My Top 20 and how it got there


Mag 9 2008, 12:19

Take your top twenty artists overall, and list:

a) The first song you heard by them.
b) The song that really got you into them.
c) Your current favorite by them.


1. The Clientele 2,748
a) Emptily Through Holloway
b) When You and I Were Young
c) Since K Got Over Me
Downloaded the first song some time in 2003 but, for a reason that is beyond me, didn't immediately hear the genius in it. Then, in early 2005, I received a mixtape with Policeman Getting Lost on it (thanks starfriend) and was quite smitten. A couple of months later, I came across a second-hand copy of The Violet Hour and, as they say, the rest is history (and the future, I presume).

2. The National 1,179
a) Secret Meeting
b) Secret Meeting
c) Mr. November
Got Alligator from the library in August 2005 and couldn't believe my ears. Too bad that Boxer didn't quite do the same for me, but a great band nevertheless.

3. The American Analog Set 1,023
a) Continuous Hit Music
b) Come Home Baby Julie, Come Home
c) Come Home Baby Julie, Come Home
Found Promise of Love in the bargain bin of a local shop in August 2004. The name had come up here and there, so I decided to listen to the album and liked it right away. Since then, I've purchased every album they made, but that Julie song remains unparalleled in its beauty.

4. Joy Division 875
a) Love Will Tear Us Apart
b) Digital
c) A Means to an End
Can't remember when I first heard that obvious song, but I do remember being vaguely confused in a 'what's the big fuzz' kind of way. Later, in 2002 I think, I purchased Substance but didn't listen to it much. 'Nice enough but overrated', I thought to myself. Fast-forward to August 2007: I finally watch 24 Hour Party People and am completely blown away. So that's me, a Joy Division convert at the tender age of 32. Kind of embarrassing, but what can you do.

5. The Church 653
a) Aura
b) Under the Milky Way
c) Ripple
My girlfriend (who is now my wife) had Priest = Aura on tape back in 1994 when we got together. I think I tried listening to it once and wasn't impressed at all. Ten years later, I suddenly found myself buying all The Church albums I could. Older and wiser, I guess.

6. The Radio Dept. 641
a) Against the Tide [?]
b) Why Won't You Talk About It?
c) Why Won't You Talk About It?
Can't remember how I ended up on Labrador's site in 2004, but once I got there, I was impressed by many of the bands, this one in particular. WWYTAI? is still one of the best pieces of buzz-pop ever, and the band haven't fired many blanks since. Looking forward to the next album, which should be out in September.

7. The Field Mice 587
a) Emma's House [??]
b) Sensitive
c) Sensitive
Another 2004 discovery. Exciting times. It started out with a bunch of five or so songs, can't remember the first one for sure. But then I heard Where'd You Learn to Kiss That Way? in its entirety and it was love.

8. The Fall 556
a) Hit the North [???]
b) Couldn't Get Ahead
c) Smile
My first exposure to Mark E. Smith was on MTV's 120 Minutes, a show that played a crucial role in my musical education in the early 90s. I think he was co-hosting one night, and they showed a few videos by his band. One of them might have been Hit the North, but I can't be sure since it's been about 15 years. In any case, I deemed Smith's band 'crap' and forgot about it for years. But then, I think it was in 2001 or 2002, I borrowed a few albums by The Fall from the library and was hit on the head with a two-by-four.

9. Galaxie 500 550
a) Blue Thunder (w/sax)
b) Flowers
c) Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste
This I remember clearly: It was early 2001. I was in a local shop with a 'free CD' voucher in my pocket, having a hard time making my choice. Suddenly I laid my eyes on The Portable Galaxie 500. The band name had been popping up here and there, so I decided to try it out on the shop's CD player. I was immediately immersed in the sound and cycled home with the album in my backpack. At first, I wasn't quite sure whether the vocals were just a bit too whiny, but that feeling was soon replaced by everlasting love. The following year, I ordered the box set, Galaxie 500, apparently just before it went out of print. Lucky me.

10. Teenage Fanclub 540
a) Star Sign
b) Sparky's Dream
c) Don't Hide
I first came across the band in Thrasher magazine, believe it or not. Then I heard Star Sign on 120 Minutes and wasn't very impressed. In spite of this, I bought a cheap second-hand copy of Bandwagonesque some time later and started to see what it was all about. Then I heard Grand Prix and couldn't stop listening. My interest waxed and waned a little with the subsequent albums, but in retrospect they are all great. I hope they make another album soon. Man-Made was such a superb offering, the final track just leaves you hungry for more.

11. Ronderlin 537
a) Three Times
b) Reflected
c) Reflected
Don't know how it's possible, but Three Times somehow slipped my radar on the Labrador Kingsize Vol #2 compilation. But then I heard Labrador 100 - A Complete History Of Popular Music and was reduced to tears by Reflected. One of the best songs ever, period. Wave Another Day Goodbye is a classic five-star album, and The Great Investigation doesn't come far behind. A criminally underrated band if there ever was one.

12. Codeine 525
a) Realize
b) Promise of Love
c) Promise of Love
Another late discovery. I came across Barely Real in 2006 and couldn't believe I'd managed to live so long without it.

13. The Kingsbury Manx 493
a) Let You Down
b) Let You Down
c) Do What You're Told
Another case of 'found it in a bargain bin and gave it a listen', Let You Down took me by complete surprise in 2001. This band is a hidden treasure.

14. The Thermals 487
a) It's Trivia
b) It's Trivia
c) No Culture Icons
Again, I have to thank Tampere City Library for this. As well as Antti Lähde from Rumba magazine, who wrote a rave review in which he dropped all the right names. What can I say, genius lo-fi rock. The second album is great as well, don't know about the third one yet.

15. Popsicle 484
a) Mayfly
b) Sunkissed
c) wonderful
In late 1994, I read about this Swedish band that had just gigged in Finland. A month or so later, I found Abstinence in the library (yet again) and became a life-long fan.

16. Nada Surf 466
a) Popular
b) Concrete Bed
c) All Is a Game
Became acquainted with this band around the time Popular became popular. I didn't really like it. A decade later, I bought a promo copy of The Weight Is a Gift and realised what I had been missing out on. Yes, I even like Popular now.

17. Granada 437
a) Time to pass
b) Everyplace We Went
c) Hey What's Going On Kerttu Orama
The bargain-bin find to end them all, Takes A Lot Of Walking walked into my life in the summer of 2004. The album looked interesting enough, so I didn't even listen to it before buying, given that it cost just one euro. Of course, some more money had to be spent soon, as I had to order the other albums right away. Anna Järvinen went on to solo success - good for her, but I prefer the Granada albums. Timeless stuff.

18. Editors 434
a) Fingers In The Factories
b) Bullets
c) Munich
Things got off to a decidedly bad start when I heard that finger song on the radio. (Leena Lehtinen, my favourite radio DJ, often plays non-single tracks, which is naturally a welcome practice, but in this case the choice went horribly wrong.) 'So this is supposed to be the great new band? What an irritating piece of...' Upon hearing Bullets a few months later, I had to adjust my opinion there and then. Another few months passed and I learned that The Back Room is an excellent album (and that Fingers In The Factories is alright after all, even though it always reminds me of fish-fingers for some reason). The second album was a slight letdown, but this is a well-deserved Top 20 spot anyway.

19. Pixies 412
a) Trompe le Monde
b) Planet of Sound
c) Bone Machine
In early 1993, I received a tape from my cousin Mikko (who passed away in 2006 - I miss him). I can no longer remember what the main course on the tape was, but what I do remember is that Mikko had filled the remaining space with tracks 1, 2, 3, 14 and 15 off Trompe le Monde. It didn't take me long to borrow and tape the rest of the tracks as well as the other Pixies albums. I got my driver's license in May 1993 and spent a good deal of the summer driving around in my parents' car, with my skateboard in the trunk and Pixies on the stereo. Oh, those were the times. I no longer like driving or cars, but I will love Pixies as long as I live. And Trompe le Monde will always have a special place in my heart - not only because of the personal history involved, but also because it kicks ass.

20. Stereolab 400
a) Ping Pong
b) Lo Boob Oscillator
c) Transona Five
1994: First exposure, again on 120 Minutes. I don't really get it (again).
2000: I see High Fidelity and start buying all Stereolab albums I can get my hands on.


This was fun. Got a bit carried away, but that's what music can do to you. Thanks to anyone who read (or scrolled) this far.


  • roxon

    Mielenkiintoista luettavaa, minunkin (tai meidän) pitää tehdä vastaava myöhemmin. :)

    Mag 9 2008, 17:13
  • leposi

    Johan oli kiva. Pitää varmaan itsekin miettiä tätä, mutta varmaan tuolla toisen journalin puolella. Ei täällä osaa tai no voihan sen laittaa vaikka molempiin :)

    Mag 9 2008, 17:26
  • lintumies

    Joo, tätä oli kiva tehdä. Näin sen jonkun randomtyypin sivulla, tosin muutin sen omin päin top kympistä kahdeksikympiksi. :) Ja täällä on kätevä, kun voi linkittää noita bändejä, levyjä ja biisejä. Ehkä joku tuntematonkin eksyy lukemaan.

    Mag 12 2008, 6:28
  • fettstabilt

    More charts are in need of The American Analog Set, Galaxie 500, Codeine and Granada in their top 20's.

    Mag 15 2008, 1:50
  • lintumies

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    Mag 15 2008, 5:51
  • redrimbaud

    i remember the first time I heard The Clientele. It must have been 1999-2000 when I got Bicycles off a sampler from a defunct Jap fanzine called Beikoku Ongaku. Its still one of my faves by them today. Its fascinating to hear how the band has evolved over the years while still retaining the essence of their sound. Galaxie 500 was somewhere in 1991 when I first heard Tugboat off Today and I was bewitched. I probably don't play enough of them today. But it probably is a sign of how much I love them that I have all their albums on CD and Vinyl PLUS the box set reissue by Rhino. They're just seminal, and although there's still Luna as well as Damon and Naomi, they just aren't exactly the same anymore. Wonderful how these memories of yours have triggered mine. There are just some bands that you can just pinpoint exactly how you first discovered them, and those are the ones that will stay with you forever.

    Mag 15 2008, 10:42
  • lintumies

    Thanks for sharing those memories, Red! Yep, some things just stick in your mind. Such completism definitely shows that Galaxie 500 runs in your veins. :) You got there a lot earlier than me, but then again, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have appreciated them in 1991 (that was a Bad Religion year for me). I'd really like to have the Galaxie albums on vinyl too. The demand is too high nowadays, but who knows, maybe I'll find them in a local shop one day (that's happened with a few Slowdive LPs already)...

    Mag 15 2008, 12:07
  • jackbourbon

    It's really good to see those reviews here, it's always good to have new bands to check out ;) Regards from Madrid

    Lug 21 2008, 17:11
  • lintumies

    Thanks Alberto! :)

    Lug 22 2008, 6:10
  • jakedean

    It was fun to read your blurbs and see someone elses's history of music discovery. Thanks for posting this.

    Ott 9 2008, 15:52
  • lintumies

    Thank you!

    Ott 10 2008, 5:40
  • chromechisel49

    Found this journal connected to the Codeine artist page, and I echo the comment of jakedean. Discovered a few great bands here, also love that we have the same favorite Stereolab song!

    Lug 26 2012, 3:01
  • lintumies

    Thank you! My Top 20 has changed quite a bit in four years, but these memories will never fade.

    Ago 13 2012, 7:28
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