I Was (Not Was) Lonely

July 22nd, 2014

I cannot believe I’ve been keeping up this pace for almost the entire month now. I don’t think I’ve written this much in years, even if it is just a little bit everyday. It feels good, good enough that I’m going to try and keep up a similar pace even when the month ends. Not everyday mind you, no way, this shit is insane, but I really am going to try and update this site at least twice a week starting in August.

And I’ll hopefully someday remember that I have another site and write stuff there again. Actually, I have two major projects planned for that site, I just need to motivate my lazy ass to actually write them. They involve, like, work and stuff though, so it’s a little harder than me just rambling on about 80s dance remixes like I tend to do here. Here’s hoping I can put them together tough. More people need to hear my complex and involved thoughts on Yes.

I want to review every Yes album. I don’t know why. I don’t even like Yes that much.

Was (Not Was)
How The Heart Behaves (12″ Vocal Mix)
How The Heart Behaves (Bonus Rub)
How The Heart Behaves (Club 7″)
How The Heart Behaves (That’s How the Bollerhouse Behaves Mix)
Glad I can find second-rate remixes my 80s also rans in Japan as well as America. I bought this in a Disk Union in Chiba, I wish I knew how the hell it ended up there. Although now that I think about it, Was (Not Was) is the kind of weird-ass bizarre band that would become popular in Japan, especially in the 80s, so I guess that I shouldn’t be all that surprised that I keep seeing their singles turn up here.

Janet Jackson
I Get Lonely (TNT Remix)
I Get Lonely (TNT Bonus Beat Remix)
I Get Lonely (Jam & Lewis Feel My Bass Mix)
I Get Lonely (Jason Vs. Janet – The Remix Sessions – Part 2)
I Get Lonely (Jason’s Special Sauce Dub)
These have been sitting on my hard drive for over a year now, don’t know why.

Bad English and PWEI

July 21st, 2014

It was a three-day holiday weekend here in Japan – which means extra work for me. Yeah, I know it’s counter-intuitive, just roll with it okay?

As such, I’m beat, and I really don’t have a lot to say about tonight’s music other than that I like it, you should like it, and I hope you enjoy it. So instead, here’s a collection of bad English I’ve heard from students since I started working as an English instructor in January

  • “My daughter loved school, she pleasured herself.”
  • “I find pleasure in your lesson.”
  • “How long are you?” (I HEAR THIS EVERYDAY AND IT’S ALWAYS FUNNY)
  • “How much height do you have? I don’t have much height.”
  • “I am a trick!”
  • “I like to watch football, the play is very HOT!”
  • “I potato dinner.”
  • “I like black music!”

And the best things I’ve heard:

  • “You are big like Totoro, you are big and soft.” (AW FUCK THAT’S SOME CUTE SHIT)
  • “You are so great!” (He meant tall, but I didn’t stop him)
  • “I want to hear what you say about all music.”
  • “I need you to tell me what these Meat Loaf song titles mean.”

That last one was from a 68 year old woman by the way. Wagnerian rock lives in Japan.

Pop Will Eat Itself
Wise Up! Sucker (7″ Version)
Orgyone Stimulator
Can U Dig It (Riffsmix)
I can dig it. These come from the 12″ single to Wise Up! Sucker. The 12″ mix is on that, but you can get that on just about every digital music store, so grab it there instead.

New Order
New Order Megamix
Off a bootleg 12″ single. Don’t remember any of the details sorry.

Bakersfield Boogie Boys WTF

July 17th, 2014

bakers

Bakersfield Boogie Boys
Okie From Muskogee
Get Off My Cloud
I Get Around
Flying Tigers
Okay, so this is a thing.

Don’t know much about this one, I bought it in Pittsburgh several months before I headed off to Japan. I can’t even remember why. Probably because it was stupid.

Yeah, that’s probably why. That’s why I buy a lot of things.

I guess this would be early electro? Maybe early electro combined with some new wave, post-punk and art-rock thrown in together. All mixed with some Dr. Demento style humor as well.

What I’m saying is, it’s fucking weird.

There are almost no performance credits on the album, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would suspect that two of the group’s members were Richard Foos and Harold Bronson – the co-founders of Rhino Entertainment, which was previously a novelty record label before becoming the world’s goto re-issue label. They’re both credited as producers on the LP’s limited linear notes and they both contributed to a few other novelty and comedy records of the era.

The only performer credited at all on the album is Shari Famous, the vocalist for the covers of “Get Off My Cloud” and “I Get Around.” When searching for info on her online I found that her full name is Shari Famous Foos, so I assume that she is/was Richard Foos wife. She also was in a shitload of never-made-it groups during the early years of punk, as this interview with another punk also ran, Rich La Bonte, points out.

If you couldn’t gather from the song titles, the first three tracks on this EP are covers, with “Flying Tigers” being the only original track (at least I think it is). That last track actually features some pretty good guitar work, and some of the strangest lyrics I’ve ever heard (“plastic waffles of my dreams”).

The next time someone says to me “Oh, you live in Japan? That place is so weird, right?” I’m going to show them this.

 

Janet Lauper

July 16th, 2014

So, quick question for yinz (that’s Pittsburgh for “y’all).

I’ve been posting a lot of Japanese and/or game music lately. Are any of yinz interested in that stuff at all? I’m always surprised when those posts seem to bring me in less traffic/comments than my silly 80s and dance remixes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper and Prince just as much (okay, way more) than the next guy, but I kind of like posting the Japanese stuff more, mostly because no one is doing it, but also because I feel there are a billion amazing great Japanese artists from the 80s that no one outside of Japan know about.

So, when you come here do you just skim the artist names and then close the tab if you don’t recognize them? Or do you download stuff you’ve never heard before just see check it out?

Of course, this is my blog and your answers to those questions might be entirely meaningless, but it’s nice to get input.

Now silly remixes of 80s dance music.

Janet Jackson
Nasty (Extended Mix)
Nasty (Instrumental)
Nasty (A Capella)
The second-hottest Janet Jackson song, with the number one obviously being If. I don’t know when I bought this or recorded it, but I’m shocked and disappointed in myself that it has been sitting on my hard drive for over a year now without me posting it. My apologies.

Cyndi Lauper
Time After Time (Special Remix 1)
Time After Time (Special Remix 2)
So a few months ago Epic re-released Cyndi’s seminal 1983 debut album She’s So Unusual. I reviewed it and basically called it a travesty of a release, with shit bonus tracks that focused too much on “EDM” modern-day remixes instead of the vintage mixes that fans have been clamoring over for years.

Someday I’m going to record high-quality vinyl rips of all the mixes they excluded (including the various “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” mixes). Until then, here are some weird DJ-only mixes of another great Lauper classic.

Disco Space Invaders! Mario Bros.! Wow! Exclamation Points!

July 15th, 2014

Disco Space Invaders

disco

Funny Stuff (Seriously, that’s the credited artist)
Disco Space Invaders
Dancing Cats
Disco Space Invaders is not game music per say. In fact, it barely has anything to do with the game from which it was allegedly inspired. The title track only features sound effects from the game for a few brief seconds before diverging completely into an entirely unrelated (and entirely amazing) disco track. And from what I can tell, the hilariously-titled b-side “Dancing Cats” has absolutely nothing to do with anything (except for dancing cats).

However, it did come out in 1979, one year before the first Pac-Man children’s records were released in the states; two years before the similar-in-tone “Pac-Man Fever,” and several years before Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Haruomi Hosono would release the first proper video game music single – Super Xevious Hardcore Mix. As such, Disco Space Invaders holds the dubious distinction of being the very first game music-themed release.

It’s historical significance far outweighs its musical quality. But if you enjoy idiotic disco as much as I do (AND DO I), then you’ll probably find some joy in this.

The sleeve for Disco Space Invaders surprisingly has full production credits, complete and in English. I did a search of the people who worked on it, hoping that they would include some pioneer of Japanese electronic music or perhaps a YMO associate, but I don’t think anyone who worked on this went onto do anything of note.

Also, I really hope that thing on the cover is supposed to a mushroom-shaped alien or something.

 

Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack

mario

Koji Kondo
Super Mario Bros. Theme
Super Mario Bros. Theme (Orchestra Version)
Both of these tracks are from a 7″ single that’s simply titled Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack. This came out in 1986, and was one of many Mario-themed musical releases to be released that year. I’m fairly certain this was the first one though, and it was also probably the first record put out by Nintendo, although many would follow in the late 80s, as it was really a prime time for game music in Japan.

The first track is exactly what you think it is, a straight-up rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme. Its different than the one that’s included on the Famicom Music album though. Firstly, it’s much shorter, only including the music from the first stage. Additionally, it features no game sound effects, it’s just music. Oddly enough, it doesn’t end with the stage complete fanfare, instead ending with the music that plays when Mario dies.

The b-side is interesting. While the direct translation of the track is “Orchestra Version,” there’s really not much orchestral about it. I think I hear some chimes in there somewhere, but it’s pretty much a souped up electronic version of the original theme. It’s really different than other arranged versions of the Mario theme that I’ve heard, and it’s actually pretty damn great. I hope they re-use it at some point.

Sadly this release doesn’t feature any linear notes, so I can’t tell you who worked on it. However, it did include a rad poster and some amazing stickers, so check them out!

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Full size poster. Very cool.

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Game shots obviously taken by someone pointing a camera at a TV.

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STICKERS!

 

Quick and Dirty with Dinosaur Jr.

July 14th, 2014

Just one track tonight, sorry. Busy day it’s 10pm and I have to be up in seven hours oh god I need to get ready for bed.

Dinosaur Jr.
Get Out Of This (No Words Just Solo)
Sometimes I feel that the world doesn’t know that J Mascis is one of the greatest guitar players on earth. While his early stuff with Dinosaur Jr. surely hinted at this, I feel that their post-reunion stuff has been even heavier on the heavy shredding, really showcasing just what an amazing virtuoso he really is. If you still don’t believe just try to play that shit on Rock Band, it ain’t easy.

This is taken from a single-sided 10″ single for “Feel The Pain,” one of the best tracks to come from the “solo” Dinosaur Jr. years. In addition to this live solo (which just fucking SHREDS if you haven’t already figured that out), the 10″ also included a live acoustic version of “Repulsion.” However, you can buy that on iTunes so I’m not including it here tonight. Sorry.

Tomorrow’s post will probably be brief as well, but it will also be fucking epic. You’ll see.

Trepidation and Italian Manifestos

July 13th, 2014

Today was very long, monotonous, fun, grueling, thrilling, boring and potentially exciting.

I must sleep. But here are two songs that are ruling my life at the moment.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Broadway Boogie Woogie
I know I just posted some Sakamoto in my last post, but I just discovered this song a few days ago and I would feel remiss if I didn’t post it immediately. The song is from his 1986 album 未来派野郎. According to Discogs and other sites, the English title of it is Futurista, however, according to one of my Japanese co-workers (and the coolest person I met in Japan yet) the direct translation is Futurist Bastard.

Not only is that a way cooler title, it’s also far more descriptive of the album’s overall sound, as it takes elements from the Italian futurist movement of the early 20th century and, well, bastardizes them to fit into a contemporary pop landscape. If that sounds familiar it’s because Art Of Noise did the same thing just a few years earlier. It’s also what Sakamoto compatriot Tachibana did with his insane and utterly brilliant 1984 album Mr. Techie & Miss Kipple.  If you’re curious as to what the hell futurist music really is, wiki that shit. It’s crazy.

While Sakamoto wasn’t the first to incorporate futurist themes into a sample-filled pop landscape, he was the first to build a futurist pop song primarily out of samples from Blade Runner and a radical sax solo that would make that guy from Lost Boys blush, so that’s something.

Pet Shop Boys
It’s Alright (Extended Dance Mix)
And reset the “Number of Days since a Pet Shop Boys Remix was Posted on Lost Turntable” counter back to zero.

It’s actually been four months exactly. Eerie. Even eerier, it’s almost a year to the day since my last post of Pet Shop Boys music that wasn’t a repost. Fucking trippy.

This remix is from a 10″ single, and is not the same as the 12″ dance remix. It’s actually a bit longer than that one.

坂本龍一 リミックス

July 10th, 2014

In complete and total shit news, Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

As you probably know, Sakamoto is one of my favorite composers/performers/songwriters/people alive. As the keyboardist of Yellow Magic Orchestra, he is responsible for some of the greatest synthpop of all time, and as a solo composer he created some of the most hauntingly beautiful music I’ve ever heard, including the Oscar-winning score for The Last Emperor.

Here’s hoping that devil cancer was caught early enough so that the treatment is effective in slaying the fucker and getting Sakamoto back to full health as soon as possible.

Here’s some rare Sakamoto I’ve never posted before.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Behind The Mask
Risky (Untitled Remix)
Risky (Remix)
Risky (Ultimix Edit)
This version of “Behind The Mask” is drastically different than the original version by YMO, featuring an entirely new arrangement and vocals written by Michael Jackson. How the hell did that happen? Well, I wrote about it a while ago for my other blog Mostly-Retro, so head over there and check it out for the full story!

As for “Risky,” the original version of that track first appeared on Sakamoto’s album Neo Geo, which I think was the closest he ever go to mainstream solo success in the states (which is to say not that close). The track was a superstar collaboration of sorts, featuring music co-written by producer/songwriter/bass player extraordinaire Bill Laswell (of Material fame) and lyrics/vocals by the legendary Iggy Pop. At least, I think that’s him.

Okay, well I know it’s him on the latter two mixes, but on that untitled remix, which is taken from the “Behind The Mask” single, it really doesn’t sound like Iggy Pop. However, there is no vocalist credited in the linear notes, so I have no idea as to who it might be. Anyone out there know?

Yellow Magic Orchestra
Behind The Mask (SEIKO Quartz CM Version)
This is the original version of “Behind The Mask,” recorded for the a watch commercial. This makes “Behind The Mask” the most successful commercial jingle of all time I think. Yes, even more than “Convoy.”

Golden Pulp

July 9th, 2014

Looks like by the time that typhoon hits Tokyo later day/early tomorrow that it will just be a lot of rain and some heavy winds (aka my typical day off in Tokyo). I have to stop listening to Japanese people when they talk about the weather. Everything is the worst thing ever. It’s going to be hot this weekend, my students act like it’s going to be the hottest day ever. When it got “cold” (around 30 degrees Fahrenheit) they acted like it was the coldest day ever. I feel like they wouldn’t survive a year in Ohio, where you can actually have something close to the hottest day ever and the coldest day ever in the span of like five months. And tornadoes.

Why the fuck does anyone live in Ohio again?

Goldie
Inner City Life (Rabbit In The Moon’s Vocalic City Mix)
Inner City Life (Rabbit In The Moon’s Escape From Vocalic City Mix)
Inner City Life (Rabbit In The Moon’s Return to Vocalic City Mix)
Twenty-five minutes of Goldie remixes? Sure, why not.

These are kind of banged up, I found this in an electronic music store in Tokyo for about 500 yen (five bucks). Let me tell you something about records in Tokyo – they cost a fucking fortune usually. “Budget” shops don’t exist and sales just knock down prices to more realistic prices. On the plus side, you’re usually getting what you pay for – a copy of Nevermind priced as if it’s in perfect conditions is probably actually in mint condition. People in Japan take care of their damn records.

Of course, the reverse is true, and if you find a record for five bucks then it was probably run through the meat grinder a few times – as was the case with this one. There are few pops and crackles on these that I couldn’t get out, and the sound isn’t perfect. So if anyone out there has better copies of these tracks let me know please. Might be hard though, I don’t know if they were ever given a proper CD release?

Pulp
After You (Pulp vs. Soulwax)
After You (The 4am Desperation Disco To Disco Dub Version)
These remixes were  on a Record Store Day 12″ last year. I would have assumed someone who likes it when people pay them money for music would have given them a proper digital release by now, but I guess not. So here you go.

The Lady Or The Tiger

July 8th, 2014

ladytiger

Toyah & Fripp
The Lady Or The Tiger
Discourager Of Hesitancy
I’ve been meaning to post these tracks for about five years now. Seems like now is a good time to finally get around to doing that.

In case you couldn’t already figure it out, Toyah & Fripp are Toyah Wilcox and Robert Fripp. The former being one of the most unjustly forgotten 80s new wave frontwomen of all-time, and the later being the frontman of King Crimson and part-time collaborator of Brian Eno, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Blondie, Daryl Hall, Andy Summers, David Sylvian, The Orb, Van Der Graff Generator, Peter Gabriel, The Future Sound of London and Porcupine Tree (to name a few).

As prolific as both are, I feel safe in saying that neither have ever put out another album like The Lady Or The Tiger, which first came out in 1986 and has yet to be re-released digitally or on CD. Because while both have put out some wacky experimental shit in their days, this has to be the only spoken word album ever released by either of them.

Each track on the album isn’t a song, they’re short stories, both written by American author Frank R. Stockton. Both are equal parts logic puzzle as they are short stories, presenting readers with a near-impossible “what would you do” scenario at each story’s end.

Toyah recites both stories, while Fripp provides his trademarked ambient guitar Fripptronics, layer-upon-layer of distorted, manipulated guitar effects that help to give both stories the dream-like, otherworldly quality that the author no doubt had in mind.

Even in the experimental realm of Fripp solo records and side projects, this album is a little out there and probably isn’t for everyone (or most people for that matter). But I find it fascinating, and I’d listen to Toyah recite a phone book with that voice, so I hope you like it too.