Les Rallizes Denudes-END OF HEAVY GROOVE 2-CD set; MARS STUDIO 1980 4-CD set (both on Univive, check out Volcanic Tongue for availability)
As most of you BLOG TO COMM readers already know I am a man of admission, and right at this moment I gotta admit that five whole smacking years after getting my paws on their LE 12 MARS 1977 A TACHIKAWA double CD set that Les Rallizes Denudes are perhaps my all-time favorite Japanese rock & roll group! And that includes such other whoppers as the Sadistic Mika Band not to mention all of those recent nutjobs that came out in the Denudes' wake no matter how noisily psychedelic they are or how many ex-members (like in the grows-on-you Suishou No Fune) they may have. And it's not only because this aggregate (from the rather controlled confines of Japan no less!) have all of the components necessary to make great high-energy music (rock or otherwise); it's just wild being able to discover a classic underground band of this caliber who not only had a sense of mysticism about 'em to make the Chocolate Watchband blush but remained about as under-the-underground as they could for nearly three decades! And the fact that tons of archival recordings are dribbling out in both legit and bootleg form has certainly sated my post-Velvets drone appetite! The only thing that I could compare it to is if Rocket From the Tombs had dumped about a few dozen bootlegs of their work right into my paws whilst I was just beginning my huge Cleveland First Wave obsession sometime in the late-seventies!
Univive is a label that, legit or not (I dunno), has released a number of Denudes items in small quantities that usually evaporate before the main hulk of fans even know they existed in the first place which is why I consider myself fortunate to have latched onto these two rarities which for all intent purposes are probably sold out by now. Maybe not (check out the usual distribution suspects) so be sure to seek both these wild offerings out before they join such outright classics as 67/69 STUDIO ET LIVE in the eternal bin of long-gone Denudes gems.
END OF HEAVY GROOVE features a couple of class '76 shows sounding better'n the CD-R takes that have been flying around for the past few years. All of the familiar Denudes staples from the seventies are here (y'know, "Night of the Assassin," "Field of Artificial Flower," the downright beautiful "Enter the Mirror" not forgetting that mulch-inducing finale "The Last One"...) complete with that feedback-driven style that at times sounds part early-seventies Euro-take on American garage concerns, part-mid-seventies Debris/MX-80/Rocket From the Tombs "cold wave" and part the bared-wire side of Japanese culture they don't want you to know about. Some neat surprises too like rearrangements and even a new 'un to my ears (title is in Japanese...sorry!) which reminds me of something that should've been the catalyst for the Japanese equivalent of BACK DOOR MAN. Maybe there was one thanks to the heavy metal soul-twist of these stirring trailblazers and if so, anyone care to lay some information on me?
For a change of pace the whopping 4-CD set MARS STUDIO might do you some good. It's the Denudes 1980-style, perhaps a little more professional and polished but still garage enough to sate, doing their familiar numbers in an actual studio. What makes this one different from other sessions I've heard is that Mizutani Takashi and crew, for some maybe not-so-strange reason, decided to utilize such instrumentation as electric organ and acoustic guitar into the usual hard rock mix adding for a rather unique, and perhaps even pleasing sound as in LOADED or maybe even (get this!) Hackamore Brick! (OK, that's hyperbole...whadja expect?) Those of you who only know this band from their previous recordings may be in for a surprise as I was, but the softer and less-metallic moments found herein did make for an experience that sorta reminds me of a Doug Yule-styled coup in the group, at least on a few numbers. Not that MARS STUDIO's a total trip into late-Velvet Underground straight-ahead dance rock since there are some great moments of BLUDGEON here, such as on disc three's opening track "Guitar Jam" which sounds something like a flub-a-dub take on "Blues' Theme" filtered through "Sister Ray." And if this track sounds familiar, it is! For years it was being passed off as a '69 number called "Smokin' Cigarette Blues" on that two-LP set with the wild photo of Mizutani adorning the front (as seen above, nicked off the Denudes' own website!) which seemed strange since the version I have on my bootleg burn of 67/69 was a totally different free-form freakout kinda thing! Oh well, it only makes me wonder all the more as to just how much of this info on Les Rallizes Denudes floating about we CAN believe!
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