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Friday, February 22, 2008

PWRFL Power’s Esurance Commercial

posted by on February 22 at 12:33 PM

Speaking of PWRFL Power, he’s one of this year’s Young Ones. Last year PWRFL Power (Kazutaka Nomura) made quite an impression on the Seattle music scene—he had kept a low profile, playing his quaint acoustic songs at a few shows around the city, but only when he made it into the Block Star contest (where a handful of local bands competed for a slot on the mainstage at 2007’s Capitol Hill Block Party), did he really start to sweep people of their feet. He won that battle at Vera Project (beating out Grynch, Lonely Forest, Optimus Rhyme, Skullbot, Speaker Speaker, and the Sutures) and he opened Saturday afternoon on the Mainstage. He also won a guest spot in an esurance commercial (which you just watched above).

Here’s him playing “Let Me Show You How to Use Chopsticks” at the Block Party:

This year Kaz is releasing his full-length debut (it’ll be out in a couple weeks on Slender Means Society). The art is fantastic—done by E*Rock of Portland, it’s a hand-drawn starry explosion of happiness. And the album itself, it’s a pure representation of PWRFL Power. They kept everything simple.

Check out a couple songs:
ďItís OkayĒ
ďAlma SongĒ

Of course, my favorite PWRFL Power memory is when he interviewed himself in last year’s Block Party pull-out. An excerpt:

Your MySpace “About Me” section says, “Sound is flour, music is a loaf of bread, and PWRFL POWER is a cute little bakery.” Can you explain this?

People often think I am not serious about music. That could be true. My attitude toward my craft is flexible and casual. I am just experimenting with ways to make tasty bread. However, when it comes to picking flours, I am dead serious. I believe in my musical taste, technique, and personality. A lot of young musicians start thinking about how they can make rad music and often ignore the quality of ingredients. You won’t make a good bread if you use moldy flour from corner delis!

I heard you have a huge crush on Tiny Vipers.

Who told you that!? Yes… I do. I had a dream about her a few days ago. We were in a bathroom and she said, “Kazu, don’t watch me pee.” So I looked at the wall and there was a mirror hung. I tried to see her in the mirror…

And then…

I woke up. I saw a girl sleeping right next to me. It was in NYC. I met the girl at some bar and she was a huge fan of Spoon. So I told her that I am playing with them in Seattle. That was quick. And that’s the night I started liking Spoon. They are awesome.

Congratulations, PWRFL Power. May 2008 be your most successful year yet.

Join us Thursday March 6th for the Young Ones showcase with performances by Dyme Def, Arthur & Yu, and many of this year’s Young Ones including Sleepy Eyes of Death, Throw Me the Statue, Truckasauras, Talbot Tagora, and many more, including one special secret guest! It’s $5 for the whole thing, and all the money goes to benefit Real Change. Yay for helping the homeless!

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points off for being in a freaking ESurance commercial.

Posted by bing | February 22, 2008 12:37 PM

dear god, i hate this fucking guy. his songs are so terrible it makes me want to change the laws of physics and de-invent music. i'm so tired of him playing shows, where as far as i can tell, nobody even likes his music except for a few people at the stranger. his whole schtick--Japanese/food/cutsie love remind me of shonen knife, but without the fun, hooks or talent. and people wonder why the portland music scene is so much cooler than ours. please go away now.

Posted by geek me | February 22, 2008 12:46 PM

That was part of the prize package he won when he won the Block Star contest last year, which is what got him on the mainstage at the block party. He didn't get paid for it or anything.

It's weird, yeah, but I have yet to see it show up on TV anywhere, so I dunno if I'd knock points off for that just yet.

Posted by Megan Seling | February 22, 2008 12:47 PM

so his "prize" was that he got to be forever associated with a cheesy insurance commercial FOR NO PAY?

nice prize.

Posted by bing | February 22, 2008 1:17 PM

say what you will about his schtick or the silly commercial or what have you, but the kid can play the hell out of a guitar!

Posted by wosound | February 22, 2008 1:36 PM

To Sir / Madame @ #2: Kaz is the real deal. The esurance commercial is hilarious (in a roundabout meta way) and, to anyone not from Seattle, super confusing, which makes it even more hilarious. Can't we just appreciate the weirdness this world gives us sometimes and not cut everyone down? Kaz is a sweet guy who is doing his thing for all the right reasons, whether you like to listen to it or not is immaterial. I don't listen to Lesbian everyday but I am glad they are here in town making our music scene more interesting just as Kaz does.

Music and art are a two way conversation dude. The audience is as big a part of the success of a music community as the bands are. Complain about the Portland music scene being stronger all you want, but you are pointing the finger for that right back at yourself by cutting down someone for doing his own (genuine) thing and trying to make our community richer.

Posted by R N Pek | February 22, 2008 2:07 PM

well put @6

Posted by E | February 22, 2008 2:14 PM


Posted by chops | February 22, 2008 2:18 PM

I don't get it. I like cute things, kittens, puppies, babies et. al but this is pure and simple some of the most rank music ever to come out of the NW. #5 Steve Vai is a great guitar player but writes some shitty ass tunes so I don't buy it.

Posted by Biggie J | February 22, 2008 2:26 PM

I will defer to #5. I don't give a flying fuck how nice he is, or how much he likes his own music (which is your whole argument).
@6Bad is bad, and this is a whole new level of terrible.
I think my finger is better pointed at shitty bands and the shitty music section that promotes it instead of the plenty of decent bands in this city.

And no, I'm not in a band, I'm a dj who goes to a lot of shows.

Posted by geek me | February 22, 2008 2:33 PM

Ok, 'Geek Me' so your pissed at the shitty music section who doesn't promote your DJ night.

What's your DJ name? Please, tell us. I'm sure your music, and DJ'ing are the best in town.

Posted by Meat | February 22, 2008 2:42 PM

'You're' not 'your'.

Posted by Meat | February 22, 2008 2:43 PM

I think you are missing the point of what I am trying to say. I think you are doing so purposefully. I mentioned I was not in a band only because the default accusation on linout of any criticism against the stranger or their annointed is "You just don't like them because they don't cover your shitty band/night/madskillz/whatever"
Thanks for proving my point! Could not have set it up any better myself.
I will say it one last time: PWRFL Power sucks ass. Go pick up the Juno soundtrack or a Jonathan Richman album instead, and see how this stuff should be done.

Posted by geek me | February 22, 2008 3:20 PM

Maybe it's a chick thing? I don't hear many guys raving about PP.

Posted by Jason Josephes | February 22, 2008 3:21 PM

Geek me, you still didn't answer my question. And I missed none of your points. What's your DJ name? Don't deflect it. It's a direct question. Maybe you don't have a DJ name.

Do you play out? Let us know. Or are you a shitty, stay in your room DJ who thinks they know all there is to know about music?

Posted by Meat | February 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Meat, What's your real name? Where do you work? etc etc put up or shut up

Posted by bing | February 22, 2008 3:37 PM

Meat M. Meat. I'm a prophet, 'Bing.'

Posted by Meat | February 22, 2008 3:40 PM

All I'm saying is that if you want to play the game of unconstructive negativity in a town already tainted by competition and a lack of positive support for individuals, then you are a symptom of the selfsame thing you bemoan, which is Portland's current perceived superiority to Seattle in terms of music community. Many times I've been to and played shows in Portland and found the scene to be full of attentive, supportive people that go to shows to *gasp* listen to music, not to self promote. There are a multitude of gems in the current Seattle music crown (PWRFL Power, Tiny Vipers, Cave Singers, the Pharmacy, Talbot Tagora, Moondoggies, Arthur & Yu, Whalebones, Throw Me the Statue, Triumph of Lethargy, Damien Jurado and Dave Bazan, PAST LIVES among many others) that we should be proud of and who deserve our encouragement as peers and fans.

I'm not saying you have to like everything by any means. But chances are, if you are commenting on this blog, you aren't just some nobody from Tukwila, you are probably an active member of the Seattle music community (despite your anonymous name), and as such it would behoove you to give others the same acceptance and encouragement that you yourself seek when pursuing your own musical endeavours in this town. That is the only way we can have a truly strong community instead of a heavily competitive and embattled one. Have opinions, but be a good neighbor - we all deserve the benefit of the doubt so we can grow as individuals and music creators in the warmth of a strong and supportive scene. That scene is there if you look for it, and I have been lucky enough in my short music "career" to find many supportive and loving people in this town who are also great artists and peers, but there is a cloud of pointless negativity that we need to sweep away from this place.

Nerd With Too Much Time On Hands

Posted by R N Pek | February 22, 2008 3:46 PM

Meat M. Meat, what a stupid name! poor bastard.

Posted by bing | February 22, 2008 3:50 PM

Anonymous name nothing. I'm proud to be involved in the local music scene. Not all feedback can be positive. As a great man once said, one man's Great White is another man's disgusted sigh while passing the cutout bin.

Posted by Jason Josephes | February 22, 2008 4:04 PM

@6: what exactly are the "right reasons" you're talking about? from conversations I've had with Kaz, his reasons include "doing awesome drugs" and "fucking girls in LA with herpes". that's totally why I got into playing music, maaaaaan, but I wouldn't exactly say it's the right reasons.

does anyone remember that Vice review of Deerhoof from a year or so back when they metion the singer "pimping her Jap-ness"? I can't think of anyone more guilty of that than Kaz. seriously, it panders to some idiotic part in the white person's soul (white girls, especially, thank you #14. because if he sleeps wit them, he'll probably write a song about it) where being Japanese is cute commodity and he is an effective caricature of that commodity. if I were to write songs about my Czech/German heritage titled "I'll teach you how to invade a country and be occupied by one simultaneously", would anyone give a shit? would it be considered "cute" and "inventive", or because of my stature, would I be considered to be "ripping off Daniel Johnston"?

Posted by "Lee" | February 22, 2008 4:47 PM

@18--you had me for most of it, except your choice of "great Seattle bands" (Triumph of Lethargy? Really? You honestly think they are great?) I prefer the Posies, Visqueen, Rotten Apples, etc...but I do agree Seattle has some AMAZING bands.
While I agree with the philosophy of what you are saying, I still feel anyone here is allowed to call bullshit on a terrible band, and not be labeled an enemy of local music. PP is a Stranger creation that won some lame battle of the bands because of kitsch value, and the novelty has worn the fuck off. Now I am forced to watch listen to this crap at WAAAAAAAY too many shows where he is the opening act. If we have such a great supportive music scene, why aren't there more bands that are shown the support and reciprocity afforded these bands? Oh wait, that's right. They aren't your friendsí bands or blessed by the Stranger so they must be awful and not exist.
I feel like this post has turned into a bit of rant, but I'll post it anyway. The point I am trying to make is simply I don't like this guy's music and I won't subtly threatened (meat) or guilted (Pecknold) into not calling it awful. This isn't grade school where everyone gets a gold star for participating. I feel that once a local band reaches a certain level, one is allowed to say to other music fans (people on lineout) that it sucks. Donít take it so personally. Itís not like I want to tackle him on the street and punch him in the throat. Iím sure heís really nice and riot to be around, but dude makes horrible music.

Posted by geek me | February 22, 2008 4:57 PM

hee hee @21

Posted by morgan | February 22, 2008 4:59 PM

I guess I kind of got off on a tangent there and wasn't really talking about your specific dislike of Kaz's jams so much as seeing this conversation as symptomatic of something I'd like to see less of in town which is needless anonymous bashing. Of course there are plenty of bands in town who I think are terrible, everyone has a right to an opinion, I'm just sometimes frustrated by what I perceive to be a negative atmosphere in town and I took this as an example of it.

You are right in that this isn't grade school or whatever, in fact I find Seattle music to more often than not be a meritocracy in a cool way, where the best bands often get the most attention. But to me, if we want Seattle to be a real incubator for talented musicians, we need to band together and not cut people down once they get successful. But I do get the frustration of not really getting where his success is coming from or not getting who actually is connecting to his music. I appreciate what he does because it's different and in some ways deceptive in its lightness - all music and art is a conversation and every time you step on stage or put a song on the internet you are starting a dialogue with people, so I appreciate his contribution to that dialogue being more unique than many's. It's not the Beatles but nothing is.

PS: I do think Triumph is rad - Spencer writing the line "I sleep in a great big bed / I sleep right on the edge / just like I did / before I was alone" gives them a free pass to do whatever the hell they like as far as I'm concerned...

Posted by Pickmold | February 22, 2008 5:38 PM

@24 Point taken. At least we care enough to debate. Great talking with everyone (mostly). See you at the clubs!

Posted by geek me | February 22, 2008 5:52 PM


that's a lot of comments!
I am glad you guys are excited over me.

I will listen to you, talk more shit and make me smile!



Posted by PWRFL KAZ | February 22, 2008 9:08 PM

Actually, I should have said that

"Drink a glass of fucking milk" (by Trent Mooreman)


Posted by PWRFL KAZ | February 22, 2008 9:50 PM

All I really care about is that esurance girl anyway. If I could fuck a cartoon woman, it'd be her. (Guess I always entertained those thoughts since I saw "Cool World")

As for PP, pretty indifferent, but I did like the video of the chopsticks song that accompanies this post. And the receptionist at my office says that he's a pretty nice guy.

Posted by Hernandez | February 23, 2008 3:20 PM

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