Baby, it's cold outside, especially in the Northern European nation of Finland. The spirited peoples of the wintry realm have kept one another warm with reverbering riffs and tales of woodland creatures. These five acts embrace the airy timbre of Suomi.
What is it about bands that refer to bodies of water? Lord Huron, Swan Lake—there’s a placid approach to their art. Threesome Lake Jons is no exception, crafting chamber pop masterpieces that speak to the beauty of Suomi. Jooel Jons, Jaska Stenroth and Mikko Pennanen call their formation a “happy accident,” meeting at a friend’s graduation party a few years ago. We call it serendipity. Lake Jons’ latest release is 2016’s Explode EP. (Thank you to Music Finland for the suggestion!)
How this green-haired goddess only placed fifth on the Finnish Idols program in 2013 is beyond us. ALMA has the attitude and talent of Adele and Kelly Clarkson, with an edge she shares with Robyn and Grimes. Songs such as “Karma” and “Dye My Hair” light up the dance floor but also serve as ideal, empowering sing-alongs. She’s a badass in a baseball cap. Check out her Dye My Hair EP on Spotify and iTunes.
Sab Kuch Milega is a Sanskrit phrase meaning “Anything is possible,” and with this psych-trance project by Ridge Suomäki, the aural combos are infinite. Imagine wizards and faeries gallivanting with trolls and fauns, and you might conceive a Sab Kuch Milegator setlist. The DJ is a self-proclaimed fanboy of the Goa genre, which fuses Indian and EDM elements. The vivid style is all over last year’s Kauas Aikain Taa album.
Arguably, Finland’s greatest export is its precious metal— the music, not the elements. Even President Obama recognized its muster in a 2016 speech: “I do want to point out that Finland has perhaps the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance. I don’t know if there's any correlation there.” To choose just one Finnish metal band would be a disservice, so we selected two from opposite ends of the spectrum. Newcomers Solarhall cover the more mainstream, grunge-leaning side, with influences such as Alice in Chains. Tracks like “Sewer Man” resurrect Layne Staley, but the whole of the album Lokus plays off like A Perfect Circle jamming with Rush. And what a Rush it is. (Thank you to ProgArchives for the info!)
Metal doesn’t have to be all sneers and dark clothing. Battledragon create sped-up, cranked-up versions of hit songs that you never knew you needed in your life. Their version of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World)” is way more engaging than the original (falsetto wails and synth solos? Check!). No pop tart is safe— Battledragon have amped up songs by Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and Shakira. Horns up, friends. We hail these power metal mavens.
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