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JAPANESE RECORD REPORT

Key:(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(SS: Steve Strange)(SSR: Scott Soriano)


Boyce “21st Century Modern Boys” 7”
Boyce are Koji Ozaki (from a little band called the Tweezers…you might have heard of them.), guitarist G1 from pop punkers (hey stop that…you know you were gay for that shit ten years ago) the Disgusteens, and two other guys who’ve likely been in bands I’ve never heard of. The two songs on this single are total Detour records-loving, scooter-fetishizing, mod-power pop at its best. The title track is the more anthemic of the two, but the b-side is a great bittersweet love song (which is appropriately enough called “Bittersweet”). Top of the pops all the way here.(SS)
(Daisy Tongue // www.geocities.jp/reactor_boyce/)

Chordvettes s/t 7”
The Chordvettes are a really charming band in the Brentwoods/Radio X mold made up of two Japanese girls and a guy (I’d be willing to wager he’s the drummer). Every song’s a cover of a fairly well known 50’s or 60’s standard, with the hands down best being the only one I’ve never heard before. “Cutie Pie” is super snazzy little slice of girl pop with accented “yeah yeahs” in all of the right places. They also do “I Fought the Low” (sic), “Come on Back,” “Hey Baby,” and “My Boyfriend’s Learning Karate.” The latter was especially a treat, as it’s nice to finally hear that song sung by someone who actually pronounces “karate” correctly. Unfortunately, this is probably pretty scarce now, but if you see it you could do worse than snatching a copy for yourself.(SS)
(I Don’t Feel a Thing // www.idontfeelathing.com)

Frantic Stuffs “Crap Kidz!” 7”
Single number two from these Japanese p-rockers only reinforces my initial estimation of them as sounding like a cross between the early Intimate Fags and the Gimmies. “Crap Kidz” has a total Intimate Fags (if not kinda Cockscratch now that I think about it) vibe to it, but with some Gimmies-like rock action thrown in to keep things interesting. On the flip side there’s “Asking Trouble” which is powered by a high-charged, catchy riff, and “Puke On the Earth,” which, aside from having one of the punkest titles in ages, is a pretty catchy slow-tempoed tune. If you like either of the aforementioned bands you should check these guys out.(SS)
(MFFM // mffm@tcct.zaq.ne.jp)

Guitar Wolf "Loverock" CD
You really do not need this record. Guitar Wolf has made plenty of records and most of them are much, much, much, much better than this. Loverock is as tired as the devil's horns "rock n roll" hand sign Guitar Wolf flashes on the cover. If this is the best these guys can do, it is time to quit. Don't waste your time.(SSR)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Guitar Wolf "Rock'n'Roll Etiquette" CD
How many Guitar Wolf records do you really need? Three. "Wolf Rock!", "Kung Fu Ramone", and this one. Actually recorded and released in Japan in 2000, Narnack gives this the sweet treatment, with a 16 page booklet (with lyrics!), a US-only bonus track (a cover of "The Way I Walk") and remastering done by Seiji himself,all for the nice price of $10.98. I don't know what he remixed though, because this one is full of in-the-red decibel pushing and the static fury we once expected from these guys. Honestly, I kind of lost track when their Matador records failed to impress, and "Loverock" was just so-so, but I really dig this. Titles like "Murder By Rock", "Toiletface", and "Drives with Wolves" sound as good and dirty as they should. This is definitely more like the Wolf that charmed us out of our American blue jeans so many years ago, and less like the Wolf for mass-consumption they've so often churned out in their post-Goner career. Also includes a wonderful mangling of the Royal Pendeltons' "Sore Loser". Don't let the Coop artowrk scare ya.(RK)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

High Vox “Electric Standard” LP/CD
High energy action rawk that I would think would be a fun time live if I hadn’t already seen them a couple years back and been bored stiff. This sounds a lot better than they did back then, and surprisingly it does actually rock (that’s with a “o” and a “c”) at times, but it’s nothing I find myself going back to on a regular basis. If you’re wearing mirrored shades, stone washed jeans, and a tattered Motorhead shirt right now this just might just have what it takes to get your left hand to curl into heavy metal devil horns and your right to reach for a lukewarm forty of MGD though.(SS)
(KOGA Records // www.koga-records.net)

Neons “London Dreaming” 7”
When I first heard this relatively unknown Japanese band I went into full bore hyperbole mode over the A-side for about a week. It sounds not unlike your typical Dirtnap keyboard-obsessed wave band recording on the Mummies four track. Mitch Cardwell called it “garbage” or something like that, but I still think it’s a really catchy tune that somehow manages to avoid sounding as annoying as most bands in the genre, although some of the initial luster has definitely worn off for me. At any rate, it’s a good tune. The two songs on the B-side aren’t quite as memorable as “London Dreaming” but I still like them just fine, even if this is more Epoxies than Radio Shanghai. Also, they appear to dress like a cross between 80’s mallrats and something outta “Blade Runner” if that matters to you at all.(SS)
(Revel Yell Music // www.revelyellmusic.com)

Outs “All Black Out!!” LP/CD
The Outs look and sound like completely filthy, drug-crazed, beatnik vampires playing Back From the Grave covers with the intention of moistening every female within listening distance’s panties. I wouldn’t be surprised if those paisley-poofs from the Neatbeats end up creaming their frilly lace britches as well once they hear this!!! Their tune “Dirty Fuzz” pretty much sums up what the Outs are all about: blown out, garbage-pail production and seductive, swinging rhythms. With a sound this sexy and unbridled, I’d be surprised if these guys didn’t have enough illegitimate children between them to start their own soccer league. I could do without the hackneyed cover of “Don’t Look Back” but other than that one misstep, this is pretty hot shit.(SS)
(Deckrec // www.teehead.com/theouts/)

Tiger Shovel Nose “Cappuccino Twist” 7”
Ignore both the band and the song’s names. Tiger Shovel Nose is Japanese, so they can be afforded a little slack when naming things in their second language. Besides, the music on this single is top-notch pop in the vein of fellow Japanese girl-groups like Strawberry Mud Pie, the Pappys, Sunnychar, and Pebbles, so who cares about a shitty name when a record sounds this good? The B-side is a fantastic slice of pop-perfection that benefits greatly from a highly-humable melody and an organ line that’s sweeter than rock candy dipped in melted bomp pops. The A-side is pretty decent too. I’d recommend picking this up if you ever come across one. (SS)
(I Don’t Feel a Thing // www.idontfeelathing.com)

Trio “Don’t Forget” 7”
I like Trio a lot. Their demo mixes a healthy dose of early 80’s punk with more recent Japanese garage sounds. I think of them as Japan’s answer to the Clorox Girls, only Trio is more Twin Tone than SST if you catch my drift. The two songs on this single, however, are a bit of a letdown. They’ve got much better songs on their demo, so I’m at a loss as to why they chose the meandering, too-short “Don’t Forget” for their first single over more ripping material like “Alone” or “No Help For It.” The B-side, “Fight,” shows a little bit of rawk creeping into the mix, which, believe it or not, actually sounds pretty good. If this had a better A-side, it would be a really strong single. As is, I can’t recommend paying import prices for it. (SS)
(Target Earth Records // www.ne.jp/asahi/target/earth/)

V/A "Just Go Destroy Everything In Sight" CD/LP
A middle of the road compilation from a middle of the road label. They blurb this as a collection of current Japanese rock, garage, and punk, but do a pretty good job of avoiding any of the bigger/better names associated with the current Japanese scene, and don't really bring anything new to the table either. Seventeen total tracks, only one of which is must-hear. That would ne the "Still Alive" by Coattail Rider, a scratchy blast of start-stop punk that sounds really similar to the great Intimate Fags 7" on Rip Off. I have actually felt the desire to go back and listen to this track repeatedly. The rest isn't so remarkable: The Havenots, Gimmies (a tepid cover of "New Race"), and Das Boot churn out B-grade filler, and The Kill Times, the only other remarkable unheard-of-till-now band, put up a promising but somewhat typical track ("Let's Get Suicide"). The rest of the lot is bad pop-punk, bad mall-punk, bad limpdick hardcore, and bad Epoxies-wave. I can't recommend that anyone buy this in good conscience. Not even Steve Strange. But find a way to hear the Coattail Rider track.(RK)
(Dionysus Records // www.dionysusrecords.com)

V/A "Carbon Natural Number Eight: King Size Needle" CD
Every once and awhile a compilation comes along that serves as document of the best and brightest of a particular scene at a particular time. This, a comp of bands who have all either recorded for or are affiliated with Japan’s premiere label Needle Records, is that comp for Japan circa 2004. From the 70’s style punk of the Knocks to the weathered pop of Warmed Over Band, each of the five bands on here turns in a spectacular performance. My favorites include both tracks from the Sneeze, who sound a lot meaner yet paradoxically somewhat cleaner on here than they did on their single, the Frantic Stuffs’ “That’s Cool, That’s Fool” (as catchy a punk rock song as you’ll ever hear), and Keen Monkey Work’s totally Raw Records sounding “Empty of Harm.” This comp is essential listening for anyone with an interest in Japanese punk or for anyone who likes listening to great music in general.(SS)
(Needle Records // random@stereo-g.net)

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