JAPANESE ROCK'S GOT THE SOCK!
Y'know, I really don't want to write this post after such a hard day at work. But I must. Not because of any self-important call to duty. Not because of any desire to enlighten you readers about rare and obscure releases and music that you undoubtedly would want to know about. NOT because of any sick sort of "oneupmanship" ("Ha ha, I got it and you don't!") or anything along those lines. The reason I am posting this is because some other people (who will thankfully remain nameless) have just put up a buncha new and fresh items that are going to take a lotta the thunder away from MY scribings, and I don't want to look like the lazy and shiftless LOUT that you undoubtedly think I am, especially in the light of their varied musings! So here's a brief lowdown thingie that I've promised you ages back on some of the Japanese underground rock CDs I've gotten hold of only a month ago but am writing about now because...I am really such a lazy turdball, ain't I!
Up-Tight-LUCREZIA (Alchemy, available through Eclipse)
It doesn't quite hold up as well as their earlier releases. Perhaps it's too "heavy" without the fine psychedelic early-Velvets blast that attracted me to this Les Rallizes Denudes-influenced bunch in the first place. (It seems that Up-tight is starting to veer away from the Velvets/Denudes basis heading straight for...Budgie-territory???) Future listens, as usual, will hone my opinion but on first earful all I had to say was..."when's the song going to start???"
Various Artists-THE NIGHT GALLERY VOL. 2: 21ST CENTURY WEST PSYCHEDELIA (Alchemy, and just guess where you can buy it on-line!)
Yeah, I don't know what "west psychedelia" is either, but what it is is pretty good! Well, I still prefer this series' initial volume of dreamy, powerful, energetic and erotic (in the purest 1967 Jonathan Richman sense) rockism which you can read about here, but the second volume in this hopefully long series also features its fair share of early-VU-inspired joy that doesn't quite zoom me back to those thrilling days of yesteryear like the first one, but it still has more than its fair share of high points. Top moments...Coa (Eddie and Bill from LSD March) making one of the finest atonal rackets ever on a mere bass and drums, while whoever it is that did the opening acoustic tracks (liners are in Japanese which doesn't help me) sure managed to pull it off spiffy and w/o looking like a buncha hippies on the Boone's Farm Apple Wine kick! Whoever they are, they sorta remind me of Nagisa Ni Te only better; with a little more emotion and verve in order! She Brings the Rainbow also deserve kudos if only for that blistering guitar rave that opens their first track while Magura Mozart should be mentioned not only for their name but for the way they hearken back to some strange proto-punky sound kinda coming off like Faust at their garagiest. Hmmmmmm, it ain't that bad after all, though definitely lend ear to the first one!
Hiroshi Nar-WHERE DO YOU COME FROM (Underground, available through Eclipse)
The Japan-based "Underground" label has released a couple of "must have" (and perhaps a couple "just try'n find it!") items that probably will appeal to whomever reads this blog including a Les Rallizes Denudes live '74 2-CD set that I haven't even seen offered for sale, but this one's relatively easy to find. And it is a treasure especially for those of you studying the Japanese proto-punk style for it contains a history of recordings made by one Hiroshi Nar, a guy who deserves at least a plaque in the Punk Rock Hall of Fame just for being a member of Japan's two biggest early-seventies p-rock aggregates, they being Zuno Keisatsu and believe-it-or-not but the Denudes guys themselves! I dunno if that makes Nar the Japanese equiv. of Peter Laughner being in both Rocket From the Tombs and Television, but anyway this guy's been pretty prolific as of late not only recording (and singing in his best Mick Farren nasal-voice) with the Jokers on PSF but by getting his archival and therefore rawest booty released in a variety of CD forms. Some of it is "must have," like his ten-CD series of three-inch CD-Rs featuring old home-recordings (Eclipse only has five of 'em, which I guess is five more than NONE) ranging from an early garbled '65 version of "The Times They Are A'Changin'" to some rather inspired early-seventies bedroom-level recordings that recall similar efforts by everyone from Laughner to Metal Mike Saunders. Some of these releases are totally disposable like this sub-bootleg recording he did with Nishinihon which came outta Australia, but for those looking for the best available historical overview of Nar's career get hold of WHERE DO YOU COME FROM! A proto-punk trip detailing most if not all of Nar's "professional" groupings, this 'un begins with an interesting live thing from (I guess) the early-seventies, an organ-dominated and typically truncated live-cassette recording which seems to border on early-seventies garage concerns before suddenly traipsing into what could only be considered a garage-progressive keyboard romp reminding me of ? and the Mysterians osmosing into one of those German prog-garage groups (like Ainigma?) that collectors seem to consider "punk" (not that I'm going to argue about it!). Again, liners are in Japanese so I certainly am inna dark, but you get choice tracks from Zuno Keisatsu (a bit sing-songy but raw nonetheless) and '74-era Denudes (which are worth the price of admission) besides rarities from Nar's more current aggregations like Niplets and Port Cuss which do "continue in the tradition" even if they were recorded long after the radiation from seventies underground brilliance sorta died down. Someone out there should do an English lang thing on Nar for BLACK TO COMM if it ever comes out...any takers?
LSD March-five CD-R set
The original of this goes for like $500-plus (only ten copies made it out), but I managed to get it burned for me (for a nominal fee). You man say it's a burn as well, since these CDs are rather short (one clocking in at I believe a little over eight minutes or so!) but given that you need to hear more of LSD March's brilliant psych-punk I'm sure the average fan won't mind the fact that the entire shebang could have been reduced to maybe two disques en toto. LSD March are undoubtedly the current leaders of this scene now that Les Rallizes Denudes have abdicated their throne of velvet (Underground)...with Up-Tight not quite living up to past promises (I hope future listens hone my "appreciation") Michishita Shinnsuke and company (including the infamous Eddie and Bill) are perhaps thee undisputed kings (and queens) of lizard slink with their style veering all over the place sounding like Mirrors one minute and the Zombies (Doors?) the next with nary a clunker to be discerned. Their latest (scroll down for the review) is a contender for best o' '04 as we speak, and the way things are going LSD March might just worm their way into my all-time top-hundred best bands of all time lest they start dishing out subpar sputum like way too many bands w/promise ultimately did. Remind me to review their 1997-2001 AT MUSHROOM one of these days.
Various Artists-PSYCHEDELIC ATMOSPHERE BEATNIK TOUR 10-CD box set (La Musica, Germany)
These people who released this monster've also put out about five Les Rallizes Denudes box sets (there must be about fifteen Denudes sets out there, and I've got about half of 'em!), and these Japanese noise/psych groups on their European tours from the mid/late-nineties would appeal to those of you stoked on Mizutani's almost three decades old quest for the perfect feedback drone. Only got through about six of the ten disques in this box but here's what I can discern...Toho Bara remind me of 1968 Pink Floyd while I can't even remember what Ohicami No Jiican sound like. Mainliner are a fantastic ball of raw sound though the hands down winners here (which would figure since they take up a huger hunk of these platters than one would expect) are Musica Transonic who remind me of High Rise (which would figure since someone from them is here) taken to even higher levels of distorted shards of metallic frenzy. Can't wait to hear the rest.
Hopefully coming up in the next few posts, a review of the latest Gizmos collection and the Albert Ayler box set on Revenant (currently preparing myself for the latter with a constant bombardment of my Ayler collection CLOCKWORK ORANGE-style...pray for my survival).
Thursday, December 16, 2004
JAPANESE ROCK'S GOT THE SOCK!