Kvelertak - Fossegrim
My Kvelertak enthusiasm began already in the spring, but it continued all throughout the year. I moved to North-Norway in August and before moving Kvelertak was "my favorite Norwegian band." It still is one of them. The album this song is from - their debut, self-titled from 2009 - just does not get old. Neither does this song. The guitars alone in this song give me a 3 minute 33 second eargasm. Kvelertak should be releasing a new album in a short while, which I'm really looking forward to.
Sólstafir - Fjara
Ok. This song fucked my head up (in a positive way) sometime in October and it has stayed in my fucked up head ever since. Incredible beauty. I can't find a single flaw in this. I love the softness of the sound, the vocals, everything. The video for this song is also one of the best music videos I've ever seen. Great job guys.
Sólstafir - Æra
Another song from Sólstafir's latest album (Svartir Sandar/2011), this time at the other end of the scale from Fjara. A killer riff is almost all they need. Sólstafir magic takes care of everything else.
Sólstafir - Bitch in Black
More Sólstafir?? Well. Let me tell you. I went to Iceland for a week in November and before going, Fjara and Bitch in Black were the only songs by them I had listened to. (Sólstafir are from Iceland, in case you didn't know.) So these two songs were looping in my head the whole week, which I didn't mind. Of course I then had to buy Svartir Sandar in Reykjavik. Bitch in Black, however, is from Sólstafir's 1997 demo tape, and it's a song about a werewolf woman.. And it includes one of the prettiest lines you could ever sing to a woman: "Beauty like a grove of birches / Eyes that glare like burning churches / She offered me her soul." Aaah yes.
Skaur - Nordnorsk Svartmetall
I wrote about Skaur a while ago, how this album has been like the perfect soundtrack for my autumn 2012. Skaur are from Bodø so they identify themselves strongly as North-Norwegian, which is very fitting. This song is a great characterization of that identity. I don't think black metal from the south could sound like this, actually.
Iskald - The Orphanage
I want to write about Iskald more extensively at some point, but I'll start with this now. Iskald is Skaur's bass player's melodic black metal band, so you can't expect it to suck. In fact the album this song is from is surprisingly good and well produced, for a band that's not extremely popular. This is some good quality shit, people. Iskald is quite melodic and even catchy for black metal. I like it a lot and this song has been my favorite of the Revelation of Reckoning Day album (2008).
Iiwanajulma - Ehkä huomenna on toisin
One of my most listened Finnish albums this fall was Iiwanajulma's debut from 2007, Sitä ei ole mitä en näe. I wrote about their second album here. Their style on this album is alternative rock a bit on the melancholic, yet sometimes aggressive side. It is not as schizophrenic as the second album, and a lot of the lyrics are related to sex addiction and BDSM. Or at least that's how I've interpreted them. This song is one of the more emotional ones, if you can say that. I like the simplicity, and especially the vocals and vocal melody. The part at 1:17 when the singer's voice is rising to its full power is just amazingly good. What I also love about this song is that the structure is not conventional, as they play the "chorus" only at the end.
Iiwanajulma - Huume
The opening song of the said Iiwanajulma album is the perfect way to decline into madness. "Kyltymättömyyden minuun tartuttaa / Herättää sängystä vieraasta"
Tytär - Kuurokorva
Another Finnish band I totally found myself in this fall is Tytär, and their EP from 2009 (??), which I reviewed here. A lot of my fascination with Tytär is related to their lyrics and the way that the singer uses the Finnish language. The overall weirdness and unconventionality, and the aggressive groove, is what I also love in Tytär very much. This song is about being indifferent to what other people are saying, and that you shouldn't waste your time in trying to talk to me since I'm not listening and I don't give a fuck and I'm a "shitface" (direct translation) and I have no compassion. So fuck you."Surutta keskeytän kaikki lauseesi ja olen eri mieltä kaikesta mitä sanot / Olen paskanaama vailla myötätuntoa."
Taake - Hordalands Doedskvad Part III
If I could take this song out for a dinner and a movie, I would. And I would pay for it all. I think the guitar melodies and riffs in this song have got to be among the greatest ones I've ever heard. So incredibly good. The melody in the verse reminds me of Finnish folk music, actually.
Swallow the Sun - Hate, Lead the Way
The only song I have admitted to liking on the newest Swallow the Sun album. Well, actually, I don't just like this song, I fucking adore it. It's epic, grim, and depressing, and leaning towards black metal - particularly the vocals. For the sake of this greatness, I think I should give the album another try. "Close your eyes, make a wish / You know it's never going to happen / In this place we all die alone."
Petri Nygård feat. Sotajumala - Tossun alla
Petri Nygård might be an asshole of a rapper and his collaboration with Mokoma (Sarvet esiin, blergh) might have been a total flop, but combining forces with one of Finland's mightiest death metal bands and making a song about a guy who's totally pussywhipped, is actually pretty cool. "Mitä sä länkytät, et sä osaa puhuu? Onko siellä ketään? Vittu, huhuu!"
And now, let's move on to the more unexplored areas.
Susanne Sundfør - White Foxes
If I would have to describe this woman's voice with one word, it would be honest. It's just incredibly real. Not the least bit superficial, and her songs are also a bit out of the ordinary singer-songwriter stuff, which I respect a lot. I also have a soft spot for emotional music that is not too obvious, or too easy. This song has been really growing on me during the past few months.
Die Antwoord - Fok Julle Naaiers
South-African rap from the ZEF side takes a while to get used to. At first you might wonder whether this is even serious ("When dealing wif an idiot dere's really nuffing u can say / Next time u ask me 'is it real I'm gonna punch u in da face!"), but when you really get into Die Antwoord... you'll turn into a South-African zef gangsta ninja yourself and your self-confidence goes over the roof. Their lyrics are not that different from the more mainstream rap, but the coolness is in HOW they do it. Visually, linguistically, musically.
Ásgeir Trausti - Dýrð í dauðaþögn
This is extremely unexpected. Susanne Sundfør is understandable, but THIS.. I'm supposed to hate happy music, right? So wtf is this Icelandic indie singer-songwriter dude with a high-pitched voice and a positive vibe doing here? I blame Iceland and Reykjavik. This was playing at a very cozy cafe I visited in Reykjavik and I just got a warm fuzzy feeling out of it.. But Ásgeir Trausti is not everyday music for me. It does require a certain state of mind, and when I am in that state of mind, this is just perfect.
Gorillaz ft. Bobby Womack - Cloud of Unknowing
At first it was the song Melancholy Hill that got me into the Plastic Beach album by Gorillaz, but then later on I found myself enjoying this song the most. It doesn't sound like Gorillaz, but instead it's a peaceful, partly orchestral song with a beautiful vocal melody and lyrics. I love the line "On the cloud of unknowing my world seems open."
Massive Attack - Flat of the Blade
My love for Massive Attack hasn't been a secret. This year (last year) I have listened to them more than ever, particularly the Heligoland album. I chose this song for the list because it's been very important for me. Right now it takes my mind back to the first days of snow last autumn, and walks in the darkening nights. Beautiful melancholy. "How does it feel to kneel at the feet of the choices you've made?"
I could extend this list to the moon and back but I'll leave it to this now. But I have to add one more song that's quite a recent discovery for me - Umbilical by December. Thus far I haven't really found other songs by them that are this good but this hardcore screaming madness is SUPER good.