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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Over It: Foxtails Bridage Finds Beauty in Not Really Feeling Christmas, This Year

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 23, 2011 11:18am | Post a Comment
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It's Christmas eve eve and whether or not you're reeling in feeling the frenzy of the heightened excitement of the season there's always room for a little plaintive introspection. Local auteur/chanteuse Laura Weinbach and her chamber-pop ensemble Foxtails Brigade are among many who have released a special album for the holidays this year, but no seasonal tribute has ever so sweetly serenaded the ghosts of Christmas past quite like their single "I'm Not Really In The Christmas Mood This Year" from the album Time Is Passed. The song is a beautiful if painfully heart-tugging reminder that the Christmas monster needs taming, a glockenspiel and brush lullaby for the lovers of the true meaning. Plus, it comes perfectly packaged in a ruefully gorgeous, must-see visual medium, do check out the video below!

 
Merry Christmas all, even if you're not really feeling it, this year.
 

Synthsual Seduction: Getting Intimate with Blonde Redhead's Penny Sparkle

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 14, 2010 11:00am | Post a Comment
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A while ago, right here in this blogosphere, I shared a memorable, if somewhat goofy, moment I experienced in conversation with Blonde Redhead where it was determined that their signature sound is, seasonally speaking, " cold, like winter," punctuated by drummer Simone Pace's joking that they've been trying to score a "summer hit" all these years. True, there's nothing very ruddy or relaxing about the raw, malodorous roots they laid down in their hard-rocking early days, prompting fans to coin the multilingual heart-breakers as "art rock" darlings while some persnickety critics underrated them as Sonic Youth wannabes. Alas, that "certain damaged" sound that Guy Picciotto (of Fugazi and Rites of Spring fame) coaxed into the production Blonde Redhead's middle children albums (In An Expression of the Inexpressible, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and Misery is a Butterfly) is as gone as the no wave, DNA inspired D.I.Y. joie de vivre captured on the band's Steve Shelly (of, duh, Sonic Youth fame) produced self-titled debut as well as that of their self-produced, non-slump of a blonde redhead penny sparkle cover art record review album 4ad goth alan mouldersophomore effort La Mia Vita Violenta and it's bewitching follow-up Fake Can Be Just As Good (sigh). However, I believe congratulations are in order as it seems that Blonde Redhead have, with Penny Sparkle --- their eighth full-length album in fifteen years, their third record for the 4AD label --- created the most lusciously polished, goth jewel of a make-out record since the Cure's Disintegration dropped in 1989.

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