Saturday, January 24, 2004

Shinjuku New Music Saturday

Got to fly today and my iPod has been feeling a little neglected lately, so I slinked down to central Shinjuku's shopping area to find a record store. I was in luck (I usually shop for CDs in Akaihabra or Shibuya) and found a Tower Records and HMV right off. I only had about one hour so I took the sure bet and headed into Tower. Skipping the J-Pop sections, I found two new CDs that I didn't even know where out: The Get Up Kids' "Wouldn't Believe It" and No Motiv's "Daylight Breaking." I snatched both and headed for the airport.

The Get Up Kids are one of my favorite bands for two reasons: they don't let Emo confine themselves to whiny ballads about some chick who might have screwed them over and they attended the University of Kansas when I was there. I actually saw them at the Bottleneck once or twice, but never knew they were going to get this good. "Wouldn't Believe It" is an EP with two preview songs from their coming album "Guilt Show": Wouldn't Believe It and Martyr Me. Both songs are quite good and signal a further maturation of their previous album, "On A Wire", sound. Martyr Me is definitely the better of the two songs. "Wouldn't Believe It" also contains two acoustic songs: Wish You Were Here (from "On A Wire") and I'll Catch You (orign unknown). Both songs are strong but the recording of both are a little weak - apparently he recorded these in his house. "Guilt Show" should be out in late February. I think this EP is a Japanese only issue.

I have been listening to No Motiv for a little while now. Some of their stuff has been really good, but other cuts are a little tedious. However, I am looking at a 9 hour flight so I took a flyer on this. "Daylight Breaking" has ten cuts which depart from their previous Pop-Punk / Emo blend. Both of these bands are on Vagrant Records, so I don't know if their shifts in sounds are a natural maturation of their songwriting or some marketing attempt to broaden their audience while decreasing their label's risk of financial ruin if the Emo market collapses. Either way, the album works on the strength of several strong songs: Life Goes On, Robot Eyes, Where Did You Go? and Into The Darkness (the first single). Not any standout hits, but a solid listenable album overall.

To round out my flight playlist, I snagged a few songs from iTunes:
  • White Stripes "Seven Nation Army"
  • R.E.M. "Imitation of Life (Live From Trafalgar Square)"
  • Saves The Day "Firefly"
With all seventeen songs burned and fed into my iPod, I donned my noise cancelling headphones and settled back into my seat for the long ride home.

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