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

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Chittsu - Tokugawa Kotaro (チッツ - 徳川幸太郎)

Chittsu have been around for quite a few years now and have slowly been picking up a loyal following for their catchy punk romps that are a satisfying mix of nostalgic Blue Hearts-esque anthemic punk and some of Osaka's more disperate underground sounds. The appeal is that the bands "rough around the edges" punk is merely a guise for some seriously infectious pop tunage.

The local 4-piece were recently signed up by a Japanese label so 2012 promises to be a big year for the band. In preperation for their label release they've slowly been taking their DIY CDR's out of circulation sadly making their much sought after releases an increasing rarity. Tokugawa Kotaro is a CDR album the band put out in a limited quanity in late 2010. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Kasumi Trio (カスミトリオ) - Tsunashi 十

Kasumi Trio (Although there are actually 4 members on this outing.) are a local supergroup of sorts made up of Michishita Shinsuke (LSD March) on electric guitar, Ueno Takashi (Tenniscoats) on acoustic guitar, Takahashi Ikuro (Nagisa Ni Te) on drums and artist and frequent Tenniscoats collaborator Umeda Tetsuya playing around with a variety of noisy homemade contraptions and instruments.

The music actually ends up being a fairly balanced mix of all the members own musical projects. The breezy acoustic stylings of Nagisa Ni Te, combined with the experimental wanderings of the Tenniscoats and topped off with a touch of LSD March's brand of sombre psychedelia. The tracks combine delicatley composed repeating acoustic passages with subtle use of noise and atmospherics courtesy of Michishita and Umeda. The band are best experienced live if only to catch a glimpse of Umeda Tetsuya's bizarre and wonderful noise contraption that includes vibrating ping pong ball platforms, magnetised oscillating tube amps and electrified spark fans. (Checkout the youtube clip.) The whole album has a nice laidback breezy feel to it but spices it with some experimentation to create an interesting counterpoint. The album also comes in a rather cool foldout cardboard package that resembles the cutout paper snowflakes children make.

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Monday, 12 December 2011

Bossston Cruizing Mania - Live

Apologies for the lengthy lull in posting. A variety of distractions are to blame including work, various music projects and diving into the world of ipad/iphone music/noise production. Anway I'll try and make it up for the next week or so by updating more frequently.

I posted some Bossston Cruising Mania stuff quite a while back and got quite a positive response from people including some requests for more material. Sadly the bands output during their 15 plus year lifespan has been limited to a handful of difficult to find studio albums and a variety of even more difficult to find self released CDRs. Being that the band are from Tokyo they only head over Osaka way very infrequently. Luckily I did pick up their most recent CDR during their appearence at the Kyoto Boredom festival this summer. "Live" is as the title suggests a recording of a live set made at Tokyo Enban 12-11-2010. The recording quality isn't great but is definatley listenable and a bit of DIY rawness never hurts a band like this.

For those that didn't already check out the earlier Bosston post their music could be best described as a mix of post-punk, dub and no-wave. Think Public Image inc. fused with the Contortions and a splash of The Specials with socially charged rapped/spoken word lyrics scattered over rolling dub basslines and staccato guitars. The band recently put out their 4th studio album "Loaded, Lowdead, Rawdead" (Poking fun at the inability to distinguish between the 3 words when rendered in Japanese or spoken in shaky Japinglish.) and is well worth checking out for fans. You'll find many of the same tracks that appear on "In Dub/No Dub" and "Live" albeit with slightly different arrangements. It's an excellent album but the band have a tendency to overproduce their studio recordings when the band actually sound their best when their at their most sparse and minimal.

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Wada Shinji (和田晋侍) - Pana 8

Wada Shinji is one of Osaka's best and most respected drummers. Probably known best for his work with Psychedelic supergroup D.M.B.Q. and his own sideproject Kyojin Yueni Dekai Wada boasts techincal ability, imagination and wall rattling brutality in equal measure. "Pana 8" is a rare self released CDR Wada was selling on his tours last year. What you get is 20 minutes of Wada beating his drums into bloody submission in an extended improv session with the occasional bit of filtered effects to add a little texture to the proceedings. Thankfully Wada manages to keep things reigned in and stop the whole thing feeling like a self celebratory wank-a-thon and actually delivers a rather listenable and engaging experience that will still hold appeal for even non-drum nuts.

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Capuchin - Takaramachi (Capuchin - 宝町)

Well it's time to put my money where my mouth is I guess. This is actually my own album. Capuchin was a solo project I started shortly after coming to Japan. Inspired by the sights and sounds around me in my new enviroment I set about trying to fuse my field recordings with live instrumentation and to try and use sound collages as a part of the music. I was listening to alot of Four Tet and Manitoba/Caribou at the time so it has a "Folktronica" feel to it. Though almost all of the instrumentation is from live recorded instruments rather than samples which were then later chopped up and looped etc. The recordings date back to around 2005/2006 but the album was put out by Easel a Japanese sub-division of Prefuse 73's own Eastern Developments label in late 2008.

The title "Takaramachi" refers to the name of the neighbourhood in which a group of my Japanese friends shared a flat together. Around the time the label decided to release the album the friends, many of whom had been close friends ever since kindergarten went their seperate ways after getting married, changing jobs etc etc and genrally being caught up by lifes ebb and flow. So I named the album after the flat as a nostalgic tribute.

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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hamah Moh - Ghost Slider

Hamah Moh is a Kyoto based singer/songwriter who writes some impressively dank and dingy ballads using his disctinctively raspy resonator guitar and slide setup. Backed by harmonium and the occasional bit of didgeridoo and percussion Hamah's lengthy. sparse, bluesy dirges have an almost Eastern flavour to them managing to fuse blue grass, folk and eastern influences with elements of traditional Japanese folk music. To be honest I find his vocals to be a little grating after a while (He has a slight "tang" in his voice that sounds a little forced, but perhaps it's not so noticeble if you don't know Japanese.) but he does a great job of creating music that manages to be dark but also surprisingly uplifting and upbeat. Hamah even manages a worthy cover of Japan's multi-talented comedian turned actor turned songwriter turned painter turned author turned movie director turned university professor Kitano Takeshi's "Asakusa Kid".

Dim the lights and break out the cigars and whisky for maximised listening pleasure.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ultra Jr. - We R ULTRA Jr.

OK I got a couple of great responses and requests from the Ultra Bide post so I thought I'd upload this rare CDR. Ultra Jr are one of Hide from Ultra Bide's many sideprojects. Featuring Jinichiro Ida (A.K.A. JJ) from Limited Express (Has Gone?) and current Shonen Knife drummer Reo. Sadly the band were fairly short lived and only put out 2 CDR singles. The band have been on indefinite hiatus since Reo joined as Shonen Knife's drummer after the tragic death of their previous drummer China in a car accident while touring the U.S. Unfortunatley I don't have the other single otherwise I'd bundle them together.

Jr. are much closer in spirit to JJ's band Limited Express (Has Gone?) with Hide taking a backseat role and letting JJ and Reo share vocal duties. Sadly the single is only 2 tracks long but shows alot of the promise the project had which will hopefully one day be fullfilled.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Ultra Bide - Sonic Crush!!!

Ultra Bide are one of Kansai's most respected bands and local legends on the underground circuit. Originally formed in the late 70's by core member Hide the band over the years has gone through numerous line-up changes and switch ups. The original line-up (Now fondly refrered as "The original Ultra Bide".) included noise legend Jojo Hiroshige on bass with Hide himself taking up duties on lead guitar. In it's current form Ultra Bide feature a brutal dual bass and drums set-up.

Bide are without a doubt Kansai's most consitently impressive live bands. No gimmicks, no fucking about just straight up ear drum battering punk. But despite how great the band are their recorded output is patchy at best and doesn't really do the band justice which is why I've held off on posting about these guys for so long.  Thankfully though the band recently put out a DVD-R of one of their live shows and luckily the sound is pretty good so I've taken the liberty of ripping the audio from it for your listening pleasure. It's obviously no substitute to seeing these guys but it'll have to do. Pure obnoxious, snot nosed punk is what you get. Fans of Friction, Big Black, Shellac etc should find immediate comfort.

Not resting on his laurels, Hide despite being one of Kansai's longest standing and well respected underground veterens (Hide turned half a century old this year. Happy Birthday you old cunt!) is also deeply involved in nurturing up and coming acts and is always seeking to use his status to champion the latest generations of bands. Not to mention that even at 50 Hide and his cohorts consistently manage out play bands more than half their age. Take note kids. This is how you do punk.

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Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Impacts - Go! Mask Man From Hell!

A quick rhetorical question. Do you like Guitar Wolf? Ever wondered what they'd sound like even scummier and trashier than they already are? Well look no further because the appropriatley named Impacts are here to blow your eardrums straight out your ass. The Osaka trio who play their shows wearing all over chequered body suits were an impulse buy for me. Picked up from Timebomb for just 100 yen (That's roughly $1 U.S.) the band clearly aren't too interested in actually making much money. The only problem with the CDR is that it's only 4 tracks long and is over before you know it. Rock'n'Roll!

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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sim + Otomo - Monte Alto Estate (Sim + 大友良英 - Monte Alto Estate)


Sim are a pretty well established Tokyo 3-piece who have been knocking around since the mid oo's. Comprised of Drums, Guitar and various electronics on this album they're joined by veteren noise maker Otomo Yoshihide (大友良英) (Check out the DJ Carhouse & MC Hellshit collaboration with the Boredoms EYE I posted a while back for more Otomo weirdness.) Here Otomo takes up "DJing" duty on turntables and homemade synths and electronics to help flesh out Sims minimal style.

I guess if I had to draw comparisons then Tortoise spring to mind. But think more super minimal no-wave rather than progressive jazz meanderings. The drums are central here forming the skeletel structure of Sim's barebones music to which stabby guitars, droning, bleeping electronics and chopped up audio samples are pinned to. My only gripe with this album is that it doesn't really deviate or expand upon the idiosyncratic so it can make for tough listening in long chunks and it's difficult to distinguish one track the next. But having said that I still enjoy this album very much and is to date Sim's best work. Sadly although the band members have been involved in various other projects Sim seem to have been virtually inactive for the last few years.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sika Sika - Demo

Sika Sika are a DIY 4-piece punk band formed in 2006 over popular Japanese social network website Mixi. (Think Facebook for Japan.) The band made up of drums, bass, guitar and keyboard are scattered across Japan with their members hailing from Osaka, Kyoto, Nagasaki and Nagoya. No-nonsense high-tempo, low-fi, hardcore punk is the name of the game and it's executed fine fashion here.

Live the band encourage stage invasions and audience participation (Interference?) in their frantic sets and I doubt the keyboardist's keys have ever made it through a show in one piece. Their demo is made up of 6 short that all clock in around the 1 minute mark and the whole thing comes packedged in a photcopied booklet that includes random collages and self penned interviews. The recording quiality is excellent though suitably low-fi.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Itoken - Pins And Needles (イトケン - Pins And Needles)


No doubt the first word that will spring to mind when listening to Itoken is "quirky" and you'd be right. Itoken is a Tokyo based producer/musician/composer/drummer whose prolific but fairly obscure output includes soundtracking games, TV commercials, animations and websites. Not to mention his numerous collaboration projects.

Itoken uses toy instruments, oddball electronics and homemade gadgets to create his off the wall intstrumental ditties. His sugery sweet music is quirky and upbeat but also oddly sinister in a twisted sort of way. Replace the toy melodicas, xylophones and hand claps with electric guitars and drums and it could almost be Battles or some other math-rock ensemble.

"Pins And Needles" was released in 2001 and a number of tracks made an appearence in the Xbox game Phantom Crash.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

TOKYOBOREDOM ∞ SUNRAIN

I meant to post this a while ago but never got round to it. For the Tokyo Boredom In Kyoto festival back in July the organisers teamed up with Tokyo based independent music store Sunrain Records to create a free CDR compilation featuring the festivals lineup. The CD was given away to those who attended the festival and to those who ordered records from Sunrain during July. Most of the festivals bands get represented here and a majority of the contributed tracks are exclusive songs or versions of songs unavailable anywhere else.

As for the festival itself it went very well. The rather small capacity venue capacity at Kyoyo Club Metro just about managed to squeeze in the relatively large crowds and the 2 stage, seemless band switch overs went smoother than an ice cold Guiness on a summers day. While there were no major surprises Watushi Zombie take away top prize for the loudest set and shortest stage dive of the night (The drummer cleared about 3 feet before being unceremoniously planted in the ground.) Kyushu band Velocityut claim the award for shortest set with a chaotic 4 minute rampage that left most people dazed and confused. Lamest band of the festival goes to Trip Men whose Justin Beiber-does-Linkin Park-faux-punk impressed only the 3 moist thighed girls who actually stuck around to watch their set and just came across as awkward and embarrasing to everyone else. Biggest surprise goes to Tokyo's Worst Taste. One of the few bands on the bill that I didn't already know and who managed to really impress me. And finally an honourable mention to Yolz In The Sky who've over the years refined their disco punk sound into something that sounds more akin to electro house music than any sort of punk band. I still prefer their old sound but it's great to see a band continuing to develop and evolve their own sound and pursue it to it's most extreme conclusion.

All in all great show with the only dissapointment being the lack local up and coming and less well established bands. It would have been a perfect showcase for the next generation of bands carrying the torch of Japan's gonzo underground.

There's also a ton of footage from the festival over at the youtube channel. Be sure to check out the Bonanzas and Yolz videos.

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Fukuro - ViGaGa (ふくろ - ViGaGa)

Right! back to business as usual. Post-rock, despite my obsession with it during my college years is a genre that has become rather stale and long in the tooth over the years with few bands deviating from the now well established formula or being able to improve on it. Fukuro are one of the few bands that have managed to catch my ear of late.

The instrumental Tokyo fourpiece have according to their website been around since 1997 and this is their first proper full-length album put out on fellow Tokyo-ites Nissenenmondai's Bijin CDR label in 2007. Some of the tracks definatley fall into the rather generic post-rock cliches but thanfully they're the exception rather than the rule with most of their stuff falling between Nissennenmondai's own frenetic krautrock workouts and the more complex, melodic compositions of Toe. A few of the tracks make a reappearence on the bands second album "Tousousen" released the following year. Though to be honest I prefer the rougher production on this CDR than the more polished sound on their sophomore effort. 

Banzai! Begone Dull Care On Your tubes!


Oh my time flys when you're consitantly drunk. It slipped my notice that Begone! is now over a year old and we're creeping towards the 30,000 page views despite how niche this blog is so thanks for all the interest and I hope the horde continues to grow. Also a special mention to those I've actually had a chance to meet thanks to this blog. Luke & friends, the Totems guys and a couple of other people whom my drunken, shirivelled brain cannot recall. And also to those who have contacted me through email. Thanks and apologies if I've not gotten back to a few people. I would make some sort of excuse but I'll be honest I'm just lazy and a cunt. Keep bugging me though and I'll eventually get back to you.

Anyway I recently set up a dedicated youtube channel to upload the huge mound of live footage I've collecting since getting my camera a few months back. Sound isn't great but there's some interesting stuff in there I think. You can find the channel HERE.


Saturday, 27 August 2011

pq - From Neon Town


Recently I've been fishing for bands outside the Kansai area in search of fresh, new, ungrazed pastures. These guys are one of the most impressive bands I've come across so far. Formed in 2005 this 5-piece Kanagawa quintet made up of the usual drum, bass and guitars and supplemented by alto and tenor sax produce music that is a little tricky to pigeonhole but definatley takes its ques from New York's 80's jazz-infused no-wave punk scene.

From Neon City is the first of 2 CDRs the band have put out so far. 11 short but so very sweet tracks of rhytmically driven angular punk/math/jazz rock. Most tracks clock in just a slither over the 1 minute mark but it's impressive how many ideas and change ups the band manage to cram into such a short period of time without it ever feeling overly complicated, clever or esoteric. I can't gush more about how much I enjoy this bands music and I'll be keeping a close eye on their output.

Anyone who digs this may also want to check out the Bosston Cruizing Mania CDs I put up a while back and the recent album by Aichi band The Act We Act.

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Seppuku Pistols (切腹ピストルズ)

Apologies for the long break in posting. It was Obon holiday here in Japan recently so I've been especially lazy these last few weeks.

I had the slightly awkward pleasure of seeing these guys play the other night. I say awkward because Seppuku Pistols (Seppuku being the samurai tradition of disemboweling oneself in an honourable suicide.) are a 4-piece, Tokyo-based, ultra-nationalist punk band whose hits include "Nanking Boogie", "Kill The CIA" and "No Mishima No Future". The band wear their Sex Pistols influence on their militaristic sleeves but fuse their old school style of anthemic punk with some sub-bass electronics and a plentyful supply of traditional Japanese samples and news audio clips.

Their World War II-centric political views may be a little distasteful to some but seem to fall closely in line with Mishima Yukio's own brand of militant nationalism. The focus being the restoration of Japanese pride and power following its downfall in WWII. Often this sort of nationalism is misunderstood or dissmissed as being apologists for Japan's crimes in WWII or a revival of Japanese imperialism but to be sure is a far, far cry from being a brand of neo-Nazism or having any association with it. This isn't really a place for debate on politics and ideology but I thought it would be useful to clarify a little about something that might seem immediatley repellent for some.

Anyway back to the music. The band haven't released any CDs (Perhaps ideologically driven, though they seem to have little trouble selling T-shirts.) but have put their music up on their website for free complete with lyrics and downloadable mp3s. I've downloaded the 7 available tracks which make up 2 mini-EPs for your listening pleasure. Banzai!

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Monday, 18 July 2011

Ydestroyde - s/t (イデストロイド - s/t)

Ydestroyde are a local Osaka band who first emerged in the early 00's alongside the likes of Afrirampo, Oshiri Penpenz and Kyojin Yuedekai as part of what was later labelled the "zero generation". The band began life as a solo project by vocalist and electronic noodler Synzo then quickly expanded into a 4 piece before the band disbanded around 2005 then continued as a solo project with various stand in and guest members. Earlier this year Synzo put out the bands second album "Synosizer" as a solo project before going on an American tour. 

"Ydestroyde" is the bands first self released CDR mini-album recorded in 2004 when the band were a 4 piece consisting of Synzo on vocals and electronics complimented by drums, bass and guitar. True to many of their "zero generation" peers humourous, chaotic loud as fuck rock'n'roll is the order of the day. Ydestroyde's sound may not be quite as left field as the likes of Afrirampo and Kyojin Yuedekai but it's anarchic fusion of anthemic-punk, prog rock and noisy ,brutal hardcore,  all sprinkled with bits of synthersizers and electronics give Ydestroyde a sound that's difficult to pigeon hole. 

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Tacobonds - Sick Of Listening

This Tokyo 3-piece formed in 2003 much like Panicsmile and Nayuta craft accessible but interesting and off-kilter alt-rock/punk rock mixing elements of post-punk and pos-hardcore in a style reminiscent of late-era Fugazi only slightly less aggresive. Lots of interesting guitar work and twisting tempo changes. "Sick Of Listening" is the bands debut album released back in 2006 and just last month the band released their sophomore album "No Fiction" produced by Panicsmile lead vocalist/guitarist Yoshida Hajime.

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Panicsmile - 10 Songs, 10 Cities

Panicsmile are one of Tokyo's best established independent bands. So much so that they even have their own section on Tokyo's Sunrain Records site dedicated to them and their multitude of sideprojects. Originally formed in 1991 the band have gone through a number of lineup changes over the years but have still managed to remain very consistent in the quality and quantity of their output making them an easy band to get into with any one of their 7+ albums making a good jumping in point. "10 Songs, 10 Cities" is their 3rd album released back in 2001. The key to Panicsmile's sound is their quirky guitar work and offbeat tempo's lifted from the Captain Beefheart, free-jazz, No-wave, Arab On Radar school of abrasive, a-tonal musical noodlery distilled into some surprisingly palatable and accessible alt/math-rock. If you dug the Nayuta album I posted a while back you should find yourself immediatley at home here.

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Tokyo Boredom in Kyoto

Next week will see Tokyo Boredom the Tokyo music festival created in 2009 to highlight some of Japan's weirdest and most wonderful independent and underground bands making its way to Kyoto. (official site here for more info.)It's a superb lineup with list that reads like a who's who of Kanto and Kansai's top underground bands. over 33 bands playing over the course of Sat and Sun (23rd, 24th) all for the bargain price of just 4,000 yen. I've already posted stuff by alot of the bands playing which I'll link to below and over the next few posts I'll post whatever else I have by the bands.

Doddodo
Nohshintoh
Watushi Zombie
Bonanzas
Dora Video
Groundcover
Shitappa Oyabun
Oshiri Pen Penz
Yolz In The Sky
Bossston Cruizing Mania

The festival starts on Sat evening at Kyoto's Club Metro and runs all night from 5.30pm to 5.00am then continues on Sun starting at 3.00pm and running untill 10.30pm. (Timetable here.) Should be a great show and a rare opportunity to check out some of Tokyo's best independent bands. Just wondering how they're going to fit everyone into the small confines of Metro's basement live house... 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Puffyshoes - Finally The Weekend (Bonus CDR)


Japanese all-girl, lo-fi, DIY, garage rock bands are practically an institution unto themselves. Pioneered by Shonen Knife, introduced to wider audiences via Tarrantino's championing of The 5,6,7,8's in his movie Kill Bill, flipped on its head and shaken by the ankles by the likes of Afrirampo and Kiiiiiii and finally resurrected by Kinoko Hotel. It's a quirky genre that captalises on the heart stealing mix of girly Japanese cuteness and charming lo-fi naivity. But with so many such bands around it takes something a little more special to linger in peoples memories after the 2-3 minute sugary coated goodness has left your stereo. Puffyshoes are one such band who manage to distinguish themselves from the oh so adorable horde.

Formed in 2009 this Tokyo duo have quickly been building up momentum and even count bands like Gagakirise amongst their mutual fans (Click here to hear Gagakirise's 12min "cover version" of Puffy's album) . "Finally The Weekend" is actually the bands 2nd album but the first to be released in Japan with their debut "Something Gold" being released by Canadian cassette label Scotch Tapes. With "Finally The Weekend" being a new release I won't be uploading the album itself but I will be uploading the free bonus CDR that comes with it. What you get is 9 tracks, 7 of which I assume are album outtakes and the last being a cover and remix of a Puffy song by another band. Puffy's songs sung in excellent English probably bare more resemblance to current hot ticket U.S. girl rock bands like Best Coast and Vivian Girls than their Japanese counterparts. DIY, grungey, reverb soaked 2 minute rock songs are the order of the day with the whole album clocking in under 20 minutes long. It's not going to revolutionise music but then that's not really the point. Just hope these girls would make the trip down to Osaka soon.

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Mmm - Five Till (ミーマイモー - Five Till)

Mmm (Pronounced as Me My Mo) is a Yokohama born singer/songwriter and is also an active member in the Ono Yuuki band has collaborated with the Tenniscoats and is also involved in a number of other side projects. "Five Till" is Mmm's first recorded release put out in 2009 by CDR folk label Chou Jyuu Chuu Gyo (鳥獣虫魚). Mmm's downbeat acoustic folk is sang in both English and Japanese and is fairly reminiscent of American singer/songwriters like Aimee Mann and Nina Nastasia or her Japanese contemporaries Eddie Marcon. "Troubled Mind" is without the highlight of this 6 track mini-album and is a track she more recently returned to in her Maria Hato project with exquisite results. Sadly that CD was released only a month or 2 ago so I won't be uploading it yet but is well worth checking out.

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Monday, 20 June 2011

Hyottoko - Demo CDR (ヒョットコ - Demo CDR)

Hyottoko are an Osaka bass and drum duo who draw their name from the bizzarre looking Japanese folklore character who is most often represented in masks worn at festivals and parades. The pair have been active for around 2 years and pedal some groove heavy intrumental punk that's tighter than a nun's untarnished holiest of holys. The band display some damn impressive drumming and fret work and their 6 track demo CDR here has some surprisingly high quality production value to match. The band remind me alot of Chinchila Silas Hole which I posted a while back only minus the jabberwocky vocals. Think somethink like Lightning Bolt only much less esoteric and much easier on the brain and ears and with added cowbell.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

3/3 - 3/3

Rounding the Friction bonanza is an album that became one of the most sought after records in Japanese rock. As mentioned before in my "Atsureki" post 3/3 (Sanbun No San) were a pre-Fiction band formed before the members relocated to New York in search of inspiration and glory. The reason this album became so sought after was because it was self recorded and only 10 handmade demo records were ever made. The band never got picked up by a label and so the album was swallowed up by the great rock'n'roll ether. After Frictions rise in popularity fans went in search of this holy grail and for many years the only way to get hold of the album was via a dodgy bootlegger who had obtained a cassette recording of the record and re-pressed it on vinyl complete with incorrect album artwork and track titles. Thankfully P-Vine in their reissue series have found one of the original vinyl prints, remastered it and as an extra bonus also uncovered a selection of previously unheard live recordings.

Disk 1 is the original 3/3 album with 2 added bonus tracks recorded during the same recording sessions. The album recorded in 1974 was very much of its time. Full on psychedelic rock'n'roll with some very impressive fret work that betrays the minimal sound the band later established with Friction. Disk 2 is a series of live recordings dating back to '76 and '77. Most intriguing is the inclusion of tracks like "Crazy Dream" that would later go on to become Friction staples. It's interesting hearing the evolution of the tracks from their earliest forms to how they were later represented in Friction. The pre and post-New York influence on their music being immediatley recognisable.

Not the musical milestone Friction would later become but none the less an excellent if not terribly original record and an essential listen for Friction fans who want a glimpse of how the band developed their distinct sound over the years.

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Friction - '79 Live

Well now I've given you a brief history of the band in the post below it's time for another gem. As great an album as "Atsureki" is one thing that is perhaps most dissapointing about Friction is that they never recorded an album that anywhere near approached the ferocity and rawness of their live shows. So much so that they almost sound like 2 entirely different bands. Luckily audiophiles have been combing the archives for Friction material and in 2004 P-vine records in their continuing re-release and remastering of anything and everything Friction related put out this CD and DVD double pack featuring a previously unreleased live recording of the band from 1979.

The audio quality isn't great but is appropriatley grimey for the kind of music and performance it is. It's great to hear earlier, warts and all versions of songs that would later appear on the bands debut but with thier rough edges trimmed. To be honest this is the Friction I prefer. Dirty, nasty, loud and chugging with none of those dancefloor rumbling basslines or glass shattering abrasive guitar punches being handicapped or tied down by conservative studio production. This for me is the essential Friction sound.

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Friction - Atsureki (フリクション - 軋轢)

Time for another classic. Friction are one of Japan's most influential underground bands and have a long and complex history deserving of a band of such legendary status. The members first emerged as young teenagers in the early 70's Tokyo hippy commune band  Circle Triangle Square (Maru Sanakaku Shikaku) and then went on to form their own band 3/3 (sanbun no san). The band recorded a self-titled LP under the 3/3 moniker that sadly only made it as far as 10 original test pressings but more on that in the above post. By the late 70's the members upped shop and headed to the holy mecca of New Yorks underground no-wave scene where they joined the lineup of Teenage Jesus And The Jerks and then shortly after became original founding members in James Chance And The Contortions. The band then returned to Japan and formed the no-wave inspired Friction. After releasing a few singles and live recordings and earning a fierce reputation on Tokyo's late 70's punk scene the band were discovered by legendary YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) member Sakamoto Ryuichi who produced the bands first studio album which you see here "Atsureki" and was released in 1980.
So with the biography out of the way what about the music?

Well the band fused New Yorks avant-garde no-wave scene with its more accessible counterpart new-wave punk. Friction strike a nice balance between no-waves grittier, rougher more abrasive moments with the dancebility and directness of new-wave. Think Joy Division meets Big Black meets the Sex Pistols and the Contortions. In short "Atsureki" is a superb album that still sounds as potent today as when it was released over 30 years ago. Shortly after "Atsureki" the band line-up changed but continued under the name Friction and went on to produce several other follow-up albums. They may be worth seeking out but to me none of them come anywhere close to the greatness and sound the band had on their debut.

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Nohshintoh - Cannibal Circus (のうしんとう - Cannibal Circus)


"Nohshintoh is like a baby, both cute and grotesque at the same time..." is how the band describe themselves on their website and it's pretty accurate. Nohshintoh (Literally meaning concussion in Japanese.) are a Nagoya 5 piece who have actually been around for over 20 years and have finally got round round to releasing their first studio album. It's a new release so I won't be uploading it just yet (It is superb though and worth checking out.) but luckily the band have an open policy of letting people record at their shows and even have a free archive of live recordings. So I picked through a few of them and plucked out the one that had the best sound and performance and uploaded it for your listening pleasure. If you'd like to hear more just check out their archive here. All files can be streamed or downloaded for free.

This recording was made at KD Japon in Nagoya in 2008. As for the music, well it's a wonderfully schizophrenic mix between no-wave punk, dub, ska and funk. One minute it's steel drums and thick reggae bass lines and the next it's frantic hardcore drumming and rabid guitar savagery all mashed together a refreshingly un-self concious manner that Japanese bands seem to do so well. Equal parts catchy and sweet and equal parts challenging and "grotesque". Imagine James Chance & The Contortions jamming with Manu Chao and you're halfway there. Many of the tracks in this recording also make an appearence on the album albeit in a slightly more refined forms.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Funeral Beer - Funeral Beer

This was an impulse buy that I plucked from the Japanese indie/underground section at Timebomb records a few weeks ago. It was the rather excellent artwork (Gold leaf CD jacket mmmmm!) and equally excellent name that drew me in and I'm happy to say it payed off. After giving it a listen I had to double check the liner notes to make sure they were actually a Japanese band as they sound very un-Japanese. It's not a criticism but you get used to alot of local bands drawing from a simillar pool of influences and peers and these guys are definatley drawing on more western centric influences. The album is fairly eclectic but fuzzed out, lo-fi shoegazey reverb drenched Velvets inspired indie/garage rock is the order of the day which makes them more comparable to U.S. bands like Thee Oh Sees than any Japanese bands I can think of. This self-released album dates back to 2009 and most of their tracks on their myspace are new so hopefully they'll have a follow up out before too long.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

Killer Bong - Osaka Dub

...and I've saved the best for last. The awesomely named Killer Bong is another local Osaka DJ and beat maker and he has some awesome music to back up his awesome name. Killer reminds me alot of early DJ Krush with a similarly sparse, minimal ambient sound. This is dark and grimy down-tempo, trippy instrumental hip-hop/dub at its best. There's not alot of info around on Killer Bong (His utterly perplexing website won't help any either.) but what I do know is that he released his first album back in 2003 on the Osaka hip-hop label Black Smoker Records created by local Hip-hop unit Think Tank. (K-Bomb, Baba, Jube, D.N.A., DJ Yazi, Wadake and Chi3-Chee.). Most recently he hooked up with the legendery vocalist Suzuki Damo (Best known for his work with Krautrock band Can on their albums "Tago Mago" and "Ege Bamyasi") to release a collaboration of improvised music. It's just come out so I won't be uploading yet but it is fairly limited release so I won't make you wait too long.

"Osaka Dub" is the first in his series of "Dub" CD-R albums released in 2005 which also include "Tokyo Dub" and "Moscow Dub". Not sure what the significance of the cities is as none of the albums are live recordings or seem to figure into the albums in any way. "Osaka Dub" is probably my favourite of his releases but pretty much eveything he's done is gold and despite being fairly elusive is well worth the trouble of tracking down.

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ALTZ - Funk Do Wap

ALTZ is another local Osaka mix DJ I've discovered recently. "Funk Do Wap" is one of ALTZ recent mix CD releases but he's also a multi-instrumentalist who performs his own music and is a frequent remixer and collaborator. While DJ Memento's mix is straight up old-school ALTZ draws from a much more diverse pool of music ranging from classic funk right upto modern house and electronica. ALTZ has quite a reputation in Japan's club scene and frequently plays shows up and down the country. His reputation has also landed some high profile gigs in Europe and has had a number of his releases put out on U.K. label Bear Funk. ALTZ also sometimes performs under the name WALTZ.

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DJ Memento - Badassfunk Gets Nice and Mad

Recently I've been trying to crack my way into the local underground hip-hop and DJ scene as it's sadly been an area of neglect for me thus far. I've only just scratched the surface but have already made some great discoveries. DJ Memento is a local mix DJ and collage artist who plays sets every Friday night at Panorama in Osaka. "Badassfunk Gets Nice and Mad" is the 2nd mix CD-R from Memento and contains one non-stop 60 minute mix of the finest funk, jazz, psychedelic rock and retro TV samples. Memento likes to keep it old-school using only analogue techniques in his mixes/collages lifting all his music and samples from vinyl and videotapes.

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Mach 1.67 - Star Burn

I'd been after this CD for quite a while so was happy as a pig in shit to find it lurking in Forever Record's Japanese underground/indie section for 500 yen. Mach 1.67 is the band formed by influential 70's Japanese new wave movie director Ishii Sogo (Who's groundbreaking movies inspired directors like Tsukamoto Shinya: Tetsuo Iron Man and Takashi Miike: Ichi The Killer among others.) and acclaimed Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano. The band originally formed in 1996 and released an LP before the members went their seperate ways on various film and music projects. The band reformed in 2000 and put out the single "Star Burn". A year later Ishii Sogo used the single as the soundtrack and visual inspiration for his awesome 2001 film "Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts". A 50min black & White punk movie about 2 rival "superheroes" battling it out in down town Tokyo. A cinematic audio/visual overload of face melting proportions.

Mach 1.67 much like Sogo Ishii's own movies deliver some harsh balls to the wall punk rock but the standout track on the single and the movie is without doubt epic 9 minute sleezy, ghetto dub creep of "Electric Buddha". Hopefully we'll see the winning combination of Sogo and Tadanobu pairing up again someday.

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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Marble Sheep - Silo 1 , Töging Am Inn 17 March 2006

Posting Gagakirise reminded me of these guys. Marble Sheep have been a prominent fixture on the Tokyo underground rock/psychadelic scene since their formation in the late 80's. This is a rare Live CDR recorded on their German tour back in 2006. (According to wikipedia Toging Am Inn being a tiny village of just 9,000 people in Bavaria. Interesting choice of venue for an international tour.) The bands usual 4 strong lineup is complimented on this recording with the addition of an extra drummer. Because you can never have too many drummers in a rock'n'roll band. The bands studio albums can be a little hit and miss but live is where their jam heavy, psychadelic rock'n'roll really shines. These guys tour the States and Europe fairly frequently so be sure to check them out if they're in your neck of the woods. You won't regret it.

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Gagakirise - Black Long Hair Nice Wah Pedal ( ガガキライズ - Black Long Hair Nice Wah Pedal)

Gagakirise (Pronounced Gagaki Rise but written as one word.) are an impressive Tokyo based 4-legged instrumental band who are more than adept at unleashing some ear shattering guitar strangulation and drum kit abuse. It's fast, intense it's rock'n'fuck'n'roll. The appropriatley named "Black Long Hair Nice Wah Pedal" is a CDR mini-album the band put out back in 2009. The band toured the U.S. in 2009/2010 then went quite for a while but have recently resurfaced playing a number of shows around Tokyo. Drummer Inoue Ryo and guitarist Yoshizawa Sachio are also involved with a number of other bands. I'm too lazy to list and link them all here but check the blog section of their official site and you should find all the relevant links there. Worth checking out if you like Gagakirise's hectic style of guitar shredding.Happy head banging folks.

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Saturday, 7 May 2011

LIVE LOG: Degurutieni



A few weeks ago I went to the launch party for the release of the theater group Kodomo Kyojin's (子供鉅人) latest DVD. The group hired out a large warehouse and ran various performances, activities and bands throughout the evening. The highlight of which for me was Degurutieni. Never heard of him before I was very impressed. Something about that Tom Waits inspired down-tempo, jazzy groove really really clicks with me. I promptly bought his album but unfortunatley through itunes so as soon as I can figure a way of converting the files so they'll work for other people I'll be sure to upload it. For now this will have to do.

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Silver Fins - Pigment

This album has been a personal favourite of mine for quite some time but despite many attempts at searching I've never managed to uncover much info about the band. The band was formed by members from a previous band called Salon Music ( サロン・ミュージック) and managed to find brief success when one of their songs was selected to feature on the soundtrack of the animated adaptation of the comic Berzerk way back in 1997. As far as I know this album and another entitled Hollywood are the only 2 albums the band ever released before drifting off into the great ether. I have no idea if the band are still together and active or if the members went on to form other bands. If anyone has any more info or know where I can get hold of their other album Hollywood please get in touch.

Silver Fins have a great lo-fi, sloppy early 90's grungy, alt-rock sound. The band evoke the lazy charm of Pavement and early Beck and the slurred, badly pronounced and grammatically awkward English lyrics only add to their loser stylings.

Bonanzas - Live Bonanzas + Live 2


Bonanzas are a Kobe band made up of members from a number of other local bands including the excellent instrumental math-rock band Talking Dead Goats 45" and the hardcore band Suspiria. Sadly their output is fairly limited with only two 2-track live CDR's being put out by the band. As with so many other Kansai underground bands their sound is difficult to pin down but they sound somewhat like a down tuned Shellec or Big Black. Their music is minimal but heavy and reminds me little of Kyojin Yueni Dekai's stuff with a simillar use of muted, a-tonal guitar "playing" and the drums forming the backbone of the music. Hopefully these guys will get round to releasing something a little more substantial in the future as what's on offer here shows alot of promise.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Asakawa Maki - Askawa Maki II (浅川マキ - 浅川マキ II)

Haven't posted any old stuff in quite a while and I heard this playing in a bar recently which reminded me of how much I love this album. Asakawa Maki started off her musical career singing blues and jazz covers at the U.S. army bases situated on Japan's most southern island of Okinawa. She produced a number of excellent albums in the late 60's and early 70's which earned her a fair amount of mainstream success before she vanished back into relative obscurity of Japan's 70's underground avant garde scene. Asakawa's music fuses laid back blues and jazz with elements of Japanese folk music and acid folk to create hauntingly beautiful, dark smokey ballads. Asakawa continued to perform regularly untill her death early last year. Asakawa Maki II released in 1971 is in my opinion her best work and without doubt a standout even in Japan's most golden era of music. Since her death there have been a number of compilations released of previously unreleased material and live recordings which are also worth investigating.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Baiyon - PixelJunk Eden (Original Soundtrack)

Baiyon is Kyoto DJ and graphic designer Kuramitsu Tomohisa. Back in 2008 he collaborated with local Kyoto game developer Q-games to create a game that used Baiyon's stripped down minimal, electro house music (Think of a more chilled out Plastikman) and his distinctive and stylish graphic design as its source of inspiration. The result was the rather unique and addictive PixelJunk Eden. But while Baiyon has been around for quite some time contributing music, sound design and art to various projects and exhibitions over the years his musical output has been fairly limited. Thankfully Q-games were savy enough to actually release the games soundtrack on CD. The game did alot to raise Baiyon's international profile so hopefully you'll be seeing more from him in the future.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tayutau - Ichinichi No Naka O, Hanauta Dekimeru (たゆたう - いちにちのながさを、はなうたできめる)

Spring is finally here in Japan and we're right on the midst of cherry blossom season which made me dig out this album again. Tayutau make what is probably best described as weirdo or bizarro folk music. Hiroko Nishimoto (Guitar vocals) and Akiko Igaki (Violin, toys, object) make up this charming Kyoto pair. The duo combine the use of toys, objects and field recordings with their breezy, playful folk music to wonderful effect. Perfect for spring drives through the countryside and relaxing in the park.

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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

DJ Carhouse & MC Hellshit - Live!! EP

Stumbled across this extremely rare beauty in a used section recently. DJ Carhouse and MC Hellshit are none other than Yoshihide Otomo (Ground Zero) and Yamantaka EYE (Boredoms). This mini-CD (Literally mini, it's one of those half sized CDs.) is the second of 2 live EPs the guys released back in 1996. Only 500 copies were made so are extremely sought after. As you can probably guess this is far from your usual DJ-MC setup. EYE screams like some deranged Sesame Street puppet over Otomo's manic record destroying "scratching". Y'know the kind of shit grandma would totally dig.

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Afrirampo - Never Ending Afrirampo

I've been hesitant to upload this as it's a new release but I've had quite a few people asking about it and it doesn't look like it'll be getting a release outside of Japan. So as a compromise I'm uploading the CD portion of the boxset. And trust me you'll want to see the great DVDs too. (A small sample below)

"Never Ending Afrirampo" is a CD a 2xDVD boxset of their final live show at Shangri la in Osaka on June 26th 2010. Along with a CD and DVD of their Shangri la show the second DVD features a ton of previously unseen footage including their incredible (Actual) final secret show at Bears with a guest list of onstage collaborations that reads like a who's who of the Osaka underground scene. Hide (Ultra Bidet), Oshiri Pen Penz, Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Watushi Zombie, Doddodo, Outdoor Homeless and many others. Overall there's over 3 hours of great footage making it a fitting tribute to one of Osaka's best loved noise makers.

Like I said before I doubt this will get a release outside Japan but the DVDs are region free making it import friendly. It's a little pricey but is definatley worth it for any Afrirampo fan. Pika also makes a brief appearence on the new Yamp Kolt album "Yes".



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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

50on - Nervous Vs

Sorry for the lengthy hiatus. As you can probably guess things have been a little drmatic here in Japan recently. Anyay I haven't posted any electronica in a while so I thought I'd share this with you. 50on is a local Osaka sound collector who splices his field recordings, found sounds and samples with glitchy electronica beats to create som breezy laid back grooves that sound not unlike Prefuse 73 and Secret Mommy. Nervous Vs is a collection of tracks recorded between 2002-2006 and self-released on CDR.

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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

LIVE LOG: Kudo Tori & Michishita Shinsuke



...And finally rounding out the Kudou bonanza is a special one-off live collaboration between Maher Shalal Hash Baz's Kudou Tori and LSD March's Michishita Shinsuke. The slightly unlikely pairing actually made for some great results. All the songs were Kudou's own compositions filtered through Michishita's own interpretations and distinctive playing style. The pair were later joined by Oshiri Pen Penz drummer Yusuke and played some pretty awesome closing songs but unfortunatley by that point the battery on my camera had already died. The pair said it was their first time playing together but hopefully it won't be their last.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz - From A Summer To Another Summer (An Egypt To Another Egypt)

And for those who are unfamilliar with the weird and wonderful world of Kudou Tori and Maher Shalal Hash Baz here is "From A Summer To Another Summer". Kudou Tori  has been a highly prolific writer and composer since the late 70's but has also managed to remain impressively elusive. His ensemble band Maher Shalal... is a troop of amateur musicians he hires to perform his music with the lineup often changing from performance to performance and with very few consistant members. The band have never released a proper studio album. Instead releasing various compilatons and collections of rehearsal and live recordings. This can make diving into the world of Maher Shalal... rather daunting and confusing for newcomers. "From A Summer..." makes for an excellent starting point though.

Fans of Belle and Sebastion should immediatley find themselves in familliar territory as Tori composes similarly upbeat and quirky ensemble pop music. The key to Tori's unique style though lies in its naivety. As despite being an accomplished and classically trained musician deliberately infuses his music with a clumsy amateurish style that gives his music an amusingly charming "my first highschool band" feel. Imagine a Belle and Sebastion rehearsal session if all the members were drunk, sleep deprived and missing their score sheets and you're not far off. "From A Summer..." is a compilation recordings collected from 1985 to 1999 and selected by Tori Kudou and the Pastels own Stephen Pastel who discovered Tori while he was living in London in the late 90`s.

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Kudou Reiko - Kusa (工藤礼子 - 草)


I thought I would continue the Kudou family tangent by posting a few more albums from the Kudou household. Kudou Reiko is probably best know as the wife of Kudou Tori the man behind Maher Shalal Hash Baz but is also a very respected musician in her own right. She first began making waves on Tokyo's avant-garde underground back in the late 70's but her output has despite her longevity been pretty sparse. After meeting her husband Tori at a Hadaka No Rallizes concert concert in Kyoto the 2 teamed up to create the legendary "Tenno" album under the name Noise. Reiko then began writing and performing with Tori's Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Kusa is her 4th solo album released back in 2006 and also features Tori and Namio on a number of tracks.  It's easy to see the influence Reiko's own music has had on her son Namio. Rather than the cheery, upbeat ensemble pop tunes of her husband, Reiko's compositions are much more stripped back and fragile sounding but still harness some of the same clumsiness that is so intrinsic to Hash Baz's sound. Sadly it seems Reiko is just as elusive as her husband as I haven't been able to find any official website or myspace site and clips of her on youtube

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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Kudou Namio - Spring Rain (工藤なみお - 春の雨)

Kudou Namio is the son of infamous Maher Shalal Hash Baz band leader Kudou Torii. I bought this CD at one of Torii's shows a few months back and was expecting Namio to be a bit of a chip off the old block. But I was pretty surprised when Namio's pitch black piano dirges turned out to be about as far removed from Torii's trademark breezy, clumsy pop stlye as you can imagine. Following a show last week I was lucky enough to talk to Torii at length and he revealed the fascinating and harrowing story behind this record. 

In 2005 Namio was living in London studying graphic design at a community college. On the 7th of July Namio was riding one of the 3 subway trains blown up by suicide bombers in what is now known as the 7/7 attacks. Namio survived the attacks with minor injuries but was even more shocked to learn that one of the suicide bombers that day had also been a friend of his from college. Shaken by the events Namio returned to Japan suffering from post traumatic stress and has since lived with his father Torii.   

The album is a collection of dark, minimal piano ballads with lyrics that jump between sung and spoken word and sometimes drift into English. "Lord" for me is the album highlight, exposing the routes of his religious upbringing Namio's stream of consciousness spoken word paces over a simple piano appregio as he seemlessly switches between English and Japanese. The lyrics are striking and often spine chilling as you can sense his agitation and frustration.

Spring Rain is no doubt a dark and difficult album but is also very rewarding for those who stick with it. According to Torii while Namio is still not fully recovered but is thankfully doing much better these days.

Yolz In The Sky - Yolz In The Sky

Stripped down, no-nonsense post-punk/new wave is what Yolz In The Sky make and are pretty damn good at it. The Osaka quartet's minimal, restrained style is pretty refreshing and their drawn out grooves can become almost hypnotic at times. I don't much care for the vocalist's monotone, high pitched whine but the angular guitars, rolling bass grooves, spiky keyboards and solid drumming go along way in making you forget he's there. This is the bands debut album from back in 2007 released on Tokyo's Less Than TV hardcore/punk label. They released a 2nd album back in 2009 and are currently touring and working on new material. The band come off fairly tame on CD when compared with their formidable live shows but still make for a great listen

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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

LIVE LOG: Yamamoto Seiichi (Namba Bears 25-2-2011)


It's my birthday tomorrow! Yay me! I was lucky enough to get a digital camera which has some fairly decent audio and video capture which means... I finally have a way of documenting my live show addiction. So may I introduce the all new "LIVE LOG". A regular section where I upload shitty video of some of my recent gigging highlights.

First up is one of the Boredoms own Yamamoto Seiichi's many side projects/concept pieces. "Suimin" is a 3 hour, ambient, audio/visual experience. The audience were told to bring sleeping bags and pillows to watch the ceiling projected video pieces and their accompanying ambient soundscapes. I wasn't totally sure going in if I was going to end up bored out of mind but I came out pretty impressed. The audience were encouraged to relax and sleep if they felt like it so it made for a very informal and laidback experience. The more meditive experience was a nice change of pace from the usual noise and chaos I'm used to seeing at Bears. Worth checking out if you're seeking a more introspective experience.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Byouki Masanori - CDR2 (病気マサノリ - CDR2)


Byouki Masanori's (Sick Masanori) entertaining and unpredictable live shows have made him a bit of a legend on the local Osaka underground scene and evn counts the likes of Afrirampo and LSD March amongst his fans. Masanori makes silly and catchy as hell punk and anthemic folk songs. Sadly the amusing lyrics will be lost in translation to most but you'll no doubt find yourself singing along to songs about the wonderful smells women produce and the benefits of shampoo. The last solo performance I saw by him he refused to use a microphone and continued to "play" half his set accapella style mimicking the sound of the non-existant band and dancing around in his usual distinctive and amusing style. This is his second self-released CDR made up of an impressive 21 tracks and is a bargain at only 300 yen. Although in his usual mischevious manner only 11 of them are numbered in the liner notes.

  

Nayuta - Solar Ribbon + Solar Children


This absolute gem comes courtesy of blog reader Francesco who was kind enough to send me a number of links to some of his own stash of Japanese rarities. After some digging I managed to find out that these guys are actually a local Osaka outfit. The original lineup consisted of 3 guitarists and one drummer but in their current line-up have slimmed down to just 2 guitarists. I was lucky enough to catch the band last week supporting Australia's own My Disco and seem no less formidable despite the thinner line-up. Nayuta's music is a little difficult to pin down. They craft technical, angular math-rock with some occasional post-punk influences that manages to be both complex and refreshingly unpredictable without ever feeling esoteric or showy. See, Nayuta also carry with them a very soulfull pop-edge that makes them thoroughly listenable. They cover a simillar ground to bands like Ogre You Asshole and the Gellers but while those bands moments of excellence end up being few and fleeting Nayuta manage to consistantly remain engaging and interesting.