The year comes to an end today and it is time to present the mandatory best albums list. There’s been plenty of good music hitting constantly my mailbox, but while going through my favourite 2013 Finnish albums, I realised that I listened to strong guitars this year and so the list reflects. As usual, it was painful to leave out some albums as it has been another great year of music from Finland. Thanks to all the artists for that.
10. Ritual Smoker – Not To Dominate But To Serve
Ritual Smoker‘s debut album is a very weird album: six songs over 30 minutes that experiment with rock sounds and fascinating atmospheres. The closer track Annihilating Pyre is epic.
9. Matti Jasu & The Close Encounters – Pin On the Map
On the heels of an excellent solo debut released in 2012, Matti Jasu recorded a new batch of songs, which are delivered in similar laid back, almost effortless manner. The Neil Young/Crazy Horse influence is strong and The New Year is the key song.
8. Death Hawks – Death Hawks
Death Hawks‘s follow up to the successful 2012 debut Death & Decay was not a disappointment. The continues creates its very own universe of psyched prog-rock, obscure folk and ancient kraut. I am not very fascinated with their live show yet, but the band delivers some interesting music in the studio.
7. The Lieblings – Take Us To Your Leader
The Lieblings released the party album of the year, a power pop gem with some fuzzy, Dinosaur Jr inspired guitars and some sweet, sweet melodies. It’s All Gonna Fall might be the best single of the year and the album would rank higher if the rest of the songs would have maintained the level of the opening track.
6. The New Tigers – The Badger
For some strange reason, it took me some time to get into The New Tigers new album. Perhaps the first single did not feel very attractive or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention when it came out. Whatever the reason, The Badger really deserves your time because it is a great collection of fuzzy guitar pop songs with a few effective ventures into dream pop.
5. Them Bird Things – Pachyderm Nightmares
It almost feels obscene that every release by Them Bird Things ends up in the best of the year lists, but the band’s recordings are so well crafted with such strong lyrics, and singer Salla Day’s performances are so heartfelt and special that, indeed, Them Bird Things’ albums are record of the year material. Besides some usual rockers, Pachyderm Nightmares showed the band exploring very intimate acoustic sounds.
4. Mushmouthed Talk – Foggy Notion
Leather jackets, beer bottles, smoking garage rock. That’s what Oulu trio Mushmouthed Talk promises and that’s what it delivers on its debut on 22-Pistepirkko’s label Bone Voyage Recordings. The song Love Is Hope simply rocks.
3. Beastmilk – Climax
Fronted by Helsinki-based Englishman Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, Beastmilk got quickly popular upon the release of Climax a few weeks before the year’s end. Songs about the apocalypse in post-punk form.
2. Kiki Pau – Pines
I really, really wanted to include Kiki Pau‘s Pines in the best of 2012 list, however, the album did not get a proper release until this year. When it finally got a physical release, it even came in glorious coloured vinyl and it showed a band reinventing itself, delivering some cool psychedelic jams. I’m not sure what these guys took to record this album but the result was magic. Perhaps the only reason Pines is not at the top of the list is that there have been only a couple of chances to see Kiki Pau live in 2013.
1. Black Lizard – Black Lizard
It is not a secret that I quickly became a fan of Black Lizard‘s psych rock. Mentored by Anton Newcombe in Berlin, this is a superb debut that has been followed by strong performances throughout the year. Enough spacey, enough rocking. The first single Love is a Lie is a classic.