Sunday, July 25, 2004

Nagisa Ni Te-ON THE LOVE BEACH and FEEL CDs (Jagjaguwar, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington IN 47401, or try could also try Forced Exposure or Eclipse Records if you so desire)

For the next issue of BLACK TO COMM I was/am (too early in the game!) planning an essay on Japanese underground rock...y'know, Japan, a relatively unknown to us place just chock fulla different and unique bands old and new, this article naturally dealing with the proto-punk beginnings (Les Rallizes Denudes and Zuno Keisatsu) up through the years until today, where believe it or not but there actually are a few aggregates out there that appeal to me living and breathing which is something hard to get into one's mind here in the jaded 21st century! Lotsa blank spaces in the piece so far so if anyone has any information personal or otherwise let me know and I'll include it, but as for now lemme tell you that if you want to hear more proto-punk guttural rumblings and can't find any of your Rocket From the Tombs or Kongress tapes just get hold of some bootleg Rallizes Denudes LPs and CRANK IT UP!!!! Don't want to give too much away right now, but lemme say that Japan is the new hotbed of not just early proto-punkial greatness waiting to be revealed but moderne rockism, and the isle's perhaps the LAST great scene to be discovered and mined, at least until the Vietnamese groups of the sixties (and today???) are dug up, and hopefully not literally...

I dunno if Nagisa Ni Te (aka "On The Beach" in Amerigan) will be included in the piece, but I gotta say that as far as today's hot sounds go NNT actually do their national pride pretty good. (And after reading Mike "In Tokyo" Rogers' column on the website I kinda get the sneaking suspicion that Japan has gotta be the hip place to be these days!!!!, at least for the most part [well, they have gun control there, but still...].) They're a duo that handles most all of the vocals and instruments with a few guests here and there, one a guy and one a femme (who sounds about ten years old and sings like a Nipponese Maureen Tucker), and they kind come off like a cross between Canadian closet band the Shangs, Neil Young (hence their name), Harold Budd and Kyu Sakamoto. Almost all of their songs are slow and dolorous which could either make you feel sexy, tired or suicidal depending on your state of mind, but I'm sure that the more adventurous readers of my fanzine and this blog would probably wanna give 'em a check out for a different earbending experience.

Frankly I like Nagisa Ni Te more than I originally did after expecting something akin to a cross between EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO (and yes, I can be fooled even this far down the line!) and then hearing what I thought were pretty subdued musings, but for the real Japanese psycho deal seek out the extremely detailed Denudes bootleg discography easily available through Ebay, or for something more current, the available recordings by Denudes acolytes Up-Tight (there's a nice webpage on them out there in internetland somewhere with downloads and all that plus their exclusive Velvet Underground homage that I wish I could link up for ya, plus their recordings, along with almost all of the old and new underground Japanese scene, are available through Eclipse). For a good overview of the new Far East Beat, try getting hold of THE NIGHT GALLERY sampler on Alchemy (also available through Eclipse) which features Up-Tight along with such new brainbusters as LSD March, Doodles and others who sure do a better take on the early-Velvet Underground sturm und drang with a nice dose of Japanese gulcher than a lotta these new upstarts who wanna be the new Velvets sooooo bad yet they seem to miss by a mile because they lack the essential ingredients to make the whole thing tick. Mainly, energy, inspiration, feeling and the unmitigated fact that if you really wanna be a "success" in the post-Velvets panthenon you DON'T cozy up to SPIN and all those L-7 rags who never did know what was going on in the first place! And with bands like these, who knows...I may be hopping on a jet plane heading straight for the next Doodles show myself!

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