The best of 2023. Soliti artists pick their highlights from 2023! See you on the other side!

Henna Emilia Hietamäki (Cats Of Transnistria, HEH)



Maria BC: Spike Field (2023)
“Beautiful fragile ambient folk from the US.”

Thomas Ignatius: Thomas Ignatius (2023)
“Finnish DIY electronic medieval tunes that made me smile.”

Green-House: A Host For  All kinds of Life (2023)
“Random ambient from the US with a nice environmental new age vibe, I listened to this a lot.”

Lana Del Rey: Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (2023)
“I’m a very late convert. The album is amazing.”

Niko Hallikainen: Suuri märkä salaisuus (2023) “Childhood, class struggle, alcoholism, Helsinki, millennium, scary movies, candy eating via prose that keeps escalating to psychedelic associative poetry.”

Ottessa Moshfegh: Lapvona (2022) “A thrillingly disgusting fantasy tale with a feel of folk horror and Game of Thrones, a big change from her previous (also fantastic) novels.”

Jen Beagin: Big Swiss (2023) “Very entertaining dark humour, bad alternative new age therapy, weed dealing, depression, great lesbian sex.”

Maid (Netflix 2021) “Like The Wire for girls! It’s so rare to see visits to social services in drama. A mini series about a young writer-mother escaping an abusive relationship and trying to gain independence by cleaning houses. Andie MacDowell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as the  lead character’s psychotic hippie mom is very entertaining.”

Aleksi Pahkala (Local Al, Gim Kordon, The Duplo!)

2023 was a good and busy year. I started finally to record Local Al’s debut album, still working on it, but hopefully soon we will get some new singles out to the world, my only release was Local Al’s version of Markus Krunegård’s Miss Joensuu, that was a great one of course!

What kept me busy was our own label All That Plazz and I also continued to book artists for Helsinki Festival etc. So lotsa good stuff! Also my Päivän Biisit blog and playlist was active as always.

My end of the year list features 10 songs that meant the world to me in 2023. I will also make a playlist of 100 best songs of 2023, so do check it out   here

Best summer song of all year 2023: Lala Salama – Summer Love

Most genius remix of 2023: Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Perfume Genius – Spitting Off The Edge of The World – Lush Version

Best feel easy song of 2023: Hög Sjö – Vem kan segla

Best folk song of 2023: Markus Krunegård – Jumalan terve

Best debut rock single of 2023: Kaksipäinen Koira – Kuolema voittaa aina

Biggest mainstream banger of 2023: Skrillex, Fred again… & Flowdan – Rumble

Best electronic feel good tune of 2023: henri – talk

Best feel good dance song of 2023: Knife Girl – Eat You Alive

Best punkrockin’ hit of 2023: moshimoshi – These Days

Best indierock hit of 2023: bar italia – my little tony

Bonus: Local Al Remix

Sanna Komi (KO:MI, Pintandwefall)

This year I’ve listened to a lot of classical music, ambient, afrobeat and jazz. According to Spotify my favourite artists have been Mahler, Ligeti and Bach – can’t get enough of those cello suites by Pablo Casals.
I’ve also really loved these albums:

Yussef Dayes: Black Classical Music
White Lotus Season 2 soundtrack

And these podcasts:

This is Love
The Kids of Rutherford County

I watched a lot of mediocre movies and also some great ones.
My favourites have been:

The Banshees of Inisherin
The Quiet Girl

I also loved these short films:

An Ostrich told me the world is fake and I think I believe it
The Saboteur
And everything made by the great Iiti Yli-Harja

My favourite books have been:

David Diop: At Night All Blood is Black
Anni Kytömäki: Kultarinta, Margarita and Kivitasku
Diane di Prima: Spring and Autumn Annals
And I’ve had a lot of fun slowly going through the Alphabet (detective Kinsey Millhone) series by Sue Grafton – I’ll continue from N during Xmas holidays!

Ville Laatikainen (Soliti)

2023 for me was a lot of fun and new experiences. Moving to a new home, visiting USA for the first time and my internship at a music label to say a few. Music wise 2023 was really something. Lots of exciting gigs and new releases from artists we couldn’t have expected (looking at you Andre 3000). Without further ado, here’s my top lists of the year 2023.

Top 5 gigs of 2023
Xiu Xiu 10.10 @ Kuudes Linja
Asunojokei 18.5 @ Lepakkomies
Caroline Polachek @ Flow Festival
Death Grips @ Sideways festival
Knife Girl @ Lost In Music festival

Best 5 songs that came out this year
Earl Sweatshirt, The Alchemist : Heat Check
Troye Sivan : Rush
Dina Ögon : Det Läcker
Slowdive : alife
Padelclub : Tanssin yksin

Best 5 songs I discovered this year 
Masayoshi Takanaka : Belaza Pula
J Dilla : The Time (Donut of the Heart)
Home Is Where : yes! yes! a thousand times yes!
Silver Mt. Zion : For Wanda
Yves Tumor : God is a Circle

Best 5 albums of 2023
The Armed : Perfect Saviors
Knife Girl : CUM
Black Country, New Road : Live at Bush Hall
Jessie Ware : That! Feels good!
Sufjan Stevens : Javelin

I also wanted to add top movies of the year since I really love movies! Year 2023 was really a hit or miss kind of year. Either you watched something really great or wasted a couple of hours on pure garbage. Below you can find five of the really good ones! But I have to add that there’s still so much more that came out this year I haven’t had a time to watch so honorary mentions for;

2.Boy and the Heron
3.Poor Things
I promise, I will watch these as soon as possible!

But here are the best 5 movies of 2023
Infinity Pool
Past Lives
The First Slam Dunk
All of us Strangers

Paltsa-Kai Salama (Pink Chameleons, Black Lizard)

This has been A good music year. I have heard so much inspiring music/albums.
Here’s some good stuff/songs/albums I’ve been into this year

Barrio Colette: Filles Garçons  – Super great new french (?) garage pop song!

Mothers Of Invention: We Are Only In it For The Money – Great tunes and vibe. There’s also a cool version of this with digital drums overdubbed in THE 80s (album was released originally in 1968).

Captain Beefheart: Safe As Milk – Raw and gritty garage blues.

Bill Frisell: Disfarmer – Beautiful instrumental country music.

Phish: Clifford Ball 1996 live album- Funny, musical and inspiring.

Wallice: Off The Rails EP – Strokes/Weezer melodies done by young LA singer.

Hound Dog Taylor And The Houserockers – Raw! Just raw and great.

Michael Nesmith: Magnetic South – Mama Nantucket is an amazing song and whole album is great.

Astrid Swan

Ville Hopponen (Verandan)

This year I finished a lot of songs and finally started writing all lyrics in Swedish, my mother tongue, which made the process much more enjoyable. (Bad wordplay is easier if you know the language well…)

This led to finally recording a now all but finished album of these songs with the Verandan band, which will be the first album I’ve written entirely myself.

I also found time to play bass with Juuso Paaso & Laiha Lohtu as well as drums with Pink Chameleons, both of which were very enjoyable.

It’s hard to feel very hopeful in these times, so I’ve mostly tended to concentrate on the things at hand, i.e., music, family, friends, being outside etc.

I didn’t listen to very much music in 2023, mostly some old favourites. Recording and everything else made my ears tired, although there were some concerts and new albums that stood out clearly:


Dina Ögon – Oas
Rami Vierula – Erämaahan
Vasas Flora och Fauna – Man blåser bort
Topias Tiheäsalo – Skeletons


The Tallis Scholars, Temppeliaukion kirkko
Ahmed Ag Kaedy & friends, Roihuvuoren Rio
Dina Ögon, Korjaamo
Rami Vierula, Tenho
1980 AD, Loose


Eleven things I happened to enjoy this year:

1. Laura Moisio – Laulaa kun ei voi muutakaan (LP)
This album makes me wish I made it. One of the most creative and underrated Finnish artists working right now.

2. Oiro Pena – Oiro Pena (EP)
Hypnotic outsider jazz. Very inspiring for late night internet browsing. Sun Ra-esque lo-fi jams.

3. David Lynch – The Straight Story (film)
Seldom mentioned Lynch film. Great film to put on during a lazy Sunday. No red velvet curtains to see here. Comfy.

4. Eiafuawn – Birds In The Ground (LP)
Peak emo, flegmatic in just the right way. Great production, chill vibes.

5. PJ Morton – Gumbo (LP)
Excellent modern RnB, inspiring humanist messages for a depressing decade.

6. Tom Waits – Small Change (LP)
I’ve been going through Tom’s discography, next year going into his 80’s stuff. Right now this album is my favourite.

7. Mac DeMarco – Another One (mini LP)
Perfect record to put on when heading out to the store or for a walk.

8. Regina – Soita Mulle (LP)
I put this on whenever I’m cooking, the same old pasta recipe starts to taste a bit more poetic. Great for pretending that you’re in a music video.

9. Animal Collective (discography)
I picked up a mission to listen to their entire output. Helpful stuff for writer’s block and for coming up with new production techniques.

10. Kurt Vile – Another good year for the roses (song)
Timeless sounding song. Feels like it’s always been around. Future classic in my book.

11. Title Fight – Lefty (song)
Perfect soundtrack for staring out of your window wistfully, which happens to be my favourite pastime.

Hope your 2024 is filled with hope and laughter.

Stina Koistinen (Stinako)

Findlay – Apricots
Kennebec feat. Samuel T. Harring – Open Air
Albin de la Simone – Les cents prochaines années
Christine and the Queens – Track 10
Björk & Rosalía – Oral
Billy Joel – And So It Goes
Oliver Tree & Robin Schultz – Miss You (bonus track)

PJ Harvey – Inside the old year dying
Christine and the Queens – PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE
Marin Marais, Sainte Colombe, François Couperin, Jean-Baptiste Lully / Jordi Savall –
– Tous les matins du monde
Benjamin Clementine – And I Have Been

Poika ja Haikara (The Boy and the Heron)
The Holdovers
The Whale

Watercolour painting

Triani from Soliti

The Good Times
Lovely Soliti releases from Ghosts on TV, Juppe, Stinako and Knife Girl.

Old Music
Ennio Morricone – Quando l’amore e Sensualita
Beach Boys – Friends
George Michael – Older
Felt discography
The Songs of Bacharach and Costello was on constant rotation (my fave reissue of the year.)
Teardrop Explodes – Culture Bunker box set
Lana Del Ray – Norman Fucking Rockwell
Rip Rig & Panic – I Am Cold
Plush – More You Becomes You
Neil Young – Chrome Dreams
Stevie Wonder – Fulfilling His First Finale
Joan Baez – Blessed Are
Paul Weller – 22 dreams
Sault discography
Velvet Underground – Loaded
Thelonious Monk – Straight, No Chaser
Arthur Russell – Picture of Bunny Rabbit
David Sylvian discography

New Music
I didn’t think this year offered much until I put this list together.
It’s been quietly fabulous.

Lana Del Ray – Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd
Kara Jackson – Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?
Robert Forster – The Candle And The Flame
Feist – Multitudes
King Krule – Space Heavy
Christine and the Queens – PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE
Overmono – Good Lies
Ryuichi Sakamoto – 12
The Lemon Twigs – Everything Harmony
John Cale – Mercy
Bar Italia – Tracey Denim
Sufjan Steven – Javelin
Wilco – Cousin
Sparklehorse – Bird Machine
Amanda Brown – Eight Guitars
Durand Jones – Wait Til I Get Over
Lil Yachty – Let’s Start Here.
Beach Fossils – Bunny
ANHONI – My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross
Lankum – False Lankum
Mitski – The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
El Michels Affair & Black Thought – Glorious Game

Best tracks

Everything But The Girl – Nothing Left To Lose

Dexys – My Submission

Devendra Banhart – Sirens

Kara Jackson – no fun/party

Knife Girl – Estrogen

Felt – Primitive Painters

TV, films books
The Bear (TV series)
The Last of Us (TV series)
Mrs Davis (TV Series)
The Last Movie Stars (TV Series)
Welcome to Wrexham (TV Series)
Dirty Harry movie box set (all five movies)
Richard Jewell (Film)
Crimes oF The Future (Film)
Barbie vs Oppenheimer (loved both of these)
The Exorcist (Film)
Love to Love You, Donna Summer (documentary)
Quentin Tarantino – Cinema Speculation (Book)
Dylan Jones – Loaded: The Life (and Afterlife) of the Velvet Underground (Book)
Alan Moore/Jacen Burrows – Neonomicon (Book)
Collected Judge Dredd (Books)
Sight & Sound (magazine)
The Guardian (online)
The Quietus (online)

This is a good thing
My family and home life. It’s still my favourite place to be.
Football in all its gross financial injustices, still remains a truly entertaining, all welcoming spectacle – a break from our  realities. I spent a lot of my days obsessed with the beautiful game.
My own team Tottenham’s reimagining as a team for the neutral under Ange Postecoglou.
I’ve had a serious post-covid hangover about going out; crowds and especially going to concerts.
But still this year I managed to catch a few shows. John Cale and Knife Girl at the Helsinki Festival was very special.
Elvis Costello at Kulttuuritalo was a great way to spend an evening – I didn’t really want it to end (and this was also a rare date with my partner!) Emma Ruth Rundle, Sorry, Jake Xerxes Fussell were good festival experiences.
I’m an eternal optimist with dreams that we can all get along, people can be who they wanna be and somehow humanity pulls together to save the planet. My dream state staves off the dark feelings that are increasingly hard to ignore.

This is a low
The Israel demolition of Palestine in response to Hamas atrocities is a key world happening which will resonate for decades to come.
British Conservatives and all right wing ideologues who – in collusion with the mainstream media – spend most of their time demonising refugees and the trans community.
The public discussion around minorities in Finland is base and inhumane. This right-wing Finnish government has been a hard dose of reality that has sprung many of us out of our comfort zones. The casual racism of the Finnish government has normalised terminology that should offend everyone. Disgraceful.
The lack of a moral compass or compassion in world politics – who exactly are the good guys?
I hope someone could point out who’s looking out for us all nowadays?
Elon Musk and the destabilising of Twitter. He just couldn’t leave it alone could he?
The unstoppable rise of AI. It’s a slow process (or maybe a fast one) that results in the death of a certain kind of creativity. Hearing that some people in the Music business are using AI to write press releases is a little sad.
The Saudi exploitation of football.  It doesn’t stop. How long till the whole of football is owned by Saudi Arabia?
The Vinyl market  becoming an expensive artefact for the wealthy. In typical Music Industry fashion, the vinyl format becomes revitalised only for the music industry to make the price prohibitive for most people. Own goals are rarely clearer.

To be a better me.

Happy holidays x