1. the bony king of nowhere.
It is one of those album that I am able to listen to from the first to the last track: I never get bored of it. the sounds are clear and not pretentious, the lyrics are poetic enough but still real. I have of course a favourite song: The Garden – the 3rd on the album. The Garden is one of those songs that I want to listen to on my way to school: it lasts 3 minutes and 3 seconds and I am able to replay it at least 3 times in a row.
2. mirel wagner
her first album “Mirel Wagner” came out on the 21st of october last year and since I got to know about her, I had been listening to Mirel endlessly on Spotify. she is only 23 and she is such a pleasure to listen to: her voice is warm and rough, the perfect combination with her acoustic guitar. she is thesinger-song writer I needed to come across with: I always thought that Finland needed some folk-blues.
3. silje nes
while the first album Ames Room, published by FatCat Records, is a collection of experimental pieces recorded between 2004 and 2007; her newest released album Optiks, in 2010, has a cleaner sound, quite folkish, that personally reminds me of the well known icelandic artist Emiliana Torrini. Optiks is quiet and dreamy – ideal to seek inspiration in cold winter days.
4. ólöf arnalds
in her first solo album Við Og Við (2007), Ólöf sings only in icelandic and in Innundir Skinni (2010) most of the lyrics are in icelandic too: it works magically combined with icelandic folk musical instruments.
the most recent album Ólöf Sings was released in 2011: it is a mini album where Ólöfbeautifully performs covers of some world famous artists – such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen.
5. paula & karol
Paula and Karol are an indie band based in Warsaw, Poland. Paula was born in Ontario, Canada, while Karol is originally from Warsaw – there are two songs in their album dedicated to their homes in fact: Ontario and Goodnight Warsaw. they are the best representatives of folk pop in Poland and they proudly supported Belle & Sebastian, during the scottish band show in Warsaw, last year.
6. scandinavian music group
their latest album Manner – released in April 2011 – has the most beautiful artwork in my opinion and it is not the only reason you should listen to it. it is the perfect album to turn on in the morning, when I need some positive energy; but it works great even after a long day, as it makes me extremely cheerful. I can listen to Manner non-stop – without skipping a single track: my favourite one must be Mustarastas Lauloi Ooh La La, because it talks about a blackbird (mustarastas means blackbird).
7. owen pallett
since when his album Heartland has been released, in January 2009, Owen Pallett is no longer Final Fantasy; his music though remains as pleasant as before, if not more: Heartland sounds like a vivid and enthusiastic Final Fantasy – as if getting rid of an old name would have given the artist a new strength. the whole album is extremely vibrant and gives an overall restless feeling, especially because of the violin, which is definitely the protagonist of Owen Pallett‘s music.
8. taxi taxi!
their first album Still Standing At Your Back Door was released in autumn 2009; a few months after I had the opportunity to see the duo playing it live, in spring 2010 in Milano. the twins sing in English most of the lyrics – except for a few verses in Swedish in one song, which I find particularly beautiful. the whole album has a soft atmosphere: the choice of musical instruments is genuine and simple – live the twins play guitars, drums and occasionally keyboards. and the lyrics are speaking of love, which matches perfectly with the duo’s sweet and soft voices.
9. lay low
Lay Low has released two albums so fare: Please Don’t Hate Me, in 2006 – when an Icelandic label decided to promote her, just after listening to her demo songs on Myspace – and Farewell Good Night’s Sleep, in 2008. during Emiliana’s concert in Milano, Lay Low played mostly tracks from Farewell Good Night’s Sleep: that was when I fell in love with By and By and Last Time Around. Rumors are that her new album will be released next autumn and I am really looking forward to it.
10. alina orlova
Alina‘s second album, Mutabor, was released in 2010: the piano, like in Laukinis Suo Dingo, is the most played instrument and gives the whole album a soft ballad atmosphere. A few more tracks are performed in English, but overall, this second album preserves the eastern-europe-magic of the first.
11. eleanoora rosenholm
Eleanoora Rosenholm band comes from Pori – a town on the West Coast of Finland – and the band members are Pasi Salmi, Tuomas Niskanen, Jussi Reunamäki, Alpo Nummelin, Turo Sinkkonen and the fascinating vocalist Noora Tommila.
Eleanoora Rosenholm have released three albums under the independent Finnish label Fonal Records: Vainajan Muotokuva (2007), Älä Kysy Kuolleilta He Sanoivat (2008) and the most recent Hyväile Minua Pimeä Tähti (2011).
12. first aid kit
First Aid Kit‘s third and newest album The Lions’s Roar was released last January: it was produced byMike Mogis and went straight to number one in Sweden. since then, I have fallen in love with the duo and I have been playing constantly this album especially. every single track is intense and powerful, yet the whole album is light and easy to listen to in one go – it does not ever get me bored.
13. agnes obel
At the age of seventeen, Agnes Obel had already joined her second band: she was extremely young, when she started singing and playing bass guitar in her first one; while she founded the Copenhagenbased band Sohio, after dropping her gymnasium studies. The rock band Sohio, though, soon became too restrictive for Agnes creative spirit, and so did the city of Copenhagen.
Jónsi is a complete musician: not only he has been the front man of Sigur Rós since 1994, but he has been also collaborating with his boyfriend Alex Somers to a unique music project called Riceboy Sleeps, released in 2009. When Sigur Rós decided to take sometime off in 2010, Jónsi didn’t stop making music, but he worked on his first solo album: Go.
15. god help the girl
God Help the Girl not only resembles much the tones of Belle & Sebastian, but also of Camera Obscura – another well known Scottish band truly dear to me – since almost all the songs of the project are performed by female artists, who play the main role in the band.
When Stuart Murdoch wrote the songs for God Help the Girl, he wanted to tell about the problems of girls entering adult life: the lyrics of the project are in fact romantic and sort of nostalgic, which makes God Help the Girl perfect as much for a melancholy afternoon at home as for a solitary walk on the beach.
16. allo darlin’
Allo Darlin’ as a band was born in 2009 in London, when a group of friends found each other and decided to start playing together: Elizabeth Morris and Bill Botting from Australia and Michael Collinsand Paul Rains from Kent, UK. Elizabeth is the lead singer of the band and she is responsible for that soft female voice that I am particularly fond of – the sort of voice that makes me love Camera Obscura and God Help the Girl.
17. pascal pinon
Pascal Pinon are a young duo of twin sisters – Jófríður and Ásthildur Ákadöttir – from Reykjavik, Iceland. Jófríður and Ásthildur started recording songs under the name of Pascal Pinon not so long ago, when they were only fourteen, in 2009: the band name is a tribute to Pasqual Pinon – a two-headed man from Texas, who performed in a freak show in the early 1900′s.
18. she & him
She & Him are the musician Matthew Stephen Ward and the actress and musician Zooey Deschanelfrom the US. The two artists met in 2007, on the set of the film The Go-Getter – where they were asked to perform a duet together: Matt and Zooey found out they had so much in common, that they decided to continue performing side by side.
Tenniscoats are essentially a duo featuring the musicians Saya and Takashi Ueno, from Tokyo, Japan; on the stage, though, they are frequently joined by other musicians and artists, with whomSaya and Takashi likes to perform. The couple has been playing together since early 2000, when their first EP The Theme of Tenniscoats was released.
20. svavar knútur
Svavar Knútur is an Icelandic troubadour from the remote western fjords: the long dark winters and the luminous nordic summers are the primary inspiration for his music, which reflects the everyday life in the fjords. If you happened to live up North and to know what the real winter feels like, then Svavar Knútur‘s music won’t take long to reach your heart: without any explanations, you will start to love it.
Lullatone is the perfect match of Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida, that, since 2005, are happily married in Nagoya, Japan, and they share a beautiful house – which is also the studio where the magic of their music happens.
22. krista muir
Krista begun to make music more than a decade ago, under the stage name of Lederhosen Lucil, and released a numerous amount of albums. Only in 2007, though, she started to perform and record music under her real name: as of today, in fact, there are only two album by Krista Muir, despite the fact that she is already a well known artist of the Canadian indie rock scene.
23. i am oak
I am Oak exists because of the Dutch singer and songwriter Thijs Kuijken – body and soul of this magnificent music project. The name I am Oak tastes sweet in my mouth!
At first, it was the name I am Oak that caught my attention: the connection to Nature is strong, because of Thijs Kuijken love and affection for It – that was what brought this musician really close to my heart, even before listening to one single song of his. I am Oak though is also a tribute toThijs Kuijken‘s hometown, Bergeijk, which in Dutch means in fact Oak.
24. maïa vidal
Maïa Vidal was born less than 25 years ago, still she has already been part of three bands – which is truly remarkable and inspiring! Born in Santa Barbara, California, Maïa has been on the move for most of her life: from Brooklyn, New York, to Ithaca, New York, where she attended high school, from Montreal, Canada, where she attended university, to Europe, where she is currently based now.
Sóley, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is only 24 and yet has had a number of prestigious music experiences: beside the above-mentioned Seabear, in fact, she has been collaborating with the indie-collective Sin Fang too.
It is not a big surprise though, considering that music is what Sóley has been passionate the most about since she was a child: fascinated by Sigur Rós and Múm, she began making music as a teenager, then studied piano and composition in 2007, at the Icelandic Art Academy; that was when she started playing with Seabear and Sin Fang.
Memoryhouse was born in Guelph, a mid-size town in Ontario, Canada, where the music scene has been extremely active and lively for the last couple of decades – base of the Hillside Festival, Guelph has seen the debut of bands such as The Arcade Fire.
The duo wasn’t exactly meant to be a band: in 2010, when musician Evan Abeele and photographerDenise Nouvion met, they were going to start a multimedia art project, based on the combination of Evan’s music and Denise’s photographic art works – as a student of classical music, Evan wanted to pair his instrumental composition with Denise’s photographs and short films, to make it possible for photography and music to go together and support one another.
27. hanne hukkelberg
Hanne was born in Kongsberg, Norway in 1979; rumors has it that she discovered her passion for music as a baby when, at three years old, she started playing with kitchen utensils and singing to it. Her love for peculiar and noise-making objects has never fade since then, as Hanne, along with piano, guitars and drums, plays a various range of instruments, more or less uncommon among other artists. When in 2003 she graduated from the Academy of Music in Oslo, Hanne had already been playing in a numerous amount of bands of various genres: metal, progressive rock and jazz were among Hanne‘s favourite types of music in her early twenties.
28. alessi’s ark
Alessi’s Ark is the name under which Alessi Laurent-Marke, a 22-year-old british musician, performs.
“I liked the idea of a boat, where everybody is welcome, even friends that are geographically far away – we are together.”
29. rue royale
Rue Royal are Ruth Dekker, from England, and Brooklyn Dekker, from the States. The couple met in Chicago around the year 2000, when Ruth went there to tour with her former band and Brooklyn played the drums for them in a few shows; then, the year after, when Ruth went back to the States, in occasion of a friend’s wedding, they fell in love and got married in 2003.
Fanfarlo are Simon Balthazar – from Sweden and responsible for bringing the band together, Amos Memon, Cathy Lucas, Justin Finch and Leon Beckenham; based in London, UK; they have been playing together since 2006 and their music is a pleasant fusion of a great variety of instruments, such as trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, violins, mandolins, glockenspiels, musical saws and the good old guitars, drums and basses.
The band’s name is a tribute to Charles Baudelaire and his novella La Fanfarlo, a fictionalized autobiography, which the poet wrote years before the popular volume of poetry Les Fleurs du mal.
31. russian red
Russian Red‘s music project begun in 2007, when a young Lourdes met the artist Brian Hunt, a musician of Spanish and English origin; they started playing together and eventually recorded a demo, which reached an impressive number of listeners on Russian Red‘s MySpace page. Before releasing the first full length album, though, Brian abandoned the project, leaving Lourdes as the only member of Russian Red; since then, the young and talented singer songwriter has become very popular and is known by many as the Spanish Feist – the Canadian musician is in fact one of Lourdes’s favourites.
32. karolina sveiby
Karolina Sveiby is a singer-songwriter currently based in Helsinki. Born and raised in Sweden, she discovered her passion for writing songs at a very early age and begun to study music at Nacka Musikklasser. Karolina then spent nine years in Australia, before coming back to Northern Europe and moving to Finland, where she has been living for eight years. That is why Karolina‘s pieces are influenced by three different cultures, as she defines herself Swedish-Finnish-Australian. Karolina Sveiby‘s music is melodic, easy to listen to, with a strong focus on the lyrics, which are fundamental to the artist.
Coldair is the solo project of the independent young musician Tobiasz Biliński, whose Polish-Norwegian band formation Kyst has been already delighiting festivals’ crowds for a couple of years, inEurope and abroad. Therefore, if you haven’t heard of Kyst yet, it is time for you to get to know them.
34. lucy rose
Lucy was born in Surrey, England, in 1989. She started dealing with music at a very early age, when she picked up the drums in her school orchestra and she started writing songs on her piano, at home. At the age of sixteen, when she finally bought a guitar and begun teaching herself, Lucy composed her first pieces – yet she didn’t performed them to anybody and she kept on making music privately until she graduated from high school.
35. cats on fire
Cats of Fire are actually playing together since 2001 and Vaasa, a small city on the West Coast of Finland and the regional capital of Ostrobothnia, is the home town of the original lineup of the band. Through the years, though, Cats on Fire moved from Vaasa to Turku, Southern Finland, following the path of its members – which had to choose a bigger city to pursue their university studies – and underwent several lineup changes.
36. burning hearts
Burning Hearts was born in 2004 as a duo: Jessika Rapo, vocalist for the Finnish-Swedish band-collective of friends Le Futur Pompiste, and Henry Ojala, Cats on Fire‘s former drummer, have known each other since they were teenagers – both of them raised in Ostrobothnia (West Coast of Finland) played, very young, in different bands and occasionally met at concerts and through friends.
37. patrick wolf
“I’m going back to the studio and recording my jubilee record… The album will be totally, totally, totally stripped down. It’s time for me to be retrospective about the last ten years before I move onto the next ten. I’m 28 and I think it’s quite fun to sing the songs you wrote as a teenager.“
38. susanne sundfør
When I say young artist I do know what I’m talking about, as Susanne Sundfør is just one year older than me and yet she’s been playing music for over 6 years – since her debut single Walls, in 2006. Born in 1986 in Haugesund, Norway, Susanne currently lives in Oslo, where she’s moved after having pursued her studies at the University of Bergen.
39. 80′s bad haircut
When – ombrenelcielo asked 80′s Bad Haircut which kind of music do you play?, Marie and Andrea said electrofolkfunkyfresh and probably a mix of folk lyrics and modern electro pop and Le Ombre nel Cielo liked that a lot. Here is a special interview with our favourite electrofolkfunkyfresh duo, Marie from France and Andrea from Italy: a married couple – or are they really? – currently based in Palermo and soon to be moving to London, that got together to play music we really enjoy.