Best Albums of 2017
selected by Erkko Lehtinen

10
Man Duo <BR> “Orbit”

Man Duo
“Orbit”

After his proper international debut on Domino sublabel Weird World, Jaakko Eino Kalevi took a break to record and tour with his old collaborator Long-Sam.

Man Duo seems like a perfect amalgamation of their respective strengths: Jaakko’s charmingly dusty alt-AOR vibes get boosted by Sami’s more electronic leanings. Whether this notion reflects their working process at all is beside the point, it’s just a great combination and a wonderful album.

♪♫ Listen: “What If It Falls” + album stream

Man Duo on Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

9
Delay Trees <BR> “Let Go”

Delay Trees
“Let Go”

Being a fan of an indie band is almost like making an investment: you buy the record, wear the pin or t-shirt, make more converts (but not too many!). So, apart from some classics and obscurities, listening to a recently disbanded act feels uninteresting.

Helsinki shoegaze group Delay Trees released a great album, their fourth, and called it a day, both to surprisingly little fanfare. What’s the point?

Well, it’s a beautiful testament and perhaps it could act as a sort of memento mori: cherish and support your favourite band while they’re still here.

♪♫ Listen: “Brightest Eyes” + album stream

Delay Trees on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

8
Femme En Fourrure <BR> “Body Positive”

Femme En Fourrure
“Body Positive”

Femme En Fourrure, a duo currently comprising of Juuso Malin and Sandra Tervonen, could be described as survivors of the blog house era but there’s so much more to them.

After dabbling in witch house they reimagined Finnish hip hop by producing critically acclaimed rapper Paperi T.

Their second album, “Body Positive”, flash-released towards the end of the year, tackles current topics in a way that feels achingly relevant and far too rare in Finnish music.

♪♫ Listen: “Ride feat. Pykäri” + album stream

Femme En Fourrure on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

7
Mikko Joensuu <BR> “Amen 3”

Mikko Joensuu
“Amen 3”

After previous year’s highly anticipated reincarnation as a solo artist, Mikko Joensuu trades in his guitar for synths and completes his colossal album trilogy with an ambient-spirited epic.

Full of lush textures and hypnotic arpeggios, unhurried percussions and even a motorik beat, “Amen 3” gives further proof that Joensuu is not your usual traditionalist singer-songwriter but one whose scope ranges from the corn fields and mining towns all the way to the autobahn and beyond.

♪♫ Listen: “House of Fire” + album stream

Mikko Joensuu on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, www.

6
Pykäri <BR> “Pykäri”

Pykäri
“Pykäri”

Mikko Pykäri was best known from indie darlings Regina, who broke up both as a band and the relationship central to it. Flying solo he enlists a number of singers to convey what seems like his sincere feelings about it all. The result is bittersweet and contemporary, including some of our best electronic pop of the year.

Ever the prankster though, he also sneaks in an infuriatingly silly earworm of a pop rap tune with Finnish lyrics about the wonders of being a “champagne shark”. Irony is involved.

♪♫ Listen: “Run feat. Mio” + album stream

Pykäri on Facebook, Instagram, www.

5
Siinai <BR> “Sykli”

Siinai
“Sykli”

Helsinki-based krautrock group Siinai shares members with various active bands, so they operate in intervals, including two stints with Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug as a vocalist.

Their two previous instrumental albums have centered on a theme, from olympic games to the supermarket.

“Sykli” heads for a more abstract territory, taking you from darkness to light in a few grand sweeps, and is possibly their most cohesive and satisfying work yet.

♪♫ Listen: “Sykli” + album stream

Siinai on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

4
Kaukolampi <BR> “1”

Kaukolampi
“1”

Leader of krautrock outfit K-X-P Timo Kaukolampi channels his cosmic vibes into a debut solo album.

The significance of an artist’s lifestyle in their art is questionable, but his turn toward sober spirituality long time ago seems not trivial in a year we lost one of our best, Mika Vainio, to alcohol abuse. Kaukolampi pays his respects in a beautiful requiem.

It’s tempting to interpret the album through a certain seeker mentality. Apparently Kaukolampi had programmed various beats for the album but stripped it down to a simple 4/4 pulse, like meditating towards a core function of life itself.

♪♫ Listen: “Three Legged Giant Centipede” + album stream

Kaukolampi on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram.

3
View <BR> “Leave a Comment”

View
“Leave a Comment”

While rap in Finland is having a popular and perhaps even creative peak, almost everyone despite their origin settle for Finnish and the local, small but manageable market.

Usually the formula includes an attempt or two in silly EDM-fuelled party tracks. View aka. Juuso Ruohonen instead makes a dark, bold and elegant debut that feels international not only in that the language passes with high marks but in that it’s refreshingly free and inventive outside hip hop’s usual frontiers.

♪♫ Listen: “Trippin’ Sober” + album stream

View on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

2
Litku Klemetti<BR> “Juna Kainuuseen”

Litku Klemetti
“Juna Kainuuseen”

Sanna “Litku” Klemetti burst on the scene the previous year with her infectious songs fusing garage rock and DIY punk attitude with classic vintage pop or even schlager.

“Juna Kainuuseen” is her supposed “solo album” but features the same band, and during the course of the year she backed from the slightly confusing separation, choosing to perform songs from both records.

The album contains some of her best work yet, including the title track which is an instant classic.

♪♫ Listen: “Juna Kainuuseen” + album stream

Litku Klemetti on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, www.

1
Circle <BR> “Terminal”

Circle
“Terminal”

Finland’s top cult band Circle, in a move that for them seems almost boringly logical, signed with the well known US experimental metal label Southern Lord. You wouldn’t expect them to change their irreverent ethos too much though.

Still, “Terminal” finds them at the height of their powers, fusing krautrock’s repetition, high voltage riffs, theatrical vocals and a whole lot of unexpected twists and turns.

It’s an astonishing feat, but it’s apparently their 52nd album that might be the best yet to capture the infectious energy of their famed live performances.

♪♫ Listen: “Kill City” + album stream

Circle on Bandcamp, Facebook, www.