Thursday, May 31, 2012

[Podcast] 100th Post Celebration

Yes, that is a Perfume poster.
Whoo yeah! Post number one hundred! I'm pretty excited, guys, cause I've never done 100 of anything (especially not push-ups), so this is something special. Just want to say thanks to everybody checking out the blog, retweeting my stuff on Twitter, and writing about the blog. It all means so much to me. I'll try to keep this going as long as I can (as you can see above, I'm old as fuck and will probably keel over any second now).

So what is this? It's a podcast. Not too long, just 6 songs and some rambling by me. Hopefully you'll find some new bands on here that you'll go search out and buy their stuff, cause these bands are more current than the usual old fogey stuff I post. This one is mostly screamo stuff, so if you follow this blog you will probably like at least ONE thing on here, if not everything.

Anyways, here's the tracklist. Enjoy the podcast. Please leave feedback!!

1. The Cops Are Inside Us - Price Of Tomorrow
2. High Tension Sex Girl - 共生虫
3. The Urban Department of Monotone - 憂き夜
4. The World Was Lost - omoimeguru
5. Zdzis Law - Compass
6. Ricolt - もう会うこともなく

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Killie - Resurrection DVD [2008]

It's always fun to find new things when scanning these releases in. This DVD is a perfect example. Yoshi sent a handful of these DVD's with a trade we did, and I always that it was just a plain, black sleeve. But once I scanned it in and started finagling with the contrast, I found a secret. There's a little hammer on the sleeve! You can kind of see it on the picture above. I was always confused that a band like Killie, who always puts so much into their packaging, would have just a plain black sleeve for anything. So, this little hammer was a pleasant surprise.

We have a DVD here with a single song (called Resurrection in English, but the Japanese title is more aptly translated as "Christ is resurrected"). The production quality is really amazing and the sound quality of them playing live is good enough to listen to. The song is good, their performance is awesome. All around it's a win-win. The question is, why didn't you buy one of these when I was selling them for one-frickin'-dollar in my distro? It seriously took a few months to get rid of these, even though I was practically giving them away.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

[Interview] Killie - July 2007

5 years ago, the zine Give Me Back was just starting up, and Killie was preparing to release their After All... LP on the world. I conducted an interview to submit to the zine with Yoshi, who translated for the other guys in the band. What followed can be generally labeled as a clusterfuck. I rushed the interview to make the deadline for the zine, they decided not to publish it, I got really pissed. Yoshi and the other members were upset, but seemed to take it in stride. I, however, was caught in the middle, feeling like it was my fault and trying to deal with both sides. It really sucked. Killie's response to the debacle can be read here: I thought it might be fitting to just publish the email exchange, though. It was a pretty rough time for me, as I'd just come back from touring Europe with Cease Upon the Capitol, and was trying to figure out what to do with my life. Looking back, I wonder if I could've handled it differently, asked different questions, pushed a bit harder. Either way, it's in the past now, and all I have are these memories. I'm throwing in a jump break, cause this thing is really long. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Killie - 契約解除 [2007]

First, I have to apologize. This release was really hard to get a good picture of. A combination of my scanner destroying colors and the three-dimensional nature of the release itself. But, I tried.

This is a CD single thingie that Killie released in 2007. They made 100. Yoshi was nice enough to stuff one in a package when we did a trade. There's only one song on it, but some noise fills up the rest of the CD. The actual CD itself was also made available without the nice fabric packaging. I have one of those, but I'm not quite sure how they gave that out to people. Then there's the insert, which is a form of some sort. I didn't bother to translate it to figure out what it is, so I'll let somebody else do that. Or you could just use your imagination. I think it's a form to get a license to sell ice cream.

Anyways, I'll be posting Killie stuff all this week, except for Thursday, which will be something special. Enjoy!

Here's one of the first videos I saw of Killie. That's Yuichi from Gauge Means Nothing in the corner:

1. 契約解除

Friday, May 25, 2012

VA - Here Comes The Bottom Line... Vol. 3 [2008]

And so the week ends with Volume 3. This actually isn't the last of the compilation series, but I don't have Vol. 4, so that'll be it for this anyways. I really hope Aki continues with this series, as there isn't really any other compilations in Japan collecting this stuff.

As with the others, this one has a different style than the one's before. This one is mainly emo and screamo bands. Some of the stand outs are Bed, What Ever Film, and The Sunset Boulevard, although almost every track is really good.

I still have a copy of this in my distro, so pick it up if you like the tracks: Buy it Here!

1. Herpiano - I Wonder
2. Piece Pix - 真夜中の歌
3. Bed - 70000000000人間
4. TG.Atlas - 神or魔神
5. What Ever Film - イツワリ
6. The Sunset Boulevard - Return From Ruin
7. Nenem - 三階裏からの追憶
8. Curve - Rather Forgiven
9. Malegoat - Expression
10. Fragments - Such Days
11. Mod Lung - 昨日みた夢
12. Sheba - Rainbow On You

Thursday, May 24, 2012

KiLLi - Obituary to a Mystery

So, there's this band called KiLLi. Yes, the name is only one letter away from another band you may know, Killie, but they're not related. This band was from Yokohama, and sadly they've only left remnants of themselves strewn across the internet. They've peaked my interest enough, with their classic Japanese screamo sound, that I think they warrant a post on here.
All the time,nobody understanding. 
Thanks to everyone who support our movement.
 This message, posted on their website as they announced their break up, is some sort of sad goodbye. 'No one gets us, so we're giving up' it says in so many words. That seems to be the fate of so many bands playing music true to their heart, doing something that might not fit the current trend in music culture.

But who was KiLLi? Here's what I know (just the facts, ma'am). They broke up in 2006. They released a CD with 4 songs called A GIFT FROM INSOMNIAC which is sold out, a tape with 2 songs, and a split CD with Wet the Bed, with the two songs embedded below. The members from the band went on to play in ANTI-WRECKERS, Reach Up To The Universe, Sequence Pulse, 氷水. They were active in Yokohama. They split up because their Bassist was going to stop playing music.

Let's be honest. Leaving two songs on a purevolume is a harsh tease. Listening to them, the sound is a melding of 2000-era Japanese screamo and forward-thinking rock. If this band had more exposure, they could easily be really successful. Instead, they disappeared into obscurity. I tweeted awhile back, asking if anybody had any information, but never got any leads. So, I'm writing this. Maybe someone will respond, or maybe this will end up being the band's late obituary.  Either way, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out.



Toshihiro Chiba(Gu)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

VA - Here Comes The Bottom Line... Vol. 2 [2006]

Ah, number two. This was some time after the first (around two years) and had a different focus than the previous one. Although the theme of Impulse Records' Here Comes the Bottom Line... seems to really just be about getting great Japanese bands together, each one seems to have a stylistic focus too. The first was a sort of melodic hardcore/screamo/emo mash-up. This one is more about noisy bands and emo bands. You've got the expansive and sneaky Bright and Dark Side next to the wild and chaotic Fountain of Rich Aroma. There's even a solid noise track with 斜陽 (sorry, won't bother translating it). The tying thread, like the first, is that this is the Japanese underground. Aki doesn't collect every band in this series. He would be almost to the hundreds by now. What he does try to capture is the spirit, the ethics of what makes the underground unique. Sometimes its just personal. Most, if not all of these bands have played shows with all the others. They probably know most of the members by name. Styles aside, this is a cohesive scene. And maybe that's the theme of each, he looks at one scene. I'm not sure if many of these bands have played shows with Mule or Minoritybluesband, from the first compilation, so maybe that's it. 

I can see this as also a sort of level setting, to define what makes these bands different. As an outsider to Japan, I don't normally play the scene card. I tend to evaluate bands based purely on their sound, not caring who they play with or what label they're on. And not that those things matter, necessarily, but I think they're indicative of the character and ethics of said band. There's a specific scenario that outlines this point perfectly. Zankyo Records is a slightly prolific label in Japan that releases music in the emo, and sometimes screamo, genres. If you listened to folio and, say, 3nd or The Cabs, you can see a lot of similarities. But, those bands would rarely, if ever, play together in Japan. The reason being, I can only ascertain from what I can see, is that folio is an indie or DIY band, and The Cabs are hoping to "make it big." After the success of 9mm Parabellum Bullet, who were on Zankyo before signing to Sony, it seems that becoming popular while playing indie music with screaming is a real possibility. This is really about the sound of music separated from the reasons that sound was developed. In some ways, that is also the problem with the internet spreading DIY music. Most of the time only the music is communicated, separated from the context that music was created in.

So, these compilations, while not explicitly communicating a message in their packaging, are about the DIY culture and what it means. If so, then it's really some sort of allegorical biography of Aki himself, because the dude embodies what is great about this culture. Playing in about 10 bands, being a focal point and supporter of the DIY scene. His most recent Impulse Fest is a perfect example of his commitment to the scene outside of a specific genre. Do yourself a favor and get into Impulse Records.

This compilation is still available a few places, but hey(!), you can pick it up in the States from me, so DO IT! 
And listen at the link below.

For comparison. Folio:

and The Cabs:

1. Shoutmoskva - Missing? or Nothing?
2. Fountain of Rich Aroma - A View
3. Bright And Dark Side - Mirror
4. Same Place Empty - Consciousness That Was Let Loose
5. Paluka - 荒唐無稽
6. デラシネ - Business For Your Music 10,000,000
7. 斜陽 - 無題
8. Alan Smithee - Stalker
9. 33/45 - 連鎖、共鳴シ続ケル鐘
10. Test Mustard Disco - Irresponsibility
11. R3-N7 - クソッタレ

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Soundcloud] Union of Snakes - Vol. 2.5 [2012]

I always whine about the availability of Japanese stuffs on the internet. Bandcamp is so good, every band should have a Bandcamp and put their songs up there. Maybe someday Bandcamp will roll out a Japanese language interface and bands will flock to it like they eventually did with Myspace. See, EVERY Japanese band has a Myspace now, whereas this was almost unheard of back in 2002. So, hopefully times are a-changing. In the meantime, however, there are a few stand-outs that are taking advantage of what the internet has to offer.

Enter Union of Snakes. Before I talk about the music, let's marvel at the forward-thinking tech-saviness this band is displaying. Their site is on Tumblr. They post their demos on SoundCloud. And they also post their demos for download on Mediafire. I love these guys! You had me at hello...

With all their tech cred, it's even better that these guys make great music. Each Volume has its own sound, but I've listened to Volume 2 the most. It feels heavily influenced by that late 90's San Diego screamo sound, which was brought to Japan and expanded upon by greats like The Carnival of Dark-Split and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Union of Snakes plays it good and close to that sound, sounding more like something 10 years ago than today. But that is good! They play the sound uniquely, with more modern sensibilities (less Unbroken influence, I mean), and do it so well. It's just got this great, dark, brooding sound with shouted and sung vocals. I can't vouch for the other two volumes, but Volume 2 is definitely worth picking up. They just released Vol. 2.5 a few weeks ago, so it looks like I've got some jams to listen to.

A vid of one of my favorite songs from them:

Below are the mediafire links to download the stuff and the SoundCloud embeds. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

VA - Here Comes The Bottom Line... Vol. 1 [2004]

Back in 2005, Impulse Records was an upstart label coming out of Shikoku, Japan. I'm not sure who sent the first email, but I think I contacted Aki to get copies of their first compilation (this one) and the Forgetmenot 3 songs EP. This was at a time when most of the bands I'd been friends with were slowing down or breaking up all together. I was busy with Cease Upon the Capitol and not paying so much attention to what was going on in Japan. So when I got the stuff from Impulse, I was blown away by all of these newer bands that were amazing. Forgetmenot was an instant favorite, for sure, but this compilation took time to grow on me. I appreciate it now more than I did then, mostly because of changing tastes.

This is sold out everywhere, but I found a copy at MNM Distro. So, buy it here:

Here's a music video from one of Mule's later albums:

1. Mule - 12
2. Butch - The Day
3. Driftage - Issues Persecute Us
4. Infro - 足跡
5. Infro - 独り
6. The Oxide - Bombed Like This Stereo
7. Hush Puppy - Still
8. Minority Blues Band - Stone Won't Roll
9. Forgetmenot - 理想も忘れて
10. Halka Goat - 光の日々へ

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fugüe / Overmars - Our Dreams Walking Their Way Chapter 3 [2003]

Not a lot of info exists on Fugüe. Even when this release was announced, I was kind of confused by the pick. You're doing a series, and your first two bands are envy and TIALTNGO. Who should you have on the next one? My picks would be nine days wonder, bluebeard, kulara, maybe black film dance or end all. But Fugüe? Who the fuck are they? I knew Overmars, and dug their debut album, but the Japanese pick on this was confusing.

On getting the release and listening, Fugüe is pretty good. They play a really noisy, stoner metal variant that fits nicely with Overmars' own epic doom. The bands are a surprisingly good match, and if the whole point of the series was to do something like: hardcore, emo, stoner doom, then I guess the whole thing makes sense. Still, I wish the series would've included the 1000travels/Aghast split that came out the next year. It would've been that cherry on top.

No videos I could find of Fugue. Here's one of Overmars. Have a good weekend!

1. Overmars - I Take Degenerating Materials For My Knowledge
2. Overmars - Instrumental
3. Overmars - La Nuit Des Masques Et La Systématique De Ses Lendemains
4. Fugüe - Into The Soul
5. Fugüe - MISTRAL
6. Fugüe - Real Love
7. Fugüe - TRUTH

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The First (and Only) I've Come For Your Children Podcast [2006]

Gauge Means Nothing... and me in a pink bandana
I used to do a label called I've Come For Your Children, which I might've mentioned. It started in late 2003 with the release of Gauge Means Nothing's LP, The Absent Trail..., and culminated with a final spat of releases towards the end of 2007, when I went completely broke and decided to pack it up. The whole point of the label in the beginning was to put out Japanese music, but I ended up getting really distracted and started putting out bands from other countries instead, which was kind of lame. But, before I went off the deep end, I had some grand plans for how Japanese screamo would take over the world. This podcast was part of that world domination plan.

Unfortunately, it didn't go as planned (Obviously. Is Higu the POTUS? Has Testu ascended to Emperor of Japan?), and what we're left with is a weird little podcast that only happened once. My friend Roy, who also helped out with ICFYC, co-hosted it with me. This was something like 2004 or 2005. I totally embarrass myself on here, but it's such a nice little piece of personal history that I can't help but post it up here for your enjoyment.

It's not too long, and you might have already heard all the songs, but it's a dang good mix if I do say so myself. We mention some releases we'd planned to release, but unfortunately never came out, like an American version of the Doors split (with Revival Sleep, Folio, Sora, and Forgetmenot) and the 3cm tour collection (which was released by Salvation). Both were due out at the end of the label's life and I sadly had to cancel them. Still wish I would've had my stuff together enough to release those. But, the past is the past. Learn from your mistakes, right?

So! Enjoy. Here's an early vid of Killie, cause why not:

1. Dip Leg
2. 3cm Tour
3. Sora
4. Bright and Dark Side
5. The Black Line Fever
6. Killie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

There is a Light That Never Goes Out / Vanilla - Our Dreams Walking Their Way Chapter 2 [2002]

Chapter 2, better than the first? It's hard to beat envy (for me), but these TIALTNGO songs are the best in their short history. They just perfected the sound they were going for at the last moment, it's a shame that they didn't keep going. What's disappointing is the Vanilla tracks. Their debut album on Salvation was quite good, but these songs are boring and fail to impress.

My only story of TIALTNGO is a sad one that goes with the Kulara one. I was at an envy show in Tokyo and sat in the green room, talking to people while both bands played. So pissed at myself, still.

TIALTNGO went on to form Z, who I never cared much for. A better band to reference is their pre-TIALTNGO band, Swipe, who were really good. Gahh.... I don't have anything else to say. Enjoy this shit!

Here's a great video from a reunion show in 2010:

1. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - 枯れる
2. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - 非常事態
3. Vanilla - Body Fever
4. Vanilla - Heartbreak
5. Vanilla - Machine Man

Monday, May 14, 2012

Envy / Iscariote - Our Dreams Walking Their Way Chapter 1 [2002]

This is back when Envy could still be considered underground. Yeah, their shows still sold out all over Japan. Yes, they were sort of big time. But, they weren't on Temporary Residence yet. Not that Temporary Residence is a major label, but they're definitely bigger than HG Fact (not better, tho). These songs were after All the Footprints..., but were still better than anything on A Dead Sinking Story.

The release was sort of to commemorate the Japanese split tour of Envy and Iscariote in 2002, but they also toured together in Europe in 2001. Iscariote featured Fafa on vocals, the proprietor of Molaire Industries aka. Waiting For An Angel (they released a ton of fine Japanese stuff including Envy's first exposure outside of Japan). I was actually at the last show on that tour in 2002 at Shinjuku Anti-Knock. I didn't know any of the guys at the time, but I'd later develop a friendship with Fafa through label business.

The Our Dreams Walking Their Way series is basically about Japanese and French bands splitting a release. The conceptual art is done by Nicotcha, and every release has a color theme and is gorgeous. It's funny that I carried all of these releases in my distro and could barely sell them, but now they are almost collector's items. Ah... how times change.

Here's a video I shot of Envy at their show together. And then a random one from Iscariote:

1. Iscariote - Soleil Thahi
2. Iscariote - Moonbeam and the Dark
3. Iscariote - Auto-Pilote
4. Envy - Invisible Understanding
5. Envy - chancun de tes pas

Schedule for Week of 5/13/12

I hope you appreciate the amount of Photoshopping I had to do to get these releases on here. When inserts are something like 15" x 26" (guessing here), they don't fit very well on a Letter sized scanner, so much scanning and rearranging has to take place. I think I did a decent job, but everything is definitely in here and legible.

Oh, what am I talking about? Well, this weekend I took some time to scan in all three chapters of the "Our Dreams Walking Their Way" series released by French label, Waiting For An Angel. They were released between 2002 and 2003, and featured huge poster-sized inserts in folding cardboard sleeves. All the artwork was done by Nicotcha, and it is fabulous. The posters in each, the art-only side, are digital files that Nicotcha sent to me years ago, so they look lots better than the scans. And that's not even mentioning the bands, most of whom don't need an introduction.

What I was always curious of is why the 1000travels of Jawaharlal / Aghast split CD wasn't made a part of this series. It was released pretty close to when these were being released, but came out in a normal jewel case. It could've come down to cost constraints, or possibly that the series was only planned for 3 releases. It's too bad, because that split would've made a great addition to the rest.

Monday - Envy / Iscariote Split
     - Japanese legend vs. French/Swiss stoner metal
Tuesday - [Youtube] Mynameis...
     - I thought they didn't exist, but here are all the mynameis... vids I could find on youtube.
Wednesday - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out / Vanilla Split
     - Japanese legend vs. French indie rock
Thursday - The First I've Come For Your Children Podcast
     - Roy and I made one of these in the heyday of the label.
Friday - Fugüe / Overmars Split
     - Japanese stoner vs. French doom

Friday, May 11, 2012

After Forever / 3cm Tour split [2004]

After the 3cm Tour show I attended in 2003, I was headed back to Bomber's apartment (drummer from Gauge Means Nothing who I was staying with). I was chatting with 3cm Tour as we walked to the train station. One of their friends was from the band Anthropic Disease, and passed me one of their CDs. It was super late and my destination was on the other side of Tokyo, so Hirotatsu invited me to hang out at his apartment until the trains started running. We hung out, listened to records, talked about various things. He mentioned that they would be releasing a split CD with After Forever some time the following year. I was super into both bands, so I asked if I could release it in America and he agreed.

Months later, I'm back in the States, back in college, and I have no money. I'm trying to put out the Dip Leg CD, and end up have to put it all on a credit card. Discussions around the release of this CD in America break down and eventually the project is cancelled. Ah... I still regret it now.

These are two bands at their prime, two of the best Japanese bands there ever were. After Forever keeps doing their vicious, metallic screamo thing, and 3cm tour keeps doing their pensive, screamy emo thing. You've probably already heard these tracks, or at least heard the bands, so you'll know what to expect.

Also, Ryuzaki-san (from Bright and Dark Side) did the art for this, and it is so amazingly good. This might have been one of the last things he designed, but if it isn't, it's the latest that I own. So, so good.

1. After Forever - A Scar Motivated
2. After Forever - Depressed Days
3. 3cm Tour - 桜散る
4. 3cm Tour - どかない女

Thursday, May 10, 2012

[Interview] The Black Line Fever [2012]

If you're unfamiliar with The Black Line Fever, check out my other posts (demo & self-titled) where I've talked extensively about how amazing this band was. I caught up with Jordan and we did a quite long chat interview, talking about the band and other things. It was super fun to do this, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Ryan: Go ahead and give me a history of the band, as detailed as you like.
Jordan: OK well soon after moving to Tokyo in around 2002 I think I bought a guitar with the plan of starting a band, wrote a bunch of songs in a week. 
Met up with Paul Ford the bass player through an ad in a foreign magazine in Japan. Advertisement quoted bands like Uranus and One-Eyed God Prophecy, so my eyes lit up...
So from there we met up, got on like a house on fire, started hitting studios writing and structuring songs etc, and started looking for drummers...
I kid you not, we tried out about 8 guys, foreign and Japanese, met some pretty funny characters along the way. But when we met Tim we knew straight away he was the dude. He was kind of cocky, he said something along the lines of being able to blow all the guys out of the water...And he did, first practice he nailed everything 20x times better and harder than we had ever imagined.
OK so at that point we had a band, but no vocalist. So we started looking around, and we tried a bunch of dudes. But we met this crazy kid Yasu (RIP) at a Converge concert. He was running around acting all crazy and genuinely had an amazing spark about him. So we got him in, and he started, first jam he was soooo loud his screams were amazing. We all knew we had found the guy.
At around that point the songs were taking form and we were getting ready to play live I guess. Along the way a guy called Ben from Australia who I met at a show joined as the second guitarist to carry the riffs through. As well as that he was also doing vox as a shouty singy type thing which balanced out the crazy screams from Yasu. 
So we were ready to play, but had no idea on how to get a show. At one practice in meguro mod studio where we used to jam, by pure chance in the studio next to us was a bunch of bands playing a small shows, Yuichi's band gauge means nothing, and a band called Nervous Light of Sunday. They heard what we were doing from outside the room , and stepped in for a listen. We hit it off then and started talking about live shows. Paul managed to drum up our first show on a very random show in Roppongi, with a bunch of J-pop bands, which was really weird. We got Nervous Light of Sunday to join the bill and we played. Most of the audience was our friends and stuff. It was a great show.
From that show we started playing more with the Japanese hardcore scene. We recorded the first demo. Things were going swell. Then Ben had to leave the band as he was heading back to Australia. Around the same time we played a show with a metal band called cohol, who blew us away. We spoke with Itaru the guitarist after the show and he quickly joined the band. And that lifted the sound immensely.
Things were rolling along pretty swell, but we were having some difficulties with Yasu the vocalist at the time. He was skipping jams, taking heaps of drugs and partying a lot. Which of course I didn't really care about but we found his form slipping a lot.
Paul and I were getting a bit frustrated. We spoke with him a few times about it but nothing really changed, so we started talking to other guys. Around that time we played a show with a band called cleaner, and that was the first time I met Yoshi (killie) who was singing in cleaner at the time. He put on this amazing performance, very emotive, quite powerful and driven. And we hit it off straight away. And he became the vocalist of choice, so that's what happened.
As soon as Yoshi joined the band, he started taking control of booking the shows, networking with other bands etc. He brought a lot to the band, besides the vocals but the networks and connections helped us play bigger shows and get a stronger following.
Soon it was time record again, and we did a tour with cohol to Kansai, which to this day was the funniest trip I have ever been on with a bunch of guys, drunken haze of hardcore of metal. Hilarious the whole time
After the tour we played out in Tokyo, then I moved to Shanghai for a year or so, the band split. I returned then we played a few shows but it was never the same...Yoshi went on to Killie, Itaru was following through with cohol. the band was done.. end hahaha...

Ryan: There's a video on YouTube, not sure the year, that says it was your last show. Was that before or after your trip to Shanghai?
Jordan: Yeah, we split when I went to Shanghai, but we only played two shows when I returned. I think video wasn't the last show. There is some footage I have been meaning to upload.
Ryan: Whoa, I would really love to see that!
Jordan: Yeah I will get on it.
Ryan: It's kind of funny, because the vid on YouTube is completely absent of you. I think you were in the right corner, and the dude never pans over.
Jordan: Yeah, I am like a shadow, haha. That was filmed by the dude from raein, I think...when we toured with them in Tokyo.

Ryan: What happened to Yasu?
Jordan: Yasu passed away in a brutal accident in his house in Ibaraki.
We stayed friends after he wasn't in the band. He was a wild guy, he was kind of dark and played with drugs a fair bit. When I got to Tokyo after Shanghai, and BLF was dead, Paul, Tim, Yasu and I started playing together again. But he was always late and stuff, and it wasn't really working. He got caught by the cops for possession of something and was put in jail for about 3-4 months.
When he got out, he was messing around in Ibaraki one night, found some huge PA speaker on the street, took it back to his parents house. Started playing all this keyboard stuff through them, fell asleep with them still connected to the power. Something short circuited and a fire started, and his room on the second floor caught a light and he was burned to death...
I remember the day it happened. My girlfriend at the time called me at work and told me what she had seen on the news...
Ryan: Man, that's really sad. I'm sorry to hear that.
Jordan: Yeah it was really sad stuff. We were all shook up for a long time. I really loved that guy, he was I guess the first Japanese guy I became friends with. He was a wild guy, and if you talk to anyone about him they will say the same thing. It was like he didn't belong in the skin he held. He was a bit like an alien on earth. I don't mean that in a weird away, he was wired in a different way, though.
We all went to the funeral, and met his family and were shown where he died. 
My girlfriend at the time was a little bit superstitious, I guess, kind of like a gift she had. Not sure if I believe in that kind of stuff. but I remember when we left the house after seeing where he passed away. She said something to me, like he didn't die but the house took him??? Kind of weird, right? But then about a year ago, his father passed away in the house as well. I don't know if that means anything, just strange if you think deep into those type of things. 
So the band had some scars and still does.

Ryan: Were you playing in any bands in Australia before you came over to Japan?
Jordan: Yeah, I had been playing in bands really hard out for about 3 years before I moved to Japan. 1984, Homini Rei, St. Albans Kids, and very short member of Love Like... Electrocution before moving to Japan.
Ryan: Whoa, didn't know you were in St. Albans Kids, too!
Jordan: Yeah, I was the drummer. Pretty shit at it though, haha. Eventually they got a decent guy.
Ryan: Hahaha... You're a jack of all trades, I guess.
Jordan: I dabble, haha.

Ryan: How did you guys decide on the band name?
Jordan: Paul and I were drunk, listening to Motorhead. Know that song "White Line Fever"? Yeah, we were "Black Line Fever." Something like that.
Ryan: Haha... That's it?
Jordan: Yeah, haha.
Ryan: Nice.

Ryan: When you started the band, was there sort of a culture shock since you were used to doing bands in Australia?
Jordan: Yeah for sure. The way shows were put on, the way the crowd reacted to the bands. Even rehearsing, it was all different. Having to book a studio and not rehearse in the garage like back home.
I think the crowd reaction to bands was kind of the biggest culture shock. In Australia, like the States as well, there is a lot of heckling, crowd involvement, that kind of thing. But in Japan the crowd is a lot less loose and more reserved. I guess when we started we thought nobody liked us, because everyone just stood there chin stroking.
Ryan: Were there ever any problems with the language barrier in the band or during shows?
Jordan: Not really, Paul always spoke Japanese. I didn't speak much when I started, so Paul carried the torch there. 

Ryan: What kind of a reception did you get with the band? Do people ever mention it to you these days?
Jordan: At the time I think, people were into. It never really showed that much at the shows initially. As we got momentum, dudes were singing along and stuff. And last shows were amazing. Even now, people still refer to me as Jordan (ex black line fever) which is a bit random. But I have heard from Yoshi and Itaru, that people are kind of more into us now than when we were playing??
There is talk about a reunion show maybe later this year.
Ryan: Whoa, that sounds pretty awesome. I guess you guys were just ahead of your time.
Jordan: Maybe. I never really thought about what we were doing as like that, but I think a lot Japanese kids had never really seen any band like us before.
Ryan: I would say that there weren't any other bands like you guys. Your sound was pretty unique. Not Japanese, but not Australian or American either.
Jordan: Yeah I guess. At the time I was pretty inspired by a lot of bands like JR Ewing etc. Paul and Itaru were the metal dudes and they were pushing that kind of sound. So it kind of all meshed together.

Ryan: Do you remember how many copies of the demo and album you made?
Jordan: The 1st as in the one on your blog. Maybe about 50 copies. I screen printed all of those puppies. Took me for-fucking-ever, stunk out my apartment with paint fumes and glue Pretty pissed off housemates, haha.
The 2nd one. A few hundred, I forget. Yoshi was taking care of that one.
Ryan: Did you do the art for the second one too?
Jordan: Yeah, I put all that stuff together.
Ryan: Cool. For the second release, did you guys want to do a CD-R as opposed to another format like a pressed CD? Or was it just because it was cheaper/easier?
Jordan: Fully cheaper and easier. In retrospect we should have got real CD's, but in the end that record was a bit of a shambles. We spent a fair bit on the recording in studio with this guy, who kind of fucked it up. We got everything down, but ran out of time for mixing. So we took the data and got a friend to mix it. Not too happy with how it turned out, the first album was way better. We had complete control over the mixing. 

Ryan: What was the purpose or message of the band?
Jordan: Sheesh... Not sure really. I guess for me it was kind of an experiment. I wanted to play and write  music in another country. I think for other people, perhaps the singers, it was about more individual stuff. The feeling we had as a group tho was always kind of like a team of friends, us vs the world, that kind of thing.

Ryan: Where is everybody now? I would assume still in Japan because of the reunion, but what are they doing?
Jordan: Paul recently moved back to Japan, and we have started playing together with the original drummer of cohol in a band called funeral sutra..Tim the drummer moved back to Canada a few years ago, he is working as a video sound guy. Yoshi and Itaru are both in Tokyo, see them every few weeks, have a laugh and a beer, that kind of thing.
Ryan: So, was Tim going to come back for the reunion? Or would you use a different drummer?
Jordan: Probably a different guy.
Ryan: Ah, that's too bad. His drumming was so great.
Jordan: The best guy I have ever played with. So dynamic..

Ryan: So, that's all the questions I had. Do you want to talk a bit about Redskins or Funeral Sutra?
Jordan: Yeah I can give you a brief run down.
Redskins as I mentioned before has a singer now, we are putting together new material for shows and recording. Pretty special band for me; friends who formed the band after the earthquake, I guess, as we were all scared all the music began. Funeral Sutra is a way more black metal thing. I love it, writing a lot of music like that at the moment. Really clicks, we write so fast as we all have pretty heavy schedules. But I am loving both bands. I am playing another band as well, on drums, a band called Glue Bag, which is kind of sludgy angry Australian-style rock stuff..

Ryan: Any last words for all those black line fever fans?!
Jordan: Thanks for enjoying the music I guess. We will keep you all posted if we reunite for shows later in the year. Thanks Ryan

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

3cm tour / Umbra split [2003]

I'm pretty sure I picked up this CD on my trip to Japan in 2003. During that trip, I caught a 3cm tour show at Koiwa EM Seven. It was pretty amazing, and arguably better than any of their recordings. There's just something about their quiet precision in a room with a bunch of other people, like you can hear the collective breath.

I am like so frickin' busy this week, so I don't have much else to write. Sorry! Hope you enjoy.

1. 3cm tour - 涼子は恨んだ
2. 3cm tour - 線路は続くよ
3. umbra - dry gray
4. umbra - it's unlikely, it's unlike me

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[Youtube] Bright And Dark Side live [2003]

Bright and Dark Side, man... these guys are great. I saw them at a New Years Show in 2003. It was on the 6th or 7th floor in this tall building. Supposedly it was a Community Center, it just seemed an odd place. The floor was like a large, open air office with a beautiful view out the windows and cubicles randomly placed around. Before the show we lounged on couches in the area, and I think there was even a kid's playspace somewhere. The show was in a large room with doors separating the hallway to it. At the end of the hallway were double door opening into another space, also being used to have a show. The overall space was weird, but super comfortable and spacious.

I met Ryuzaki (bass) when we stopped by his place before the Malaysia tour. I was with Yuichi (and maybe Ponchi?) and we went to his flat to pick up some patches. He had this small crafty contraption that was a weird screenprinting thing. Using one of his design, he'd screenprinted a pile of patches, and that's what we picked up. I don't remember much about his space except it was really clean and cool looking (kind of like his design). Later, as Gauge Means Nothing traded out members during 2004 and 2005, Kenchan (guitar) would play drums until the band disbanded. I think his only recorded contribution was on GMN's last song.

As for the sound, BADS plays this really percussive, jazzy emo. The songs can get really long (6-10 minutes), but just feel so right at that length that you can't complain. The vocals are no bullshit, screamed and yelled, just like they should be. It's just perfect, it's just right. Most bands have those embarrassing parts that just don't sound right, like they forgot what they were trying to do in the song, but each BADS track is perfectly crafted and everything just flows so smoothly together.

There isn't much in the way of recordings from BADS. I have a split cassette tape and they have one song on the second volume of the "Here Comes the Bottom Line" compilation series from Impulse records (buy it from me here), but that's all that I know of, unfortunately. There's been talk about a full-length or EP coming out from them sometime. It's still listed as a pending release from Endless/Nameless Collective. I hope it sees the light of day eventually, because there are some great songs they've created that deserve a good recording.

Hope you like these videos!

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Doors" - Revival Sleep / Sora / Forget Me Not / Folio split [2006]

I first traded with Impulse Records back in 2005, right when the label was just getting started. That was my first introduction to Forget Me Not and the label. We kept trading, as they kept putting out really amazing stuff. Impulse is located in Shikoku, a place far off the radar from the prominent Tokyo scene, but they were releasing stuff easily as good as anything else going on in Japan.

When Aki told me he was going to release this, I knew it would be gold. I'd played a show with Sora during my month with Gauge Means Nothing and had worn their demo out already. Adding new songs from Forget Me Not, and it didn't even matter if the other two bands were garbage or not.

What I got once I did the trade was one of the nicest splits ever to come out of Japan. Seriously every band on this thing is top notch and each scratch a different itch. Revival Sleep has since disbanded (can't find much info on them), but the other three bands have gone on to have pretty amazing careers so far.

There's not much else to say about this, except that it's marvelous. Do yourself a favor and listen to this, if you haven't already, because you will thank me later. Here's a vid of Forget Me Not:

1. Revival Sleep - SUN
2. Revival Sleep - Short Film
3. Sora - 無色の景色
4. Sora - 小さな手
5. forget me not - 君の顔に映す
6. forget me not - 眼と手と手と眼
7. Folio - One of the Tenderness
8. Folio - Proof

[Screamo Week! V.2.0 ] Schedule for Week of 5/6/2012

I'm not going to spend too long on this schedule post thingy (and damn if I didn't forget to upload an image to this post while I was at home), but wanted to give you a heads up because I'm really excited for this week. It's pretty much screamo week 2.0 (although every week is screamo week for me). I'm posting some great splits, and some totally original content. I'll be uploading a full live set from Bright and Dark Side and an interview I did a few weeks back with Jordan from the Black Line Fever (among other bands). Have fun!

Monday - "Doors" - Revival Sleep / Sora / Forget Me Not / Folio split [2006]
     - One of Impulse Records early releases and an insane collaboration between 4 amazing bands.
Tuesday - [Youtube] Bright And Dark Side live [2003]
     - Smooth, jazzy, screamy, noisy emo from Tokyo. Rumors are that they're going to release a full-length sometime soon.
Wednesday - 3cm tour / Umbra split [2003]
     - 3cm tour's first release (besides a demo) splitting the plastic with some of their best friends.
Thursday - [Interview] The Black Line Fever [2012]
     - I chatted with Jordan about the bands history and what everybody's up to now.
Friday - After Forever / 3cm Tour split [2004]
     - Two insanely great bands destroy music history with a split CD.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Egoist For Men - Demo [2002]

Egoist for Men is a weird group. Their sound is pretty wild. I played a show with them in 2003 while I was playing guitar in Gauge Means Nothing at a Community Center in Tokyo. The singer hooked his vocal mic up to a few effects pedals before the show, and wow, did he use them. It's not as obvious on this demo, but their track on the 'Light Your Way' compilation shows a lot more effects.

I love the artwork for this. It was done by Ryuzaki-san, who also did artwork for the Gauge Means Nothing ep and 3cm tour/After Forever split. His own band, Bright and Dark Side, played that same night at the Community Center.

I'm not sure how to describe this. It's not really screamo, even though they played with a lot of screamo bands. Maybe punk/emo? I don't know, you'll probably just have to listen for yourself.

God, I'm so glad it's Friday.... Have a good weekend!

1. Pearl Wink
2. Testa Di Ali

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Japanese Hardcore Flyers (Corrupted, Shikabane, Real Reggae)

These are bands on the more hardcore/thrash side. I didn't go to any of these shows, but the flyers usually look so cool.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kulara - A Naked Landscape [2000]

I don't always make the best decisions, even though I've gotten better as I've matured. August of 2002, I was in Tokyo in the green room at Shinjuku Anti-Knock talking to Kensuke from Nine Days Wonder. In the main room, Kulara was playing. I'd never heard of them and somehow in my short-circuiting brain, I thought that meant I wouldn't like them/they weren't any good. I peeked out from the room a couple of times to see the vocalist pounding on some bongo drums, but that was it. Yes... I had the chance to see Kulara and instead stared warily at a drunk guy in the corner and chatted with a dude who would ignore my emails thereafter and order me to take his band's live videos off my Youtube channel. I'm a fucking idiot (or was... well, probably still am).

Somehow, when I saw this CD in a record store some time later, I had the foresight to pick it up. Packaging was the first to catch my eye, I'm sure. It's a (fairly) solid piece of cardboard perfectly cut to hold a CD in. It was shrinkwrapped, but I was in awe with how they'd put it together.

Once I got home, I was again surprised by the music. 2 songs, roughly 30 minutes (doing this from memory), but the song structure wasn't post-rock or anything. Kulara takes this chaotic song structure and stretches it over two long 10-15 minute songs. It's amazing. A multitude of instruments, riffs, dynamic structures are spread throughout. I even wrote a paper about this in my college music class (I tried to find it, cause it would be funny to post, but it was garbage anyways). Later I would get the collected CD from Waiting For An Angel, and kind of prefer their early songs better (due to my musical ADHD), but this release is really Kulara's masterpiece. The pinnacle of the structures they were trying to form.

Members went on to be in As Meias, Hununhum, and Z (I think Z, not 100% sure), and honestly none of those bands have matched up to the originality and perfection that was Kulara. Here is one of threepennie's legendary videos of the group:

1. Brown Knife
2. The Belt of Sleep Freeze

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Toe Flyers (plus Nine Days Wonder, Up and Coming)

Haha... I just remembered that I never saw toe while I was in Japan. But, I do have some flyers. 

I think I might've gone to this show. Toe cancelled, I know that, but I might've gone to the show anyways. I remember seeing Up and Coming at some point, so this might've been it. Hmmm....