Vasas flora och fauna – Gudförälder
Mattias Björkas is known for the exquisite pop that his band Cats On Fire has created over the last decade (You know them, right? You should know them). However, this year, Mattias has focused his craft on a very peculiar project, which is equal parts pop and language exercise. With the distinctive band name Vasas flora och fauna, Mattias, along with pianist Iiris Viljanen, composes beautiful heartwarming pop songs and writes lyrics in Swedish, but not the regular Swedish you might learn at school in Stockholm. Vasas flora och fauna songs are sung in the local Swedish dialect, spoken in Vaasa, Mattias hometown in the Northwest of Finland. This makes the music pretty unique, as probably nobody has recorded in this dialect before.
Some weeks ago, I had the chance to meet Mattias and asked him what was the starting point for this project as there were no previous musical references. That was a challenge and an opportunity for him. “The starting point was the language itself, to find out what happens when I write and sing in the language closest to my heart, the language I learnt while I was growing up. I wondered myself what I could sing using this language. When I started writing, some doors open and some doors closed. In English you can sing about anything because it has such a large vocabulary, but this was different.” Using his childhood language allowed Mattias to look at his past, putting feelings into songs that were not possible when writing in English for Cats on Fire.
There’s still one opportunity to catch a Vasas flora och fauna show this year as the band will play at Korjaamo this Saturday, in a double bill with Iisa, the lead singer of indie band Regina.
Puunhalaaja – Post-it-lappuja
Who’s the tree hugger? The debut album by Puunhalaaja is a mystery, a beautiful one that is. There’s not much information available about Puunhalaaja, the latest addition to Soliti’s roster. No previous recorded music is known, no shows played before. Even the promo picture only let us see a blurry face in the dark. So, who’s the tree hugger?
What we do know is that this artist, whoever he is, has recorded an album born of love and the saturation of jamming, all played, produced and mixed by Puunhalaaja, by himself. The music brings a variety of sounds, bridging the folk tales of Pekka Streng with the fuzzy fantasies of Pavement. Those who understand Finnish can read the artist own description of the music:
”Puunhalaaja on oikeastaan maunulalainen juttu, sillä ilman Maunulaa ja tiettyä possea ei voisi olla näitä biisejä. Albumi syntyi rakkaudesta ja kyllästymisestä jammailuun, ehkä pohjaksi uusille sessioille, kun musiikkia on niin vaikea muuten selittää.”
Puunhalaaja’s self-titled debut will be out on 20 November via Soliti and here you can check out the second single Post-it-lappuja. This song might surprise you by its uncomplicated sound, but will sure quickly grown on you with its easy-going charm.
Sponsored Video: 25 years of Ice Ice Baby
Some songs are bigger than life and once heard, they cannot be unheard. Twenty-five years ago, Robert Matthew Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, topped the charts with the smash hit Ice Ice Baby, a song that proved that hip hop could go mainstream and paved the way for the Kanye Wests to come. It was rap’s first Billboard number one.
The song draw images like “To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal, Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle”, or “Dance, go rush the speaker that booms, I’m killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom”, but it was the familiar bassline what created the earworm. Without permission, Vanilla Ice sampled Queen and David Bowie’s 1981 song Under Pressure, even though he would not admit his sources at the time. The issue was later resolved out of court for an undisclosed sum.
The song was initially released as the B-side to the rapper’s cover of Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music, but the legend goes that a radio DJ played the wrong side once and the rest is history.
Vanilla Ice never got another number one, but he dated Madonna and even appeared in the singer’s controversial book Sex, published in 1992.
Twenty-five years later, Vanilla Ice is the star of online casino company Casumo and its campaign to make Finland the funniest country on Earth. Check out the video below and see Vanilla Ice’s tips to start having fun in the darkest days of the year. It is a pretty funny video and includes simple tips like smiling, be friendly or in the worst case scenario, traveling to Florida searching for sun.
Post sponsored by Casumo
Pearly Gates – Glass Eyes
There’s no sign of snow in Finland yet, but if you find yourself longing for the first snow, watch the latest video by hard rock band Pearly Gates and have a little peak of a winter loneliness. The grunge-inspired power ballad Glass Eyes is included in the band’s latest release, Unchained, a four-song EP in which the band develops the full power of its three-guitar attack and dense rhythm section, while respecting melody and pop hooks. Your classic hard rock songs from Finland.
Check out the Glass Eyes video below and besides snow, see also the band playing as if recently landed from outer space.
Premiere: 23:23 – Letters
By now, you should be aware that 23:23 is the nocturnal music adventures of Delay Trees frontman Rami Vierula. A one-man side project for a series of lo-fi home recordings in the form of fuzzy, dreamy songs that recently have been compiled and released as the 23:23 Album Trilogy.
Today, you can listen the first taster from a brand new EP called To Die On A Faraway Island With You, which will be out in early October via Soliti. The track Letters is a poignant duet with Ringer Manner (The Hearing, Pintandwefall), in which a backdrop of noise and fuzz supports a heartbreaking pop melody. The singer yearns for unanswered letters (‘full of my I miss yous’) sent to a long lost love, before the song brightens up, finding a ray of hope. Imagine Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, watching Dinosaur Jr videos and recording late at night in a basement while they wait for the sun to rise.
Lucky me, I already had the opportunity of listening to the whole EP and I can only say it features some of Rami’s strongest songwriting ever. With an accented sad-pop sensibility (think Big Star), at times, the music is painfully beautiful.
Check out Letters below and while you wait for this new EP to arrive, why don’t you read the thoughtful review of the 23:23 Album Trilogy, written by fellow Rosvot Markku on Maitohotelli?