Soliti artists pick their highlights of 2020 – see you in 2021 when #SOLITIISTEN
Aleksi Peltonen (Verandan)
Highlights of 2020
Jack Name – Magic Touch “Beautiful new album from Jack Name (Mexican Summer). Love that guitar and that raspy-whiskey vocal sound!”
Alex Izenberg – Caravan Château (Domino) “What a gem! Love the lo-fi feeling in this one.”
Woods – Strange to explain “Captivating psychedelic album in the spirit of the 60’s and 70’s era.”
Learning how to produce and make music better
Marc Maron’s live chats on Instagram
Learning how to paint those details
Cycling and hiking
Sanna Komi (KO:MI/Pintandwefall/Cats of Transnistria)
2020 has been the worst year, but thankfully there have been some bright spots, too:
Getting married: being married really is the best.
Hiking in Lapland: The upside of no festival gigs was that there was finally enough time for a long hike in Urho Kekkonen National park in the summer.
Winter swimming as a lockdown routine: instead of cycling to the office in the mornings, I’ve gone for swims at Pikkukoski.
Noodles, wakame seaweed and sesame oil: this year I’ve been obsessed especially with Soba noodles, with Udon noodles as a very close runner up.
I’ve loved these things I’ve watched:
Ilmeisen tuolla puolen (Hilma af Klint documentary)
RuPaul’s Drag Race
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Noin Viikon Studio
Honorary mention to the octopus in My Octopus Teacher (Netflix documentary)
I’ve loved these things I’ve read:
Monika Fagerholm: Vem Dödade Bambi?
Aura Nurmi: Leijonapatsailla
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun
Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Pajtim Statovci: Bolla
Angie Thomas: The Hate U Give
Stieg Larsson: Millennium trilogi (perfect for getting re-acquainted with the Swedish language!)
I’ve loved these things I’ve listened to:
Iiris Viljanen: Den lilla havsfrun
Soft Power: Brink of Extinction
Martyn Heine: Shady & Light
Kelpe: Boiling, Steaming and Poaching
Cello Drones for Tuning and Improvisation
Let’s make 2021 better!
SEBASTIAN FORSS (PUUNHALAAJA)
David Foster Wallace – Päättymätön riemu
Infinite Jest -romaanin suomennos julkaistiin lokakuun lopulla 24 vuoden odotuksen jälkeen. Se on meikämandalorialaiselle vuoden kulttuuriteko. Ensimmäisen kerran luin kirjaa 2012/13, jolloin useamman kuukauden pakerrus päätyi tuupertumiseen jonnekin sivun 200/1079 paikkeille. Jo tuon kokoinen sanotaan nyt kirjan teemoja mukaillen mikroannos riitti kuitenkin tönäisemään tajuntani sellaisille poluille, joita käymättä olisin tällä hetkellä paljon, paljon huonompi ihminen. Tätä kirjoittaessani olen parinsadan sivun päässä Päättymättömän riemun lopusta, tai alusta, tän kirjan kohdalla kun puhutaan että ensimmäisen lukukerran jälkeen päästään vasta alkuun. Alkukieliseen verrattuna suomennoksen lukeminen on ollut kaikin puolin miellyttävämpi ja vaikuttavampi kokemus sillä erotuksella, että toistaiseksi se ei ole aiheuttanut elämässäni yhtä suuria muutoksia. Mutta ehkä se onkin hyvä asia. Ehkä voin ajatella, että tällä hetkellä minussa on vähemmän korjattavaa kuin kymmenen vuotta sitten. Kirjallisuus on parasta huumetta hei.
“Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has it’s beaches, it’s homeland and thoughts of it’s own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
But the heart has it’s seasons, it’s evenings and songs of it’s own”
Tunnustus: Spotifyn mukaan meikäbalalaikan vuoden 2020 kuunnelluin artisti oli Grateful Dead ja biisi vuoden -74 liveversio Eyes Of the Worldista (Dick’s Picks Vol 12!). Hyllystä on kyllä löytynyt useampikin studiolevy jo vuosien ajan, mutta vasta tänä vuonna perehdyin kunnolla livetallenteisiin ja 🤯. Mikä ihaninta, kumppanikin tykkää. Initiaatiovaiheessa katsoin myös dokkarin Long Strange Trip, jolle kans peukkua.
Vaan eivätpä Spotifyn saatanalliset algoritmit tienneet että eniten meikämilesdavis on tänäkin vuonna kuunnellut jazzia, kotona vinyyliltä, ja viime vuosina Monk on tehnyt tasaista kapuamistaan ehkä tämänhetkiseksi ykkössuosikiksi. Monkin kerrotaan sanoneen, että soittamisessa tärkeämpää voi olla se minkä soittamatta jättää, ne tauot nuottien välissä, “the loudest noise in the world is silence”. Tänä vuonna ilmestyi Palo Alto -livelevy, jota olen kuunnellut paljon. Kun oikein tarkasti kuuntelee, levyltä voi kuulla kohdat joissa Monk lopettaa soittamisen, nousee pianotuolilta ja alkaa tanssahtelemaan pitkin lavaa. Niin, Monk tajusi senkin, että musiikissa tanssi on tärkeintä.
Fanitussuhteeni Nina Simoneen on singahtanut tänä vuonna ihan uudelle levelille, esim. Mood Indigo ja In Concert pyörineet tiuhaan lautasella. Hitto mikä pianisti ja laulaja, mikä tyyppi! Vaimoni on Simonen fanituksessaan niin monen vuoden etumatkalla, että taitaa pysyä vielä pitkään meidän perheen suurimpana diggarina, mikä toki mua vähän syö.
Jos tanssi kuuluu Monkin niin jo vain munkin listalle. Tämä oli yksi siitä kourallisesta keikkoja/esityksiä, joihin tänä vuonna pääsin, ja vieläpä kokemus jonka meikämansikki sai jakaa tyttärensä, intohimoisen tanssijan (kuten tietty isänsäkin on) kanssa alkusyksyn sateisena iltana, kun takkia tarvitsi ensimmäistä kertaa kesän jälkeen. Muisto lämmittää mieltäni tälläkin hetkellä. Luulen että myös Monk olisi lämmennyt tälle.
Mikä meitä vaivaa?
Veikka Lahtisen ja Pontus Purokurun podcast on ollut parasta kuunneltavaa esim työmatkalla. Veikka ja Pontus auttaa mua ymmärtämään, mitä mieltä asioista olen tai haluan olla.
Ainakin ajallisesti eniten olen kuluneen vuoden aikana ehkä kuitenkin fiilaillut omia tekeillä olevia biisejäni. Kotisohvalla sylikaverikseni on liimautunut tuoreehko tuttavuus parlour-kitara, jonka mahonkivartaloa olen saanut halailla ja hyväillä, jonka takakansi on resonoinut rauhoittavasti rintaani vasten näinä viruksen verottamina aikoina, ja jonka kanssa olen jakanut niin kieliä hiveleviä hetkiä, etten muista koska olisin nähnyt näin paljon haikaroita taivaallani ja rakkautta lähelläni. Kiitollinenkin olen osannut olla, ja sitä toivon sinullekin.
Joona Kinnunen (Ghosts on TV)
Short and fast version of my 2020 favourite albums:
Run the Jewels – RTJ4
Karina – 2
Plutonium 74 – Matkalla perille
Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi
Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White – Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White 2
Gorillaz – Song Machine
Lempi Elo – Observatorio
Äitini Kanelipulla – Säteily tuhoaa meidät kaikki (Live at Observatorio)
Talking Sopranos podcast
Sending love and respect to all my bandmates.
1. Taylor Swift: Folklore (2020, album)
This year the so-called mainstream and the sidelines flow into each other. There are no borders between formula, selling, style and that is freeing for all who make art. Maybe in that sense a global pandemic is putting us on a more even creative keel. It’s providing time for all to actually make art rather than to focus on its marketing. Maybe. Taylor Swift’s first quarantine album became my favorite immediately. I have had it on probably every day for the past months. The marriage of Aaron Dessner’s delicate looping swirling riffs with Swift’s sugary pop vocal hooks and storytelling were just what I needed for inspiration and comfort while sitting at my desk, staring at the screen, writing and glimpsing the sky each day, through the seasons.
2. Beyoncé: The Lion King – The Gift (2020, visual album)
The visual album directed by Bey herself is another border breaking effort, questioning the imagined fencing between super fame and unknown artists, elevating the African continents, black and brown humans and culture and healing with beauty. The music relates to the Lion King film that came out in 2019 and so does the film, but its free too, writing and rewriting additional meanings, imagining differently. It’s abundance, shared space, nature, form – an amazing fiction and a powerful narrative to black and brown children: you matter, you are beautiful. My 8-year-old LOVES every second of it. It is radical to be one of the most famous identifiable voices in pop and to share the vocal space and songwriting with all these other voices. It is radical to believe in your own power to do many things well, and then do it.
3. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020, album)
What a year! It feels like I am 17 again with all these albums that become part of my musical interior. My new, yet familiar furniture to lean on. Apple’s album is an amalgamation of all her albums so far. It’s a language I speak. It’s like listening to my big sister. It makes me glad to be alive in 2020 to hear her be able to bottle the vulnerability and wit and shake shake shake…
4. Shawn Colvin: Diamond in the Rough (book, 2012)
I read a lot this year, which is no news. I’m always reading. Still, this is a revelation: since 2018 I’ve been listening to Colvin’s album A Few Small Repairs from 1996 every week. Yes, every week at some point I have to listen to this. This relates to the fact that I’ve rediscovered a lot of my 90s favorites and realized that I still love them. So, finally I realized that she published a memoir in 2012. I loved reading this book because it hasn’t been so long that I can read books by women songwriters. There just haven’t been that many. And this one addressed song writing and the conditions of her becoming a musician very well. It also dealt with alcoholism, mental health struggles and weaved mothering, romantic love and parental love into the narrative. Again, reading this inspired me to do what I do. Her writing made me feel less lonely and inspired to play the guitar again.
5. Hari Kunzru: Into the Zone (podcast)
Podcasts have become an almost too present noise in my mornings, my walks, my cooking, my escape from the family… in a small home with everyone home, you can make space by listening to your own boring talk shows so loud that it drowns out Neil Young and muddles YouTube kids and the endless video game or Lego reviews. So, I discovered Into the Zone. I love it passionately. It’s a literary writer’s and a researcher’s dream. Kunzru is able to tell narratives of far apart subjects and show how they relate and influence each other. He talks much about music, racism, ideas of genre, imagined futures… to be honest, I felt like writing a letter of thank you to him, that’s how much I loved this. I haven’t written the letter though, because I could not find his email address.
6. “How to Stop a Power Grab” by Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker. November 23rd, 2020.
This great article looks into what we know about peaceful dissent, interviewing Erica Chenoweth who is an important voice for all kinds of civil organizing and dissent such as the Black Lives Matter -movement.
Chenoweth has studied and found that peaceful dissent is more likely to lead to political change than violence. Her book with Maria Stephan Why Civil Resistance Works came out in 2013 and is considered a watershed book for civil organizing. Reading this article gave me hope; maybe instead of a major global disaster bigger than 2020, we are learning, we are on the brink of better times, of realizing that we all have to care for all and act upon the betterment of our conditions. That science is showing us that violence is a dead end. That things are changing. That from the perspective of centuries, our slow learning is accelerating.
7. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (TV Series, HBO)
Michelle McNamara’s book by the same name was a hit a little while ago and this year, the HBO documentary series brings the entangled narratives of McNamara, the horrific victim stories and the story of the EAR/Night Stalker together much like the book. The criminal titled EAR who violated the lives of so many and killed many from 1960s until recently in California, USA is kind of at the center of the story, but also, he is a side character to something more interesting. For me, the true crime aspect of this program was not as compelling as the story of McNamara’s discovery of writing, her ability to fuse detective skills and storytelling and her inability to address her personal struggles while doing it. It is a tragedy. I was struck by the documentary’s skill at talking also about mothering, a romantic relationship and childhood and to relate all this to the way this woman worked, developed her professional situation. And all this, while investigating murders and rapes that happened long ago and were never solved. Watching this made me a fangirl of McNamara and it made me want to become an amateur sleuth and also a filmmaker in my next life. Finally, during the year I fluctuated between wanting to watch old films, familiar series and yearning to be shook out of my usual corners. Being true crime this series was super scary for me – but it was more about telling stories really than about the crime, so I grit my teeth and closed the blinds and told myself I’m safe and I watched the series twice already. Guardian review of the show.
Mikko Sulonen (LOVE SPORT)
Here’s my highlights of 2020:
Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi & Lyyti – Meitä ei ole kutsuttu (albums)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (the band I listened to most this year). Listened a lot of Crumb, Ex Tuuttiz, Phoebe Bridgers and Squid too.
DEVS & Rick And Morty (didn’t watch much TV series this year but these two were really good)
Wasteland 3 & Cyberpunk 2077 (role-playing video games… my 2020 included a lot of video games in general)
Ghost World @ Vastavirta 24.7. (one of the few live shows I watched all the way through this year and it was very good)
Resting bitch with Ali Macofsky & Morning Kombat (podcasts)
In 2020 Live music existed on Youtube.
Here are some good performances. Enjoy 🙂
Fiona Apple is the best
HAIM – the only relevant mainstream rock group at the moment
Missing karaoke (Miley Cyrus)
Lizzo and Harry are cute.
Medley of the year (also Pepsi, Super Bowl and everything else we love about capitalism…)
Big Thief, indie rock, going to the Great Lakes on a train at the end of June, feeling the Summer breeze, seeing cattails and a lonesome loon, etc etc…
“These girls are unreal…Make everyone cry, including us. good cover!”
Elton <3 4ever
The Art of Singing
Kim Gordon rocks
Björk, an actual artist
Proper entrance (Rihanna)
Epic crowd Robyn (Bar Loose on a Wednesday)
Tips from the pros (bonus)
“It’s good for now, but probably needs a couple of more hours of mixing and mastering”
Radiohead – Creep But It’s All I Want For Christmas Is You By Mariah Carey
Toumas Alatalo (Cats of Transnistria)
Clarke and the Himselfs – Mary Rae Says
Death Valley Girls – Under the Spell of Joy
Ghost World – Altar
Prospero – s/t
Seksihullut – Vain unessa kärsimys loppuu
Medhane – Cold Water
Armand Hammer – Shrines
L.A. Witch – Play With Fire
Adrianne Lenker – songs
Things to do 2021:
Make music &
Fuck racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, nationalism & capitalism.
Aleksi Pahkala (Local Al)
Looking back at the positive things in 2020 was not that hard after all, I guess it’s quite important to all of us. One thing we all still have to do this year: let’s all listen to Ramones ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ on the New Year’s Eve and wave a nice and punky goodbye to this weird year: 2020 24 hours to go! I Wanna be sedated! Take care all ya all!
Here’s a random feel good list from me
1. The best tracks of 2020
It was hard to pick the best albums of the year, but it was easy to make a playlist of the songs I loved and listened to the most in 2020, so here you go. (Will add some more tracks, so it will be Top 100 of 2020 soon)
2. All That Plazz
I started my own record label this year, it’s been great. Local Al is still on Soliti, don’t you worry. check out www.allthatplazz.com
I started to run 5 years ago and been loving it ever since. My goal is to run at least 100 kilometers every month without too much pushing, just running and listening to great music, radio or some podcasts. This year I had a goal to run my first marathon, but this covid-19 thing kinda ate some energy, so I skipped that – but every two months at least I try to run a feel good half marathon, “half mara” is the best.
4. Gim Kordon
Our indie rock band GIm Kordon made a comeback in 2020, some great gigs and two great singles out. Planning to make our 2nd album next year so stay tuned!
Definitely the best thing with all these lockdowns and working from home has been that you can spend so much more time with your family.
Looking forward to 2021 and doing some more Local Al stuff!
Olli Happonen (New Silver Girl)
Top 7 good discoveries from the past and present (songs and artists)
1. La Luz (Fantastic band, I’ve gone through 90% of their music and so far all of it rules!)
2. Murder City Nights (A song by Radio Birdman)
3. Live at Electric Lady (Fantastic live gig by The Raconteurs with a cool intro by Jim Jarmusch)
4. The New Abnormal (by The Strokes – a really good one, their third best in my opinion and l like all of their albums a lot)
5. Grupul Stereo (Fantastic 80’s synth pop band, which I discovered when I was searching for some Romanian music for our Romanian born dog Mauri.)
6. Velvet Underground (a song by Jonathan Richman: “How in the world were they making that sound? Velvet Underground…”)
7. Joe Biden’s victory
Henna Hietamäki (Cats of Transnistria)
WHAT I DID MUSIC-WISE:
Played some gigs with Cats of Transnistria and Henna & Houreet before and between the restrictions. The most important one was a live score for the silent film festival Loud Silents with the Cats.
We recorded a debut album with my new band Dust Mountain (not out yet) and released a couple of new songs with Henna & Houreet.
Sang some backing vocals for friends bands and tried to write new songs.
Felt quite sad and hopeless at times, but had many fun and zen moments also.
WHAT I LISTENED TO:
– Contemporary: Kikagaku Moyo. Earth, OM, Babe Rainbow.
– 60’s-70’s: Fairport Convention, Pentangle, UFO, Dust, Fleetwood Mac, Coven.
– Banjo-picking folk from the beginning of the last century.
– A lot of radio. My favourites were Muistojen bulevardi (Yle 1), Entisten nuorten sävellahja (Yle Suomi), Jazz kiinnostaa (Radio Helsinki), Roll FM (which is suddenly having a break from broadcasting and now there are christmas songs playing at the same frequency!!!)
– Guided meditations from Spotify. Getting my chakras fresh and clean!
FAVORITE BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR:
– Ottessa Moshfegh: My year of rest and relaxation
– Margaret Atwood: The dystopian MaddAddam-trilogy: Oryx & Crake, Herran tarhurit & Uusi maa.
– Sally Rooney: Normal People
– Maggie Nelson: Jane / Punaiset osat
– Jeffrey Eugenides: Oikukkaat puutarhat
– Jonathan Franzen: Purity
Anttoni GJ Hill (Ghosts on TV)
End of the Year list(s)
A whole load of surprise albums (and babies) were made in 2020 due to the lockdown and stuff. I listened to five of them (albums). So here’s my top five albums of 2020:
- Eevil Stöö – 6lack Album
- Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
- Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi
- Oakahtoakseh – Laaksossa Aamujen Välissä
- Idles – Ultra Mono
Also, here’s some cool stuff that came out in 2019 that I checked out in 2020:
Swans – Leaving Meaning (music)
Thank you for your time, check this stuff out it’s very nice.
Nick Triani (Soliti)
Lots of great music – new and old
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Laura Marling – Song For our Daughter
Richard & Linda Thompson – Hard Luck Stories (1972 – 1982)
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
Prince – Sign of The Times (reissue)
Cilla Black- Completely Cilla (1963-1973)
Antonio Carlos Jobim – especially Jobim (1973) and Urubu (1976)
Kevin Rowland – My Beauty (reissue)
Lots of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone and Miles Davis.
Alex Izenberg – Caravan Château (and a return to debut album Harlequin)
Adrianne Lenker – songs
Neil Young – Archive II
Destroyer – Have we met
Bill Callahan – Gold Record.
Lots of 10cc, Laura Nyro (always); Fairport’s/Pentangle etc, Kate Bush b-side collection box, lots of Soliti music.
The musician I listen to the most in 2020 was Ennio Morricone – emotional comfort music that chimed with our new normal.
A larger selection of music I listened too can be found via a series of Lockdown Playlists I curated for One Quart Magazine
Books/comics/ general reading
I actually managed to read some books in 2020
Jon Savage – This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division The Oral History
James Ellroy – Perfidia (I started this one two years ago!)
Pat Mills – Be Pure! Be Vigilant! BeHave!
Pat Mills/John Wagner – Cursed Earth (uncensored)
Various other comic strips – Pat Mills – Charley’s War (Volume III), Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (Volume One),
Sight & Sound Magazine
Barney Ronay on football for The Guardian.
It’s also been fun this year reading the Collected Judge Dredd together with my eight year old kid as she learns to read.
Watching movies/TV etc
I re-watched a lot of New Hollywood era movies (Dirty Harry stood out)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe in consecutive order
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (HBO)
The Outsider (HBO)
Rewatching The Sopranos again, which still stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Marcus Rashford with his feeding underprivileged children campaign – a rare shaft of light and humanity in the cruelest of years. Humble yet real, Rashford was an example of someone in a privileged position not forgetting their roots, doing work for the greater good (and saving lives). A hero of our times.
Black Lives Matter movement. BLM finally arrived into the mainstream, informing the uninformed.
The finnish government and a sensible approach.
Family time remained the absolute best thing in 2020.
Covid-19 Coronavirus not only bought an unprecedented human cost and restrictions to our personal freedom, but highlighted the stupidity of authority to repeatedly put capitalism above our own safety. Coronavirus also managed to shine an uncomfortable light on our own selfish behaviour; wear a mask,wash your hands and take responsibility for your own actions. If you somehow think you are immune to Covid-19 and can flaunt safe practices – you really are part of the problem.
JK Rowling and her continued attacks on the trans community. Careless talk costs lives, and the ever more powerful and influential Rowling deserves censure for her lack of compassion toward a community that lives in constant danger from bigots and the illinformed wider society. Rowling shatters our dreams of childhood wonder too – Harry Potter tainted forever.
The UK establishment and the continued vilification of Jeremy Corbyn. Keir Starmer has been a disappointment as Labour Leader, not seizing the moment for effective change in the UK, instead embracing the centre ground that bought the world Brexit and Conservative ideology. Corbyn’s public humiliation, vilified as a racist and cast aside from his own party is a sad sight and a crushing blow for effective political change and progressive, transformative movements.
The hit the musical community in Finland has taken because of the pandemic. Especially the grass roots indie-sector and bands, independent record stores, studios, live venues, agents and so forth. Total catastrophe.
Shameless neglect of older generations in our society due to Covid-19. The toll Covid-19 exacts on our children and their futures.
Missing friends and colleagues because of the pandemic. The idea of a social society has dwindled in 2020 – the exchange of ideas and communality as an ongoing concept.
The only upside is 2021 can’t be much worse can it?
Ever the optimist – we can shape a better 2021 by being more creative, active and taking responsibility for our own actions. See you on the other side! x