Monday, December 29, 2008

Music: columbia*readymade

I feel I owe so much to Japanese maestro and all-round fab-taste guy Konishi Yasuharu. As if it wasn't enough he gave the world Pizzicato Five, and also the Readymade label (and that's just for starters), he's recently worked with Columbia Japan to release this fantastic series of CD reissues of 1960's soul/jazz/lounge/easy albums.

I've tracked most of them down on ebay (only 2 to go) and they are just swell. It's hard to pick favourites, but Keitaro Miho's bizarre Sound Posey Sachio is hard to beat with it's jazzy numbers on side one complete with overlays of race cars and Japanese racing announcements(!).

All of the CDs come in beautiful card mini-album sleeves which just serve to make them even more desirable.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Art: Eastlink Freeway

The new Eastlink Freeway has some fun artwork included which make the journey less monotonous and also cute, and a tad creepy.

My two favourites are:

Public Art Strategy by Emily Floyd

A giant (and it is HUGE) blackbird looking at a geometric worm, little more to say really, but it's great - this is the cute one.

The creepy (in a good way) sculpture is Hotel by Callum Morton

It's a small scale hotel (probably equivalent to a real 2 or 3 storey building), but in a shrunken, Lilliputian style. You can see a metal staircase inside, but presumably there are no actual rooms (it's hard to tell, but I'd love to be able to go in and find out). The dark skies in this photo make it a bit more David Lynchian, and like all art it's in the eye of the beholder - some might find it amusing, but I found it to be attractively spooky and quite brilliant.

Soap: Pop Ink - Clean & Slobber

I bought this soap at the Metropolis sale yesterday. Nice retro graphics from the Charles Anderson archives.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Record: 20 Solid Hits Volume II

This album, the Majestic compilation '20 Solid Hits Volume II' transports me straight back to being a kid when this was one of the small amount of records I owned* (how times have changed...).

There are some great tracks on here including Freda Payne's Band of Gold, Lonely Days by The Bee Gees, Jimmy Cliff's Wild World, Lynn Anderson with Rose Garden, The Osmonds One Bad Apple and Lally Stott's bubblegum classic Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. I wasn't as keen on Reg Lindsay's Armstrong and Black & Blue by Chain, but you don't care when you're a kid, you just take it all in - well, that was in the days of vinyl, these days the young'uns might not be so forgiving as it's easier to skip a track on a CD. Oh, it's also got Elton John doing Your song and Bobby Sherman (on the cover sitting in a crazy hand-chair) and his hit-0-rama Julie, Do Ya Love Me?

Featured as well on the cover is Lynn Anderson all bedroom eyes and a blonde mane, Freda Payne with her slightly quizzical head tilt, floral top and choker and the band Flake (nothing to do with the chocolate bar or fish that I'm aware of) sitting on some ugly chairs holding two fencing swords. They also have an ottoman, a ye-olde oil lamp and a stuffed dog toy that is made to look half asleep (one eye open) who also has a daisy on its head. Under the title is an geometric circluar pattern (possibly made to resemble a target) and the whole thing is textured which I used to find quite fascinating. What can I say, when you're young you have the time to really go into the detail of these covers...

Also on the back cover is an ad for the Record Selector - "the new space age device for storing and selecting your favourite records" (this prescence, and the K-Tel logo down the bottom, suggest that Majestic was either a front or sub-label/franchise of K-Tel) - I have a Record Selector by the way, a modern marvel, but they do tend to destroy the bottom of the record sleeve. There's also an encouragement for the music lover to purchase 25 Polka Greats which is "NOW ON SALE" in case you were in any doubt - a sales pitch my family, at least, resisted.

*Well... technically it belonged to one of my sisters, but it became mine.

Farewell to "The most exciting woman in the world"

Sad news to report - Eartha Kitt has passed away. The cause was colon cancer. She was 81.
Some years ago I met Eartha Kitt at a signing here at the MYER deprtment store in Melbourne, Australia. She signed this postcard for me and I also presented her with my copy of "The Fabulous Eartha Kitt & The Maurice Levine Orchestra". She accidentally dropped her gold texta marker whilst preparing to sign the record, and after collecting it and checking it hadn't left a mark on her outfit she looked me in the eye and said "You excite me young man."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music: Vanilla Beans

Some pop perfection and a genius video, Japanese pop cuties Vanilla Beans with "Nicola". Great choreography and butterflies too. Prepare for multiple plays!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music: Pizzicato Five's Inspirations

I found these on the net - they're a great look into some of the record sleeve inspirations of the now defunkt ever-great Japanese pop band Pizzicato Five. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Music: The Gloo Girls

I'd forgotten all about the Gloo Girls. I saw them in a fanzine a long time ago and thought I should try and find their records (I was never able to, but I think I've just managed it thanks to the Internet).

Check them out - they're great!