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It’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to use your PWRFL POWER

By February 5, 2008No Comments



MP3 – PWRFL POWER – “It’s Okay”
MP3 – PWRFL POWER – “Alma Song”

In spite of its populist facade, popular music still largely manages to maintain a number of strangely puritanical conventions. One exceptionally glaring case in point is the assumed mutual exclusivity of humor and “serious” music–the assumption that all “important” music is solemn, earnest, and marked with abject sincerity. Particularly in the realm of the singer/songwriter, sap and heart-sleeved sincerity are tantamount to authenticity, and humor is viewed at best as a suspicious novelty. Which is just one reason why PWRFL Power’s Kazutaka Nomura doesn’t especially care for pop conventions.

Born to an architect and a calligrapher in Hokkaido, Japan in 1984, Kaz began studying Classical and Jazz guitar at the age of 13–moving to Seattle at 18 to study musical composition. Shortly after his arrival, the diminutive and charismatic Nomura co-founded (along with two other like-minded Japanese emigres) the city-conquering, genre-defying free-improv trio Na–who, before their residency-related demise in 2006, self-released over 40 recordings, and garnered ink in Wire, Spin, and The Stranger.

Following the dissolution of his band, Nomura–now armed with a fancy music degree–decided to refine his focus: constricting his work from genre-less abandon to more traditional song structures. The result is PWRFL Power: an unconventional marriage of melodically rich, Fahey-styled acoustic virtuosity and conversational, knowingly naive lyrical abandon. With the most basic of building blocks, Nomura forges a uniquely avant-informed brand of outsider folk music–one that relies as much on impish mischief as it does on considered craft and technique.

In the year or so since his live debut, PWRFL Power has collected considerable local and national acclaim for his magnetically charming live performances–with high-profile appearances at Wham City’s Whartscape festival, and a mainstage slot at Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party (an appearance which resulted in Kaz being cast as himself in one of those weird, animated Esurance television commercials….. no, seriously–look for it in early 2008).

With his self-titled full-length debut, PWRFL Power covers considerable aesthetic strides–from contemplative sparsity to bluesy dexterity to pure pop, and on through to a number scarcely definable alleyways in between–whilst spinning loving yarns about self-acceptance, internet dating, chopstick etiquette, loathsome cats, cocaine, obsessive-compulsive text messaging, and tomato throwing. And what’s most awe-inspiring is that, in spite of this innate humor, PWRFL Power manages to transcend the potentially cloying confines of its subject matter–seemingly by sheer will–with thoughtfully constructed, elegantly played, and catchy as fuck compositions. So yes, the songs are meant to be funny. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously.

here’s a short documentary piece that appeared on the Seattle’s CW channel –

PWRFL POWER – S/T (Slender Means Society) track list:

01 It’s Okay
02 Heaven, Dog, and Rainbow
03 My Bird Is Dead
04 Let Me Teach You How To Hold Chopsticks
05 Tomato Song
06 Cat Song
07 Soft Boy
08 Let’s Play Drums
09 Alma Song
10 Two Keys
11 Banana Song

Street date: March 4, 2008


2/19- Baltimore, MD @ Talking Head
2/20- Philadelphia, PA @ Inciting HQ
2/21- New York, NY @ Cake Shop
2/22- Medford, MA @ Oxfam Cafe at Tufts University
2/23- Troy, NY @ Ground Zero Basement at RPI
2/24- Syracuse, NY @ Recess Cafe
2/26- Detroit, MI @ Scrummage University
2/27- Chicago, IL @ F**k Mountain
2/28- Madison, WI @ Nottingham Co-Op
2/29- Grinnell, IA @ Bob’s Underground at Grinnell College
3/01- St. Paul, MN @ Big V’s
3/03- Missoula, MT @ The Badlander
3/04- Spokane, WA @ The Empyrean
3/05- Portland, OR @ Rotture
3/06- Seattle, WA @ The Comet Tavern
3/07- Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
3/08- Roseburg, OR @ Riversdale Grange
3/09- Eureka, CA @ The Vista
3/11- Oakland, CA @ ABCo Artspace
3/13- Napa, CA @ The Slack Ranch
3/14- Santa Rosa, CA @ The Boogie Room
3/16- Long Beach, CA @ OPEN (Matinee Show)
3/16- Los Angeles, CA @ Pehrspace
3/17- Los Angeles, CA @ Relax Bar
3/18- San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
3/19- Phoenix, AZ @ The Trunk Space
3/20- Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture Gallery
3/21- El Paso, TX @ The Brickhouse
3/24- Albuquerque, NM @ Stove
3/25- Glenwood Springs, CO @ Eagles Lodge
3/26- Denver, CO @ Rhinoceropolis
3/27- Lincoln, NE @ Box Awesome
3/29- Kalamazoo, MI @ New Kraftbrau Space

Press materials –