From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Though British, this author's exploits as a rocker and musicologist qualify him to explore the modern clash between traditional, conservative Japanese values and the wild, renegade post-WWII rock 'n' roll influence of the West. His breathtaking knowledge of the scene doesn't hurt, either; thorough throughout, Cope (Krautrocksampler) reels out Japanese political, social and cultural history from the mid-Nineteenth Century on before delving into early hits like the prescient 1950s "TV idoru" genre (meaning, literally, TV idols) and the Beetles' generation-defining Japanese tour ("Waving goodbye... was somewhat akin to watching four divinities departing Earth") that sparked the Group Sounds movement. Cope covers everything from psychedelic, progressive and blues rock to chamber, experimental and ambient music, the Miles Davis-influenced jazz scene, the drug culture, the Tokyo production of Hair and, of course, Yoko Ono. Cope also lists, with helpful caveats, his 50 favorite albums of the era, including Speed, Glue & Shinki's Eve, Les Rallizes Denudes' Blind Baby Has Its Mothers Eyes, and the Flower Travellin Band 's Anywhere (from which the book draws its cover, a photo of naked, motorcycle-mounted Flower Travellin' Bandmembers). Though a cavalcade of unfamiliar Japanese names and terms may intimidate, Cope's arresting commentary is alternately serious, opinionated and flip (think Lester Bangs, not Chuck Klosterman), and a great discovery for any fan of rock music.
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"This book's astonishing blend of seriousness and hilariousness is testament to perhaps the most remarkable mind in rock today." —Word
"The most obscenely enjoyable book of the year . . . enlightening, thrilling, and occasionally hilarious . . . Cope is a supremely engaging writer whose aim is to entertain, educate, and freak out, like A. J. P. Taylor being spiked by Lester Bangs." —Telegraph
"Fascinating . . . keeps the reader gripped . . . his evocations of all this authentically inauthentic music are enticing and convincing." —Observer Music Monthly
"Cope's first-hand knowledge of the petty rivalries and idiocies of life in the rock 'n' roll business lends his tales the sheen of authenticity. In its own way, Japrocksampler is a brave book." —The Wire
"Fascinating." —Under the Radar