The long-maligned "Me" Decade, which gave us 10 years of
egregious soft rock and stomach-churning stadium acts, may actually have been
one of the most radical and diverse periods of popular music around the
From Fela Kuti's return to Nigeria where he would revolutionize West African
pop to the the birth and/or flowering of disco, hip-hop, krautrock, new wave
and punk, more music of 1970s persists and remains influential today than that
of any other decade we can think of.
Reupped again on May 8, 2015, here. Every time I've gone to Chicago, and the one time I was in Montreal, I've picked up half a dozen to two dozen Vietnamese CDs, mostly pop music recorded in Vietnam before 1975--though I do have a relatively sizeable collection now of Vietnamese rap, all recorded in the States. The pre-75 stuff rarely disappoints. That said, it also rarely, in the words of my Minneapolis sound poet friend, Erik Belgum, "blows head off." Last weekend, however, I picked up something that defintely BHO. This is, at least for the moment, my favorite pre-75 Vietnamese pop CD. Hope you like it. Here's something else by Phương Dung, not on the CD, but still pretty fabulous, to listen to while you're downloading:
The long-maligned "Me" Decade, which gave us 10 years of egregious soft rock and stomach-churning stadium acts, may actually have been one of the most radical and diverse periods of popular music around the globe. From Fela Kuti's return to Nigeria where he would revolutionize West African pop to the the birth and/or flowering of disco, hip-hop, krautrock, new wave and punk, more music of 1970s persists and remains influential today than that of any other decade we can think of. On May 13, fBodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio took a 3-hour tour around the globe and through time, from 1970 to 1979, exploring some of the most ear-bending tracks of the decade. LISTEN TO THE SHOW NOW IN THE ARCHIVES
On Wednesday, May 6, Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio celebrated one of the musically richest countries on the planet with a three hour firestorm of afrobeat apala, breakcore calypso funk, hip-hop juju, fuji garage rock, psychedelic school band and much more. Hear all-time heroes alongside one-hit wonders; obscure 78s, platinum LPs and scratchy, catchy 45s. Listen to the show now in the archives!
[Re-upped once more on April 25, 2015, at a reader's request] When I was in Tokyo in mid-2010, I spent a couple of full days wandering around almost all of the 9 floors of the massive Tower Records superstore in Shibuya.
When I got off the escalator at floor 2, which houses Tower Shibuya's extensive J-Pop and J-Indies stock, I was immediately struck by a kind of mini-shrine made up of of the CDs of Asakawa Maki, most of which seemed to feature grainy black & white photographs of the singer on the cover, often smoking.
I had no idea who this mysterious enshrined singer was, but after a bit of YouTubing and Googling, I was able to figure it out. Asakawa Maki was born on January 27, 1942, in Nagoya--she'd have been 70 years old this month had she not died in 2010, just shy of her 68th birthday. She got her start singing in U.S. Army bases, but got her big break in a series of concerts organized by avant-garde poet and playwright, Shuji Terayama in 1968. (Terayama would write lyrics for a number of her early songs.)
Over the next 40 years, Maki (as she was often referred to) released some 30 records, only slowing down in the aughts. She continued to perform live up until her death. She was one of the greatest, most expressive singers of all time, not just in Japan, but in the world.
Listen to "House of the Rising Sun" live
FILE ONE Asakawa Maki II Asakawa Maki no Sekai Black
Blue Spirit Blues
Cat Nap FILE TWO
Maboroshi no Onna-tachi
Nothing at All to Lose
Ura Mado Maki V
Yami No Naka Ni Okizari
On April 22, Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio celebrated the crazy, infectious music of Bappi Lahiri, Bollywood's self-proclaimed Disco King. Lahiri, whose mother and father were both musical professionals, may be best known for the soundtrack to 1982's outlandish and hilarious Mithun-vehicle, Disco Dancer, but there's more to this composer -- and frequent musical plagiarist -- than first meets the ear. We danced our sweet asses off to many of the hits, of course, but we also dug deep into the Lahiri catalog, exploring crazy experimental collaborations with Kishore Kumar (including a just-discovered track from a film that -- holy role reversal, Bappi! -- Kumar directed and wrote the music for and which Lahiri belted out) and surprisingly haunting melodies from the early 70s, to extended Hindi disco mixes from the 80s, to award-winning Telugu tongue-twisters from the 90s, to remixes and "rap" from the 2000s to today. And, we heard a few things his parents recorded as well. Listen to the show now in the archives