Saturday, April 11, 2009

Everything You Wanted To Know About Jun Togawa (But Were Afraid To Ask):

   Like falling comets or aligned planetary bodies, once in a sacred while, a singer comes along who not only displays an amazing, life-changing voice--one that stops you dead in your tracks and takes hold of your soul for life; but also possesses a complex personality which is ripe with mystery, expression, and such a strong and pure natural beauty that a cosmic balance takes place where the artist's musical output becomes simultaneously intertwined with her life and the two run into one long blood flow. Please meet Jun Togawa.

   Her musical career has been long and fruitful, but has mostly stayed within the context of her native home country of Japan. Even here, she is something of a cult hero. One quick browse through Youtube and one can get a glimpse of her artistic contributions to Japan's fledgling 80's music scene. Her songs musical content stayed pretty close to the norm of the times: keyboards, synthetic drum sounds here and there, bubbly bass lines, etc. Above all of this, Jun's voice rages and pushes forth with an intent that is both sweet, naive, and utterly sinister. One cannot avoid a feeling of strange currents in the air when her piercing cries set forth or her whispers, which have the power to poke tiny holes in the senses, invade the atmosphere. It would be enough to hear her angelic devils exorcising themselves through song to make me satisfied for life; but the extra golden points come from the fact that not only is she an amazing singer, but her personality is so free and riveting that I feel she deserves to be recognized as a national, NAY, universal treasure!

   This is the SELF SELECT BEST & RARE 1979-2008 album and it's a a huge collection of music; three separate cd's with stuff ranging from her solo works, some jaw-droppingly intense live songs, as well as music recorded with a few of her other bands (Yapoos, Guernica, etc) and Jun's vocal range is so varied on some of these tracks. When I say "vocal range" what I feel I should be saying is "personality range" for it seems as if she takes the music, turns it into an outfit, slips it on, then oozes her own demons and vice and sweat and tears through it all to merge into one beautiful beast. Some cuts here float along with a distinctly festival-like can picture swinging paper lanterns swaying in the breeze on a summer's night drinking party, other songs are far darker...slightly camouflaged by a subtle pop audio canvas and then to suddenly have Miss Togawa's dramatic words slash through the party with venom and bite. Still other songs presented here on this stellar collection reflect to the listener like a woman lying on a bed, surrounded by blurred photos of the same man, sticking bananas in her eyes...God I love that photo. Hell, if you haven't already started downloading at least one of these discs by now after reading this and seeing these amazing photographs I've posted...then there is no hope here for you, friend. Hell, I forgot to mention that there is a rare cover song here of Jun Togawa working through The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale"!

   She has stood on her own for many years, gone through lots of personal hell (too much to really post here) and collaborated with and impressive group of colleagues (Haruomi Hosono and Otomo Yoshihide to name a few), and she has been a beacon of inspiration to a large group of artists. I'm proud to present this here and I hope you will enjoy this powerful body of work.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet Times:

   Two quick single from very popular j-pop singer Chara who possesses one of the most unique voices...simple and childlike yet very sultry and somewhat bluesy. The music on these two singles are heavy on the light pop. LEMON CANDY is a certified pop classic that will get stuck in your head no matter how much Japanese you understand. The CHARA + YUKI single was a one off released back in 1999 which paired Chara with Judy And Mary's lead singer, Yuki. This song is really hard to take with a really funny/bad rapping part and overall a weird song that doesn't suit either singer and they both sound strangely out of tune and straining their voices. BUT...the song has steel pan drums in it. Weird.

More Chara and JAM coming soon...well...if you want.


   The Japanese dub group DRY & HEAVY get the remix treatment from dub master KING JAMMY and the results are a satisfying swirling journey into some deep dark summertime dub. Perfect soundtrack to the upcoming April days.

Hanoi Rocketh Me Tonyte:

    There's so much I could write about Hanoi Rocks... what a great band! Full of sleaze and dripping with that trash/glamour image that they seem to sport so well in their heyday. I also loved the fact that this band retained a sense of mystery and myth. Their songs are kick-up anthems of wasted days, girls, booze, yet written with incredible style. They were never afraid to incorporate elements like reggae, surf, rockabilly, yet gel them together into one highly impressive body of work. They always seemed to unfortunately get lumped in together with bands like Poison (whom they obviously influenced) but Hanoi Rocks were so much more than a goofy hair metal band.
    I was unsure of which album to post here first, but we'll start with this masterpiece BACK TO MYSTERY CITY to get the ball rolling. Tons of great songs on here, some classics, and a few really weird ones. For fans of New York Dolls, the first Motley Crue album (TOO FAST FOR LOVE, i.e. the good one) and I even hear a little bit of The Clash in here as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Guess what, people:
I found another 60 copies of "THE A CAPELLA CANTATA" cd in my barn in death valley. These are the last remaining copies of the original (and only) pressing of 500 copies of this album.
Contact me
to buy one. They're 20$ each.

JEEZUS==stop looking at this and just GET GET GET you consumer mole!