last modified Oct 01 2013

Tenniscoats - Toki No Uta (ENBAN/12EB-104/JPN/LP/2013)

1. てんぽらっちゃ | Temporacha
2. 雨パラ | Amepara
3. おいでの海 | Oide no Umi
4. ドゥンドゥンドゥン | Doun Doun Doun
5. 砂漠 | Sabaku
6. 空気の底 | Kuki no Soko

1. 森を抜ける森の海が | Mori wo Nukeru Mori no Umi ga
2. SvS
3. タマシー | Tamashi
4. 飛行機 (-O) | Hikoki
5. かざな | Kazana
6. 遠投 | Ento

LP (JAPANESE PRESSING!!!) 38 USD (incl. add 4.00 USD for shipping)

Arranged and Performed by Tenniscoats
Saya : Vocal, Keyboard, Melodica
Ueno Takashi : Guitar, Alto Sax, Chorus

Guest : Nishikawa Bunsho : Chorus on tr 09, Guitar on Tr 14

Recorded & mastered by Nishikawa Bunsho at Osaka Tokyo-Heights, volta-design.com Aug 2009-Dec 2010
Re-mastered Dec 2012

Art Direction by Murabe Yuzo (Graph)
Translation by Marcos Fernandes
Originally Curated by Majikick 2011

Thanks to : Umeda Tetsuya, Fukami Hokuto, Matsumoto Yoshio, Maayan, Won Jiksoo, Tape
Sawa Hiraki, Anisa George, Akiba Takahiro, Nagata Rui, Kato Tami, Yagiya, Hisanori 'Zenny' Kenji (Graph)


Release Date Apr 23, 2013 [JAPANESE PRESSING!!]
URL: http://www.tenniscoats.com/

Vinyl-Re-ISSUED of 2011's Tenniscoats's one of the best works issued their own label called 'Majikick'.
by one of the most infulencial record shop 'ENBAN' Koeni-based japanese independent recod ship/Cafe/Live Spot led by Tacguhi Fumihito.

I have no idea what these songs are about. Well ? that's not strictly true - the Japanese lyrics also appear in English inside the incredibly beautiful, palest oyster-grey packaging of the album. But as Jarvis Cocker memorably pointed out, only a philistine would follow the words while the songs were playing, so for the first few listens I just sit quietly and puzzle at this fragile music, eventually puzzling less and surrendering more and more to the singular sense of melancholy it generates. Odd, in some ways, that music so sparse ? acoustic guitar, occasional organ lines that sound like Gary Brooker moonlighting in Stereolab, a delicate, not-obviously emotive female vocal ? can communicate so powerfully. At times Tokinouta seems to have an almost diffident blankness, yet at the same time it's subtle, complex and moving. Recorded live in front of an audience with no overdubs, Tokinouta feels incredibly intimate. Listening to it feels like a privilege, like being trusted with something.

Saya and Takashi Ueno ? a couple as well as a band ? are probably still best known through the enthusiasm of their friends Bill Wells and the Pastels, and for their collaborations. The Pastels, throwing crumbs to those still patiently waiting for their first 'proper' new album since 1997, made the lovely Two Sunsets with Tenniscoats in 2009. Wells, one of the very few people passionate and crazy enough to attempt such a thing, toured with them in the Scottish Highlands as part of a bill he put together also featuring Kama-Aina and the extraordinary singer Kazumi Nikaido. They've also collaborated with Tape and Maher Shalal Hash Baz, and Saya formed OneOne with Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof in 2008.

The first three songs ? 'Temporacha', 'Rain Sprinkle' (a perfect onomatopoeia for these songs), and "Summoning Sea' ? establish a stately, autumnal mood. You think you know where you are, and it's a perfectly pretty place but perhaps a little undemanding, a little one-note ? and then, unexpectedly, the melody of 'Summoning Sea' takes flight briefly around 3.12, and the effect is heart-melting. Then it's bizarrely jaunty interlude 'Doun Doun Doun', like the mechanicals coming on in Shakespeare, and you suddenly realise how slow you've been, and that something much cleverer is going on.

Tokinouta has to be one of the least showy and most moving records I've heard in ages. Saya and Takashi describe their music as 'DIY', which might imply a scrappiness, a sort of shambling ineptitude. But the quality that the cynical might call 'faux-naive', inherent in part in Saya's child-like vocal, belies its sophistication and its power. More than anything, Tokinouta makes me think of Vashti Bunyan's 'Winter Is Blue', of the fractured witching-hour heartbreak of side one of Patty Waters Sings , of Peggy Lee's strange Sea Shells album, and perhaps of Pascal Comelade's toy orchestra and Astrud Gilberto's cool classicism. It's really that good. Most beautiful is the barely-there ripple of 'Through The Forest To The Sea', though when I do finally pore over the English words it is 'Sappolondon' that stays with me, its lyric perfect as a William Carlos Williams poem and so short it can be quoted in full:
David pecheck of Thequietus,com
Between 2007-2009, Tokyo-based duo Tenniscoats worked at a frantic pace. Pumping out no less than five full albums, as well as a handful of solo projects under different names, anyone would think their lives depended on it. In truth, they probably did. Tenniscoats ? Takashi and Saya ? wouldn't be Tenniscoats if they weren't living and breathing their 'DIY music' (Saya's words, not ours) from morning to night. Spend any time with either of them and you realise the life of a Tenniscoat requires the ability to spin multiple plates, maintaining the constant creative energy that their ongoing projects demand. The key ingredient, according to Takashi, is coffee.

They've obviously been brewing a fresh pot in recent months, as they return this week with Tokinouta , a 15-track collection with two important distinctions: this is the first Tenniscoats album since We Are Everyone (2005) not to have been part of a collaboration, and it was recorded live in front of an audience of four microphones, with no overdubs, and only one session musician (the sound engineer, who occasionally contributes backing vocals). The sparsity makes for a delicious aural experience - warm, enveloping, unfettered - while the lack of outside input has resulted in an introspective album, darker than anything you might have thought Tenniscoats capable of.

In the past, followers of the band have been attracted to their inability to play things straight. Even their best known song, the delicate, folky 'Baibaba Bimba' (from Tan-Tan Therapy ), comes with a percussion track made up of heavy breathing. On the rare occasions that they incorporate a more traditional 'rock' approach (take, for example, 'Sodane', from 2009's Two Sunsets ), it's always undermined by a childlike tweeness that warns listeners away from taking things too seriously.

None of this can be said about Tokinouta . It's an album full of melodic adventure, though the melodies seem poignant, aching with loneliness. Lyrically, the usually breathless Saya seems more measured. It's an album of ending summers, nights falling, footprints receding. 'I was saving the best for last,' she sings on 'Sappolondon'; 'I turned away and it was no longer there.'

Could this be the album where Tenniscoats lose their enduring innocence? 'Tamashi', a song pitched so high that the eternally youthful singer has to strain above her range, sounds like the work of a songwriter in pain, as she describes being given permission to 'grow up' by an internal spirit. Lyrically, it's a song of vague thanks; musically, it's anything but.

For fans, these songs may be surprisingly yearning, but they are no less rewarding for it, and from time to time the familiar playfulness breaks through. ' Doun Doun Doun ' is the kind of quirky instrumental that made Tan-Tan Therapy a real eye-opener, though the doubt is there in Takashi's diminished chords, and the uncertainty played out in Saya's stumbling, uncorrected notes.

Suffice to say, this thoughtful, considered album feels like largely unchartered waters for the duo, and it's well worth an exploration. A mature album in many ways, our only concern must be for their personal happiness.
John Wilkis of TIME OUT JAPAN



Last Updated Feb 20 2009
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