Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shoso Strip:

More from Shéna Ringo (aka Shina Ringo, Sheena Ringo, etc.). Shoso Strip displays her unique style for incorporating some Ginza gloss on some fractured hard pop rock. Ringo always comes off an an interesting artist who isn't afraid to write some grounded, yet fairly challenging music.

it's HERE

The Bad Charm:

Not sure how necessary these two Cd's are considering the thousands of live recordings that PIXIES unleashed upon everyone in the midst of their multi-nation reunion tour; but these recordings remind me of a time when i would jump for joy and automatically purchase anything that said KTS on the label.

Anyway--these are great live PIXIES shows from 1989 and 1991


(Tracks 1-11 recorded Live @ Newcastle Polytechnic 27, April 1989)
1. into the white 2. wave of mutilation 3. there goes my gun
4. monkey gone to heaven 5. debaser 6. isla de encanta
7. bone machine 8. cactus 9. gigantic 10. gouge away
11. tame

(tracks 12-20 recorded Live @ Pink Pop fest. Holland 15, May 1989)
12. wave of mutilation 13. debaser 14. monkey gone to heaven
15. crackity jones 16. dead 17. no. 13 baby 18. isla de encanta
19. gigantic 20. vamos

(tracks 21-27 recorded Live @ The Metro, Chicago 10, Aug. 1989)
21. bone machine 22. cactus 23. debaser 24. gigantic
25. gouge away 26. the holiday song 27. nimrod's son


1. river euphrates 2. bone machine 3. hang wire 4. is she weird
5. subbacultcha 6. tame 7. isla de encanta 8. the happening
9. velouria 10. allison 11. gouge away 12. debaser
13. here comes your man 14. the sad punk 15. monkey gone to heaven
16. the holiday song 17. motorway to roswell 18. vamos
19. head on

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Trippin' out:

Here's another group of musicians that I feel never received the proper respect and attention due to the fact that they were creating music that was somewhat out of their time. While the rest of the world was awash in the turgid flow of "grunge" Minneapolis band, Trip Shakespeare who was busy crafting unusual songs full of Merseybeat jangling guitars, cryptic lyrics, and three part harmonies that almost reach a Vaudeville-like crescendo at times. Think of it as power pop with a paisley twist. Certainly not for everyone...but something about this band has always fascinated me...due to the fact that their sound occupies it's own singular vision. I have never heard another band that emulates this same audio space within pop music. That a compliment!

I wrote a bit in the previous Electric Love Muffin piece about discovering loads of bands through the college radio station in the mid west and Trip Shakespeare's album Are You Shakespearienced? is one of the earliest examples that comes to mind. The song "Tool Master Of Brainard" (see how weird that is...? What band names their song "Tool Master Of Brainard"??? haha--great!) opens with an almost acid-rock riff while the angular solo bit kicks in. Towards the middle of the song, the listener is treated to a 90% accapella call and response bit that is almost goofy in it's hushed theatrics and over the top vocal posturing. But it's these kinds of moments within Trip Shakespeare's twisted little pop world that makes it all the more worth the while.

on with IT!

Dark waters run deep:

Written In Waters by Ven Buens Ende is one of those records that grabbed me by the collar and sucked me into their dark mysterious world upon first listen and refuses to let me go. Their style is rooted somewhere in black metal...but only the roots. The branches are stretched out into other atmospheres and soaking up the moonlit air from other galaxies. Incorporating elements of jazz timing, post rock flow, and gothic maneuvering, this album remains a landmark of challenging music. A dark, unsettling ride that more times than not, defies description; yet demands repeated listens.

I must add that I feel like my write-up doesn't do this one justice. I've tried to deliver something semi-literate in order to provoke interest...but shall i just say: This album is fucking incredible! If you choose to download it; be prepared to spend some time with it will grow on you! Highly Recommended!

Soak it Up


What exactly is it about Germans that enables them to craft such splendid minimal electronic music? Something about the architecture? Or perhaps most of these kids grew up listening to non-stop Kraftwerk while they were in diapers. Whatever the reasons behind it, I can never get enough; and although the German-based group Kreidler is by no means what i would consider minimal electronic, this album sees their work remixed within that context. Engrossing stuff.

Absorb this

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Shina Ringo was once known to belt out some pretty great Japanese rock with a glossy Shibuya edge to it. But whatever gloss there is seems to get smudged out with ragged melodies, unusual choices of composition, and an overall fiery confrontational edge. Ze-chyou Syuu is a 3 Cd set that contains live and studio cuts. Each Cd is a mini Cd with 3 songs on it. It may seem like a waste of packaging, but the design is pretty cool. Plus, I always loved this inside live photo that shows Shéna Ringo clutching her stomach and looking crazed while fans cheer on in the background.


Re-post: Hamster:

If most mainstream Japanese pop music (Morning Musume, Hamasaki Ayumi, etc.) could be compared to candy, then Chocolat's brand of j-pop would be considered ice cream. It's a sugary treat, but not so sweet as to induce rotting of the teeth. British rock, American pop, French groove, and J-pop all merge together here to produce a warm, organic bliss of an album that is cute, catchy, and done with class. The production here (by Tomoki Kanda) is really amazing, with lots of surprises. Bouncing ping-pong balls, chirping crickets, answering machines, and other odd little noises dot this power pop landscape. It's the kind of album that sounds great on the speakers and also yields new rewards when listened to on headphones.

Chocolat doesn't possess a very powerful voice, in fact, it's a bit thin and buried in the mix, but it fits the style of these songs and certainly fits the mood of the album. Every song is worthy of mention...but it's a bit of shame to report that the choice of cover song, Janis Ian's "At Seventeen", is the album's only misstep. But...that doesn't spoil this amazing album full of incredible melodies and great songwriting!

If you are a fan of The Cardigans, Wondermints, The Posies, Puffy, or Shonen Knife, then you will find yourself bowing down at the throne of this unsung pop princess! Hail Chocolat! All hail "Hamster" (almost) perfect pop masterpiece!



If you are enjoying the One Too Many Chocolat album and the Hamster re-post, then here's a few more reasons to explore and discover this great talent. While most Japanese "pop" singers from this era rely on super slick production and overblown drama within the hooks of their songs, Chocolat seems more interested in eminating the radiance from the sounds of French pop and Beat Girls. Throw in a nod to David Axelrod, and you're left with some delicious and highly infectious records.

It's actually a shame that more people can't appreciate a timeless, well-written pop song that crosses over the lines of shallow intent and displays a full appreciation of melody, structure, and class. But for those who do love pure, beautiful pop with a generous dose of sweetness (this is Japanese pop, after all...), then Chocolat comes highly recommended!

I usually don't do my postings with multiple albums by the same artist, because i like to mix it up a bit from post to post, style-wise; but these albums are just too good to not share.

Chocolat a la Mode is her first ep from 1997. A good first start with some exceptional summertime mini-anthems.

Henry jumps us into 2001 with a more updated sound for Chocolat. With some production work by John McEntire (Tortoise), this one took a little bit of time to grow on me. The French pop sound is toned down a bit here for a slight more "dancey" feel that actually works quite well.

Chocolat Notes is the final album i will be posting from Chocolat because i feel that everyone kind of loses the plot on this one. It gets pretty bad with the inclusion of the horrid 80's song "Never Gonna Give You Up" (eeerrggg---couldn't someone have put a stop to that being on this record?) and although the rest of the album never sinks that low again, overall, it just sounds a bit confused and aimless. But check it oiut and see if it works for you. It's one of those records that i have been trying to like ever since i bought it. Since i am such a big Chocolat fan, i keep hoping that one day i will be enlightened to it's charms. oh well....there's always Hamster!

Janus Among Us:

A smattering of SUN RA, live and in the studio various times between 1963-1970.

track listing:

1. Islands In The Sun (Recorded at Variety Studio, NYC, between 1968-1970)
2. The Invisible Shield (Recorded mono, probably at a live performance, 1970)
3. Janus (Part A Recorded at Sun Studios, NYC, 1967 or '68; Part B Recorded at Choreographer's Workshop, NYC, 1963)
4. Velvet (Recorded early '68)
5. Joy (Recorded live in NYC, early 1968)

Take me there!

Friday, May 25, 2007


Múm's mysterious world revolves around childlike melodies and tranquil, haunting homespun electronica that comfortably marries the off-kilter melodies of Bjork with a Nobukazu Takemura-esque sense of wonder. There are some very beautiful moments gathered within these songs.

Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is Ok

Computer Love:

Tetsu Inoue's music is a world full of electronic space and sound; complex in it's detail and colorful in it's audio scope. To most people, this will sound like nothing more than a series of random bleets and gurgles, but when closely examined, there is quite a lot of thought and mind-numbing attention put into every little piece.

My only other exposure to Tetsu's otherworldly electronic music was his Psycho Acoustic album; which i thought was pretty good, but nothing extraordinary. i bought this Waterloo Terminal album because i liked the concept of music based on unique architecture and thankfully, his compositions here seem to follow more of a focus and have a better sense of atmosphere.

Waterloo Terminal
is a neat album ripe for moments of deep headphone listening, but it's not exactly easy for the average listener to fully comprehend the value of this kind of music. there's an overwhelming sense of something bubbling under the surface of all of these sounds that begs for further exploration. but the audio language is such an alien one that it requires a bit of time and patience. but thanks to Tetsu Inoue's unique gift for exposing these strange fragments of sound, it's not quite as difficult to get into as one might imagine.

Plug It In!

Monday, May 21, 2007

On A Roll:

Oh Happy Days! I finally got a hold of this Electric Love Muffin Cd that I have been trying to get for years. This is one album that was responsible for really turning my head around for some amazingly well-written kick ass college rock! (haha--yes, i am fully aware of how hopelessly geeky that sounds).

The year was 1988 and i wasn't much older than 13 at the time. As a kid living out in the heartland of America and forced to live a bit of a sheltered life, there really weren't too many chances for me to be exposed to a large amount of music. But every night, i curled up with my tiny radio and tuned into the local college radio station and absorbed every single thing that the late night DJ would spin. It was the opening of a gigantic world that pretty much has consumed me since then. I was not exposed to much music at this point in time in my life anyway...whether it be popular music or otherwise. My main source of audio entertainment was due to the very rare trip to the skate rink (oh god, am i straight up blogging now, or what? sheesh).

anyway...Let's just say that the radio station and the DJ's selections were frying my mind on a minute-by-minute basis every night. I would usually sit by the radio with a small flashlight, a piece of pen and paper so i could scribble down the bands and songs that got me going. then i would call the station the next night and request the same songs with hopes of recording them to cassette. Haha. how funny. I know the DJ was completely sick of me phoning him up almost every evening and requesting the same songs he had just played the night before...but oh well.

Once a week, they would have a segment of their show where they would select a newly released record and play a full side of the record straight through to help promote it. When they announced that they would be playing Side B of an album called Rassafranna by a group called The Electric Love Muffin, I happened to have my cassette recorder ready and captured it snuggly on that Maxell 60 minute sucker!

I also taped a lot of other stuff on that tape, but the Electric Love Muffin stuff really began to grow on me and get burnt into my mind. Years and years later, i stumbled across an unopened LP copy of the record for 1 measly dollar! Sadly, i ended up giving it away to a friend when i was trying to unload some of my stuff for a move overseas. But those same tunes from Side B kept coming back into my memory to haunt me. The stark, those snarling, treble guitars that possess a raucous garage rock fire; the bouncing bass and drums that work up a fever and a sweat, the earnest melodies that seemed to embody the sound of the American midwest college rock years, and that simple sweet feeling of young, drunk, sad, loved, and/or lost.

Great songs, insanely competent playing, wonderful record. The Electric Love Muffin: one of the great rock bands lost in time; now resurrected. Get this one...Side B (tracks 8-14) especially comes highly recommended! :)

By the way, that radio station DJ's name was Dave Deibler (he had a fairly popular band called House Of Large Sizes) and Dave, if you're out there, sorry about all those phone calls.


Let it Rain:

Boris kind of fell out of favor with me when they went all out rawk. But this 2000 album Flood remains a standout selection to their ever-expanding discography. One long track full of spacey atmospheric noodling until it all comes raining down in thunderous glory.

Pour it on


Splendid orchestral pop music that owes a bit to classic French Pop more so than Japanese pops. Chocolat possesses a voice that isn't so sickly sweet, but sweet enough to blend into these beautiful and well written songs; each one a gem. Great production and a nice rainy day feeling pervades many of these cuts. This one isn't quite so technicolor as her Hamster album, which i posted some time ago, but stands on it's own as a real treat for lovers of fine pop!

One too many? No way...never enough!

Viva Chocolat!


Been meaning to post this one for awhile. Legendary MOPS, the bluesy Japanese rock band that wrote some fairly catchy songs. Sounds like most of their influence came from bands like Collosseum or some of the early sounds of British rock like The Yardbirds or The Searchers. This album is called Goiken Muyo (and is also known as Iijanaika).

Find it here

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lush Life:

"Landscape Of Smaller's Music" ...isn't that a great title? Notice that it's not "smaller" but rather "Smaller's". Adds a whole new perspective to things; and that seems precisely what Japanese producer Tomoki Kanda is trying to do with this album...change the perspective. This is an album of subtle beauty that strikes a balance between organic electronic pop and a wide-eyed sense of wonder for pure ambient sound. The album's cover art sets the mood perfectly: the view of a small creature (human? doubtful.) looking up from the tall grass into the night sky illuminated by millions of twinkling stars.

Upon first listen, this album may seem entirely too pedestrian or nothing more than casual background music for the Shibuya tea and cake crowd...but, slip on the expensive surround sound headphones and personally explore each and every one of those twinkling stars up there.

Begin the journey

The Young & The Restless:

This excellent compilation showcases a select bunch of American rock bands that were caught somewhere in between post punk and power pop. Every group represented here carries their own great sound, yet seem fully united in their basic approach to songwriting. Probably the most well known band on here, The Fleshtones kick up a great racket with a bouncy brazen shuffle that would eventually influence more than a few early REM singles. Revelons are one of the bands that I had never heard of before getting this Cd; but their song "Red Hot Woman" is so addictive and cool. It's like a revved up Neu! complete with hypnotic and repetitive rhythms...but totally set in rock and roll. Bloodless Pharaohs are one of the more interesting & unusual groups here. They have sort of a spooky garage rock thing going on with some pretty weird compositions, keyboards, monster mash type vocals, and a young pre-Stray Cats Brian Setzer on guitar! Student Teachers, and Comateens also round out this package with some super early Romantics-esque type of tunes!

Sadly, many of these bands seem to have fallen by the wayside and have never really gotten the proper respect due. So check this one out and maybe discover some underground heroes of an under looked era gone by.

go go GO!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Lookin' Out:

This is one of the weirdest and most experimental rap albums made in the early 90's. J. Beez Wit The Remedy is a bold and daring record that was way ahead of it's time and no doubt left many mainstream hip hop fans (and many Jungle Brothers fans) scratching their heads in confusion. this incarnation of Jungle Brothers featured the insane hip hop artist Sensational (billed here on this album as Torture) in their ranks and that might explain some of the less than common styles represented here. The production of tracks like "Spittin' Wicked Randomness" and "For The Headz At Company Z" seem to hint at appreciation of experimental industrial music and contain a very hallucinagenic affect. This was originally roduced by Bill Laswell (him again? uggh), but his first mix was deemed way too experimental by the record label and the final cut trims the crazed factor down a bit; but still remains an interesting listen.

get it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tomoe's World:

Welcome to the weird, wild world of Tomoe Shinohara. A place where ridiculous pop music reigns supreme, people's lives are like video games, and Hello Kitty has turned into a worm. (See the photo for proof!)

Super Model is so full of over-the-top, catchy, and very very bizarre pop that it may be best to handle this in small doses. BE WARNED: the "so stupid it's great/so great it's stupid" factor is very high. I have played select songs off this album for people; and the overall reaction was pretty much all the same: sitting, staring at the stereo with a sense of disbelief that eventually led to uncomfortable squirming, then more disbelief...then sheer hatred. But when it was all done, even though it was painful, they asked me to play it again. And no one can deny, there is a massive focus and preparation to these songs, take the third track as a prime example. It begins with a dubby trip-hop feeling that careens along for a while with Tomoe's off-kilter, over-excited voice cutting through the rubbish beats; suddenly, a robot voice chimes in with a familiar Ramones-like chant and the song goes into surf rock territory...suddenly, here comes a ripping heavy metal electric guitar it's back to the surfing (complete with "oom-mow-mow pa-pa oom-mow-mow's). So insane, unbelievable, and completely stupid!

You cannot resist!

Dream & Machine:

Here's another blast of pure pop goodness from the sugar-candy princess, Tomoe Shinohara. This one's far less quirky and more subdued than Super Model; gone (for the most part) are the hyper-active elements that made her such a curiosity (to me, at least); but in it's place are some surprisingly (and disappointingly?) tasteful moments. I guess we all have to grow up sometime, don't we?

It should be noted that this album contains songs written, and performed by members of Boredoms, Shonen Knife, Cibo Matto, Buffalo Daughter, Moonriders, and Sean Lennon.

Give her a go

Blood and Whiskey:

Imagine a southern fried, hard rockin' DIO and you'll have a bit of an idea as to what BRIDE sounds like on the Silence Is Madness album. Bride's early albums were a big hit with me when I was younger and I remember wearing out their cassette tapes. They wrote some great metal that was influenced by a lot of NWOBHM...early Maiden, Angel Witch, Judas Priest, etc. and when they wanted to, they could write some insanely thrashy type of songs, some of which were epic in scope.

Well, that epic-ness gets toned down a bit for this album. The songs are shorter and the sound is lean and mean. All the tunes kind of just get to the point and rock. There are not too many lengthy intros or showboating solos...just some great metal! I cannot really comment on whether or not Silence Is Madness stands as one of Bride's strongest albums because i have not heard anything released after this. Some of my favorite songs are "Hot Down South Tonite" which has this creepy summer haze that just seems to sweat all over the music; keeping it true to the song's title. Also, the title track is really awesome with lots of interesting composition involved. The final track is a bluesy gospel number that's not so impressive. I cringe every time the song comes on because of all the cheesy crooning in the background. oh well....

Also, note the awesome/hilarious "scribbled on the notebook of a high school metal fan" styled cover artwork. Wow!

Silence Is Madness

Birds of the Night:

ahhh... Cranes. One of the most underrated and misunderstood groups of the ethereal shoegazer scene. I'm not even sure which "scene" that this band could be lumped into. They seem to appeal to fans of the gothic camp...due to the bleakness of the band's compositions; yet they also have an airy pop artiness that lends itself to some pretty amazing songs. One cannot write anything about this now defunct group without mentioning the captivating voice of the singer, Alison. It's a truly distinctive voice that teeters between frightened child and demented acid trip.

Two disc set of their singles ~ Recommended!

Disc One
Disc Two

Bashin' it out:

Hard driving stuff here from Portland Oregon's Crackerbash. That good Northwest rock sound...a bit of gruff character with lots of rough hewn melody around the edges. Definitely contains a lot more bite to their sound than most of the indie rock of it's day...not to mention a stellar live show.


BBC In Concert 1976:

Although I'm no authority on classic rock, this band in particular, The Baker Gurvitz Army, always gets me with their thrilling combination of jazz, blues, and some nice subtle proggy touches. This is a bootleg that sounds like it might have been taped from the radio. Sound quality is a little rough at first (possibly trying to tune in for a better signal?), but thankfully it clears up to a listenable degree.

Join The Army

Monday, May 14, 2007


Re-post of this too-cool-for-cram-school Japanese rock band.
By request: Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her



...and another little Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her treat. The Lullaby ep from 2001. Contains a few unreleased b-sides. :)


Prog Lovin' Man:

If you're looking for the kind of ear-splitting, soul-shifting, sonic depravity found on his other 1 million Merzbow records, then this cd is probably not the place to start. However, if you are a casual listener of noise and enjoy listening to interesting adaptions to sound, then Aqua Necromancer is a fine place to begin. This comes pretty close to being accessible least when comparing this to previous Merzbow albums. Maybe because this album's music is loosely based on progressive rock bands that Merzbow loves. More specifically, it seems like a tribute to prog rock drummers. There are lots of looped organs, drum fills, and plenty of squelchy, squeaky feedback and washes of gorgeous noise that flip and drip and slide and squirm in between it all.


Space Odyssey:

This German group, Kreidler, has outdone themselves on this Cd! Eve Future combines post-rock dynamics with moody textural atmosphere and a sense of drama that is reminiscent of a science fiction soundtrack (i.e. Clockwork Orange, 2001 A Space Odyssey, etc.). Throw in a nod or two to fellow countryman Klause Shulze and you have a very tasty little album.

find it here

Strange bedfelows:

More great Muslimgauze. This is the Vote Hezbollah album released on Soleilmoon in 1993. The usual percussion-heavy vibe is here, but the atmospherics are given a mainstage as a swirling, almost claustrophobic and paranoid, "lost in the streets of Palestine" feel takes over. A journey worth taking.


Stand back:

Here's a rare Cd from a New Zealand rock band that I had a hard time finding much information about on the web. Released in 1990 on Yellow Bike Records, the awesomely titled Live Stomach has a very raw feel to fact, the inside liner notes give this advice: Unproduced! Play loud!
that's good enough for me.

Live Stomach

HACO be thy name

HACO is a very well known Japanese artist who first came to prominence back in the 1980's when she fronted the amazing baroque avant-prog pop band, After Dinner. From then, she has been in several small groups and has worked with lots of big names on the international scene. Her style is unique and carries a strong personal identity to her sound. She is a performer who gains respect from me because of her great sense of musical timing and the guts to take risks with her art.

Happiness Proof
is one of Haco's several solo albums; and it's a very fun, playful, and friendly record that has a sort of unpredictable avant-pop feel to it. This is fairly approachable stuff, and nothing here harks back to her time in After Dinner; but yet this stands alone as the work of an artists who is able to meld the sounds of pop melody with a bit of a twist.

It should be noted, that Haco is aided here by a smattering of great musicians, including Otomo Yoshihide, Yamamoto Seiichi (Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba), Tsuyama Atsushi (Omoide Hatoba, Acid Mothers Temple, Akaten), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (Ground Zero), and Pierre Bastien!

Join the Party

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Double Trouble 2:

Are you a fan of Ruins? The Magma-obsessed hyper manic duo fronted by drumming madman Yoshida Tatsuya? Well, if you appreciate their unique brand of lunatic prog punk, but it's just a little too extreme for you, then you'll be glad to get your hands on anything by this superior side project.

Hundred Sights Of Koenji (aka Koenji Hyakkei) allows Tatsuya's Magma worship to fully blossom and take flight. The core of this sound is Tatsuya's drumming, but he is joined by guitar, bass, keyboards and glorious female vocals (singing in the drummer's own unique Tatsuya-speak language, 'natch!). The band's musical chemistry is unbelievably tight and the vocals flow with a gorgeous and passionate delivery.

Those who have an ear for some beautiful, heavy, theatrical, and strange prog, should download out this album immediately. And needless to say, if there are any Magma fans out there who have yet to hear Hundred Views Of Koenji...then prepare thyself!

Two albums here, both released on Hoppy Kamiyama's God Mountain record label and both prime examples of the dizzying & gorgeous tower of power that these fine musicians have constructed.


Khaooohs Reigns Supreme!

Aren't metal heads resourceful these days? Pan Thy Monium decided instead of worshiping Satan (that was, like, soooo 1983), that they would simply create their own deities such as Jag & Vem and Raagoonshinnaah (who apparently co-produced this album). To say that we're not in standard metal territory here would be a bit of an understatement. Although, the metal side is reflected quite solidly, with mid-paced heavy guitar riffs and low guttural death metal growling/. Of course, things get really weird when all the free jazz influence comes pounding into the songs; but that's the beauty of Pan Thy Monium.

Up the Avant-Metal Elite!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

None More Black:

ANIMAMIMA is a live recording of Keiji Haino accompanied by Sitaar Tah! which is a 20 piece sitar group. Haino handles electric hurdy gurdy, electric sruthi box, electric tanbur, rhythm box, flute and voice while the sitar group backs him up with a steady warm psyche drone that swells and rises with the given moment. The results are very much like a tribute to the warm, organic drone of groups like the Taj Mahal Travlellers. Beautiful sounds that draw you deep into this web.

This was a one-time performance given at Uplink Factory in Shibuya, Tokyo on June 24th, 2004; and was released on the Archive/Important record label in a limited edition of 1000 copies.



Once in awhile, an artist comes along that just blows away any preconceived notion of what kind of potential there is for a new sound. Fusing talent with an unlimited source of creativity, Asa-chang & Junray have seemingly created their own genre of music. It's a sound that is so unique and incredible, that I have a hard time trying to pinpoint exactly what it is. It's very percussive in nature, with a strong emphasis on tabla and other Indian/southeast Asia drumming styles. Electronic elements are also firmly in place on these recordings, although the music never falls into that "ethno-electronic, world beat" silliness. A hard record to describe, but very much worth listening to; and strangely moving in it's exploration of a newfound sound.

The name of this album is Hana and that is the big pink kanji symbol printed on the cover of the album. It was released in 2001 on the Hot-cha record label.

Discover it Here

Third time's charm:

This German mastermind should probably need no introduction to those well versed in modern electronic music. The work of Pole (aka Stefan Betke) works up spacial minimalist dub that is swathed in liberal doses of reverb, glitch, and that beautiful snap and pop of a worn vinyl groove. It's like going into some secret underground club and having Philip Jeck as the resident DJ and listening as he mashes up Oval records with Lee Perry.

Absolutely Essential Late Night Listening

Pudding Punx:

Four Two Pudding is a Cd sampler from Very Small records that compiled vinyl only releases from some punk rock bands. I would think that most of the material here dates from the early 90's and features a lot of groups popular in the bay area. Were you ever a Maximum Rock N Roll reader? If so, then this band list should be familiar:

Corrupted Morals/Econochrist/Screeching Weasel/Schizoid/Dissent/Coffee & Donuts/Samiam/Offspring/Soup/Fuel/Sewer Trout/Nuisance/Lizards/23 More Minutes/Downfall/Horny Mormons/Jawbreaker/Sleep/Schlong/3 Finger Spread/Nar/False Sacrament/Pounded Clown/Plaid Retina/Logical Nonsense

up the puddin'

I Put A Spell On You:

Mad Professor's take on dub is very interesting. all the standard dub elements are firmly in place, the echoing drums, the plodding bass lines, and reverb by the gallons; but where he differs from many of his dub contemporaries is his robotic sense of production and flow. It's very electronic in nature and therefore can come across as rather cold and sterile. Personally, I like my dub served more warm than cold; but Mad Professor infuses his dubs w/ enough varied ingredients that make Under The Spell Of Dub worthwhile. There's lots of weird trip hop beats on here and plenty of strange choices in production that might drive the rootsy dub listener crazy, but open minded listeners will enjoy this one.

away we go

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Rose Gate:

One of the more interesting and unusual entries into the magical world of J.A. Seazer, Baramon was a musical set written to express issues of sexual repression. As the project developed and grew, the subject shifted slightly to focus entirely on the world of homosexual and lesbian life in Japan; which was (and still very much is) an underground community.

There are a few repeating themes on this record and any J.A. Seazer / Tokyo Kid Brothers fan will recognize that familiar dramatic refrain used on Jasumon and other titles (revisted here as "性解放宣言" track 14) and a reworking of the great "健さん愛してる" (first heard on the Throw Away The Books... album).

There are a few surprises here...such as the first track which utilizes a lengthy Nazi speech as a backdrop to an impassioned call to arms for a gay revolution, some great Can-inspired grooves, and a few campy, fun, silly moments. The acid-burned psyche and heavy rock of some of this group's other releases more or less takes a backseat to a slightly more restrained feeling here.

As with anything from the Tenjosajiki/Terayama Shuji/J.A. Seazer collective, this comes your way with high recommendations!



Very nice playful music here from Takako Minekawa, who had a bit of a cult following overseas while riding that small wave of Japanese homespun indie elctro-pop that was cropping up to attentive ears back in the 1990's. Her style leans more towards a Kraftwerk-ian sense of timing and a minimalist approach that really lets these song's simple charm flow forth.

More Takako coming soon!
but for now...


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Some Old Smiths (or other):

An excellent and sadly rare tribute Cd not just focusing on one of the greatest bands of all time, but also on one of the best albums of 20th century pop music: The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths.

This Cd was only made available for subscribers to the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles and features an impressive cast of bands and artists covering the beloved original 1986 album, track by track in it's entirety!

01. The Queen Is Dead The Boo Radleys
02. Frankly Mr. Shankly The High Llamas
03. I Know It's Over The Trash Can Sinatras
04. Never Had No One Ever Billy Bragg
05. Cemetry Gates The Frank & Walters
06. Bigmouth Strikes Again Placebo
07. The Boy With A Thorn In His Side Bis
08. Vicar In A Tutu Therapy?
09. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out The Divine Comedy
10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others Supergrass

Find It Here


DJ Pica Pica Pica is Yamatsuka eYe of the Boredoms; and this is his special DJ mix album entitled Planetary Natural Love Gas Webbin' 199999. This one goes above and beyond any other Dj mix Cd that has EVER been created and really almost no source is left untapped. From bubbly disco to sounds of nature, and every cosmic crevice in between. Anyone who went ga-ga for BOREDOMS' Rebore Vol. 0 should have plenty to bug out on here. The big downer about this being in Mp3 format is the quick gaps of space in between each individual track rather than being able to experience this in all of it's non-stop mega mix madness.

Pica Pica Pica