Light in the Attic

Various Artists”Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986″ (Light In The Attic)

2020-04-30T22:45:13+00:00April 30th, 2020|

When Light In The Attic released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in 2019, it was the first collection of its kind to be released outside Japan. It proved to be just what music fans had been waiting for—a compilation of sought-after tracks that had been nearly impossible to obtain unless you were well-connected with dealers and collectors, or traveled regularly to the countless record stores in Japan. Pacific Breeze included Minako Yoshida, Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and Haruomi Hosono among other key players of ‘70s-’80s Japanese City Pop, the nebulous genre that encompassed an “amalgam of AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie and disco, all a touch dizzy with tropical euphoria,” as we described it the first time around.

With Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986 we dig deeper into those sounds of bubble-era Japan. From the proto-City Pop funk of Bread & Butter and Eiichi Ohtaki to the crate-digger favorites Eri Ohno and Piper, the latest entry in Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series brings another set of sought-after tunes, most of which have never before been available outside of Japan. Tomoko Aran and Anri, also included in this compilation, are just a few of the artists who have gained popularity in recent years thanks to Vaporwave, the meme-genre that heavily samples Japanese City Pop to create its particular aesthetic.

Pacific Breeze 2 once again feature the artwork of renowned Tokyo-based illustrator Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have become synonymous with City Pop. Nagai’s urban tropical imagery is a perfect match for the expertly curated tunes, evoking a certain sense of nostalgia for the leisure lifestyles of ‘70s-’80s Tokyo, while simultaneously being perfectly in tune with the current zeitgeist.

Record Label: 

Various Artists “Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987” (Light In The Attic)

2020-04-16T20:19:55+00:00April 16th, 2020|

Memphis has always been a studio town, where making hit records looked easy. An unknown Elvis could walk into Sun Studios and cut a side, while Willie Mitchell worked his magic around the corner at the Hi Records studio. This vast studio ecosystem meant that even when Stax Records folded in 1975, everybody still knew somebody who could get them into a real recording facility. The city’s largest player in the business was gone, but the possibilities that it introduced were not.

Stone Crush is the definitive overview of Memphis’ modern soul scene of the post-Stax years. It’s a collection of funky tracks of hope—from dentist O.T. Sykes, who traded dental work for studio time, to the ad-man who moonlighted as the visionary mastermind behind Captain Fantastic & Starfleet, few of them ever had anything to do with a hit, but across the board, each believed. Like Cato Walker, whose father’s gig as B.B. King’s driver got him an in, and The Bar-Kays’ former costume maker Libra, some had tangential connections to the city’s deep-rooted music scene that gave them a head start on their hopeful path to fame. Over a decade in the making, Stone Crush is an expertly curated compilation of these home-grown slices of Memphis stylings, from roller skate boogie to private press soul to bedroom funk—rare sides whose original copies are considered holy grails by DJs and collectors all over. This collection does more than transport us to a time gone by. It helps us hear what couldn’t be heard then.

Record Label: 
Genre: 

Various Artists “Kearney Barton: Architect of the Northwest Sound” (Light In The Attic)

2020-03-13T20:34:16+00:00February 20th, 2020|

When Seattle-based recording engineer Kearney Barton died in 2012, the 80 year-old studio veteran had spent the past 50 years recording the cream of the Seattle music scene through the decades. The Fleetwoods, Quincy Jones, The Ventures, The Wailers, The Sonics, Ann Wilson (Heart), The Frantics, The Kingsmen, and Dave Lewis to name a few. Barton also captured Seattle’s vibrant 1960s-70s R&B and soul scene, including Black On White Affair and Soul Swingers, among others, as documented in Light in the Attic’s Wheedle’s Groove series. In his later years Barton’s old school reputation drew in contemporary bands like Young Fresh Fellows, The Smugglers, The Minus 5, and The A-Bones into his studio. Essentially, when a local unknown band wanted to make a demo tape, or record their debut album, or perhaps someone just wanted to capture their uncle playing banjo or their kid sister’s first songs, they’d go to Barton’s studio.

There were 7,000 reel-to-reel tapes piled up in Barton’s house at the time of his passing. The University of Washington carefully cataloged these tapes, and former Sub Pop employee Dan Trager (who had learned the art of recording from Kearney years earlier as a student) began listening and taking notes. With input from a team drawn from the university and Light in the Attic, Dan compiled a shortlist of essential tracks that would form the basis of this compilation.

Kearney Barton: Architect of the Northwest Sound is a comprehensive document of Seattle in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. It is also a testament to Barton’s life-long dedication to the art of recording. It includes long out of print recordings originally released by local labels such as Jerden, Topaz, Piccadilly, and Etiquette Records. It covers a wide range of genres: sitar and balalaika players, gospel church choirs, unknown garage bands, steel drums, obscure soul artists and teenage a cappella singers. There’s also some familiar names here: Sonics, Wailers, a young pre-Heart Ann Wilson, Larry Coryell making his first ever studio recordings with Chuck Mahaffay, the Hudson Brothers long before they were on TV.

“However diverse, there is a commonality that stands out among his recordings: hardcore analog fidelity,” says University of Washington archivist John Vallier. “It sounds like you are in the room with the drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. The mix is minimum. It’s a raw, sonic reality, even if the band is poppy and jangly. It’s an honest sound that doesn’t sugarcoat what’s being performed. That’s Kearney, too.”

Record Label: 

Jim Sullivan “Jim Sullivan” (Light In The Attic)

2019-10-25T03:48:15+00:00October 25th, 2019|

On March 4, 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost. Some think the mafia bumped him. Some even think he was abducted by aliens.

By coincidence–or perhaps not–Jim’s 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O.. Released in tiny numbers on a private label, it too was truly lost until Light In The Attic Records began a years-long quest to re-release it–and to solve the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance. Only one of those things happened, and you can guess which…

Light In The Attic’s reissue of U.F.O. introduced the world to an overlooked masterwork and won him, posthumously (presumably), legions of new fans. Those new admirers are in for a real treat: a lavish reissue of Jim’s 1972 sophomore album, Jim Sullivan.

The self-titled LP was originally released on Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner’s short-lived Playboy imprint. Horns sweeten this funky and bombastic session driven by Jim’s unmistakably larger-than-life voice and exceptional song-writing chops, alongside a cast of legendary session musicians including Jim Hughart. Another LP you’ll rarely see in the wild, it is by no means the poor relation of U.F.O., but rather a big stride into country, folk rock, and swampy blues, mesmerically finger-picked, brass-bedecked, and with that uniqueness of phrasing–part crooner, part jazz singer–that makes Sullivan such a rare performer.

Each song could have been a bonafide radio hit, but with spotty promotion and negative connotations surrounding the Playboy name, the self-titled album suffered a fate known all too well and fizzled out. While Sullivan’s disappearance remains unsolved, his music endures and is finally gaining him the recognition he deserves, albeit long overdue.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Jim Sullivan “If The Evening Were Dawn” (Light In The Attic)

2019-10-25T03:48:13+00:00October 25th, 2019|

On March 4, 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost. Some think the mafia bumped him. Some even think he was abducted by aliens.

By coincidence–or perhaps not–Jim’s 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O.. Released in tiny numbers on a private label, it too was truly lost until Light In The Attic Records began a years-long quest to re-release it–and to solve the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance. Only one of those things happened, and you can guess which…

Light In The Attic’s reissue of U.F.O. introduced the world to an overlooked masterwork and won Sullivan, posthumously (presumably), legions of new fans. Those new admirers are in for a real treat: a lavish, first-time release of a previously unheard 1969 studio session.

If The Evening Were Dawn contains 10 acoustic solo recordings that have never seen the light of day. Whereas U.F.O. was bolstered by legendary sessioneers The Wrecking Crew, this is Jim Sullivan on his own terms, stripped down and soulful as ever. Recorded at a Los Angeles studio circa 1969, the session contains acoustic versions of a handful of U.F.O. tracks alongside a half dozen previously unheard songs. This, then, is the closest thing to those fabled Malibu bar performances at which Sullivan was first noticed.

According to his widow, Barbara, this was the album Jim always hoped to record. It serves as an unprecedented glimpse into the mysterious, larger-than-life figure who’s become the stuff of legends.

While Sullivan’s disappearance remains unsolved, his music endures and is finally gaining him the recognition he deserves, albeit long overdue. This recording serves as an unexpected missing piece of the puzzle; this is Jim Sullivan’s true swan song.

Artists: 
Record Label: 

Lee Hazlewood “400 Miles From L.A. 1955-56” (Light In The Attic)

2019-09-13T06:31:22+00:00September 13th, 2019|

Phoenix, Arizona 1955…a twenty-five year old disc jockey and fledgling songwriter, Lee Hazlewood, is trying to break into the music industry. He takes Greyhound bus trips to Los Angeles to pitch songs, only to be rejected each time. Undeterred, Lee starts a record label called Viv Records. Running the label out of his house, Lee finds the artists, writes the songs, produces the sessions, arranges the pressings of the records and handles distribution. Recently discovered tapes in the Viv Records archive yielded an unbelievable find, the earliest known recordings of Hazlewood singing his songs…Lee’s first demo! The mysterious and bountiful tapes featured Lee singing early unheard compositions and a complete first draft of his Trouble Is A Lonesome Town song cycle that would become his first official solo album in 1963.

Light in the Attic Records is proud to continue it’s Lee Hazlewood archival series with 400 Miles From L.A. 1955-56, a collection of previously unknown intimate recordings, never intended for release. Lee sings, plays guitar and even presses the record button on the tape machine. These are rural sketches and small town dreams, captured in an innocent time before the path ahead was clear.

These songs rewrite Lee’s recorded history, adding a new first chapter to his saga. For Hazlewood addicts, hearing these early tracks and the embryonic version of Trouble Is A Lonesome Town is akin to finding an early draft of the Old Testament.

“That’s beauty of Lee’s songwriting. It lives on. People will hear it for the first time, even though it’s fifty years old or whatever, if it’s good enough and strong enough, they’ll accept and like it as much as if it was just created. That’s the wonderful legacy that Lee has. It’s wonderful to look back and make all this early work available. To put “Boots” and all those other LHI songs into perspective. That it all started somewhere and this is where.” – Arizona Music Historian and record producer, John Dixon.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Rodriguez “Coming From Reality” (Light In the Attic)

2019-09-06T04:23:38+00:00September 6th, 2019|

Back in 1971, Coming From Reality was Rodriguez’s last gasp, the follow-up to Cold Fact and the final album he was allowed to record for the Sussex label. Unearthed, once again, by Light In The Attic Records, it’s another treat for fans new and old, designed – at the time – as Rodriguez’s vision of a perfect pop album.

Coming From Reality found Rodriguez decamping from Detroit to London’s Lansdowne Studios, where the album was recorded with some of the UK’s top talent including Chris Spedding (Sex Pistols, Dusty Springfield, Harry Nilsson) and producer Steve Rowland (The Pretty Things, PJ Proby and the man who discovered The Cure), who recalls Coming From Reality as his favourite ever recording project.

Highlights include the super-poppy “To Whom It May Concern”, the “Rocky Raccoon”-inspired “A Most Disgusting Song” and period piece “Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour”. The CD reissue also includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded in Detroit in 1972 with Cold Fact collaborators Mike Theodore & Dennis Coffey, representing the last thing they ever did together.

Meanwhile, the Rodriguez story keeps gathering pace. A Swedish documentary company are working on a feature length documentary about the enigmatic performer’s life and music, and Rodriguez is planning to bring his live show to the UK and Europe come Spring/Summer 2009, along with further North America touring.

“It’s an extraordinary trip,” says Rodriguez of his new lease on life. “It feels like Picasso, Monet. All these exciting new thoughts coming at me. It’s global. I’m lucky to have this second chance. It’s very real and totally unexpected.”

Sixto Rodriguez, then. Still coming from reality, and bigger than ever before.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Sachiko Kanenobu “Misora” (Light In the Attic)

2019-08-02T03:16:33+00:00August 2nd, 2019|

Often regarded as Japan’s first female singer-songwriter, Sachiko Kanenobu created an enduring legacy with Misora, a timeless classic of intricate finger-picking, gently soaring melodies, and rustic Laurel Canyon vibes. Originally released in 1972 on URC (Underground Record Club), one of Japan’s first independent record labels, the Haruomi Hosono-produced album remains one of the most beloved works to come out of Japan’s folk and rock scenes centered around Tokyo and Kansai areas in the early 1970s.

Born and raised in Osaka in a large, music-loving family, Kanenobu picked up the guitar as a teen just as the “college folk” boom swept through university campuses in the Kansai area in the mid-60s. The Pete Seeger and American folk-leaning scene didn’t appeal much to her, however, and instead gravitated towards the British sounds of Donovan and Pentangle, teaching herself guitar techniques by listening to their music. Kanenobu made her songwriting and recording debut as part of Himitsu Kessha Marumaru Kyodan, whose sole single was released on URC in 1969. After years of being pushed aside by the label in favor of newer male artists who were more “folky” in a traditional sense, it was her friendship with the groundbreaking band and labelmate Happy End that ultimately helped her secure the opportunity to record a solo album. With Hosono on board as producer, Kanenobu spent seven days recording the songs that would become Misora, with most songs recorded in a single take.

By the time Misora released in September 1972, Kanenobu was gone. She had left for America, eager to start a new life with Paul Williams, a music writer who had founded Crawdaddy Magazine in 1966. Without the artist to promote it, “_Misora_ was asleep for a long time,” she said. Meanwhile Kanenobu settled near Sonoma in Northern California, retiring from music and concentrating on raising her two children. It wasn’t until Philip K. Dick, the famed writer and family friend, heard Misora and encouraged her to get back into music, that Kanenobu felt the urge to pick up the guitar again. Soon new songs started flowing, and Dick helped finance a single for Kanenobu in 1981. He was committed to producing a full length when he died unexpectedly in 1982.

While she enjoyed success (especially in Germany) with her hard-hitting group Culture Shock in the 1980s, and continued to release albums in American and in Japan in the 1990s, it’s Misora that keeps coming back to her. Every few years a new generation of fans discover the album. Devendra Banhart, Jim O’Rourke, Steve Gunn, and many others continue to tout its greatness.

Kanenobu played a series of sold-out homecoming shows in Japan in 2018, playing Misora in its entirety. Surviving members of Happy End came out to support, some even playing in her backing band. Audience members included old and young, some young enough to be her grandchildren. “I love it,” she said. “They love Misora, they’ve heard it so many times. And here it rose from death…because for them, they can’t believe it—she’s still alive!”

Artists: 
Record Label: 

Various Artists “Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986” (Light In The Attic)

2019-05-02T22:16:08+00:00May 2nd, 2019|

Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.

Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.

Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.

Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss.

Record Label: 

Various Artists “Kanky Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990” (Light In The Attic)

2020-03-07T06:51:52+00:00February 22nd, 2019|

Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series continues with Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990, an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.

In the 1970s, the concepts of Brian Eno’s “ambient” and Erik Satie’s “furniture music” began to take hold in the minds of artists and musicians around Tokyo. Emerging fields like soundscape design and architectural acoustics opened up new ways in which sound and music could be consumed. For artists like Yoshimura, Ojima and Ashikawa, these ideas became the foundation for their musical works, which were heard not only on records and in live performances, but also within public and private spaces where they intermingled with the sounds and environments of everyday life. The bubble economy of 1980s Japan also had a hand in the advancement of kankyō ongaku. In an attempt to cultivate an image of sophisticated lifestyle, corporations with expendable income bankrolled various art and music initiatives, which opened up new and unorthodox ways in which artists could integrate their avant-garde musical forms into everyday life: in-store music for Muji, promo LP for a Sanyo AC unit, a Seiko watch advert, among others that can be heard in this collection.

Kankyō Ongaku is expertly compiled by Spencer Doran (Visible Cloaks) who, with a series of revelatory mixtapes as well as his label Empire of Signs (Music For Nine Postcards), has been instrumental in shepherding interest in this music outside of Japan. Together with Light In The Attic’s celebrated anthologies I Am The Center and The Microcosm, Kankyō Ongaku helps to broaden our understanding of this quietly profound music, regardless of the environment in which it’s heard.

Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Jim Ford “Harlan County” (Light In The Attic)

2018-11-16T22:26:16+00:00November 16th, 2018|

Here’s how it went down: Jim Ford, a musically minded country boy from rural Kentucky heads to the Golden State with dreams of making it. Making the scene in Los Angeles, he befriends and writes songs for such artists as Bobby Womack(“Harry Hippie”), Aretha Franklin, P.J. Proby, The Temptations, and even appears on Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On. He eventually hooks up with legendary session players Dr. John, Jim Keltner (John Lennon), and James Burton (Elvis Presley) and books into the equally legendary Wally Heider Recording Studios to cut an album of blue-eyed country-funk and soul. The year is 1969.

What came next was a series of missed opportunities, burned bridges, and a few decades lost to drug abuse. And what’s left? Harlan County

Released in 1969 on the minor label Sundown Records, Harlan County simply fell through the cracks between monster selling titles by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Despite being allied with some of the biggest names in the business and a deft musical touch, Ford never struck gold as a solo artist and eventually left the often cutthroat music business for a quieter life at the turn of the 1980’s.

“Jimmy Ford is the baddest white man on the planet,” said Sly Stone of Jim Ford, and listening to Harlan County today who’s to argue? Needless to say, Light In The Attic Records are honored to re-release these ten country-funk gems on CD and 180-gram wax with Ford’s original cover artwork, beautifully re-mastered audio, extensive liner notes by Kurt Wolff (The Rough Guide to Country Music), and rare photos. Fans of Charlie Rich, Tony Joe White, Lee Hazlewood, and Bobby Charles, please take note. Harlan County is a revelation to deep music heads and for the previously converted, an opportunity to revisit one of the California studio scene’s crowning glories. To quote the title of Wolff’s booklet essay, “Jim Ford’s Music Will Kick Your Ass And Blow Your Mind.”

Artists: 
Record Label: 

Haruomi Hosoni “Hosono House” (Light In The Attic)

2018-12-09T01:52:10+00:00October 12th, 2018|

The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums.

After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent. For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Haruomi Hosoni “Cochin Moon” (Light In The Attic)

2018-10-12T17:49:28+00:00October 12th, 2018|

The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).

Record Label: 
Genre: 

Haruomi Hosono” omni Sight Seeing” (Light In The Attic)

2018-08-17T18:15:57+00:00August 17th, 2018|

Omni Sight Seeing, originally released in 1989 during YMO’s initial hiatus, is an exhilarating musical journey around the world as filtered through Hosono’s kaleidoscopic lens. This work stands as a manifestation of his concept of “Sight Seeing Music,” putting his own tasteful spin on the “world” music encountered during his explorations of global cultures. From Japanese minyo and Algerian rai, to American swing jazz and the self-described, extraterrestrial “Ether music,” his eclectic influences coalesce into a sound that is unmistakably Hosono’s, and many consider this album to be the perfect summation of his mastery of pop music forms. Partly recorded in Paris with assistance from producer Martin Meissonnier (Don Cherry, Fela Kuti) and contributions from French-Tunisian singer Amina, omni Sight Seeing includes the mysterious “Orgone Box” (inspired by Wilhelm Reich and Steve Reich), the acid house “Laugh-Gas” (inspired by Rococo and the French Revolution) and the serene fan favorite “Pleocene” (conveying an “oceanic feeling”).

Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Haruomi Hosono “Paraiso” (Light In The Attic)

2018-08-17T18:15:56+00:00August 17th, 2018|

The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer. Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom.

Following Tropical Dandy (1975) and Bon Voyage Co. (1976), Paraiso is the concluding saga in his “Tropical Trilogy.” The album can be seen as a turning point in Haruomi Hosono’s career, having been newly signed to Alfa Records by label head Kunihiko Murai. Hosono expands on the Van Dyke Parks-inspired tropical funk styles explored in the previous albums, and arrives at a captivating fusion sound that’s at times equally earthy and exotic. Hinting at the breakthrough sounds he would perfect with Yellow Magic Orchestra, Hosono uses synthesizers to provide otherworldly textures and a spiritual undertone to songs like “Femme Fatale” and the title track. On his Caribbean-style take on the Okinawan folk song “Asatoya Yunta” and the synth/gamelan workout of “Shambhala Signal,” Hosono takes traditional melodies and mixes them into his own inimitable stew. Featuring a host of well-known musicians like Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and his future bandmates Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto, Paraiso perfectly encapsulates Hosono’s eccentric worldview that has shaped his solo career, right before his techno-pop project would blast him into the stratosphere.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Haruomi Hosono “Philharmony” (Light In The Attic)

2018-08-17T18:15:56+00:00August 17th, 2018|

Following YMO’s first wave of success, Hosono took a break from the group and, with help from Alfa Records head Kunihiko Murai, established Yen Records in 1982. The label’s inaugural release was Philharmony, a masterwork recorded almost entirely by Hosono himself at his brand new LDK Studio. With unlimited studio time and freedom to explore, Hosono let himself loose with an array of synthesizers and the latest gadgets, from the Prophet 5 to the E-mu Emulator – all listed as “guest performers” in the album credits. Inspired by the possibilities opened up by these music-making tools, Hosono found new ways to approach his songwriting, resulting in a set of songs that showcase his ability to constantly and consistently innovate and create new standards. With ambient synthscapes like “Luminescent/Hotaru” and the abstract sample-based expressionism of “Birthday Party” sitting perfectly in tune alongside pop favorites like “Sports Men” and “L.D.K.”, Philharmony is one of the most well-loved of Hosono’s albums, and a favorite of the artist himself.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Zuider Zee “Zeenith” (Light In The Attic)

2018-05-31T20:06:44+00:00May 31st, 2018|

An early/mid-1970s group that sound like a hybrid between T-Rex and Big Star, might sound like a band that should be universally adored but Memphis’ Zuider Zee have remained something of an untapped curiosity. Until now. With this first time release of the album Zeenith, recorded between 1972 and ’74 and featuring all previously unheard tracks, the band should no longer be a boxed-up mystery.

Prior to Zeenith, Zuider Zee’s 1975 self-titled LP was the only record out there that existed. Released on Columbia, it was hailed as a true great power pop record of the time by groups such as Cheap Trick. “Rick Nielsen called me one night,” Zuider Zee’s Richard Orange recalls. “He was asking about why weren’t we bigger and doing as well as they were. He said: “Man, you’re so damn good, do you know where I have your phone number? I have your number right beneath John Lennon’s number. Fuggin’ John Lennon, Richard!’

A group led by such a hard-working and determined individual is glisteningly apparent on this release. Zeenith feels like a band at that magical juncture between a group perfecting their craft whilst still driven by wide-eyed optimism, youthful energy and a sense of fun that radiates throughout every note played. Ultimately, this was at the core of Zuider Zee’s aims. “Most important is to have fun whilst you’re up there doing it [on stage] because people will feel that joy – it’s electric and contagious and they will react to it.” Something that still feels pertinent over 40 years since it was created.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Betty Davis “Nasty Gal” (Light In The Attic)

2018-01-14T02:58:10+00:00January 7th, 2018|

Betty Davis was riding high in the 70s. A new record label, a series of high profile relationships, and intensely sexualized live performances made her a rising star. It seemed like everything was aligned to take the music world by storm. So Betty and band got back into the studio where she would act as writer, producer, and performer, creating what she thought would be her definitive release…What emerged was the unapologetically uncompromising, self-referential 1975 album Nasty Gal. Now – over forty years later – Light In The Attic Records is proud to announce the vinyl reissue of this final Island Records-release by unparalleled funkstress Betty Davis

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Various Artists “Even A Tree Can Shed Tears” ( Light In The Attic)

2017-11-13T22:19:58+00:00November 13th, 2017|

There was something in the air in the urban corners of late ‘60s Japan. Student protests and a rising youth culture gave way to the angura (short for “underground) movement that thrived on subverting traditions of the post-war years. Rejection of the Beatlemania-inspired Group Sounds and the squeaky clean College Folk movements led the rise of what came to be known in Japan as “New Music,” where authenticity mattered more than replicating the sounds of their idols.

Some of the most influential figures in Japanese pop music emerged from this vital period, yet very little of their work has ever been released or heard outside of Japan, until now. Light In The Attic is thrilled to present Even a Tree Can Shed Tears, the inaugural release in the label’s Japan Archival Series. This is the first-ever, fully licensed collection of essential Japanese folk and rock songs from the peak years of the angura movement to reach Western audiences.

In mid-to-late 1960s Tokyo, young musicians and college students were drawn to Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district for the jazz and rock kissas, or cafes, that dotted its winding hilly streets. Some of these spaces doubled as performance venues, providing a stage for local regulars like Hachimitsu Pie with their The Band-like ragged Americana, Tetsuo Saito with his spacey philosophical folk, and the influential Happy End, who successfully married the unique cadences of the Japanese language to the rhythms of the American West Coast. For many years Dogenzaka remained a center of the city’s “New Music” scene.

Meanwhile a different kind of music subculture was beginning to emerge in the Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. Far more political than their eastern counterparts, many of the Kansai-based “underground” artists began in the realm of protest folk music. They include Takashi Nishioka and his progressive folk collective Itsutsu No Akai Fuusen, the “Japanese Joni Mitchell” Sachiko Kanenobu, and The Dylan II, whose members ran The Dylan cafe in Osaka, which became a hub for the scene.

Even a Tree Can Shed Tears also includes the bluesy avant-garde stylings of Maki Asakawa, future Sadistic Mika Band founder Kazuhiko Kato with his fuzzy, progressive psychedelia, the beatnik acid folk of Masato Minami, and the intimate living room folk of Kenji Endo.

Nearly 50 years on, this “New Music” is born anew.

Lee Hazlewood “Forty” (Light In The Attic)

2017-11-14T20:04:28+00:00November 13th, 2017|

“I asked him if he wanted to use any of his songs, and he said, “No.” We had a long chat before we did any of this. He said, ‘No, I want you to do it and I want to just be a singer.’ So I said okay.” -Shel Talmy

Originally titled Will The Real Lee Hazlewood Please Stand Up?, Forty was a different kind of Hazlewood album, one in which Lee just focused on being a performer. In 1969 on the eve of his fortieth birthday, Lee flew to England and enlisted Shel Talmy (The Kinks, The Who, Chad & Jeremy, Bert Jansch) to produce an album and hand pick the songs. Shel picked some incredible songs for Lee to sing and even wrote him a song that should’ve been a hit, “Bye Babe.” Recorded at famed IBC recording studio with cream of the crop British session musicians and arrangers, no expense was spared.

Nicky Hopkins piano/organ work on “The Bed” and “The Night Before” evoke his then recent work with the Rolling Stones on Beggar’s Banquet and Let It Bleed. Arranger David Whitaker’s (Serge Gainsbourg, Vashti Bunyan, Air, “Bittersweet Symphony”) wizardry creates a lush, sophisticated orchestral sound.

“He was one of the more unique arrangers I’ve ever run into. I think “It Was A Very Good Year” is one of the best arrangements of that song ever.” – Shel Talmy

Forty begins with the boozy suite “It Was A Very Good Year”, a swingin’ shapeshifter that could’ve been a James Bond theme. The album traverses many styles from melancholy baroque orchestral pop(“What’s More I Don’t Need Her” “Bye Babe” & “The Night Before”) to country funk (“The Bed” & “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield.”)

Light in the Attic Records is proud to continue its Lee Hazlewood Archival series with an expanded reissue of Forty. Every track Shel and Lee recorded for Forty are included here for the first time, including the outtake “For Once in My Life” and the previously unreleased backing track “Send Out Love.”

In exchange for piles of money from major labels, Lee and LHI made promises to produce an amount of recorded material that wasn’t humanly possible for one man and a small label. The logistics didn’t matter to Lee; once the check was cashed, he would do his damnedest to deliver the herculean output. Forty was one of those records, but what a beautiful way to meet a quota.

Lee liked his work with Shel so much that tracks from Forty were included on subsequent Hazlewood albums Cowboy in Sweden (1970) and Movin’ On (1977).

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Lee Hazlewood and Ann-Margret “Cowboy and The Lady” (Light In The Attic)

2017-11-14T20:04:37+00:00November 13th, 2017|

The “Cowboy” moved slowly out of the booth and into the studio. You could tell by the look in his eyes, that the half-dozen shots of Chivas Regal had put his ego to rest, and he was ready to sing with the “Lady.” They Sang for three nights – the “Cowboy” and the “Lady”, and the Gods were kind, and their album was finished on time. Herein, lie the results…some good, some bad and some more. -Lee Hazlewood

“He had that wonderful, raw sense of humor and that good ol’ boy accent. He certainly could turn a phrase.” -Ann-Margret

In 1969 Lee Hazlewood’s personal record label LHI Records was flush with major label cash and Lee wanted to make Ann-Margret his next big star. In the quest for a hit, the pair recorded fuzzed out acid rock (“It’s A Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In)” & “You Turned My Head Around,”) orchestral pop (“Sleep in the Grass” & “Chico”) and a genuine country album cut in Nashville.

Light in the Attic Records is proud to continue it’s Lee Hazlewood archival series with an expanded reissue of Lee & Ann-Margret’s The Cowboy & The Lady. The album is Hazlewood’s truest country album and a perfect example of the genre hopping he was afforded at LHI with unlimited creative freedom and money to burn. Recorded over a weekend in Nashville with the help of Charlie McCoy and some Nashville session musicians.

“That was 47 years and about 5000 sessions ago.” – Charlie McCoy

With improvised lines like “Look at her standing there with chili all over her dress / If I knew her better, I’d give her a puppy,” the sessions were loose and fun, with most tracks cut in one or two takes.

“I had done things in Nashville before. I worked with The Jordanaires in ’62 or ’63. We did a lot of things. I had worked with Charlie McCoy, Floyd Cramer, and Chet Atkins. I love the feeling of Nashville.” – Ann-Margret

A whirlwind year of lear jet promo tours, magazine photo shoots, television specials and cutting records for LHI wasn’t able to bring the success that Lee and Ann-Margret pushed for. A second LHI album with Ann-Margret was planned but never recorded. Within a year of making the trip to Nashville, Lee would be living in Sweden full-time and Ann-Margret would focus on her acting career for the better part of a decade. Nothing exemplifies Lee’s “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” record production of the LHI era like his work with Ann-Margret. Though it didn’t stick, and it didn’t sell, Lee’s adventure with Ann-Margret is an extravagant tangent that has since grown a cult following…

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Lee Hazlewood “Requiem For An Almost Lady” (Light In The Attic)

2017-11-14T20:04:45+00:00November 13th, 2017|

This is a group of songs about one lady… her name is not important… she knows who she was…What is important is once she loved me very much…These songs are a truthful attempt to show the effect the loss of this love had on me… They are not all sad songs full of self pity and remorse… but more a mixture of good and hard time, old and new thought, lost and found feeling, and near and far places… There was no pleasure (as there usually is) in writing this album… there was only the dull “thud” of realization that something you once took for granted is gone… and those “blue eyes” will never again look through this “old grey curtain”…The lady is dead now and I’m still alive… doing the same things with others I once did with her… and maybe that’s what being alive is all about it… if it isn’t… “to hell with it”.
– Lee Hazlewood

“He was a storyteller, that’s his music… the storytelling. That’s the thing I fell in love with him for. This final story that we see, the Requiem story, is kind of looking back at a career, I think. Not just a relationship—it’s his story. I think it’s authentic and the most revealing, really, because other things are cloaked, cloaked in romanticism, in a way. When you think of ‘Sand’ and ‘Jose,’ ‘My Autumn’s Done Come’ and ‘Some Velvet Morning’… those are stories, they’re stories you make up… they’re fiction. This is a little closer to home, I think.” -Suzi Jane Hokom.

Light in the Attic Records is proud to continue its Lee Hazlewood Archival Series with LHI Records final release. 1971’s Requiem for An Almost Lady is a personal statement and one of the heaviest break-up albums of all time. There are no lilting strings, sweeping choirs, or dancing trumpets. The arrangements are stripped down to the raw nerve; Lee’s emotions are the orchestra here. The listener eavesdrops on a sonic journal of heartbreak. After losing his lady, his record label, and his country, Lee etches his woes to wax.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Staff Picks: 

Acetone “1992-2001” (Light in the Attic)

2017-10-16T18:13:29+00:00October 16th, 2017|

Counting their early years in the scuzz-rock band Spinout, whose sole self-titled release came out in 1991 on Delicious Vinyl, guitarist Mark Lightcap, bassist Richie Lee, and drummer Steve Hadley played together for a total of 15 years. They disbanded in July 2001, when Lee committed suicide in the garage next to the house where the trio practiced. Afterwards, Rolling Stone ran a short obituary saying Acetone’s albums were “well received” but “failed to make any waves.” It was the first and only time they were featured in the national music press.
Between 1993 and 2001 the trio released two LPs and an EP on Vernon Yard—a Virgin subsidiary—and two LPs on Vapor, the L.A.-based label founded by Neil Young and manager Elliott Roberts. In that span, they were selected to tour with Oasis, Mazzy Star, The Verve, and Spiritualized. Against a rising tide of post-Nirvana grunge and slipshod indie rock, Acetone tapped into a timeless Southern California groove by fusing elements of psychedelia, surf, and country.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 

Keiji Haino “Watashi Dake?” (Light in The Attic)

2017-10-01T19:29:09+00:00July 9th, 2017|

Over the last fifty years few musicians or performers have created as monumental and uncompromising a body of work as that of Keiji Haino. Through a vast number of recordings and performances Haino has staked out a ground all his own creating a language of unparalleled intensity that defies any simple classification. For all this, his 1981 debut album Watashi Dake? has remained enigmatic. Originally released in a small edition by the legendary Pinakotheca label, the album was heard by only a select few in Japan and far fewer overseas. Original vinyl copies became impossibly rare and highly sought after the world over.

Watashi Dake? presents a haunting vision – stark vocals, whispered and screamed, punctuate dark si-
lences. Intricate and sharp guitar figures interweave, repeat and stretch, trance-like, emerging from dark recesses. Written and composed on the spot – Haino’s vision is one of deep spiritual depths that distantly evokes 1920’s blues and medieval music- yet is unlike anything ever committed to record before or since. Coupled with starkly minimal packaging featuring the now iconic cover photographs by legendary photographer Gin Satoh, the album is a startling and fully realized artistic statement.

Artists: 
Record Label: 
Genre: 
Staff Picks: