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Moldau, Janosch: Bleed On

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Moldau, Janosch: Bleed OnCD, Janosch Moldau Records 2005

Track list: Bleed On (The Masterlamb Single Mix) - Passionately - Reloved (Deconstruct Mix) - Bleed On (video)

Bleed On is lifted from the album Redeemer. The new remix is nothing too exciting, but the new song Passionately is pretty good, actually - one of Moldau's better tracks if you ask me. Another track from the album, Reloved, has been given a rough treatment. I'm not a huge fan of small releases like this, but Passionately is a track worth seeking out. ***

Moldau, Janosch: Redeemer

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Moldau, Janosch: RedeemerCD, Janosch Moldau Records 2005

Track list: On My Own - I'm Falling From Love - Bleed On - Baptized - I Love the Night - Reloved - My Father - The Loveroots - We Are Laughing - Redeemer - Life Is Moving - Real Christianity

Janosch Moldau plays soft electronic pop, which has many features I like. His voice is pleasant in a distant way and the electronic beats kind of catchy. The sound is smooth, yet perhaps a bit too subtle. I wouldn't have minded some heavier dance beats. Fans of darkish electronic pop (bands like Girls Under Glass) might want to check this out. ****

Liekki: Rajan piirsin taa

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Liekki: Rajan piirsin taaCD, Universal 2005

Track list: Lilja - Valeria - Tuomitun tie - Päijänne - Tytöt / Kadut / Paluu - Veljet - Rannalla - Vanha puu - Rintama - Jäljet - Saarelaiset - Sinun luona kerran - Lahja - Ero - Rajan piirsin taa

Liekki didn't do a double album, but they did a long one: 15 tracks, 67 minutes. I'm pleased - I got into Liekki with Korppi and Rajan piirsin taa is sufficiently similar, while still an indication of progress. There's some heavier touch (70's heavy metal, kind of), but most of it is the same old-fashioned pop I've grown to enjoy. Good work from Liekki. ****

Sister Flo: Tragician's Hat

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Sister Flo: Tragician's HatCD, Delphic Recordings 2004

Track list: Four Souls - White Noise - Bill and Jesus (Black) - Shortcuts - September + 2 - Guillotine - Feathers - Tina Turner Shitting Position - They'd Better Build a Dam to Field Island - Nathaniel & Isabel

I enjoy a healthy dose of soft pop music every now and then and Finnish Sister Flo has received high recommendations on that area. I'm not sure if the recommendations are spot on, but I have to agree: White Noise is one of the better songs I've heard this year. The rest of the album is less impressive, but certainly enjoyable. Sister Flo's shimmering, slightly introverted pop music will make many people happy, but I can't see a breakthrough coming quite yet. ***

Pet Shop Boys: PopArt

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Pet Shop Boys: PopArtCDx2 Copy Controlled, EMI Records 2003

Track list: Go West - Suburbia - Se a vida é (That's the way life is) - What have I done to deserve this? - Always on my mind - I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing - Home and dry - Heart - Miracles - Love comes quickly - It's a sin - Domino dancing - Before - New York City boy - It's alright - Where the streets have no name (I can't take my eyes off you) - A red letter day - Left to my own devices - I don't know what you want but I can't give it any more - Flamboyant - Being boring - Can you forgive her? - West End girls - I get along - So hard - Rent - Jealousy - DJ culture - You only tell me you love me when you're drunk - Liberation - Paninaro '95 - Opportunities (Let's make lots of money) - Yesterday, when I was mad - Single-Bilingual - Somewhere

This compilation album is a testament to the genius Pet Shop Boys represent. 35 songs, almost all of them very good or even better. Casual Pet Shop Boys listener will find all the gems, more dedicated fans might miss a track or two. A must-buy, unless one already owns all the albums. Still, this album does a good work of bringing the greatest hits together. Two new songs are included: Miracles is nice, while Flamboyant is one of the best Pet Shop Boys songs ever. *****

Belle & Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe WaitressCD, Rough Trade 2003

Track list: Step Into My Office, Baby - Dear Catastrophe Waitress - If She Wants Me - Piazza, New York Catcher - Asleep on a Sunbeam - I'm a Cuckoo - You Don't Send Me - Wrapped Up in Books - Lord Anthony - If You Find Yourself Caught in Love - Roy Walker - Stay Loose

I fell in love with Belle & Sebastian when I heard Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant and I still can't understand people who think the album sucks. New B&S album was an easy buy for me, then, after hearing some good thing about it. And I love it! It has several good songs and the overall quality is very even - all top-notch. I love the way they sound like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and themselves. Perfect pop music. *****

Liekki: Korppi

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Liekki: KorppiCD, Ranka Recordings 2003

Track list: Veit omasi lentoon - Kun kattojen ylle löi (aurinkoon) - En voi auttaa - Korppi - Luulin, luulen - Tikari - Saattaja - Tuletko niinkuin öinen maa - Pienokainen - Valkoinen on enkelten yö

I was mildly curious about the first Liekki album ("Magio"), but hearing some songs from "Korppi" got me even more curious. After choosing "Pienokainen" for my cell phone ring tune, I finally went and bought the album. I'm very glad I did, because it's simply excellent. It's sensitive pop music, which I would date to 1970's, if I didn't know better. I like the 70's touch, it makes Liekki sound refreshingly different. I'm also sucker for flute, which can be heard on several songs. There are plenty of good tracks, the best being probably "Veit omasi lentoon", "Korppi", "Pienokainen", "En voi auttaa"... but they are all great. Very, very good! *****

Hector: Herra Mirandos

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Hector: Herra MirandosCD, Warner Music 2001 (1973)

Track list: Ekhnaton rakastui aurinkoon (prologi) - Herra Mirandos - Asfalttiprinssi - Mystalgia - Olet lehdetön puu - Olen hautausmaa - Lumi teki enkelin eteiseen - Atlantis - Meiran laulu - Sisämaan retkellä - Takaisin Narniaan

I've never cared much about Hector - he's boring and plays boring rock music for grownups who were listening to him back in the 70s, or something. However, I had also heard some good things about his older albums and when I saw this one in library, I took the risk and borrowed it. It was worth the risk! Herra Mirandos features two of Hector's bigger hits, "Asfalttiprinssi" and perhaps his best known and most loved song, "Lumi teki enkelin eteiseen". Which is a good song, can't deny it. But the other songs, which I had never heard, we're quite wonderful too. ****

Hector: Nostalgia

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Hector: NostalgiaCD, Warner Music 2001 (1972)

Track list: Yksinäinen tinasotamies - Sadepäivälaulu - Heinäpellolla - Karnevaalit - Mandoliinimies - Nostalgia osa 1 - Neitoperho - Aamukahvit - Poissaoloa - Syyskuu - Nostalgia osa 2

I didn't like Nostalgia as much as Herra Mirandos - perhaps because Nostalgia lacks the immediately obvious hits. With more listening to Nostalgia opens up a bit and turns out to be a good album, too. There are very good songs, for example the trio of "Heinäpellolla", "Karnevaalit" and "Mandoliinimies". If you're into folk-influenced pop music (and understand Finnish), give Hector a chance. ****

Organ: Nekrofiilis

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Organ: NekrofiilisCD, Poko 2001 (1982)

Track list: Organ - Kaavakekauhu - Itäväylä - Kolme pennin kymmenystä - Kolme prinsessaa - Kani kertoo - Kärpästen juhlat - Peilimorsian - Aknebobbin - Regina Linnanheimon silmät - For next - Nekrofiilis - Kärpästen juhlat - Robotti - Kaavakekauhu - Kundi meikkaa - Suajele mua vähän jostakin päin - Neekerisuukkoja

Sometimes, on their faster, thumping tracks, Organ reminds me of DAF. Their sound is similar, synth sound from 20 years ago. Credit to Poko for rereleasing this Organ's only album with all three of their singles! Their first single, "Kärpästen juhlat", is also their best song if you ask me: steady drum beat, analogue synth bubbling and a vocalist with a bit too serious voice and surprisingly grim lyrics. Damn effective! Best tracks like "Organ", "Kani kertoo", "Peilimorsian", "Aknebobbin" are great, however not every track is of the same high quality. Still, this album is a must for fans of older electronic pop. ****

Morrissey: Your Arsenal

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Morrissey: Your ArsenalCD, EMI 1992

Track list: You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side - Glamorous Glue - We'll Let You Know - The National Front Disco - Certain People I Know - We Hate It When Our Friends Become Succesful - You're the One For Me, Fatty - Seasick, Yet Still Docked - I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday - Tomorrow

The album sounds quite different than anything made by The Smiths. However, I think Morrissey shouldn't even try to copy that. His own music is interesting enough. Of course, there's the familiar Voice. If that's what you like the best about The Smiths, Your Arsenal is quite an enjoyable fare. However, I find The Smiths musically far superior to Morrissey. Still, this isn't a bad album and there are few quite good tracks ("You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "The National Front Disco", "Certain People I Know" and of course, "You're The One For Me, Fatty"). At least I find Morrissey's style interesting, he's definitely a notable singer. ***

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