Fresh after playing Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival this past weekend, acclaimed Nordic indie folk duo Tuomo & Markus have announced the long-awaited release of their exhilarating and evocative new album, Game Changing, arriving on Friday, October 14.
Produced by Tuomo & Markus – a.k.a. Finnish soul/jazz singer/pianist Tuomo Prättälä and singer-songwriter/guitarist Markus Nordenstreng (formerly in the Helsinki-based roots rock band The Latebirds) – in their native Finland and studios across the US, with featured backing from such iconic musicians as guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Black Keys), Jonathan Wilson and Finnish jazz trumpet sensation Verneri Pohjola, Game Changing is heralded by the deceptively comforting “Wishful Information,” which received early praise from Blackbook for its “piercing observations on this worrying new age of algorithmic mind control.” The track is available now at all DSPs and streaming services – stream it HERE, and pre-order Game Changing HERE.
LISTEN TO “WISHFUL INFORMATION”
PRE-ORDER GAME CHANGING
In addition, Game Changing also includes the panoramic, paranoiac “Predator,” co-produced by Tuomo & Markus with multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilson (Dawes, Father John Misty, Angel Olsen) and available everywhere now for streaming and download.
LISTEN TO “PREDATOR”
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Tuomo Prättälä and Markus Nordenstreng first met in 2007 and soon began collaborating as a duo, inspired by a shared passion for vocal harmony and a wide range of American music spanning roots rock, folk, jazz, soul, and psychedelia. The next half decade saw them periodically writing and performing together en route to recording sessions at Tucson, AZ’s WaveLab Recording Studio, backed by such high-profile friends and fans as Calexico’s Joey Burns, John Convertino, and Jacob Valenzuela, Wilco members Pat Sansone and John Stirratt, and The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris.
The resulting double LP, 2016’s Dead Circles, earned acclaim around the globe, with David Fricke hailing it as “a marvelous debut album – steeped in the pioneer stories of the Band, the painted-desert psychedelia of the American Beauty-era Grateful Dead and the modernist extensions of Wilco and the Tucson band Calexico” in Rolling Stone. “Dead Circles is a rich tapestry of acoustic orchestration,” declared Seattle, WA’s influential KEXP, “often subdued but never enervating or insignificant. Over the delightful melodies, the duo’s harmonies drift airily, easily recalling CSNY and Simon & Garfunkel with reverence.”
Having mastered the studio, Tuomo & Markus transformed into a stellar six-piece live band, including Finnish jazz trumpet sensation Verneri Pohjola, pedal steel guitarist Miikka “McGyver” Paatelainen, bassist Jeremias Ijäs, and drummer-trombonist Juho Viljanen – all of whom feature on Game Changing. The group’s live shows proved wildly ambitious, evincing an expansive sonic approach that saw them sharing stages with Neil Young, Wilco, Jonathan Wilson, and The Jayhawks as well as a memorable 2017 performance at Austin, TX’s SXSW and KEXP live session highlighted by a widescreen cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Jack Straw” (streaming HERE).
Now, with the long overdue Game Changing, Tuomo & Markus have built upon their past triumphs and crafted something even more extraordinary, an urgent, electric collection of inventive improvisation and emotionally direct songcraft that simultaneously conjures both the Finnish north and the American West. From the morning call of the album-opening title track to the extended, winding roads of “Aliens With Extraordinary Talents” and “Hearing Voices,” the new album affirms Tuomo & Markus as uniquely visionary musicians whose roots and energies run long, wide and deep, through genre, era and geography.
“The only thing you can count on/Is things are about to change,” Prättälä and Nordenstreng sing as one in ‘Love Is Coming Down’ – a promise made again and again on this album,” writes Fricke in the album’s exclusive liner notes. “Six years in the waiting and finished amid a fear and uncertainty many of us have never known before, Game Changing is a second album about new beginnings, by a band with a future still being written. Here is the story so far.”