Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday Feature: Calm Hands

Somehow when I listen to the opening track Ghosts, I start to think of John Secada's hit song Just Another Day, which is such a good thing, because I've been hoping to hear something similar in God knows how many years! You'll probably disagree with me in this one, and you're absolutely right. Or not absolutely, because I swear there's a hint of Just Another Day in it. There's also something Simple Red-ish in the voice too.

Despite all this, one-man- project of Keith Bradford's from Aurora is something completely of its own. For a few years now indie pop/electro has ruled the music scene, but I could say that Calm Hands is the best act representing that genre that I've heard in a long time! His EP Somewhere June is just simply filled with delightful hooks and melodies, whether slightly melancholic or energetic, you'll easily catch yourself from moving your head and feet to the beats. And I bet you get nostalgic of something when you listen to it.

I'm getting notalgic already about hearing this kick-ass EP for the first time. What about you?

thanks to wasfuersohr for recommending

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fun. @ The Circus, Helsinki

September 25th, 2012

Fun at the circus. Unbelievably ungoogleable. Unbelievably amazing.

After attending so many gigs in Amsterdam and especially in London, I did still remember how passionate the Finns could be at gigs. But I thought to myself that this mainly happens at big venue.

What a reality check.

The line in front of the doors was so long that we could have easily had a couple of beers more and not see the difference. I mean what were the odds for many people lining up in front of a night club. The odds were that the main act was the reason for drawing a full crowd.

New York's own rocky poppy fab trio Fun. has done extremely well back home and here too by getting a lot of plays on radio and TV. And apparently their support act Walk The Moon has been doing a pretty good job, even though I haven't heard their music before. But never mind me, when most of the audience were singing to their songs, which made me think that they're probably the first supporters that I've seen to be that well-received. They were like the main act already with that constant screaming from fans.

It continued even when they took their instruments out of the stage. Every single time someone walked pass. Nothing wrong with that though, as they did deliver. Plus the singer had such a nice sweater.

So, when I nearly lost my hearing with almost everyone giving all they got from their lungs, then imagine when Fun. got on stage. Or actually throughout the whole time they were on AND OFF the stage. Through the bloody shrieking I couldn't hear how loud I myself shouted. Usually at gigs people sing along to the most famous songs. There it weren't only the hits, but every single song! I was so amazed, and kept thinking in my mind that in London this could never happen. Before I thought Londoners were dull, now comparing to this they're kind of the living dead at gigs.

Also, you know when pretty much every band says something good about the city they're playing in, and it's most of the time just them pleasing the crowd. At that gig every word they said and every smile were completely sincere. How do we know this? Because even without them saying anything, it could be heard, seen and felt that this is the type of an audience musicians dream to play to.

I was waiting for them to say that we were the best gig they've played so far. Almost! As we were the best in Europe so far, which made me wonder, which crowd in America beats us. Perhaps their families and friends? Please tweet the answer to me!

What surprised me the most was their love for Moomins. Forget Angry Birds, bring on the Moomins bags and stuff! "Helsinki is the shit", they say.

Despite of the show being a high-energy non-stop crazy ride, there was still a moment for calming down. I'm pretty sure many fans got teary eyes at this moment. Like the uploader of the video describes;

Probably the best night of my life. Sorry about the shaking in the beginning, I had to give the camera to my sister because I was too emotional/tired to hold it steady.

Here's a song about singer Nate's parents.

My friend's only comment of the gig "it was so good for the singer's feet to be without shoes". She studies podiatry.

thanks fun. and fellow fun fans for making me deaf and lose my voice. but it was all worth it. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday Feature: Amanda Palmer

During my internship in London, I'd ask every day a colleague what their favorite song of 2011 was and share it on our Facebook page. One day when one of our bands were recording at the studio, I asked their front man Felix what his best of 2011 was. He surprised me by saying that he really doesn't know, since he really listens to only two artists (?!), of which the other ended up on our page and the other now on my blog.

I remember watching Amanda Palmer's Astronaut video and thinking how slightly creepy she was, although brilliant, but creepy. The song anyways got stuck in my head, as did many other tunes from her debut album. However, as usually nowadays, I didn't delve fully into the record, so it became one of those *play a few songs from it, when you feel like it on Spotify*. 

This continued until Steve Albini (big shot artist/record producer/music journalist) called Amanda Palmer an idiot. Those, who know this story are probably tired of it already, but in short Albini didn't like how Palmer wasn't planning to pay money to those professional-ish horn and string players she was inviting to play with her touring band on stage. Palmer then replied in a length, which is like half of my thesis, basically saying that it's no one's business how artists decide to share their talent and time. You go girl!

Though, this whole ping pong match ended in Palmer and her management deciding to pay the volunteers after all. Admittedly, I was disappointed by this. I mean, if I was able to play those instruments, I'd be the first to be on stage. You bet, I'd do it for beers, hugs, high-fives and merch. Hell, I'd do it only for beers.

Of course people are naturally concerned of "poor musicians not being compensated by the rich". But if you're so damn worried, then stop torrenting and get your ass into a record store or gig. And before you call me a hypocrite, yes I did download Palmer's newest album for free, but at least it was legal and I'll buy the album when I have the money, go see her show when I have the chance and buy merch if they're nice/affordable. Then of course spread the word by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, Tumblr and blogging here. She might hate my words, but at least they're out there.

Before this gets out of hand... Theatre Is Evil might be my favorite album of 2012. I've been listening to it for a week now, which is a lot, when nowadays the average listening time I give a new album is a couple of days. That shows quality. 

But still I didn't become a fan because of the music, but for her brains. I think the other half of my thesis will be quoting examples of how Palmer brilliantly uses social media tools to engage with fans. Some ignorant people call it exploitation(e.g. fans preparing food for the tour crew, it really isn't about "uuu free food, but hey not only do we save a bit in costs, but most importantly we get to spend time with fans who get to experience something unique with their favorite artist and buzz about it to everyone they know"). Why don't you try to have a music career with a positive budget, which doesn't really come from record sales, but from how you've successfully turned your fans into evangelists by simply spending time on/offline listening and talking to them. And still play music, sleep and eat too.

Get Theatre Is Evil legally for the price you want from here.

thanks to felix for recommending

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Best of SYTYCD season 9

Season 9 of one of the best shows on TV reached its spectacular finale last night. Throughout the summer we got to see so many amazing routines and dancers. The only thing I hate is that I have to wait until next summer to see some more! Well, thankfully we have YouTube.

Here are some of my favorites.

ps. check out the best routines from season 8 and 6 too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tourist-ish in the Capital

One of my favorite Spanish people and former f(l)at mate Nuria came for the weekend to see how Helsinki looks like. It was a pretty good timing, because I wanted to know that too. Even though I've lived close to Helsinki for a few months now, I only went there a couple of times to run some errands. So in other words I spent more time in the capital during this one weekend than the whole summer.

And without really knowing which places to go to.

I asked Nuria to send me a list with places she wanted to see, and most of them were something I've never heard of, so I was pretty excited to visit them too!

She was quite terrified to fly with RyanAir when she heard  the news that they've had the most problems with their planes in Europe. I, naturally started to think of my recent dreams, in which I've lost my teeth; in some cultures that's a sign of someone dying. When her plane was about to take off, an eagle got stuck in the motor, and loads of people were screaming. They had to change the plane, and the flight was delayed for a couple of hours. After I thought the plane had already landed in Finland, I got so worried, since she didn't inform me at all. Immediately I check the Internet for plane crash news, luckily nothing happened! It was quite tiring though to pick her up at 4am, but for sure a whole day of travelling is even more tiring.

Basically the whole weekend was about me following my intuition (and signs). I'm surprised of how all the main attractions are located close to each other. Also, it was supposed to rain on Saturday, but I guess Nuria brought the sun from Spain, since it started to rain again, when she left.

Anyways, here are some pics. The first day was mainly visiting churches, which she complained about a lot, but I wasn't the one who made the list ;)

helsinki train station

noah's ark chapel

the church built inside the rock


the blank church

restaurant onion

one of the best beers


music video shoot

nate so hypnotized of the first spanish person he's met

he also loves the carbonara she made

the olympic stadium

This was the touristic side of Helsinki, and I was appointed "worst tour guide ever". If it was my home town, or even London and Breda, I'd know all the great places to go to, but no one is really a tourist in their own country, eh? But it was really great seeing Nuria after 2 years! I can't wait to go to Spain myself. Until then...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Feature: Gypsy and The Cat

Melodies similar to Empire of the Sun and vocals like Simple Red, perhaps not the most ideal combination, at least with the latter. But Melbourne's DJ duo Gypsy and The Cat makes it work for them. Maybe it might take a while to really get into their groove zone, but when you reach it you wish you could be there forever.

Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers truly know how to craft dreamy indie electro pop worth playing in any part of the world, morning or night. So, it isn't really a surprise that they've toured places from Japan to Sweden. They've also supported Kylie Minogue at her Australia shows in June 2011.

Gilgamesh, the debut album released in November 2010, will be followed by a more "summery" sophomore album by the end of 2012. First I was like "great summer music for winter", but on the other hand everything is a bit different Down Under.

thanks to janne for recommending.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sankarit Stadionilla

It was the first time a Respect match was arranged here in Finland. It meant that most of all legendary Finnish football players gathered together on the same day in the same place. Legendary league players from previous decades and the golden generation of the national team.

For me the reason being there was to see Liverpool legend Sami Hyypiä. FINALLY.

Attempt #1
Go to Holland to watch Finland play against them. Hyypiä gets his first ever red card in the previous national cap.

Attempt #2
Go to Germany to watch Hyypiä play Bundesliga. He's not even on the bench.

Attempt #3
Stay in your own country and attend a charity event. PING.

Third time is the charm. All in all it was a fun game and nice to see a bit more of Helsinki, and of course the king of Finnish football himself, Litmanen.

red legend

former red too

the king

the president