Amoeblog

Psych Folk legend Eiichi Ohtaki dies at 65

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 10, 2014 04:01pm | Post a Comment
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Japanese singer-songwriter and producer Eiichi Ohtaki passed away at a hospital on Monday, December 30, 2013 after having collapsed at his Tokyo home while eating an apple, a piece which had apparently stuck in his throat causing him to choke. He was 65.

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Ohtaki's influential contributions to Japanese pop and folk rock music worldwide could not be more legendary. Born on July 28, 1948, he was perhaps most famous for being the singer/guitarist and founding member of Happy End (pictured left above),  a band he formed with fellow Japanese rock heavy hitters Takashi Matsumoto (Apryl Fool), Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (Apryl Fool/Yellow Magic Orchestra). From 1969 to 1972 the ensemble produced three studio albums that pioneered a highly revered heavy acid folk sound that made them Japan's most beloved and critically acclaimed classic rock bands of all time. More recently the ensemble won notoriety stateside when their song "Kaze wo Atusmete" was featured in the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost In Translation.

Happy End - "Kaze wo Atsumete" from Kazemachi Roman (1971)

Higashi Honganji Obon Festival 2012

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 7, 2012 10:44am | Post a Comment
Higashi Honganji Obon 2012

Obon
(お盆) is a Japanese holiday on which observers honor the spirits of their ancestors. Within Japan as well as the Japanese diaspora, Obon has been observed on different dates since Japan’s adoption of the Gregorian Calender in 1872.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Little Tokyo
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Little Tokyo

In LA and Orange County there were also Obon festivities on different dates that took place not only in several Little Tokyo venues but also in Anaheim, Gardena, Little Osaka, Venice, and West Covina. I attended the Obon Festival at Little Tokyo’s Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple (ロサンゼルス東本願寺別院).

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Stereopony Saddles Up for Amoeba Instore and U.S. Tour

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 6, 2012 02:23pm | Post a Comment
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They may not be the first all-girl band of hard-rockin' babes from Okinawa Japan to grace the stage at Amoeba Music in San Francisco but hear me now, believe me later when I say that the Stereopony live instore performance going down at 6pm next Monday night, April 9th, is going to be an affair to remember!

Having made their major debut in 2008, Stereopony has gained a great deal of notoriety by having their songs featured as themes for various commercials, television shows and anime series, most notably their fifth single "Tsukiakari no Michishirube" doing double time as the opener for Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini. Employing catchy melodic rock hooks reminiscent of the whole high school à la Brat Pack zeitgeist met with more than a dash of mid-to-late 1990's pop-punk angst (i.e. their live sets sometimes reveal a Green Day cover) it's impossible to imagine a

Check out the video below for "Hanbunko" to see what all the fuss is about and don't forget to grab a copy of Stereopony's latest release, More! More!! More!!!, when you drop by for the live Stereopony in-store performance at Amoeba Music's SF location on Monday, April 9th. That's right folks, Amoeba Music is the place to see live music, why? Because it's always fab and always free of charge, no tickets required; did it on'em.

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Acid Mothers Temple: What You Got in That Bag?

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 23, 2012 12:12pm | Post a Comment
acid mothers temple melting paraiso ufo japanese psych psychedelic rock makoto kawabata atsushi tsuyama naked woman breast underground music legend pink lady lemonade
Japanese psychedelic ensemble Acid Mothers Temple (and their countless subsequent appendages) are the stuff of legend. If one was to assemble a who's who of the SF underground (or otherwise) music scene of the last fifteen years for an A.M.T. campfire story tell-a-thon there would be so much surreal-deep dish served you'd think you'd have invented a freaky new kind of supper club. But whatever their exploits, be it the creation of long-distance, guru-level tripper jams or the pursuit of perfection via stones, women and long-player records the guys (& dolls) of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. always seem to me to be the closest I'll ever get to meeting, and I mean this in the most literal tense, a real life star trekker. They stop by Amoeba Music's galactic sector just about every time they play San Francisco (at least once a year it seems) and I cannot reiterate the fact that though they may share some resemblance to the usual off-brand Haight Street flotsam placed beyond the pale one cannot help but recognize the particular presence of Kawabata et al as a refreshing whiff of wizardry in the real. Check out what A.M.T. master shamans Makoto Kawabata and Atsushi Tsuyama picked up on their most recent trip below in this recent addition to Amoeba Music "What's In My Bag?" discovery video series, now with more Acid Mothers Temple!

Don't Dream It, Be It: Jero's Enchanting Enka Legacy

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 1, 2012 11:33pm | Post a Comment
In Japan, you'd have to living under a rock to not know Jero (or ジェロ) and prior to 2003 an event listing like the concert poster pictured below might have drawn attention for all the wrong reasons (see: Other).

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There is certainly nothing inherently other about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Jero, Jerome Charles White, Jr., but he stands apart from the pack in that he has, before the age of thirty, achieved living his dream of becoming the first successful African-American Enka singer in Japanese music history.

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Jero grew up among a str
ong influence of Japanese culture and began singing Enka at an early age due to his Japanese grandmother Takiko's enthusiasm for the genre. She had met Jero's grandfather, an African-American serviceman, at a dance in Yokohama during World War II. They married, had a daughter - Jero's mother Harumi - and eventually moved to Pittsburgh, his grandfather's hometown. Though his parents divorced when he was still very young Jero was reared under the cultural influence and familial guidance of his Japanese grandmother and his Japan-born mother in a mixed-heritage household.

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