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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TAMA - しおしお CD, Album, 1989 (ナゴムカンパニー)


Well, here I was in Japan and living in a very small town that was part of Kitakyushu.  An old port town that saw better days before the war.   I couldn't speak a word of Japanese when I lived there, and my main entertainment was watching this late night TV show called "Ika 10" or something like that.  It started off at Midnight and it seemed to stop around 4 in the morning.  It was an old fashion battle of the bands type of show, where the best band do a song, get judged, and then get invited again next week, and then they keep going to the top of the pyramid.  The great thing about this show is that they basically ignored the boy or girl band J-Pop sound, and focused on eccentricity.  In other words, a true group of indie rock bands, but kind of weird for the mainstream at the time. Yet, the show became a hit of sorts, and all the bands made records, etc.

One of my favorite bands from this TV show was a group called TAMA.  I didn't only like them, I was crazy about TAMA.   The Tokyo fab four's line up was acoustic guitar, minimal drum set, electric bass, and accordion and some keyboards.   The music was pre-world war two Japanese pop but twisted.  Their clothing they wore on stage was also from the era of the late 1940s.  A very strange band. 

I bought their CD with great anticipation, and I wasn't disappointed.  As mentioned the music is very acoustic based, I guess in a sense Japanese folk music, but with a lo-fi aesthetic and very catchy.  To me, and being a foreigner, I thought for sure if I can bring them to the U.S., it would be TAMA mania.  Four good-looking guys, who play (really) original sounds.  It was an ah-ha moment for me.  Alas, I didn't have the means or perhaps talent to be a manager.   As far as I know this is their first album, and they continue to make albums for the next five or six years.  I think they are brilliant.