Material Girls and Boys looking forward to Madonna’s Confessions shows at Tokyo Dome this week may soon get the chance to “strike a pose” on their own. Television producers are putting together a Madonna special as part of 15 Films, what they say is a new style of show that will “take the short film genre to another level.” Each week the one-hour program will present 15 different takes on the life of a celebrity that will be “surprising, original, funny, intelligent, diverse, sexy and provocative, but free of empty spectacle: comedy skits, lifestyle features and fluff,” according to the producers. “One might be grainy, black and white, and look like a 1920s silent film, the next full color and filmic, the next a hip-hop music video, then a computer animation.” If you think you are the No. 1 Madonna fan in Japan, they invite you to apply to audition for this flagship program.
Contact Risa Morimoto of Zig Zag Productions: firstname.lastname@example.org AV
A minor hit created the impetus for the Canadian singers
|courtesy of Smash
With the recent Canada Wet independent music
showcase and a slew of solo tours, it seems as if 2005 could
beif such a thing existedCanadian Music Year in
Japan. The momentum is coming not only from the top down,
with promoters like Kyodo Tokyo and the Canadian Embassy putting
their weight behind the countrys musicians, but also
from the bottom up.
Toronto singer-songwriter Feists recent album Let It
Die, for example, did so well in its import edition, becoming
a word of mouth hit among the trendy Shibuya/Daikanyama demographic
and selling out available copies, that Universal Japan decided
to put out a domestic edition.
A clue to the albums success here is the fact that Feist
(a.k.a. 28-year-old Leslie Feist) has been chosen as the anchor
artist for Universals new lifestyle imprint,
Cherry Hill Records. The singer, who recently turned down
a commercial contract proffered by McDonalds, seems
to represent a certain hip, independent, DIY estheticthe
same kind that might appeal to Shibuya youth wearing the latest
neo-bohemian fashions churned out by the areas innumerable
Feist does in fact boast impeccable indie-artist credentials.
Launching her career with Calgary punk band Placebo a decade
ago, shes recently been associated with electro club
diva Peaches (a former roommate) and darlings of the Toronto
indie-rock community Broken Social Scene.
Let It Die was recorded in Paris in 2002 and 2003, and was
first released in France, where it was a moderate success
with over 70,000 copies sold. The album bears the marks of
dance music producer Gonzales (Uber Alles), who imprinted
an electronic flourish onto Feists singer/songwriter-rooted
While in the current era even individualism has been commoditized
(Just Do It!), Feist has a certain unforced funkiness
and disarming plainness that works its charm on the listener
in gradual fashion. Let It Die is a creeper that Universal
clearly hopes will sneak up on the public in the way that
Norah Jones did.
That is not to say that the emotions expressed in Feists
songs are always simple. The title track, for example, is
an elegy to love lost but not yet firmly relegated to the
past, and was recently picked up as background music for one
of the hottest youth television shows of the moment, The O.C.
But the album also has time for the froth of Inside
Out, in which Feist and Gonzales rework the Bee Gees
classic with a contemporary clubland touch.
With Feist getting the Big Push from Universal and also winning
New Artist and Alternative Album of the Year prizes at Canadas
Juno Awards, this is clearly her moment. Will she break big
like Jones, or slip back into the comfortable semi-obscurity
of indie-land? Either way, one suspects shell remain
true to her cause.
Recent reports have Feist performing both solo and with a
backing quartet (including trombone). Promoter Smash doesnt
have specifics posted on its website, but to make a maximum
impact in her minimal, two-day Japan tour, shell likely
be bringing her band along.
Depending on how things go from here, this could be the firstor
the first and lastJapan sees of Feist.
Club Quattro, Sept 21. See concert
listings for details.
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