kzo uerock – shake!

san diego-based japanese rock? as much as you can find out about this guy, and make out what he sings about, it’s almost irrelevant. don’t get me wrong, i doubt he’s undiscovered. he does what a million decent musos and a handful of excellent ones do well… rocks.

the albums i got off cd baby several years ago have a homebaked ethos, almost like the covers were produced on a colour ink jet printer in a small suburban bedroom. i like to think my purchase helped offset the cost of the ink cartridges. somehow this makes you appreciate what’s in the music even more. when you notice, what lies here varies greatly in influence and interpretation.

he knows how to pull off the swagger of jon spencer (which was the original selling point for me) – a strong sense of postmodern blues – and yet he is equally able to pick up a rich vein of pop. some songs, flow this way and the world is a carnival, again remind me of 1990s australian band snout. but the best song here for me is east & west which carries the most memorable rhythm, bass line and melodic hooks, with only a few chord and key changes. as a singer he’s quite monotone, and that’s matched in this song really well.

regardless of whether anyone knows who the fuck kzo uerock is, few people can actually play music like this. as far as i can tell, they’re all riding the wave of new technology and therefore potential connection with a new set of fans, especially kzo doing more laidback stuff than these older releases, and massa takemoto showing his talents as an electronic musician. boundary crossing. it makes sense.

this makes me think there’s a hell of a lot more to talent than i have really given credit to this point. i need to ask a friend if he knows what he’s singing about, and whether it’s as universal as the music.


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