Posts Tagged ‘japanese motors’

Year end collection: compilation #13

Happy belated Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwaanza, Hannukah all. I finished putting compilation #13 together nearly two weeks ago, and have been handing out CD copies as party favors and Christmas tips (big spender, me). Now it’s here for your listening and downloading pleasure (click HERE to access it; right-click and “save target as” to download…as far as I know, you must download one song at a time; let me know if you find otherwise).

Now my year end compilation is not one of those “Best of the Year” sets (for that, you’ll want to get Buzz Biscuit’s “Cream of Eight” set, which I hope he’ll be blogging about here on the website soon); it simply reflects what I’m listening to since I wrapped up the last compilation, volume 12, back in August. Volume 13 does a little looking back, looking forward, and looking at right now.


Sydney Australia’s Lenka starts of the set, with a song I mentioned in a September post, “Don’t Let Me Fall”. Trite, sweet pop, I’ll grant you, but nicely done. Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) of Sao Paulo is up next, with a song that reaches way back, “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex”. Probably familiar to you from the iPod Touch ads that have been airing for over a year (though I understand that it was in a Zune commercial a year before that!). I probably should have used their “new” tune, “Jager Yoga”, which I’m hearing a lot on Indie 103.1, but I missed the original boat on CSS and have some catching up to do. Santogold (first featured on these pages back in May) is next up with “Shove It”, featuring Spank Rock, another great track off her late April (2008) self-titled debut CD.

Not my typical Scandinavian find, Emiliana Torrini sparkles with “Me And Armini”. The Icelandic girl with the Italian name (and father, of course) might be known to viewers of Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and Lord of The Rings, which have all featured her lovely voice. Not me….not till her CD dropped in September was I aware, and she’s been releasing music since 1994! (well, in Iceland, that is). Following Emiliana is Dan Black with “Yours”. Not much bio info on Dan, whose MySpace page lists London/Paris as his home. He’s a great example of that wry British take on hiphop, a la The Streets (they date back to compilations #1 and #2, circa 2004). Check his cover of Biggy’s “Hypnotize” when you have a sec.

The next two tracks, Nickel Eye‘s “Brandy Of The Damned” and “No One’s Better Sake” by Little Joy have in common that they’re each the result of side projects by members of The Strokes, Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti respectively. Add these to the two brilliant releases by Albert Hammond Jr., and Julian Casablancas starts to look like a slacker.

I’m not sure where I first heard new Zealand’s The Naked And Famous; probably on Passport Approved, since they don’t seem to have a MySpace page (?). “Serenade” is a beauty. Following that is my favorite (this week, anyway) of the bunch: “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap. They’re from Australia, and I bet they get huge when they play SXSW next spring.

“Spendin Days” by Japanese Motors was in a late October post by Buzz Biscuits. Having a “co-conspirator” here on the blog has been a great way to learn about new stuff (“Which Way To Go” by Eddy Current Suppression Ring and “The Book Of Matches” by Gentleman Auction House also came to my attention via a Buzz Biscuits post.

Glasvegas was in a post earlier this month, and are among the bands I’ve learned about by listening to Passport Approved on Indie 103.1, along with Cockandbullkid, Ida Maria (she’ll remind you of Bjork), and Amazing Baby. Ditto The King Blues, who have a nice Rancid vibe.

Where I found Neon Neon’s “Dream Cars” and Dune’s “No Speed” is a mystery to me: I’ve been holding on to them for to long to remember where I got them. Copenhagen’s The Asteroids Galaxy Tour was yet another gift from Steve Jobs and an iPod commercial (kooky fun; check out their MySpace). Switches’ “Drama Queen”, posted in August, came from an old Spin magazine a friend “recycled” to me.

I was fortunate to hear about Simon Says No! via the band’s management, and posted about them in November. The Kaiser Chiefs haven’t been on a compilation of mine since spring 2005 (#3), but they’re new CD is terrific, and will be played everywhere I hope.

With 23 songs, volume 13 has no extra space, so some deserving tunes didn’t make the cut (I thought I had included Cut Off Your Hands’ “Oh Girl” until writing this post; maybe if I assemble #14 soon I’ll be able to use some of them. Anyway, happy listening….and Happy New Year!


Dios (Malos), Underground Railroad to Candyland, Japanese Motors

When I saw this picture…

…and read the band’s name, Dios (Malos), I was definitely intrigued.  I just knew there was no way this investigation wouldn’t pay off.  Turns out they’ve been around for a few years.  Originally called Dios, they changed their name after a threatened lawsuit from the, ahem.. great… Ronnie James (coming clean, at one time I did have a Dio concert t-shirt!).  Since then it looks like they’ve changed their name again, and are now known as We Are Dios.   It also appears that they have an upcoming album under this name, which can be sampled on their myspace page.  But with their stated disdain for the ‘business’ it looks like they are currently without a label, so who knows when it will be released.

Their bio indicates a definite punk-rock aesthetic.  From LA’s South Bay area they cite Black Flag and the Minutemen as influences.  But musically, they are more in line with a different band from their hometown of Hawthorn, the Beach Boys.  And more specifically the studio experimentation of Pet Sounds.  They write catchy, clean pop songs which then become the basis for exploration. Impressively though, they don’t lose sight of the main piece while exploring, which means you find yourself happily lost in these tangents, not bewildered about what just happened.  So if you like your beach pop with a detour, these guys may be for you.

Live tracks, like those from their sessions for Daytrotter, are understandably more direct.  My favorite from this sampling is Some Alcohol, but DJEddieO might prefer the cover of Paul McCartney’s Let Me Roll It (link to the original).

If you like Dios (Malos), but want a little more straightforward SoCal beach punk, try The Underground Railroad to Candyland.  Dios guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter Joel Morales is also in this band, but seems to be mostly in a supporting role.  The standout song for me is Livin’ In A Straw, whose video captures their vibe pretty well.

Finally, sticking on the SoCal coast, Japanese Motors probably have the best chance of being found on a radio sometime soon, if not already.  There’s no doubt where their roots are either, Single Fins and Safety Pins could be the beach-going punk’s answer to Roadrunner.  Throw in a Strokes and Lou Reed/Velvet Underground reference and you get an idea of where they stand.  Perfect summer soundtrack… I don’t care if it is autumn in New England.