Archive for the ‘Pizzicato Five’ Category

One Part Funk and Three Parts Groovy

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

My computer, which had served me well for many years and across two continents, kicked the bucket a few weeks back. And it was rather sudden, so I had to move fast in choosing a replacement. I think I got a good one though, a beast of a machine from a local gaming PC shop called G-Tune. It plays games super great, audio editing is faster than ever, and it’s by far the quietest PC I’ve ever had. I love it.

But it really can’t play music all that well.

Although I suppose that’s really not the computer’s fault. In this situation, iTunes is entirely to blame. On my old PC, I never updated iTunes, I think I was rocking a three or four-year-old version of the program. And it was a slog and slow as hell and had all kinds of problems, but it played music well, and that was kind of the point.

On my new machine, with the newest version of iTunes, music sounds like shit. If I have just a handful of applications running, it starts to pop and crackle, almost non-stop. And I’ve tried mucking about with various settings, both in Windows and in iTunes, all to no avail.

So I thought I would try some alternative programs. The first one that I gave a try was MusicBee. I had heard good things, and it was supposed to be easy to use. And it was at first, but how that programs handles rips (or any new files in my library for that matter) is just atrocious. Simply put, they don’t seem to show up, at least, not in a matter that I would deem punctual. I add an album and have to wait several minutes for all the songs to propagate in my library. And when I would play new songs the song order would get all wonky for no damn reason. Every problem I had with the program just seemed nonsensical and beyond hope. Fuck it.

Now I’m trying MediaMonkey. Allegedly, this program is made special to handle super-large media libraries. In my experience so far, that hasn’t been the case. Constant hangups and lag whenever I try to sort anything. And searching my library often creates delays as well. The interface is just a clusterfuck. So hard to make your way around anything.

Can anyone out there recommend a media manager/music player that just fucking works? One that makes adding new media easy. One that can rip CDs. One that allows me to make playlists and gives me plenty of sorting options. I don’t even care if I have to pay for it. I have no problems paying for a program that works!

Suggestions would be welcome, thanks.

Sheila E.
Glamorous Life Medley
This is from a German 12″ single and includes truncated versions of “The Glamorous Life,” ‘Sister Fate” and “A Love Bizarre.” Medleys are sometimes good, it’s like getting a concentrated version of your favorite artist. And any excuse for me to post more Sheila E. is a good thing.

Pizzicato Five
The Audrey Hepburn Complex (Extended Stanley Donen Mix)
The 59th Street Bridge Song – Feelin’ Groovy (Club Mix – Night Owl)
Let’s Go Away For Awhile (Club Mix – Cafe Bizarre)
I haven’t talked about Pizzicato Five much, I think I’ve only written about them once on this blog. Truth be told, I don’t know all that much about them. They were kinda-sorta a little popular in the States for a brief period in the 90s, but they’ve actually been around much longer than that. They’re almost contemporaneous with YMO, with their first releases coming out in the mid-80s.

This is actually their very first single, and it really sounds ahead of its time, in an entirely retro kind of way. I mean, it’s ahead of its time in what it’s references, that mainly being music from the 60s and 70s. They were definitely throwing back to that retro sound before it was cool. Their jazzy club sound is certainly more reminiscent of acts from the 90s, with Saint Etienne being the most obvious comparison.

This shit is groovy, that’s what it is. Makes sense, as the Shibuya-Kei scene from which they came was heavily influenced by 60s and 70s pop music (I mean, one of these tracks is a Simon & Garfunkel cover after all). PIzzicato Five own some Leslie Gore albums I know it.

A Japanese Woman Covering a Weezer Song Just Seems Super-Meta

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Sorry for last night’s random foray into drunk self-loathing. It won’t happen again…for at least a few more months.

Totally didn’t plan for another all-Japan post tonight. It just kind of worked out that way. I actually should have some interesting 80s/British/New Wave/dance stuff in the coming weeks. Grinding through a major backlog of records right now.

Pizzicato Five
Love’s Theme (Automator Mix)
Love’s Theme (Saint Etienne Mix)
Maybe someone more in the know can than me explain this to me: How the hell did Shibuya-kei music get ever-so-briefly popular in America during the mid-90s? Why that genre? What was so special about it? Remember when Cibo Mato and Pizzicato Five were on American MTV? How the hell did that happen?

Don’t get me wrong, I love both bands, but what made them the breakout stars? How come America couldn’t get behind X Japan? Or YMO? Or Boom Boom Motherfucking Satellites? Did someone from the Beastie Boys really dig Shibuya-kei or something? I assume it had to be a “this American artist likes this foreign music so let’s all like it now” kind of thing.

These remixes are from a 12″ single I found last week. I’m really digging them both, super chill. I need more stuff like that right now.

Akiko Yano
Tong Poo
Dogs Awaiting
Coloured Water
Say It Ain’t So

Akiko Yano is a singer who first starting releasing music in the mid-70s. While I don’t think she ever achieved super pop star idol status in Japan, she’s managed to maintain some level of success throughout her career, continuing to this day – a rarity in the Japanese pop scene. Throughout her career she’s also collaborated with countless other musicians of note, including Little Feat, David Sylvian, Thomas Dolby and Swing Out Sister.

One of her most notable collaborations, at least in my opinion, was with Yellow Magic Orchestra, who worked with her extensively on her 1982 album Dinner Is Ready. All three members play on the record, and Sakamoto produced the album (the pair also married around this time), pretty much making it an unofficial YMO album with a different lead singer. The album even featured a cover of YMO’s “Tong Poo,” which I’m featuring here, as well as a pair of other songs from the album that I especially love.

I’m also including her 2010 cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” because damn.