Nordic Music Review - 'Favourite 10 Nordic Albums of 2014'
We werent going to do a ‘Best Albums of the Year’ feature because we haven’t been in existence for very long, and felt there were people far more knowledgeable and credible that would be doing lists far better and interesting than any of us could. However a couple of people have asked us, so i’ve put one together. They’re simply personal favourites, based on what i’ve listened to most and loved over the last 12 months.
Nordic Music Review Favourite Albums of the Year
10 Laura Moisio - ‘Spiraali’
As much as I liked ‘Spiraali; when I first heard it, I didn’t think for one moment I’d be considering it amongst my Favourite Albums of the Year, but I keep coming back to this album again and again, it just seems to suit all times of the day and all moods . Its simply beautiful and Moisios vocals are captivating. At its best in tracks such as Aamu, we’ve mentioned ‘Spiraali’ a fair amount on Twitter without giving it much of a detailed write up, and we’re delighted to include it in our favourite lists.
9 Einar Stray Orchestra – Politricks
Politricks’ is a clever interesting album, with thoughtful lyrics and a complex sound, and it has some pretty special tracks thrown in which remind me of Sufjan Stevens at his best. ‘Pocket full of Holes’ is one of my most listened to songs of the year. A really interesting documentary video is available through their website which explains some of the background of Einar Stray Orchestra, and this band definitely are worthy of even greater recognition.
8 Alice Boman EPII (released with Skisser as an album)
Essential listening for 2014, Alice Boman release has got some UK recognition, and rightly it should, with an outstanding release, haunting vocals and clever understated songs. Highlights to me are ‘What’ and ‘Be Mine’, but all of the tracks have this fairly effortless magical quality that suggests Boman is the most natural of songwriters, and if that’s the case, future releases are going to be equally exceptional.
7 Koria Kitten Riot – ‘Rich Men, Poor Men, Good Men’
The discovery of Koria Kitten Riots albums is one of my favourite moments of the first month of Nordic Music Review, as it just popped out of nowhere one afternoon, and I liked it within seconds. Quirky, different and hugely enjoyable, ‘The Last Waltz’ (‘play it like you fucking mean it’!) and ‘Todays been a beautiful day’ are now 2 of my most listened to songs, and ‘Rich Men, Poor Men, Good Men’ is full of great tunes and slight dark lyrics.
6 Broken Twin – ‘May’
Danish singer songwriter Majke Voss Romme produced an outstanding album back in April. With a fairly simple band sound to accompany the distinctive vocals, theres no doubt that this almost matches Mirel Wagner for darkness, but the overall album is uplifting, and the 24 year old Dane is such a talent.
5 Killers Walk Among Us – 'Killers Walk Among Us'
A remarkable album, soaring and at times simply majestic, full of brilliant ideas, Killers Walk Among Us produced a debut album which was unique and the result of 10 years work from band leader Stefan Holmberg. But an album full of sorrow too, with Stefan tragically passing away before the album was released. He's left behind something so very memorable, a legacy which will hopefully inspire many others, and it will always remain one of my most admired albums.
4 Sólstafir – 'Ótta'
This is a beast of an album, and is understandably being listed on many peoples albums of the year list. It brings together all of their metal influences, as well as (based on their interviews) artists such as Neil Young and Joy Division. The 2 opening tracks Lágnætti and Ótta are outstanding, and post / progressive metal, call it what you will, Sólstafir have produced a masterpiece.
The final 3 are so diverse that itrs impossible to choose really between them, but i guess thats the idea of doing this so....
3 Major Parkinson – ‘Twilight Cinema’
Norwegian band Major Parkinson followed up their excellent ‘Songs from a Solitary Home’ album with a blistering 8 track album ‘Twilight Cinema’, released way back in January, that’s bursting full of ideas from start to finish. ‘Heart Machine’ is my favourite track, typically Major Parkinson, a big tune, intricate keyboards that subtely introduce new themes and an occasional huge cacophony of noise. Without question, Twilight Cinema is my most listened to album of 2014, and every time i listen to it, i discover new subtle ideas.
2 Mirel Wagner – ‘Where the Cellar Children see the Light of Day’
A couple of bloggers whos views I really respect, have recently commented about the hype that surrounded Mirel Wagners album, but in my quiet corner of the UK, oblivious to most things, I was unaware of this and listened to ‘Where the Cellar Children see the Light of Day’ simply after hearing ‘Oak Tree’ on a playlist. I was astounded by what I heard, captivated, challenged and every time I listen to the album, I hear something new. The silences are devastantingly intense, and Wagners album is an astonishing achievement, with powerful and persuasive storytelling. Its not always easy to listen to, but I keep coming back, and I have no hesitation in including it in my favourite 3 albums of the year.
1 Mono Town - 'In the Eye of the Storm'
An outstanding debut album from the Icelandic trio, whove written an album with 11 excellent songs on it, and who brilliantly bring together great melodies and sweeping string arrangements. In the Eye of a Storm is an impressive opening track, beginning with a simple guitar and vocals, before strings are layered on top, whilst Peacemaker is without question my favourite track of the year, beautifully crafted and always completely uplifting. The strength of the album is simply well constructed songs with great tunes, and I’ve loved listening to it throughout the year.