My three personal connections to the nation of Finland are my former Nokia cell phone; my favorite of the San Jose Sharks’ two goalies, Vesa Toskala; and the sprinkling of wacked-out avant-punk I have from Finland in my record collection. To me, a trip to Helsinki or Oulu would be to visit the furthest stretches of imagination, even more so than my visits to the faraway land of Sweden in 2002. Finland to me is cold, distant, dark, scary and full of hard Baltic liquor, but then again, I’ve never been there. It might be a total upscale, yuppified place. I do know that some of the wildest & weirdest records I’ve ever heard come from there. Take “Ma Vihaan” by RUTTO, for instance. Rutto are this total off-the-rails hardcore band from 1983, with this shrieking, instantly-falling-apart shitstorm of a sound that is just candyfloss to my ears. Their “Ei Paluuta” 7″EP is a ballistic, Black Flag-ish classic, and their “Ilmastoitu Painajainen” single from 1984 only slightly less so.
Then there’s THE SILVER. A late 70s lost pajama party stab in the dark, so retarded and fried it makes 1/2 Japanese from the same era sound totally sane & with-it. Yes, “Do You Wanna Dance” is the Beach Boys/Ramones classic. You’ll never hear it the same way again. Finally, the first Finnish band to win my heart – of course I’m talking about LIIMANARINA. Bizarre, low-fidelity, glue-sniffing “snot folk” played at top volume, with the de rigeur Finnish stream of vowels slurred & screamed over the top. This one (“Turistit”) is from their first 7″EP which I believe came out in 1989 or 1990. Amazing, destroying, a burnout classic, and all that. Ignore that Drag City record they did and find their singles – they’re great!!!
(click on these links above, then download from the page the links take you to – or just play the songs there first)