Monday, August 27, 2012

And Believe - Moment Never Fade [2007]

This week I'll be posting some more "hardcore" releases. This is one of the CDs I got when FC Five was doing their US tour a few years back. I guess the guy from Alliance Trax was one tour and brought some of his releases. I grabbed this and a couple others just because they were Japanese. And Believe plays old school, fast, youth crewish hardcore. I'm not sure the best comparison, but it's pretty good.

You can buy this here for really cheap: Buy NOW!

1. Daylight
2. Questions Behind
3. Moral Hazard
4. Blood, Sweat and Tears
5. In An Agony
6. Mine
7. After The Collapse
8. Flag Day
9. At The Front
10. Grayed
11. Alive To
12. Hundreds of Justice, Hundreds of Contradictions
13. Boiling Point
14. Between Insistence and Sentence

Thursday, August 23, 2012

[Bandcamp] Saisa - 1st EP [2011]

Wow, this was a true find. Jacob from Keep It Together Records sent me these guys. He'll be releasing a tape from them soon, and its going to be great. Saisa have put their first EP up here for free download, and it is a gorgeous thing. When I saw "post-rock" in the description, I was expecting something boring, but Saisa creates some of the most beautiful and heavenly music I've ever heard. The most obvious comparison is Sigur Ros, due to the high vocals and guitar sounds, but the song structures are much more traditional post-rock. It's pretty refreshing and completely unexpected from a small Japanese band. I even hear some envy influences, but mainly envy's more laid-back instrumental stuff and their reverb-y telecaster guitar sounds.

This is just really, really good and you need to get these three songs immediately. I'll update again when KIT has the tape out!

1. Faith In Ordinary
2. Little Light Way
3. Lycoris

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bonescratch - Diaglam [1996]

Here's an oldie but goodie from the frozen wasteland of Sapporo (actually, not sure how frozen it is cause I've never been. But it sounded cool, right?). This three-piece played throughout the 90's releasing several albums as well as splits with bands like Sawpit and In/Humanity. After they dissolved, members went on to form The Carnival of Dark-Split, Black Film Dance, and eventually Discotortion. So, there's some pretty heavy pedigree here. At some point, one of the members, Hiromichi Kanno, died somehow, which led to the breakup of The Carnival of Dark-Split. I never noticed before, but on the liner notes of the Black Film Dance/Carnival of Dark-Split split CD, they have a goodbye to him. Pretty sad stuff.

Anyways, Bonescratch plays 90's style emotional hardcore. Anybody into Ebullition bands of that day would totally be into this. If you're not, I'd still check out the video below, because these guys seriously ripped.

1. Ego
2. Diaglam
3. Dust Space
4. 8:2
5. Something Call
6. French Toast
7. Large
8. Why Are You Here?
9. Good Rising
10. Scratch
11. Sleep in Black
12. Little My Eye
13. Nothing Case
14. Promise

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

[Bandcamp] Lop Abuse On Somebody - Sanctify / Toy [2012]

Wow. Lop Abuse On Somebody are from Osaka and play really aggressive instrumental rock. I hesitate to say post-rock, because that implies lots of delay and slow build ups (to me anyways). These guys don't waste time on their songs, getting to the good parts immediately and then pushing them all the way into explosive crescendos at just the right moments. God, just listening to the first minute of Toy is just so satisfying. Ah... okay. I'll stop now. Sanctify is more laid back and pretty Toe-ish, but so, so good. These guys just really know how to craft some great songs.

These are their first two singles and they're free to download, so go ahead and grab them! Here's a trailer for both:

1. Sanctify
2. Toy

Monday, August 20, 2012

Debase and Degrade - To Err is Human [2003]

Debase and Degrade were a short-lived band from Tokyo, most notably known for Hirotatsu (from 3cmtour, Killie) playing drums. Besides their band connections, Debase and Degrade play emotional hardcore with some subtle hints of those Japanese screamo melodies. 5 songs here, and they're all pretty good. And... that's about it. Enjoy!

1. 汝
2. September
3. Beginning Is The End. The End Is The Beginning
4. Good-Bye
5. Untitled

Friday, August 17, 2012

[Bandcamp] Boyish - The Hidden Secrets EP [2012]

80's nostalgia is more and more prevalent everyday. I'm not sure if its passe yet, but as an 80's child, all of this stuff really resonates with me. Boyish is the latest 80's-ish indie pop project out of Japan. Hmm... surprise surprise, here's another genre that I know little to nothing about. Really, I can't even tell you comparisons, because I simply don't know who else sounds like this. What I can say is there is synth, tape-hiss, slightly-out-of-tune and flanging guitars, and chill, quiet singing. Overall, it's really nice and relaxingly nostalgic. Check this out if it sounds like something you'd be into! Free download, too.

1. The Hidden Secrets
2. Quarrel
3. Crazy For You

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Bandcamp] Nature Sounds Society Japan - Sound Travel [2011]

Yeah... this is a weird one. It's not really music, it's really just well recorded environments in different places in Japan. It's not weird in the sense that this stuff doesn't exist all over the place, it's just weird for me to post something like this. Each song title describes where & what is going on in the track. This particular album I have here has a lot of different locations, all of which are really chill. There's free downloads for this and other albums on their bandcamp, so go grab some good sounds to sleep to!

1. #2 Birds, Forest Reverb 
2. #4 Birds, Early Morning 
3. #1 Thunder and Hailstone 
4. #3 Small Stream 
5. #5 Stream and Bird
6. #6 Blue-and-white Flycatcher
7. #7 Gentle Ocean Waves
8. #8 Higurashi, Summer in Japan
9. #9 Rain, Totoro Forest
10. #10 Beach and Motorbike
11. Sound Portrait Sampler Vol.1

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[Bandcamp] Carpool - Golden Summer [2012]

Carpool is just a crapton of fun. In a way, it's a shame this was uploaded to bandcamp at the tail end of our summer (it was technically released in January 2012, and Aussies will be able to enjoy this for their summer). There are all sorts of influences involved, like The Anniversary, The Rentals, The Get-Up Kids, and probably some newer stuff (I'm old school, yo), but what matters the most is just the sense of fun involved. There seems to be two main vocalists (male & female), but there's a chorus of other people adding in their own singing, hollering, and yelling in the background, creating a general sound of everybody hanging out and singing together.

Anyways, just watch this video. These kids are awesome and you should get this album:

01. xxxx 
03. ロックンロール 
04. だけ 
05. しあわせになろう 
06. とびっきり 
07. 僕はヒッピー 
08. メン募 
09. あいさつ 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

[Bandcamp] Glow And The Forest - Self-Titled [2010]

Glow and the Forest are three non-Japanese guys who've been living in Japan for a long time and met together to make music. This album was released awhile back, but I just found it on Bandcamp. They seem to be super busy on Soundcloud, though, and lots of people are into them. I don't know if I have the right background to explain what they sound like. It's pretty laid back music, with whimsical singing and lyrics, and very atmospheric sounds on the instruments. I guess you could say its similar to a more organic Pinback, where Pinback sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom and this sounds like it was recorded in a church. Throughout the album their sound changes from delightful, storybook like songs (like Fat Monk), to darker, spookier tracks (like Dust Bunny), almost like the listener is walking down the path illustrated on the cover of this album, descending into the depths of the forest.

Here's a pretty good video from this year. The guy's voice is just as perfect live, which is pretty amazing. Check this out!

1. Fat Monk
2. Don't Know What I Sold You
3. Dust Bunny
4. Pop Song
5. Crows In Tokyo
6. I'm Not Yours
7. Prelude
8. Diamonds Slicing Hearts
9. Weefee

Monday, August 13, 2012

[Bandcamp] Float down the Liffey - sunnydays e.p. [2012]

I guess we'll start this week off strong. Float down the Liffey was a random find, as most were that I'll be posting this week, but they resonate so strongly with me and fit right into what I love. Their music is a perfect mix between ultra-noisy shoegaze (ala Asobi Seksu), Japanese emotional rock (think Bump of Chicken, Galileo Galilei), and Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins. Each song starts out noisy or rocking, but eventually all of these disparate ideas meld into a huge, world-shattering conclusion strong enough to hold each song up on its own.  The worse part about this is that there's only 4 songs, the first being more an intro than a real song, though. Each song is monumental in its own right, but I could listen to this all day so a few more songs wouldn't be a bad thing. They do have an earlier EP available on their bandcamp as well, and it's pretty fucking great too.

It's pretty sad to see these guys shows where there's almost no one there. I can understand, because they're sort of in this grey area where their music is perfectly accessible to a wide audience, but there's no major label marketing machine behind them to get them out there. With music as solid as they have, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they're picked up. I could easily see them fitting on a mid-level label like Zankyo or whoever released downy's stuff. Check this out:

1. fade to blue
2. white blur
3. sunnydays
4. argyi

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Schedule for Week of 8/12/12

Normally the stuff I post on here is pretty specific to a certain underground scene in Japan. Most of the bands are friends, or at least know of each other well. But, there's a lot more to Japan than just the scene I post (I know that's obvious, but it's a great transition sentence). I don't only listen to the stuff I post, also. I have total soft spots for emotional rock like Bump of Chicken or Applicat Spectra, folk rock (I just made up this genre classification) like Off Course and Magokoro Brothers, and visual metal like X Japan and Versailles. Needless to say, I like different things.
When I'm perusing Bandcamp for new hardcore or screamo acts, I come across things that don't exactly fit into what this blog does normally, but is still really good. So I thought I'd take a week and write about some of those things that I've come across and give you guys a break from all the screaming and crying.
Anyways, here's the line-up for this week. Hopefully you'll find something you like!

Monday - Float down the Liffey - shoegaze emo rock
Tuesday - Glow And The Forest - foreigners in Japan doing low-fi indie rock
Wednesday - Carpool - democratic, party synth-emo punk
Thursday - Nature Sounds Society Japan - just captured sounds from all over Japan. enchanting!
Friday - Boyish - new wave-ish indie pop

Friday, August 10, 2012

VA - Kuruisake Meets Revolution [2004]

Jukeboxxx Records started out as a primarily thrash label. The preeminent label from Nagoya release a lot of Nice View's early recordings, as well as several critical Japanese thrash compilations. This is one of them, and it's pretty dang good. There's a pretty good mix of thrash/hardcore bands that cover a wide swath of different styles.

The standout on this compilation is the first track, from Turtle Island. I saw them in Kyoto in 2002 on a bill with Naiad and The Futures. I had no clue what I was in for, but after setting up kodo drums, flutes, and even a sitar, they totally blew me away. I've never been a fan of "tribal" punk. It usually ends up pretty boring and hokey. Kind of like a drum circle gone awry. But Turtle Island is super tight, and all of their wild instrumentation packs the energy and excitement of punk and hardcore. The entire band is just so into the music and the songs are so well written, you can't help but get into it. I was instantly smitten. Since that time, they've even added the amazing George, from Bluebeard/Naht fame, on guitar. Not sure how he fits, but that's pretty interesting. To taste what Turtle Island is doing, here's a live video from 2008. So amazing:

1. Turtle Island - どろろ
2. 枯梗 - 歌ってほしいあがる歌
3. Beryneck - ジプシーガール
4. TA-KEN & GoodbanD - VICTORY
5. Cause - Gari Gari
6. Strong Style - 朝日なき夜明け
7. Qua - キラキラ
8. Echo - I Say

Thursday, August 9, 2012

[Bandcamp] Role - Demo 2012 [2012]

I have nothing at all against drum machines. That's not to say I've always been into them, but between Anaal Nathrakh and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, I've succumbed to the allure of infinitely fast blast beats that technology makes possible. If you're not a fan of them, though, you might not be into Role. Role plays an epic screamo/hardcore/post-rock hybrid not unlike Heaven in Her Arms with a dash of Nervous Light of Sunday, backed up by well-programmed synthetic drums. You can't really tell except for small parts here and there. Everything together, though, and there is zero cause for complaint. They pull of some great melodies and some emotional moments despite the backing of a computer. Seriously, these guys sound great.

You've got two songs here for free download. Pick them up if you're a fan of Heaven In Her Arms, Envy, To Overflow Evidence, or Nervous Light of Sunday. These guys are definitely a band to watch!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

VA - Nameless Flames [2003]

I can't remember where this came from. Maybe I bought it in Japan? This compilation has a very eclectic mix of bands, from wild thrash to dreamy shoegaze. Some of the "bigger" names on this comp are Deep Slauter, who toured the States in 2007, and Snore, who are similar to Deep Slauter. Crap, there's just a lot of different stuff on here. I don't have much inside knowledge into this comp, so just give it a try.

Here's some Deep Slauter:

1. Deep Slauter - Peeping
2. Deep Slauter - A Full Stop
3. Fakestarfakes - Can I Close My Eyes To Sweet
4. Fakestarfakes - God Stays
5. ExVxS - New Word
6. ExVxS - Nauseating Sight
7. Slick - After The Deep Grief
8. Slick - Leave Tracks
9. Remainasit - 見つからない
10. Remainasit - Byeture
11. BxQx Idol - DxMxNxG
12. BxQx Idol - 有象無象
13. BxQx Idol - インチキジャスティス
14. BxQx Idol - ExLxD
15. Guernica - Kings
16. Chavo - Meaning
17. Chavo - Fuck All
18. Chavo - I Was At A Loss For Words
19. Weatherroll - Asayake Meets My Cartain
20. Zillion - 断
21. Zillion - 研ぐのは誰か、使うは我か
22. Zillion - 散乱の中心
23. Zillion - 人人人
24. Snore - 空白
25. Snore - 美しい物に心を蓴われてそこに在る哀しみに耳を傾けようともしない

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

[Bandcamp] The Last Place - Demo 2012 [2012]

The Last Place are an emotional hardcore band from Saitama. They just dropped a new demo for 2012 on bandcamp and it's pretty dang good. Let me explain what I mean by emotional hardcore though, cause that means a lot of different things to different people. These guys take a line from Endzweck and Nervous Light of Sunday. Maybe melodic metalcore is a better description? Ah, who cares; it's really good. There are two songs here, as well as 3 songs from their 2011 demo. Really good tracks with good melodies. Did I mention the free download?

I could only find one video on youtube, which is pretty unfortunate because it has HORRIBLE live sound. It's drums and vocals and nothing else, and these guys melodies are one of the best things about this music. Just listen to the bandcamp while you watch this video on mute. That might be the best thing.

1. A Serene Sky
2. Confidence

Monday, August 6, 2012

VA - Surplus Suppression 3 Compilation [2003]

Here's an odd little compilation that I got from Nitro Mega Prayer when I did a trade with them. It's a weird amalgam of metalcore bands, with Nitro Mega Prayer and Enforce thrown in the mix. At the time, both bands weren't too far from that genre, but still sound different. The Nitro Mega Prayer tracks are sort of between their first split and their first album. The Enforce track is my highlight on here, though. They only released 3 tracks that I know of, on compilations, but they prove themselves as one of the best bands from Japan.

If anybody has any information on Enforce, please let me know!

1. Optimistic Hedge Hog - 欲望
2. Optimistic Hedge Hog - 扉の先
3. Jabberwock - One Step
4. Jabberwock - Fat Man
5. Enforce - 開放
6. Nitro Mega Prayer - 鏡
7. Nitro Mega Prayer - 8秒の沈黙
8. Lost Eden - Seven Cardinal Sins

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fragments - Let It Go [2006]

Fragments is sort of a super-group, but not what you would expect from any of the members. Spalding, from Minoritybluesband, fronts the band on guitar and vocals. Aki, from Forgetmenot, Off-End, Conception, Impulse Records, plays drums. Both of those guys are playing slightly different styles, but for Fragments they don't really meet in the middle. Instead they play folk-ish indie rock that reminds me of a less country Chamberlain. This is really, really laid back stuff; it has a definite calming effect.

They released a full album on Impulse Records, but have since quit playing. Spalding is in What-A-Nights now, and Aki continues to play in one thousand bands (exaggerating). Check this out for something a little different from some scene legends!

1. Undecided
2. Motherly Sea
3. Some Jingle Jangle Morning (Originally By Mary Lou Lord)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Butch - Break It Make It [2000]

Butch is a weird nut to crack. This is their second output on Imomushi Records. It's sort of a mix between post-hardcore and... grunge? They played in the same scene as 1000travels of Jawaharlal, whose singer contributes some vocals to one of these songs, but doesn't quite match stylistically. They released an EP after this, Green, which I also have and it is really amazing. This EP is just a little weird. There are some great tracks on here, but also some tracks that kind of confuse me. Anyways, the main guy went on to be in Strange Over the Sun. Check this out for nostalgia sake, or you may totally dig it. I'll post Green soon, cause that EP is great.

I couldn't find any videos thanks to their ungoogleable name...

1. ドライヴ職人
2. MoMoGaNa
3. Farewell Circle
4. ゆうえんち
5. Pioneer under the Sun
6. インドシナ
7. Mass of Majority