Premiere: Paltsa-Kai Salama – Summer of Nothing
Sun is shining strong in Finland this week and this unseasonably hot weather calls for an upbeat dancing-in-the-sun song. We are lucky! Today Rosvot premieres a new single by Black Lizard’s Paltsa-Kai Salama, and it’s just that: a refreshing and groovy tune.
Despite its nihilistic title, in Summer of Nothing Salama sends some positives with a song driven by a catchy reggae-funk beat, and a feel-good desire. The singer’s first solo single, Ran Out of Love, reminded us of early seventies California folk-rock, but Summer of Nothing fast-forwards a few years in the decade and goes for a late seventies Grateful Dead’s Shakedown Street type of disco-funk jam.
Paltsa himself explains the idea behind Summer of Nothing:
“The song is my attempt to pay heed to mid 1970s reggae and funk influenced tracks by the likes of The Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones. Summer Of Nothing refers to fixing your life, not necessarily within a particular relationships but as a whole. It’s about wanting to feel good again.”
After a few solo shows earlier in the year, Paltsa has put together The Paltsa-Kai Salama Band which will make their live debut very, very soon (see dates below after the video).
Watch the video for Summer Of Nothing and see the band play in their rehearsal room.
13 May – Paltsa-Kai Salama Band (+ Black Twig) Korjaamo , Helsinki
04 June – Paltsa-Kai Salama, Purple Clouds Psych Club, Tampere
10 June – Paltsa-kai Salama (+ Lee Ranaldo Trio) Kuudes Linja, Helsinki
Black Twig – Sunday TV
Sunday TV is the last track off Black Twig’s third full-length Blaze on a Plain and closes an album, which is packed with uplifting, easy-going guitar pop sounds. Possibly the strongest batch of songs the band has produced.
According to the media blurb, Blaze on a Plain is self-recorded, self-produced and self-engineered, in true DIY fashion manner. This time the band recorded over a longer period of time, but playing mostly live, with minimal overdubs. The immediacy and simplicity show throughout the album, with the songs flowing at a fast pace, but always sounding very relaxed. Despite a few interludes of fuzzy guitars, Black Twig always puts melody first at all times and that makes the music pleasant and very agreeable. Definitely, this is a bunch of songs to listen on a sunny day by the pool or lake, drinking a glass of lemonade.
Blaze on a Plain is out now on vinyl, cassette and digital via Soliti.
Record Store Day 2016: Shut Up And Take My Money
This Saturday is the ninth annual edition of Record Store Day and, yes, like many other obsessive record collectors, I will also be in line early in the morning, ready to spend my hard-earned savings in a bunch of exclusive releases. Any day should be record store day, but the third Saturday in April has gotten a little bit more significant. At least it’s a day when record shopping becomes mandatory, because you have to support your local record store, right?
Yes, originally, the event was created as a way to support indie record stores, but in the last couple of years criticism is increasing and questioning if RSD really helps record stores. The exclusive releases that attract buyers in the first place are also killing all the fun. Prices are becoming ridiculously high, speculators are buying the specials release, which hours later (or even before RSD) appear on eBay and Discogs with an even higher price tag. A good amount of money that should support record stores goes somewhere else.
The whole Record Store Day idea has gotten a little bit weird. Instead of spending time in the record store, buyers and collectors, like old ladies on the sales opening day, are storming into the shop to get their hands on the exclusive releases, elbowing their way through. But If they don’t luck out at the store, there’s always the internet. Or in the worst cases, those eager buyers will sell what they just bought to make some easy money from other eager record collectors.
Nevertheless, for good or for bad, people are spending good money on records. That should be good.
The exclusive and limited release are also a nightmare for collectors and completists. As not every release reaches all markets, it gets difficult and financially painful to get ahold of some releases. If you’re like me and want to have everything from your favourite, RSD is nerve-racking, it creates voids in your collection.
This year, the item I’m anxious for is the reissue of the Heartworn Highways documentary and its soundtrack. The film, which covers the beginnings of the outlaw country movement in the seventies, comes in hand crafted custom wood box, an LP-sized 80-page book, bonus DVDs and a double LP of whiskey coloured wax. I just want it. But this release is limited to 1 500 copies worldwide and none seem to be reaching Finland. Heartbreaking.
Of course, I could skip going to any stores on RSD and invest my money on one of the Heartworn Highways copies that I’m sure will be on eBay early on Saturday. Will I do that? Of course, not. There are plenty of other goodies to find.
Looking at what will be released in Finland, this is my shopping list.
V/A : Nuggets – Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vault
The Nuggets compilations are essential for any fan of the first psychedelia era. This one was first released in 2004 and includes a selection of 24 obscure psychedelic and garage songs from the mid sixties. The original release has been long out of print, so this is a a very good opportunity to get this album before it’s gone again. What makes the deal sweeter: it comes on purple marbled vinyl.
Big Star : Complete Columbia: Live at Missouri University – 4/25/93
Only a band like Big Star would make a comeback in a place in the middle of nowhere like Missouri University. In the nineties, Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens reformed Big Star with the help of The Posies Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer. The first reunion show is not published in its entirety in a double LP.
V/A : The Other Side of Sun: Sun Records Curated by RSD, Volume 3
One of the highlights of record store day has been specially curated compilations from the Sun Records catalog by participating record stores. This year, the release is even more special as it focuses on obscure soul, garage, and psychedelic gems, rather than the classic rockabilly sound associated with the label.
Grateful Dead: Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ – 4/25/77
How many Grateful Dead albums can you have? Every record store day offers a Grateful Dead live album. These releases have unearthed less known shows, not available before. Now it’s time for a complete show from 1977 in a 4-LP box. The artwork is beautiful and the show has an incredible setlist (http://www.dead.net/show/april-25-1977), including New Minglewood Blues, Terrapin Station, Scarlet Begonias and Playing in the Band > Wharf Rat > Playing in the Band sandwich to end the show.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Kiss my amps vol. 2
This is a case of total completeness. A random selection of recent Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers live cuts do not seem to make the most attractive exclusive release. However, this set, which includes covers of The Byrds, Little Feat, The Monkees and The Travelling Wilburys, will be a nice companion to the live anthology box set published a few years ago.
Game plan: where to buy first?
How to get my hands into these records? It’s not that easy as it seems. Some items will be available long after the day is over, but some others will just fly off the shelves in a matter of minutes. With all the record stores opening at the same time, what will be the best place to start?
Fortunately, there are still a good amount of record stores in Helsinki, and a few of them are RSD participating stores. On their websites and Facebook pages, Black & White, Keltainen Jäänsärkijä and Levykauppa X have at least partly published the list of records they’ll be selling. But can I trust those? What if something has not be announced? Where will be there the bigger lines?
It’s time to create a game plan.
Finland at Tallinn Music Week 2016
The Tallinn Music Week festival is kind of a spring break for the Finnish music industry. Dozens of artists, record company people, managers, journalist and bloggers travel to Tallinn to take part in the conference, mingle, network, attend the festival and why not, enjoy nightlife at a much more affordable cost than in Finland.
The Finnish representation is large, and so the music programme reflects it. This year, Flow festival has organised a very special night of hip hop and electronic music with artists, including Noah Kin, Jaakko Eino Kalevi and Lil’ Tony. For something more mainstream, some bands with long established careers, like metalheads Mokoma and Stamina will play at the metal music showcase. More interestingly, Tallinn Music Week is an opportunity of discovering upcoming new artists. Whatever you prefer, music will be everywhere.
Here are my picks for Tallinn Music Week.
After fronting for over a decade Disco Ensemble, one of the most successful alternative rock bands in Finland, Miikka Koivisto went full electronica with his solo project Hisser. The live shows, which include singer Seidi Guzejevia and producer Lauri Eloranta, are of high intensity thanks to a frantic pace, a stream of intense beats and a mesmerising sound palette.
Hisser will play at Sinilind on 31 March. Earlier on the same day you can see perform at Must Puudel cafe while you enjoy a piece of cake.
Electronic rock trio K-X-P are always a welcomed addition to any festival. Their jedi-like appearance and the unconventional mix of music genres are hard to forget. The band’s explorations of progressive space rock and cinematic ambient techno continue on its third album, III Part 1 & 2.
K-X-P will play at the Tallinn Music Week opening party on 31 March.
The moniker might be a little bit misleading, but it’s a fun one. Tampere’s electronic solo artist Grateful Däd makes music using children toys and each song is a unique trip through a world of industrial sounds, noise and quirky atmospheres.
Grateful Däd will play on 2 April at the MIMStuudio Noise showcase.
I recently wrote about the Merries new single (http://rosvot.fi/glue/merries-travel-to-the-sun), which represents well what you can expect at their show: a good dose of fun, energetic guitar-driven pop. The lyrics of Travel To The Sun are dedicated to a departed friend and that makes the song feel a little bit bittersweet, but adds more depth to the music.
Merries will play on 2 April at Kultuuriklubi Kelm.
Barely 20, DJ/producer Alex Mattson is set to become the next EDM superstar after singing to Ultra Music, home of Benny Benassi, Steve Aoki and Paul van Dyk among others. Last year, Mattson performed his deep house sound at the biggest festivals in Finland and just released his first solo single.
Alex Mattson will perform at club Hollywood on 2 April.
Helsinki’s Elifantree have already released three full-length in which they smartly combine improvised music and laid-back pop. Their latest album, Movers and Shakers, presents more danceable sounds, but without forgetting their jazz origins. This should make a very fun and energetic show.
Elifantree will play at the jazz showcase on 1 April.
[ówt krì] is the phonetic writing of the word “outcry”, and under this peculiar moniker, multi-instrumentalist Kenneth Kovasin creates ambient soundscapes, experimenting with elements of metal, noise and minimalism. The compositions are dense, often transforming into a hypnotic drone.
[ówt krì] will play on 2 April at the TMW: MIMStuudio Noise Showcase.
Merries – Travel To The Sun
The recipe for a good power pop song is very simple. You need a catchy (pop) melody and some (sweet) vocal harmonies, driven by melodic (power) guitars. All these elements are very much present in Travel The The Sun, the new single by Helsinki six piece band Merries. Fronted by siblings Juha and Milla Härmä (careful with that!) and inspired by indie rock bands like The Lemonheads, Merries are set to release their second album this summer. This will be great for a sunny Saturday morning.
A very limited 7’’ vinyl single is available in different colours of wax via Royal Mint Records. Known for putting out an intense show, Merries will play at Tallinn Music Week on 2 April.
Check out below the 90s-inspired video and you’ll find yourself humming the song next time you look at a bunch of bananas.