Sunday, October 29, 2006

54-71 - 69 My Pheromone Up

It was my last big party before leaving Japan. It was a big deal for a few of us but most people were too jaded to bother showing up. I was really disappointed and little angry at those who didn't come. But as it usually is, the people who did come were for the greater part, the people I cared to see. It took place at a Japanese beer garden. Japanese beer gardens are a lot different from what many of us in the west are accustomed to. They are usually on the rooftops of large department stores and provide food and drinks for a set price. In this case it amounted to $30 for three hours for all you can eat and all you can drink. And as is tradition, everyone up there did just that. 'Off the hook' is an expression invented to describe events like these. After literally gallons of beer (each) people usually go to karaoke as an after party which always mean, another generous serving of the drink. Jude, one of my friends who always dreamed of DJing professionally, was with us which was a rare treat as he didn't come out that often. One of the girls in our group selected a Chili Peppers song to sing and Jude turned to me and said how much he hated the Peppers and actually hid outside of the room until the song was over. 54-71 is what the Peppers might have been if they were more interested in pushing their musical envelope rather than playing to their rapidly aging female demographic. Play for integrity or play for pussy, I can understand the dilemma.

54-71, which is pronounced 'gojyuyon no nanajyuichi' is the embodiment of Japanese post-hip-hop. I think the hip-hop scene has been around long enough that we can start post prefacing the word. I make up genres to suit my needs, I'm a self-proclaimed genius asshole (that is getting tardy on posting on this blog I might add). The band was first introduced to me by a friend on the Soulseek network whose knowledge of music from around the world dwarfs mine to near insignificance. 57-41 consists of Horikawa Hiroyuki, Kawaguchi Kentaro, Sato Shingo, and Takada Noriaki. In 1995, Kawaguchi and Sato started their musical activities together and by 1997, the current four members were performing together. Notably, every song is sung in English though it might not be ant kind of English you are accustomed to. After hearing several of their albums I have to think Kawaguchi's wonky lyrical choices are largely deliberate.

Never having seen them live, here is a rather large concert review from the amazing and essential Rock of Japan website:

'When I walked in 54-71 were already on the stage, but had not yet begun their set. They were setting up, but it wasn’t clear to me what they were waiting for. They seemed to be ready a while before they actually began. The singer was wearing camouflage pants and glasses. He’s a thin, young man, and comes off as a quiet, sensitive type. It would have helped their show a lot if he hadn’t been standing on the stage for twenty minutes before they began the first song, because even with his awkward rapping, and his modern dancing, it really took him about twenty minutes to wipe away the image of normality he had projected before the show started. The modern dance included some pantomime and was mostly quite mediocre, but its uniqueness eventually helped to envelop the singer into a rich character, half artist/half clown. By the end of the performance, I had a deep respect for the guy. His rapping (usually in English) never really took him too far, but he stretched his vocals in many other directions, and most of them were quite effective. Toward the end of the set he did a kind of drunken torch song, which totally won me over and elicited many cheers from the audience throughout its dramatic performance. He was supported by a drummer, a bassist, and a guitarist. The guitarist subtly mixed what seemed to be jazz stylings with a simple kind of funk twitch. There was a good bit of range in the material, but except for one or two numbers that involved all out epileptic thrashing, the rhythm section kept the beat simple and nervous. For some reason the bass guitarist performed the majority of the set at the rear of the stage with his back turned to the audience. It did not detract from the overall show, though. With a frontman of this caliber, the entire band could have turned their backs to the audience, and it would have remained a thoughtful and entertaining performance.'

I wasn't ever completely sold on the 'every track sameness' of their debut album but never under-estimating the staying power of mediocrity I felt compelled to pick up the 2002 'enClorox'. Recorded in Chicago, it was the band's first major-label release and it was amazing, every track had a unique flavor and a sense of humor about it. Today's video is from the follow-up to enClorox, 2003's 'True Men of Non-Doing'. It's a soulful little number that makes me long for another day in Japan - but then again these days everything makes me pang for that wonderful place I left behind.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

YUKI - Joy

I went to a lot of concerts when I lived in Japan and I saw a lot of talented Japanese musicians. Some were popular amongst very specific demographics while others were famous with people across the board. Today is an example of the latter, the time I saw YUKI. I went with a couple of Japanese friends to this great music festival that had all kinds of great and interesting artists. Two of which have already been featured on this blog - Ua and Polysics. YUKI was seen by many as the headliner of the event because she is probably the most famous and has remained relevant for almost 15 years. Just before the concert began one of my friends told me that YUKI had recently had a miscarriage which actually made it pretty hard for me to listen to her songs which were no doubt inspired by the child that never was. And her songs are always quite beautiful. Just recently she gave birth to a child on August 29, 2006.

Yuki Isoya, or generally just YUKI, began her career as the front woman for the near generation-defining noisy pop Judy and Mary in 1991. If you are Japanese, you'd have had to have been in a coma for the past 15 years not to know at least one of their songs. In all, they released seven albums, three compilation albums and twenty-two singles. Judy and Mary broke up in 2001 following the WARP Tour Final held at the Tokyo Dome, where fans bid them a tearful farewell. I thinks it's a matter of time before they rejoin if only to release an 'it's been a while' album. Japanese bands usually seem to enjoy functional relationships and if they break up it's usually genuinely to explore other creative directions.

YUKI has done that. While I don't mind JAM, I think she has really pushed herself to new directions exploring everything from dub to club-inspired dance pop. Both incarnations enjoy popularity in Japan and abroad. She's a J-pop girl whose talent and innovation makes her more than a guilty pleasure. Today's video for Joy is off her 2005 release by the same name. It's really hard to choose which YUKI video to show because they're all pretty great but this is the song that really stood out at the concert so I have to give her props for that. The video really seems to borrow from the early Daft Punk play book which is great to see - it's all a lot of fun.

Friday, October 27, 2006

TALKING HEADS - Once in a Lifetime

When I was in my first year of high school I discovered SCTV. I loved it. Every night at 11pm (or Thursday Nights at 9 if you are a fan) on Channel 9 CKND, I would watch 30 minutes of pure Canadian comic genius. A lot of big players too, John Candy, Andrea Martin, Katherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, and Harold Ramis. SCTV was in principle the story of a perpetually failing television station with no budget, stars or talent. Of course in reality it had all of the above but they had a lot of fun making it look otherwise. But because this is a music blog I will draw attention to one particular semi-regular segment, The Gerry Todd show. Veejay Gerry Todd (Rick Moranis) welcomes Talking Heads and The Plastics to his high-tech variety show 'Midnight Video Special' - only to be defeated by an attack of superior technology from Japanese entrepreneur Tim Ishimuni (Dave Thomas). Plastics videos seem impossible to find or I would show one today, but of course Talking Heads videos are another matter. When I first saw the 'Once in a Lifetime' video on SCTV I was in awe of its - well, awesomeness.

To promise a series of New Wave videos and not show anything by the New York based Talking Heads would be unforgivable. I know maybe most people wouldn't group the band in such a tightly packaged genre but we have all the token traits. Synths, confused-sounding vocalist, more chroma keying than you can shake a stick at, Rugrats inspired haircut, seizure dancing, horned glasses, and a freaking bow tie. This ladies and gentlemen is New Wave.

A Talking Head is term used in cinema to describe a head and shoulders shot of a person on screen who carries dialog. Essentially all talk and no action. The band found this description in a TV Guide and thought it suited them perfectly. 'Remain in Light' was released in 1980 and 'Once in Lifetime' was the album's big single. Only the single didn't get any radio play. Music videos were becoming the next big thing at the time and when packaged with visuals the song suddenly became an overnight success. A well deserved one I might add. David Byrne, the group's singer is as interesting to watch as he is to listen too. A live version of the song has become pretty popular over time as well. Byrne looks like some Sunday School teacher who has accidentally stumbled onto the stage and decides to wing it in hopes of saving face. Really funny to watch.

PRUSSIAN BLUE - When I'm With You/Stand Up

My friend told me a funny story at work yesterday. He told me about his trip to Germany he took a few years back. He was with a tour group and they were at Octoberfest. I should have asked if it really was October or if the German's keep that bitch going all year round, you know, for the tourists and as an excuse to get pissed all year through. They were at a beer tasting event and one of the girls on the tour was apparently not happy with the size of her taste so she complained. The server had refused to top her off and she yelled, 'What, are you some kind of beer Nazi!?'. A few minutes later she realized what she had actually said. Ha ha. She shouldn't worry too much, I bet Germans watch a lot of Seinfeld too.

How does that tie in with today's entry? Very poorly. Today we will look at a controversial group known as Prussian Blue formed in early 2003 by then 11-year-old fraternal twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede. Here's a recap if you are the only person on earth who hasn't heard about these girls yet. Prussian Blue are popularly referred to as the Olsen Twins of White Nationalism. The girls were home schooled by their mother, April Gaede, an activist and writer for the white nationalist organization National Vanguard. The twins' grandfather wears a swastika belt buckle, uses the Nazi symbol on his truck, and registered it as a cattle brand. Prussian Blue is named after the residue that was left over by the use of Zyklon B, the poison the Nazis employed to kill millions of Jews concentration camps during World War II.

Many news articles and television reports understandably have attacked their politics but what I find interesting is that they never hit them where it hurts - their music. Many people have heard of Prussian Blue but very few have actually heard them. Now 14, it's strange to think of these teens as a recruitment tool for intolerance but audiences are fickle and if they can't hold a note their effect will be limited. The bottom line for me is and will forever be is their music any good. Do these Neo-Nazis have any talent?

There are a few videos floating around YouTube but they are from their first and most amateurish album called 'Fragment of the Future'. It's crap. It really sucks, you can practically hear their Nazi mother prodding them in the background. I won't ever feature something that bad on my site - ever. That's why their latest 2005 album, 'The Path We Choose' is a bit surprising. It's actually not that bad - and THAT is kinda scary. Most of the songs on the second album lack the racial and nationalist overtones of Fragment of the Future and are about more mainstream subject matter like boys, crushes, and dating. That's what I find interesting about these brainwashed twins, material that has to do with white pride = crap while songs about bubblegum = better (if not quite good). One can't help but wonder if they're trying to tell their mother something through these mixed signals.

So while there are no videos for their latest effort, April Gaede has been kind enough to put up a few of PB's new tracks online. The first is off The Path We Choose called 'When I'm with You'. It's not that bad, the girls' husky tween voices work it as well as can be expected. I have visions of less successful Hanson b-sides when listening to the song. The other is 'Stand Up', which is their contribution to the 'Free Matt Hale' (of the Creativity Movement) CD being produced by Condemned Records.

UPDATE!! While I have purposely left the above entry as neutral as possible considering its obvious offensiveness (and how sorry I feel for the girls), I have found an excellent documentary that really helps fill in the blanks. BBS's Louis and the Nazis
is available via Google Video for what I imagine to be a limited time only. It is really worth watching and shows just how sad the world of the White Nationalist movement is. Really, take the hour and a half to see it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


You know what I really appreciated about the early 80's? Weirdness seemed to have a certain mainstream appeal, if you were weird you were cool. Sure there are probably just as many, if not more, weird bands nowadays but they don't get the kind of exposure they used to. Maybe its near-sighted of me to say, but it's almost as if pushing the envelope in any interesting way means banishment to some dark part of web only to be discovered by a handful of obsessive elitist audio hounds. Why radio stations and video channels feel pressured into playing the same dull 'hits' over and over again is something I'll never understand. It's really too bad cause it's often exposure to innovative bands that pushes further growth in the music industry. Fortunetly, Gary Numan got some air time and has influenced a whole generation of artists who have imitated or hacked and slashed at his electro beats.

Gary Numan's most famous and enduring hit is without a doubt the 1979 song 'Cars'. I remember being really young (like 4) when I first heard it on the radio and loving this track so much. I know I had a full-on New Wave dance and everything for this puppy. The song seemed to have pretty much disappeared by the time I started school but I never did completely forget somewhere out there there was this totally awesome track hiding, waiting to be rediscovered. Fast-forward about 12 years or so and I found this great little used CD shop in Winnipeg called 'Into the Music' and I was once again reintroduced to the magic of this song along with many others.

Initially, recording under the band name Tubeway Army, 'Cars' is from 'Pleasure Principle' the first album to be released under his newly assumed Numan moniker which he plucked nearly randomly from a phone book. A lot of artists at the time pretty much hated Numan as a person. David Bowie, who Numan admired greatly, refused to appear on the same television program that they were both scheduled to perform. Eventually Numan fell out of the public eye despite many attempts to recapture his initial success. However, a generation later his contemporaries began referring to him as 'the godfather of electronic music' and he started to enjoy some respect from his peers. The list of artists that have either sampled his tracks or cited him as a major influence is really just too long to list. It would seem that I wasn't the only 4-year-old out there doing a New Wave dance to that kick ass track.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

PETE SHELLEY - Homosapien

Record companies are beginning to crack down on videos being 'illegally' hosted on YouTube (GoogleTube). I don't know what that will mean to the future of this blog because without them I don't have much to work with. I guess the question I need answered is why this form of online distribution is being discouraged. The Japanese seem to have the right idea when they refer to music videos as PROMOTIONAL videos. That's what they are - commercials. Maybe very cool commercials but people are supposed to see the video and say, 'My, how cool was that', and run over to their local record store and buy the LP. MTV doesn't play videos anymore so one would think that people willing to do the advertising for free should be able to in peace. But then again I'm not pimping the latest 50 Cent track... today I'm pimping Pete Shelley.

Pete Shelley is better known as the front man for the punk band the Buzzcocks. The Manchester-based Buzzcocks were one of the first punk rock bands to come out in the mid 70's. The name Buzzcocks comes from a local slang term meaning 'youngster'. Click the following link to check out 'Breakdown', a damn fine early recording by the band which is cool enough to deserve it's own entry. The Buzzcocks are still pretty darn good, they are still making new and fun punk tracks and are worth looking into. In fact, they just released a new CD this year called 'Flat-Pack Philosphy'.

Shelley's 1982 solo effort came to be almost by accident. He began writing the 'Homosapien' track for the new Buzzcocks album. He began composing the track on guitar and seeing his band mates were elsewhere, began using some synths to simulate the other backing instruments. By the time the song was done he realized he had a totally different beast on his hands and so he continued with this process until his first full-length solo disc was born. The BBC saw the title track as a gay anthem (it is) and banned it from the airwaves.

Both Javis Cocker of Blur and Trent Reznor of NIN have credited this single as a major influence, which is interesting considering the extreme differing end results. The track is very catchy and the video cries 80's from the bad luma keying to the immaculately designed Commodore PET computer. As an aside, I'd give my left nut for one of those Star Trek inspired bad boys. I especially like Shelley with his neatly parted hair and his all too tight white suit. Really, there's a New Wave Synth-Pop extravaganza waiting for you just below!

Friday, October 20, 2006

NEIL YOUNG & DEVO - Johnny Spud

Sometimes this blog practically writes itself and I have a feeling today is going to be one of those days. As I mentioned in my first entry ever, I've been on a bit of a New (No) Wave kick lately and so this week (weak) I'm gonna try to cover some of my more recent finds. Today's video is something I've been wanting to write up for some time now. Winnipeg's granola boy, Neil Young together with Akron, Ohio's DEVO - as god intended it.

I should preface this by saying I know Young was born in Toronto but he grew up in our ass of the woods so as far as I'm concerned we own him... especially after seeing this fiasco. And yes, I also like DEVO. I remember the first time I saw Jocko Homo and after the full-body condom bit there was no going back. Vocalist, Mark Mothersbaugh now does much of Nickelodeon's cartoon sound work, including the brilliant Rugrats theme. Incidentally, it should be noted Mothersbaugh bares more than a passing resemblance to the cartoon's uncle figure, Drew Pickles. Latest in the devolutions includes Disney's oft misunderstood (self included) DEVO 2.0, featuring tweens covering old DEVO classics. As annoying as the end result is, I can't help but laugh when I hear those kids trying poorly to sell half-baked anti-consumerist messages and songs about masturbation to children - for Disney.

But I'm getting ahead of myself we must turn back the clock to a simpler time, a time of bad pseudo punk. Neil Young had met the members of DEVO during a protest at Ohio's Kent State University - not that protest. They immediately became good friends and Young became a HUGE fan of their music. He even made a New Wave inspired album shortly after their encounter called 'Trans'. Name sounds New Wave to me.

In 1982, Neil Young wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movie 'Human Highway'. This film displays a very unselfconscious Punk/New Wave aesthetic. It's disjointed and nonsensical, everyone's obviously having a lot of fun even if it is most painfully delivered at the audiences expense. Hey, it's got Hopper. DEVO is heavily featured throughout the 88 minutes of surrealist torture. It has it's moment, the one you are about to see, billed as a dream sequence where Neil Young jams with Booji Boy (pronounced Boogie Boy, one of Mothersbaugh's alter-egos) and the rest of the band.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

KANA - Kuuchuu Buranko (Sky Swing)

I know I call it the GOOD music but every now and then even I gotta question that. Today happens to be one of those days. I can defend myself fairly well when I say Justin Timberlake is pretty cool but this is sorta hard to stand behind. One day many moons ago I was pillaging files from Soulseek when I came across Kana.

First off I have to say I pretty much hate Visual Kei, or Visual Style in English. Visual Kei is characterized by bands using dramatic costumes and visual imagery (read: gay) to apparently enhance the band's performance. Visual Kei is often focused upon in the West as a uniquely Japanese part of the Rock music scene. Visually and aurally, the closest match in the west would be a band like Marylin Manson where eye make-up is as important as lyrics. That however isn't what I dislike about the scene. I am more turned off by the unrelenting nasal wailing that seems to be attached like a cancerous wart to the whole scene. There are debates as to whether or not Kana can be categorized as Visual Kei but I will simplify it and say she is, I suck, and I sorta like it.

One evening I was walking by
Namba Hatch, a popular concert venue in Osaka, when I saw maybe a thousand lolita girls in neo-Victorian dresses, covered in bloody gauze, each holding little stuffed animals. It was the sexiest thing I saw all day. Later next morning while watching the news I found out they were there for a Kana concert. Kana helped me have a great little surreal experience so I'm giving her uber-points for that.

She began her career as a model for The Gothic And Lolita Bible magazine, and still appears in the magazine regularly. In 2000, she ventured into music by releasing the Maxi single, 'Hebi-Ichigo (蛇苺)'. Kana's singing is often the subject of severe criticism. Her vocals seem to alternate between cutesy and high-pitched to a harsh, screechy type. There's almost always no middle ground when it comes to its preference - you either love it or hate it. I guess I'll play the exception and say I'm still not sure how I feel. She collects pandas, and her main panda is Toraboruta. Most of the plushies do photo shoots with her, and appear in her music videos.

Today's video is from her third maxi single released in 2001. There's some pretty awesome chimpanzee-on-acid keyboard playing in the background and Kana let's off a couple of decent soul crushing screams so that was enough to win her a place in the GOOD music. Although her latest album was released in 2005, she hasn't released another 'official' music video since the one shown below. She has however recently released a number of bizarre early promotional/art videos that are worth checking out. Think 'The Ring' meets 'Hello Kitty'. For more information, check out the Kana-P no Mori website which is probably the de facto resource on all things Kana.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It's been a week or so since my last post. The reason being I have been liberated from my one month stint at Wal-mart and have begun a job with very evil shift-work. I'm still trying to determine which is the greater of the two evils. This week I have been working from six in the morning until two in the afternoon. What's more, the job is half an hour away from home so factor in get ready time and I'm basically waking up at five in the morning - or at least I would be if I was getting any sleep. So basically I'm neglecting the blog so I can get some sleep which I don't which in turn makes me too tired to write and so on and so on and scoobie-doobie-doo. But it's the weekend so lets kick it!

Japan's punk scene is pretty big and the Ging Nang Boyz never hold back any of that punk attitude back. The band consists of Kazunobu Mineta of 'Going Steady' fame on vocals, Chin on guitar, Abiko on bass, and Murai on drums. I was sold after I heard 'Nipponjin', the first song off 'Young Alive In Love (You My Third Worldwide Great War Romantic Love Revolution)', their debut CD. The songs first line is sung in that all too familiar generic j-pop croon immediately followed screaming retardedly for the next 83 seconds. The chorus consists of "Waruwaru! Nipponjin wa!" or Bad Bad! Japanese! It's all a little too stupid to be true as they continue to barf up an absurd amount of frantic, too-old-to-be-teen angst in every note of every song that follows. Tiny Mix Tapes describes it better than I'll ever do so here it is.

"No more than three words escaped the Mineta's velvet throat before he screamed like he was deep-throating a chainsaw and the band came crashing in with the subtlety of a blitzkireg. Technical accuracy, rhythmic durability, harmony, and dignity all leapt out the window, screaming and hopeless. This ninety-second opening salvo,“Nipponjin,” put a shotgun to the head of everything the Berklee College of Music teaches, an unapologetic orgy of anti-music. I’d been punked. And I couldn’t have laughed harder."

Today's video is from the debut album's second and most famous track. It replaces Neil Young's 'Piece of Crap' as the best punk video I've ever seen.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FARRELL BROS. - Burning Desire

I know my blog seems to keep my head in Asia a lot of the time, but there is good music all over, sometimes even in our own backyards, sometimes even in Selkirk, Manitoba. If you are from Selkirk, and chances are pretty good you're not, you probably already know who I'm talking about.

A few summers ago I remember being invited to a birthday/karaoke party in Winnipeg. Usually my miscreant friends would scoff at such an idea but the girl was very sexy so of course we went. It was my turn to drive out and I don't like driving in the big city so much. Not because I can't but because I don't think I can (if that makes any sense). Needless to say I got us where we needed to go and not any further. We did the karaoke thing for a while which was decent enough but when it came time to leave I wasn't quite in the head space to tackle the road again so I suggested going to The Royal Albert - a cool, if not slightly dangerous punk rock club that was literally down the street from the karaoke place. When we entered the club we were greeted by the usual toughs along with a group of teddy boys with unusually tall quiffs. My friends and I were all fans of the rockabilly after just having seen the Reverend so when we saw a upright bass on the stage we knew we were in for a treat and we were, as The Farrell Brothers got on the stage.

The Farrell's, who describe themselves as frantic rockabilly with a country twang, are a quartet that knows how to have a good time. At their live shows it's hard to imagine even the most jaded beer wolves not tapping their toes at some point during the performance. Everything from outlaw country to old-time gospels get their moment in the sun, all spiced with a hint of punk tuneage. Led by proud Selkirk natives Shawn on hollow-body and Gordie Farrell on upright, their energy is as contagious as it is inspirational. Some people don't like Shawn's constricted, almost constipated at times, vocal style but I'm willing to look the other way as it fits the music and he's such a nice dude. Burning Desire is a newer Farrell track which doesn't nearly highlight the range of the group but shows them progressively coming into their own.

AT17 - Our Prologue (我們的序幕)

My hunt for info on yesterday's Sodagreen entry brought up a personal forgotten Hong Kong gem called AT17. I became immediately interested in the band when I saw the cover for their 2003 album entitled Kiss Kiss Kiss. Girls, you done Paul and Gene good! As the cover may lead you to believe, AT17 is not your typical Cantopop duo, who favor lyrical and musical quality to being pop idols. AT17 consists of Canadian, Ellen Joyce Loo and HK native Eman Lam, who are both involved considerably in the songwriting and production for their albums. Loo plays the guitar and piano, while Lam plays the guitar and various percussion instruments.
Loo and Lam met each other at a singing competition called 'Original Music 2000' (原音2000) held by Tom Lee Music Hong Kong, where Loo won the 3rd Prize and Lam won the 2nd Prize. They were the youngest participants. They began to tour universities together and about a year later were discovered by, Anthony Wong Yiu Ming, the chairman of the music production company People Mountain People Sea and a renowned singer of the 90's. Lam and Loo was then signed by the company on 1 January 2002, and the group was named at17.

While I think their first few albums sometimes suffered for the typical Chinese pop over-production, their most recent effort is very well packaged. Just out this August, Bian Bian Bian feels like the album they really wanted to make. The acoustic element so important in their live shows (check their performance of Radiohead's Paranoid Android) finally comes to life on the album as well.The sound is pleasantly stripped down where it needs to be and tastefully fills in along the journey.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

SODAGREEN (蘇打綠) - Flying Fish (飛魚)

I have a feeling today's entry is going to be a short one - not because I'm tired or disinterested, it's just that I can't read Chinese. The problem with liking music from different countries is that there isn't always a lot of English information available. This is especially frustrating when you are trying to create written bio's on bands for a blog. Oh, how I rue the day I decided to find out who's hot in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese Sodagreen, formed in April, 2001 by vocalist (Greeny) Qingfeng together with his older brother on guitar, is an indie pop combo with a light rock sound. While emerging from indie backgrounds, Sodagreen has received wide spread success for their unique style. They usually play at more upscale venues around Taipei city including Stage 19. They have also released several CDs on major labels. The members are Kay and A-ful on guitar, Claire on bass, Wei on drums, Zephyr on viola and piano, and Greeny as the vocalist.

Today's video is from Sodagreen's second single off their 2005 self-titled CD. The video immediately invokes for me memories of playing side-scrollers and shooters on my 8-bit Nintendo. It's a warm, cute little song that I enjoy listening to every once in a while when I'm at work.

Friday, October 06, 2006

DANIELSON FAMILE - Did I Step On Your Trumpet?

The Danielson Famile, led by Daniel Smith, is one of the more interesting and certainly more memorable bands I've heard in recent years. When they are asked who their musical influences are, the usual response is they never really listened to music save Sunday School - and it shows. The Danielson Famile are just that, four sisters and five brothers, usually dressed as medical staff or police, spewing forth some of the most challenging Christian music you are liable to ever hear. What's more it's all pretty fantastic.

The Danielson Famile likely get more positive press from the secular media than they do their Christian counterparts. The contemporary Christian music scene can't seem to get behind Danielson's herky-jerky acoustic guitar, call-and-response vocals, tinkling bells aesthetic. Whereas the secular Pitchfork is happy to call their latest album 'a bona fide people-pleaser, retaining the Danielson Famile's endearingly skewed pop sensibility, while delivering the goods in a standard verse-chorus-verse package.' The group is has put out a DVD, 'Danielson, a Famile Movie (Or, Make a Joyful Noise HERE)'. which is all about the Danielson experience, I'm eager to get my hands on this one. You owe it to yourself to have a look at the trailer!

The Famile's latest effort comes in the form of their groundbreaking 'Ships' album. Today's video, from that CD, is called 'Did I Step On Your Trumpet?'. No sir, you certainly did not, but thanks for asking. If all Christian music were this cool I wouldn't need to listen to anything else. Get the MP3 here!