June 22nd, 2016

Today marks the release of Lay Your Hands On Me, the final release from Boom Boom Satellites. In case you missed the horrible news (which received next-to-zero press in Western media), the group had to disband earlier this year due to another brain tumor relapse suffered by lead singer/guitarist Michiyuki Kawashima, which has sadly left him partially paralyzed.

I wrote about it on my other blog, how tragic this news is and how upset it has made me, and I encourage you to go read that. This post is like a part 2 of that.

I’m used to liking bands that no one else care about. I guess it’s my thing. And I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve come to accept that the bands I like, the bands who I think should stand head and shoulders above the rest and reign supreme as pop gods the world over, that they’re all doomed for second-tier status or less. I get it. The music business is tough, random and evil. Cream rarely rises

But fuck, man. Boom Boom Satellites? They should’ve been huge. They should’ve been the first Japanese rock act to break international. And definitely the first Japanese rock band to break into the states. They sing in English. Their music (especially their later stuff) is tailor-made for the mainstream, designed to kick a stadium’s ass. They sound 100% original, but still accessible and fun. There’s no pretension, no reason to issue a warning with the recommendation i.e. “they take a bit getting used to, but…”. One minute into their 2006 masterpiece On, and the opening track “Kick It Out” commences a full-throttle assault on your senses, pounding you to pieces with a wholly unique combination of balls-to-the-wall rock and frenetic electronic beats that should’ve had people all around the world buying the album in droves.

Why not? Why the fuck didn’t they take? Their first album was released in the states and probably did decent enough. I remember seeing the videos for it on MTV and they even toured with Moby. But for whatever reason that was it, their second album was never released in the states, and only a few since have been, and then only digitally. Maybe the band didn’t wan to put in the effort to breakthrough overseas. Maybe the label (which won’t even stream their videos on YouTube in the states) didn’t want to devote the resources. It’s hard to say.

I would guess that the band had it sights on breaking through into the states as recently as 2010, when the attempted to remix “Kick It Out” to appeal to a Western audience. This, of course, means that it was a complete disaster, featuring vocals by B-level former child star and wannabe club singer Tahj Mowry and even a disastrous rap by Flo Rida, which is phoned in and lazy even by his low standards. That monstrosity rightfully tanked and probably dashed any future plans for American domination.

Yet another thing I can hate Flo Rida for. Great.

But what really tears my heart apart is that more people didn’t get to see the group live. As I said in my other post, Boom Boom Satellites live was a revelation. A lightening bolt of pure energy. Just totally non-stop, always on and ready to kick ass. Every time I was fortunate enough to see them, whether as an opening act, as part of a festival line-up or as headliners to their own gig, they fucking owned the stage.

While their Japanese label has made it inexplicably impossible to watch their videos proper on YouTube, thankfully many fans have uploaded live concert footage, much of it taken from the multitudes of live releases the band put out over of the years. I cannot implore you enough, go on YouTube and check those clips out. This user has quite a few on his YouTube page, all of which I recommend.

Then, if you like what you hear, please please please please buy what you can. Their new EP is on iTunes! You can buy it! You should do that! You can also get their greatest hits on iTunes in the states. I recommend starting there (it’s the only way you can get the real version of “Kick It Out” in the states. If you dig that, then move onto Embrace, their 2013 release, followed by their 2007 album Exposed. Their 1999 debut is also available digitally in the states, I recommend that last. It’s a great record, but it is not indicative of their more recent or live sound. However, if you dig 90s electronica, it’s a stunning example of that.

After that, if you want more and can afford it, then bite the bullet and pay the import prices for the rest of their stuff. The one that’s most worth the dough is On, that’s where you’ll find “Kick It Out” and 11 other high-velocity rock tracks that will refuse to let you take a breather for its 50 minute running time. From there, I suggest moving to the follow-up To The Loveless, which is very similar to On, and then skipping ahead to their final full-length Shine Like A Billion Suns (the albums between To The Loveless and this one are on iTunes). Shine is a bit more sedate than the albums that preceded it, but in it’s more mellow groove there’s a beauty that you can’t find on their other albums.

From there I recommend their least accessible full-length releases, the insane jazz/dub hybrid 2001 album Umbra, and its follow-up, 2002’s Photon, which is good meeting point between their more experimental sound from the album before that and the mainstream rock that followed.

Finally, go after their EPs, Joyride and Push Eject. Both are early releases by the group (the former actually being their debut) so they’re more in the dub and electronic arena than the rock one, but they’re still solid. I also obviously recommend their live releases, Experienced and Experienced II.

You should buy their music, it’s in print. That’s why I’m sharing anything from their records proper tonight. I’m only sharing audio rips from video releases that are well out-of-print, or from Blu-rays that go for over $100 online. That seems like the right thing to do. Not only that, these tracks are my favorites from the group, the ones I think of when I remember them, and I feel are the best representation of their amazing live shows.

Boom Boom Satellites are over. Let’s not let them get forgotten.

Back On My Feet 
Dress Like An Angel
Kick It Out
Dig The New Breed
Easy Action
Rise And Fall


Disco Funk Techno Beats

June 9th, 2016

Country disco, Japanese synth-pop and 90s hip-hop. I’m not going to be satisfied until I can somehow mish-mash jazz, classical, digital hardcore and calypso on this blog.

Dolly Parton
Baby I’m Burning (Disco Mix)
This song has an undeniable groove that is catchy as hell. I wish more disco crossover tracks from the 70s were this good.

The fact that none of the gay clubs I’ve been to have ever played this song really piss me off, I bet this was the shit back in the day. Makes me wish gay clubs in Tokyo had throwback nights. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good Rihanna and Lady Gaga when I’m in the club, but would it kill a place to kick it old school once in a while and play some Donna Summer, Thelma Houston or Slyvester? I have a feeling that I went up to the DJ at my local club and dropped a request for “Do You Wanna Funk,” the single-greatest Hi-NRG track of all-time, he’d give me a look like I asked him to play Bach.

Basically what I’m saying is you punk kids and your music.

I Like The City
I posted a track by these guys a few months back, here’s the other one I have. The Targets were a Japanese synth-pop act in the early 80s who released one album and then promptly vanished off the face of the Earth. The two members credited on Discogs apparently never released anything ever again, and the album has never even been reprinted on CD. The only reason I have two songs by them at all is because they were on a a compilation I got. The vocals here aren’t great, I know that, but the proto-acid sequencer backbeat is totally radical and sounds like nothing else from that era.

Ken Ishii
Echo Exit (Boom Boom Satellites remix)
In case you missed the absolutely horrible news, Boom Boom Satellites are no more, their lead singer being forced to retire due to complications resulting from surgery to remove a brain tumor.

This news completely devastated me. I wrote a brief thing about it on my other site and I don’t have much more to say about it at the moment. I do plan on putting something else together soon though, hopefully to coincide with the release date of their upcoming (final) release, which is due out on the 22nd.

Until then, I thought I’d share this track they remixed, which is by Japanese electronic artist Ken Ishii, a totally rad Japanese DJ and producer who has been laying down dope techno in Japan for over 20 years. Gamers might know him thank to his work on the soundtrack to the seminal rhythm game/acid trip Rez. If you’re a fan of hard techno with a Detroit edge, you’ll probably dig damn near everything he’s ever put out. This track is from a CD single I picked up last night at the greatest record store in Tokyo. A place I’ll tell you more about when I finish my record store guide, which should be sometime next month.

Naughty By Nature
O.P.P. (Ultamix Remix)
O.P.P. (Charming Radio Mix)
O.P.P. (DBM Remix)
O.P.P. (Out Of Mind Version)
Yeah. You know me. Actually no, fuck that. I love my boyfriend.

One thing I never noticed about this song until today is at one point the crowd refrain shouts that “everyone in this party” is down with O.P.P. That means, unless I’m mistaken as to what O.P.P. actually is, that everyone in that party is up for cheating on their significant other or fucking someone else’s significant other. Damn skippy indeed.

Brazilian IDM and Italian Disco

May 27th, 2016

Tonight I’m seeing New Order so I’m pretty damn stoked about that. Last time I saw New Order it was in NYC and the audience was filled with a bunch of shit-eating hipsters and investment bankers who were all clearly more interested in saying they were at a New Order concert than actually paying attention to the music. Concerts in Japan are so great, no one talks and everyone listens to the music.

And I’m a foot taller than everyone else so that’s great too.

Amon Tobin
Verbal (Prefuse 73 Dipped Escalade Mix)
Verbal (Kid 606 Dancehall Devastation Mix)
Verbal (Topo Gigio Remix)
Verbal (Boom Bip Remix)
A few years back I bought the ridiculous Amon Tobin box set. That box, with its crazy screw-top packaging and industrial design, was so over the top I did an “unboxing” post of sorts which you can find here.

Anyways, that box sat proudly on my record shelves for years until I decided to move to Japan. When the time came to back up all my records I started at the top of my shelves, which was where I kept my unusually shaped items. In may haste to shovel it all off into storage, I sadly bumped that box set off my shelves and tumbling to the floor, permanently damaging it with a major dent.

T’was a sad day in the Lost Turntable house, I’ll tell you that much. Will be a sadder one when I finally come to grips with the realization that it’s entirely impractical for me to mail crazy box sets like that to Japan and that I would just be better off selling them.

But until that day, I’ll live in denial and fantasize about getting all my 3,000+ records into my Tokyo apartment and listen to dope remixes like these, which I ripped off of a 12″ single.

Capricorn (aka Claudio Simonetti)
Capricorn (Vocal)
Capricorn (Instrumental)
Claudio Simonetti is best known as the former frontman of Goblin, the Italian prog-rock outfit that served as the composer for some of the greatest genre films of the 70s and 80s, including Dawn Of The Dead and Suspiria.

But in addition to the dude’s prolific contributions in the worlds of film soundtracks, prog rock, and creepy sound effects, apparently he’s also attempted several dalliances with dance music under the name Capricorn (among others). This shouldn’t be too surprising, a lot of Goblin’s best work with Simonetti was electronic in nature, featuring vocoder effects and drum synthesizers abound. It’s their more electronic work that no doubt paved the way for acts like Umberto and Zombi, bands who combine a love for electronica with a desire to make eerie and etheral music.

So when I stumbled upon this 12″ release by Capricorn, an early-80s alias for Simonetti, I was pretty stoked. I expected more of what I loved about Simonetti’s best work, an amazing combination of pipe organs and rad guitar work mixed over a steady dance beat and some arching synths.

What I got, was italo disco.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I dig italo disco. I just didn’t expect italo disco.

For those who may not be aware, italo disco is a sub-genre of disco (duh) from Italy (double-duh) which was kind of like an amalgamation of late-era disco, Hi-NRG house music, and electronic rock. If there’s any italo disco track you know, it’s probably “Boys Boys Boys (Summertime Love)” by Sabrina, which was a big hit in 1987 in every country on Earth except America.

Anyways, Simonetti’s “Capricorn” has a lot of elements of italo disco, heavy use of vocoder and electronic beats abound here, but it also embraces a lot of classic disco elements. The song’s heavy use of strings make it sound almost like a distant cousin of “The Hustle,” which I cannot say is a good thing. The vocals are also atrocious, and since the 12″ single has no performing credits I don’t know who to blame for them. The instrumental version is better by far.

Simonetti released a few singles under the Capricorn name in the early 80s, but sadly none of them have gotten properly re-released on CD save for a few on the occasionally oddball disco compilation. Too bad, if this track is any indication there could be some good stuff there. Hope to discover more in my record hunting.

Japanese Versions Of The Star Wars Theme

May 13th, 2016

The best thing about living in Japan is finding 1970s covers albums of sci-fi films.

Okay, maybe it’s not the best thing, but it’s definitely in the top 10.

Toru Hatano
Star Wars Theme
Toru Hatano (aka Toya Hatano) is somewhat of a minor player in the progressive/jazz/electronic scenes of 1970s Japan. In the early 70s he was a member of the psych-rock band Brush!?, who only released one record as far as I can find. In 1977 he released his solo debut, a soundtrack called Love For You followed a year later by a collection of movie themes performed on synthesizer entitled Space Adventure. Since then, he’s worked behind-the-scenes and runs a company that sells insanely high-end audio cables.

As synth cover collections go, Space Adventure is an odd one, and features not only 70s soundtrack standards like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but also selections from lesser known genre material at the time including Logan’s Run, Capricorn One, Solaris, and even Flesh Gordon (not Flash, Flesh).

It’s not bad, although as someone who has listened to probably over a dozen synth cover albums in his day, there’s not much to make it stand out aside from its slightly oddball song selection. The cover is pretty rad though.


Damn, it looks like they’re constructing the ELO spaceship.

Jun Fukamachi
Theme From Star Wars
One thing that I was surprised to learn about the 1970s music scene in Japan is how intermixed the jazz, funk and electronic music scenes were. Look into the discography of nearly any major guitarist or keyboardist from the era, and you’ll find that he or she probably got their feet wet in all three genres, if not more. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s first release as a collaborative free association jazz album, and both of YMO’s most prominent guitarists, Kenji Omura and Kazumi Watanabe, were accomplished jazz musicians before, during and after their work with the legendary synthpop group.

The same goes for Jun Fukamachi, digging through his back catalog I’ve found everything from J-pop, funk, folk, jazz, experimental avant-garde, synth-pop and pure electronic music. He even worked on a few of those “Digital Trip” anime soundtracks that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. His main focuses seemed to be jazz and funk though, using synthesizers in way that could be compared to the 70s output of Stevie Wonder, much more organically and with other instruments than his purely electronic counterparts.

And if you know anything about live jazz, with its heavy use of improvisation and free-association jamming, is why this live take on the Star Wars theme lasts over seven minutes. It goes places, man.

I’m crediting this to Jun Fukamachi because it’s listed under his discography at Discogs and I found it in among his solo records at the record store, but it’s really a collaborative effort. I think the band itself is called Space Fantasy. In addition to Jun, the group is also made up of Hideki Matsutake (aka Logic System) and the previously mentioned Kenji Omura. Joining them are Hiroki Inui, Shuichi Murakami and Shigeru Okazawa, all of whom have worked on countless albums in Japan as session players. So if you know anything about the jazz scene of Japan in the 70s and 80s, then this is kind of an all-star supergroup jam session.

To be honest, the album as a whole diverges into free-improvisation a bit too much for my liking, but their take on the Star Wars theme the only improvisational jazz/funk version of it I’ve ever heard, so they get points for originality if nothing else.

Adventures From The YMO Family

May 1st, 2016

I’m tired, I’m working six days in a row this week and I have to be up to go to work in about seven hours. So of course I decided to randomly write 800 plus words on releases by various Yellow Magic Orchestra associates.

Kenji Omura
Seiko Is Always On Time
The Defector
Kenji Omura was a longstanding associate of YMO, whose work with members from the group actually pre-dates the band itself; he’s credited as a performer on Yukihiro Takahashi’s solo debut Saravah!, which came out in 1978. Throughout the 70s and 80s he continually popped up on various YMO associate releases, including albums by Akiko Yano, Susan, Logic System (more on him in a second) and Sandii. During YMO’s biggest years he also served as the band’s touring guitarist, performing on their seminal Live At Budokan release.

He was primarily a jazz guitarist (a lot of YMO people have jazz backgrounds) and it shows a lot in his solo work, more than his work as a contributing artist. His 1983 album Gaijin Heaven even goes as far as to have a Steely Dan cover on it, showing that while he was working in the synth-pop field, he was just as interested in rock and jazz fusion as anything else. But, me being me and my interests lying where they are, I’m going to focus on his more synth-pop focused work, specifically these three tracks from his fantastic 1981 album, Spring Is Nearly Here.

While that album is listed as Kenji Omura record, it’s more or less an unofficial YMO release. Not only does it feature all three members of YMO performing their respective instruments, they also contribute as songwriters alongside Chris Mosdell, who served as the group’s English language songwriter for some of their biggest hits, including “Behind The Mask.” The album also features contributions from YMO accomplishes Akiko Yano, Hideki Matsutake and Kazuhiko Kato.

The whole album doesn’t sound like a YMO record (that jazz influence is pretty strong throughout) but the tracks that do sound like YMO really sound like YMO. “The Defector” could have easily been on Naughty Boys, its a pop masterpiece, the kind of track that sounds like it was purposely constructed to be a Top 40 hit and is all the better for it. Unsurprisingly, it was written by Takahashi and his English songwriter, Peter Barakan, two fantastic pop craftsmen.

“Seiko Is Always On Time” is a purely electronic jam, co-written by Sakamoto and obviously channeling “The End Of Asia” with its Eastern influences morphed together with a synthesizer-heavy sound. It’s semi-ambient totally beautiful.

But YMO fans should really take note of “Maps.” If that track sounds familiar, that’s because it’s actually a YMO tune, appearing on both the Budokan and World Tour albums. Those records were recorded in 1980, a full year before this record was released, but close enough for it to be difficult to say if the song was as YMO song first that was later handed off to Omura, or if it was intended for Omura all along. Either way, it’s a great track, and stands up equally with any other classic tune by the group.

Hideki Matsutake & K.I. Capsule
The James Bond Theme
Hideki Matsutake served as YMO’s programmer, and also worked with electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita in the mid-70s. In the early-80s he went solo under the moniker Logic System, releasing a pair of beautiful albums in the early 80s as well as several…less good albums throughout the remainder of the century (one has a rap track, it’s bad).

For me though, his crowning achievement away from YMO is Digital Moon, a 1979 album composed entirely of James Bond theme covers. I’m not going to say that it’s the greatest album of all time, but it might be the greatest album of all time. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard “Goldfinger” sung through a vocoder. The only way it could’ve been better is if they had gotten Shirley Bassey herself to do it. This is dope shit. If you like dope shit you’ll like this.

Jun Togawa
Suki Suki Daisuki
Late Blooming Girls
An artist so unique that she’s nearly impossible to describe. I think the best I could come up with was “a cross between Madonna, Patti Smith and Klaus Nomi,” thanks to her pop presence combined with her predisposition for violent screaming fits and the occasional foray into operatic bellowing.

Between her solo discography, collaborative efforts and side-projects, she’s released countless records, which makes diving into her discography rather daunting, not to mention incredibly expensive. Any greatest hits compilation is a good jumping off point though, as it will probably feature one of, if not both of these, tremendous songs.

Both of these songs are highlights even if you can’t understand the vocals, thanks to Jun’s amazing vocal range. But if you do know what she’s singing about, they’re even stronger. Thankfully, for “Suki Suki Daisuki” you can find the translated lyrics on this fan-subbed video. As for “Late Blooming Girls,” I don’t have an exact translation with me, but the song is about a woman who’s scared to lose her virginity because she heard it might hurt, only to find the experience quite pleasurable once it happens. You can probably point out the point in the song where that unfolds solely based on how she changes her singing voice.

Jun Togawa is still recording today, and recently released a collaborative noise rock album that includes a new version of “Suki Suki Daisuki.” It’s something else.

Purple Pain

April 23rd, 2016

Fuck this year.

As I’ve commented on this site many a time, I’m a pretty lousy Prince fan. I only have Purple Rain, the three-disc edition of Hits, and a few of his newer albums. I don’t own 1999, Sign ‘O’ The Times, Lovesexy, Parade, Come and so on. I’ve often mentioned my desire to fill this rather egregious gap in my record collection, and I think now I might finally get around to it.

That being said, I own a shitload of Prince singles, both on CD and vinyl, and many of them are among my most prized musical possessions. Sometimes I just need nearly half an hour of “My Name Is Prince” remixes, and thankfully I can indulge in such ridiculousness.

I just wish more people could.

When Bowie passed away, I shared a few of his rare tunes here, and I was happy that doing so such was a chore. The overwhelming majority of Bowie’s discography is not only in-print, but incredibly easy to get in pretty much every format available. Most of his single-only tracks have been collected in one form or another, and his rarer B-sides and remixes have made their way to digital storefronts or in box sets. You want to hear the Mandarin version of “Seven Years In Tibet?” Yo, you’re covered.

But if you want to hear the 12″ remix of “My Name Is Prince,” you’re out of luck. Ditto if you want to hear the beautiful 10 minute versions of “Mountains” or “I Would Die 4 U,” countless remixes of “Gett Off” or filthy rarities like “Lubricated Lady.”

It’s hard to say what will happen with Prince’s back catalog now that he’s passed away, we’ll have to wait and see. But I hope in the years to come that Prince’s vast army of released material will get a proper remastering and re-release campaign, all of his music, even the eight minute Purple Pump remix of “Gett Off,” for example, deserves to be heard.

Let’s hope they crack open that legendary vault too.

And someone put that album by The Family back in print for fuck’s sake.

Erotic City (Full Length Version)
Let’s Go Crazy (Extended Remix)
In the massive pantheon of out-of-print Prince classics, these to spectacular remixes are probably some of the best. I can’t believe you can’t buy them today.

I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised by that fact though, as they seemed to have barely been in print in the first place. Both the extended remix of “Let’s Go Crazy” and the full uncut version of “Erotic City” first appeared on a 12″ single in 1984 at the height of Purple Rain mania. In the years that followed, that single was only reprinted on CD once, in 1990, but that hard-to-find European release excised the uncut version of “Erotic City” and instead only included the album version of “Take Me With You” as a B-side.

“Erotic City” has made its way to a few other releases over the years, but always in some sort of abbreviated form. The full version that first appeared on that 1984 12″ single is over seven minutes in length. The version that is included on the Hits compilation is only a little over half that, clocking in at an all-too-brief four minutes. That’s three minutes of funk stripped away from people who need to hear it.

It’s a damn shame because, and yes I know that my Prince knowledge is criminally lacking, I think that the full uncut version “Erotic City’ is one of Prince’s best tunes. A sparse, ferociously sexy electronic funk jam that sounds just as sexy now as it did over 30 damn years ago.

Like I said, I have a ton of Prince singles, and I may share more in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t in the best shape, so I need to do some sorting first. Until then, enjoy this small offering and remember Prince in all his purple majesty.

And then buy HitnRun Phase One and Two, and Plectrumelectrum. Critics destroyed that album when it came out, but they were crazy. Even after I absorb the rest of Prince’s discography I imagine that one would still make my top 10 list. It’s raw as fuck and completely in your face. It has a song that compares a threesome to a pretzel. And it works.

Because Prince could even make pretzels sexy.

Note: The “Let’s Go Crazy” mix was removed as you can buy that on the Prince compilation Ultimate.

My Spirit Animal is Synth Bass

April 19th, 2016

How is everyone? I’m okay. Had a pretty busy work week, found some good records from some out-of-the way record stores that I can’t wait to write about (both the stores and the records), got a good workout in yesterday.

Oh, and I totally shook Ryuichi Sakamoto’s hand last weekend.

Y’know. The usual stuff.

Osamu Shoji
Airport In South Islands

Okay, you probably don’t know who Osamu Shoji is, and I understand that. I put up an album of his a few months back, an all-synthesizer covers album of music from Lupin the 3rd. You probably didn’t download that one (and I understand that too), but I behest you, please download this song. This is the funkiest, craziest and silliest Japanese synth-funk jam you’re going to hear this year. And while I’m sure you’re saying to yourself “I doubt I’m going to hear many Japanese synth-funk jams this year” well, you don’t know what other crap I have planned for this blog in the coming months.

Cosmo Wave and the Space Cadets
Star Trekking
Hall Of The Mountain King
Everyone knows about Meco’s amazing discofied rendition of the Star Wars theme, but a hell of a lot less people know about this disco cover of the Star Trek theme.

That’s probably because it’s not nearly as good, but hey, space disco! And a disco version of “Hall Of The Mountain King,” because why the fuck not. I have metal, prog and techno covers, what’s another genre?

In case you’re wondering, I have zero idea as to who the fuck Cosmo Wave and the Space Cadets are. The single I got only credits the original songwriters and not the new arrangers. The credited producer is one Elaine Lane, and that sounds like a fake name if I ever heard one. So if anyone out there has any information as to who this actually is, let me know!

Love Profusion (Passengerz Club Mix)
Nobody Knows Me (Above & Beyond 12″ Mix)
Between obscure Japanese synth-funk and unknown disco covers of TV theme songs I thought I should throw in something tonight by someone people have actually heard of. My Madonna backlog is getting intimidating, I really have to get around to posting them.

In case you’re wondering why I haven’t, it’s because most are remixes to “Love Profusion.” I mean, I like that song, but I don’t think the world needed eight remixes of it damn.

Remixes from Needless Purchases

April 15th, 2016

Thanks for all the kind messages celebrating my 10th anniversary, means a lot to me.

Now, onto new and (hopefully) bigger things. It’s been a busy year for me so far. I got a big update to my guide to Tokyo record stores in the works, and I should have another piece of YMO up sometime relatively soon, hopefully by the end of the month. In the meantime, I recently wrote a piece over on my other blog about the insanity of Robot Restaurant which I hope you’ll find fun and entertaining. I also wrote a piece on the current state of gaming, which I hope you’ll find soul-crushingly depressing.

Sorry. Here’s some pop music to cheer you up.

Yellow Magic Orchestra
Haruomi Hosono Special Message
Rydeen (Live 2-6-80 Yoru No Hit Studio)
I have what I would consider to be a rather expansive YMO collection. I have every proper album on CD, as well as more than a fair share of compilations, remix albums, singles and other miscellany. I also own several of their albums on vinyl, some multiple times over. For example, in America I have the regular black LP edition of Service, but here in Japan I have a copy on translucent yellow vinyl. I also have every re-issue that Music On Vinyl have put out to date.

However, that didn’t stop me from buying this.


That massive box is the YMO LP Box set, a huge 13 LP box set that includes every YMO album proper that was released on vinyl, including both the Japanese and American versions of their self-titled debut and ×∞Multiplies.

I got it for a pretty good deal, less than $100, which is how I justified buying it despite owning nearly everything on it on CD and LP already. It was nice to buy and fill in the remaining holes in my YMO vinyl collection.

To my surprise, when I got home I discovered that it had a bonus record, a bonus record that is literally titled “Bonus.” See?



What’s the bonus? Well, sadly it’s not much. Most of the record is an interview with Haroumi Hosono. I’d love to offer you a complete transcript of what he’s saying, but my Japanese is garbage, and my boyfriend has better things to do than feed my unhealthy obsession with YMO and translate it for me.

The real treat, however, is this exclusive version of “Rydeen.” From what I read online, it’s apparently a live version that was performed on a Japanese TV show, although to me it sounds more like a remix. Regardless, it’s a pretty radical version, deviating from the original in some subtle, but great ways, such as a slightly more analog-sounding synth and a more pronounced sequencer rhythm. The guitar work is a bit more noticeable too. All in all, it’s a stellar version, and while I wouldn’t go as far to say it was worth the money I paid for the box set, it sure as hell was a pretty nice bonus, so I guess that 13th LP was named properly.

Filter & The Crystal Method
(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do (Danny Saber Remix)
(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do [Instrumental]
This is the second-best Filter song. The first is obviously “Hey Man Nice Shot.”

There is no third-best Filter song as Filter is not a very good band.

I got this off of a strange EP called Spawn The Album 2nd. Obviously a sequel to the fantastic Spawn soundtrack, it also included a remix of Marilyn Manson’s “Long Hard Road Out Of Hell” and a track by Apollo 440 and Morphine that was probably cut off of the original soundtrack because it’s not very good. I’ll probably share these soon though, so all your Apollo 400 and Morphine completists (I assume those groups don’t overlap all that much) take note!

10 Years Of Being Lost: Ill Trax

April 5th, 2016

This past month or so I’ve written about songs that meant a lot to me personally, songs whose stories I found interesting, and songs I feel that have been unjustly lost to time, just to name a few.

But tonight, I’m going to close out this 10th anniversary celebration by sharing and writing about some of the illest tracks I’ve ever shared on Lost Turntable (that are still out-of-print).

I want everyone reading this to know that I appreciate all of you. I don’t have a ton of readers, but I’m always happy when I get a nice comment about something I’ve shared, or when someone tells me they’ve found my writing entertaining, illuminating or funny. These days I keep this blog going mostly to keep me sane when I’m feeling a bit down, and knowing that even a few people out there still enjoy it really means a lot to me. Thanks, and mark my words, I’ll keep this thing going for as long as I can listen to music and type.

Edgar Winter
Frankenstein 1984 (Monster Version)
Frankenstein 1984 (Human Version)
Frankenstein 1984 (Monster Rap)
AN ELECTRO VERSION OF FRANKENSTEIN. This shouldn’t exist. No wait, scratch that, I meant the opposite. Out of everything that has ever existed on Earth, in the solar system and throughout our vast cosmos, this needs to exist the most.

I don’t know what that means either, but I’m right.

Edgar Winter should’ve remade “Frankenstein” every 10 years. In my ideal world there’s a version of “Frankenstein 1994” that features hella hard acid house samples. And “Frankenstein 2004” would include one of the best examples of auto-tune in the history of pop music. “Frankenstein 2014” would be dubstep, obviously.

Someone get on this already.

The B-52s
Good Stuff (12″ Remix)
Good Stuff (Remix Edit)
I’ve honestly tried not to do too much overlap with these “best of” anniversary posts and the best of posts I did a few years back when I moved to Japan. But if I’m going to put up a post dedicated to the grooviest, illest and raddest shit ever put on Lost Turntable, then I’d be a fucking monster if I didn’t share these mixes again. Best. Remix. Ever. There, I said it. I wanna go where the good stuff flows, and I don’t care how gross and/or how much of a drug reference that sounds. Fred, please take my hand and lead me to the love honey. Down right.

I wanna wear go-go boots and dance to this until my heels bleed.

Eddy Grant
Electric Avenue (12″ version)
In Pittsburgh there is an actual Electric Avenue and if I ever steal anything in my life it will be that street sign I swear to God.

Foxy Shazam
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
In the distant future, when a new civilization digs through the disastrous ruins of our failed society, eventually they’ll find a Foxy Shazam record and play it. And the sheer power of that recording might destroy their civilization and start the cycle anew once more.

Foxy Shazam is the greatest band of all time. Yes, I know they’re on indefinite hiatus, but as I said in a write-up I did about them some time ago, I refuse to talk about them in the past tense. Foxy Shazam are now and forever, they have always been and always will be. Their power unequaled in all of popular music. In the list of travesties of the 21st century, Foxy Shazam failing to capture a hit single is right up there with Donald Trump’s presidential run, climate change denialism, and the Patriots’ win over the Raiders in the 2002 AFC Championship game.

Buy a Foxy Shazam album today, do God’s work. And then listen to this dope B-side.

This stuff is timeless. If you told me it was a light-years ahead of its time late-70s/early-80s electro track I’d be likely to believe you. If you said it came back last week and it was a retro throwback to 80s synthpop and dance ala Kavinsky I’d probably buy that too. It’s acid house meets electro meets ambient meets oh my god.

As it is, these two tracks actually came out in the late-80s, by a dude whose real name is Edwin Van Der Laag. Unfortunately the album in which is came from is woefully out of print and goes for a mint online. You can buy some of his newer stuff on iTunes and Amazon though, so maybe check it out.

Stefano Pulga
Love Taker
Italo Disco is the best disco.

Thanks again for sticking around for 10 years!

10 Years Of Being Lost: Berlin’s Information

March 21st, 2016


Berlin – Information

“Hey cool, Berlin. I like Berlin and this is cheap I’ll buy this” I thought, as I stumbled upon this LP in a record store nearly a decade ago.

Berlin remains one of my favorite new wave acts, and I’ve always thought they’ve fallen through the cracks of history for no good reason. They’re usually dismissed as a one-hit wonder, but that’s not the case at all. Sure, “Take My Breathe Away” was a mega-hit that made any other success they had seem minute in comparison, but before that Moroder-penned tune launched them to super-stardom, the group scored a few minor hits with awesome tracks like “No More Words,” “Dancing In Berlin,” and the incredible “Metro.”

All those songs are from the group’s 1982 major-label debut Pleasure Victim. And if you check them out on iTunes, any record store, or even on Berlin’s own webpage, that’s usually regarded as their full-length debut. But that was not the case, as I discovered when I bought this record. Turns out that Information was Berlin’s first album, recorded and released in 1980.

Although to be fair, it’s barely a Berlin album. Most notably, Terri Nunn is nowhere to be found here, having left the group for a short time to pursue an acting career. Replacing her is one Virginia Macolino, whose vocal stylings are notably different than Nunn’s. While Nunn dipped her toes in a more detached and robotic vocals to match her band’s all-electronic sound, she was never afraid to let herself go and really belt it out when needed. Macolino, on the other hand, is full new wave, almost punk rock, in her approach. Her style reminds me heavily of Patty Donahue from The Waitresses, detached with an aura of irony throughout.

Macolino isn’t the only change. This early incarnation of the group also features a different bass player by the name of Jo Julian, who also served as the album’s primary songwriter, alongside guitarist Chris Velasco (who did stick around for the band’s more well-known records) and original vocalist Toni Childs (!!!) who is credited as a songwriter for four of the album’s tracks. Keyboardist John Crawford, who served as the primary creative force for the band’s biggest years, only contributes to a handful of tracks here.

The result is a drastically different sounding record when compared to what would come just two years later. While Pleasure Victim is clearly influenced by the poppier side of synthpop that was just beginning to make itself known thanks to acts like The Human League and Flock of Seagulls, the Berlin of Information is far more robotic and futuristic. Again, comparisons to The Waitresses could be made here, as well as Gary Numan and pre-Dare Human League. Pleasure Victim was all about sex and romance, Information is far more of a socially conscious record, touching on themes like nuclear war and the drollness of middle class life, while bouncing back and forth sci-fi themes like robots and mind control as well. The only song on Information that sounds like the Berlin we would come to know is “A Matter Of Time,” which actually was a pre-Macolino track that was originally recorded with Nunn, with that version appearing on their greatest hits album.

Aside from that one track, everything on Information remains woefully out-of-print and hard to track down. It was only released in 1980, and from what I can tell it only got a single pressing. Turns out that I was lucky to score my copy for less than five bucks, good copies online usually go for between $20 and $40. Not a buried treasure by any stretch of the means, but a bit on the pricey side.

Equally hard to come by is information by the band members who left after Information. According to Discogs Jo Julian went on to work with some metal acts, including Alkatrazz and Samson, but that’s a pretty big geographic/style switch, so I suspect that might be another Jo Julian.

As for Virginia Macolino, for someone who never broke through to the mainstream she certainly got around. Before Berlin she fronted the punk act Virginia And The Slims, of which you can find an incredibly in-depth write-up on by a former band member here. After Information she returned to her punk roots with the hardcore act Beast Of Beast. They never made it anywhere either, but they did manage to record one album, 1983’s Sex, Drugs and Noise. It pretty rare now and goes for a mint online and one listen will tell you why – it’s a pretty damn great hardcore punk album, totally revolutionary and ahead of its time. More people need to hear that one.

After that, I can’t find much else. Apparently she dated Joey Ramone for a while in the 90s, so even though she wasn’t recording music professionally she was probably still involved in the scene at that point. Sounds like she’s had one hell of a life.

Information isn’t Berlin’s best, I still think that would go to Pleasure Victim, but it’s a great time capsule showcasing the pre-MTV era of synthpop, a darker, more eccentric sound that was still a couple years away from the shine and polish that acts like Duran Duran would give it. Of all the out of print albums I’ve found by accident while writing this blog, it’s one I treasure the most.