I don’t know what it is exactly, but I have a real thing for the bossa nova. In middle school jazz band, all the drummers would gravitate towards the charts labeled “Latin” at the top, because it was so easy to play for something that actually sounds kinda complicated, the light samba rhythm in the bass drum and the clave pattern syncopated against it with the left hand. When it’s done on a little Casio drum sampler, that groove is even easier to nail, but it’s no less intoxicating and transportive, especially when it’s the middle of February and you’ve got those warbling organ chords and quaint melodies lighting up a tune like “Pan Am Holiday.” And all is nice and well and good, and I can feel the warm breeze in my hair, almost as if one of the VHS babes in this video is about to ask me to reach into the screen to put some lotion on her back, and I notice all of this because of how much I love that bossa nova so incredibly much… but Travel Kyoto is ultimately sold on the voice of Portlander Jake Aesthete, shy and understated as it is, like it’s sitting in with a karaoke machine, doing that tune we all know but can’t seem to remember the words for. Sum total has me thinking that, with a live band, this track might of fit nicely on Sam Prekop’s first solo record. But it’s not there; it’s on this cassette called Empire of Signs from Russian label Singapore Sling.