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