Amoeblog

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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Is This Love? A Teasin' Pleasin' Glam Metal Wedding Lookbook for June

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, June 4, 2013 02:44pm | Post a Comment

Though I'm not the kind of person that whiled away my teenage fantasies dreaming up details of my future wedding plans, I will always and forever revel in the particulars of full-on fairy tale weddings of the rich and famous which for me, specifically my teenage self, were the painted faces and teased tresses posing in the pages of Metal Edge, RIP, Hit Parader, Kerrang!, Creem and Rock Scene. Four years ago today I got married to a normal guy with personality traits that resemble neither those of Slash nor Sebastian Bach (in other words, he'd rather not wear hats, never hides behind his hair and has yet to spend one thousand dollars on a single pair of leather pants). Anyway, in a sort of homage to the kind of rockers I loved to love in seventh grade (as evidenced by the names scrawled on my Trapper Keeper™) I choose to celebrate the anniversary of my nuptials by compiling wedding photos of some my favorite mid-late eighties and early nineties rock stars and the models, actresses, and model/actresses who loved them into a sort of Glam Metal Wedding lookbook -- the stuff that power ballads are made of. Enjoy!

Let's kick off this retro eleganza extravaganza with the most famous rock wedding that never happened, that of W. Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour as showcased by Guns N' Roses video for "November Rain."

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As you can see above, Seymour is so obviously owning the hottest-rock-babe-in-the universe bridal attire it's almost a shame she and Axl only video married and didn't get married married, which is what I like to assume they were planning on doing if they hadn't broken up before the "Illusions" video trilogy had completed filming. Just goes to show that in spite of how many times you believe you were "together" with someone in a past life doesn't necessarily mean it's kismet.

Cicadageddon 2013: Celebrate with Sublime Frequencies' Insect Electronica LP!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, May 24, 2013 02:44pm | Post a Comment

You know The Great 2013 U.S. East Coast Cicada Invasion is in full effect when local restaurants begin to tout cicada-centric menu items with hearty "if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em" gusto. For those unfamilar with the phenomenon, the Cicadageddon that emerges from the ground every seventeen years, North Carolina to New England, is a fleeting affair that has everything to do with sound and vision -- the pulsating reverberations of their billions-stong buzzworthy mating calls drowning out the din of daily life, outdoor concerts and all. But you don't have to live inside the E.C.C.S.Z. (East Coast Cicada Sex Zone) to get in on the sonic action as this sort of thing happens in other parts of the world and the well-traveled field recording gurus down at Sublime Frequencies want you to indulge your senses with their oh-so-timely vinyl release of Brokenhearted Dragonflies: Insect Electronica from Southeast Asia.

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This limited edition LP pressing of the long out-of-print CD from 2004 presents for your listening pleasure the sounds of swarms of male dragonflies gathered together to join in choruses of high-pitched tones for one purpose: they're looking for sex. The ones that don't succeed in wooing and winning their mates eventually scream so loud that their chests explode and they drop dead to the ground, or so the legend goes. These recordings are a tribute to this legend.
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Droning cicadas, dragonflies, and other insects display their charm as masters of the high frequency airwaves, recorded live and unprocessed by Tucker Martine in the lush settings of Laos, Thailand, and Burma -- the occasional thunderstorm included. Enter the supernatural world where entomology and electronica converge in a tropical hallucination of alien sound. Anyone who has ever wondered if these strange symphonies could be recorded or preserved as precisely as they sound in the field need look no further. Martine has done it and you will be transported to the exact experience one would encounter in these mysterious lowlands.

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Ready, Steady, GO! My picks for RECORD STORE DAY 2013!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 17, 2013 06:16pm | Post a Comment
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Hey kids! Do you know what this Saturday is?

Now, before you get all greenied on bleezing out in a cloud of puff-puff-pass for "Weed Day" or whatever the kids are calling their ritual observance of April 20th, you might just want to put a foot into your local Amoeba Music to participate in the sixth annual Record Store Day extravaganza! The limited and exclusive releases that drop especially for Record Store Day seem to increase with each passing year and the 2013 list is packed with tons of funky-fresh wax for all us vinyl nerds to gag and brag on. The Last Unicorn vinyl soundtrack movie anime america jimmy webb jeff bridges mia farrow joanna newsom man's road record store day dream album reissue german rare

When it comes to sifting my picks from the torrent I can't help but imagine how I would stack the offerings if I were HBIC of selecting RSD releases.Just off the top of my head, if I had my druthers, I'd demand a proper reissue of Don Cherry's Brown Rice LP for starters, but then I'd also have to have something berserk like a vinyl, possibly picture disc reissue of the rare Jimmy Webb written and America recorded soundtrack to the animated film The Last Unicorn, featuring vocals by the one and only Jeff Bridges. Maybe I could even convince Joanna Newsom to cover "Man's Road" for inclusion as a bonus track just to push the whole package over the top. Oh, if only I could have Record Store Day my way...but I can't complain, really. A girl can dream and there plenty to enjoy this year, here are some of the items I'm particularly excited about:

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At LAST: Kyle Field chats Little Wings' latest opus

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 7, 2013 03:20pm | Post a Comment

kyle field little wings Photo by Adam Zeke
 
Photo by Adam Zeke             

Earlier this year worlds collided when Little Wings took the stage at Cafe du Nord, one of San Francisco's best preserved former mobster speak-easy joints that maintains decidedly authentic-feeling with shadowy vibes fully trimmed in dust-covered scarlet velvet. Looking like a costumed "tourist" complete with a plastic lei and something like a Greek fisherman's hat, Little Wings breezed through a delightfully unpredictable set of mostly new songs from his first ever double LP release, LAST, his borrowed backing band (The Range of Light Wilderness I believe, sharing the bill that evening) jamming over a few false starts before eventually leaning into the billowy groove of the nearly seven-minute "Neptune's Next" that opened the show. A hushed wave broke over the crowd, and it was then that I noticed, and I could be wrong, but  I think maybe I could see that Kyle's teeth were painted.
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Accomplished visual artist, avid surfer, and "musician's musician" Kyle Field channels a great deal of his most personal energies and intuitive creative powers into recording and performing music as Little Wings, his ever-fluctuating entity that continues to inspire and challenge audience perceptions with multi-layered song cycles, subconscious-tapping lyrical head trips, and concurrent visual presentations that sometimes embrace an apparent love of adopting guises couched in a language of "the best costume for the day." Seemingly open to collaborations and improvisation, Field continues to garner praise from fans and contemporaries like Will Oldham a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince Billy and Feist who not only named her 2010 documentary Look at What the Light Did Now after a Little Wings tune but also covered and performed it as a duet with Field as well. Though admirers may tend to paint him as something of a folk hero from time to time (this bromantic GQ piece on Kyle being a prime example), Field seems to play it close to the vest when it comes to his self-expression despite having publicly sharing so many personal pieces. I recently corresponded with him and learned a lot about the new album (2LP! out on Field's own Rad imprint via Marriage Records), what he's listening to lately, and "free friction" in surfing. Read on for the interview!

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