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Friday, January 21, 2005

I Like Your Happiness

A couple weeks ago when I posted my best of 2004 list, one of the albums that snuck in near the end was Asobi Seksu's self-titled debut. I have no problem admitting that what first attracted me to the album was its gorgeous cover art, done by Sean McCabe: a heavily made-up Japanese girl in a pink cardigan lying on a bed surrounded by polaroids and a 45 phonograph. She's clutching tissue in her fist; her heart has clearly just been broken. The picture above appears to be an outtake from the sessions that produced the cover. It reveals a lot (the Jane Birken record, her legs and socks) that the cover left out. It really is a nice cover, all but guaranteed to reel in those of us who still care about what kind of package our plastic comes in.

But I didn't buy the album on the strength of the cover. What do I look like, a fool? I did some research, found out what Asobi Seksu means (look it up!), learned that the vocals are in Japanese and English (a +) and that the band is compared to My Bloody Valentine (a huge -) in nearly every review. Despite the cover, the Bloody Valentine comparisons took a serious toll on my interest. In fact, I probably wouldn't have picked the album up if I hadn't found it for dirt cheap in a used bin somewhere. I'm glad I did though: on the strength of a few great songs, it's a promising debut from a New York band trying to spice things up, at least a little.

I don't know that I would've posted about Asobi Seksu any time soon if it weren't for Fire Of lovE, a truly eclectic blog featuring everything from punk to gospel, mentioning in my comments section that he/she also had his/her interest peaked by the cover. So, here's your chance to hear Asobi Seksu, not live or in-person, before they get truly huge...which they will.

Asobi Seksu - "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me"

Asobi Seksu - "Walk On The Moon"

I believe these are the two singles from Asobi Seksu. "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me" is my favorite song of theirs: the pumping synths, Yuki Chikudate's deceptively tiny voice and that effortlessly happy melody...and that's well before James Hanna's guitar engulfs the chrous. You're right, I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but I'm too caught up in the tidal wave of noise to care.

There are a couple more mp3s on Asobi Seksu's website, as well as a link to buy the album at Insound if you like these songs.

Let me add, if I haven't made it clear enough already, that Asobi Seksu is a full, four-person band. On the off-chance that the band reads this, I apologize in advance for using the picture of only Yuki. I think it's disrespectful when the frontman or woman for a band, regardless of how photogenic he or she may be, gets all the attention. In this situation, I needed that particular image for the opening of this post.

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