Last year I went to the first ever Modern Sky Helsinki and had a fantastic time. So good of a time that I named it the best music festival I’ve ever attented. This year Modern Sky Helsinki returns, taking place in the Finnish capital August 26-27. Jambinai will be the only Korean act to perform (compared to Sunwoo Jung-A, Kuang Program, and Neon Bunny in 2015), but Jambinai alone is reason enough for me to travel anywhere.
Just like last year I’ve been listening through exactly everything I could find from each artist on Spotify. I’ve been excited for months, working on a playlist highlighting a few of my favorites from all the artists that will perform. The list includes reliable live bands such as Mono, Bo Ningen, and Pet Conspiracy. The majority of the names, however, were completely new to me until a few months ago. Here’s a few other bands I’m particularly curious to check out this coming weekend.
The first band to catch my attention this year was Black Metal Raccoons. I immediately fell for the duo’s synthesizers and beats on the Electric EP and was similarly entranced by second EP Space Voodoo after its release in June.
Black Metal Raccoons is a Helsinki-based duo formed in 2015. The synthesizer-covered rough and repetitive rock is heavily inspired by bands such as Moon Duo and The Fauns, including an obvious nod to Eagles of Death Metal. Alex Morelli (guitar) has a punk rock background and Ville Verkkapuro (guitar), is the lead singer of a post-punk influenced indie band. The unlike twosome got its first spark and name when discussing Eagles of Death Metal and comparing their dynamic to that of Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes. The dueling gutars, catchy beats and distorted vocals form its own distinctive sound that can only be described as Raccoon Roll.
Given how Teksti-TV 666 was my favorite band at Modern Sky Helsinki in 2015 I can’t not to be excited over Kids Music. The band name makes it nearly impossible to find any information online and there’s only the one song on Bandcamp, but it has guitars and it’s catchy. Should be fun.
Kids Music is a brand-new group from Finland. The members of Kids Music Aki, Johannes and Teemu are also known from bands such as Black Twig, Teksti-TV 666 and Hopeajärvi.
There’s something about K-X-P that just works for me. A dark, electronic sound. Sweeping melodies. Great drive. And an image that reminisces Pope X Pope.
Get ready for some space rock from Helsinki, Finland! K-X-P mixes electronics, kraut, noise, pop melodies and even techno into a hypnotic and minimalistic sound. In 2010, the band released their first record, the self-titled K-X-P, earning favourable reviews. Following the album’s release and critical acclaim, K-X-P toured Europe and the UK. After their debut album, the band released a three-track EP entitled “Easy”. The second full-length album “K-X-P II” was released in 2013. K-X-P’s hypnotically pounding live shows tend to be improvisational and very loud. Given some of the conditions the band has played it, a simple formula is best: high energy level and pure honesty.
There’s something about the nature of the genre that generally makes psychedelic rock bands excel live. Sundays & Cybele managed to impress me already on record, so I’ll be expecting a lot.
SUNDAYS & CYBELE (Cybele no Nichiyobi) is a four piece psychedelic band by Kazuo Tsubouchi, Yoshinao Uchida, Shouta Mizuno and Shoutaro Aoki. The band was formed in Hokkaido, Japan in 2004. Their name is taken from the notorious French movie and their music is derived from 60’s/70’s Japanese psych rock. The band is signed to the Tokyo based record label Guruguru Brain – run by members of Kikagaku Moyo who headlined the Modern Sky Festival Helsinki 2015.
Eyedress was added to the Modern Sky Helsinki line-up only after Aristophanes cancelled in early August. In the short weeks since I haven’t been able to figure out what it is about this low-key dance-friendly music that appeals so much to me, but I’m hoping to find out.
Eyedress (PH) aka Idris Vicuña is influenced by the likes of J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Frank Ocean, and Odd Future. His 2013 debut EP Supernatural, with its high-pitched vocals and woozy, narcotic sounds, was well-received and its lead track, “Nature Trips”, became an Internet sensation with its chilling, low-budget video. In 2015 Eyedress released another album Shapeshifters and received lots of praise from Daze, NME and Spin. After opening for acts like Grimes and How To Dress Well at Manila, it’s about time Eyedress hits Finland!