Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Gotham Knickerbockers

With the news of Fujiya & Miyagi coming stateside, as reported by Brooklyn Vegan, I realized I hadn't kept up with them since Transparent Things (#10, 2006). So mebbe time to catch up now?

Their next album was Lightbulbs in 2008... More of that patented brand of subdued Krauty electronic bump.

"Knickerbocker" by Fujiya & Miyagi, from Lightbulbs (2008)

The first single reminded me that I've never understood about The New York Knicks and the Knickerbocker nickname for New Yorkers. My research led me to Washington Irving - as all internet searches eventually do... per Wikipedia:
Irving created the literary magazine Salmagundi in January 1807. Writing under various pseudonyms, such as William Wizard and Launcelot Langstaff, Irving lampooned New York culture and politics in a manner similar to today's Mad magazine. Salmagundi was a moderate success, spreading Irving's name and reputation beyond New York. In its seventeenth issue, dated November 11, 1807, Irving affixed the nickname "Gotham" - an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "Goat's Town" - to New York City.

Wait, what?! That's not it.
In late 1809, Irving completed work on his first major book, A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809), a satire on self-important local history and contemporary politics. Prior to its publication, Irving started a hoax akin to today's viral marketing campaigns; he placed a series of missing person adverts in New York newspapers seeking information on Diedrich Knickerbocker, a crusty Dutch historian who had allegedly gone missing from his hotel in New York City. As part of the ruse, Irving placed a notice - allegedly from the hotel's proprietor - informing readers that if Mr. Knickerbocker failed to return to the hotel to pay his bill, he would publish a manuscript Knickerbocker had left behind.

Hold on. Was Washington Irving insane, or from the future or something?
Unsuspecting readers followed the story of Knickerbocker and his manuscript with interest, and some New York city officials were concerned enough about the missing historian that they considered offering a reward for his safe return. Riding the wave of public interest he had created with his hoax, Irving - adopting the pseudonym of his Dutch historian - published A History of New York on December 6, 1809, to immediate critical and popular success. Today, the surname of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the fictional narrator of this and other Irving works, has become a nickname for Manhattan residents in general.
BOOM! #winning

"Taiwanese Boots" by Fujiya & Miyagi, from Ventriloquizzing (2011)

The concept of Taiwanese boots makes me think of Edgar Allen Poe... Actually, no. It doesn't. Anyway, looks like F&M are coming to NYC, Chicago, and L.A. Real original, I guess. Earlier this year, they released another album, but I haven't got that one either. Here's the official video for the actual first single: "Yoyo."

Ecstatic Dancer
And then there's the new one.

"Ecstatic Dancer" [live] by Fujiya & Miyagi, from new single (2011)

I knew they were a British quartet, but I thought they'd look at least a little Japanese. Why, they're just four regular geezers! You can buy the studio-version .mp3 at Amazon now.

"Ecstatic Dancer" promo, for Fujiya & Miyagi (2011)

O look, they have a promo trailer also! For a 1-track .mp3 download single!!

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