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Old 02-22-2014, 10:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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This section of MusicBanter being the one I enjoy reading the most, I decided to start my own music journal.

I am not a native-speaker so I apologize in advance if I happen to butcher english language from time to time


I think I will write mostly japanese and french artists here to offer something a bit different but I have no particular rules. It can be about a single song, a whole record, trivia facts, rants... about various genres of music.

I'm also looking forward for your recommendations
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totosama View Post
I am not a native-speaker so I apologize in advance if I happen to butcher english language from time to time
Welcome and most English speakers butcher the language as well.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Aunt Sally - s/t
(Vanity Records - 1979)


Aunt Sally was a short-lived band, part of the first wave of punk in Japan. The band was leaded by Phew, a young japanese girl who had the chance to experience punk in London during a trip during the summer of 1977. Aunt Sally line-up was not usual for the time in Japan, with three girls at the front (guitar, vocals and keyboards) and two boys in the back (bass, drums). Aunt Sally was first influenced by bands like The Ramones and Sex Pistols but quickly stopped copying other bands to focus on creating their own sound (despite the fact they could hardly play their instruments). Their first and only album shows a band far from the typical idea of one can have of punk music. I guess the closest artist of this era I can think of would be Patti Smith.

From the eleven tracks of this LP, 'Subete Urimono' ("everything is for sale") is the only catchy and punk-ish song while the others are more lullaby-like delicate tunes. Phew's out of tune singing adds a fragility feel to the music. The album first and last tracks are longer dissonant and tangled compositions which remind me a bit of Sonic Youth. Aunt Sally has a deliberately soft and austere sound which sets the band apart from most of punk bands from that era. This LP was recorded in only a day so, obviously no overdubs or production tricks here.

This was also the first album released by a punk band in Japan, the less-expensive EP format being the choice of many Tokyo bands at the time (Aunt Sally was from Kyoto). The other seminal records of the genre were two compilations released by major labels (the Tokyo Rockers LP and Tokyo New-Wave LP). Another trivia fact : the record cover is a photograph by Masayoshi Sukita who also did the iconic 'Heroes' cover for David Bowie. Not only Aunt Sally album has historical importance in japanese independent music history but it remains a great listen more than 30 years after its release. I can only recommend this album if my approximate description sparked an interest for you.

Aunt Sally disbanded shortly after the release of this album because 'the only goal we had was to release a record, we didn't have anything else to say with the band at this time'. Phew's next record would take the shape of an EP produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto before going to Germany to work on her first solo album with Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit.

Aunt Sally - Subete Urimono :




Aunt Sally at Drive To 80's festival (1979)
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Last edited by totosama; 02-22-2014 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey, welcome to the journal section!
Don't worry, there are several other non-native speakers on here, Taxman and I, for instance. Besides, I think you're doing just fine.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to journal land!
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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SERGE GAINSBOURG - Aux Armes Et Caetera (1979)



'Aux Armes Et Caetera' is the 13th studio album by french singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Released in 1979 after a series of four concept-albums (Histoire de Melody Nelson, Vu de l'extérieur, Rock Around The Bunker and L'Homme à tête de chou) which failed to be commercially successful, this album was recorded in Jamaica with famous reggae artists like Sly & Robbie and the I Three.

Serge Gainsbourg said later that he had to convince Sly & Robbie that he was more than a dirty alcoholic old man and played them some of his early songs at the piano. One of them was 'La Javanaise' which will appear on the final album in a reggae version ('Javanaise Remake').

'Aux Armes Et Caetera' is the first big commercial success of Serge Gainsbourg. He was then famous as a songwriter but his own albums failed to find a large audience. Gainsbourg was disappointed that songs he wrote in 30 minutes for other people would sell so much while his concept-albums in which he put a lot of effort remained ignored. The idea of recording a reggae album is born of a track on L'homme à tête de chou : 'Marilou Reggae' was already a reggae song but recorded with french musicians in Paris. Gainsbourg decided to go further in this direction and Jamaica appeared as the best choice to record a whole authentic reggae album. To this day, 'Aux Armes Et Caetera' remains the best french reggae record ever released.

The lyrics covered a wide range of themes from typical Gainsbourg obsessions (sex on 'Lola Rastaquouere', ugliness on 'Des Laids Des Laids', death on 'Pas Long Feu') to new things like drugs on 'Brigade Des Stups' (even if he has already composed the soundtrack for a movie called 'Cannabis' in 1970) and physical violence on 'Relax Baby Be Cool'. Gainsbourg was then playing with his public image and how the french public saw him at this time : an old stinky ugly man. He would create the Gainsbarre character after this record and played with it until his death at the end of the 80's. Gainsbarre was a parody of himself, Gainsbourg in his most digusting aspects. This schizophrenic artistic process started on this album.

The most famous song on this album is of course 'Aux Armes Et Caetera', a reggae rendition of the french national anthem 'La Marseillaise'. The song stirred up controversy upon its release because of the way Gainsbourg makes the national anthem his own and made black musicians play it this way. He was accused of being anti-patriotic, the song title and the chorus being especially unbearable for most of the french public. Gainsbourg only cared to sing in a very casual way the beginning of the chorus and only added 'Et Caetera'. Because of this laid-back and too relaxed version of what is mostly a war anthem, he faced many problems in the following months with militaries coming to his shows to keep him from performing the song. A famous episode is a show he was unable to play in Strasbourg in January 1980 due to the pressure and violence of military parachutists in the audience. He went on stage to sing the national anthem acapella in a 'traditionnal' way. The booing quickly became the whole crowd singing along 'La Marseillaise'.

Gainsbourg said later in a TV interview about what remains his most famous and successful song : "I didn't write the lyrics and I didn't write the music".

Years later, he bought the original partition of 'La Marseillaise' and was finally able to say that he owned the national anthem and was able to do whatever he wanted with it. This provocation sparked the 'Aux Armes Et Caetera' scandal again in France.

'Aux Armes Et Caetera' is not my favourite Serge Gainsbourg album but the high-quality reggae music played by Sly & Robbie (amongst other jamaican respected musicians) fits perfectly the 'talk-over' style of singing he adopted in the second half of his career. It is a very solid reggae record and Gainsbourg once again appears as a lyrical genius on most tracks.

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Old 02-27-2014, 05:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Very cosmopolitan! There are a few people on here who enjoy Japanese music (not me personally) so you'll definitely have an audience, and it's something very different to most of the journals here. As ever though it's about the writing for me, not the music, and you seem to be doing a fine job so far.

Welcome!

And I can see nothing wrong with your English.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for the feedback! I will keep on writing this journal and I hope you'll get to know good japanese bands! Japan has a band for everyone
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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GUERNICA - Kaizou He No Yakudou
(1982 - Yen records)



Guernica was a musical unit formed at the beginning of the 80's by Koji Ueno (keyboards, violin), Jun Togawa (vocals) and Keiichi Oota (artwork, visual concept, lyrics).

Koji Ueno had already been involved in different bands of the first wave of punk in Japan (Shonen Homeruns, 8 ½, Halmens) and used to hang out at the Nylon 100%, a «*new-wave café*» in Tokyo. He met Jun Togawa there, a young girl who was trying to become an actress/model at the time. Koji Ueno has been composing and recording music by himself with a drum machine and synthethizers while he was in 8 ½. A friend of Ueno called Keiichi Ooto wrote some lyrics, thought of the name Guernica and draw illustrations to give a visual form to the project.
He finally convinced the young Jun Togawa to sing on these songs and the trio started to perform at Nylon 100%.

Guernica music was different from everything the post-punk and new-wave scenes in Japan. I can't even think of a western band with a similar sound. Koji Ueno recreated a 1920's/30's cabaret style using only synthetic sounds making Guernica a sort of minimal retro-synth pop group (does it make sense?). Jun Togawa style of singing is very special by being grandiose and hesitant at the same time, I guess you either love it or hate it. Guernica soon gathered a lot of attention from the new-wave scene and what was meant to be a recreation for Koji Ueno began a more serious project when Haruomi Hosono (of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the biggest band in Japan at the time) offered to produce and release a Guernica album on his newly created label, Yen records.

The result is Kaizou He No Yakudou, an 11-track album (13 on the CD reedition) who is still considered by japanese music lovers as one of the best album of the era.





Guernica disbanded soon after the release of Kaizou He No Yakudou. Koji Ueno will release a solo album on Yen records and Jun Togawa will become the most successful solo artist to come out of the new-wave scene during the 80s. I will talk about her solo works and the band Yapoos she fronted in this journal. Guernica reunited shortly in 1988 and released a second album called Shinseki He No Unga.
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