Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dip Leg - No One is Hurt at a Place of Love [2006]

Ah... Dip Leg. This is another band that means so, so much to me. I put so much into releasing their first album here in the States, and it failed so horribly. No, really, I've still got about 300-400 copies of the CD (if anybody wants any: meatcube.com). But, that doesn't change the fact that they are positively amazing and totally underrated. These are the last 5 songs they recorded before essentially breaking up (they said indefinite hiatus, and that was about 5 years ago). Truly a legendary band.

When I went to Japan in 2003, everyone told me about Dip Leg. I'd only heard about them on the internet, but everyone was raving about how great they were. One of their biggest "disciples" was Minoru, of Satire Records. He was planning to release their album, and let me hear the early recordings. I was totally hooked, the sounds were delicious to my ears. They had all the best parts of what was happening in Japanese screamo, but played it so cleanly and perfectly that it was just a pleasure to listen. When GMN went down to play some shows in Okayama (their hometown) and Kyoto with them, I immediately professed my love and devotion and asked if they'd let me release their album as well. It took almost another year before I could find the funds (aka. convince myself to put the CD pressing on a credit card (which is not a good idea)) and get the album out, but I wouldn't change anything for the world. Dip Leg rules, and y'all drool. There.

Here's the extra video that came on this CD:

1. Balance
2. News
3. Aggression For This Half a Century
4. Changing Town
5. One of the 6.4 Billion Pens

Monday, October 10, 2011

R3-N7 - Demo [2002]

When I was in Japan, I bought every demo I ever saw. The record shops would usually have them sitting around somewhere at only 100 or 200 yen a pop. Perfect price! I usually just bought whatever they had because at that price, I was able to make mistakes. Occasionally, I would find some gems.

Roseanna's demo (now R3-N7) was not one of those gems. Don't get me wrong, this is not horrible by any means, it just doesn't seem to be up to the caliber of Japanese demos. By any other standard, this would be a good demo. The problem is, Japanese band's demos tend to be positively amazing. High recording quality, long masterpiece-like songs. Roseanna feels much less organized and more like a normal demo.

But, that didn't stop them. They evolved into R3-N7, took on a more new-wavey sound, then reverted to a Japanese crusty sound, and actually turned out pretty good. Looks like a new ep came out recently. Check their site link below.

R3-N7 Website

I have some videos of a show they played in Osaka, which I'm hoping to post soon. I found this on Youtube, which might be one of the worst videos ever. I'll let you decide:

1. Sutetakiokuha Bokuno Taisetsuna Omoidedshita Haijoha Souzouwo Koeru Itami Wo Tomonau...
2. Kunousuru Bokuto Tsurakutemo Ikiteiru Kimi

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Carnival of Dark-Split / Black Film Dance split [2002]

Ah, one of the "jewels" of my collection. This is one of my favorite CD's I own, which is also one of the rarest. The Sapporo scene always seems really far removed from the rest of the Japanese Underground, so recordings and bands always come out of left field. The great thing about it is that they truly make original music, and these guys are no different.

The Carnival of Dark-Split released a full-length on HG Fact after this, which was amazing. At some point, one of the members died and they disbanded. Members went on to play in The Sun. 

Black Film Dance is the bomb.com. Their sound is so cathartic and textured. These songs are some of their best. Members went on to form The Sun after their dissolution.

You have to listen to this!!!

1. The Carnival of Dark-Split - Crash the View
2. The Carnival of Dark-Split - Rental Response
3. The Carnival of Dark-Split - Rotten Pupetts
4. The Carnival of Dark-Split - -----
5. Black Film Dance - Flower Silence
6. Black Film Dance - Sometime
7. Black Film Dance - I?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

VA - I've Come For Your Children Summer 2003 Sampler [2003]

Here's a little blast from the past. When I first started the I've Come For Your Children distro in 2003, I put together a sampler CD to give out to people (I'm not sure if I even gave them to anyone). It had a track from every release I was carrying at the time, which is on the inside with prices. It also included a track from the demo of my band at the time, The Baldwin Mass Suicide (of which Matt and I went on to form Cease Upon the Capitol, and Roy joined on Bass later).

1. Gauge Means Nothing - Right Hand
2. Envy - Color of Fetters
3. Torico - In the Air
4. Black Film Dance - Escape
5. Amanda Woodward - Pleine de Grace
6. Enforce - Kusari to Kaembin
7. The Jhai Alai - Wise Old Man
8. Iscariote - Moonbeam and the Dark
9. 324 - Quarter Moon
10. Kulara - Your Own Gain
11. The Baldwin Mass Suicide - First You Broke My Heart, Then You Broke the Hula Girl on My Dashboard Confessional
12. Vanilla - Body Fever
13. The Carnival of Dark-Split - New Normal
14. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - Hijou Jitai

Friday, October 7, 2011

Torico - Self-Titled [2002]

I saw Torico play at Kyoto Whoopie's on a whim. I can't quite remember what other bands played the show, but Torico really grabbed my attention. They had a 4-speaker, surround sound setup with lots of electronics. I remember at one point the audio was swirling around me, practically making me dizzy. It was awesome.

On record, Torico is weird and groovy. These songs are more like weird soundbytes more than anything. This was third item I had in my distro in 2003. I sent an international money order to the guys to get copies. Still, it was worth it. Guys from Torico went on to form Mirror, who released a few things on Catune.

Wow! I just googled Torico, and they are still together! In fact, looks like they have a new album called Regret (well, it was released in 2008). Sweet. I frickin love the internet, for real. Here's a vid from 2007:

1. november
2. toricosystem
3. vo<<asi+bapoi
4. toricolonics
5. in the air
6. toricolonist
7. hospital
8. air in the air
9. toricology
10. q: are you ok? a: in the bed!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Black Line Fever - Self-Titled [2005]

The closest thing that these guys did to a full-length. What else can I say about The Black Line Fever? They were a once in a lifetime band that played with such honesty and fury. One of my favorites that ended too soon.

1. intro
2. dryflower
3. 974
4. ground level:44
5. am i
6. friends are strangers
7. lights in the cage
8. god speed

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Discogs.com Contributions

In the spirit of this blog and archiving so much rare and out-of-print music, I'm going to start submitting everything that I post on here to discogs.com. This should help contribute to making that massive database more comprehensive, as well as save a lot of these releases for posterity. You can watch my progress and help out by visiting my user profile page on discogs.com here. I'll also try and keep my Collection up to data, so if there's anything on there you're interested in, just let me know.

I've thought about Wikipedia as well, but that seems to be a larger undertaking, so it might have to wait. Anybody have any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Endzweck - A Farewell To Arms [2002]

The first CD I bought in Japan. I picked this up in Tokyo at around 9am. My new friend, Vanessa, and I had just arrived via overnight bus and had almost no sleep. We stopped in a Tower Records and I found this, which I'd been searching for. Later that night, at the show, I met the singer, Takashi. I can't remember if I had been in contact with him before or not, but I showed him the CD and told him I'd bought it.

Endzweck has become a Japanese hardcore mainstay. They've had several releases outside of Japan (via Goodlife Records & GMC Records). In a lot of ways, they play the same song over and over again, but its such a good song.

This is their second album and first on Out Ta Bomb Records (The now-defunct/turned distro record label that spread the Japanese new-school movement), and truly their best, in my opinion.

Here's a live video of them playing in Korea, once GMC Records (my friend Kyono's label) released their first album there. The video is done by another friend, Chang-Hun, who did SQL Records for a while.

1. Destination
2. Knowledge
3. Isolated Will
4. Trace of a Dry Tear
5. Fruit of My Despair
6. Morning Moon

Monday, October 3, 2011

Unfold - Creep / Karma Stench / Dig a Hole split [2002]

I'd seen some stuff online about this compilation, the first from Shining April Records, and had to try it out. The price was also right (1000 yen, which is much better than a 3000 yen CD). And holy shit, this split rips! Three indie bands from the Kansai region (that's Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe), with slightly different styles. Creep plays a rough, Swing Kids-y style of hardcore. They are my pick on the release. Karma Stench plays angular, indie rock but heavy. Dig a Hole plays more old school post-hardcore. All in all, an awesome showing from an under-represented region.

I couldn't find any videos at all online from any of these bands. There definitely needs to be more attention on these guys. I'm pretty sure they are all broken up (creep definitely is), which sucks. Members of creep went on to form Flash Light Experience, who are damn amazing, but it looks like they are done too. Anyways, enjoy this shit!

1. creep - CONSTRUCT
2. creep - MISERY
3. Karma Stench - 破数
4. Karma Stench - 砂塵
5. DIG A HOLE - Result
6. DIG A HOLE - Further On

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apostrophe - echo / kiwiroll split [2001]

I'm not entirely sure how I got this CD and why there's no artwork. I don't remember buying it, so perhaps someone gave it to me? Regardless, there are some pretty killer kiwiroll songs on here. They really were an amazing band that was pretty unique in Japan. Echo has a bit of a King Brothers/Guitar Wolf vibe, which I'm not too into.
[Update] I found a note from Fafa when I did a trade with the label, Waiting for An Angel, and he sent this to me. Whew, glad that mystery was solved!

Also, a big part of this blog is going to be the flyers and memorabilia I have, so to start with, here's a promo flyer for kiwiroll's first full album (i think), which was also their last.

And here's a vid of them playing the song, 間違う, live:

2. kiwiroll - 間違う
3. echo - Strange Smile (Live Version)
4. kiwiroll - ベクトル (Live Version)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bluebeard - Self-Titled [2001]

Ah, its getting cold again up here in the Pacific Northwest, and there is no better soundtrack for walking around in cold weather than Bluebeard's self-titled masterpiece. I can't remember exactly why I picked this up at a record store in Japan. Perhaps I'd read about them online, or a friend had recommended it. Bluebeard was truly a revelation, though. They are mostly Mineral worship, which is fine as they're one of my all-time tags, but there is something else that Bluebeard has that really makes them unique. Perhaps its the atmosphere and sense of wonder that their songs create. Regardless, the music fits cold, city life perfectly.

Sadly, Bluebeard broke up shortly after the release, and only have a demo and split 7" with Nine Days Wonder in their discography (although, there might be a Mangrove compilation as well). Luckily, the members continued to make beautiful music. George (guitar) joined Naht, and later Turtle Island. Yoshikazu (vocals/guitar) formed As Meias with a guy from There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and another from 3cmtour, which sounds similar to Bluebeard, but not the same.

There was a documentary made while Bluebeard was still playing which features them playing, as well as an interview. The documentary seems to focus a little too much on the word "emo", in my opinion, but its still cool to see the band and hear them talk. Here are some clips from that documentary:

And a PV that weirdly aired on a Japanese music channel:

1. untitled
2. room 501
3. over again
4. sleepless
5. snow
6. earth bound
7. can't rely on
8. endless way

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gauge Means Nothing - The Absent Trail of an Echo and My Future Plagued by Surrender [2003]

Gauge Means Nothing (GMN) is a band that is extremely important to me and played a huge part in my life. When I was studying in Japan in the winter of 2002, Yuichi (bass) was one of my first close friends. I met him at the after party for an envy show in Tokyo. A few months after that GMN came down to Kyoto and played a show, and I was totally blown away. When I came back to the States and heard that they planned to release an EP, I asked if I could release it on vinyl. With the help of my friend Roy, we started the label by releasing "The Absent Trail..."

Here are 5 songs (the track listings for the CD and LP were different by one song each, so there were 4 on each release but 5 total) that bottle up more intensity and passion than most bands could ever dream of having. There's no posturing, no disappointingly pointless filler. Each song is crafted as an individual masterpiece. There's post rock, screamo, hardcore, punk, metal, pop, and rock combined into an intoxicating mixture.

The album was extremely polarizing on release. It received both top scores (even ending up on some favorite lists) and dismally low scores (some distributors refused to even carry it). To me, it seemed like some people got it (and what they got was what was truly important about music) and some people didn't (because they were too caught up on music bullshit).

You'll see more about GMN on this blog for sure. There are a few other releases, videos, promo materials, and some inside info on the release to come later. In the meantime, enjoy these songs and welcome to the blog!

Also, I uploaded a PV that was supposed to be included on the CD version, but never was. Here it is:

1. pilgrims
2. my glasses reflect an untrue view on my eyes
3. boku wa bikaiin [i'm idealize commissioner]
4. (surely) dyes black
5. right hand

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The HD Revolution [will not be televised]

Who'm I kidding. This shit isn't HD. But what it is, is much better quality videos of Japanese hardcore and screamo bands playing in 2002 & 2003. Since Youtube storage allowances have sky-rocketed, I can now upload the full 2GB live videos that I've had yellowing in crates for the past 8 years. I broke the box out of these shows and will re-rip them and post on youtube with the better quality. Just imagine it, it's gonna be awesome! Well, at least I'm excited.

Anyways, my scanner is on the fritz, so I won't have any good releases until I get that fixed. These will have to fill the void. Here's three to start out with, Womb & 3cmTour, both from 2003:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Heaven in Her Arms - Self-Titled CD-R [2005]

Salvation Records was one of the first (if not the first) to start releasing and evangelizing the new Japanese screamo movement (this is at the turn of the millennium). I contacted Jerome when I was just starting my distro, and ordered some copies of his first release (Black Film Dance - John's LP). Jerome continued to release incredible stuff, as well as cultivating an amazing distro full of ultra-rare Japanese things.

One of his great ideas was releasing a CD-R from Heaven in Her Arms, still in their youth as a band at the time. I'd heard their first demo before that, and was not impressed at all. Until I heard the first track on this CD-R, I was questioning Jerome's judgement, but the band had completely changed. I don't know if HIHA got new members, or just had a "Come to Jesus," but they fucking brought it for this CD-R and their releases after this have been top notch.

1. a secret signal... here is...
2. akai yume
3. get out!! (live)
4. a secret signal... here is... (remix)
5. akai yume (remix)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sora - Demo [2004]

I first saw Sora when we (Gauge Means Nothing) played a show with them at Mod Studio in Tokyo in 2003. They had formed just recently, but I loved their gorgeous, two-guitar melodies and frantic drumming. I got this demo in the mail sometime later, but could still remember hearing the songs live. They're still together and have released several mini-albums on Impulse Records.

Here's a video from last year (have no clue what songs they're playing):

Track Listing:
1. 空の下
2. 無色の景色

The Black Line Fever - Demo [2003]

I first met Jordan (guitar) on one of my first days back in Japan in the winter of 2003. I had just flown in to play guitar with Gauge Means Nothing on their Singapore/Malaysia tour, and I was being introduced to a lot of new people. Jordan was an Australian expatriate and a really nice guy. We chatted about random things, and he passed me his band's first demo.

I honestly didn't expect that much. Usually when non-Japanese played with Japanese bands the results were less than stellar. What I heard blew my fucking shit. Just insanely passionate and intense screamo violence. The kind of music that is just raging in the background as you collapse in a heap and bang your head on concrete. These guys were all gaijin (some aussie, some brits) and they were playing music that was both uniquely Japanese and completely different.

But only 3 songs! How could 3 short songs suffice. This was music that demanded more! It was not fulfilling at all. I listened to that demo about 10 times in a row that night, and to this day (yes, I'm listening right now) it's some of the most intense and inspiring music ever made.

My one regret is that I never saw them play live, but there is a video filmed by one of the la quiete/raein boyz of their last show (the song is "lights in the cage"). The line-up on the video is a little different from the one on this demo (Yoshi is singing and Itaru is on guitar). Damn, its so good. Here:

Track Listing:
1. dryflower
2. good speed
3. 唯無