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That's funny...I just picked up the reissue of Message from the Country a few weeks ago.

I also pissed all over myself, but I wasn't listening to Chinatown while sitting at a cafe in Shimokitazawa...I was in the middle of giving a very important career-defining presentation at work.


I'm actually more of an ELO guy, but I think Message from the Country is a wonderful album, as most of The Move's output.
Have you ever listened to Jellyfish covering "I Can Hear the Grass grow"?
And, just out of curiosity, is there still any kind of following for 60s british pop music (and derivative US stuff like The Raspberries and Emitt Rhodes) in Japan?

I'm actually more of a Roy Wood guy, but I know what you mean. I think I've heard the Jellyfish cover before...it's on the Fan Club box set, right? They also did a Pink Lady cover when they came to Japan. SOS, I think. Andy Strummer was born to Puffy.

Big love for power pop over here, even if very few people have heard of Big Star. Many small labels releasing old nuggets and a few record shops that would blow your mind. That's why I like it here.

We should talk about pop more...

A band which is hugely influenced by The Move is The Shazam (the name says it all). I truly advise you to check them out if you haven't still, they have four albums under their belt and their second record "Godspeed The Shazam" is one of the most amazing powerpop records EVER. And anyway, Patrick, what do you think about Puffy, musically? Being an Andy Sturmer devotee, and being Puffy the vehicle through which he decided to channel the only music he put out since Jellyfish, I expected the world from them, and of course my expectations have not been completely satisfied... I understand they're a huge phenomenon there in Japan, though.

I have Tomorrow the World by The Shazam and it rocks....haven't heard Godspeed The Shazam, but now it's on my list.

Speaking of Japanese labels issuing cool lost power pop, check out Air Mail Recordings (www.airmailrecordings.com). They've issued some interesting stuff, including Memphis popster Van Duren's first album, which is really good.

Any truth to the recent rumors of a homemade, gay-sex video featuring Tomino surfacing? I would be very interested in seeing exactly what the legandary creator is packing, and how long he can sustain an erection before climaxing.

I’ve also got Tomorrow the World, and think it’s great from back to front. Love the slight country bent (they’re from Tennessee, right?), which is something they seem to have played down of late. I have God Speed as well, but I don’t think it comes alive until pretty late in the game, around Calling Sydney. Then, it’s the tops. Bonus points for the Monster Zero sample during City Smasher. Must be some missing link between power pop and kaiju eiga, I’m sure of it…

Puffy is not as big here anymore as Sony and the Cartoon Network would have you believe. Confined to the “that old shit” pile by most people. Most give Tamio Okuda credit for their song writing and production. When I tell folks I’m mad for Ohtaki Eiichi, they recommend Okuda’s solo stuff. Some nice Beatlesque gems in there, but also some dullsvillie. You can tell he saves the candy for Puffy.

I remember the staff of Tower Record in Sacramento scoffing at 14 year old me when I bought Jellyfish’s Bellybutton. “Some people will buy anything, you know.” I can’t remember why they were so hated so immediately. Was it because of MTV? The fact that they looked like a gay Enuff Z’ Nuff? I though the CD was pretty good, but not the modern savior of pop that some people did.

Spilt Milk sort of snuck out, and I didn’t hear it until the late nineties. Then I totally got the Jellyfish hype. At least half the record takes place on pop Mount Olympus. Strummer said it in an interview and I agree with him. New Mistake is up there with God Only Knows and the very best of them.

I got all giddy when I heard that Strummer was writing and producing Puffy, but I haven’t heard anything from the pairing that I’d call essential. Well, aside from the Tararan single, which is cute as a bug in a rug and my favorite Puffy song. If anything, the tossed off new version of Joining a Fan Club just sort of rubbed me wrong. The teenage symphony to God has become a tin whistle. Still, I wish all participants the best.

Jellyfish sidestory: anyone else like Roger Manning’s Imperial Drag? They released one really, really bad “modern rock” record, but those are fun sometimes. I’m huge on Urge Overkill, so the Cheap Trick with a shitty keyboard sound doesn’t bother me at all. I sometimes crave the Drag for a couple of days in advance, and then wonder why I bothered listening to it after I’m done. But hey, that’s pop music for you…

Oh, and the best power pop band in the world now is Silver Sun.

Patrick, I love Imperial Drag and I'm still convinced we got only a sample of their potential with that only record. The recently released demos (about 40 songs were demoed for that record, and many of the best didn't make the cut) show that they had still many arrows in their quiver. The songwriting duo of Dover/Manning wasn't maybe huge as the Sturmer/Manning one, but still solid. And I guess they were somewhat succesful in Japan, because I swear I heard a cover of Zodiac Sign playing in a Cowboy Bebop episode (don't remember which one, though).

And about Roger Manning: have you got his solo record, last year? Isn't it great?
I admit I shed a tear or two when I finally listened to the work of my hero after many, many years... Ah, you know, I could go on and on forever about Jellyfish. What a great band they were...

I'm ashamed to admit I still have to check Silver Sun. But after your recomendation, I'll hunt down their records. Any advice about where should I start?

I haven't heard the Manning solo stuff at all. Is it more rock, pop, or what have you?

If you look around on various BT trackers, you can find the new Silver Sun LP Disappear Here. It's great, but their s/t debut is hard to beat (shades of Cheap Trick, no?). Also killer is their Japan-only comp You Are Here, which collects early singles and eps. I don't see how a power pop fan could not shit themselves over it. The only thing they did which blew is their 2nd record Neo-Wave. Really uninspired and dead. Happy to have them back.

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