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, 23 July 2013

Win a Sheep Free - Small Rainbow Meets Raindrops

W is for Win a Sheep Free

Despite having liked this band for a number of years now it wasn't until about a week ago that I found out that prolific drummer and multi-instrumentalist Itoken was a member. It seems anything that he touches is usually worth seeking out. Be it his wonderfully quirky solo releases, his involvement in Jazz-Math rockers Gnu, or collaborations projects like d.v.d. and Harpy. And the oddly named Win a Sheep Free also deserve a place on his impressive resume. 

This 2004 album by the Tokyo based 5-piece (vocals, 2 acoustic guitars, drums/percussion and a VJ.) is the only release made by the now defunct project besides a 3 track EP released the same year entitled "With Little Songs". The band make some gorgeously airy sounding folksy, acoustic songs that also have a wonderful kineticism and technical dynamism to them that almost drag the band into the realms of being something bordering on Math-Rock. As a result the band sound very approachable and listenable but will probably also catch the ear of those with more discerning musical tastes. 

As mentioned before the project seems to have long been put to bed and the disappearance of the bands official website which remained up until around a year or 2 ago indicates that there is little chance of the quintet resurrecting the band but the ever prolific Itoken has plenty of other works worth exploring, vocalist Sachie Yoda is still active under the solo pseudonym Yoodacoo and I'm sure the guitarists Shoichi Minato and Sho Hirai along with VJ Jun Sugai have also worked in multiple other band projects. 

Anyway just enjoy this perfect summer record.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Vampire! - Vampire! 2009 Live

V is for Vampire!

Forming back in 1979 Vampire! emerged from the same Kyoto underground scene that birthed Kansai Punk legends Ultra Bide and Noise provocateurs Hijokaidan. The band's sole consistent member since inception has been guitarist and vocalist Wada who also performs solo noise slots under the alias Wada the Vampire. 

Musically Vampire! sound very much instep with their fellow Japanese Post-Punk, New Wave peers like Friction and Ultra Bide with some very clear nods to bands like Gang Of Four and This Heat. Vampire! never enjoyed the same modest success that some of their contemporaries achieved but that hasn't stopped Wada from fighting the good fight and after almost 35 years of persistent performing is still more than capable of showing bands less than half is age how it's done and shows no sign of hanging up his spurs anytime soon.

This live CD-R is a recording of a show they played Kyoto's Takutaku live house in 2009. It's a great recording both in terms of the quality of the sound and performance. Testament to decades of finely honed musicianship. Vampire! still play fairly regularly at venues around Kyoto so be sure to check them out.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Up-Tight - Early Years

U is for Up-Tight

Carrying the torch first lit by early 70's Japanese noise-psychedelia pioneers like Hadaka No Rallizes, The Jacks and Taj Mahal Travellers Up-Tight have been gloomily moping around since their inception in 1993. True to Rock'n'Roll cliche and despite the trio's 20 year history and strong reputation amongst their peers the band have managed to maintain a thick enigmatic cloud around themselves. No small feat in the all enveloping internet age. The bands records are notoriously hard to track down with their discography spread across multiple labels, across multiple continents in multiple formats and often in very small numbers.

"Early Years" is a 2007 re-release and re-master of the first self-titled album originally put out in 1999 and in typical Up-Tight fashion was limited to a run of 600 copies. The band along with their dogged adherence to the sounds of Rallizes and The Velvets also filter in their own flavour by throwing in more contemporary influences from U.K.Shoegazer bands like My Bloody Valentine and The Stone Roses. Dense walls of reverb drenched guitar wash over unintelligibly echoey vocals as brooding drums slowly build up momentum for the inevitable unleashing of the claustrophobia inducing acid-lick guitar solo. They may not win many points for originality but you can't fault them for executing on an age old formula with effective authenticity. The re-release also comes with 2 bonus tracks of early Live and studio recordings dating back to 1994.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Turalica (トゥラリカ) - Mukuna Sourui (無垢な藻類)

T is for Turalica

This Nagoya based 3 piece describe themselves as "a pop band for fans of Captain Beefheart, Joan of Arc, Arthur Russel, XTC and Eltron Fou Lelouble." which is a pretty great self-description and one that hopefully piqued your interest. Turalica's music is sparse, angular and off-kilter but also refreshingly listernable and catchy. The band do an awesome job of transforming a sound that usually comes off as abrasive and confrontational and some how manage to make it lulling and soft.

The band put out their first e.p. early last year entitled "Koke No Saiten" (Moss Festival) with mastering duties suitably being handled by Shellac and Volcano Suns' Bob Weston. But not wanting to step on the bands toes I've opted to upload their first demo single "Mukuna Sourui" (Meaning "Innocent Algae". Are you detecting the perhaps John Cage inspired Mycological theme here?) as well as the bonus disk of unreleased tracks and remixes that came with the bands e.p.