JAPANESE ROCK'S STILL GOT THE SOCK!
I recently acquired $1400 and guess what I went and did...bought a whole buncha fun gunch that I probably could've lived without, but then again I could probably also live without internet, Chinese food, MR. ED reruns, old issues of CAN'T BUY A THRILL and Pazo hemorrhoid ointment, but then again what kinda livin' would it be without such aids to modern mankind as these? Yes, Japanese rock is one thing that keeps this wigged out (and wig-needing!) blogster fit, lit and split, mainly because it's everything that the BLOG TO COMM-loving maniac so desires...a rock w/HISTORY (ie. that past that too many people think they can live w/o...mainly the proto-punk metallic bursts of the oft-mentioned Les Rallizes Denudes not forgetting those Tyrannosaurus Rex wannabes Zuno Keisatsu) as well as a present, which takes that sacred screed of the past and goes with it in directions that one one hand seem the best the retrogarde has to offer us yet in others come off as mystically HOLY as Lou Reed and John Cale at their most Velvet-y sacred (read my review of ALL YESTERDAY'S PARTIES here for more insight into the pure spiritual side of the Velvets probably induced by a little too much exposure to Alice Bailey). Believe me, if it weren't for the new Japanese rock of LSD-March, Doodles and Up-Tight, I'd probably still be drooling over Australian rock no matter how far downhill that scene devolved all these years later!
Lessee, what was the first thing I bought with that fourteen hundred US? Oh yeah, how about some thingies by Doodles, a band I've written about in these pages many times before. It may be my male chauvinist pig speaking when I say that I don't quite have the same attitude towards female rockers (and all gal bands) that professional feminist rockscribes the likes of Anastasia Pantsios do, with all that tiresome Pat Benetar-inspired "I'm my own woman!" pseudo toughness that comes off like an adolescent boy trying to be the bad-assest bully in the schoolyard, but sheesh, I like these Doodles just like I dig the Dangerous Birds and even the Raincoats when they weren't getting too hairy-pitted for my tastes. Yet another gtr/drums duo, at least these misses (Akiko Terashima on guitar and vocals and Nao Shibata on drums) sound way fuller'n all the other gtr/drums bands I've come across in my travels, and not anything like you'd expect them to sound like after reading all the hype heaped upon 'em as being post-punk this and coming off like the Shaggs that...if anything, Doodles remind me of the best that not only Ameriga, but THE WORLD hadda offer in the garages of the mid-seventies. Kinda like an all-female Mirrors at their more avant garde. Plus their natural Japanese femininity doesn't make you feel threatened like way too many all-"woman" aggregates out there with a little more or their minds than rock music...in fact, I'd say that Doodles is one band I'd wanna hop into the hot tub with despite all the water displacement that would occur in the wake of my splash!
I gotta say that album #1 IKI didn't quite gel with me, mostly because it seemed way too disjointed and sans the pop sensibility that I loved in their NIGHT GALLERY appearance last year. I have the feeling time may hone my appreciation of IKI, but for now let me just say that I won't be slipping it onto the CEE-DEE launching pad with the alarming frequency that I have been playing PARADIESWARTS DUUL these past few days. However, I am spinning Doodles' second endeavor NOKORI a lot and it's a pretty good 'un especially w/a hard-rocking take of this one song that ended up on THE NIGHT GALLERY (whatever Doodles' second track on that classic was...slept through Japanese class in school so I can't decipher it myself) done Flamin' Groovies style. Still, it's the soft, quiet yet intense Doodles that I go for, and that group seems to be in full force on this live in France CD-R that is probably going to sell faster than gerbils in San Fran once this blog gets out into the psyches of rock-starved Earth! Arriving in a simple plastic sleeve w/insert, FRANCE TOUR showcases Doodles at their garage/Velvets best with a calm-yet-stormy demeanor (especially when the gtr suddenly gets into a distorto-freak worthy of Les Rallizes Denudes) that in some ways is very similar to the Velvet Underground at their Warlocks earliest when they did those demos forty years ago (!) this month complete with that same arid detachment that made me love LIVE 1969 upon first listen back when such a deed seemed like a pretty creepy (and fulfilling) thing to do.
If you can't get enough of Doodles here, you can actually see 'em performing on the ALCHEMISM DVD alongsides such current Nipponese Gnashers as Up-Tight and Angel 'In Heavy Syrup. Those bands are def. worth the time and effort it would take to purloin this disque and glom (esp. w/Up-Tight doing a great psychedelic raver from their latest, not quite up-to-par album through a haze of cigarette smoke). Anyway, it's really nice finally being able to see as well as hear your favorite Japanese obscurities which you certainly do on this disque, with Akiko doing this sublime squiggle while playing her fender and Nao (looking cuter'n on the CD covers with her tantalizing pageboy cut that brings back hefty Anna Mae Wong memories and yeah I know she's Chinese and Nao isn't...I'm just being general here for once!) slamming the drums in the best basic Maureen Tucker/Scott Asheton/VON LMO fashion. What I really like about Akiko's gtr-playing is that she can lay down a rhythm while playing then somehow do a lead while the rhythm continues on! Is this some new sorta technology or something that's been going on for quite awhile? I don't like to technicalize my music like those people at MUSICIAN used to do back inna eighties (and most new gtr/drums instrumentation setups that the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mother's Anger and White Stripes utilize leave a little something to be desired!), but since Doodles are an otherwise non-tech group I must say that I do have an interest in such affairs.
If you have a craving for more Doodles, try the latest NIGHT GALLERY volume...they don't appear on here but DNJ, a band featuring both Akiko and Nao with some guys playing this LSD-March-ish wall of psychosound called "Moon Child" (not the Beefheart song...p'haps the mythical creature that's to usher in the new age of non-restraint?) which somehow ends up sounding a tad Pink Floyd-ish yet still manages to capture my imagination despite the progiclivity. The rest of this "21st century psycho out" varies from boring solo nood to Tokyo tee-vee commercial soundalikes making this one a must for the Doodle completist only!
Two paragraphs back I mentioned the Doodles live CD-R flying around...Miminokoto also have one that might not be available anymore, and it ain't anywhere as good as their NIGHT GALLERY trax either. Imants Krumins thinks they sound like Pink Floyd around the time they were carting around inflatable pigs, and I thought that the Miminokoto members who were earlier farting around in a band called the Broomdusters (hailed as one of those "new" Velvet Underground-alikes, so you know they're bad!) were just as hackneyed as all of those other altruists in rock you see these days, but their live disque was pretty sterile and generally non-moving with a strange lacking of emotion. I guess you have to be careful when you pick and choose all these new Japanese groups, because a whole slew of them can be just as copycat and as shallow as just every other young and precocious group out there in NOTICE ME! land.
In case you want to order some or all of this stuff, you can always try Eclipse or Volcanic Tongue if you so desire but hurry since it seems these Japanese rarities go in and out of print faster than you can say "Paypal scam!"
If you STILL can't get enough Japanese rockism after all this why not try some more Les Rallizes Denudes? I like to get hold of the myriad asst. of box sets featuring their rare wares every so often (though the 2-CD set of '73 material put out by the same people who gave us the Hiroshi Nar sampler seems to elude me over and over), and in the latest batch of precious goodies received came the infamous color-coded 5 CD-R set, another one of those mystery deals that features what I consider some pretty solid eighties-era live performances (with a heavy WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT influence easily discerned) making me glad there was at least one act around that didn't pussy out in that shoulda-be-spectacular decade. It's kinda neet also knowing that there was still a secret band from the psychedelic sixties playing their hard-scronk Velvet-y garage cum Blue Cheer volume music this late in the game, and what's best about it is that these Denudes guys kept the intensity and energy levels going that long w/o succumbing to all those lame commercial pratfalls that silenced or rotted away at many an important and not-so groupings for years on end. Hey, in no way could I see a MANY MOODS OF LES RALLIZES DENUDES album aimed at the Vicki Carr crowd inna million years, and I for one am glad that group leader Mizutani Takashi didn't become the Japanese David Crosby when he very well could have!
Still romping through the High Rise box set (too screechy for me, with the performance being ruined by the lower-fidelity for once) and might give you a report on that one when I feel like it. But then again, maybe not. There's a whole lot one can do with fourteen hundred smackers so why should I waste my time blabbing about all my recent acquisitions when I could be out living life and maybe paying someone to do a little fenderbending w/regards to the vehicles of those I loathe...oops, guess I spilled a little too much of the beans there!
Friday, July 01, 2005
JAPANESE ROCK'S STILL GOT THE SOCK!