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

Review: Two Cow Garage – Sweet Saint Me

Two Cow Garage: Sweet Saint Me (Suburban Home Records, 2010)

If you have followed One Chord to Another lately, you know that I’ve become a huge fan of Micah Schnabel and Two Cow Garage during the year and I have listened to them more than anything else. It all started early in the year when I completely fell in love with Micah’s solo debut When The Stage Lights Go Dim. I still have a strong relationship with that record and it’s one of the two major contenders for the album of the year award (the other is Long Way To Go by The Fox Hunt). This obsession obviously meant that I needed to introduce my heart to Micah’s band Two Cow Garage. However, it wasn’t an instant love affair, because my pop-soaked heart tried to reject some of that loud rock’n’roll, punk rock and cowpunk that came my way. Thankfully it didn’t took me long to realize that Two Cow Garage was also a perfect match and I soon bought the whole back catalogue. Therefore it’s no wonder that the new Two Cow Garage album Sweet Saint Me became the most anticipated album of the year in this household. Now the wait is over and despite all the monstrously high and almost unfair expectations, Sweet Saint Me doesn’t disappoint me.

First, lets leave the fact that Two Cow Garage is one of the best rock bands around aside and say a few words about the thing closer to the subject of this website, pop music. I definitely wouldn’t call Sweet Saint Me a pop album, but it does have a fair share of moments that appeal to this soul that got hooked into this whole music thing by consuming more power pop than a body can safely handle. There’s some great power pop choruses on the album and even a Big Star reference on the song Jackson, Don’t You Worry. The first single Lydia, is a good proof that they do have a lot of pop sense. A little bit of Elliot Smith in the verse and a stunning chorus that all pop fans would appreciate unless they are too shocked about the story of the almost illegal and at least morally questionable love affair presented in the song.

The ability to make wonderful power pop anthems is just one side to this story. If I try to become some wise-ass reviewer I could say the other two big ingredients in this ball game are countrified rock’n’roll in the vein of Lucero and co and the punk rock getting ready to meet the Boss a’la the early Gaslight Anthem or Jesse Malin. But mainly I should just cut this namedropping crap and say the only thing that you need to know. Sweet Saint Me is a great rock record and I just love listening to it. Micah Schnabel has become a really stunning songwriter during the last few years. Sweet Saint Me, the solo album and the previous Two Cow Garage album Speaking In Cursive introduce a huge amount of perfect or near-perfect rock songs. It’s still good to remember that this is not only a Micah show. Shane Sweeney again delivers a couple of great tunes that add some versatility to the album and the whole band is in excellent form.

Things that I don’t like. Well I don’t like the backing vocals on Insolent Youth at all and I prefer the version on youtube where Micah just plays it with an acoustic guitar by himself. But that’s pretty much it. Nothing else comes to mind right now. What a wonderful record.

Picture

Two Cow Garage Website
Two Cow Garage at myspace

Continue Reading

Quick review: Two Cow Garage – Lydia (single)

New Two Cow Garage single Lydia was released last friday and it’s freakin’ awesome. If you are a regular reader, you are well aware that I’m totally addicted to Micah Schnabel and Two Cow Garage and I’m eagerly waiting for their upcoming album Sweet Saint Me. I even went and bought this mp3 single and I’m not sure have I ever done that before (because I’m still an old-fashioned guy that prefers to buy records, but this time I couldn’t wait). Lydia is such a fantastic song and the ultimate punk rock Lolita. The lyrics are pretty marvellous altogether and that power pop chorus is stunning. Kind of like Elliot Smith meets The Replacements if we get into that scary and pointless namedropping. There’s no need though, because all that matters is that Two Cow Garage is one of the best rock bands out there right now and Sweet Saint Me is going to be one hell of an album.

Two Cow Garage Website
Two Cow Garage at myspace
Suburban Home Records at Bandcamp (you can listen to and buy the single in here, you’ll get a non-album b-side as well)

Continue Reading

Video of the Day #12: Micah Schnabel

Sorry for the little downtime. My old computer became a little too old and I thought it was time to buy a laptop. So the past couple of days I’ve been moving files and programs from the old computer to the new one, but most of that stuff is now done and I can get back to basics.

This video of the day thing must contain a little bit of Micah Schnabel. The seven regular readers know that I love this guy and rate his solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim as one of the finest albums of the whole year. Micah is also a frontman of the fabulous band called Two Cow Garage. Their new album is due out later in 2010 and will most definitely be a major contender for the album of the year award here at the One Chord to Another headquarters. This live clip is further proof that the album will indeed be awesome. Lydia is certainly another fantastic song. Looking forward to hear the studio version, because that might be rather perfect Elliot Smith & The Replacements meets cowpunk and power pop type of thing.

 

Thanks to the wonderful ninebullets.net for the video.

Continue Reading