Monthly Archives: December 2006

WTF, US media?

WTF, US media? Why must I learn about new albums from Rufus Wainwright and Tracey Thorn from my Bloglines feed of OOPS Music, a Japanese music site?

A track from Thorn’s forthcoming album can be heard on her MySpace page. Amazon UK lists the release of the album for March 5, 2007. I don’t see a US date anywhere.

Wainwright’s new album, Release the Stars, is expected in May 2007, and the executive producer on board is Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. How gay.

[UPDATE, 12/20/2006, 23:08] Pause & Play lists Thorn’s album for a US release on March 20, 2007.

Now It’s Overhead: Dark Light Daybreak

There’s nothing incredibly impressive to hear the first time you play Dark Light Daybreak by Now It’s Overhead.

There are no flashes of virtuosity, no stretches of intensity, no trickery behind the sound board, no gimmickry in the songwriting. It’s a guy in a studio with a bunch of guitars, a rhythm section and at times a drum machine.

Now It’s Overhead started off as a studio project for sound engineer Andrew LeMaster, but it’s evolved into a full-fledged band. Dark Light Daybreak sounds like the result of such a development.

The only thing that could possibly reel a listener in is the sense there’s more to music than what the surface indicates. It’s catchy if only because it’s not trying to be.

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Quick links to news

Used to be, the moment I saw something interesting on, I’d write about it post-haste. My fascination with Japanese indie rock has cooled off considerably in the two past years, so there’s no onus on me to get that first scoop.

Still, it would be good exercise for my waning Japanese skills to pull out a translation now and then. So here are a few headlines that might interest long-time readers.

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Listen: Spiny Norman – Nauru

404 Pi´ikoi St. was a popular address back in ’80s. Located across the sprawling Ala Moana Shopping Center near Waikiki, 404 Pi´ikoi was the antithesis of its behemoth neighbor. The parking lot was marked with potholes, and the building itself had seen better days. It couldn’t really rise to the level of "strip mall".

For a time, 404 Pi´ikoi housed a number of independent music stores — Jelly’s, Records Hawaiʻi and Froggie’s. Before Jelly’s moved in, a local discount retailer named Job Lot aired annoying commercials that turned the address into something of a jingle.

404 Pi´ioki is no more. The property was bought up by developers to turn into the parking garage of a building built in the early ’90s — the Nauru Tower.

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The rock what comes after

I went on a Temporary Residence buying spree because of Friday Night Lights. It’s one of the best shows on television right now, and the soundtrack employs a lot of music from Explosions in the Sky.

You think a show about a Texas high school football team would use nothing but country music, but the moodiness of Explosions’ music makes it a really nice fit. Once I got a hankering for Explosions in the Sky, I couldn’t stop at just one.

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Listen: Värttinä – Katariina

I had a Celtic music phase when I was in college.

I would listen to Clannad, Altan, Talitha MacKenzie, Mouth Music — I liked the sound of Irish and Gaelic being sung.

I signed up to be on the mailing list of Green Linnet, a label specializing in the genre. For a little while, the label expanded into world music and signed the likes of the Klezmatics and Värttinä. My introduction to both bands was on a Green Linnet sampler, and I ended buying the former’s Jews with Horns and the latter’s Aitara from Green Linnet’s mail order catalog.

Both albums occupy permanent spots in my collection.

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A strange idea for a New Year’s Resolution

I wrote only seven entries for the entire month of November.

I blame my lack of productivity on NaSoAlMo, but at the same time, I feel kind of daunted by the backlog of listening I’ve accrued. It’s the same kind of backlog that made me redesign this site a little more than a year ago to be less of a burden. Now that burden rears its head again.

New, new, new, new, new — it seems most music writing focuses on what’s new and what’s next. I’ve been trying to focus more on what I like (note how I don’t say what’s good) than on what’s new. But the "new" trap is an easy one in which to fall.

So I’m toying with a strange New Year’s resolution for this site: to spend an entire year writing about nothing but what’s already in my CD collection.

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One-sentence reviews: On the playlist

Yes, the sound you hear are crickets chirping in the winter cold. I’m posting a quick entry just to prove there’s still life in this wheezing, dying corner of the Internets. I’ve been doing other projects that’s taken me away from all my web sites, so isn’t singled out in that regard.

While I’m doing these other things, I am still listening to some music, if my user profile is any indication. Seems like my playlist has more of a classical slant lately. Here, then, are some of things occupying my earspace:

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