Feast from the East

Hello once more.
I’m having such fun discovering the weird and wonderful world of Japanese pop that I thought I’d share a little more with you all.
It’s the girl’s turn this time, some of the gentler sounds that I’ve been listening to lately.
Without further ado let us plunge in. Once again I know very little about the bands so I’ll let the music speak for itself.

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Stolen Earth – Tuscany Sun

Stolen Earth are the band that emerged from the ashes of Breathing Space, they York-based progressive rock band who split at the beginning of the year. With four members of the final lineup of Breathing Space on board, including lead singer Heidi Widdop, it’s inevitable that the new band would have something of the spirit of Breathing Space, and this song, written by bassist Paul Teasdale, has a very strong echo of Breathing Space’s distinctive sound. Though there’s definitely a hint of latter-day Marillion in there somewhere as well.

Stolen Earth will make their live debut at the Cambridge Rock Festival on 6th of August, sharing a bill with Panic Room, Chantel McGregor, Larry Miller and headliners The Quireboys.

‘Spill challenge?

It’s gone 10pm on Tuesday evening, and I don’t think anyone volunteered to set a Spill challenge. If someone’s about to post, apologies – I’ll delete this, as I had my turn a couple of weeks ago. But if not, here’s one:

A song you’ve heard of, but never knowingly heard. I reckon you should post it first, then listen and give us your reactions.

Here’s mine. It’s embarrassing really. I know it’s a modern classic. It’s been A-listed twice, I think. I can even quote some of the lyrics. I reckon I’m going to love it. But I’ve never actually heard it:

Earworms – June 27


“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”
Pablo Casals

Doug Sahm and the Sir Douglas Quintet – Lovin’ Man On Your Hands
Full of Oohs and Ows from Doug and his backing singers, plus a blast from those TexMex horns. Can’t fault the sentiment either – in fact, I’d ask him over right now if it wasn’t for the fact he’s been dead since 1999.

Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
This came to me via my Mother-In-Law who gets a huge smile on her 78-year-old face every time she plays it. Sample a little Perez Prado & with a large dollop of jive/hip-hop & you get a nearly unshakable earworm.

Mariachi El Bronx – Litigation
Heard this on 6Music a few weeks back. My ears pricked up and it wormed its way in. Apparently, they’re an LA hardcore punk band called The Bronx and this is their side-project. If you can get past the flat vocal, I think it’s a winner.

Bebe – Malo Eres
Bebe burst onto the scene with this indictment of domestic violence in 2004. Not exactly singalong stuff, but let’s have a go with the chorus.
Malo, malo, malo eres
No se daña a quien se quiere, ¡no!
Tonto, tonto, tonto eres
No te pienses mejor que las mujeres


Sergio y Estibaliz – Cantinero de Cuba
As a young girl, I used to hang out with the group that eventually became Mocedades, often singing with them in impromptu concerts. The youngest sister was called Estibaliz, and I remember her as a twelve year old, with pigtails down to her waist, watching from the wings, occasionally being invited to join in. She later went on to greater things and this is one of my favourites. A sad song of unrequited love despite its happy sounding beat.
Mrs Maki

Sinead Lohan – To Ramona
I never got into Dylan’s music when he performed it himself. There have been many cover versions of his songs – some that I didn’t know were his at first. This is one such song that I heard on the radio and missed it being announced. I tracked it down, found out who was singing it and was surprised at who wrote it. One of my favourite songs.

Please send submissions to earworm@tincanland.com. I hate to sound like a broken record (what sort of earworm would that be?!), but supplies really are running low… Your Earworms need you! *looks stern; does pointy finger thing*

Coming Across Criss

A few weeks ago, as her Question 31B, amylee asked for an instrumental song we love. I was thrilled at the clutch of warm responses to my choice of Sonny Criss playing I’ll Catch The Sun. The idea fermented to follow this up with a post celebrating the alto saxophonist, principally to give you a few more examples of his playing. This is what I’m doing here but it occurred to me that I’ve been trying off and on for 23 years to tell the world about Sonny Criss and thus the influence his voice has had on mine is also something I want to consider. As a result, I’m supersizing my blogging by twinning this post with one on my own blog, contemplating the literary issues that unspool from my Sonny Criss fandom.

This is a brief and not at all comprehensive primer, courtesy of YouTube, of my favourite instrumental voice in jazz. That’s an accolade that requires some clarification and contextualisation. There are, if we are to give these terms any meaning, ‘greater’ jazz musicians than Sonny Criss. Quite apart from anything else, Criss was one of the legion alto saxophonists who were turned onto a style of playing by Charlie Parker. There’s a reason we call the likes of Criss, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Jackie McLean, Sahib Shibab and more post-Bird saxophonists – it’s not to their detriment that they stood in the conceptual shadow of someone who, to all intents and purposes, made the music new again. You don’t look to Sonny Criss for game-changing innovation. He wasn’t pulling the blues inside-out: he was playing them straight, sultry, smoky and spine-tingling, as here in Black Coffee:

I bow before Mingus, Monk, Ellington, Carla Bley, Sun Ra and plenty more jazz composers before I think of Sonny Criss. But just as I can hear most songs better when they’re sung by Ella, Sinatra or Sarah Vaughan, Sonny could play a song lyric to the same level of perfection of those vocalists. Here he is on Charlie Chaplin’s Smile and Jimmy Webb’s Up Up And Away (links via text to save screen space).

Nor did he move with the times in the manner of Miles Davis or, more recently, David Murray. Things funked up a little in the seventies but the sound that soared over the top of the groove was still that wondrously fluid, human heart-tugging voice, as here in Cool Struttin’ .

Sonny Criss works for me as instantly as the voices of those I love most in the world. I’ll rave about and dance to and revere and be inspired by countless others but Sonny’s notes trigger a thousand awakenings in my brain and across my body. I feel encapsulated by the sense of mortality and intoxicated by the desire for joy that I hear throughout the dozens of his recordings I own. I want to line up loads more for you to enjoy but I’ll leave you with just this, and embed it so it doesn’t get overlooked and by way of a birthday gift to steenbeck, a captivating God Bless The Child: