I love to hear. The best part is still the singing. Vocals and harmony vocals are amazing throughout the record. It just doesn’t getting any better than this. Long Way To Go is a perfect album.

Listen to Troublemakin’ Woman:

[audio:http://www.onechord.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-trouble-makin-woman.mp3]

Listen to Lower Than I Should Be:
[audio:http://www.onechord.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/10-lower-than-i-should-be.mp3]

Mountain Stage Interview:

The Fox Hunt Website

That’s it. Thanks for reading. If anyone actually red the whole long list. Hopefully someone did, because it took hours to make it. A lot of good records are missing from the list. I’m especially a little bit sad that I had to leave out lots of good Finnish albums. Maybe I should do separate top 20 lists for foreign and finnish albums instead, but somehow I prefer this method even though there won’t be enough places for all good finnish albums. Anyway, that’s all for now. I didn’t buy enough EPs to make even a top 10, but I’ll write something about the ones that I loved (=Nopat & Heartjet) before christmas. Best of Retro/reissue list will be coming after christmas. I will get a few of those for christmas present (I know because I bought them myself, heh) so I can’t do it before that. Take care.

Continue Reading

Albums of the Year 2010 – Part four 10-1

Part one 40-31, Part two 30-21, Part three 20-11

10. The Posies: Blood/Candy

The greatest band in the world according to One Chord To Another made a most welcome return with this wonderful album. Sure I wished there would have been a little bit more distortion & grit on the record, but it doesn’t change the fact that the album contains a huge amount of magnificent pop songs like The Glitter Prize and Take Care Of Yourself.

9. Sweatmaster: Dig Up The Knife

The finest Finnish rock band Sweatmaster was once again in top form. Dig Up The Knife introduced a little darker and heavier side of Sweatmaster. That might sound a little scary for a pop fan (well based on this list I probably should start calling myself country fan and not pop fan), but there was no need to be worried. I trusted them and they didn’t let me down. Dig Up The Knife is awesome.

8. The Genuine Fakes: The Striped Album

Swedish The Genuine Fakes are a power pop band that hasn’t forgotten the first word of the term. Power chords, catchy melodies, killer choruses and a lot of fantastic pop songs. Sure it might too typical power pop for some, but I don’t mind at all. This is the kind of music I love the most and The Striped Album is a brilliant album. If you love 90’s swedish power pop, you will love this one as well.

7. Elvyn: The Decline

I instantly fell in love with Canadian pop group Elvyn and it wasn’t just a little crush. Our relationship has only gotten stronger during the year and The Decline is definitely one of the greatest pop albums of the year. Kind of like Teenage Fanclub with a little country influences. What a lovely, harmonic and extremely beautiful  pop album.

6. Laura Veirs: July Flame

This one came out already in january, but such a fabulous and magical album like July Flame can’t and won’t be forgotten. Laura Veirs made the finest album of her amazing career. She’s such a wonderful songwriter and this time the production and arrangements also work perfectly. The album just sounds warm, rich, unique and colourful.  Intriguing music.

5. Teenage Fanclub: Shadows

Teenage Fanclub once again made a magnificent pop album. Especially Norman Blake really hit the jackpot. Baby Lee and When I Still Have Thee are future classics. Not that there was anything wrong with Gerald’s or Raymond’s output either. Songs like Shock and Awe and Past were almost equally perfect slices of pop heaven. Pretty much perfect pop music from start to finish. I also loved their concert at Nosturi, Helsinki.

4. Two Cow Garage: Sweet Saint Me

Probably the band I’ve listened to the most during the year. I bought the whole back catalog early in the year and in the autumn it was time for a brand new Two Cow Garage album. Sweet Saint Me turned out to be just as great as I had hoped. It’s a fantastic rock album that causes a beautiful havoc in your heart. There’s some acoustic beauties and power pop choruses as well. Micah Schnabel is a brilliant songwriter and a fabulous vocalist. Lydia is one of the songs of the year.

3. Penniless: A Cab To The City

A Cab To The City is the best finnish album of the year and should have gotten five hearts when I reviewed it. I don’t know why I was such an ass back then and only gave four and a half. Penniless have always been fantastic, but this is their finest album so far. Extremely convincing stuff and full of stunning songs like The Missing and Hail Of Bullets. It definitely would be about time to make that pilgrimage to Nakkila.

2. Micah Schnabel: When The Stage Lights Go Dim

The top two albums were in their own league. Of course someone could say that this #2 pick isn’t eligible, because Micah Schnabel self-released this back in 2009. However, Suburban Home Records re-released it in 2010 to wider audiences and therefore it easily qualifies. If it’s possible, I love this solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim even more than I love Micah Schnabel’s band Two Cow Garage. Micah is a real hardcore troubadour and he just sings his heart out. He is passionate, honest and truly convincing. Brutal views about the glory of touring life delivered with emotion-filled vocals. Marvellous stuff.

1. The Fox Hunt: Long Way To Go

And the album of the year award goes to… The Fox Hunt. In the end it was an easy decision. I’m just totally addicted to Long Way To Go and I love every second of it. It just feels so damn good to listen to it. Even during the times when the lyrics are heartbreaking. A string band playing old-time country music. Fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, banjo and guitar. That’s what I love to hear. The best part is still the singing. Vocals and harmony vocals are amazing throughout the record. It just doesn’t getting any better than this. Long Way To Go is a perfect album.

Listen to Troublemakin’ Woman:

Listen to Lower Than I Should Be:

Mountain Stage Interview:

The Fox Hunt Website

That’s it. Thanks for reading. If anyone actually red the whole long list. Hopefully someone did, because it took hours to make it. A lot of good records are missing from the list. I’m especially a little bit sad that I had to leave out lots of good Finnish albums. Maybe I should do separate top 20 lists for foreign and finnish albums instead, but somehow I prefer this method even though there won’t be enough places for all good finnish albums. Anyway, that’s all for now. I didn’t buy enough EPs to make even a top 10, but I’ll write something about the ones that I loved (=Nopat & Heartjet) before christmas. Best of Retro/reissue list will be coming after christmas. I will get a few of those for christmas present (I know because I bought them myself, heh) so I can’t do it before that. Take care.

Continue Reading

Flavour of the Month: Kim Curly Band, Ossi Alisaari (Penniless)

FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH AKUSTISENA LOKAKUUSSA

Flavour Of The Monthin lokakuun livesessio nautitaan akustisena. Pikku-Torren lavalle nousevat perjantaina 1.10. helsinkiläinen Kim Curly Band sekä ikuisesti nakkilalaisen Penniless-yhtyeen turkulaistunut laulajakitaristi Ossi Alisaari.

Kim Curly Band on saanut suomalaisessa musiikkimediassa hehkutusta folkahtavalla americana/alt. country-popillaan ja nyt onkin korkea aika saada Flavour-lavalle parasta, mitä Suomella on tarjota vastineeksi Ryan Adamsin eri bändiviritelmille. Vakuuttava yhtye esiintyy Turussa tällä kertaa Kim Curly Triona (kitara, koskettimet ja lap steel), soittaen kappaleita aiemmin tänä vuonna julkaistulta debyyttialbumiltaan.

Ossi Alisaari esittelee puolestaan Pennilessin uutta, suorastaan haltioituneen vastaanoton saanutta A Cab To The City-albumia. Onkin mielenkiintoista nähdä, miten Pennilessin uran tanakin ja synkein rocklevy taipuu mies-ja-kitara-versioiksi. Ja Ossin aiempien soolokeikkojen peristeella odotettavissa lienee myös muutamia vinksahtaneita cover-valintoja.

lyhyesti:
FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH
Kim Curly Band
Ossi Alisaari (Penniless)
+ FOTM DJ team
pe 1.10. 2010 klo 21-03
Pikku-Torre, Yliopistonkatu 30, Turku
www.torre.fi
liput 3€

Continue Reading

Review: Penniless – A Cab To The City



Penniless: A Cab to the City (A West Side Fabrication, 2010)

It would be a good time to finally make that pilgrimage to Nakkila. That is the place where Penniless comes from and therefore it must be worth visiting. A Cab to the City is the new Penniless album and once again it’s utterly brilliant. I would say it’s one of their finest album to date and that’s a lot said, because the whole back catalogue is pretty amazing. The overall tone is a little darker this time around, but thanks to the gorgeous melodies and the beautiful singing it doesn’t get too heavy or depressive. In fact, it’s one of the most enjoyable albums of the whole year.

Youngest of the brothers Ossi Alisaari has taken over most of the songwriting duties and that suits me fine, because even though I have always enjoyed Pekka Alisaari’s blissfully twisted rockers,  I think Ossi has a great pop sensibility and his songs tend to be closest to the kind of music that I usually love. A Cab to the City is filled with fantastic rock songs. All those hyped indie rock acts with big-ass deals couldn’t come up with equally perfect song trio like The Missing, Hail Of Bullets and Brothers even if their haircuts depended on it. Things just doesn’t get much better here in Finland or anywhere else for that matter. Ok, maybe a few of the songs are a tad over-long, but even these that hit scary lengths, work suprisingly well. In Overall, A Cab to the City is freakin’  awesome and extremely close to a full amount of hearts.

Picture

Penniless Website
Penniless at myspace
 

Continue Reading