Music I Like: Linstrøm – Smalhans

Posted on .

This installment of music-i-like deals with a specific album, because I feel like I don't know enough about the artist Hans-Peter Lindstrøm to talk about him in general, but I still want to share the album in question. Smalhans (2012) is refreshingly different album from what I usually listen to. It has a simple formula: simple melodies on top of beats that steadily keep on going, all building towards… well, it doesn't matter. In Smalhans it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Perfect music for when you are driving but are not in any rush to get to where you are going. Also, it has fun track names, like Fāār-i-kāāl and Ęg-gęd-ōsis.

Music I Like: AURORA (2012–)

Posted on .

AURORA, or Aurora Aksnes, is my latest discovery. She is a young Norwegian singer with an awesome voice and who is already showing some serious promise as a songwriter – she has written most of her songs herself, and they already sound – to me – better than those from some famous popstars. AURORA has been gaining popularity fast recently, getting good reviews and being endorsed by people like Katy Perry.

What I like about AURORA, other than her being a really good singer, is that she conveys a lot of her emotion through her hands and body while she sings. In some songs she can be seen clutching her dress as if to keep her from exploding, whereas in others she dances around the stage in a frenzy. That makes her live sessions fun to watch – and as with any good artist, they are as good as, or even better than the studio versions.

Still waiting for that album, though. I hear it's coming in the beginning of 2016 and I can barely wait. AURORA has, in a week's time, dominated my 365-day "Most played tracks" statistic (one more playthrough and every track on the top 10 will be hers). I'm expecting great things from her.

Music I Like: Linnea Henriksson (2010–)

Posted on .

This is kind of a funny entry since I'm usually not into this kind of radio pop, but for some reason Linnea's songs work for me. I don't know why, but I'm not ashamed to admit it either. Just listen, they're good.

Music I Like: CHVRCHES (2011–)

Posted on .

A relatively new electronic band consisting of Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and the main vocalist Lauren Mayberry. I bumped into this band while reading the Guardian one day, randomly clicking on an article about Internet bullying. Turns out Lauren had received a lot of terrible messages on the net and had written an article about the matter. I decided to check them out on YouTube and was blown away. I bought their album The Bones of What You Believe the same day and the next one, Every Open Eye, when it was available. As a fan of many kinds of electronic music their tracks really click for me. I really enjoy Lauren's singing voice, and the sound that accompanies it is really good both technically and musically. I think my favorite moment is when the melody hits in the song Tether (the first example below).

Music I Like: First Aid Kit (2007–)

Posted on .

A Swedish folk duo consisting of two sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg. From their sound you would never guess they were Swedish, though. They sing american-ish folk and country songs in a really soothing way, and their voices form some of the best harmonies I have heard. Their story is what modern technology has made possible: they uploaded themselves singing duettos on MySpace and were subsequently picked up by a record label. I was never really into this kind of music before, but instantly got a liking to their albums. I really recommend checking them out.

Music I Like: Katzenjammer (2005–)

Posted on .

A remarkable band of four women from Norway. An amalgamation of talent in both singing and playing, the band members play a total of fifteen instruments, which they switch between seamlessly during their live gigs. Their music is really something different, hard to describe and hard to put a label on. That is why I won't even try to pick a genre for them, they need to be heard to truly know. A total shame, though, that their latest album, Rockland, failed to live up to my expectations and was quite toned down from the previous two. It wasn't bad, it was just… ok. Here's hoping they will release more music in the future and catch some of that spark again.

Music I Like: Trio Töykeät (1988–2008)

Posted on .

Trio Töykeät are the name to know in Finnish jazz. Extremely well crafted jazz pieces played with precision and finesse. The musicians themselves are the best Finland has to offer in the genre. I can't find more words to describe their special qualities, so maybe let the examples speak for themselves.

Music I Like: Bo Kaspers Orkester (1991–)

Posted on .

To me, Bo Kasper (Bo Sundström) is the J. Karjalainen of Sweden. Maybe that's a blasphemous statement to some, but I find many parallels between them. At the very least I enjoy listening to both of them equally. Bo Kaspers Orkester have consistently upped themselves through the years, creating some awesome jazz, rock and pop songs. Personally I have enjoyed each record more than the last one, culminating in Du borde tycka om mig.

Music I Like: J. Karjalainen (1981–)

Posted on .

A huge name in Finnish rock music, he is also a very prolific singer-songwriter that has covered rock, blues, country and other genres with success. Some of the most memorably tunes in Finnish music have come from his inventive mind. He has a very recognizable singing voice and deals with all kinds of different themes in his songs. Personally I enjoy the big variety of his discography and his signature harmonica sound, which can be heard in many songs.

Music I Like: Leevi and the Leavings (1978–2003)

Posted on .

EDIT 2015-11-17: I decided to split these up to different posts for easier referencing and easier updating later. See the tag music-i-like to view them all.

Since this is a blog about stuff I want to tell people, I thought I'd make a series of posts about something I love: music. These posts will also serve as a reference for the odd occasion that I tell someone what I like to listen to. My taste in music is somewhat varied and my music library has a lot of stuff in it. That's why I will only cover some of the the artists I like listening to most. One could kind of approximate it from my statistics, but I tend to listen using "Shuffle All" nearly all the time, so the stats will be skewed in favor of artists with lots of tracks (such as 植松伸夫). For each artist I will tell something about them and then add a couple of examples from YouTube. The artists I post about are not in any particular order.

Leevi and the Leavings (1978–2003)

This may be somewhat strange for the international crowd. A very prolific Finnish rock/pop band that released album after another. They were pretty popular in Finland and many of their songs are still very popular in the radio, even though they disbanded after the death of the band's lead, Gösta Sundqvist, in 2003. A couple of noteworthy facts: every single one of their songs was composed, written and arranged by Gösta, and the band never officially did a single live concert. Their songs are very Finnish in their content, usually dealing with the daily struggles of ordinary "little people". Personally I like Gösta's lyrics that often highlight things you don't think about in a tragicomic way, and his catchy melodies in many songs.