The day Ziggy Stardust spoke with Argentine accent

capsula_ziggy_stardust

Like many others I’ve been revisiting the music of David Bowie -even finding some love for Earthling. Many musicians and artists have paid tribute in one form or another. But one of my favourite Bowie tributes is not that new.  A few years ago, an Argentine band called Capsula recorded a frenzied version of one of Bowie’s most charismatic album, Ziggy Stardust, from start to finish.

Originating from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but based in Bilbao, Spain, rock trio Capsula present some energetic and  psychedelic garage-glam and with ten studio albums they’ve become an important name in the underground rock scene. Praised by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, the band recently opened for Pearl Jam during their most recent South American tour. Just on time for Capsula’s next studio album, Santa Rosa, out this spring.

Capsula have always shared their admiration for Bowie. Nonetheless, the band’s name is inspired by Major Tom, and in their most-acclaimed album to do, Solar Secrets (2013) was produced by Bowie’s long-time collaborator Tony Visconti.

In 2012, Capsula made a bold move and decided to record their own version of the whole Ziggy Stardust album. They fittingly called it Dreaming of Ziggy Stardust. Capsula’s version of Ziggy Stardust is fast and furious, perhaps missing some of the nuance of the original, but gaining high energy rock’n’roll.

As it often happens with cover albums, some songs are better than others. Perhaps the highlights are Lady Stardust, which gets some South American psychedelia, and Hang On To Yourself played with some Ramones feeling.

More than a simple curiosity, Dreaming of Ziggy Stardust is very solid tribute, bringing a contemporary approach to the album. A bit more lo-fi, garage. A bit dirtier. Equally rocking.

This and other Capsula albums are available via Bandcamp in vinyl and digital versions. Check out below the album’s trailer and a live version of Suffragette City.

 

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The Country Dark – Demon In Bambi Lee

The Country Dark - 2016

Part hillbilly, part rockabilly. Next month Kuopio psychobillies The Country Dark are releasing their third album with the title of Hypnic Jerk. The band has shared the opening track Demon In Bambi Lee, and it quickly introduces to frivolous garage rock mixed with a little bit of cowpony and driven by twangy guitar. Throughout the album, we listen to a bunch of quirky lyrics inspired by horror, psychedelics outlaws and suicidal women. Somehow, one of the songs manage to pull off the lyric: “Useless Like a-tits on a boar”.

Hypnic Jerk includes a couple of covers. One is the the rock and roll classic Farmer John and the other, a version of Jimmy Wages’ Take me from this Garden Of Evil.

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The 10 best Finnish albums of 2015

A bit late on the schedule, but at last, here’s my end of the year recap: The 10 best Finnish albums of 2015. Looking at the list, it seems last year I listened to a bunch of psychedelic sounds, which is always nice. Read on and hopefully, you’ll discover some of the best contemporary Finnish music. Enjoy.

Scroll all the way dow to find a playlist compiling songs from all these wonderful albums. Check out the best Finnish albums of previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012.

 

10. Satellite Stories – Vagabonds

In 2015 Satellite Stories released their third full-length, Vagabonds, and it’s a pretty much a flawless indie pop album. Filled with catchy melodies and crazy dance rhythm, this album took the band to stages across Europe and even the US, and made many people dance.

9. Okra Playground – Turmio

Rooted in Finnish traditional music, Okra Playground use ancient folk instruments like bowed harp, kantele and accordion combined with pop beats to create modern soundscapes and sing obscure folk tales. The band’s debut album. Turmio, is a surprising and engaging piece of world music.

8. Domovoyd – Domovoyd

Domovoyd have been playing psychedelic doom since 2010 and in 2015 the band embarked on a cosmic trip on their fantastic second full-length. Based on a dark, hypnotic drone, the album’s first and last songs are around the 17 minute mark to revisit some prog-rock sounds.

7. Them Bird Things – The Bride Who Came To Yellow Sky

It’s become a tradition to include americana band Them Bird Things in the list of the year’s best, but their perfectly-crafted folk-rock-blues-country songs are too good to ignore. The Bride Who Came To Yellow Sky is the band’s fourth album in six years and it might be their weirdest and most psychedelic one

6. The Rollstons – Swiss Time

After a long break since their previous, the masters of power-pop The Rollstons came back with another bunch of precious songs with wonderful pop guitars and melodies. Awakening #7 is such an awesome song.

5. Jess and the Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

With a simple formula combining heavy riffing, galloping rhythm section, spaced-out organ and the powerful voice of vocalist Jess, the second album by Jess and the Ancient Ones takes us to the golden era of the Vertigo label in the early seventies.

4. Black Lizard – Solarize

Black Lizard had the difficult task of topping their astonishing debut, and sure they did. The band took a step forward and explored different sounds and textures while staying true to classic seventies acid rock. The result was a more diverse and brighter effort that keeps on sounding fresh months after its release.

3. Death Hawks – Sun Future Moon

Death Hawks continue their explorations of kraut and psychedelia. Sun Future Moon, their third album, is a little bit more slow-paced and organic, but equally mind-bending.

2. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Happiness In Every Style

Without a doubt, Happiness in Every Style is the funkiest album of 2015. Willis and her extraordinary band delivered a batch of soulful, elegant songs, perfectly arranged with the right amount of pop in its melodies. A special mention goes to the album’s closing track Hot Sauce, which is the sexiest, greasiest, hottest and smoothest song in a long time.

1. Jukka ja Jytämimmit – Jytää vaan

In just a few months Jukka Ja Jytämimmit became the most exciting, strangest and flamboyant Finnish rock and roll band. Equally fast, the band imploded and broke up hours before their gig at Flow festival. But while it lasted, the power trio published a hard-rocking, butt-shaking album with tons of boogie and quirky lyrics.

 

Here’s a playlist with a few songs from these albums.

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Hexvessel – Earth Above Us

Hexvessel

Come January eco-psychedelic-folk-rock band Hexvessel will return with a new album called When We Are Death. This is the band’s first full-length since 2012’s No Hollier Temple and the first recordings after vocalist Mat McNerney went to explore the apocalypse with post punks Grave Pleasures and its previous incarnation Beastmilk.

But if Grave Pleasure is the apocalypse, Hexvessel tries to prevent it with a sonic communion with nature. Hexvessel allows McNerney to go back to classic 70s sounds, inspired by forest and nature. Earth Above Us is the first single off the new album and even though it has pretty uncomplicated structure and arrangement, the track explores irresistible late 60s California psychedelic vibes, dominated by steamy B3 organ sound, and acid guitar solos.

You can still pre-order When We Are Dead via Pledge Music and get some additional goodies. And you better do it because 10%of all proceeds will go towards the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, who work to protect the Finnish forests.

Listen below to Earth Above Us and be transported to the deepest of the Finnish forest.

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Vasas flora och fauna – Gudförälder

Vasas flora och fauna

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.

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