Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RuoTo: Talvenselkä

Back to reviews and straight away out of my comfort zone, this is the first record that has been sent to me specifically for the purpose of being reviewed and it represents a genre that I am mostly not familiar with.

The first thing that comes to my mind, however, when listening to this album, is "why is that? This is some good stuff!" I mean, I can hear echoes of Pekka Streng, Kuusumun Profeetta, Rättö & Lehtisalo and Kuollut Etana in this, but beyond that I'm not sure how to classify this. Indie-alternative-rock-ish, maybe? In any case, I'm loving it.

With repeated listens, I was drawn into the hypnotic production that rather sounds like the band was playing right in front of you. The vocals, that admittedly sounded a bit grating for about 4 seconds on the first listen, started to sound like the most natural thing in the world. Especially at certain points where a line is repeated many times, I can picture myself sitting by a fire in a dark forest listening to these guys playing. Also, I think it says something about the catchiness of these tunes that I was already singing along on the second listen.

Now, a big allure of the album, for me, is the lyrics, delivered clearly and written well – in Finnish. I don't know how many of you readers (if there, indeed are any readers) are Finns – I assume most of you – but if you don't understand Finnish, you might lose a great deal of the experience (then again, your mileage may vary). However, Finnish is a fun language to know.

To sum up, here's a small band I wish would get bigger. They probably will never reach mainstream success, but a modicum of indie success would certainly be in order. At least enough for them to descend from their native northern Finland among us southern folk and play live (and not bankrupt themselves doing it).

Listen to Talvenselkä on spotify: RuoTo – Talvenselkä
Or on their Bandcamp page:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cloud music

A year and then some ago I began writing a post about cloud music, and while I didn't get far, now is an opportune time to revisit the subject. Here's what I managed to write all that time ago:
"Spotify and the likes have lately been gaining massive popularity around the world. They have been toted as the future of music distribution, and while that may be true, and I don't see myself as some sort of luddite, I haven't as of yet made these services a part of my musical experience."
 Now, since I wrote this, it took me a year before I signed up for Spotify. Why? Simply put, I thought it superfluous to use in addition to all the records I was buying. I suppose I thought I have little enough time to listen to the records I already own and wouldn't need a nigh limitless source of new music to distract me. I may have been right.

At the end of 2013, I decided I'd limit the amount of records I buy to 1 per month, and this gave me the idea to sign up for Spotify, if purely for the purpose of not being completely thrown out of the loop with regards to new releases. What I didn't imagine was that I'd get so hooked on the discover feature: based on my statistics on, at the time of signing up for Spotify I had listened to just under one thousand different artists or bands; now that figure is past 1,100. I have found myself steering away from the bands I've known and towards new stuff, of which I've found a metric shitton.

Then how do I feel about this? After realising my changed behaviour, I have tried to listen to old favourites as well as finding new ones, but the fact is that my listening habits have undergone a distinct shift in focus. I still listen to vinyls, every now and then I get a vinyl kick, especially if I have company, but just the fact that it's now that much easier to look up new stuff when someone mentions it has been a kind of a minor revolution, as I rarely could be bothered to go traipsing around youtube or, *gasp*, myspace (is myspace even a thing anymore?). Then again, this whole thing is still so new to me that I might not be really accustomed to it yet.

Oh, and I still take my ipod on the road instead of using Spotify on my phone, if for no other reasons than the inevitable battery drain and patchy mobile network that gives me trouble even when just browsing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The best of 2013 – my subjective list of 6 favourites

Another year went flying past and I found myself in possession of a bunch of new records. Looking closely, I found out a whole lot of them had come out in 2013, a lot more than I'd feel like putting on a list, so eliminations would have to be made. This proved to be quite the task, took me the better part of 3 weeks to get there, but I made it, and here's my favourite 6 albums from 2013, in no particular order, however, since I can't be arsed to take 3 more weeks to decide the exact order.

Domovoyd: Oh Sensibility
We played a gig with these guys in January, and I liked what I heard back then. Shortly afterwards, they were rising fast, with a confirmed gig at Ilosaarirock, one of the biggest rock festivals of the Finnish summer, and a deal with Svart Records, who put out this, their debut album. Upon listening to the album, I liked what I heard even better. This is a great debut effort and one of the 4 albums I had no doubt about putting on the list.

Moss: Horrible Night
Sounding like Electric Wizard's depressed little brother, Moss's latest was released bu Rise Above Records, who put out quite a few good albums last year. Of those, this was the best, in my humble opinion. Unabashedly slow and plodding, with riffs that flow through you like glaciers on acid. I can see why someone might think this is boring stuff, but to me it's the opposite: it's trance-inducing in the best way imaginable. Also, having previously only heard the Tombs of the Blind Drugged and Eternal Return EPs, I was surprised to hear clean vocals from Olly, but they work.

The Body: Christs, Redeemers
For me, as a fan of Thou and Khanate, this kind of sublime mix of ugliness and eerie beauty works wonders. I saw the video for the track "An Altar or a Grave" and nearly lost my shit then and there. Unforgiving, unrelenting, not an easy album to listen to, but tickles my fancy for the grimier things in life.

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats: Mind Control
You may remember me gushing about Uncle Acid's sophomore album, Blood Lust, some years ago. That in mind, I was a bit reserved about this one prior to hearing it. The album, however, met my expectations and surpassed them. The band kicked into doom gear and proceeded to pour honey into my ears. With an air of matter-of-fact seriousness, this is just a well thought-out whole.

Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu
From the first note of Oranssi Pazuzu's debut album, Muukalainen Puhuu, I've loved them, and, album by album, they've kept on one-upping themselves, evolving very naturally. Valonielu, their third effort, is no exception. Here's a hulking behemoth of aggression coupled with psychedelia to once again spirit me to another level of being.

Risto Juhani: Pimeä Saari
And to prevent you from thinking I'm some kind of a doom goblin entirely, here's something on a softer note (though not that much lighter, as this, too, is some pretty melancholy stuff). I heard like 2 songs on the radio last year that I actually liked, and one of them was from this album. As the rest of the album was on par with that one track, which I really liked, it was quite the easy decision to include this on the list.

In addition, I'd like to briefly mention some other albums that I quite liked that didn't make the list proper:
Deafheaven: Sunbather
Hebosagil: Lähtö
Cult of Luna: Vertikal
KEN mode: Entrench
Church of Misery: Thy Kingdom Scum
High Priest of Saturn: High Priest of Saturn
Ghost: Infestissumam

And on top of that, two albums that came out in 2011 and 2012 respectively, but that I only heard last year and think are worth a mention, are Mars Red Sky by Mars Red Sky ( and Sorrow and Extinction by Pallbearer (, so check 'em out.

To conclude, as I've been getting into Spotify lately, I've created playlists of these here records:
Best of 2013
Runners-up 2013 (missing Hebosagil and Church of Misery due to their unavailability)