You know by now that I’m super into the Finnish scene, right? Well, I owe that entirely to my friend Nick, who at one point worked with Gim Kordon on his own Soliti label. But, the band’s own Aleksi has started a new label titled All That Plazz, who will be releasing future music from GK…for now they’re teasing that with a new single. This has a great 90s college rock feel to it, kind of hints at scuzzy, but plays a bigger role with a huge pop sensibility; its the sort of sound that wouldn’t be far out of line with a Merge or Sub Pop, particularly in the late 90s…so you know everyone here is on board. We’ll keep you posted on more, but just wanted to have you dip your toes in some jams from overseas.
First, I’m really really into what Finnish outfit Rules are doing at the moment. They’re crafting these undeniably catch pop tunes, built around heavy synth work and melodic vocals you can’t hide from. Sure, tons of folks are doing that at the moment, says you, but none quite so convincing at this duo. Plus, through their work, they’re also utilizing their love for literature and literary storytelling alike. This single is based upon the Raymond Carver short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love;” so, as a person dabbling in the teaching of English, I’m always drawn to those who utilize literature in their own storytelling. They will be releasing their debut album on August 21st via Soliti.
Helsinki four-piece Love Sport are no stranger to these pages, particularly with their latest batch of rocking singles. But, today we’ve got more than singles, we’ve got the whole album for you to stream before it’s official release this Friday! While “The Biggest Liar in Town” introduces the record with the group’s own brand of alternative rock, they’re not here looking back to the good ol’ days, instead channeling a “vision of four friends playing music together.” My standout favorite was “Life’s a Joke” at the beginning; it kind of reminds me of the Men if they were to bring on more of a pop flavor. “Keying Cars” was a nice little twist too, tossing in this slow burning ballad that brims with pop sensibility. Walking away, “Giant Hoof” might also be my favorite jam…those guitars falling off the tracks, only to be reined in by the vocals! And Justice for All has a little something for everybody! Look for the record Friday via Soliti Music.
Back at the beginning of this pandemic we were introduced to the literature-influenced synth pop act Rules; their first single was an homage to Haruki Murakami. This time round, they’re reimagining JM Barrie’s Wendy, telling the story through sparkling pop. I like how the shimmering synth work sort of hangs back; it definitely swells in your ears, but it doesn’t get int he way for the performance of Iiti Yli-Harja’s vocal performance. She comes in with a hint of 80s pop nostalgia coming across like a more rehearsed Tiffany; there’s just this extreme frivolity in her voice, and I can’t pull away. The group release their self-titled debut this August courtesy of Soliti Music.
Finnish act Love Sport have been away for a few years, but they’re back with a new tune that’s worthy of a good Thursday morning listen (it’s Thursday, right?). The tune starts out with a definite purpose, hitting hard with discordant notes ringing out furiously so as to set the scene for the voice. Those vocals have this faint hint of psychedelia in them, sort of curling the notes and softening them with a faint wizardly attitude. There’s a nice little cleanser at the song’s close, as the energy recedes mildly and draws the song to a close. Let’s hope the band has more to offer us in 2020.
Admittedly, Pintandwefall were not on my radar at all until this year when they announced their new album with our friends over at the Finnish label Soliti Music. But, since then I’ve fallen head over heels for the band’s sound; I can’t help but think they’d be huge if the US/UK press caught on to them. This track opens in more of a brooding fashion, carefully moving before taking on heavier tones, though always employing great melody in the vocals. For me, the biggest success in this song, however, is the bits between the verses…space-y pop vibes galore. I promise you that you’re going to love Your Stories Baby, out next week!
A couple of the tracks from this Pink Chameleons EP have hit our site before, kind of bringing back that dark psychedelic vibe into our radar. Personally, “Melting Face” might be one of my favorite tunes of the year, particularly when that chorus sort of drops in and courses through your veins…like the best song BRMC never wrote. In the end, however, one of the great things about Songs EP is that the band sound tight while traveling through various nods to their favorite genres; they seem to be honing their craft before your very ears, flirting with the edges of everything you love. I can’t stop listening to the delicate ballad that is “Reach Out,” which in the end might be my favorite of this batch of great tunes. “Smile” offers some sonic exploration from within the band’s sound, and then it’s closed out with “Word Out,” a tune that ends your listen with this heavy swagger that guarantees the band loads of coolness points. Songs EP is out Friday via Soliti Music.
I don’t know if you’re ready for this new tune from Pintandwefall; it might just be the sweetest tune you’re going to hear this week. The Finnish supergroup have been at it for over a decade, and here you can hear how the years have developed fine craftsmanship. The musical elements are kind of low in the mix, which is perfect, as the track is really all about the vocal elements. I love the lightly angelic tones of the lead voice here, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful if you didn’t have the chorale atmosphere behind it; its vocal texturing at its very best. Such a powerful number; it will be on their new effort, Your Stories Baby, which is being released by Soliti Music on January 17th (apparently in honor of my birthday).
For many of us, music is escapism. We wrap ourselves in our headphones and let go of everything around us. Perhaps no one is better at creating that sonic cocoon than Finnish outfit Cats of Transnistria, especially once you delve into the depths of Aligning. “Mountain High” opens things up, almost as an album itself, offering delicate touches and heavy notes to whet your appetite going forward. “Vampire” offers up the angelic beneath it’s brooding atmospherics, patiently bringing the vocals to rest atop. As you move into “Born Again,” a darker texture seeps in, though its still interrupted by the soaring vocal performance…if anything this only makes the song more haunting. In order to bring you out of that darkness, they offer up “Light” and “Wild Herbs,” sharing a natural warmth that provides the proper balance to the collection of songs; I think the latter is possibly my favorite track on this LP. The close of the album is much like the beginning, as “Aligning” seems very much like its own entity, book ending the listen with this exhilarating sonic exploration. If your one such listener looking for that other worldly experience, then grab Aligning from Soliti Music, out worldwide this Friday.
I’ve been covering the Finnish music scene for the last several years, and generally, I feel as if I’ve got a fair understanding of the musical landscape. That said, Cats of Transnistria always keep me guessing, as they seemingly do within their own works; they’ve evolved into this sort of brilliant slow-core pop act that fans of Bedhead or early Low would fawn over. Here, you feel the emotional tension build for over 2 minutes before the vocal notes dare peek into the track. From there we add textures, and at times, it seems like we’re losing touch with melody, losing ourselves in this discordant moment, only to be calmed by the warm blanket of song. I love the little imperfections, or the ones that seem as such, illustrating a desire to capture every emotion in its present state, perfect or not. This is cinematic brilliance captured in song form, which is what we can expect when Aligning drops via Soliti Music on November 29th.