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SPRiNG BREAKERS: Spring Break 4 Ever!!!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 29, 2013 01:02pm | Post a Comment
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Spring Breakers, the name says it all. For all intents and purposes it is the what, when, why, where, and who of Harmoy Korine's latest youth culture thesis -- a 94 minute non-stop Girls Gone Wild-esque Dubstep rager that prudently substitutes a copiousness of style for a seemingly decided lack of dramatic substance, inter-cut with super slo-mo beach bosoms and bottom biscuits jiggling at a hypnotizing rate of frames per second. it doesn't make a much sense, but whatever. It's summertime and this movie rules!

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It seems to me that the real juice of the Spring Breakers fruit has little to do with cautionary tales, innocence lost or questionable actions, but rather it has everything to do with James Franco's cornrows. That is, soaking up the the overall look of the film, which seems to be inspired if not full-on endorsed by Vice Magazine sponsored American Apparel type fad-mongering marketing strategies, is as good as this movie gets.
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It shouldn't go without mentioning, however, that that highly skilled costume designer Heidi Bivens'  hot-neon, day-glo accented beach wear, DTF sweatpants, and pink unicorn ski masks really transport viewers into the hyper-surreal world of Spring Breakers to the point of outmoding the efforts of the aforementioned houses of haute hipsterwares for the trending-now crowd. Indeed, the joint efforts of Bivens and Korine, not to mention the talents of cinematographer Benoît Debie, seem to signify an extremely creatively driven approach to fully realizing this project, but the commercial element Spring Breakers presents is most definitely a fashion force to be reckoned with, whether the message translates as what to buy or what not to buy. For me, I couldn't suppress the urge to indulge in a cinematic marathon of summer fashion features after practically gagging on Spring Breakers.

Summer Jams: Turnstyle's "Riding A Wave"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 26, 2013 11:59pm | Post a Comment
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I don't know about you, but I'm not back on my quest for fresh cuts to flesh out my latest Summer Jams digest, I'm still on it! Though, "fresh" might be a less-than-ideal descriptive word for this latest discovery as it was very much exhumed from Amoeba's oldies bin during a protracted dig. Nevertheless, Turnstyle's "Riding A Wave" has become a favorite of mine over the last week, with many thanks to British music journalist John Reed -- a man I hold in high esteem for the compilations he has produced, namely Hot Smoke and Sassafras: Psychedelic Pstones Vol. I. I highly recommend this collection, but I digress...
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There's not a lot of information out there about the Turnstyle but that probably has everything to do with the fact that this act didn't last long at all. The band formed in 1968 by 17-year-old drummer and songwriter Mark Ashton and went on to record the somewhat edgy, average pop-psych single "Riding A Wave" (b/w "Trot") for Pye Records. Within six months after the release of the 45, Turnstyle supported the Nice for a few live dates before calling it quits without issuing any further recordings. Ashton, his wave riding days behind him as it were, took to the sky with progressive rock unit Rare Bird.
But wait, there's more!

As with my last Summer Jams post, spotlighting Nick Nicely's "On The Beach", some awesome kindred spirit in the universe has created a music video utilising some gnarly vintage film footage of surf, beaches, and bad boy surfers to accompany Turnstyle's "Ridging A Wave" in a such a way that I cannot help but fall in love with this addition to my Summer Jams 2013 mixtape all over again.

Summer Jams: Nick Nicely's "On The Beach"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 7, 2013 03:45pm | Post a Comment
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It's Summer and, as always, I'm looking to add to and expand my cache of Summer Jams. Amoeba Music, being the kind of fertile treasure trove that it is -- a place teeming with immeasurable opportunities for finding the next big thing (speaking from personal, individual perspective rather than that of a taste-maker or trend setter) -- my ears perked up when I overheard an esteemed co-worker passionately waxing poetic about the psychedelic sounds of Nick Nicely (or, rather, nick nicely, always spelled in lowercase letters, a musical alias he adopted in 1973 when then Nickolas Laurien claims "one mate said 'give us a fag you sod', and another said 'why don't you ask Nick nicely?'"). After discussing nicely's conspicuously obvious influence on Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and other contemporary Chillwave riders (or whatever else the hipster runoff calls it) I set out to further my travels down the rabbit hole with nicely's 1994 track "On the Beach" recommended as my point of departure.
And -- HOLY DIVER! -- what a flawless summer jam it is!

The below video pays proper tribute to the sensory vibes nicely's decidedly beach-y jam exudes, but I think that the ultimate factor qualifying "On the Beach" as an instant classic, timeless, enduring Summer Jam is the fact that this tune jives with the notion of a "beach sound" inhabiting a broad scope of meteorological conditions, a terrarium of ecological characteristics and pelagic spectrum of berm highs the likes of which Ariel Pink approaches on side A of The Doldrums (and perhaps nowhere else). Check it out:

Let's play Guess That Concert with James Mollison's The Disciples!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 27, 2013 02:40pm | Post a Comment

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Over three year period photographer James Mollison captured fans outside different concerts.  Fascinated by what he saw as "the different tribes of people that attended them, and how people emulated celebrity to form their identity" the project now known as his Disciples series began to see how the concerts became fellowship events where people could gather together in a sort of surrogate family, relive their youth for the span of a few hours or become part of a scene that thrived before they were born.The results are as inspiring as they are comical. A rad 128-page book documenting the project was published in 2008, but because I live for making fun out of fluff on the fly, I've assembled thirty-one images from the Disciples series below for Amoeblog perusers to play with. 

That's right kids! It's time to play Guess That Concert based on the super-fans' fashions (you'll find answers in the alt-text i.e. when your mouse cursor hovers over the image).

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Takako Minekawa emerges from a thriteen year hiatus with Ponytail guitarist Dustin Wong

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 20, 2013 05:26pm | Post a Comment
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Sometimes the wait for new material from a beloved recording artist can feel like an eternity, especially when their last album presaged a significant shift in one's personal musical tastes. In February of 2001 I picked up Takako Minekawa's Maxi On! on a heavy vibe-induced hunch (the cover art called to me for reasons I'll never understand -- this kind of thing happens to me all the time) and it forever changed the quality of pop music I seek and enjoy. I spent the next few years digging into her extensive back catalog, digesting it rapidly while anticipating a new release that never came. So began my fascination with an artist that had seemingly just shelved her career as a keyboard-collecting, color obsessed, cat-loving experimental electro-pop singer/songwriter indefinitely.
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Twelve years later and I honestly can't remember the last time I checked Minekawa's near dormant website for news or scoured the interwebs for any new transmissions indicating fresh airs from one of my forever favorite recording artists. Then the other day a co-worker (and kindred spirit who knows me very well) uttered the words, "hey, have you seen that new Takako Minekawa album? We have two!" Gobsmacked. Yes, gobsmacked is the best word for my reaction to this query. No, I hadn't seen it. I hadn't heard it or heard of it, but I am listening to it, again, right now, all fifty seven minutes.

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