One week ago my music-loving pals and I hosted a 12th episode of our Top 5 Records, which has evolved into a Live Podcast, DJ Event, and Talk Show. The event pays homage to Nick Hornby’s novel “High Fidelity” and the cult classic movie by the same name, in which the 3 music aficionados anti-heroes, the clan of misfit record store clerks from “Championship Vinyl”, list their “Top 5” records on various themes throughout the book and movie.
Not unlike the three protagonists, my pals Michael Warren, Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha), and myself pick an agreed topic of interest, and essentially interpret that topic in any manner, whether it be by song, albums, artist, or other, and create lists of 5 works to spotlight in a short show-and-tell presentation, shared online or in person. Past topics have included, “Heart of Saturday Night” (Best Records for any given Saturday Night), “Fly on the Wall” (Records that we would have liked to watch being made), and “Autobiographical” (Songs or albums that marked significant milestones in our lives.) Last week’s theme was “Heroes, Just for One Day” (albums, songs, or artists representing any aspect of the notion of “Hero” to us.) Check the comments for our Top 5 Heroes lists.
Until our 11th episode, we had only hosted the event online, which made adding an actual music-listening element a challenge. Now that we are able to meet in person, we have evolved the event to include several sets of us spinning our favorite records for you, that sandwich this Live-talkshow/podcast, but we have also added a guest DJ/presenter for each Top 5 Episode, with the first being acclaimed composer, producer, and cellist, James Banbury of Magus Project, Blood Wine Or Honey, and more (Thank you, James!)
We hosted the last two LIVE editions at Top 5 Records at Talking Gorilla (THANK YOU!) inside Shimokitazawa Station and welcomed a fantastic crew of both familiar friends and newly-made music-loving homies. Deep thanks to all who joined – you made the event so much more fun, truly one of, if not THE best edition of Top 5 Records yet. Next “T5R” coming up later this summer so stay tuned!
Until then… More Tokyo Record Style on the way!
A quick additional note about each participant’s interpretation of “Heroes”. This theme had been iterated from a more specific “Hometown Heroes” idea (Songs/Albums by musical artists from our hometowns) but considering how the notion of “hometown” or even an identity of home can seem a bit fleeting to those of us who have may have moved from place to place, we opted for the more broad theme of just “Hereos” and left it completely up for each participant to interpret the theme in any way they saw fit. Loosely put, Michael chose albums that were heroic in their conceptualization, their making, and/or their performance. Bemsha chose, not albums or records, per se, but artists who he saw as some of his personal heroes and some of their selected works. James chose hard-hitting songs from what might be called aspirational albums, that challenged conventions at the time in heroic ways, and I went with something basic, songs associated with “Super Heroes”, on which, come to think of it, David Bowie should have been included on. Sorry, Bowie, and thank you for that amazing song and album that inspired us all to be Heroes, Just for One Day!
What would be on your Top 5 Records List of Heroes?
Brian’s Top 5 (Songs)
“Nobody Loves the Hulk” – Single, Queens City Records (1969) – The Traits
“Believe It or Not” – Theme from “Greatest American Hero”, Elektra Records (1981) – Joey Scarbury
“Flash” – Theme from “Flash Gordon”, Elektra Records (1981) – Queen
“Bat Dance” – Single, Warner Bros. Records (1989) – Prince
“Waiting for Superman” – The Soft Bulletin, Warner Bros. Records (1999) – The Flaming Lips
“Magneto and Titanium Man” – Venus and Mars, Capitol Records (1975) – Wings
Bemsha’s Top 5 (Artists, and assorted works)
Thelonious Monk – “Brilliant Corners” (1957), “Thelonious Monk Trio (1956)“
Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Self-Titled (1981), “Signs of Life” (1987)
Paul Pena – Self Titled (1972), “Genghis Blues”, Documentary Film, by Roko Belic (1999)
Patti Smith – “M Train” (2015), “People Have the Power” (1988), “A Book of Dates” (2022), “Banga” (2021)
Hosono Haruomi – “Bon Voyage” (1976), Y.M.O. – 浮気なぼくら/Naughty Boys (1983)
James’s Top 5: (Songs/Albums)
“The Things That Dreams Are Made Of” – Dare (1981) – The Human League
“Fight the Power” – Fear of a Black Planet (1990) – Public Enemy
“Black Man” – Songs In The Key of Life (1976) – Stevie Wonder
“Free” – Untitled (Rise) (2020) – Sault
“Trans-Europe Express” – Trans-Europe Express (1977) – Kraftwerk
Michael’s Top 5 (Albums)
“Rendezvous” (2004) – Luna, Jetset Records
“Lookaftering” (2005) – Vashti Bunyan, Fat Cat Records
“Team Rock” (2001) – Quruli, Speedster Records
“2 Steg Från Paradise” (2010) – Håkan Hellström, Stranded Rekords
“Emergency Ward” (1972) – Nina Simone, RCA Victor
Try Best Offer Score