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

Thursday 10 October 2013

Ok Motherfuckers! Let's Go!!

I've posted a few Ultra Bide related things before and have always gotten a number of emails and inquiries about Hide and his band. So you'll be glad to here that Hide and his cohorts are embarking on their first U.S. and Canadian tour in almost 2 decades accompanied by a new album on Alternative Tentacle records.

Originally formed in Kyoto in 1978. Ultra Bide were amongst Japan's early waves of young sonic aggravators (Including noise legend Jojo Hiroshige as one of the bands original members.). Centered around mastermind Hide Fujiwara the band is an ever evolving beast that has spanned multiple line-ups, multiple styles and even multiple continents. In 1985 Hide moved to New York and reconstituted Ultra Bide as a prog-punk 3 piece where he toured extensively, built up a dedicated following and released a number of EPs and albums through Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacle records.

In 2001 Hide moved back to Japan and re-established himself as one of the Japanese undergrounds key figures. Without slowing his stride Hide has for the last 10 or so years been tirelessly working away in a prolific number of band projects and musical collaborations, championing up and coming new waves of Japanese bands, cultivating the underground scene and crusading against Japan's bullshit "pay to play" system.

During that time Hide has been honing and refining his latest incarnation of Ultra Bide as a super tight, non-nonsense twins bass and drums power trio. And at the ripe old age of 53 Hide is producing the best music of his entire career. Not something you can say of many aging punksters. Ultra Bide are a formidable live band who regularly show up eager young upstarts less than half their age. Playing with the sort of power and precision that decades of living and breathing music has possessed them with.

I've seen hundreds of bands perform and still Ultra Bide stand head and shoulders above them all. Consistently solid regardless of the size or reaction of the crowd or the venue Ultra Bide are never not an awesome band to see. I must have seen them play at least four dozen times since they were first introduced to me about 5 years ago... Ahhh fuck it! Just go and see them! The cunts deserve it and more importantly you deserve to see Ultra Bide.

Tour starts 9th October. Album drops October 15th.

2013 10/9 (Wed) at Death By Audio Brooklyn, NY
2013 10/10 (Thu) at El N Gee Club New London, CT
2013 10/11 (Fri) at Flywheel East Hampton, MA
2013 10/12 (Sat) at Midway Café Jamaica Plain, MA
2013 10/13 (Sun) at The City Belle Pub Belleville, ONT CANADA with SNFU
2013 10/14 (Mon) at Van Gogh’s Ear Guelph, ONT CANADA with SNFU
2013 10/15 (Tue) at Call The Office London, ONT CANADA
2013 10/16 (Wed) at The Hideout Toronto, ONT CANADA
2013 10/17 (Thu) at Café Chaos Montreal, QUE CANADA
2013 10/18 (Fri) at Khyber Pass Philadelphia, PA
2013 10/19 (Sat) at The Saint Asbury Park, NJ
2013 10/21 (Mon) at Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD
2013 10/22 (Tue) at Black Cat (Backstage) Washington, DC
2013 10/23 (Wed) at Strange Matter Richmond, VA
2013 10/24 (Thu) at Bernie's Distillery Columbus, OH
2013 10/25 (Fri) at Garfield Artworks Pittsburgh, PA
2013 10/26 (Sat) at Cake Shop New York, NY
2013 10/31 (Thu) at Hemlock Tavern San Francisco, CA
2013 11/1 (Fri) at Eli's Mile High Club Oakland, CA
2013 11/2 (Sat) at The Blue Lagoon Santa Cruz, CA




Regular posts coming soon. Sorry.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Xinlisupreme - Tomorrow Never Comes

X is for Xinlisupreme

Given that these guys are the only Japanese band I know of that begin with X (Besides the ridiculous X Japan.) choosing a band for X wasn't very difficult.

Formed in Oita on the Japanese island of Kyushu the elusive 2 piece serve up some pretty eclectic offerings. whether it's blasts of industrial noise, 808 drum sequences or ambient electronica, the one constant is the bands love of their bedroom recording quality Lo-Fi sound. I can't say I really "get" these guys but they do make for an interesting and unique listening experience. 

This is the bands debut album released back in 2001. The band managed to find a decent following outside of Japan thanks to the album being released on the prestigious UK indie label Fat Cat. The band then seemed to drop off the radar for almost 10 years until the release of their sophomore effort "4 Bombs" last year. 

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.


Tuesday 25 June 2013

Spectrum Synthesize! - Humour and Destruction (ユーモア アンド デストラクション)

S is for Spectrum Synthesize!

Roughly two and a half hours drive west of Osaka lies the cosmopolitan city of Okayama. Adjacent to Osaka`s Psychedelia and Prog inspired "Zero Generation" Okayama began to breed it's own young generation of musical experimenters and wave makers. While channeling similar No-Wave and Noise influences as their Osaka counterparts Okayama's vanguard came in a very distinctive Hardcore, Post-Punk flavour (How can you spot an Okayama band? It probably has cowbell in it.) that set them apart from their slightly more recognised big city contemporaries. 

Spectrum Synthesize! were one of those bands. Their origins began in 2001 and went through multiple lineup changes over the years until their eventual dissolution in 2008. Originally a dual bass and drums setup the band became a 4 piece (As they appear on this record) before expanding their Guit, Vocals/samples, Drums and Bass configuration to include Sax. 

Melt Banana and Deracine with a smattering of early Boredoms are the easiest comparisons to make along with fellow Okayama bands such as Accidents In Too Large Field and I want City with whom the band have shared members. In other words attention deficient, schizophrenic punk that sounds like an entire albums worth of ideas being thrown into a washing machine at the same time and then spat out as 60 second long delinquent disco-punk rampages. This, the bands only full release clocking in at 11 tracks in just over 11mins  will chew you up, ruffle up your hair, steal your pocket money and spit you out before you`ve even had time to lace up your dancing shoes. More cowbell!