Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Greatest Plan?

It's time for Eurovision Song Contest (Euroviisut) once again. Most European countries willing to participate are having their national song choice contests going on at the moment. On Friday, there was Finland's third and last semi-final on TV. What did we Finns hear and see? An international Finnish singer performing a completely structureless tune, hip-hop in sing language (whatever happened to music?), another schlager from every grandmother's favorite son, Mr. Sillanpää..

I was quite surprised when I suddenly heard melodic pop-rock played on the show! I had no idea what was about to happen, but the song made me tick right away. It was a band called Vink ("Wink" is probably the most accurate English translation..) that performed
a song called The Greatest Plan. It was an energetic piece of music, and slightly My Sharona-esque, I might add.. This band is a very new one, so it wasn't so strange that I had never heard of them. They've only released a couple of singles so far and their songs have been playing on the radio (that I never listen to - apart from the soul/funk/disco channel Finnish radio sucks big time.).

Vink's song didn't win the semi-final, neither it will most probably succeed in the "second chance round" that will take place in a week, but it was a really nice thing to hear among all those other songs, most of which were, in my opinion, (if not bad -) incredibly uninteresting - to say the least. Ever since Finland won the contest in 2006 with an 80s-styled hard rock tune
Hard Rock Hallelujah performed by Lordi, there have been many hard rock/heavy metal songs in Finland's national semi-finals, and other types of music represented include hip-hop, schlager (iskelmä), eurodance, and some other genres that are more difficult to define. There really seems to be little room for pop-rock and fresh melodic hooks in the contest.

Listen to this Vink's song, if you like.. According to the rules of Eurovision Song Contest, only lead and backing vocals are to be performed live in the contest while everything else is playback.

If you have no idea what this Eurovision Song Contest is and you'd like to find out, check out some info at Wikipedia.

Update: Vink made it to the finals but not the super-finals. Finland's representative for this year's contest is Waldo's People. They are a eurodance group that was quite successful in the late 90s. The song isn't entirely bad but.. Eurodance is the most predictable type of music you could ever send to ESC. I just gotta say that everytime someone starts speaking in music (instead of singing), it's such a huge loss for music. Music has the potential of being melodic, and there is nothing more magical than a good melody.

Vink - The Greatest Plan

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piece of the Action

A week ago, I witnessed my first gig of the year, and I really can’t help telling everyone about this extremely cool band. The band comes from a small Finnish town called Nakkila, and they are probably the favourite band of every alternative rock fan in the country. If they are not, they should be. They are Penniless.

The gig.. Man! The energy, the loudness, the amazingly catchy songs, the vocal harmonies, and the rocking sounds.. It was a gig I’ll never forget. The gig and all its greatness immediately made me want to listen to more of this band’s music. I actually bought their latest album The Attraction (2007) already when it came out but I never seemed to get excited about it at that time – it wasn’t clearly a time for rock music. Now, I’ve been enjoying this album for a whole week, and it just keeps getting better.. The eight listening was arguably the best – 20th must be even better!

According to various sources, Penniless’ music can be compared to bands and artists like Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer, Pixies, [early] Nada Surf, Bob Mould, Foo Fighters, and The Posies. I’d say the band also has something in common with other Finnish rock bands such as Sweatmaster and Hundred Million Martians. I’m not much of an expert because I haven’t even listened to Penniless’ entire catalogue yet, but I attend to.. The band used to be more punk-oriented in the past, I think, but nowadays their music is a nice combination of alternative rock and occasional power pop features. You won’t need to think too long to guess what the song Norman Blake is musically all about.

The Attraction is an utterly wonderful piece of rock music. I love every second of the album. Messenger was the first single, and it surely has some catchy riffs, among other good things. Opening track Action is also a killer, but Perfume is my personal favourite (check it out at MySpace). Tracks from #4 forward are all pure greatness: Police Dogs, Departures, Denial, Hitchhiker (“standing on the roadside!”). Cracks on the Road is the more peaceful spot of the album. In the end of the album you’ll find two more cool rock songs, Electric Blues and New Stuff. Then comes City Birds, a truly lovely song with emotion.. All in all, it’s a brilliant album. There’s energy, anger, other emotions, rock'n'roll attitude, melodic beauty, harmonies (interestingly some sections on the album sound like it’s Serj and Daron from SOAD harmonizing.. which isn’t necessarily the only thing that brings SOAD on mind), everything you need from a first class rock’n’roll experience. It’s got style!

Also, don’t forget to listen to Adam’s Apple Pie at MySpace! It’s the Posies.. No, wait, it’s Penniless after all…

Penniless at MySpace
Messenger Music Video
Adam's Apple Pie Music Video
Penniless Website (See Audio & Video section)

Hooks, Melodies, Harmonies… All For Free!

It’s a new year – a new year for all kinds of good pop! For starters, I’ll stop for a second to analyze the state my blog. One thing is clear: people want to hear music, not buy it immediately. It’s nice to hear the music you’re going to buy, and without proper music samples there’s no point in blabbing about music on the Internet.

So, perhaps I could increase the popularity of this blog by adding more links to free music (since it’s the only thing people seem to care about these days..). No, I’m not going to start any illegal activities, so the links are all going to be honorable – probably mostly music from I’ve come to notice that some bands release large numbers of songs at You can stream the songs on the artist pages.

I remember listening to old Not Lame podcasts about a year ago and there I heard a song called Dirty Girl by The Krinkles. It was one hit for a song and I ended up listening to it quite a many times and finally getting my hands on the band’s latest album The Mordorloff Collection (2007). The album was really good, and I listened to it many times while cycling to school last fall. Just a moment ago I finally realized that the group’s entire catalogue of songs seems to be freely listenable at

The Krinkles are described as a
 power pop/glam act. They come from Chicago. While I’m not very sure about the glam part, I guarantee you’ll find some rocking power pop gems among this material. Gimme Gimme, Stay With Me, and Best Friend are some examples of the group’s most recent sound. There are definitely many cool melodies and harmonies there, and of course hooks. There’s no hooky music without hooks, and if we didn't have hooky music.. Gees, I wouldn't want to imagine life without great hooks.

I also sincerely recommend listening to Blinded by Love. It’s a dark song, there’s even some desperation there.. Reminds of something grungy, like Kurt’s Nirvana, I think. If you like, check out the band’s cover version of Love Is Alright Tonite, and many tracks from their first two albums Three Ringos and Revenge Of The Krinkles. Listen if you feel like it!

The Krinkles at