Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits [ Gift from Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits ] CD [EM1100CD]
Selling Price: US$7.99
Gift from Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits, which was previously issued on vinyl LP by EM Records in November 2012, is now available on CD with three additional tracks, a new track sequence, and new cover art. The band has a unique place in the current Japanese music scene, a hard-to-classify blend of original compositions (swinging garage-sax swagger, serpentine accordion/musical saw funk, pensive sky musings) and well-chosen covers, acclaimed (Joe Meek) and obscure (lounge wizard Bobby Hammack and 50s pianist/composer Bob Brandt). Recorded 2011-14 in Tokyo, this album captures the special Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits frontline blend of sax, accordion and musical saw, joyfully urged on by the rhythm section. This band, so distinct from the mass of typical Tokyo sounds, is intent on pursuing its own musical vision, joyously melodic and defiantly timeless. The ten songs on this CD, two of which, featuring the vocals of Tomoko Kanda, were previously released on an EM 7”, are sure to bring a smile to your face, a tap to your toe, and perhaps, a tear to your eye.
ABOUT THE GROUP:
Noahlewis’ Mahlon Taits is a group from Tokyo, and although their name sounds like a Hawaiian Band or a Cajun Group, they are indeed Japanese, and this fact provides some nice clues in enjoying their music. Their music is not traditional Japanese music nor are they a rock band just imitating American groups. They started as a type of 1920s string band, mixing string instruments like hawaiian guitar, mandolin, cellos, with haunting musical saw and some woodwinds. They sounded like a '20s group, playing just for fun in their local area. Their aim was not copying '20s music, but instead blended almost every kind of music they loved. Of course they loved country blue and dance bands, but also ethnic music from all over the world, as well as '50s R&B, Phil Spector, John Fahey, Joe Meek, Raymond Scott, Alec Wilder, Martin Denny, Sun Ra, "classical" music from Debussy to Reich and so on. (As you may guess, they are vinyl / 78rpm junkies and one of the members in the group has run the phonograph record shop NOAHLEWIS’ RECORDS in Shimokitazawa, for more than ten years.) They tried to mold and rebuild songs that they found on old phonograph records, so at that time they didn’t compose original songs.
The group was formed in the late 1990s. Koya Abe (Hawaiian guitar, bass), who was a shop clerk in one of the few vintage record shops in Shibuya, started his solo project as NOAH LEWIS, which soon became an octet and was renamed NOAHLEWIS’ MAHLON TAITS. The group consisted of Midori Sato (violin), Yoriko Matsumoto (accordion), Bo Suzuki (bj, dr), Ryo Takematsu (g), Fumiya Morita (musical Saw, Jug, woodwinds), Tomoaki Oshima (ukulele,trombone), and the drummer Soichiro Suzuki who was already known in the group called “World Standard”. After a few years Soichiro Suzuki quit the band, and in 2008 Midori Sato also left. The sound began to change, and they started to compose their own material and started using vintage electric instruments. Though they are akin to a 50s R&B combo, the use of musical saw, accordion, and other additional instruments adds a unique twist. Every member has a job, and due to this fact, their live performances are quite rare, though they have played at events with some high-profile foreign performers including Dame Darcy, Geoff Muldaur, and Janet Klien, and they have appeared at SXSW 2001 and 2006. They have released one EP and four CDs to this point, and every release is a highly recommended example of their unique sound.
1. Enchanted Farm (Bobby Hammack)
2. Tenderly (Jack Lawrence - Walter Gross)*
3. Maid of The Mist (Bob Brandt)
4. Dreamboat (Koya Abe - Bo Suzuki)*
5. Moonlight in Vermont (John Blackburn - Karl Suessdorf)
6. Jelly Roll (Koya Abe)
7. Nippon No Sora (Bo Suzuki)
8. Dreamboat (instrumental) (Koya Abe - Bo Suzuki)*
9. Hino Yojin (Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits)
10. Valley of No Return (Joe Meek)
* CD additional track