Monday, September 05, 2005

K.O.G.A. Records Recommendations

An anonymous commenter recently wrote that he (or she?) had become interested in the Clicks after reading my posts and asked how he/she could buy the girl trio’s music. Simple, I thought—go to Amazon Japan, click the ‘display in English’ button, then order the CDs as you would usually do on Amazon. While I was at it, I thought, I ought to recommend a few other great CDs from the Clicks’ label, K.O.G.A. Records, run by one of the characters of the Shimokitazawa hamlet in Tokyo, Mr. Koga.

But looking for those K.O.G.A. albums, I was surprised to find that Amazon Japan didn’t stock many of them, perhaps because of their relative obscurity. I then remembered that a couple of commenters had said in the past that they had ordered Japanese CDs on CDJapan and found the Internet shop reliable. Worth checking out, I thought. And…Eureka! Almost every CD I was thinking about was available on CDJapan.

So, here are a few CDs I think you should listen to from K.O.G.A. Records, THE indie label for Japanese girl pop-rock-punk bands (the album titles link to CDJapan):

Good Girls Don’t compilation: This 22-song various artists album is a good introductory album to K.O.G.A. girl bands. I found out about bands like Teeny Frahoop, Mix Market and Jimmy Pops listening to this album.

The Clicks’ Magic of White: I wrote about this wonderful album here. This engaging, energetic rock threesome is, unfortunately, splitting up at the end of the year. Buy this album, and their debut album, Come to Vivid Girl’s Room, before it’s too late.

Teeny Frahoop’s Wee Wee Pop and 2nd Hospital: For a long time, like a guy stuck in a frontier outpost, I felt alone, as a foreigner, in my knowledge of how great Teeny Frahoop was.

But then I came across a review of their 2nd album, 2nd Hospital, by a guy who had actually seen the girl trio play live—something I couldn’t claim myself, because the band had long split up by the time I discovered them. This reviewer, in an excellent J-Pop review site called BadBee.Net, said that 2nd Hospital was one of the “best indie records” he’s heard in Japan.

I can see where he's coming from, because I do love the two albums that Teeny Frahoop released, Wee Wee Pop and 2nd Hospital, filled with catchy melodies, cutely rocking parts and quirky lyrics. I wrote about them before, here.

Automatics’ Quietude: A quartet led by songstress Momoko Yoshino, the Automatics have an instantly likable retro sound in this album: one that brings to mind 50’s rock and surf music. Yoshino sometimes sings in an extremely pinched-nose nasal way, for example in the excellent ‘Automatic Eraser’, that strangely grows on you.

Mix Market's Chronicle, Jimmy Pops' Minyalbum and Crawl's Milkicking (not available on CDJapan): These three are all good K.O.G.A. alternative rock bands with girl singers, though, to be honest, I sometimes get them mixed up. They have a similar sound: straightforward rock melodies with nice hooks, and high voiced female vocals. But if you like the sound—and I lap this stuff up—you’ll love these albums even if sometimes you think a Jimmy Pops is a Mix Market, and so on.

No comments: