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, 30 April 2013

Love Furniture Lounge Bears - Love Furniture Lounge Bears from AGRA

L is for Love Furniture Lounge Bears

Unfortunately I don't know much about this merry little collective of eccentrics. What I do know is that they were (are?) a 3-piece Tokyo band who perform wigged out experimental pop music in adorable fluffy bear costumes. The album was released in 1999 on a label called Club Lunatica. The label is Japanese but is also home to a number of international acts. The label still looks like it's relatively active but the band themselves have no internet presence besides a handful of videos on Youtube.

The Lounge Bears for the most part produce some toe-tappingly up-beat, off-kilter pop tunes slightly reminiscent of Japan's 80`s Techno Pop pioneers like YMO, The Moon RidersHikashu and Plastics. The band do occasionally go off the rails though so you will be forgiven for hitting the skip button when that 4 minute long track of telephone rings and dial tones kicks in. Probably fun to see it live but on CD it just kind of breaks up the run of otherwise great songs.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Kukan Gendai (空間現代) - Live@UrBANGUILD/20110923

K is for Kukan Gendai

kuukan (空間) 
space, room, airspace

gendai (現代)
noun, adverbial noun
nowadays, modern era, modern times, present-day

The bands name does a pretty good job of evoking just what this bands music embodies and manifests itself as. It's a phrase that is semiotically hard to define and comes across more pretentious and sterile than it does insightful or provocative. 

 "Sterile" is usually an adjective that would have a very negative connotation when attached to a bands sound but it's sterility and minimalism that make this band so compelling to listen to. The Tokyo 3-piece (Drums, Bass, Guit/vocal) formed in 2006 and through the years have refined their unique sound to a mechanical level of precision. Shaving off every excess and grinding down every smooth edge until only the jagged skeletal remains of the track are left. If Battles, Don Caballero and Japan's own Toe are Math Rock then these guys are pretty much just a digital stream of ones and zeros. 

This live CD-R was given away with copies of their recently released second album on their most recent tour. The CD's opening track perfectly introduces the bands sound. Sparse polyrhythmic elements slowly come together to reveal a cohesive groove as the track seems to construct itself from the ground up like a mechanised assembly line. The band throw in masterful little  extra half beats and phrase repetitions that sound like your CD is skipping just to fuck with you. It's not all souless robotics though as periodically Captain Beefheart-esque asynchronous, atonal vocal and guitar lines weave their way through through the bands maze of rhythms and every once in a while they cut loose just to let you know they still know how to rock out. 


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Jinrui Minna Kyoudai - Tora! Tora! Tora! (人類皆兄弟 - トラ!トラ!トラ!)

J is for Jinrui Minna Kyoudai

I first saw this band at a gig in Kyoto about a month ago. The band seemed unphased by being given the closing slot in an impressive lineup of bands that included live veterans such as Ultra Bide and Melt Banana. Their decently produced 10 track CD-R named "Tora! Tora! Tora!" after the infamous code-word used by the Japanese in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was only 100 yen ($1!) so how could I resist?

The band whose name roughly translates as "All Men are Brothers" (Jinrui = Humankind, Minna = Everyone, Kyoudai = Siblings) are a Kyoto 4-piece who look like they've been together since 2009. But despite what their moniker might imply these fuzzed-out, sleazy punksters sound about as far removed from their hippyish, free love namesake as you can possibly imagine.