Viral Infection Punk Rock and HI-NRG

December 9th, 2016

Apparently my body decided that I wasn’t in bad enough mood and hit me with a brutal viral infection early Tuesday morning which led to a sore throat that day, followed by a horrific fever and violent coughing for about 24 hours. Feeling more human now, but that was kind of the last thing I needed right now. You know how sick I have to be to not even want to listen to records? Pretty damn sick.

Sheena & The Rokkets
Lemon Tea (12″ Version)
So I’m sitting at home and my throat hurts so much that I can barely swallow. As an English teacher who has to speak most of the day, I’ve become more than familiar with many of the remedies of a dry and/or scratchy throat. The number one cure? Lemon tea. I think I’ve probably drank four milk cartons worth of the stuff in the past three days.

That has two side effects.

One, I pee a lot.

Two, I get this song stuck in my head. And I assume I’m one of five people on the planet who immediately think of this song when hearing the words “Lemon tea” and I bet I’m the only non-Japanese person who makes such an immediate association.

I only shared Sheena & The Rokkets once, a little over two years ago, so a quick refresher. They’re another in the long line of YMO associates, but unlike many of the groups that worked with the Japanese techn-pop innovators, they had one foot firmly in punk rock. If you’r interested, check out their greatest hits, it’s a good jumping off point.

Also, this song totally rips off Aerosmith’s version “Train Kept a Rollin” and I like it all the more for that.

Dead Or Alive
Dead Or Alive Nude Medley (The Bevery Hills Convertable CD Edit)
I was really stoked to buy that Sophisticated Boom Box 19-disc box set that features nearly everything Dead Or Alive ever put out. But then word got out that Denon fucked it up royally. How royally? Ten of the 19 discs have errors on them. And these aren’t tiny errors. They put the wrong versions of songs on some of the discs, and two of the discs were accidentally mastered IN MONO. How the hell does that even happen? Like, did anyone even listen to it on headphones before they decided it was good to go? Horrible.

Anyways, when they do get around to shipping out versions with the fixed discs (which I hear will be next year), I’ll pick one up. Until then, here’s a DJ only mix that didn’t make the box set. Grabbed it off a Hi-NRG promo 12″ a few weeks back.

Music For Dangerous Times

November 29th, 2016

I always find it interesting how my own tastes in music (and media as a whole for that matter) change whenever I’m faced with some serious cause for anxiety and stress. I remember a long time ago, after getting dumped particularly hard, I just repeatedly watched High Fidelity up to the point where John Cusack got it on with Lisa Bonet.

We all cope with heartbreak in different ways I suppose.

I’ve actually written about this quite a bit. Right around the time I moved to Tokyo I faced a serious bout of depression and anxiety brought on by becoming “woke” to the urgent nature of the climate change crisis. I found a lot of ways to cope with that, one of them being repeated listening of Yes. I still don’t entirely understand how that worked, but whatever, it did so I’m grateful.

I also wrote about how I’ve turned my back on “serious” horror as of late. As the world has become a far more horrifying place in recent years, turning to media to be horrified seems like an exercise in masochism. I highly suspect that’s why The Walking Dead’s ratings are finally starting to plummet (that and it’s a horrible show).

Now, faced with the terrifying prospect of a Trump presidency, I’m finding my musical and film tastes changing even more in an attempt to shield my psyche from the worst of it. In terms of films, that means it’s nothing but pure comedy and/or escapism in my house for a while. A solid dose of undying optimism doesn’t hurt either. Basically, I’ve been watching a lot of The Muppets.

In terms of music, I don’t think it’s effected me all that much. At least not in in terms of what I’m listening to. It’s more effected me in what I’m not listening to, if that makes any sense at all.

I bought two new albums this month. The Sleigh Bells’ latest, Jessica Rabbit, and the new Metallica album Hardwired to Self Destruct. Both are very, very good records. Of the two, I probably like the Metallica one more. It’s a tight collection of songs, and a good balance of their classic thrash sound, their more epic-guitar solo driven stuff and even some of their more mainstream work. I really recommend it.

I’ve listened to the whole thing twice.

Look, I just can’t deal with Metallica right now. I can’t deal with an album whose title literally could be the title for a thesis about the current global political climate. It’s just too much.

The new Sleigh Bells, on the other hand, has a good mixture of love songs (both of the optimistic and dark varieties), a few good bangers about fucking shit up, and plenty of poetic and abstract tracks whose true meanings are beyond me. Calling it escapism would be doing it a disservice, but it’s allowing me a chance to escape in another world, and I’m jumping at it.

I usually just can’t listen to “feel good” music. It always sounds fake and phony, like the lead singer is trying to convince him or herself that everything is going to be alright and even they don’t believe it. I think the only two “happy” songs that can actually cheer me up are Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and that cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

And “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit The Frog. Because Muppets.

So, instead, right now I’ve been listening to an album that I’m pretty sure is mostly about death. But it’s really pretty.

darkened

Virginia Astley
Some Small Hope
A Father
Tree Top Club
I discovered this LP on a fluke, it was stuck in the Shibuya HMV’s YMO section. I thought it was a mistake, until I flipped it and saw on the back cover that Ryuichi Sakamoto produced the album. So I bought it on the spot. Such decisions have proven disastrous in the past (Sakamoto has a penchant for jazz) but it paid off in spades here. Within seconds of dropping the needle on the record I knew I was in for something special.

Every track on this record, which has the amazing title Hope In A Darkened Heart, has an ethereal feeling to it, very reminiscent of Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush or Bat For Lashes. It oozes beauty and a dreamlike quality, with Astley’s childlike delivery serving as constant centerpiece to each song’s wonderfulness.

It’s all so beautiful that it took me at least five listens to realize that almost every single track on this album is about death and/or sadness. The cheery-sounding “Tree Top Club” is a sad journey about the futility of nostalgia. “A Father” sounds like a lovely and twee nursing rhyme, but it’s about abandonment. And the duet with Japan’s David Sylvian, “Some Small Hope,” well, I think that’s literally about death. A lot of this album is about death.

It’s also really, really pretty! Like, the prettiest. Its ridiculous how pretty it is. And it does feel like a dream. It takes me away to another place, a better one (despite all the death). Sakamoto’s production is top-notch on this, it’s minimal and electronic, but its still organic and breaths life throughout. And the relative lack of instrumentation make Astley’s unreal voice stand out even more. Brilliant all around.

So of course it’s out of print. Even in Japan, the only place where it was apparently popular at all, it’s out of print. And while in the past that would mean I would share the record in its entirety, I’m trying to cut down on that. Because, I really believe damn near everything goes back into print eventually, and I would hate to steal some sales from an artist like this, who desperately deserves them.

Instead, here are a few highlights. If you enjoy, do your best to track the album down. Maybe even pay for it!

And don’t focus too much on albums about death, even if they are really pretty. Listen to some disco or something. I recommend Sylvester.

Fantasia Stupidia

November 27th, 2016

How’s everyone doing?

After three weeks of excessive drinking (not non-stop, just on my days off) I’ve decided I need to stop drowning my sorrows and anxieties in booze and try to find a more healthy coping mechanism. For now, that’s buying obscure game music on vinyl. It’s working out for my liver okay, but my wallet is a little pissed.

Additionally, stupid music has been a lifesaver during this time of strife. So to the person who shared the YouTube links of the Hi-NRG versions of “Bette Davis Eyes” in the comments section of my last post, I say thank you. Don’t suppose you have Hi-NRG versions of “Rainbow Connection?”

Moving on, I updated the massive Tokyo record store guide! Now it’s even bigger. A new store opened up in Shinjuku that I thought was worth incorporating because it’s damn good. If you find yourself in Tokyo anytime soon you must make your way to the Shinjuku HMV, the place is a palace of vinyl.

Now let’s dance.

Carmen Electra
Fantasia Erotica (Indecent Proposal Mix) (Radio Edit)
Fantasia Erotica (Erotic Groove Mix)
Fantasia Erotica (Sex Drive Dub)
Fantasia Erotica (Xtra Sex Dub)
Fantasia Erotica (He Dances Instead)
Fantasia Erotica (Double Deep House Mix)
Let me just get this out of the way right now, for those who are wondering why the hell I’m sharing Carmen Electra remixes; this song was produced by Prince.

Does it make sense now?

Oh but don’t worry, your initial thought upon seeing Carmen Electra’s name was correct, this song is quite awful. Even Prince had his fair share of misses. I don’t think these tracks are going to get re-issued via some Prince Vault special edition re-release campaign anytime soon.

Of course, I hope they do. No matter how bad the song is, I hope that eventually everything that Prince ever put his hand on is made available, in-print and easy to purchase either digitally or physically. Because that’s how music should be.

But I hope that they get to re-releasing The Family album before they dig this bad boy up again. This song has the line, “Oh, speak American? No speak Carmanese!”

What the fuck does that even mean? Oi.

Donna Summer
I Feel Love (Mega Mix)
I Feel Love (Edit Mix)
I’m kind of bending my “never share legally available music” rule tonight, because while you can get at least one of these mixes on a legally available CD, it sure as hell isn’t easy.

For those wondering, these are two of the “I Feel Love” mixes that were remixed by the legendary Patrick Cowley, the man who brought us Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and singled-handedly invented Hi-NRG disco.

You can get the “Mega Mix” on at least two compilations. One is the two-disc edition of Donna Summer’s greatest hits album The Journey, and other on a hard-to-find remix compilation series that I have forgotten the name of. Regardless, you can’t buy it on Amazon or iTunes digitally, and you sure as hell ain’t going to find it at your local record store (if you still have one of those, I keep forgetting that most people live in cities that aren’t Tokyo) so I don’t feel too bad for sharing it. Also, I’m fairly certain that the version on The Journey is a straight-up vinyl rip. Mine sounds better (in my opinion).

As for the “Edit Mix,” shit, I don’t know where the hell you can find that. I’m sure it’s been on CD at some point, but that point was probably a long time ago, so I feel safe in sharing it now. I actually like that version a bit more than the full “Mega Mix.” Fifteen minutes of sequencers is a bit much, y’know?

Depeche Mode
I Feel Loved (Danny Tenaglia’s Labor of Love Radio Edit)
I just really wanted to share a remix of “I Feel Love” and “I Feel Loved” in the same post and then have an internal debate about the grammatical differences between the two. These are the kind of things that English teachers think about. It’s a sickness, really.

And for those keeping count at home, it has been approximately 13 months since the last time I posted Depeche Mode.

Here are some songs that make me happy

November 20th, 2016

Because that’s what I need right now.

Yuko Sakaitsukasa – Computer Obaachan
Cosmic Invention – Computer Obaachan
This song is about a grandmother who is a computer. Literally. It was written by Ryuicihi Sakamoto because, I assume, he was like “fuck it, I can make stupid fucking pop music as good as the next guy.”

I’m not going to say it’s the greatest song ever written in the history of the world, but I’m not going to not say it either.

I don’t know which one of these versions came first, but it doesn’t really matter. Both are amazing. I prefer the Sakaitsukasa take on it though just because it’s a bit more fast-paced and frantic.

If you want more “Computer Obaachan” in your life, and why the fuck wouldn’t you, there’s this video of the song being performed with English subtitles. And there’s this version by Polysics, which is probably my favorite because it sounds like it was performed by chipmunks on meth.

Jan Hammer
Miami Vice Theme (Extended Remix)
Miami Vice Theme (Remix)
In case you haven’t figured it out already, with my repeated posts featuring covers of the themes to Airwolf and Knight Rider, synthesizer-heavy TV theme songs from the 1980s are like opiates to me. And now, with me posting these remixes, I think I’ve hit the holy trinity of electronic 80s TV theme music tunes. If anyone out there wants to share some lesser-known 80s theme tunes that they think are rad, please do so in the comments. Just don’t post the theme to Streethawk, I did that years ago. I’m a trendesetter like that.

Quantize (Feautring Jackie Lowry)
Because The Night (Extended)
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS MORE HI-NRG COVERS OF 80s POP SONGS. Hurry. Someone do a Hi-NRG cover of…

*frantically combs through my iTunes library for a funny yet oddly appropriate suggestion*

…”Bette Davis Eyes!”

Get on it people. The world needs you.

The Strangest Of Days

November 18th, 2016

Sigh.

A few weeks/months ago I said on Twitter that if Trump won I might quit writing this blog. Just because I didn’t know if I’d have the motivation to keep it going, living in a world that would readily elect a fascist conman to the world’s most powerful position really puts a damper on my desire to write about music.

Well, I guess the good news is that I’m reneging on that thought. In times of extreme strife, writing is one of the only things that keeps me remotely sane. So unless I want to plunge headfirst into depression and/or insanity, I best keep this thing going.

Right now a lot of people are talking about the importance of diversions and distractions. Even in the harshest of times, people need to escape with something that gives them joy. For example, I was exceptionally happy that the Giant Bomb guys avoided politics with their podcast this week. I needed some stupid laughs about video games.

But, I don’t know if I can do that. As long time readers of this blog know, I write what I feel, especially when what I feel makes me angry. This was especially true a few years back, when this blog could’ve been more accurately titled “Angry Ramblings and Synthpop.” But those were stupid little posts about how much I hate the VMAs or the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Rambling off a few hundred words about a pop culture event that makes you angry isn’t exactly the same as crafting an in-depth and well-researched essay on the dangers of fascism.

What I’m basically saying is that I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do right now. Probably a little bit of everything. So if you were hoping this blog would be a respite away from the horrible world we find ourselves in, sorry that’s not going to happen. And at the same time, if you wanted me to rebrand this site as an anarcho-punk blog showcasing protest music and anti-fascist action, sorry that probably won’t happen either.

If for nothing other than the fact that most anarcho-punk sucks.

Here are some songs from a movie about a future I wish we had.

Peter Gabriel and Deep Forest
While The Earth Sleeps (Album Version)
While The Earth Sleeps (Long Version)
The “album” from which the album version comes from is the soundtrack to the film Strange Days, an absolute masterpiece of 90s cinema that is 100% required viewing in the world we live in today. Want to see a movie that predicts by about 20 years the Black Lives Matter movement, smartphone video culture, and the struggles of living in a thinly veiled fascist society? Check out Strange Days. You also get to see Angela Bassett beat the fucking shit out of people. And that’s just cool.

Anyways I was browsing a record store in Yokohama today and I came across a single for said song, which also includes the long version. I had no idea there was a long version of this song, so hey, nice surprise. The long version is basically just an extra two minutes of vocalizing by Peter Gabriel, but there are worse ways to make a song longer so I’m not really going to complain about it. But I really bought the single for the next track.

Juliette Lewis
Rid Of Me
Strange Days is a sci-fi neo-noir, and you can’t have a noir with a femme fatale. In the case of Strange Days, the femme fatale is played by Juliette Lewis, who plays an indie-rocker named Eve. For some reason, all the songs Eve sings are PJ Harvey cover tunes. I guess someone involved in the production of the film really dug PJ Harvey. The soundtrack has Lewis’ cover of “Hardly Wait,” which is featured prominently in the film. The other PJ Harvey cover is this tune, which didn’t make it onto the soundtrack proper. I always figured it wasn’t even recorded in full so imagine my surprise when I discovered it today. It’s a really great cover of a fantastic song.

And if you’re chuckling at the idea of Juliette Lewis singing, stop it, her voice has an angry intensity that serves the PJ Harvey track well. Listen to her actual albums of original material sometime, they’re not bad.

 

Zero Tolerance

November 15th, 2016

tshirt-the-only-good-fascist-is-a-dead-one-d001008015273

Body Count
Cop Killer

I had a really erudite and, all things considered, hopeful and positive post halfway written for tonight. I had some Donna Summer ready to share, I was going to focus on hope and unification in trying times.

But then Donald Trump announced Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. And then word got out that the pig was going to try his hardest to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement, the climate accord that is the world’s last chance to have any hope of stop climate change from literally killing billions of people. And y’know, all the other horrible stuff he has planned. But let’s be honest, putting a white nationalist in the White House and committing the world to a climate Armageddon kind of take priority.

Anyone aiding Trump in his agenda is working to kill you and your loved ones. They’re fascists.

And we know what we have to do to fascists.

And if you think what I’m saying is too extreme remember that Trump recommended “Second Amendment People” do something about Hilary and go fuck yourself.

Motivational 80s Music To Destroy Donald Trump

November 5th, 2016

I suspect this will be the last post I write before the election, so I need to get this off my chest.

Do you live in America? Are you registered to vote? Do you want the world to continue existing for the next four years or more?

Then vote for Hillary Clinton.

Yes, emails. They’re bad I know. Very bad. They’re so bad that most people can’t explain to you exactly why they’re bad or what she did or how it’s exactly illegal. But rest assured, they’re very bad. And in any other election I’m sure those emails (which were so very very bad) would’ve disqualified Hillary from office.

But guess what, this isn’t any other election. Hillary, a flawed candidate with various issues I have problems with, isn’t perfect by a long shot. But she’s not Donald Trump. She’s not someone who has lied about their charitable contributions to AIDS charities and 9/11 rebuilding efforts, bragged about sexually assaulting women, cheated on their taxes, nearly ruined their own business several times over, cheated several other people out of the money owed to them, made creepy sexual comments to minors, tried to bribe an Attorney General, used money bookmarked for charity to pay legal fees, was found guilty of housing discrimination against African-Americans, threatened to ban an entire religion from entering the country and believes that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.

But the other guy is, so you should vote for her in order to keep him out.

Of course, I can’t stop you from voting for Donald Trump. America is a free country, and if your’e a racist, sexist idiot who hates America, then by all means, vote for Donald Trump. You piece of shit. You asshole. You fucking scumbag. You shitstain on humanity. You smegma deposit. You living embodiment of the shit you find behind a toilet. You personification of Nickleback. You asshole. You do that. Vote for that motherfucker.

But if you do, you better not download these dope Airwolf and Knight Rider covers.

Japan Symphonic Orchestra/K.K. Right Project
Airwolf Theme 1
Knight Rider Theme 2
Knight Rider Theme 1
Knight Rider Theme 3
Airwolf Theme 3
Airwolf Theme 2
I posted these two years ago (holy shit time) but those were taken from a scratchy vinyl. These are taken from a pristine CD copy. I know my blog is called “Lost Turntable,” but yo, CDs sound better than vinyl, especially crappy used vinyl.

I don’t have much to add to what I said about these tracks when I first upped them. These are two of the greatest TV show themes of all-time, and every time I hear them I imagine seven-year-old me getting hella stoked to see David Hasselhoff drive his car into the back of a truck. When my body isn’t betraying itself thanks to random nerve damage (don’t get old kids, it’s the worst) these tracks are forever on my workout mix. Shit, maybe I should listen to them even more. That might reverse whatever the hell is causing my limbs to fall apart. The power of Jean Michael-Vincent compels you!

Actually, I shouldn’t put my faith in Jean Michael-Vincent, based on what I’ve seen of him post Airwolf. Yikes.

Jack’s Project
Nightflight
Nightflight (Part II)
The credited songwriter for this track is “Jack White.” Obviously, this being a piece of electronic dance music from 1985, this is not the same Jack White from the White Stripes (although how cool would that be). In fact, it’s a pseudonym for one Horst Nußbaum, a German soccer player/musician who, if Discogs is any indication, released a shitload of Schalger (traditional German pop) singles in the 60s into the 70s. Then in 1980s he somehow switched gears entirely and released a synthesizer-fueled soundtrack for the German film Solo Für Zwei Superkiller. I don’t know anything about that movie but that title is fucking dope.

Anyways, this track came five years later, via a 12″ single that I believe was only released in Europe. It’s…well, totally amazing and awesome. It’s like a dream combination of Harold Faltermeyer, Jan Hammer and Giorgio Moroder, dipped in perfectly aged 80s cheese. (Faltermeyer did actually arrange this track.) This is training montage music for an abandoned German Karate Kid remake I swear. When people think of corny 80s electronic music, this is the song they all have in their heads, despite the fact that they’ve never actually heard it before now.

I hope it serves for your inspirational theme music come election night.

May the orange bastard lose and then immediately die of a painful disease.

Happy Halloween, Here are More Incredibly Strange Japanese Covers of Western Pop Music

October 31st, 2016

I hope you all had a happy Halloween weekend. I spent mine hobbled with a back injury. But don’t fret, it was not all tragedy. My boyfriend made me homemade salsa and taco salad while we watched Empire Of The Ants, the 1977 horror schlock featuring Joan Collins getting terrorized by an army of giant ants.

Also, I had prescription painkillers, so that was nice.

Ikkaku Tanabe
究極の選択 (Ultimate Decision)
This is a Japanese electro cover of Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.” But wait, it’s even weirder than it sounds.

The song is made up almost entirely of samples and other digital effects. Vocals are repeated and pitch-shifted to create melodies, while the bassline of “Frankenstein” plays behind them. Other random samples are thrown in too. I swear at about one minute and twenty-eight seconds in it samples a fraction of a second of vocals from “Heaven Is A Place On Earth.” Tell me I’m wrong I dare you.

The bizarre musical nature of the song was enough to make me fall in love with it, but I had to know if the all-Japanese lyrics were equally as batshit as the music it accompanies. Thankfully, my lovely boyfriend (who I love) went through the hassle of translating the lyrics.

And it turns out the song is as balls out crazy as it sounds. The lyrics are a continuous series of hypothetical no-win choices, many of which vulgar or disgusting in nature, hence the name “Ultimate Choice.” Read the translated lyrics below and see just what kind of decisions you’re being forced to make.

 

Wow! Which? Which? Ultimate decision!
I am Ikkaku Tanabe.
Life is a long, long thorny path.

Which? Which?
I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God!
Which would you eat – shit-tasted curry or curry-tasted shit?
When you brushed your teeth, which would you use – a tooth brush with shit tooth paste or…
The big reversed thrust of disgust it is!
What?! Me, darling? Disgusting!
Yeow!

Then, which will you eat, the tempura that yells at you when you try to pick it up with chopsticks or the steak that weeps when you try to cut it?

Which? Which? Well, this is surreal.
If I bumped into someone and he says, ‘Ouch! What the hell have you done to me?!’ then I might say, ‘All right then, I shall accept your challenge!’

Which? Which? I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God! Oh, I would like to have a bath!

Which would you do – plunge into an 80 degrees C hot bath from 10 meters or counting to 100 in a bath full of earthworms. One worm, two worms and… What? I’ve got a worm on my beard! Oh my God!

Which? Which? Ultimate decision! I am Ikkaku Tanabe.

Life is a long, long thorny path! I am Ikkaku Tanabe with a sad voice just like a melancholic violin. Which would you choose to marry – a woman who spends money like water or a woman who works you hard?

Which would you rather find out – your love is actually your father’s lover or that your mother used to be a man?

I could do nothing but sleep.

Which would you sleep on – a bed made with a pile of forks or a pee-soaked bed? Which? Hahahahaha!

If you sleep on forks for three years, you shall get used to it! Night night! Zzzzzzz! Still, forks hurt me.

Which? Which?

I am Ikkaku Tanabe, the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God!

Yup.

So who is Ikkaku Tanabe, AKA the Holy Great Ultimate Decision God?

Judging from this track, you might think he was some crazy performance artist or avant-garde musician. But actually he was a Japanese kodan performer. Kodan is a very traditional form of Japanese storytelling that dates back to the 1300s. While humor is a part of kodan, it is not stand-up comedy, which makes this, his sole foray into music, all the more bizarre.

I guess after all those years of talking about historical battles and samurais, the dude had a lot of shit humor built up in him.

Logic System
Classical Gas
Logic System is Hideki Matsutake, who worked on many of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s albums as a programmer. I really recommend his first two solo albums, Venus and Logic, they’re some of the best electronic music the early 80s had to offer. I also suggest you track down his 1979 album Digital Moon, which is entirely electronic covers of James Bond themes and it might be the greatest thing ever made.

Coming in a close second is this cover of “Classical Gas,” the 1968 instrumental by Mason Williams that you no doubt know even if you don’t know the name of it. Instead of going giving it a rather faithful electronic re-imagining, Matsutake starts out rather conventional and then goes off the fucking rails for an technopop explosion of synthesized keyboard and bass the likes of which you’ve never heard. This is so crazy it should’ve been the theme to a Darius boss battle.

The No Comments
Somebody To Love
If you ever wanted to hear a cover of “Somebody to Love” that sounds like it’s being sung by the bastard child of Nina Hagen and Kate Bush in a yodeling competition, then yo check it.

I don’t know much about this group, sadly. They released three albums in Japan only in the early 80s and then vanished. I  don’t even think their albums were even given a CD re-issue. They’re weird. Kind of funky I guess, but really more early new wave, like a polished X-Ray Spex or a rougher version of The Police.

Like I said, weird. If I can find more of their stuff or find out more about them I might share more later.

My Name is Prince! And I’m Jazz Fusion!

October 24th, 2016

Really quick, I wrote about (and shared) a hella stupid sex record on my other blog. Check it out if you like worthless cultural ephemera from the 1970s.

Also, in absolutely horrible news, Michiyuki Kawashima, the lead singer of Boom Boom Satellites, has passed away. He was 47 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children. His music touched me in a way that little else has. I already wrote two soliloquies on his band back when they had to call it quits due to his condition, one here and one at Mostly-Retro, and I feel that if I wrote more I’d just be repeating myself. I’ll just say that he’ll be missed, his music was a gift to this planet, and I hope you get the pleasure to hear it if you have the chance.

Moving on.

Some big music geek news this week, Warner Bros. announced that they were going to “open the Prince vault” and for a new release.

When I saw headlines for this, I was stoked. What were they going to include? Lost Camille tracks? Cuts from the original Dream Factory sessions? The Undertaker album? Any tracks from the numerous live albums that Prince recorded and never released?

Nah, instead they cobbled together another greatest hits compilation and stuck one unreleased track on it. Because in a world that has The Hits 1, The Hits 2, The Very Best of Prince and Ultimate Prince, what we really needed was another damn greatest hits album.

I get that they wanted to put something together for the holiday shopping season. I mean, it’s crass, unnecessary and kind of insulting, but I get it. But did they have to be so damn lazy about it? If they didn’t want to go through the bother of digging through unreleased material, the least they could’ve done is thrown in some more out-of-print B-sides or remixes to tide over the die-hards. A disc of “the hits” and a disc of rare tracks seems like it would’ve been a best of both worlds. We already have two, 2-disc Prince compilations. We don’t need a third.

We need funky jazz instead!

Madhouse
10 (The Perfect Mix)
(The Perfect) 10
Ten And A Half
2
6 (End Of The World Mix)
6
6 And A Half
As I said when I first wrote about Madhouse back in 2013, this group is one of three Prince associate acts that was more-or-less just Prince, the others being The Family and Mazarati. Unlike those acts though, which are very much pop groups, Madhouse was jazz fusion/funk. As such, and with Prince’s involvement in them not made obvious on the album jackets, no one bought them.

That includes me, I’ve never heard a Madhouse album proper. All I have are these two singles, which feature a handful of album tracks from the first album, a few remixes, and a couple b-sides (the “half” tracks). Madhouse tracks didn’t have names, just numbers, by the way.

While a lot of (deserved) attention has been placed on the unreleased Prince stuff out there, like I wrote back when Prince first passed away, I really wish Warner Bros. would get their shit together and put stuff like this back in print too. A best-case scenario would be some kind of Madhouse box set that includes both their albums, the b-sides and singles, and both versions of the unreleased third album, 24. However, I’d be happy with just the original albums back in print. So would a lot of other people, I assume.

Fucking Warner Bros., no wonder they drove Prince crazy.

Tokyo Record Stores and Forgotten Funk

October 6th, 2016

Hey.

Hey.

Hey.

I finished my guide to record stores in Tokyo. It took me seven plus months and is something like 15,000 words. It’s easily the biggest thing I’ve ever written and is the most work I’ve ever put into something. I know it’s not perfect, but I am really proud of it so if you ever read this blog and thing “man, that Lost Turntable guy is dope I wish I could show him how much I appreciate him” then you can do that by sharing that thing.

Okay, done groveling, here’s B-grade 80s funk.

Mico Wave
Star Search (Shep Pettibone Mix)
Star Search (Edit)
Star Search (Instrumental)
Star Search (Acappella)
Mico Wave is a Bootsy Collins protege who released his sole album, Cooking From The Inside Out, in 1987.

(I really appreciate his commitment to the whole microwave pun.)

I know at one point I owned that album, but I can’t seem to find it physically or digitally, and that’s a real bummer. It’s not a lost classic, but it’s pretty damn good. This track, a failed single that didn’t chart, is Mico at his best. And by “his best” I mean “fully ripping off Prince.” Although I guess that’s not entirely fair. This track in particular is much more in the Zapp camp than in the Prince, embracing electro far more than the Purple One typically did. Makes sense that Mico would also spend part of the 80s working with Herbie Hancock during his electro phase.

Speaking of which…

Herbie Hancock
Vibe Alive (Edit)
I really wanted to share the 12″ version of this, but that’s on Amazon and iTunes now, so if you want that you’ll have to actually pay money. Consider this now out-of-print 7″ version a sampler of the main course.  Mico Wave co-wrote this one, alongside Hancock and Bill Laswell. Considering the caliber of those two giants, I wonder how the hell he got that gig. Did Bootsy have dirt on Herbie or something? I mean, Mico appeared to be a more-than-talented musician and songwriter, but going from “failed Prince rip-off” to “co-writer on a Herbie Hancock album” is a hell of a jump forward. Good for him, I hope he made that money while the getting was good, as he’s seemed to have completely vanished off the face of the earth. His last credit was in 1996, on an album by some group called The Devotees. I can’t find anything online about them, which is a real bummer considering that album featured appearances by Bernie Worrell, John Popper, Vernon Reid of Living Colour and Trey Gunn of King Crimson. Anyone got any info on that one? Sounds like something else.