Saturday, September 30, 2006

PIERRE TAKI - ピエール瀧の体操36歳 (36 Year Old Gymnastics)

Welcome to part 3 of the Denki Groove Mega-party! Growing up, Pierre Taki had a mother who was a professor of nursing and was too busy to spend a lot of time with him. His father spent much of his time away from the family trekking in the mountains of Tibet. Without regular parental contact Taki was largely brought up by his older sister. He grew up learning about what young girls do and how to be feminine, a subject he uses in many of his works today. Later in life, Pierre Taki felt pressure to pursue a career in the medical field like his mother had but suddenly dropped out of university mid course in order to queue up for the debut release of Nintendo's RPG game, 'Dragon Quest II'. Today he is married, has one child and is still a game lover.

These days, performing often dressed in drag,
Pierre Taki is the front man of Denki Groove. Taki is known for writing lyrics for many popular Japanese bands particularly for the pop band 'Puffy', now known as Puffy AmiYumi (thanks Diddy... lame asshole). He is a television presenter and is sometimes the goal keeper for FC Kaos. Now nearing the age of 40, Taki needs to be in good shape to block all those goals. Today's video will show just how he stays in such good shape in the form of '36 Year Old Gymnastics'.

Taki is as famous for his video work as he is being Denki Groove's primary vocalist. He has dedicated many years to producing video works in combination with live performance for himself and many other groups. In late 2004, he released 'Pierre Taki Presents COMIC Kiba Deluxe / Pierre Taki to Beethoven LIVE at LIQUID ROOM Vol.2', a DVD featuring some of his recent pieces.

While a talented lyricist, in today's video Taki opts for the minimal refrain, 'Pierre Ohayo!' which simply means 'Morning Pierre' over and over again. The video uses popular Japanese cultural references such as
Totoro, juxtaposed by scenes of control and humiliation. As out there as the video may seem I can't help but relate to it on many levels. Maybe it's my comparative age. It also seems to mirror yesterday's Ishino entry nicely. Taki and Ishino obviously share a similar head space. If you liked Taki's 36 Year Old Gymnastics please check out the one he made six year earlier to celebrate his 30th!

TAKKYU ISHINO featuring Tabito Nanao - Last Scene

Welcome to part two of the Denki Groove Mega-party! Takkyu Ishino has a lot to do with the musical direction of the group so it seems appropriate to take a look into his solo career. I had originally planned to feature the Ishino video for the single Rising Suns (2004) in this post. It's a great video that I saw featured at Kirin Plaza Osaka Art Gallery a few years ago. The video must have been a monumental effort, featuring crowds of thousands of people cleverly filmed from the air so please click this link to take a look.

It's great to see the serious side of Ishino but I will alway love him for his irreverence and so present to you 'Last Scene'. Last Scene was released in 2001 and is the first single to come out after the very funky, tongue-and-cheek, Karaokejack. It features the vocal talent of Tabito Nanao, who is an interesting vocal choice and is not really known for electronic music. It's Ishino at his most honest, not trying to be Denki Groove and not trying to be German-school tekno powerhouse.

The video is about racquetball, disco dancing (thanks largely to Japan's portly, afro-headed, disco king, Papaya Suzuki!), and finding true love. Ishino and Taki are real suckers for playing with male sexual identity and often use adolescent stereotypes in their music and videos.

UPDATE! This video seems to have been removed! Sorry, I'll keep an eye open and try to replace it soon.

UPDATE2! Still looking but in the meantime why not check out Takkyu Ishino and Pierre Taki's pet project released in 1992, '
Techno Kayou' by Fumie Hosokawa. Fumin' started her career as an sexy idol and became the Miss Magazine cover girl in 1990. The strange video is 'Niko Niko Nyan Nyan'.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Miceteeth - 霧の中 (Kiri no Naka) - In the Fog (trans.)

It may surprise you to find out my favorite music in Japan was the traditional ska/rocksteady/dub scene. I must have gone to every Osaka Skankin' Night both in Osaka and Kobe for over two years and my favorite overall band I saw was the Miceteeth.

Long before I ever attended my first Skankin' Night, I found the Miceteeth's Kiri no Naka, their first CD single, at the Shinsaibashi Tsutaya Megastore. I have long learned to trust my instincts when it comes to trying random discs. Something about the Kiri no Naka single begged to be listened to and I'm glad I did or I may never have found this wonderful little group. As far as little groups go this one is pretty big sporting a ten piece band. Drummer and band leader Bondo Tsuji has lead the band to become masters of the essential ska vocabulary of chugging, syncopated proto-reggae rhythms and melodic horn parts, while at the same time nodding to the J-pop market in the form of singer Taisuke Tsugimatsu's sweetly delivered Japanese lyrics. Miceteeth have collaborated with many heavyweights such as Hakase-Sun, UA and most recently Bonnie Pink as well as a whole slew of Jamaican superstars.

I had a chance to meet the band in Kobe during one of my visits to Osaka Skankin' Night. I met Bondo who happens to speak perfect English which made it much easier to tell him and and the band exactly how much I loved them. As I expected, they were all pretty shocked and pleasantly surprised when I whipped out my iPod and showed them I had all their tracks. Then he promised me he had something new for that concert which I would soon discover was their new single (at the time), Sleep on Steps.

Today's track is true to many people's lives in Japan, finding small joys in the immense fog of despair. I know I felt this way on many occasions while living there. There is something so wrong about being surrounded by so many only to realize you are completely alone. This is a beautifully sorrowful track that accepts its own fate. I hope it proves a departure from the Emo preteen angst so forcefully marketed on the masses in North America. Adults get sad too sometimes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

DENKI GROOVE - Cafe de 鬼 (Oni)

It's time for the Denki Groove Mega-party! I've been meaning to do an entry on one of Japan's most influential techno-rockers but the problem has been that no one entry can do these guys any justice so to remedy this dilemma I have decided to do series of posts related to the band/duo along with side-projects to give you a feel for their range and styles. I don't want to commit to a certain number of entries and may slip other interesting bits of music along the way so please try to enjoy this very weird band.

Denki Groove in it's current form consists of Pierre Taki (Masanori Taki) and Takkyu Ishino (Fumitoshi Ishino) along with help from Schadaraparr on their latest album. Former members are Yoshinori Sunahara and Jun Kitagawa.

The Shizuoka-born duo are lyrical comedians, nonconservative Japanese traditionalists, electronic pop stars, sound experimentalists and performance artists, all in a way that may make you question their sincerity. They seem to thrive on challenging their audience though seriousness vs. unseriousness and information vs. misinformation - in the most interesting ways possible. It's fun, it's strange, it's Denki Groove and it begins right now!

Beginning in 1991 with Flash Papa, their early works have a focus on pop sensibilities. With later releases their style has evolved through several types of electronic dance music, though often with many asides in unrelated genres. Recent work has largely been composted of German-style techno. Their lyrics are often tongue-in-cheek and sometimes quite bizarre.

Today's video, Cafe de Oni (which means devil or demon), is from their aforementioned debut with animation from comic artist and musician Masakazu Amahisa.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

LITTLE SUPERSTAR - Rajnikanth and the Gang

I'm pretty sure this video is well on it's way to becoming the meme of the week and due to its musical nature I felt not including it would deprive my extremely limited audience of true greatness! Today's bonus video is lovingly entitled 'Little Superstar'. It's a clip from a Tamil-language Bollywood film, possibly Maaveeran, starring Rajnikanth as the old guy lying on the couch. The music is from Swedish (AGAIN) DJ's, MC Miker G & DJ Swen's Holiday Rap, which is so school I plan to bust to that for a fortnight. If you didn't catch the inspired sample used, it is from Madonna's 'Holiday'.

While the following is unconfirmed, sources claim the little guy is a famous impersonator/comedian/dancer. In the scene he asks for a cigaratte. The old man says "No, you are too young". That is followed by "I only look small but I am 10 years older than you" (which is true). The old man asks "What will you do if I don't give you one". To which he answers, "I will cut you into pieces". The old man gives him the smoke.

BRITTA PERSSON - You are not my Boyfriend

It's strange to feature two Swedish artists on my blog considering until this week I hadn't heard a single (I'm guessing here) Swedish group in my life. Granted the Basshunter was kinda a joke but he wouldn't have made the cut if he didn't do it for me in some offbeat way. Again, I'm not sure why I'm drawn to this so much but I do know that I'm gonna take the Swedes seriously from now on.

Today's treat is Britta Persson's 'You are not my Boyfriend' off her first full length album 'Top Quality Bones and a Little Terrorist' pretty much just out (August 23rd - Yesterday!). Britta Persson was born in 1982. She grew up in Uppsala in Sweden but currently lives in Stockholm. In 2004, she sang together with Swedish indie-pop heavy-weight Kristofer Åström on his record and later joined him on tour. On this album Britta has once again worked with Kristofer who has helped her with recordings.

On her web site she offered fans a unique chance to vote on one of three different songs to decide which would be her first and second singles. Today's offering actually was voted as number two. The video is beautiful in it's simple use of colors and images that work well in mirroring the vocals. It's probably safely to assume English isn't Persson's first language but it doesn't seem to matter in her lyrics. While simple, they feel open, vulnerable and a tad bit angry - really quite fun to sing along to. In the end however, it's that mad, grungy electro-beat that really wins me over.

This song begs to be remixed into a full-on club track!
Dare I say it? Basshunter, anyone? I've lived in a small country before and (presuming they're both in it) know for a fact that they can't be more than 8 hours away from each other at any given time. Ok, maybe that isn't what the doctor ordered but it could be pretty awsome! Click here to see today's video at a much higher resolution via Burning TV, a site dedicated to the Swedish indie scene.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PREFUSE 73 - The End of Biters - International

Prefuse 73 was introduced to me by a university friend a few years back and since then I have really grown to like his cut and paste style often referred to as glitch-hop. Prefuse 73 is Scott Herren know for fusing 70's soul with the vintage hip-hop of the 80's. But Spain-based Herren has his fingers in a thousand different side projects as well such as Piano Overlord and Savath & Savalas. Herren's Cubana/Irish/Catalan roots help inform his musical style on his many different projects.

Using laptops, turn-tables, samplers and an assorted array sampling and manipulation equipment, Herren is able to create and fuse sounds that simply wouldn't be possible by conventional DJing. This has lead many people to joke about the idea of seeing Prefuse live, seeing some dude standing behind a laptop playing with his mouse. Having seen a few laptop DJ's in the past (tho never 73) I know that it can sometimes work. But Herren has a wide assortment of skills including some awesome beat-bouncing powers that lead me believe that it would be great show to watch live.

Directed by Aleix Pitarch, Prefuse's video for 'The End of Biters - International' was released off his 2003 album, 'One Word Extinguisher'. The track is, at one minute and 17 seconds, probably the tightest, shortest, hip-hop jam to come out in '03. Cymbals crash into pianos and snippets of a voice are tossed into the mix, coalescing into a vigorous challenge rap. The animated video skillfully deals with the songs rapidly changing atmosphere and breaks out the eventual deconstuctionist's happy ending.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

THE LOCUST - Moth-Eaten Deer Head

There was a time a few years back when I was really into grindcore. The grindcore formula looks a little something like this. Scream in your loudest, trillest voice, play x instrument as fast as you can, and do it for thirty seconds, rinse and repeat. That's about it. Don't like this song, that's OK, it'll be over in 30 seconds. Oh, and don't forget to give all your songs funny titles. Now you too can make a grindcore band. Wasn't that simple?

Today's song is from San Diego's favorite grindcore band, The Locust, who have been assaulting their audiences for about ten years now. At concerts they wear charming hoods meant to look like Locusts or Mexican wrestlers, whichever floats your boat. They have played with Kid 606 which doesn't seem all that unreasonable considering the band already features a lot of wacky synthesizer acrobatics. They are also pretty good at coming up with names for their songs - take their 2003 hit, 'The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like To See You In His Office' from the Plague Soundscapes album, as an example.

Today's video is called "Moth-Eaten Deer Head" which practically plods, clocking in at one minute and seventeen seconds. It is off their first full length (13 minute), self-titled album released in 1999. Even at 13 minutes, The Locust manages to find room for 20 tracks on the disc. I think the cover art on this disc is pretty amazing! There were two comments on the YouTube site regarding this video and I think it sums up the schools of thought on these guys nicely so here they are complete with spelling mistakes!

CaptainGaby says:
"I fucking love the Locust. Kick ass band. Thanks for putting thid up."

rkonbon says:
"how the fuck is this shit consiedered music.this is absolute garbage"

And if you'd like to scream along, here are the lyrics:

Damn it Jim, I'm not a magician.
And actually not even a doctor.
I'm not a fucking doctor.
A cuckoo clock never gives the right time.
We swim up stream for the cuckoo's dream.
It's no surprise just how low some will go.

Moth-eaten dear head! (x10)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Uhhh... when you see entries like this I'm guessing you really have to question my taste in music. I'm not saying I like what I'm about to show you (tho I definitely do love it in some perverse way) but I feel more like showing you this than anything else I have found today. I have plans but I don't want this to become an exclusively J-music blog and every now and then I like to throw you a little curveball. This is the first ever Tuesday WTF.
Today's song is called DotA from 21 year-old Swedish musician and DJ (guy in his basement) Jonas Altberg more often known as Basshunter. DotA, for all you noobs is an acronym for 'Defense of the Ancients', which is a custom map for Warcraft III. Don't worry about me too much I had to look that one up... DotA from Basshunter's second eurodance CD entitled 'LOL <(^^,)>' which just proves how 1337 this dude really is. (That's an emoticon of Kirby, btw)

The song is about Basshunter and his friends, using the voice communication application Ventrilo while they are playing DotA. Apparently, their hot girlfriends are happy to sit on the floor in total darkness while the geekmoles play online games. Only later into the video we find Basshunter taking all the girlfriends out on the town, I guess it was his turn to entertain the girls while his buddies game the night away. Even then all he can do is sing about how much he loves his game. I'm not great with the ladies but I'm not that BAD either! Note towards the end of the video some guy is holding a sign that I swear says 'ASShunter' - not sure how I should take that. If you like gaming, cheese and Swedish club chicks you've come to the right place. I'm going to listen to this at least one more time.

If the YouTube version isn't hi-fi enough for you than check out this site dedicated to translating this gem into seemingly every language on earth.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

SUIKA - Attack My Life Voyage My Life

This is my favorite Japanese Hip-Hop group. I saw them late one night on television when, for a brief time, there was a show that featured music from independent labels. I saw that show (couldn't tell you the name) three times before it was eaten by the J-pop monoliths. I'd complain but at least I was turned on to a couple of interesting acts such as the one that follows!

Suika, which m
eans watermelon in Japanese, is the brainchild of Takatsuki (Shinjuku Spoken Words Slam) a rapper who was interested in hip hop jazz. He enlisted the help of the poetess Toto (Flow Words, World Apart Ltd.), hip hip artist ATOM (SSWS), the musician Yuko Takahashi (Gomes the Hitman) on percussion, and Kaztake Takeuchi (A Hundred Birds) on the elepian (electric piano), while Takatsu himself donned a double bass. The group is atypical both in concept and in it's sound.

The video, off their second album, Ripe Stripes, shows the group jamming in a bookshop which is sort of an interesting idea for a video. Even more interesting is the fact that that is actually how they DID record their album - their label Flying Books (or Fly n' Spin Records) is a small book store located in the district of Shibuya in Tokyo. It seems to have had a direct effect of the intimate quality of their sound. The voices of Takatsuki and ATOM resemble each other and complement perfectly. The sly softness of Toto's voice mixes well with the other lyrics. The music of the group is very fun and pleasant to the ear and gives the listener the impression of being at Flying Books attending a small concert between friends.

Suika's fourth (sorta) CD entitled 'Harvest for the Stripes' is a reworking of their favorite songs (and some new ones) in French, which is cool but I wish it were in English... heh, I understand French even LESS than I do Japanese.

HALFBY - Rodeo Machine/Screw the Plan

Possibly on my top ten vids of all time, today's video is Halfby's Rodeo Machine/Screw the Plan.

Halfby, whose real name is Takahiro Takahashi, is on his way to becoming Japan's biggest breakbeat giant. He recently left Second Royal records for the much bigger and presumably plushier arms of Toy's Factory. Initially, there seemed to be some concern by fans that moving from a minor to a major label might compromise the unique sound of his 'Green Hours' album, but this video puts those critics in their places!

'Rodeo Machine' is from the 'Green Hours' album, while 'Screw the Plan' is off Halfby's major label effort of the same name. Both songs have a unique sound, and true 'Rodeo Machine' is probably the wonkier, strangely cajun-infused track, but 'Screw the Plan' is a full-on party track that features UK's Olympic Lifts. What I like about Halfby is he sounds so western-influenced while not seeming deliberately intent on catering to western tastes. Especially on the latter track Fatboy Slim comparisons could be made but we all know Fatboy no longer makes REAL club tracks...

The computer animated video couldn't be more suited to the music and may go down as my most memorable video of all time. I saw it one time at Tower Records and two years later I still pined to see it again some day. The video was produced by the Tokyo-based pop design collective groovisions. (I still display my Brockman figures with pride!) It's amazing just how much expression can be conveyed in the uniform human templates marching on the screen and in my opinion these videos represent groovisions strongest work to date!

Friday, September 15, 2006

ARECEE - All We Have

I know you've all seen Arecee's great Future Country video! You know, the one featuring Denny (Blazin' Hazin') Blaze, Leslie Hall (of Leslie and the Ly's) and Cowboy Clark (aka. Arecee as a redneck disciple of George Bush). I sent a link of this video to my friends and got a great response! Nobody was quite sure how to take the whole experience. I had checked out the Blaze and Leslie in some detail before but I hadn't spend much time looking at the songs ultimate mastermind and so todays video is Arecee's 'All We Have'.

While always clever and often tongue and cheek, I'm pretty sure Arecee's the real deal. Having been in the blazin' Iowa scene for around 10 years, now living in Brooklyn, he has released five albums. Urban Smarts has a good interview with Arecee back in his early days that's worth a read-thru. The links above and the video below really tell the story better than I can, so without any further ado...

Click here for the mp3.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

THE TASTE OF TEA - 茶の味 (Cha no Aji) - Yamayo

Ya-ya-yaaa, Yama yama yamaaa!

That's precisely what I heard one day playing in the background as I was looking at CD's in my then local Tower Records. I went to investigate and saw what is today's video. It was a promo DVD for Katsuhito Ishii's 2004 film, Taste of Tea (Cha no Aji). Up until this point, Ishii was know most for his violent
Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl films and to western audiences he is the man responsible for the dark animation sequence in Quintin Tarantino's, Kill Bill Volume One.

Here is
what Midnight Eye had to say about the movie:

"Here he is, back again with a feature film that is a radical change from the throwaway superficiality of his earlier work. The Taste of Tea is a rather delightful look at the eccentricities hiding just beneath the calm surface of ordinary life, touching, funny, imaginative and pleasantly low-key. Even if it is a bit long."

Ha, pleasantly low-key is right. I challenge you to watch this movie any time other than a Sunday afternoon. It's slow and it's quiet, it's like being stoned for 2.5 hours, but it's also poetic, pretty and poignant in all the right ways (wow, the 3 p's!). Having no luck trying to summarize the plot of the story, I'll say the movie is a slice of surreality that takes place with a family of animators in the countryside, north of Tokyo. The film stars Tadanobu Asano (husband of the coolest pop-star ever, Chara) who plays a record producer and is forced to help his father record the music in today's video.

Cha no Aji's wonderful soundtrack by
Little Tempo, really compliments the mood of the movie. Their drowsy arrangements featuring steel drums is just what the doctor ordered. I had known of the band since they came out with Musical Brain Food in 2003 and had read that they were doing the soundtrack for a film. I can't confirm or deny that they had any involvement with the 'killer track' you're about to hear!

Ishii's 2005 film, The Funky Forest seems to be the conceptual, if not literal sequel to Cha no Aji. Back are the same crazy characters, spiced up with some strange looking creatures. Check Twitch for a review!

Yamato (Oh Mountain)

Moun-Moun-Moun! Mountain Mountain Mountain! (x6)



Oh, my mountain, Oh my mountain,
The Mountain is alive!
Oh, my mountain, Oh my mountain,
The Mountain is alive!
Oh, my mountain, Oh my mountain,
The Mountain is alive!
The Mountain is alive!
The Mountain is alive!

(you get the idea...)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NEGATIVLAND - Gimme the Mermaid

Ahh, the sweet sweet sound of copyright infringement. Plunderphonic superstars Negativland, formed in 1980, was busy sampling other peoples work before the term sampling was even around. Conceptually from dadaesque nonsense beginnings, the random sampling collages began to take on a life of it's own. Mark Holser of the group talks about Negativland's evolution in an interview shot at Creative Electric Studios after the opening of a Negativlandland exhibition in Minneapolis.

Negativland's most infamous project was the U2 record (often referred to as 'The Letter U and the Numeral Two') with samples from 'America's Top 40' host Casey Kasem ranting between takes in the studio. In 1991, Negativland released a single with the title 'U2' displayed in very large type on the front of the packaging, and 'Negativland' in a smaller typeface. An image of the Lockheed U-2 spy plane was also on the single cover.

U2's label Island Records sued Negativland claiming that the 'U2' violated trademark law, and the song itself violated copyright law. Island Records also contended that the single was an attempt to deliberately confuse U2 fans, then awaiting Achtung Baby.

'Gimme the Mermaid' (2002) is a short from the group, with help from Disney animator Tim Maloney, who created this using his employer's equipment after hours. 'Mermaid' combines the sound of a music industry lawyer with the voice of the Little Mermaid and Negativland's helium-tinged cover of Black Flag's 'Gimme Gimme Gimme.' The video appears on the band's release, No Business, available via Stay Free!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

THE PANCAKES - 越過高山 (Cross the Mountain)

Hong Kong has a cool music scene, I just KNOW it! I'd love to spend a few years kicking it HK because of the nightlife in a city that truly never sleeps and never stops. They say if you left Hong Kong for a month, you wouldn't recognize it when you got back. For all that hustle and bustle it may not be so surprising that much of the music scene is lo-fi and chilled right out. All that craziness out there it's easy to want to escape behind the headphones of an iPod.

The Pancakes, often solo - always fronted by a girl simply known as Dejay, is a great example of this urban escape. Formed in 1999, Dejay's music and lyrics are simple (usually in English), soulful and saccharine yet not cloying. Her music is often used in commercials in Hong Kong. Dejay, truly independent, is usually responsible for all musical composition,writing, instrument performance, singing, recording and production of her albums. Dejay plays various musical instruments such as the guitar, keyboard and drum. And once in a while she may do a ditty with the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

The singer seems inclined to keep her identity a secret only going by the name Dejay (I happen to know her surname is Choi) and keeping her website free of any photos of herself. Even the video, in which she appears, obscures her face with an image of the moon. It's too bad because the girl's very pretty but I guess the music isn't about being a pop diva so the sensibility reflects her personality.

NEL HATE (Aka. Paranel) - Ee-Mu Remix Album

No video today, but I have a free album for you to download! Many Japanese people have told me that there is not much of an underground hip hop scene in Japan. As an outsider that doesn't limit himself to any particular genre, I was very curious to find what allegedly could not be found.

Nel Hate was introduced to me by a German friend, Moorieman, who has never been to Japan and despite all my efforts knows more about Japanese music than I ever will. Moorieman is my god and the reason why file sharing is not onl
y a good thing but vital to the music industry.

A short review of Nel Hate's full-length debute CD, Dobutsutachi No Ensoukai (Concert of Animals), can be found at SeekJapan. Don't let the Sam & Dave banner ads fool you, this site reviews some of Japan's more interesting, obscure bands, its worth a look. Paranel, in true independent hip-hop fashion, also does all the artwork for the albums. He also seems to try to integrate live painting at his performances. As compelling as some of his images are, it seems to run the risk of being overly art-faggy at a hip hop show. This is more of a side than a real criticism because I haven't personally seen him live.

The remixes done by Ee-mu, are taken from all four of Nel Hates major album releases. In most cases, the original mixes are more suited to Paranel's lyrical styling and off-key whining but that doesn't mean that this disc is a miss. The Red remix of "CAVE" is pretty funny if not cool and the Ee-Mu's take on "LIGHTS" is pretty fresh. While most of these mixes are purposely loose, they often come off sounding ill-timed and amateurish. That may be all good in the land of the Japanese basement jack. I don't think I'd count this remix album amongst my favorite Nel Hate efforts but it is kind of interesting especially if you are familiar with the original tracks. I like it when bands release special internet only remix albums. It acknowledges the fact that much of the material is possibly below release quality but gives hardcore fans something special to tide them over until the next official release. For that alone I'd be willing to give this disc a solid C++.

Click here to download the album.

For more of the undergrounds sounds check the music samples of Nel Hate and friends at this site.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dale's Birthday Party @ the Cherry Bar Soi 8 Pattaya

I have a strange one for you all. I was browsing YouTube when I came across some promotional video for Cherry Bar in Thailand. You all know what that means, awsomely strange Thai music in the background. I've just e-mailed the bar in question asking the who's and what's of the background track. Here's to hoping they don't mind fielding the weird questions.

Pattaya is apparently pretty famous for bargirls. Just in case you aging hipster types are looking for some dirty validation on your next holiday. And who's Dale anyways?


This is a nice follow-up to my Polysics entry late last month involving STRONG MACHINE 2. It seems there is a fair amount of demand for 11 year old schoolgirls who can pop and lock. She has found work appearing in the trailer of UK's 14th Raindance Film Festival. More research has lead me to discover that Strong Machine 1 is her father. Not only does he dance, but he is also the chief priest at a Buddhist temple and Karate fighter!

The video was directed by
Kosai Sekine, a philosophy student turned director immediately after graduation. A short by Kosai, “Right Place”, was reported by shots as the most highly praised film at the Asia-Pacific Advertising Festival.

It's a movie. You should do something indeed.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

CLAMMBON - Chicago

I had a chance to meet the members of Clammbon when one day I just happened to be at my local Tower Records waiting for a friend. It was pretty cool, being a foreigner I'm pretty sure they didn't expect me to recognize them. I've been a fan for quite a while and Harada Ikuko's telltale fringe is hard to miss. I got them to sign their new single for me appropriately titled 'The New Song'.

Clammbon is a trio consisting of Harada Ikuko on vocals and piano/keyboard, "Mito" on bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals, and Itou Daisuke on drums and percussion. Their first CD came out in 1998 and have continued to release melodically catchy, musically talented, lyrically poetic music. You can find more information on the band from this amazing English Clammbon website or the official Clammbon site. Click here to see a video of Harada Ikuko playing piano and singing in what looks to be her home. It really shows off her talent as a pianist.

Today's video is 'Chicago' from the 2000 release 'Machiwabi Machisabi'. There are two versions of this song: the slow album version, and the perky version seen in the music video. The video is fun to watch and is perfect sunny Sunday afternoon music. Which is great because it IS a sunny Sunday afternoon, enjoy!

There, it's swelling up, that pitch-black thing
There, it's withering away, that pure-white thing
I was keeping it, just in a dream
Now and then we could meet, if only in a dream

Don't come out, I won't play with you
Don't come out, I won't go back there again
Mm, slyly hiding deep behind my eyelids
Showing up in the early afternoon

I won't say any more, that's not what I meant, I'll just start saying nonsense
Ah, what should I say? That's not what I meant, I'll just start saying anything

All over, everything, you are following
All over, smiling, trying to invite me
Don't come out, I won't play with you
Don't come out, I can't go back there again

Even in a dream, "welcome home", even in a dream, "welcome home"
Don't trouble me, don't make fun of me, not me, don't tease me

I won't say any more, that's not what I meant, I'll just start saying nonsense
Ah, what should I say? That's not what I meant, I just start saying anything

Not me, you teased me. I won't go back...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

MODERNDOG - Hoo Dtaa Sa-Waang - ตาสว่าง (Found)

I'm the type of guy that wakes up one morning and says to myself, 'Hmmm, I wonder how they rock it in Thailand' and I make it my mission for the day to find out. That's why I am such a fan of the web and yes, file sharing. I look at the net as the world's biggest music shop. I never cared for that Nickelback and so long ago I decided to look past mere words and see music as the universal language it is. And I am very glad I have or I would have never discovered Moderndog.

Formed ten years ago, Modern Dog is drummer Pawin Suwannacheep, guitarist May T. Nojinda and vocalist Thanachai "Pod" Ujjin. An expectation shattering, constantly surprising rock band that shifts between dark radio hits and darker electronic experiments. They have sold over two million records in Thailand of their four albums. Their most recent, released in November 2004, contained three number one singles, That Song, was co-writtten and arranged by Yuka Honda (ex. Cibo Matto) and produced by acclaimed Scottish producer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian/Mogwai). It featured guest appearances by Yumiko Ohno of Buffalo Daughter and Sean Lennon. Most recently, in 2005, Pod visited Japan and toured with the former members of the Japanese indie band, Fishmans along side other Japanese indie heavyweights in tribute to the Fishmans' vocalist Sato Shinji who passed away in 1999.

Today's video is called Found and a bunch of Thai words that I couldn't begin to translate the title but starting today I will try to find english translation for all the foreign songs posted in this blog. You will find them below the video.

The sky is very wide, the way is very long,
and you've gone.
Only I'm left in the distance with the days fading away.
The quiet and lonely emptiness has again returned.

Finally, emptiness in my heart I will meet,
I will be, I will see, right?

The sky is still far away, and you have gone.
My sight suddenly brightens up.
The rain sprinkles down and passes. I see the truth in what has passed,
Repeatedly warning me. Remember... every time.

It's time that I should calm-down,
And use my intellect to consider what has passed to understand.
In the end, emptiness from now on
I will meet, I will be, and I will see. Right?

Really... really... really... really... really.