BLOND SAURUS was ＲＥＢＥＣＣＡ's last album. it's also one of their best.
the first track is jammed pack with sex. as a mechanically manipulated voice growls "blond saurus", nokko moans/sighs, over a absolutely perfect synth track and electronic drums, as an electric guitar strums a very new wave riff in the background. and then nokko begins to sing and absolutely blows out the entire fucking track. this really gives a good indication of what the rest of the album is going to sound like; 80s pop played with synths and electric guitars. and while all of the music here is fantastic, its nokko's voice that murders me. it constantly borders between childlike innocence and full grown sexuality. it's stunning.
there's really only one stinker on this album, and that's "When You Dance With Me". it's just so, so dull. what's impressive though is nokko's control over her english pronunciations. a friend of mine pointed out before that they could have done excellently in america in the 80s if they had sung in english (as that is the primary thing that stops foreign bands from succeeding in america, or so i imagine). on the final track (which is based upon the first track, but is lighter and more dreamlike, with different lyrics) her english is perfect, even if the lyrics are kinda derpy. so what gives, ＲＥＢＥＣＣＡ? why didn't you strive for american success? oh well.
it's a fantastic album, so download this right fucking now.
1. Blond Saurus
2. Vanity Angel
3. Navy Blue
4. Cotton Love
5. Little Darling
6. Lady Lady Lady
7. Super Girl
8. Naked Color
9. When You Dance With Me
10. One Way Or Another
here is an album i've recently enjoyed by a group (?) known as Mark Berndt. his/their name is a direct reference to one Mark Berndt of LA, who was a school teacher. he taught latino children, as far as i know (meaning children who were still learning english). while he had been described as a very good teacher, in february he began taking pictures of his students. in these pictures, the tied up children could be seen with cockroaches crawling upon their faces, as well as semen being spoon fed to them. mark was clearly living the dream . . . or, at least until he got caught.
anyways, this is a noise project dedicated to him. overall it is a pretty damn good album, and while i can't say it really makes me think of the man it's dedicated to (very rarely can a noise concept album capture a concept while remaining so harsh throughout). the album mostly seems to be made up of very harsh feedback, distortion, and what sounds to me like banging and crashing metal. it begins with two fairly short pieces (the first almost sounding like a mentally challenged Masonna) and then moves on to the real meat of the album: a thirty minute long track entitled "Bitch Can Fucking Die (1: I Don't Want Your Pity, 2: I'll Return The Pain You Caused To Me)".
2. Santorum x Santorum
3. Bitch Can Fucking Die (1: I Don't Want Your Pity, 2: I'll Return The Pain You Caused To Me)
戸川京子 is perhaps best known now as being the younger sister of 戸川純 (a.k.a. god). unlike her sister, the music she performed was much more idol and much less avant-garde. all the same, there is quite a bit of experimentation on this album. a particularly favorite track for me would have to be the second track, "Hawaiiに行きたい". it begins as a very melancholic sounding ballad, but after about a minute into the song there is a very sudden transformation into this very tropical (hawaiian, to be precise) sounding piece of music. the hawaiian bit is absolutely giddy in it's sheer joy and innocence, but soon it's cut off and the ballad returns . . . only to transform back into the lei adorned ode to the popular japanese vacation spot yet again. the effect is very jarring, as your mood as a listener of this song is constantly being assaulted by these abrupt change in atmosphere and feeling. it's fantastic, of course. it's actually become one of my all time favorite songs from the genre.
ANYWAYS ON TO THE REST OF THE ALBUM. it's consistently awesome. it frustrates me ever so much that her sister, jun, shall always overshadow her. of course, jun is superior (but then, jun is superior to most musicians, no matter the genre), but that's beside the point; kyoko had plenty of talent. her willingness to be playful and weird: on the fourth track, "責任とってよ", she and a male vocalist "rap". it kinda reminds me of 塊魂's soundtrack . . . if 塊魂's soundtrack had been recorded in the 80s. oh yeah, while i'm still on this track, i think her sister can be heard shouting the chorus at about the half-way mark . . . speaking of jun, the one time on this album where kyoko really reminds me of her sister is on the track "悲しみはリアルすぎて…". she sings in a crooning, seductive sort of way (think of the way jun sings in YAPOOS' classic "Barbara Sexaroid").
over all, the album is absolutely stunningly fun to listen to. it's joyous and giddy and silly. there are few albums that cheer me up when i'm feeling the blues (which is surprisingly rare for someone who primarily blogs about post-punk and "introspective idol-pop"). this is all very bitter sweet, of course, because on a hot summer day in july of 2002 she committed suicide. this shouldn't come as a surprise to longtime fans of togawa jun; jun herself has attempted to end her life at least once (supposedly she has visible scars from said attempts).
by request, here's an album by the noise project Pedestrian Deposit. because of their use of ambient calm between harsh waves of noise they really create a rather lovely sound, as opposed to one that is threatening (like a good portion of the noise i enjoy). this album is a particularly good example of their sound.
the first track, "Angora", begins with some sort of looped string sample, reversed. it's not unpleasant. this is quickly cut short by loud blasts of feedback, which then falters for but a moment before starting up again in full force. the track stutters and can't decide if it wants to be an ambient piece or a noise piece, and the effect it has upon my ears as i listen is very jarring. i get drawn in towards the haunting ambient bits only to be slapped across the face when, out of nowhere, the noise portions of the track blast out of nowhere yet again. the track ends with a very soft ambient blipping sound.
track two: "Ideal". we begin with a crumbling sound that quickly degenerates into a buzzing whine, which then fades away into a echoing ambiance, and after about a minute or so into the track we are treated with a melancholic guitar strumming, surrounded by what sounds like rain falling in the distance. the guitar mutates into a synthesizer, and it's an absolutely beautiful sound. it finally mutates again so that it's clear that it's a guitar, but now the sound is reversed (it's still playing the same repeating tune, so it's very strange sounding).
track three, "An Examination", is the real centerpiece for this album. it begins with a very high pitched feedback sound, layered under and over a crackling static sound. it's not terribly loud at first, but soon fixes itself, and the track roars to life. around the two minute mark there is this fascinating whirring sound going on that i have to sit up and listen to any time i hear it.
by the time three minutes have passed, the sounds become more natural sounding. we hear echos of metal crashing and scraping against metal. this is the sound of an construction site cannibalizing itself.
track four, "Asphyxiate", is a rather spooky ambient piece. for the most part it is a rather long build up, until around the four minute mark where we start to hear some gorgeous melodies playing below the rumbling industrial sounds (by industrial i mean like a warehouse). the track comes to and end with the sound of blowing wind and a light tinkling glass sound, as well as church bells.
the final track, "Materialism", is another beautiful ambient track. there is certainly a chord progression here, but it's rather subtle. if you're listening close enough you'll get to hear a very lovely song. probably my favorite track on the album.
3. An Examination
this is an EP by the infinitely awesome ＧＲＩＭ. this EP is very much like the full length album Folk Music, so for those who have heard that you should know what to expect: tribal+ militaristic drumming over feedback and guttural power electronics barking.
the three tracks presented here are some of my favorites from this project. track one and three are loud, rolling power electronics death marches, with ear-splitting feedback and militaristic percussion. track two (the title track), however, is a strangely beautiful ambient track. it sounds like a morgue. most fascinating here is the very subtle chanting that can be heard swimming under the track. you really have to focus to hear it, but it's quite lovely (even konagaya's ridiculous belching sounds are enthralling once you get used to them).
1. NOBLE FOLK
as requested, here as an album by the legendary 阿部薫. this is, as far as i'm concerned, his best work. it was recorded in what i imagine was one take on april 11, 1972. it is a raw, furious piece of jazzy jazz music. it was also one of the last pieces that he recorded before his early death in 1978. each track on here is a chaotic piece of music. it is jazz stretched and mutilated so much that it's nearly noise music (indeed, some early hijokaiden sounds very similar to this).
anyways, check it out.
1. 1972.4.11 Alto 1
2. 1972.4.11 Alto 2
3. 1972.4.11 Alto 3
so, this absolutely perfect live album by Corina Corrina was one of the last albums that the vault master posted before his blog was obliterated. so, none of the credit for this goes to me, duh. basically, i'm re-uploading this because i fear very few had the chance to download this beautiful album before it was too late.
every song on this album is a beautiful, tragic, and super adorable piece of piano driven pop. the tracks here are perfectly crafted, and each one displays intense levels of depth. and even though the vocalist has a very sweet, girlish voice (moe-like, even) she still manages to evoke great sadness.
to some extent this album/band even reminds me of After Dinner. the atmospheres that are invoked are very similar to the atmospheres that were invoked by haco and the gang on their albums.
might as well do a track-by-track review of this, considering each song really is very distinct and very, very good.
the opening piece, "Oasis", is a song that suggests taking off on some journey. the piano starts off sweet and sugary, but then when she begins to sing they take on more of a funeral march style, and the vocals build and build as they approach the chorus, which breaks and then quickly is cut back down again when the beautiful second verse begins.
track two is called "Story Of Blood". so . . . i have no idea what the lyrics are about, but they don't seem to be about any violence. instead, they seem to be longing for a lost time, or a lost love, or perhaps . . . impossible to say. but it's my favorite track on the album. as this track reaches its chorus it absolutely blows me away with how flawless the composition is. it sends shivers up and down my spine.
third track, "Soft Shoes", brightens my mood every time i listen to it. the moe voice is really put on hard here, and yet it still shakes with emotion. real, raw, believable emotion. this might actually be my favorite, because she also does a really great togawa-esque psuedo-operatic voice here. and it's. fucking. great.
fourth track! "Victory Of The Death" is another song that does not seem to be about a dark subject. certainly not the "victory of death". this almost reminds me of the title tracks from 葛生千夏's The City In The Sea; it's almost aquatic sounding, like waves brushing against a boat in the middle of a lake. it's gorgeous and dreamy and just great.
the final track begins where the fourth track leaves off (i suspect that if this is indeed a live album as the title seems to suggest, this was all recorded from the same night and let me just say i would have KILLED to see this show . . . run on sentence, like i fucking currrr). this track is actually quite a bit darker, but perhaps not bleak sounding. just . . . there's a tone of anger under the moe voice and gorgeous piano banging. so, this track's title ("All Dreams and Many Loves in a Basket") is also completely misleading. is she fucking with us at this point? this is just more of a reason for me to go learn japanese.
as the track begins to build up her voice begins to break and it cracks and she pants and nearly shouts as the piano gets faster and faster, each layer building and building so we have this wondrously furious, yet completely restrained finale that actually is probably my favorite track. actually, you know what? fuck it; all the tracks are my favorite. i can't even choose, it would be like choosing between my children (because i totally have children, right?).
2. Story Of Blood
3. Soft Shoes
4. Victory Of The Death
5. All Dreams and Many Loves in a Basket
so, this is an album by the wonderful 羅宇屋. they play folk music with slight post-punk influences thrown in (as well super perfect pop elements on a few songs). the songs here use electric guitars, synths, and full drum sets with the traditional instruments (like the ever so subtle accordions) but it sounds perfectly natural. it's not like they're taking a "modern approach" to japanese folk music, but instead are simply playing folk music with modern instruments thrown in with traditional ones.
the songs all sound so exquisite, and each one is a stand-out track, so it's very hard for me to really pin-point a best song. but, i suppose if i was forced, i would pick the luscious new wave song, かように. it sounds like something out of a Studio Ghibli film (so, i guess i'm saying it sounds like it could have been composed by 久石譲). (another song i might pick out as a favorite would be the finale, which is a disco/funk song with traditional japanese folk chanting over the top of it. it's completely bizarre but works so, so well.)
anyways, you should certainly listen to this if only because there's nothing else out there that really sounds like these guys. you'll be doing yourself a disservice by not giving them a listen.
so, here's スーザン's album DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAZIC. but it may as well be a Yellow Magic Orchestra album, as the backing tracks for スーザン's sporadic shouts and girlish singing are primarily supplied by the three members of YMO. of course, it doesn't sound exactly like a YMO album; on this album they were going more for a 1960s american female pop singer sound (like Lesley Gore, Little Peggy March, or The Shangri-Las, annnnd she even does a cover of The Loving Spoonful's "Do You Believe In Magic?").
anyways, the tunes here are totally weird and uncommonly catchy. the stand-out tracks would have to be the gorgeous "FREEZIN' FISH UNDER THE MOONLIGHT (Eatin' my backbone)" (with it's post-punk bass and faux-flute), the opening track "MODERN FLOWERS IN A BOOT" (due to the fact that it's one of the catchiest fucking songs that i have ever heard, and it's totally freaky, too), and the spooky finale ("SCREAMER"). really though, every track is superb due to the flawless production on the part of the YMO boys. there's a reason why they are the gods of synth pop, and that's because they never fail to delight (whether they're working together, doing solo work, or producing for other artists).
1. Modern Flowers In A Boot
3. Dream Of You
4. Do You Believe In Magic?
5. Ah! Soka
6. Freezin' Fish Under The Moonlight (Eatin' My Backbone)
7. Glass Girl
8. It's No Time For You To Cry
this album by the actress 藤真利子 is incredibly fucking cool. it's not terribly weird or experimental (as the album cover would seem to suggest), but it's very . . . dunno, i guess it's similar to something like 原みゆき's 凛; it's weird and refreshing, but only upon a second or third listen do you realize this. for example, early on in the album the fact that she uses more traditional post-enka singing style seems to make it seem more normal. though, once you go back through you start to really notice all the completely strange production techniques going on here, and the wide array of different instruments that are being put to use.
i guess my favorite part about this album is the excellent production. it's constantly refreshing, and some of the tracks take a couple listens to really understand how complex they are. it sounds like walking through a jungle, and hearing snakes hiss and parrots caw in the distance while a butterfly with spotted wings perches on your hand.
anyways, i've been really enjoying this a lot lately, so grab it. i'm sure you'll enjoy it.
14. Gemini VS Capricorn
by request, here is 中沢厚子's ファースト・アルバム. overall, this is a splendid example of pre-1980s japanese pop. its elements of enka are still fairly evident, as are its folk and blues themes. so, basically, this album doesn't do anything terribly original . . . however, it's fantastic, and i would certainly suggest this to anyone looking to get into that sort of music. her voice is very angelic and completely infectious, like a perfectly made confectionery treat.
anyways, grab this if you want to hear what most pop sounded like before idol singers became popular.
1. あなたが母を愛したように あなたが父を愛したように
by request, here is 黒色エレジー LP Esoderic Mania (i'm sure that was supposed to be "Esoteric" Mania, but blame the band, not me). it's a splendid female-fronted goth album (what other kind of goth would i possibly be posting here, right?). the best part about this album, without a doubt, are those guitars. they're absolutely perfect on every song. just the right amount of new wave influence, as well (like most goth i post here, whatever).
the vocalist is also great, because she can switch between a high pitch little girl voice and a deep crooning voice. actually, for all i know, there may be two female vocalists, but i doubt it.
1. Sun Stroke
so, here's another acid house album by my favorite band, ＳＯＤＯＭ. this album is at least as fabulous their self-titled album that came after this. that's all you really need to know; if you liked ＳＯＤＯＭ then i can pretty much guarantee you'll like this.
the first track, "U Can", seems to be like an early blue-print for the fantastic performance of "Can U Acid?" (which, tragically, does not exist on any album, single, or EP that i'm aware of). it's not quite as tight or giddy as that song that i fear was only played live, but it's still really great.
the second track is a totally questionable remix (and re-recording of) their opus, "Beyond...". i'm not entirely sure what drove them to remake this song, but whatever; it's totally awesome/retarded. fortunately, it sounds like an entirely different song, so it's not really tainting the original. i've listened to it billions of times by now, of course, but it's still a goofy song.
track three ("Voice In Your Eyes" . . . what?) opens with this ridiculous synthetic strings, and just gets stupider/awesomer from there. the vocals are great, though, so this is one of my favorite tracks from the album. and basically the rest of the album keeps up with this same sort of corny-awesomeness. i can't get over how much i love this album.
also, that album cover is so excellent. it kinda reminds me of Grace Jones (and the music does have roots in disco, so this is a little fitting).
p.s. i'm almost tempted to call this a remix album, except that these are re-imaginings; all of the recordings here are fresh.
1. U Can
2. Beyond (Tom Tom Mix)
3. Voice In Your Eyes
4. Art Of Lav (Factory Style)
5. Joy & Pain
6. Castle In The Air (Sweet Dub)
7. King Of House (Groove Your Body)
8. Lovers Around (O・A Mix)
9. Egypt (Haza's Beat)
here is a spectacular OST for a spectacular film (of the same name) by a spectacular director. 石川忠 has been a favorite composer of mine for a while now, likely because of his partnership with 塚本晋也 on some many of 塚本's films (i previously posted a compilation of songs from his TETSUO films). so, this will most certainly satisfy those who enjoyed the soundtrack to TETSUO: The Iron Man. the same frantic drums and mechanical grinding percussion is on display here, and there are even moments of delicate meditation here (anytime the song "Lost" would play during TETSUO i would fall under a gentle spell of reflection).
anyways, really excellent stuff here. most certainly check this out.
1. Knock Off
2. Over Crowd
3. Gryphis Glaucus
4. Going Down For...
5. Half Truth
6. Move On