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Look at these adorable ladies:
Aren’t they sweet? They’re Nisenenmondai (which apparently means “Year 2000 Problem,” remember that?), a veteran Japanese trio that has been playing a sick blend of lo-fi/wall-of-sound/punk/noise/distortion rock for a decade. The music is, all at once: cerebral, playful, aggressive, daunting, methodical, modern, mathematical, organic impulsive, deliberate, visceral and new. Hunh.
In short, Nissenmondai sounds (IMHO) like this:
Filed under: Adorable, Asian Ladies Rock, Awesome Japanese Bands, Denim Art, Distortion Rock, Don't Be Fooled By That Cute Facade, Hokusai, Hybrids, Japanese Bands, Ladies Who Rock, Lo-Fi Sounds, Nisennenmondai, Pleasant Cacophony, Pretty Ladies, Punk, Veterans, Year 200 Problem
We’ve got a lot of love for Portland’s The Slants, a synth-rawk outfit whose dark dance anthems (for reference: check their record Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts) trumped The Faint and The Killers in our party playlists loooooong ago.
But they must have known: deep inside, the people even more jiggy energy in them, just waiting to be tapped. The band just released Slants! Slants! Revolution—an album of their tunes, remixed for even more lively party people than us (or funkier partays than ours). Think about rolling with all of your gaysians to da club on Fridays, or rolling large on Hollywood Boulevard after a Depeche Mode concert, or tripping out in baggy jeans in the desert with all of your, ehrm, closest friends–this would be the perfect soundtrack.
Happy birthday to Karen O, who turns 30 on Saturday! O Karen, how we love you. And your bowl cut-combover hair. And your “O” faces. Your crazy stage outfits, which frequently involve forgetting pants. Your red lipstick. And the fact that sometimes you wear the makeup of a demented Harlequin. We can’t believe we have to wait a year to hear your soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are, which may be the only thing that keeps the Dave Eggers-penned, Spike Jonze-directed movie from becoming a unbearably precious, indie douche-saster. O well!
Filed under: Asian Ladies Rock, Dave Eggers, Douche-sasters, Karen Lee Orzolek, Karen O., Mixed People, Native Korean Rock and The Fishnets, Spike Jonzes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Where the Wild Things Are Movie
It must be pretty hard to share the stage with Beyoncé and get noticed. This explains why, when you do see her performing with another artist, it’s usually with someone legendary, like Prince or Tina Turner. We can only imagine what her little sister Solange has to go through as “the other singer” in the family, and every time we see her pictured next to big sis, shrinking in B’s unearthly glow, we have this little sisterly urge to send her cookies and teddy bears.
But that’s exactly what happened during last week’s SNL, while we were watching Beyoncé work the cleavage and the legs up to here, the booty and the wind in her hair (midway through the first song, someone actually cued what seemed to be an industrial fan). That’s when we spied with our little eye a really hot Asian chick with cute bangs bangin’ on the keys. Her name is Rie Tsuji, and she hails from Saga, Japan, and she’s one of the two keyboardists in Beyoncé’s all-girl band, Suga Mama. Oh, also…bitch can play.
Here’s Rie during The Beyoncé Experience tour in 2007, busting with a solo:
Rie and the rest of the band will be touring in 2009 for Beyoncé’s most recent album, the crazazily-titled but undeniably catchy I Am… Sasha Fierce.
Typically, leaked emails expose people as the dumbasses that they really are. Like the one written by a Hollywood assistant who mistakenly thought Rosh Hoshanah was a person. Or the one written by a celebutard publicist who called director Wim Wenders “Vin Bender” and chewed out a writer for bothering the publicist with questions when “it’s Oscar week, for god’s sake.” (Oops! My bad. That’s from my own inbox. Ah well–consider it now leaked!)
Emails are often windows to the soul–the lesser, bitchier, un-spellchecked soul. This is why most people need Mail Goggles, an ego to the id. Barack’s little sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, needs no such thing, however. In a post-election email sent to close friends that was leaked to Time, she wrote of her brother’s victory:
“I wept tears of joy for all of us on Tuesday. He may not be a perfect man. Certainly, he has often said that he’ll likely be an imperfect President, but he is a good man, a smart man, a disciplined soul who balances temperance with determination and courage. We’ve made a great choice, I assure you.”
And on the fact that her beloved grandmother’s death and the election of her brother happened within days of each other:
“There’s a wide swatch of emotion cutting through me, sometimes swirling, never simple … a briny mixture of elation, sadness, determination, regret, pride, hope, fatigue.”
Um, wow. After reading that, I’m feeling a briny mixture of HolyCrapILoveYourProseStylings and CanIBeYourNumberOneFanOrYourBestFriendWhateverWorksForYou and HopefullyMyLoveForYouMayaSoetoroNgIsn’tTooCreepy.
Surprise, surprise…M.I.A. is already contemplating coming out of retirement. Last week, the singer/rapper told Entertainment Weekly, “With the success of ‘Paper Planes,’ there’s pull for me to make another record. Even my
Hardass Asian mum believes in me more…But I was planning my life as a fishing woman on the outskirts of Cambodia.”
Oh, Y.O.U. Such a K.I.D.D.E.R.
What happened to the Indie Rock Chick? When did that DIY lady get so pretty, preening, and slight? (Answer: right around Liz Phair’s third album and Courtney Love’s eighth nose job.) We’ve been waiting for the badass indie rock chick–cut from the beer- and sweat-soaked cloth of Kim Deal–to re-emerge for some time now, and we think we’ve found her in Renminbi. Although their name is the word for Chinese currency, Renminbi is Brooklyn-based and riot grrrl-rooted. Co-founders Lisa Liu (guitar, vocals) and SMV (keyboard, vocals) take us back to the early 90′s, when indie rock chicks could drink, smoke, shit-talk, and play anyone under the table and didn’t wear precious girly gear like leggings and shiny headbands. Despite being a three-piece (different drummers have cycled in and out) and not having a bass player, Renminbi still makes a big, badass, unapologetic rock-us. And that, friends, is what we call being “lady-like.”
Trade in your old currency here.
Normally, bands classified under the heading “World Music” make our skin crawl (and break out in hives, eczema, disfiguring acne, et al.). But L.A.-based, Cambodian-American band Dengue Fever‘s particular blend of surf rock, psychedelia, indie cool and retro vocal stylings–courtesy of gorgeous lead singer Chhom Nimol (that’s Miz Chhom to you)–puts it in a category all its own. We promise that their latest album, Venus on Earth, will be the perfect soundtrack to your hot, hazy, stoned summer.
Get more worldly and listen to Dengue Fever on MySpace here.
If you’re in the L.A. area, go see Dengue Fever this Saturday, June 21, at the KCRW Make Music Pasadena event for FREE (The Raveonettes, Kinky, The Little Ones and others are also in the line-up).
Hails from: San Francisco by way of Tokyo
Occupation: Writer and blogger
Why She’s a Babe: Because her blog Tokyo Mango rules, and she writes about Japan, geek culture, gadgets, and news of the weird with a wry but personal gaze. And she’s a woman after our own hardass hearts–her new book Urawaza, a resource of “Japanese tricks to turn your everyday life into science fiction,” promises most intriguingly to show its reader how to “Do Everything Better.” Plus, she’s a cute chick who comments on robots, WWII documentaries about Japan, and fetish cafes, and who doesn’t love that?
Check out Lisa’s book on Amazon.
We’ve all had those awful moments of realization: We have our mother’s moon face. A third-world flat nose. Our dad’s beady-little almond eyes. Sausage knees. A flat ass. Non-existent cheekbones. Five feet of tiny height. Or whatever else is wrong with us, that can be magically assessed in a highly unforgiving full-length mirror.
All of which make it very difficult to look like Gisele Bündchen, or like the Sweet Valley twins that you read about through grade school, or your Barbie dolls, or that bitchy, skinny, matchy-matchy perfect 10 that your crush, Jeff, is going out with instead of you.
In those moments, it’s so easy to daydream about how easy it could be to get just a little something done. Maybe a little eyelid snip ‘n’ pull like your friend Jenny got on her “mother-daughter trip” to Korea. Or perhaps a bit of work on your nose to help out with that deviated septum.
I must say, I was a bit taken aback, though not surprised, by the tip I received numerous times this week, all of which pointed to: Asian-Americans are more down for plastic surgery than anyone else these days.
Hey, it’s not like I haven’t thought about it, or marveled at the wonderful work I’ve seen on my newly round-eyed relatives. But it does bum me out.
When are we going to realize that we’re blazin’ hot the way we are? We don’t get old, we don’t get fat, and hey, from what I hear, white people seem to like us just the way we are. So maybe we should start liking ourselves.
Last night, while celebrating the publication of Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music in lovely, oft-ignored Downtown LA, Christine Balance (shown rocking her accordian above) made a five-minute case for the pop listener’s re-contextualization of The Breeders’ vintage strummer, “Drivin’ on 9.” As she broke down her deep and sincere love for Kim Deal, I fell a bit in love with Balance–and was delighted to hear the shameless plug for her sweet isle-indie new wave band The Jack Lords.
Let their gentle ocean tunes take you away! And then listen again.
Saucy, sassy, pretty South Korean “diva of the streets” Lim Jeong-hee, a 26-year old known for staging mini street concerts and blessed with both a woman’s voice and a studious child’s dexterous fingertips, is teaming up with everybody’s favorite hip hop duo OutKast for her first American release this year. This announcement was made only a year after Lim made the initial leap to New York to learn English.
Can’t quite picture such a match up? Check her out in the video below
spanking covering Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” and you’ll start salivating for the first release.