I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ego-Wrappin' -- Neon Sign Stomp

A couple of nights ago, I wrote an article on a theme song for an old detective show titled "Bad City" by the band SHOGUN. As soon as I finished that, I found out that Ego-Wrappin' had come up with a theme song for a present-day hardboiled private eye program. In fact, "Neon Sign Stomp" got released as part of a mini-album (though the band is calling it their official 5th single) titled "Bright Time" last month.

"Neon Sign Stomp" was created by the band for the late-night TV Tokyo drama "Reverse Edge - Okawabata Tanteisha" (リバースエッジ 大川端探偵社...Okawabata Detective Agency...ongoing as of this writing). Yoshie Nakano and Masaki Mori (中納良恵・森雅樹)have sometimes gone off on a weird tangent from their jazz but I was happy to see in the video that they were back to their bohemian swing roots. Mori still has the Django guitar chops and Nakano still has that expressive vocal style that's perfect for those beatnik cafe surroundings instead of a huge stadium. Speaking of the video, there's plenty of that gritty downtown atmosphere with the band performing in the actual offices of the detective agency while the cast from the show are doing their own thing. And the quirkiness is there, too, with a disco mirror ball and Nakano in the fright hair and sporting that red light (maybe she's referring to the geography where Joe Odagiri's character, Muraki, prowls). By the way, the new song here isn't the first detective show theme that Ego-Wrappin' has done. They also came up with "Kuchibashi ni Cherry"(くちばしにチェリー)for the show "Shiritsu Tantei Hama Mike"(私立探偵濱マイク)back in 2002....hard to believe that the band has been around for over 15 years.

I've liked the different forms of jazz whether it be Big Band, 50s Bop or Dixieland. Ego-Wrappin's stuff always reminded me of those traveling jazz bands that zipped among the small towns and big cities in America back in the 20s and 30s. There was nothing slick nor sophisticated about those guys....but they could cook up some fine sweaty jazz at whatever dilapidated hall they played in. Nakano, Mori and their group bring some of that nearly-century-old desperate energy through the vocals and instruments, and that's also true with "Neon Sign Stomp". The song just galomps along like that not-so-young fellow racing among the old-style neon to look for a friendly watering hole.

Not sure how "Bright Time" has done on the charts but I wouldn't think either Ego-Wrappin' or their fans (including me) would care that much. Like the detectives they musically describe, they'll do whatever they like without having to worry about who listens to them.

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