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, 27 May 2013

Pig Fat Pigs - Jabberwocky

P is for Pig Fat Pigs

I found this beauty in the treasure trove of weird and rare records that is Forever Records. Besides the great band name what caught my eye about this record was a blurb that said something about "punkish lounge music" and a reference to the Lounge Lizards. I inquired further with Taro the owner of Forever Records and Osaka's No.1 source on obscure music and he described it as "junk jazz" and name dropped Tom Waits which was enough to make me drop some cash on this mysterious find.

Turns out my intuition payed dividends. Unfortunatley despite scowering the net I've managed to turn up almost no information on the band so all I've got to go on are the scraps of info contained in the liner notes. The band were (are...?) a Kyoto 5 piece (guit, bass, drums, organ, sax) who as was promised play some excellent Tom Waits-esque Junk Jazz. It seems most of the songs were composed by bassist Shimizu Kosuke (Who now plays in accordion/contrabass duo Milk!Mama who are also well worth checking out.) while the lyrics and vocals are handled by Shiraishi Takahide. The vocals are mostly sung in a gravely, jibberish approximation of what I asume is supposed to sound like English with occasional sentences and phrases emerging from the cacophony of harsh, slightly off-tune and out of time guitars, sax and clinking-clanking junkyard percussion. "Life's too short to fuck your mom" is one that springs out from the opening track "Bore Bore" a twisted, elephant man like bastardisation of the Pink Panther theme. It's the exact sort of thing I can imagine Tom Waits sitting around tapping his crusty, yellow tabacco stained toes to while sipping on a bottle of illuminous green moonshine. You would be advised to do likewise. 


Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Autopsy Report of a Drowned Shrimp - Himitsu Daigaku Vol.4 (溺れたエビの検死報告書 - ヒミツ大学第四回)

O is for Oboreta Ebi No Kenshi Houkokusho

Oboreta Ebi or the bands official English translation The Autopsy Report of a Drowned Shrimp are a band that even amongst Kansai's legion of off-the-wall eccentrics are in an oddball league entirely of their own.

Oboreta Ebi are the brainchild of visual artist and contra-bass player Yamamoto Kazuki (山本一慶). Kazuki developed a childhood obsession with "kaiju" (monsters) from Japanese movies and TV shows like Godzilla, Ultraman and Kamen Rider and dreamed of one day forming his very own kaiju band. Young Kazuki spent hours sketching designs and concepts in his school notebook before eventually settling on the idea of creating a band of monster shrimp. Fascinated by their alien-like exoskeletons he began making his own masks and costumes. But the concept didn't end there. Kazuki also wanted the band to sound like the sort of music one might a imagine a group of overgrown, sentient prawns making. 

So what sort of music do shrimp make? As it turns out they sound like a sort of cinematic, nautical themed P-Funk mixed The Residents and the Star Wars cantina band.In fact Kazuki's own dreadlocked shrimp mask is a tribute to to the grand wizard of funk himself George Clinton. Kazuki's frantic slapped basslines form the backbone of the crustean 7-pieces groove accompanied by a polyrhythmic percussion section and some grandiose horns. The bands also draws the inspiration for its name from the Frank Zappa album "Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Witch".

The bands been together for over 10 years now in various evolving forms and have just recently put out their first proper release on Osaka underground label Gyuune Cassette which you can get here.

I won't be uploading that so the best alternative I could think of was to rip the audio from a DVD the band gave away at a talk show/performance I attended about 2 years ago. What you get is 3 tracks and over 15 minutes of decent audio quality music from one of the most unique and entertaining bands in Japan. Be sure to catch them live if you have the chance for and experience you won't forget.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Neons - Yasashii Jinbutsuga (ネオンズ - やさしい人物画)

N is for Neons

There were a couple of strong choices for N but I decided to go with Neons when I found out they've just put out their first mini-album which you can get from Amazon.

3 girls, 1 guy, 3 synthesizers, 1 drum. This Electro New-Wave synth driven 4 piece formed in 2010 possess that uniquely Japanese sense of cool that these small mountainous islands seem to do so well. The cold robotic like emotional detachment coupled with satisfyingly chunky grooves that defy you to but on your finest Miami Vice Hawaiin shirt and sleekest white slip-on dancing shoes.        

3 of the tracks from this demo CDR which I picked up from the band just over a year ago make it onto the album. The recordings sound like they were made during studio rehearsals but besides a little fuzzyness are excellent quality. Be sure to pick up their album if you like what you hear. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Momoiro Jinja - Maido Osawagaseshite Orimasu! (桃色神社 - 毎度おさわがせしております!)

M is for Momoiro Jinja

Momoiro Jinja (Their name literally meaning "peach coloured shrine".) are a so called "Neo-Scum" band. A colourful little Osaka sub-genre that seems to have a cozy membership of 2. The other being Clitoric Ris. A half naked balding salary man who sings cheesy pop songs about sex, food, ex-girlfriends and being broke in nothing but a pair of light-up speedos with a crotch mounted theremin.

Inspired by the Osaka Scum scene that kicked off some time in the early 90's (See my previous post about Ultra Fuckers for more on Scum.) these guys have been knocking about for over 10 years now. No small feat for a genre that's transient and fleeting nature means few bands stick around long enough to establish a name or following.

The Osaka trio (Drums. bass, keyboard) play tongue in cheek No-Wavey, Hardcore Punk. The drums and bass combine to form a solid rhythm section for keyboard player Wandera's discordant mashed keys. The band break up their live sets with their signature comedy sketches which are usually either random and bizarre or vulgar and crude or often both in extreme doses. The bands lyrics follow in similarly silly fashion. Momoiro are a band who take not being serious very seriously.

This is the bands first self-released CDR from 2008. The band recently put out their second CDR entitled "Prius" which you can get hold of by contacting the band or picking it up at their live shows.