Welcome! ようこそ!

I set up this blog to hopefully introduce those outside Japan to some of Japan's best music and a taste of Osaka and Kyoto's thriving underground music scene.

Alot of what I post will be CDR's and CD's sold by bands on the Kyoto/Osaka live circuit. Hopefully giving a little exposure to the bands outside Japan. The rest will be Japanese bands from pretty much any and every generation and genre. From 60's Rock'n'Roll and folk to 00's noise and electronica.

If anyone has an issue with me uploading their music please contact me and I'll remove the links immediatley. My intention is to introduce this music to new audiences. So please help support these bands by buying their releases or catching them live if you have the opportunity. Alot of these guys are working full time jobs on top of making great music. Please send comments, complaints, recommendations and seasonal greetings to stinkinhippy@hotmail.com

Monday, 29 November 2010

Kinoko Hotel - Marianne No Yuutsu (キノコホテル - マリアンヌの憂鬱)

Picture this if you will. 4 sexy, cute Japanese girls wearing matching sassy mini-skirt hotelier uniforms and kinoko (Mushroom) bob style wigs. The lead singer is straddling her keyboard between her slender thighs while the guitarist is on her knees at the front of the stage ripping a solo. Now it's easy to see how these Tokyo girls have been working up quite a reputation for themselves over the last year or 2. Thankfully there's also some substance to their style. Kinoko Hotel rock some fuzzed out retro Psychadelia-tinged garage rock with a dark and sultry edge. The lead singer and keyboardist "Marianne" takes her name from the classic Jacks track which earns the band an extra dollop of kudos in my book.

Kyozin Yueni Dekai - Tatemono (巨人ゆえにデカイ - たてもの)

...and yet another band whom are also good friends with Afrirampo and legends on the Osaka underground scene. Kyozin along with bands like Afrirampo, Oshiri Pen Penz, Bogulta and Watushi Zombie are what became known as the Kansai "Zero Generation" The generation of up and coming young bands who formed around the early to mid 00's and were heavily influenced by the likes of other Osaka underground legends like the Boredoms and Acid Mothers Temple. Unfortunatley it seems that Afrirampo were the only band to make the leap over the pond and make a name for themselves outside of Japan. So hopefully I can rectify this. (Not that Afrirampo aren't deserving of their unexpected success.) Translated into English the amusingly monikered Kyozin Yueni Dekai means "They're called giants because they're huge". Following they're namesake the guitarist of this drums and guitars duo wears a massive pair of stilts at their shows. I just wonder where he managed to get the pants from.

Kyozin's music is a little hard to describe but is very much in the same vain as the Oshiri Pen Pens. Chunky, muted, atonal guitars fumble over screamed, chanted and howled lyrics that make pretty much no sense and quite frequently diverge into a totally made up language. (Atleast I'm pretty sure it's not a real language. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.) All of it is just about held together by some very impressive and sturdy drumming. Kyozin's drummer Shinji Wada has played in the most recent lineup of DMBQ since the death of Shonen Knife's touring drummer "China" back in 2005. Fuck it! Just listen to it. It's cool.

Doddodo - Donomichi Doddodo

Another well known player on the Osaka underground scene and good friend of Afrirampo and Oshiri Pen Penz. Namin Haku A.K.A. Doddodo has been on the scene since the early 00's and started off producing some old-school style sample based hip-hop. Sounds a bit like Coldcuts older stuff. It's all about mashing as many different genres, styles and samples into a semi-cohesive beat. It's not exactly graceful but it is pretty amusing and it's the kind of hip-hop that DJ Shadow seemed to  have effectively killed dead with the release of "Entroducing". Doddodo has more recently been involved in alot collaboration projects the most recent of which being with her and bassist Inada Makoto which I'll get round to uploading soon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Comanechi - Crime Of Love

Okay, I'm stretching the rules a little on this one Comanechi are probably considered more of a UK band than a Japanese band. But One half of this drums and guitar duet is Akiko Matsura, an Osaka local and longtime friend of Afrirampo's Pika. Besides these guys are too cool to overlook. Taking their name from a Russian olympic ice skater who earned herself infamy in Japan for her arousing routines, Comanechi specialize in no-nonsense, balls to the wall, sleazy rock'n'roll. Like Black Sabbath meets Motorhead filtered through some garage rock. Comanechi picked up quite a reputation on the London live circuit and just recently played their first shows in Japan a few weeks ago. Check the youtube link below to catch a video of their Japanese version of "My Pussy" performed with Pika at Namba bears. Great show. 

Moon Mama - 幸せの可視

Next up is Pika's solo album. Released back in late 2008 under her solo moniker Moon Mama. Pika's offering is a much more low key affair than Oni's album. Heading in much the same direction as Oni's solo work, gone for the most part is the ecclectic noise in favour of stripped down acoustic songs. The album is a collection of bedroom recordings that sound like they were recorded on a 4 track tape recorder. It's very lo-fi, personal and intimate but unfortunatley the quality of the songs is just not up to the level of Oni's work. Still worth a look for diehard fans but it's hard to reccomend for ayone else.

Pika still plays occasional solo live sets but also plays with Jim O'Rourke (Who has lived in Tokyo for the last 2 years.) very regularly in Tokyo and Osaka and very occasionally performs with her all-girl-supergroup side project Monmon Tonight.

Oni - Sunwave Heart

Apologies for the lengthy hiatus. Just moved flat and things have been a little hectic recently. Anyway as promised here are the respective solo albums from Afrirampo members Oni and Pika. First up is Oni's "Sunwave Heart" released earlier this year. Some Afrirampo fans may be a little dissapointed by the lack of screaming guitars and rampant noise that defined the Afrirampo experience but Oni's first solo effort still manages to stand shoulder to shoulder with her former band. It's out with the noise and in with stripped down, energetic folk ditties. That's right I said folk. No drums, no distortion, no screaming... well maybe a little bit of screaming. But don't worry the token Afrirampo craziness is still there and what you have here is a genuinely charming and lovely album. Enjoy.

Oni is currently doing occasional live shows playing her solo material and sporadically plays alongside one of the many Acid Mothers Temple lineups.