What do we do with the winners Mr P? Exploit them ruthlessly like everyone else Ms S ! ! !
Welcome to the J- factor ! ! ! This post is based on a popular TV series which maybe some of you have seen. Basically we have three categories. Solo, Group and Oldie. I will nominate one track for each category and Mr P will nominate one for each category and then you will have the chance to vote for your favourite. We hope you have fun listening to the tracks and voting for your favourites ! ! !
Call me S*mon C**ell and pass me a pair of high waisted trousers. It’s time for a head to head J-Factor contsest. The rules are clear ( vote for me) and the gloves are off !
We wanted to make a post to share some of the tracks we are listening to just now. Of course when it is Mr P and I, you know there will some surprises and also some artists you can probably predict. We had a lot of fun writing it and we hope you enjoy the post ! ! !
This week we have chosen some of our favourite “up to the minute” ( more or less) artists to share with you. We hope these give a little taster of what we cool, trendy young folks listen to when drinking our Horlicks. I hope you enjoy them. Continue reading →
“But Sakura ! ! ! Why I do I have to wear the ears?”
This week we are moving in a new area for me. We are going to share some tracks from an interesting period in Asian popular music. I think that the Chinese are a maybe a little like the Italians of Asia. They tend to talk a lot, are very funny, and are very romantic and nostalgic and this is reflected in their popular music. The 1940 – 1980 period saw a huge change for Chinese speaking peoples. The war and revolution in China lead to the establishment PRC of course but also Taiwan became an independant country and Hong Kong, as the last colony in Chinese territory grew into a wealthy centre for trade and finance for the whole of Asia. Chinese language music was now developing in three very different environments, but some how there seems to be thread holding it together.
China. Still, in some ways, a land of mystery to us in the West. So big, so many people. How on earth can you get your head round somewhere so vast, so different, so ancient ? We’d like to introduce you to some Chinese tunes this week. Many of them heavily “Westernised” and , therefore, somewhat easier on the ear than traditional Chinese music. Hope you enjoy them
Mr P – Are you sure we are cool enough for Shibuya ? ? ?
Tokyo, like all cities has many neighbourhoods and each has it’s own style and character. Of all the neighbourhoods in this vast and crazy city Shibuya is . . . . well Shibuya. It is young, hip, loud, crowded, bright, fun and high energy. There is nowhere else like it and you either love it or hate it. Shibuya is Asia’s capital of cool ! ! ! In the 1990 decade, a style of music particular to this neighbourhood began to develop which took a different and unique direction from the music in the rest of Tokyo and Japan. It used European influences and styles from the 1960 decade rather than the US rock influences. The style became known as Shibuya Kei which just means Shibuya Style. We would like to share some of the wide variety of music that has come from this unique neighbourhood.
To be honest Shibuya sounds like my worst nightmare these days. Busy , noisy full of life and neon lights. I’m more of a “sitting alone in a field” kind of a guy now. When I was younger, though, I frequented the back alleys of Soho and Oxford Circus and I think Shibuya is a bit like that area. Swinging, sophisticated, naughty. A place for the young, the young at heart and , apparently, faithful dogs ! ( eh ? Look, just google “Hackiko” O.K.) . Here then, are some sounds from “Swinging Tokyo”. Hope you like them.
I am going home for most of the month of May so this will be our last post of a while but before we take our break we are going to have a battle of the sexes. Which one of us has the best taste in Asian Music ? ? ? And we would like you vote for the one you like the most in the poll at the end of the post.
Whatever . . .. .
Hello ladies ( and gentlemen). We have decided this week to battle it out, musically, in a rip snortin’ “Battle of the sexes”. Who has the better taste in music ? Is it the beautiful, charming and fragrant Sakura or brutally ugly, virulent and pustulous me ? ( Correct answer is “me” , obviously, I had to make Sakura promise not to sulk when she lost. Women, eh ?). We’ve chosen three songs each that represent different aspects of the gender divide. A “fast” song, a “slow and smoochy” song and a “wild card”. Furthermore and notwithstanding you get to vote in a poll at the end to show how much better my taste is !! How cool is that ?
Ms S it is Rock not Lock!!! But Mr P - that is what I said - Lock ! ! !
We have wanted to this post for a long time and now at last we can ! ! ! Japanese girls are very active in all genres of rock, much more I think than girls in the west. We want to show you some of the great things Japanese girls are doing these days in rock – it is loud and little crazy maybe, but we think you will enjoy it!!!
Last time we introduced you to some Japanese girls from the pink, fluffy end of the spectrum. This week it’s girls with balls. Big, fat, hairy rocky balls ( figuratively speaking, not really, I think you have to go to Thailand for that sort of thing). Wild girls making wild music in a wild way. Girls, doing for themselves. Go, go gyaru ! Continue reading →
Welcome to the wonderful world of Kawaii ! ! ! But what is Kawaii ? ? ? The word actually means something like cute or pretty. One of constant characteristics of Kawaii is the association with animals. Bunnies, puppies, kittens are most common, and you see them everywhere.
As we look at some of the tracks we will point out some of the elements that are typically kawaii, including some of the hand gestures and dance moves,
We hope you enjoy it ! ! !
Hello. Welcome to the world of chocolate jellybean unicorns and stuff, aka “Kawaii”. As Sakura says this means something like “cute” but so much more too. My favourite type of “Kawaii” stuff is where it all goes a bit wrong ( by Western standards) such as in Ebichu , the housekeeping hamster ( want to see a hamster bite it’s “masters” boyfriends tender parts ? Then look for the “Camembert” episode on Youtube) or Gloomy bear, a “Kawaii” bear that is “befriended” by a little boy. Except that Gloomy behaves like a real bear and attacks him all the time. So sweet ! Anyway, on with the tracks. Continue reading →
Miss S ! ! ! If they do not vote ...Shoot them ! ! !
Asian women seem to be very much more active in the Music industry than in the west and they play, write, and produce music of all genres.
Mr P and I would like to celebrate the contribution of Asian women in a He Said ~ She Said post (or maybe more than one). But there really are so many that we can not decide which ones to make the post about.
So, we need your help to decide ! ! !
At the risk of sounding like an old pervert ( which I am, of course) “I like girls”. Specifically Asian girls ( not in THAT way…er..well…maybe a little..I can see myself digging a big hole here…..).I’ll start again.
I admire tremendously the music produced by the women of Japan and other Asian countries. Contrary to the perceptions in the West, perhaps, the ladies appear to be “doing it for themselves” far more than they do over here where the predominant “girl sound” is manufactured pop pap. Sakura and I would like to share a few tracks with you all. There are so many to choose from we’d like to divide the “Girlie sound” in to several posts
I know it is interesting Mr P - But what does it mean ? ? ?
Yes, it’s Hawaii time ! As you may have gathered I am a bit of a fan, having , in the mid 90s, spent more than is entirely sensible or sane on several trips to these lovely tropical islands. Today, children, we are going to concentrate on the music of this blessed ( and cursed a bit too) land. My thesis is that Hawaiians have played a bigger role in the development of our music than most people realise. Several elements that we regard as traditional American things acutally developed way out in the Pacific in the days when Hawaii was still an ( sort of ) independent state. Not least guitar based music, slide guitar, “Slack key” tuning and, by extension, electric guitars ( the first electrics were slide guitars).
So onwards we go , plunging forth like an experienced surfer into the (musical) waves ( doest that work as a metaphor ? I’m not sure it does…)
I really do not know very much about Hawaiian Music but I had a lot of fun discovering things I wanted to share with everyone. The variety of things going on in Hawaii was really surprising, and it I think the mix of US and Pacific and Asian influences with traditional influences also make this a very interesting place to visit on our travels. It is going be a lot of fun ! ! ! Continue reading →
" Do you really think we will find a punk band in China Mr P ? "
The Big C. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, as the country opens, up the music scene has begun to blossom. Shanghai was always a bit of a “show town”, the San Francisco of the east and it’s here that the indie scene really seems to flourish. Still early days, apparently the distribution and manufacturing systems aren’t really geared up for the small, independently produced labels but this appears to be changing and there’s a real wealth of great music coming out of China now.
China ! ! ! Of course rock music in its different forms has a very short history in China. It is really only since about 2000 that rock bands could form and play without state approval. And it ha been a long and hard road for many of them. It is easy to forget the price paid by some musicians for their art and courage. Of course we want to celebrate the great things that are happening now, but we also will humbly acknowledge a true hero.
Most people associate Korea with really well produced, totally professional and internationally successful K-pop boy bands and girl groups. But there is a really exciting alternative music scene and in this post we want to share some of the music by our favorite Korean punk and Indie bands.
Yes. In the “man eat dog” world of Korean music it’s the massed ranks of synchronised girlie bands that have garnered most attention, but there is a small but significant “underground” scene too. What strikes me here is the sheer “professionalism” of the tracks. Clearly helped by advances in technology, even the scrattiest of punk bands can now produce a decent sounding ( and looking) recording.
Taiwanese popular music was stuck in a rut for a long time during the period of military rule in Taiwan. The army censored a lot of music and artistic expression of all types, but when Military Rule ended in 1986 censorship and government control of music ended and Taiwan began to catch up quickly in producing great bands and music as well as art, drama and films. Taiwan is now a fascinating place culturally and a creative hub in Asia.
Pairubu and I wanted to share with you some of the wide variety of music that is being made in Taiwan. We will follow our usual he said – she said format. Each of us has chosen three tracks and we will say a few words about our track and then the other will comment also.
Japan is a country where Punk is very popular and vibrant punk scene exists with many clubs hosting Punk concerts and you can see new bands and some of the old bands every weekend in here in Tokyo and the major cities.
Pairubu and I wanted to share some of our favourite Japanese punk tracks with you and so we decided to produce this joint post. We will follow a He said – She said format. So there will be a track from each of us with a brief discussion of the track by the person who chose it and also each of us also commenting on the other’s selection.
Pairubu – Bolshie – Robot in Hospital
This is the earliest example on offer, from ( I think) 1979 and very much “of it’s time”. I would, perhaps, class this as “post punk” in that it has the elements that went on to , more or less, define that genre. The bass is prominent and the guitar used as much as “decoration” as to drive the song. I’m not totally sure but it sounds like this is a live recording which is pretty good for the time. And it’s got robots. What more do you want?
This was recorded live in January 21 1979 at Shinjuku Reich as part of the Tokyo Rockers Second Generation event but I can not find out anything about the band at all. I love this track, I thought it was really direct and simple and accessible and it is the type of track you know will have everyone in the room jumping up and down ! ! !
Sakura – Gauze – Kao O Aratte Denaoshite Koi(Go and wash your face then come back)
I like Gauze very much as they are what I think of as typical punk. They are a great old time punk band that formed in 1981 and are still playing and making records ! ! ! This song is from 1997 and was released as a 12 inch single. It is just so energetic ! ! ! They just make you want to shout along and punch in the air when they say “Kao O Aratte - – Denaoshite Koi ! ! ! ” It is just so much fun I think so ! ! !
I’d class this under “hardcore”, it’s a bit “heavier” and more serious in delivery than some of the others ( and none the worse for that). A definite “shout along with” number.
Pairubu – The Glash- I’ve got a gun (ch3)
An interesting one this. I’ve read, on the web, that they were a “joke” band but , to me, they have managed, perhaps inadvertently, to capture the true “spirit of 76″ better than any of the others here. There is a level of D.I.Y incompetence and a “let’s put on the show right here” element that really speaks to me. I saw loads of bands who played music just like this BITD and still recall fondly that time of spit, safety pins, amphetamines and noise.
This is a track from self made EP – Natural Born Punks and was released in 1993. This is a very rare record actually. It is actually completely home made as it was recorded in the band house and released on their own label. I think it is unfair to call them a joke band, they were simply enthusiastic amateurs and friends who put out their own record. I like it very much and it really is the spirit of punk ! ! !
Sakura – Stance Punks – Kuroi būtsu(Black Boots)
How can you have a post about Japanese punk and not have the Blue Hearts? Well you just have Stance Punks instead ! ! ! This band were formed in 1999 and are really very influenced by the Blue Hearts and have a very similar style. I like this track as it is not so raw as Mr P choices but it is not overproduced. I am sure you also thought it was going to be a version of “My Way” when you heard the first few minutes ! ! ! I like punk when it is not too serious and this is a fun track about one of the typical punk items of clothing, Black Boots, and how much pleasure they give the owner ! ! !
The Blue Hearts influence runs deep here ( even down to the singers actions) which is not a bad thing, if you’re going to “pay tribute” to a band why not go for one of the greats. I shall be looking out for more by this band.
Pairubu – Booted Cocks- For oneself. (Second version as requested by SpottedRichard)
A marvelous piece of “oiness” from one of the better known bands ( outside of Japan). They even, I believe, had some stuff released over here. This one interests me because of it’s “simple complexity”. It’s changes in pace and feel are quite “prog” ( for a punk band) . It’s like jigsaw, a big, noisy jigsaw put together by shouty me ( and one lady). It is, I feel , pretty irrisistable in it’s martial glory. Like being stamped on by size 10 Doc Martens but musically.
I do not know very much about this band but the track is from the 2004 début album For Oneself. I like the keyboard in this track as I think it fills the arrangement up and makes it more sophisticated somehow. I also think there is like a Celtic influence in this track that I like very much. I think it just drives along and makes you want to shout OI!
Sakura – The Discocks – Long Live Oi!
I am sure you were all singing “One two three – I love Oi” before the end of the track ! ! ! The Discocks are one my favourite punk bands. They formed in 1992 but split in 1998 but reformed with a different line up in 2003. This track is from 1997 EP Knock Out and so is the original band. I think this track is has great energy and is a lot of fun. When ever I hear this track I can not stop sing along with it ! ! !
What a lot of cocks there are in the Japanese punk scene ! Discocks, Booted Cocks even Cockney Cocks ! You can’t go wrong with the Discocks, You know exactly what you are going to get. Basic, shouty “Oi” with bundles of attitude.
Can we ask you to pause for a moment and gape in wide eyed wonder at just what this post represents. At no other time in the history of mankind would it have been possible for someone in Tokyo and someone in a tumbledown shack in Gloucestershire to have cooperated in this way. Isn’t the Internet the most awesome of things ?
We would both like to thank you very much for reading the post and we hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting.