Catbird Double Feature

PWRFL Power is simply Kazutaka Nomura. He’s a Japanese born, Seattle transplant, who’s a classically trained guitarist and instinctively precious humorist. To pigeonhole this eccentric waif as just another singer/songwriter with a quirky streak would be an injustice. Listening over the intricate playing on his Catbird Records EP one could even suggest that Nomura is a rare talent, balking at chords and picking his way through Django’s gypsy jazz and Fahey’s labyrinthine folk excursions. Match that with a naïveté usually reserved for the Montessori playground, or the junior-high slam-book, perhaps the funny pages read aloud by Luddite yuppies – a paradox of an innocent mind vs. a set of adroit fingers. Sometimes the clash is excruciating -- a muppet movie in horn-rimmed glasses pining with Ben Gibbard – sometimes the lyrics are embarrassingly cringe-worthy, but despite the lack of serious in “Brush Your Teeth” or “Play Some Drums,” his melodies weave and burst from the sparse arrangement. When they click, as on the modern love happenstance of “Alma Song,” you get the feeling Nomura likes to chuckle even when being 100% sincere, his guitar drifting through life collecting the sparkly ephemera from thin air much like his recent memory collects cuddly bits of dialogue and mental pics of people on the bus.

Air Waves is probably the victor of the two releases, if only for the relaxed simplicity of it all, singing to lightning and gems, nature and all that. Led by Nicole Schneit – the EP is a brief moonlit walk through melancholic bramble rock, effortlessly beating with a rapturous heart. Allowing the boy to sing on “Keys,” the disc’s scruffy finale puts them in line with early Sparklehorse. Throughout though they tip-toe around shoegaze and femme-folk like Mazzy Star, but my imagination conjures up memories of Bettie Seveert – a band fragile and sensitive, always searching for the flower even if thorns and brush are in the way. I guess it's desert pop, space pop; no matter where it pops the only thing that matters is the pop. This one’s got plenty of it, in little time.

You can purchase both here for a nominal fee. Always a bargain, and always packaged with care.

1 comment:

mcgob said...

Good call on the Bettie Serveert comparison. Air Waves remind me of the Spinanes, as well.