Sunday, December 06, 2009

Best Music Of The Year (Already!)

I'm posting this so early to prove once again that I know best and that all those other blogs you read will follow my example. the actual reason I'm posting this is that I don't really listen to Western music anymore since I decided, as part of my immersion process, I would delete all English audio from my computer and listen to Japanese music, talk shows and comedians, like Ijuuin Hikaru:

Yes I know, hilarious isn't it. So, I probably won't find out about any new music between now and the new few weeks. Might as well post now, I think it's a pretty good list, I hope at least it's entertaining.

So........... This first video I posted before, it is of the Dirty Projectors. Great vocals, catchy, and you get the feeling that the singer is really really letting go of anything holding her back. (You can tell I did a lot of research for this since I don't even know "the singer"s name.)

Passion Pit are pretty solidly in the middle of the indie dance pop that's so big right now. I like them just because they write good original pop songs with a good beat.

I just found out about Girls, so I can't be sure if they are great, but I like them so far. The style is so plain, but their character shines through in the music enough that it's still one of the best, most original things to come out this year. I guess what I mean, is just that it's real.

And last, this may piss you off, you'll probably think I'm lame, but this is totally the most powerful moment in music of 2009. You know I'm right.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Basically, in Japan I hang out with Japanese people, and Italians

Friday, October 30, 2009

It all finally makes so much sense

here is the answer

maybe you won't agree with me on this one

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hope you miss me

It's been quite a while, maybe even a year! Almost. Here's a new video by Styx Tyger, who have new band member and new songs that are really good, sad and pretty. I'm working as a teacher right now and here's a link to my student's little art blog where they do Learning to Love you More- assignments. You're welcome to marvel at their cuteness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seo Taiji

So ahead of his time (1992)... By Korean standards.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

I Really Want A Llama

Monday, May 25, 2009

All I Know Is That It's From Thailand... And That It's Awesome

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

空空諸島(Kuukuu Shyotoh)

Kuukuu Shyotoh translates roughly to "The Vacant Archipelago" possibly the most amazing band to ever stalk the outdoor malls of Kichijoji.

Monday, January 19, 2009

DJ's real best music of 2008

I spent the year mostly cut off from what is going on out in the Western music scene. I've been trying to find good Japanese music which is frustrating but is slowly reaping rewards (more on that later, keep those grubby exophilic paws under your ass for now). Back to my point, I've spent some time post-annuum looking back at the years music. I've found that if there was a trend, it was that there has been some really beautiful music made last year. Stunning, and with some real emotional depth. These bands are the ones who I see as making the best new music and setting the trends for where I hope music is going. I've plumbed the internet's best of lists and also the tracks that I've accumulated over the months; this is what I've come back with for you, dear reader.

In no particular order:

Kim & Jesse - M83

I posted this one recently, but I need to include it in this list if I want to go about making something aiming toward definitive. I still love it.

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song - Fleet Foxes

I was introduced to Fleet Foxes via a British friend. I guess I'd read some online hype before that as well, which is not hard to understand now seeing that Pitchfork made them the number one band of the year. I think my original comment was the totally understated "I guess hippies aren't so bad after all." I still stand by that.

Courtship Date - Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles are another band I found out about from the above-mentioned British friend (we spent a lot of time talking about music). It's got everything I like about electronic music without losing the things that I like about songwriting and pop music. Catchy, and there's enough attitude to bring those squeaks and beeps to human life.

Owl - Crystal Antlers

Might as well put both Crystal Something Something bands back to back, I found out about Crystal Antlers the old fashioned way, through Pitchforkmedia. I forgot about them for a while, but when I had a conversation with a friend after work I realized that I really needed to go back and give them another listen since I hadn't really figured them out yet. Definitely the most difficult group on this list, and maybe the most rewarding after multiple listens.

Beg Waves - Ponytail

is definitely one of the most interesting new bands I've found. They do whatever they want, switching between ecstatic wall of sound and shouts to heavy complex riffing. If the Boredoms and Lightning Bolt had a baby and baptized it in the cleansing fires of electric guitar feedback, this would be it.

Night Of The Crickets - Mr. Gnome

This one I found out from a friend from back home who just left the states again to live in Taipei. I knew I loved Mr. Gnome the second I heard them. Freak Folk meets Shoegaze is perfect equation and the repetitive hook ties it all together so well. And there's a pretty twisted music video to boot.

We Are The Plague - Snowman

Post-punk has finally gone all out dark with Snowman. They don't seem so popular, but I feel like there is a lot of potential in this band to hit it big in an underground sort of way. Let's hope they only get better and really break out in the future.

Wuji - Hanggai

Also, making a first release last year was the Inner Mongolian folk band Hanggai. I saw a movie a long time ago called Cry of the Snow Lion, the soundtrack was all Mongolian throat singing and you were shown scenes of people around the world and all the misdeeds we have committed against each other and our planet. It's kind of like that but with drinking songs.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mazur's Best Songs of 2008

The Magnetic Fields - Drive On, Driver

The Breeders - Walk It Off

Islands - Kids Don't Know Shit

The White Eyes - No No No

I don't have a list of my favorite albums of 2008, because I only bought four cds this year. And they were all pretty good. So I guess those are my favorite albums of 08. Unrivaled and consistent, like Dutch food. This year saw new releases from bands I already deeply dig, namely The Magnetic Fields, Islands, and The Breeders. Four albums I expected to like, and that's just what I did, a lot. All solid, excellent releases by solid excellent bands. However, each album had one of two magnificent cuts that've been bounding through my head all year. So here is my VERY COMPETITIVE list of my favorite songs from 2008. Love, love, love em!

The Magnetic Fields - Drive On, Driver

This year's Distortion is perhaps the perfect The Magnetic Fields' album; the jagged highs and lows of previous outings sheared off but their impact retained, evened out into a steady stream of fuzzy, layered, untouchable prettiness. Even with so much noise and space between us and them, the sound still feels incredibly warm and lived-in.

The Breeders - Walk It Off

It's been a while since the under appreciated Title TK, but now Kim Deal is back, with sister Kelly, for a stripped down straight shooter of an album (even by Breeders' standards), which pairs stiff bar room rockers with slow pretty drifters. It's full of simple song writing in which The Deals never sounded more mature, in control, or at ease. My selection is from the former category, namely it rocks me. Fucking irresistible.

Islands - Kids Don't Know Shit

An excellent follow-up to similar concept album Return To The Sea, Islands sophomore effort Arm's Way rivals their impressive debut with perhaps a wider sonic breadth. It's complex song changes and repeating themes, and a deep and detailed narrative spanning the entire album, signal a move away from disconnected singles in a time of MP3s, and towards ambitious album craft in this impenetrable fortress of a record. When I first heard Unicorns in college, I hate hated it. But then I realized perhaps they weren't snobs, they were just smarter than me, and it was my offense that was perhaps insincere. Either way...Islands, great band.

As long as new bands keep making concept albums this airtight, the album may live on yet!

The White Eyes - No No No

The White Eyes - 多美好的人生 (Happy Life)

Why aren't The White Eyes super duper famous? I keep saying it and it keeps not happening. It just doesn't make sense, because they figured out exactly what Rock N' Roll means in the 21st Century. But be that as it may, my lazy goal to post them once a year until they blow-the-fuck-up had no bearing on their being in my best of. No, their debut EP, Get My Body if You Want it, was easily my favorite album of the universe in 2008. Just fucking incredible. This is what rock n' roll should sound like in twenty-ought-eight, for my money

One more year towards the apocalypse everybody! Happy year of the cow!

Break-up Mix Tape

Magnetic Fields - I don't want to get over you

Atmosphere - Fuck You Lucy

The Dials - Bye Bye Bye Bye Baby

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Hi Dear

Pavement - Box Elder (live)

The Cure - Pictures of You

I am in my mid-20s. And in all my years of human schooling, no one ever mentioned this odd last phase of puberty, which leads me to believe that, in fact, puberty never ends. The body never stops bloating and tightening in odd, unwelcomed places, with no care for purpose or need. This is surely the beginging of the end, and like all people faced with an abyss, everyone I know is either digging in, fleeing away, or jumping off. What do I mean? Marriage, that oddly masochistic impulse to trade fear and uncertainty for irritation and boredom. As many, many, of my same-aged friends, family and aquaintances are jumping up to announce their loving nuptuals, almost as many are cutting and running. Changing cities, careers, continents, and breaking up romantic dynasties. Big break ups. The kinds where apartment and record collections are involved. Even dogs and house plants. Recently, a friend who has held three relationships in the past year announced, on facebook (the future of the abyss), his plans for marriage this month. That same week, my "promising" rock n' roll band was rocked n' rolled by a breakup between drummer and singer, the breakup of a 3 year union of bass drum and vocal melody, leaving me bandless and jaded.

Well, I say, why face this crossroads when you can just stay up all night and listen to records? Breakups, general disillusion, and heartache have been the driving force of pop since time eternal. Every crooner has probably thrown in their opinion on the matter, but some of course do it better than others. Like a spread of horribly depressing options, the following hopeless souls each provide a different stance on the breakup, and the best path through the newly single world. As you can hear, there's a fine line between cartharsis and obsession.

Magnetic Fields - I don't want to get over you

No one does obsession like Stephen Merchant. And his strategy's pretty air tight, they can't can't really leave you if you just never, ever, ever let go. They're gone, so make that lack the nucleus of your life, and the hollow outline formed becomes a close 2nd to the real deal! Nifty!

Atmosphere - Fuck You Lucy

Next strategy, anger. Pigeon-holing Atmosphere's Slug (Sean Daley) as an angst rapper would do discredit to his broad philisophical wanderings, but ex and baby's moma "Lucy Ford" has been a central dynamo on most of his albums. Here, the spite is white hot as Slug shows us that you really can't love someone unless you really fucking hate them.

The Dials - Bye Bye Bye Bye Baby

The girls from Chicago's The Dials sneer with self-pity as they tell us they don't even care that we're leaving. Fuck your new girlfriend, and fuck California. You can't hurt me if I don't care, right, even if I actually do care a whole fucking lot. Isn't that what punk is all about?

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Hi Dear

Jonathan Richman doesn't let rejection get him down. He'll just show up at your house everyday, snapping his fingers, until you admit that he's completely adorable, and go "rock a little" with him. Like an abused puppy...

Pavement - Box Elder (live)

"It was the way that you smiled, that made me know at once, that I had to get the fuck out of this town" Stephen Malkmus sings on the live cut from the second disc of Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Redux. Sometimes you just know. And then you get on the next bus for Missouri.

The Cure - Pictures of You

Perhaps not so much obsession, as and endless remembrance. One thing you can say about hearbreak and loss, it made for some extremely beautiful 1980's pop songs. Once again, hats off to Robert Smith.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Years Best New (for me) Music

So the year has been sweet of course. I have not really been into much new music though. The only new album I've really consistently been listening to is by a French band, go figure. I don't really know what else to say--except to my fellow blog-mates I spent another 50$US for ezarchive space so you better start using that $hit--so I'll just get to the songs.

Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road

Oh how I have done you wrong Bruce. I bought Born to Run about 6 years ago, listened to it once or twice and forgot about it. Maybe I was too young, maybe I'm still too young.

Broken Social Scene - Looks Just Like The Sun

Another group I slept on. Maybe I should have ignored the hype but I've really grown to love this album. I haven't even had the courage to move on to any of their other EPs or LPs, I'm still too infatuated with this one.

Ando Drom (Hun) - Sza Tele Zsav

Of course there is the obligatory gypsy song but it's so much more, I just don't have the words to do it justice, uhn-cha uhn-cha uhn-cha uhn-cha, or maybe La Luna La Luna La Luna La Luna...

M83 - Kim & Jesse

Yet another artist I initially didn't like, I think I'm starting to notice a pattern. The aforementioned French band, go figure. Reaches the utterly beautiful heights of MBV (while being totally derivative) but with ego taking the place of melancholy.