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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!
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