ATJ/CMJ Saturday show MOVED
I've been busy, this you might know. Nevertheless, I am making time to wash my hair and put on some clean spittle-free clothes in order to celebrate CMJ with the After The Jump crew and - wait for it... wait for it... - BEARSUIT. Yes and yes and yes! How fantastic is that? It's safe to say Soft Communication exists largely because of this band (object of desire for our very first music post all those carefree years ago) and the fact that they are here in NYC makes me happier than I can possibly say. I won't be rehashing any of the many posts I've done on them before, simply do a search on the name Bearsuit to see some of my past frothing at the mouth rambling, I'll just say COME SEE THEM FAH REELZ. I will be standing up front with hearts in my eyes.
By the way, the show has been MOVED. This is an important detail. It is no longer at the Yards thanks to tomorrow's apparent deluge so the whole shebang is taking place at The Market Hotel in Bushwick instead. Many other delightful bands are playing but seriously BEARSUIT. Gawd.
I have been listening to a lot of Misora Hibari and her covers lately. Not for anything, just because a sentimental connection to the past is the one thing driving me forward these days. The present, may I put none too politely, fucking blows. Hibari's songs did much the same for her country then as they do for me now. Born the same year as my dad (1937), understandably there's nothing political, challenging or angry in anything she offers. There is gentle, loving, witty, bawdy and even dreamlike testimonies to more idyllic times. She sings and once again the world is beautiful and worth one more look. After all, I'm the working man. I am tired of hearing my country put down and shamed. There's hard times ahead and the economy is a lot more than embarassing. I just wanna turn on my radio and laugh about that meddling rickshawman.
What I want from a cover is the familiar but not the expected. UA works classic songs like classic fabrics. She cuts here, embellishes there, twists and turns all the while maintaining the integrity of the original in a way that is neither boring or predictable.
Try finding Misora's original RINGO OIWAKE りんご追分 and then I highly recommend digging up UA's version. In English, it's called "Apple and the Fork in the Road". The song was Misora's first hit at the age of fifteen. It's operatic highs and lows, typical of classical enka, sound as though she is lulling a snake to sleep. This clip of her singing it in a film I don't know the name of absolutely silences me. Misora's sounds like it came out of an old Western (hoofbeats and all). UA takes it to the beach.
Speaking of apples and nostalgia, this video of Shiina Ringo's cleverly titled "Ringo no Uta" (Apple Song) makes me smile as it literally recounts the chronological turns of her aesthetic. Ah, for those carefree pseudo-fetish days of pouty rock.
Another song I'm listening to a lot is Oborozukiyo-Inori 朧月夜~祈り (Prayer for Moonlight). This erhu-laced romantic pop version sung by the likeable Miss Mika Nakashima is pleasing to me in that this is so not a pop song. It was written in the 20's as a traditional piece to help students learn the koto and shamisen. Aiko Shimada's version sticks to more traditional threads and is intended to be a lullaby.