Sex, drugs and sitars

May 2, 2008

Sex, drugs and sitars

Blame Julian Cope. Nine months ago, the eccentric pop star of the 1980s turned author published “Japrocksampler,” his essential guide to postwar Japanese rock ‘n’ roll, and declared Flower Travellin’ Band’s 1971 lysergic head-banging classic “Satori” as his joint-favorite “Japrock” album of all time. ...

The revolutionary tale of Mikami's enka blues

Mar 28, 2008

The revolutionary tale of Mikami's enka blues

Kan Mikami once beat the crap out of David Bowie. Mikami’s dustup with the Thin White Duke occurred in the Pacific War saga “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” (1983), in which he had a small role opposite Bowie as the sadistic Lt. Ito. Bowie’s fame ...

MY PLAYLIST: Cornelius

| Mar 21, 2008

MY PLAYLIST: Cornelius

Keigo Oyamada stopped writing hits a long time ago. Not playing the pop star suits him just fine. It gives Oyamada — formerly of Flipper’s Guitar but better known since 1993 as avant-pop boffin Cornelius — more time to indulge his multimedia fantasies to ...

Ian Brown

| Feb 29, 2008

Ian Brown

‘Every time I do interviews, they ask me about the same things — poverty, war and the power of the church,” says 45-year-old Ian Brown by telephone from Manchester. Tired of being quoted out of context, for his latest solo album, “The World is ...

Feb 22, 2008

The Bawdies "Awaking of Rhythm and Blues"

Few bands are better placed than R&B revivalists Bawdies to ride the current Showa Boom. Listening to this second album from the mod-attired Toyko four-piece — leader Ryo “Roy” Watanabe (bass/vocals), Taku “Taxman” Funayama (guitar/vocals), Yoshihiko “Jim” Kimura (guitar/vocals) and Masahiko “Marcy” Yamaguchi (drums/vocals) ...

The hotel of eternal youth

Jan 18, 2008

The hotel of eternal youth

It was reportedly good enough for Elizabeth Taylor. It kept Chairman Mao forever young (until he died). And Charlie Chaplin went straight to the source — a clinic in Bucharest — for it. Now, thanks to a tieup between Romania’s government and the high-class ...

From trailer park to catwalk

Nov 9, 2007

From trailer park to catwalk

“Sorry, I’m having pure chaos!” It’s 7:45 p.m. on a cool, late summer’s evening in Portland, Oregon. Beth Ditto will soon be entertaining a full house, and her cat has just bolted out the front door. Still, Ditto, the Arkansas-born, openly gay frontwoman of ...

Oct 26, 2007

Vashti Bunyan "Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind"

Thirty-five years — that’s how long it took for singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan to be convinced there was an audience ready for a followup to her long-lost 1970 classic, the Joe Boyd-produced “Just Another Diamond Day.” Among this swelling fan base was the likes of ...

MY PLAYLIST: Robert Wyatt

| Oct 26, 2007

MY PLAYLIST: Robert Wyatt

“I think there are more jokes on it than people might realize,” says one of the most distinctive voices in British pop, Robert Wyatt, when asked why his latest album isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute listen despite being titled “Comicopera.” “I used to joke that ...

Chats backstage at Fuji

Aug 3, 2007

Chats backstage at Fuji

‘Mine’s best’ ‘It’s been lovely,” said former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker toward the end of his Friday afternoon set at FRF ’07. And indeed it was. The JT caught up with Cocker backstage after his show and asked him to elaborate. How was the ...