28 January 2010

Where's your little girl tonight?

Does anyone else love this song? I guess it dropped last year, but I just stumbled onto it and it's oh so great. All I can tell is that Magic Kids are from Memphis and they have one 7" out. Anybody out there in the know?

The Magic Kids > Hey Boy

27 January 2010

Oh no, it can't be true

Finland's TV-Resistori produced a pair of delightful, offbeat synthpop albums in 2004 and 2006, making some of my favourite music of the mid-decade period. They have kind of fallen off the face of the earth since then, but according to their label Fonal, they've just been "doing and re-doing their new album" all this time. And while there is still no release date promised for opus no. 3, today the indie pop perfectionists are finally sharing new song "Voi ei, ei voi olla totta" (or "Oh no, it can't be true") with the rest of us. It's a very likable and catchily propulsive tune that bodes well for whatever else might emerge from the collective's strict quality-control vault in 2010.

TV-Resistori - Voi ei, ei voi olla totta

And for old time's sake, have a listen to the eponymous track from their 2004 album Intiaanidisko, which charmed me so much in the first place.

TV-Resistori - Intiaanidisko

26 January 2010


Fever Ray's acceptance speech at Sweden's recent P3 Guld award show is something special:

22 January 2010

I told you once, I told you twice

Today, I was talking with a friend about Laura Nyro. Friend mentioned that Nyro reminded her of Carole King (one of Nyro's biggest hits was her version of King's Up On The Roof), which, in turn, reminded me of Really Rosie, a Maurice Sendak illustrated cartoon from my childhood which I loved. The show was a musical, and my favorite songs were Pierre and Chicken Soup With Rice. The lyrics were Sendak's, and the music was done by King.

The Pierre song always cracked me up just because the main character, who was an apathetic kid, constantly replies "I don't care" to anything that anybody says to him. My dad used to call me Pierre because "I don't care" was one of my favorite phrases.

Chicken Soup With Rice is pretty fun, the song winds its way through the twelve months of the year, paying tribute to the joy of eating chicken soup with rice all year long. Totally reminds me of being a kid, lying on the floor, head propped up by my hand and watching Really Rosie.

Check out the Chicken Soup With Rice clip from Really Rosie here, or just listen to the song below.

Carole King > Chicken Soup With Rice

18 January 2010

Colour me Berlin

From Color Berlin, an eye-popping photo essay by Matthias Heiderich.

Pictures of one of my favourite cities prompt a listen to some German-language pop, in this case Gustav, the marvelous project of artist/composer Eva Jantschitsch. Although she is from Vienna, if I were zipping around Kreuzberg or Neukölln on that bike I might have this song in my head.

Gustav - Neulich im Kanal

16 January 2010

Lego Album Covers

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
Originally uploaded by savage^

The Lego Album Covers Flickr Group has been around for a while, I even subscribe to the group's RSS feed because that's the kinda nerd I am, but I thought I'd post it just in case anyone has missed it. There's some really creative, fun and cool stuff being done. I love this Bowie one.

15 January 2010

Minutos musicales

Eolrin over at Minutos Musicales has posted a 2CD compilation of his favourite indie pop of 2009. It's a good, diverse and pretty international mix that will help catch you up with some stuff you might have missed the past 12 months. His introductory text is in Spanish, but the mediafire download links work no matter what languages you happen to read or speak. :)

On to the next decade now!

14 January 2010

Japanese decadeology

Japan, it is sometimes said, is a society of the future.

If so, then the future of pop music, as already experienced by Japan this decade, is looking radically uncertain. W. David Marx's guide to Japanese music since 2000 is pretty essential reading, with plenty of good links to hard to find tunes. And while one might find fault with some of Marxy's finer points or aesthetic judgments, it's difficult to argue with the main industrial-commercial thrust of his thesis, that is, if you discerned an across-the-board decline in Japanese pop music this decade--from the experimental underground to the Oricon heights of J-Pop--it's not for lack of talented musicians, but rather, the lack of a commercial infrastructure to support them. When the titans of '90s shibuya-kei (Cornelius, Kahimi Karie, Pizzicato Five, etc.) scattered in all directions at the start of the decade, there were plenty of younger acts ready to step into the breach. The fatal obstacle, as encountered by short-lived bands like Petset or Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, was the Japanese economy itself:
The problem was, selling out after 2005 was not even an option. The only real artistic solution was to get more weird, but the record labels did not want to go further into debt and no one really had the heart. Most of this generation had seen the Shibuya-kei guys succeed both financially and critically at making interesting indie music and wanted to follow that path. ... [but] here in 2010, the entire infrastructure for good indie music has completely been wiped out, and those who were once our greatest hope to “save” Japanese music have retreated into doing things more rewarding than commercial music — eating, breathing, sleeping, throwing things against other things, counting clouds, quietly reading, personal hygiene.
Vital, commercially successful pop continues to be made here and there--I agree with Marxy's positive assessment of Shugo Tokumaro--but revolutionary figures like Oorutaichi are in uncharted and lonely territory. It's already been three years since his beautifully funky Drifting My Folklore came out, and though he recently mustered a well-received tour of European art spaces and small clubs, the market for another Oorutaichi record, particularly in Japan, looks pretty shaky to say the least. It's safe to say that fifteen years ago, he would have had two or three albums out by now, and received offers to produce a daring mainstream act or two. Nowadays, it's not so clear what the path for a guy like him is.

Japan's artistic economy is rapidly realizing Momus's old joke that "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people". This is potentially a radically egalitarian cultural environment: a place where it is impossible to depend on a "star system" of big cultural producers. While that's not a bad thing at all in my book--especially if more people discover more of their own creativity--it does make one wonder what accomplished artists who work their asses off fulltime are supposed to be doing for survival money. Hopefully a social revolution of another sort isn't far behind.

11 January 2010

I can't dance the funky chicken

The first hot tip for 2010:

This being the work of Madame Oizelle, the product of unholy union between Domotic and King Q4.

07 January 2010

An apple for an apple

Good news, everybody! Miles Kurosky, formerly the voice of Beulah, is back! His new album,  The Desert of Shallow Effects, is gonna drop this spring (3/9/10), and he'll be touring as well. Hopefully he'll show up in a dive bar near you. Check out the inevitably named website, mileskurosky.com. Do the social networking thing and add him on Twitter, Facebook and stream tracks on his Myspxxx page. Tourdates and a favorite Beulah track after the jump.

05 January 2010

Many happy returns, sensei

Get on the catbus and raise a glass to Hayao Miyazaki, who turns 69 today. A beautiful scene for the ages: