reviews of WOODY ALLEN LIKES GUITAR POP

comments on miniskirt (English) JAPANESE REVIEWS Page
indiepages review (English)
friends of the heroes review (English)
marsh-marigold review (English)
indiepopit review (Italian)
think small review (Dutch)
white wabbit records review (Chinese)
applejack fanzine (French)

Comments on Miniskirt

The music is short, simple and sweet, the aural equivalent of pastries
(Ken McCallum)

cthis is brilliant Northern-European styled guitar pop, with a sound similar to Brideshead, the Pastels and Hideki Kajic
(indiepages)

ca pop manifesto in itself, another something to warm my heart and make me smilec (Dimitra Daisy, Friends of the Heroes)

cpure guitars, openhearted bittersweet lyrics and simple arrangements find a direct way into your heart!!!!c
(Oliver Goetzl, Marsh-Marigold Records)

It is pure pop genius, reflecting heavy influences of Felt, East Village, and the Pastels.
(Jim Curran)

Miniskirt are what indiepop is all about!
(Salvatore, indiepop.it)


Pure, fun and jangly indiepop that should please fans of Nixon, Brideshead and The Pastels.
(Fraction Discs)

It's kind a Tokyo's answer to The Pastels. The songs are catchy with guitars jangling through the whole album.
This is one of the most played albums on my iPod. (Bonanza)

For a long time, it seemed as if Miniskirt would be another one of those bands
that releases one great record and then disappears. (Greg Adams, Music Weird)

indiepages (USA) online shop

This debut release of Tokyo's answer to the Pastels is pure twee indie pop. Singer Edgar Franz from Duisburg,
Germany has formed this band during his studying in Japan, now he lives there and writes thousands of songs
which also remind us of Dan Treacy's songwriting. This crazy German and 6 crazy Japanese created a real cool
indie pop band.


indiepages.com(USA) Webpage: http://www.indiepages.com/reviews/index.html

Hailing from Japan (but with roots in Germany), this is the debut album for Miniskirt, and the first new release I've seen in quite a while from Marsh Marigold (an old-school indiepop favorite!). Like many other releases on the label, this is brilliant Northern-European styled guitar pop, with a sound similar to Brideshead, the Pastels and Hideki Kaji (though Edgar's vocals actually remind me more of Milky Wimpshake). But the band also has that almost uniquely Japanese quality of endearing amateurism (though I guess it can be traced back to the Pastels) - only Miniskirt never go overboard with it, and can certainly play their instruments and sing well (unlike a few too many other Japanese indiepop bands I know). In keeping with the international theme of the band (with members from Germany, Japan and Scotland), the songs are mostly sung in English (except "Sonnige Tage"), with a handful of Japanese phrases thrown in. This is a fun cd, and definitely worth a listen for any fan of pure and simple indiepop.

Friends Of The Heroes(UK) Webpage: http://www.friendsoftheheroes.co.uk/
cover

Miniskirt

Woody Allen likes guitar pop

Marsh Marigold Records

Do you remember the Catalysts? Because that is what I remember the first time I played Miniskirt. Or rather not the Catalysts themselves but those demos of theirs that Felicite released this time last year - and the conversation I had about them with my friend Nick when he played them to me.

"Hey! That one's good!"
"Yeah, that's what happens when something is original."

So that's what I thought about during the two and a half minutes of 'Be here with me', the first song on 'Woody Allen likes guitar pop'. It didn't last much longer though because 'Sonnige tage' came along to make me bounce and wonder. "How can a band sing in German and yet make a song I like so much?" I wondered while bouncing. And, "how can a Japanese band sing in German and make a song I like so much?" (I don't like Japanese pop much.) Also, "how can a Japanese band that sings in German make a song so good for dancing?" (because 'Sonnige tage' is good for dancing the way Belle & Sebastian's 'Judy is a dick slap' is, that is, very good.) Wondering while bouncing isn't very easy which explains why I wasn't so good at it.

When that was over and I sat down again, panting, Miniskirt had switched back to singing in English but the German accent remained, as did the questions in my spinning head. How can a mostly Japanse band with a German singer who sounds like Stephen Pastel make songs I like so much? How can a band write songs that are about the most obvious of pop cliches (love, falling in love and falling out of love) and yet sound irresistably charming? How can a band load their songs with the simplest of lyrics and still have them sounding so lovely? How can a band write a song that begings with the line "sometimes I think you are all like Pooh the bear" and still have me saying they are adorable?

I don't know how Miniskirt can do all this, but believe me, they can. And they can do a lot more too: describe the world in the year 2055 and namedrop Thelonious Monk in an effort to prove that "it is love that keeps us together, forever, forever, and it will never change"; repeat the word forever in the loveliest of ways, a way that gets straight to your heart; and combine shoegazing guitars with the most innocent, heartfelt-sounding girl/boy vocals in the whole wide world. And that's only what they can do during the 3 minutes and 44 seconds of 'Tongue information'. And 'Tongue information' is only in the middle of this record.

They can also name a song about being so sad and lonely you're feeling nobody's on your side 'Woody Allen likes Japanese noise rock' and make that sound fitting. And they can sing it in a way that lifts my heart all the way to heaven as I type these lines. They can turn glowing fish stickers on a wall into a symbol of the fact that "between us everything's still alright" while repeating "these fish glow in the dark" over and over again and still fail to sound annoying.

And they can write 'Her blue contact lenses make me crazy' to steal my heart and make the world a better place, because the world has always needed a song with the words "we are having a happy time, happy life" sang so heartbreakingly so badly, it's no wonder their first real fan has been known to sing parts of it out in restaurants and subways. And then they can follow it up with a few sad, sweet popsongs about breaking up and missing you but never giving up hope that get slower as time goes by but never for a moment fail sound charming, every phrase uttered, repeated, sang in near or not-so-near harmony by Edgar and Sachiko a pop manifesto in itself, another something to warm my heart and make me smile.

And they can leave me amazed and wondering how they can do all that.

Dimitri Daisy


Oliver (owner of Marsh-Marigold) on "MINISKIRT - Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop"

Brand-new release from the German old school indie pop label Marsh-Marigold Records (15th anniversary in August 2003!!!!).

When you think of the Marsh-Marigold sound you can hear through the years different influences: Electronic sounds just like LES FRERES CHECKOLADE, postcard and 80's glam pop just like KNABENKRAUT, Belle & Sebastian tunes just like ALASKA, art rocky elements just like SODA STREAM, Brit Pop just like SPY & BLOCHIN 81, 60's garage just like GROOVY CELLAR,classical guitar pop style just like BRIDESHEAD, SHELBY and ACID HOUSE KINGS, the "German Smiths" just like BUSCH or 86 noise pop just like KRISTALLIN. BUT@when you want to describe the "original sound" of Marsh-Marigold you first have to think of DIE 5 FREUNDE, RED LETTER DAY, THE LEGENDARY BANG and JESTERBELLS, which founded the label in 1988 and that's the reason why MINISKIRT was signed on Marsh-Marigold:

MINISKIRT A R E@MARSH-MARIGOLD!!!!

They really sound like the start of the whole German indie pop affair. Pure guitars, openhearted bittersweet lyrics and simple arrangements find a direct way into your heart!!!! MINISKIRT for me are a re-incarnation of the good old-fashioned pop world: You will hear the PASTELS at their best times and SARAH RECORDS as well as Boy meets Girl themes just like in RED SLEEPING BEAUTY. MINISKIRT were founded by Edgar Franz (vocals/guitar), a German PhD student living in Japan and Tatsumune Fujihira (guitars). They were joined by Kenmi Kamiyama (drums, guitar), Sachiko (vocals, accordeon, flute, tambourine) from Tokyo, Min Sung (bass) from Korea and Jonny (bass) from Scotland. So, we have a cool international mixture of pop addicts!!! So look: "Woody Allen likes guitar pop" but YOU will LOVE it!!!!!
Oliver

indiepopit (Italian online magazine)


Band multilingue con base a Tokyo, i Miniskirt sono guidati dal tedesco Edgar (voce, chitarra, asciugacapelli) e dal giapponese Tatsumune (chitarra), entrambi appassionati di BMX Bandits e Pastels che si conoscono a una festa di capodanno mentre entrambi sono a caccia di ragazze nel distretto di Roppongi. Son il tempo si aggiungono al duo la gentile voce di Sachiko (anche flauto e tamburello), Makiko (basso), Mai (tastiere) e Jonny, tastierista scozzese part-time. Profondi studiosi dell'indiepop degli ultimi 20 anni, provano a riproporlo con certosina precisione e adorabile candore nel primo album intitolato a Woody Allen.

 


Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop
(Marsh-Marigold, 2004)

Ero come al solito alla (affannosa, difficile, senza speranza) ricerca delle ultime novita indiepop tra file sharing, negozi in Canada, quelli di Rough Trade che non ti mandano nemmeno una conferma d'ordine e i soldi che non bastano. Insomma, era uno di quei non rari momenti in cui pensavo che nessuno dovrebbe avere la pessima idea di scrivere su una rivista indiepop-only in un paese notoriamente ricettivo come il nostro. Ma prima che potessi proporre arditi paragoni tra l'indiepop e l'immigrazione clandestina la fortuna si e manifestata sotto forma di Dimitra e il circolo vizioso si e interrotto.
Oltre ad essere una persona eccezionale e a vivere in un paese che ha appena vinto gli Europei di calcio senza che a lei importi una cippa, Dimitra ha dalla sua una saggezza priva di tempo. E cosi la signorina, che frequenta circoli ben piu virtuosi del mio, si e fatta portatrice di una sostanziosa ventata di non-novita, materializzatasi all'improvviso con questo disco dei Miniskirt.

Che non credo potrei presentare (presentare la band, senza nemmeno parlare del disco) a dovere in meno di cinquemila parole, quindi accontentatevi di sapere che sono un collettivo misto-giapponese con cantante tedesco, e che a dispetto di tutte le apparenze non hanno nulla a che vedere con la Svezia.

E vedete, Dimitra aveva ragione (ok, lei ha sempre ragione, ma stavolta dovevo ribadirlo per esprimere un concetto serio), perche un album come questo dimostra quanto sia inutile inseguire il nuovo, e quanta inaudita liberta sia concessa a chi segue l'indiepop. Perche il disco dei Miniskirt e del 2003, ma sarebbe potuto uscire nel 1988, o nel 2010, e non avrebbe fatto nessuna differenza. E non solo: mentre lo sentite avete l'evidentissima impressione che l'avventura della band comincia e finisce qui, tra le 11 tracce di questo disco, e che e bastante a se' stessa. Perche impersona vizi e virtu dell'indiepop, e anzi oserei dire che puo essere preso a modello di ogni disco indiepop mai pubblicato.
Ad esempio, ditemi quali sono secondo voi gli ingredienti per il perfetto disco indiepop:

- Melodie cosi perfette da diventare a volte di cattivo gusto? Ci sono.
- La voce di Stephen Pastel? C'e (non e proprio la sua sua, ma c'e)
- Canzoni gia ascoltate mille volte ma che sembrano sempre nuove? Ci sono.
- I Television Personalities? Diavolo se ci sono, in ogni nota. (nota da esperto: e poi i Miniskirt hanno partecipato al tributo ai TVP insieme ai nostri 69 and the Continous People)
- Tutti i cliche delle pop songs, specialmente trovare l'amore, perderlo e ritrovarlo, ed essere felici, tristi e poi ancora felici? Ci sono. (inutile citare un titolo: tutte)
- Stupide canzoncine su inutili ma importantissimi dettagli fisici? Eccone una pronta ("Her blue contact lenses make me crazy")
- Una voce femminile dolce, esilissima e impacciata? C'e. (Sachiko: sentite "Tongue Information" e indovinate che vestito indossa)
- Sarah Records e C86? Ci sono, a mazzi. (Sempre le lenti a contatto)
- Un membro del gruppo che andava a scuola con Belle and Sebastian? C'e (il batterista scozzese, ora bassista, o ex bassista, non e affatto chiaro)

Certo, forse i Miniskirt hanno ecceduto, forse tutto e un po' piu fragile e stonato di quanto dovrebbe essere, ma in fondo se bisogna esagerare e meglio farlo da questo lato, dal versante nerd della faccenda, no? E poi c'e una sola canzone cantata in tedesco ("Sonnige Tage", che significa "Sunny Days" e pare sia una cover dei Die Fuenf Freunde), ma e una di quelle cose velocissime per chitarra e flautino e che proprio non si riescono ad odiare.
E cosi qualunque siano le ragioni per cui leggete questa rivista (masochismo?), un album come "Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop", un pezzo come "Tongue Information" e le emozioni che riservano sono tutto cio di cui avete bisogno. Tutte le irragionevoli ragioni per amare l'indiepop vecchio e nuovo.
Dopotutto esistono filosofie di vita molto peggiori di "it's just love that keeps us together, forever forever", no?

Salvatore




Think Small (Dutch indiepop online magazine)

http://www.thinksmall.nl/#

Ik heb weleens mensen gesproken die weer andere mensen hebben gesproken die mensen kennen die ooit in Japan zijn geweest. En zo weet ik dat Japanners eigenlijk overal van houden, als het maar nagemaakt is van iets uit het westen. En hoeveel westerser kan je muziek nu klinken dan C86-indie/tweepop, helemaal als de zanger van je bandje een heuse Duitser is. En omdat dit soort pop nogal zang georienteerd is, is het slechts aan de spaarzame tweede stem te danken dat je ubehaupt gelooft dat er in Miniskirt mensen met namen als Tatsumune, Sachiko en Kenmi spelen. Je zou de band toch vooral in Hamburg plaatsen, of anders in Munchen, want vanwege het toch vrij duidelijke Duitse accent, doet het meer dan eens denken aan wijlen Duitse indiepop-egroothedenf als The Bartlebees of 50.000.000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong. Of als je die zang wegdenkt: nog grotere Britse grootheden (in datzelfde kleine wereldje natuurlijk) als The Pastels, The Vaselines en The Razorcuts. C86 dus (of Anorak style pop, of jangly indiepop of welke namen er intussen voor het genre zijn verzonnen), een genre dat dan dit jaar volwassen wordt, maar dat daarmee niet opeens minder aanstekelijk naief of charmant jeugdig klinkt. In elk geval niet bij Miniskirt, dat met Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop een album heeft afgeleverd dat even fris klinkt als dat het de originele voorbeelden benadert.

NB Dat zul je natuurlijk net zien, is die recensie helemaal af, ga je pas lezen waar de mensen van Miniskirt nu echt vandaan komen. Slechts drie van de zes bandleden komen uit Japan, de overige drie uit Duitsland, Schotland en Zuid-Korea.

Martijn Grooten
2 februari 2004


Woody Allen Likes Japanese Guitar Pop

9
STYLE Indie-Pop
LABEL White Wabbit Records

YEAR

2005
 

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Applejack (French fanzine)

gWoody Allen Likes Guitar Poph
Marsh-Marigold Records.
Genre: Japanese twee whispers (2003)

Certains soirs jfimaginais que ca aurait pu arriver au bout de ma rue. Mais cfetait arrive au bout du monde, cette histoire. Lfhistoire du groupe de pop. Ils sfappellent Miniskirt, ils sont japonais, mais pas le chanteur (Edgar Franz), qui est allemand. Ce groupe de pop - comme tous les groupes de pop de tous les pays (unissez-vous !) - ne reve que dfAngleterre. Et ecoute encore religieusement la petite cassette kraft 86 du NME (celle qui commence par Velocity Girl de Primal Scream). Ils sont nes trop tard pour figurer sur la cassette et trop tard pour le NME, aussi. Mais il ne faut pas leur dire. Woody Allen Likes Pop Guitar , leur seul disque a ce jour, est sorti il y a trois ans. Jfai delaisse ma compile breviaire du ROCK NEO ZELANDAIS pour ecouter Miniskirt, alors que jfaimais assez The Jean Paul Sartre Experience (a vrai dire, jfaimais surtout le nom, parce qufil impressionnait ma mere). Bon. Et lfhistoire du groupe de pop alors ? Cfest une histoire de musique legere de light de lumiere. Vous lfaimerez si vous aimez la voix dfEdgar Franz. Une voix barbouillee a la Stephen Pastel, une voix decomposee presque, quand il hoquette oh oh oh oh oh I love her so oh oh sur Your blue contact lenses make me crazy. La musique de Miniskirt aussi a quelque chose des Pastels, dans les decolorations, les decelerations soniques. Comme un air de famille, mais y a plus de famille (unissez-vous quand meme). Edgar chante en anglais et dans sa langue natale, une seule fois : Sonnige Tage. Une petite flute enjouee lance le morceau, sfefface, reparait. Ce disque est rempli de fantaisies diabolo menthe de boys & girls idiots (et tres heureux),  dfhistoires pareilles a celles que racontaient les Fourmost en 1963: When I see you everyday I say hello little girl /When youfre passing on your way I say hello little / If I see you passing by I cry hello little girl / When I try to catch your eyes I cry hello little girl.  Les Miniskirt sont twee pop  & le clament haut et fort. HAUT ET FORT ! Il y a des poissons phosphorescents autocolles du sol au plafond, qui sans doute apprecient. Ca se passe a Tokyo au bout du monde. Je te lfai deja dit. Sur la pochette du disque, Woody Allen twiste avec une fille en minijupe. Ca nfaurait pas pu arriver au bout de ma rue, finalement. Cfest trop pop trop libere trop gratuit trop naif. Lfalbum est  transcende par la voix dfEdgar, par son enthousiasme, lfenthousiasme du groupe. Les vignettes se succedent, les six Miniskirt deroulent leur storytelling sautillant. Deux guitares electriques scintillent dans le noir, jingle jangle joli. Edgar & Sachiko (un filet de voix) chantent aussi en duo sur quelques titres (Tongue Information, These fish glow in the dark, I donft give us hope). Soudain ca mfa semble drole, ce garcon allemand et cette fille japonaise qui sfaiment en anglais : itfs just love that keeps us together forever forever and it will never change. La meme phrase repetee inlassablement. Seule la derniere chanson, Miss you, se tient un peu en marge des autres titres - Edgar chante differemment, reprend peut-etre sa voix de tous les jours, des autres jours ? et pour la premiere fois il y a de la reverbf sur cette voix. Plus de tambourin plus de flute : cfest un adieu sobre. Et sous influence Miniskirt, je commande un autre diabolo le disque est fini je nfai plus 13 ans et jfaimerais bien des fois. Quelque part entre le bout du monde et le bout de ma rue, il y a Miniskirt (cfest un endroit imaginaire).
E.A.R