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ROCK OF ASIAN: UA’s Cover Album, Kaba

July 7th, 2010 | 2 comments | Posted by Diana

I have no idea why I didn’t become a fan of Japanese ingenue/art/lounge/dirty-voiced singer UA (a chosen name that means both “flower” and “kill” in Swahili) at some point over the last decade and a half of her career. I say with honesty that I regret it. I hate myself for it. I’m annoyed to just be discovering her just now, simply because she just released a covers album to celebrate her 15th anniversary, and it’s fucking amazing. Lord knows I respect a brilliant cover—especially when the material being covered is the kind of stuff that seem far too difficult, important, or obscure to do justice.

On Kaba, UA applies gritty, raw, funky vocals to songs of all those varieties, both Japanese and American. For the English speakers, she tackles a track that perhaps too many people know intimately, “Under the Bridge,” yet breathes new life and a unique motivation into the words originally penned from rock bottom in 90s Los Angeles. She also modernizes Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” simplifies Björk’s “Hyperballad” and shakes up Aretha Franklin’s “Day Dreaming.”

The album is available via download on iTunes, and you can also listen to samples free on Battlestar Records’ site. I’ve included a few teasers of the aforementioned songs below, though. Enjoy!
Continue reading ROCK OF ASIAN: UA’s Cover Album, Kaba

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Did Aretha’s Inauguration Hat Have More Diva Attitude Than The Queen of Soul Herself?

May 12th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Luke Song, the hatmaker who designed Aretha Franklin’s infamous Inauguration Day hat, is suing several firms he’d previously done business with who’ve copied and sold the hat without his permission. In the federal lawsuit he filed last week, Song alleged:

Moza’s hat worn by Aretha Franklin (hereinafter the “Original Inauguration Hat”) gained instantaneous fame and notoriety, attracting much more media attention than even Aretha Franklin’s performance itself. The Original Inauguration Hat has generated, and continues to generate, worldwide attention. In fact, following President Obama’s inauguration, Luke Song and Moza were featured in prominent newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times (Exh. D) The Original Inaugural Hat had immediately become such a cultural icon that it was soon parodied by entertainers such as Ellen DeGeneres because of its lavish and ornate design was so distinctive.

Wonder what Aretha thinks about The Hat upstaging her performance. What do you think? Continue reading Did Aretha’s Inauguration Hat Have More Diva Attitude Than The Queen of Soul Herself?

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