Monday, December 21, 2009

Lip Cream DVDs

Quite an ambitious undertaking here.  Lip Cream are possibly the definitive Japanese hardcore band.  Formed from the nucleus of the first Comes line up by bassist Minoru and guitarist Naoki, add ex-Dead Cops bassist Jhajha on vocals (after a brief stiny by Baki from Gastunk), and joined after their first two 7"s by G-Zet drummer Pill, the band had no weak points.  Every member could have been the center of any other band, and I've heard people say how much each particular member inspired them to play their own instrument.  The band existed from 83-90 and the members stayed active after the split, with Minoru in Colored Ricemen and playing on records like the early Extinct Government 7" and LP and the Human Arts CD, Naoki had his LOX project, Jhajha resurfaced in the last line up of Judgement, and Pill was in Delta Puree as well as his Ogreish Organism and solo projects.  So to take possibly all the Lip Cream video footage and release it on 9 DVDs over a three month period is quite significant.  One of the interesting characteristics of 80s Japanese hardcore is just how much of it was documented on video.  Lip Cream's two solo videos (the ACC video and "Lip Cream Only") are fairly well known here, but they appeared on compilations and some of this additional footage might even be unreleased until now.  Each DVD is approximately 40 minutes long and has footage from at least two shows.  Is it really necessary to own all 9 DVDs?  I guess that's up to you to decide...  It seems hard to justify, but where do you stop once you start?  The completist side of me says "Go for it," but I'll try to review each DVD to let people make the best decision for themselves.  They are quite expensive (although they're priced comparably to the Japanese list price), but it seems safe to say that these are the only copies that will be imported to the US.  They won't fly off the shelves, but can you risk missing out?  Haha!  I'll try to review each one as well as I can to help you decide.  All video footage is borrowed from drummer Pill's website.

DVD I  "1984 不法集会. Plus"
Scene 1 "1984 December at Rokumeikan" (36 min)
Scene 2 "1985 July at Loft" (5 min)
This video stands out as the only one before the release of the "Kill Ugly Pop" LP, so all the songs are from the first two 7"s and "Kill the IBM" cassette album.  Definitely a different feel as it catches the band and scene as early as 1984.  Its electrifying to watch them open with "Night Rider More Than Fight."  Footage and sound is a bit raw, after all it was 1984, but still perfectly watchable.  From what I can tell, the first set was from a comp with Outo, Gas, Cobra, and Laughin Nose (Live at Rock-May-Kan, Tokyo 12/3/84( as Hardcore Unlawful Assembly, or this may have just been assembled by tape traders.  Clip from the 1984 set.

DVD II "1986 ACC Lip Cream Live!. Plus"
Scene 1 "1986 ACC Lip Cream Live!" (27 min)
Scene 2 "1986 from 'Dynamite Tour'" (14 min)
The ACC video is great, multiple camera and cleaner video and sound.  Very exciting, as the camera in the crowd gets bounced around and they open with "Top Fight".  In the "Dynamite Tour" clip, the footage is a little rawer, but worth it to see them open with the Comes "Shangri La" intro (used on the "Kill Ugly Pop" LP).  Still lots of 7" and tape songs in the sets.  The Dynamite Tour 86 was with WP City Indian.

DVD III "1986 August at Hiroshima. Plus"
Scene 1 "於・見真講堂" (23 min)
Scene 2 "於・ハードコア選抜大会" (19 min)
 The first set is on a very big stage and shot from the back of the room.  The footage is grainy and never really zooms in, but the sound is very good.  To contrast that, the second clip (Live at Chuou University, Tokyo 11/2/86) is shot right on top of the band, with them and about twelve bystanders crammed onto a tiny stage, but the sound is blown out.  The songs are still distinguishable and you get used to it after one or two.  Clip from the first set.

DVD IV "1987 Live in steam. Plus"
Scene 1 "於・鹿鳴館" (26 min)
Scene 2 "於・NEW AGE MUSIC FESTIVAL" (15 min)
These shows mark the release of the "9 Shocking Terror" 12", and there's a subtle shift from the more rocking and anthemic early years to a more aggressive and direct style of hardcore.  Footage and sound for both shows is a bit rough.  Clip from the first show to judge for yourself.  Jhajha has an awesome long sleeve Danzig t shirt with the skulls on the biceps and Plan 9 on the back.

DVD V "1987 August at Hirosima. Plus"
Scene 1 "1987 August at Hirosima" (26 min)
Scene 2 "Egg Plant Live" (14 min)
Similar vibe to DVD IV (all these shows were from 87), but the footage is better quality here, at least midgrade VHS.  Shot from closer up for more detail.  Sound is still rough, but probably better than disk IV.  Its worth mentioning that these DVDs are all really loud!

DVD VI "1988 Hard and Loud Lip Cream. Plus"
Scene 1 "Hard and Loud Lip Cream. Plus" (35 min)
Scene 2 "from 'Rockin'dex88'" (1 min)
Opens with "Close To The Edge" and keeps that vibe throughout, although still hitting some of the early classics.  Good video and sound, shot from the back of the hall but good detail and zoom.  Its a shame the last clip is only a minute long, its great!

The third and final batch of DVDs came out Friday and I should have them in a few weeks.  Disk VII is the classic Lip Cream Only video, Disk VIII is four comp sets from 89, and Disk IX is the final Lip Cream show.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back from Japan update

I got back Monday from a short trip to Japan.  The jet lag is still messing me up, I feel like passing out at 5pm and can be wide awake at 5am.  I think making a trip like this is more difficult in the winter as you don't have much sunlight to help reset your clock.  I brought back as much stuff as I could, but the exchange rate was brutal (I heard a 20 year low), so some of it is unfortunately quite expensive.  The sued stuff is priced off what I paid for it, I haven't researched prices for anything, so if something seems unreasonable, email me and I'll consider offers in some cases.  But on to the good stuff...  I have Slowmotions/Burning Leather vinyl (including a handful of orange ones), but the covers were not printed yet when I left, so I'll put them up for sale when I get them.  The Slowmotions side is great as usual, the first Burning Leather song is a blatant lift of the riff to Motorhead "Keep Us On The Road."  The new DSB 12" is quite a package, gatefold jacket and it comes with a DVD of footage edited together from their European tour.  5 new songs (yes, all new songs!).  I've started going through the Lip Cream DVDs, I'll post more specific information on each as I watch them.  Each one is around 40 minutes.  Disk one has a show from 1984, all the songs are from the 7"s and "Kill The IBM" tape.  One camera that moves around a bit, very cool early footage.  Disk two raises the bar with the ACC video, good quality multi camera shoot, very high energy.  If anyone gets crazy and orders all six, I'll include the promo poster and sticker sheet for free.  The last three in the series should arrive sometime in the next month.  Disk seven is the classic "Lip Cream Only" video, so that's going to be very cool to have.  The Sticks In Throat CD is an older HG Fact release, but its one of my favorites so I picked up the last two copies he had.  Top notch burning sound, featuring Mikio and Naka currently of No Problem (and ex Geshpenst and Paintbox, respectively) and Kazu (ex Order/Slowmotions), one of the most distinctive guitarists in hardcore I can think of.  The new Systematic Death CD lives up to their legacy, I can't think of many other thrash hardcore bands that write such catchy and memorable songs.  This will be on vinyl from Feral Ward in the next couple months.  (I already sold out of the CDs, I'll see about getting more in a few weeks)  All sorts of good stuff in the "used" section.  The first two Paintbox 7"s are perfect records and my favorite songs from them.  The Rocky & The Sweden t shirt is dark grey and has the "League A Rise" design.  I would keep it for mysef but I already have it as a long sleeve.  As usual, new stuff is in orange, email me with your zip code to reserve items and I'll calculate postage.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

v/a Demented Anthem Hardcore Assemblage

A quick Google search for "Demented Anthem Hardcore Assemblage" turns up page after page of download links, so clearly people are excited about this comp, and they should be.  This is the strongest compilation I've heard since 2002's "Tribute to Masami" (which was great, find a copy if you can).  While MRR tried to re-create the spirit of "Welcome to 1984" with the "Public Service" comp, I think this comes much closer to hitting the mark without intentionally trying to remake the past.  The international scope is narrower (sixteen Japanese bands, a couple of Canadians ones, and the rest are American), but the spirit and quality are higher.  There are no throw-away tracks, every band goes for it in their own way, and every one offers something different to check out.  I don't mean to oversell it, but I have been really excited about this ever since it entered planning a year and a half ago, and the results exceeded my expectations.  It has even nudged out "Trip Trance Traveling" to take up residence in my car's CD player.  Here's a track by track review by Dan from Lotus Fucker (although contrary to his opinion, the No Problem song is one of my favorites on the comp).  To bring it back to the intro, I can't imagine downloading this and enjoying it as much as the actual CD.  It has a big booklet with every band getting a full page.  Funny how times have changed, out of 27 bands only two included street addresses!

And now a brief interview with the man behind the Under The Surface label, Souichi of Forward:

Who made the name "Demented Anthem Hardcore Assemblage"?  
Todd Burdette (tragedy,shos, warcry)

Record Shop Base compared it to the famous international comp "Welcome to 1984", what do you think?  The cover reminds me of "My Meats Your Poison".  
It is my honor to hear people compare it to Welcome to 1984 because that comp is kinda legend.

Will it be released on vinyl? 
Now I'm planing to release it on vinyl, i know people want them.

How was the Unit 21 tour?  Did you organize it by yourself?
Yes I did. The tour was amazing.  Those boys are crazy dudes and they play loud. They are my favorite.

What is next for UTS?
The Slowmotions & Burning Leather split 7" check them out!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alliance interview and video

I did a small trade with HG Fact in 2001 for some copies of the 324/Corrupted/Discordance Axis CD, the second Tetsu Arrey CD, and I took a chance on a few copies of a CD by a relatively new band called Assault.  I was blown away right from the start, the opening bass line sounded almost like Youth Of Today, but then the music just exploded when the rest of the band came in.  I remember calling my friend Brad to tell him I had that comp CD he wanted and telling him to bring some extra cash because he was going to want the Assault CD too.  They played Ann Arbor a couple years later when they toured with From Ashes Rise, great show, one of the few held downstairs in the Launch skateboard shop the summer after State Control Records closed.  One of my dogs kept them up late relentlessly trying to lick them, like she did to every band that stayed over.  I seem to luckily run into their guitarist Osamu san every time I'm in Japan.  He recently toured with Paintbox filling in on guitar for the departed Chelsea, and since Assault broke up, he has been doing a band called Alliance who have a mcd coming out on HG Fact sometime soon.  I haven't gotten to see them yet, but here's a clip from Youtube.  We did this interview in a mix of English and Japanese, thanks to Kevin Hunt for translating the parts in parenthesis.  Thanks to a cooking demonstration involving him and hot peppers, I will never forget what chinpoko means.

Alliance at EarthDOM:

Who is Alliance?
Alliance member are Guitar: Osamu (me).  Bass:Haji Kushima (ex-Macrofarge, It's You, Asbestos.). Vocal: Tohru (ex-Frigora.).  Drums:now we seeking.  This year April Kentarou left the band.  Do you remember Kentarou? He and me are playing with 10 years. But this time we debate the course.  Now he is playing in another band, the name is "Auto Roll".  Bass player: Sakura from Judgement.  Auto Roll's sounds? I don't know.hahaha we are playing with support drumer.  His name is Yuki (ex-Colored Ricemen, now-Pigmen.)

What is "progressive hardcore"?  What is the sound?
"Progressive hardcore"...tonikaku ironna ongaku no ii tokoro wo kyushu shite atrashii katachi wo tsukuritai.  (
Anyhow, I'd like to the absorb various great aspects of music, and create something new.)

Are you making a recording?
Recording.  We finished only sounds. Now we making cover art working.  Its
 so difficult! mosugu dekiru kara matte kudasi.  (It'll be ready soon, so please wait.)  6 songs vinyl, release on H.G.Fact. maybe November...

How was playing in Paintbox, and will Paintbox continue?
Paintbox? I try very hard!!!  Valuable and splendid experience for me.  Mr Chelsea's guitar works is very difficult.  I did practice 7 months... tired. but now I'm happy! A
nd growth with Paintbox member, World Burns to Death.  They are nice guys! And Blow Back.  minna totemo yasashii takusan ooen shite kureta. honto niminna ni kansha shitemasu.  (Everyone was really nice, and they cheered for us a lot. We were really moved by everybody.)

Continue? I don't know...

Do you like dogs?  haha
I like dogs!  My favorite dog is japanese "shiba"dog. Do you know? I remember your dogs! peroperoperopero∞∞∞hahaha  ano koro watashitachi itte ita "inu yashiki" (That era was our "dog house")

Osamu with Paintbox:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

DSB at Shinjuku DOM and interview

The first time I heard DSB would have been the "No Fight, No Get" 7" around ten years ago. Copies made it around over here since Wedge (Inmates/9 Shocks etc) had a hand in releasing it. Stand out thrash stuff, but I think they really found their power on the "Wings Continue To Strive..." LP (Bloodsucker) and the "Radical Sharp Shot" 7" (Overthrow). I saw them around that time in 2002 at Nishi-Ogikubo Watts. We arrived on a Saturday night, got right off the plane and went to Boy to see if anything was going on that night. We managed to find the live house after getting directions at what might have been a recording studio (???). Padlock played and we all bought copies of their demo (all the songs were redone on their first CD), Crossface played as well, and I think Colored Ricemen headlined, but we left after DSB to catch the last train. DSB started solid but gained momentum with every song and by halfway through the set were unstoppable. I didn't see them again until 2005 at Shinjuku DOM. I think this was sort of their come back show after the singer and bass player left. Yo took over vocals and Heat joined on second guitar, and for a couple years they had various friends fill in on bass. This time it was Kaoru from Assault, who was sadly killed in a motorcycle accident not long after. Having met him briefly and as a biker myself, this shook me up quite a bit, and it's still sad to think of. But back to the show, there was no telling that this was the first show with the new line up, they came out blazing (after using the Princess theme from Braveheart, which inspired my wife and I to use it in our wedding! But that's a whole 'nother story...).

I heard DSB had a limited tape for the Europe tour. What was this tape?
That's the rough track demo tape for the tour.  Ask another Andy(Sista sekunden,INSTIGATE record)

When is the "Useless System Abuse" record release?
We finished everything to do.  Just waiting.  Ask JIM(Vex records)

Your myspace says a split ep will be released. Who will it be with?
You'll know it soon.maybe out next month.  With the band from Denmark.  And they'll tour USA in October.

It sucks that you could not tour the USA. Will you ever try to play here again?
We wish to do that!!! do you know any tricks to come across the border without passport?  We're looking forward to hang out with some friends from USA at VARNING FROM MONTREAL,instead!  Be there!

(I told him I filmed a little of their set at Shinjuku DOM in April 2005, and asked him if I could put it up here)
Yeah,thats a important show for us.the first show with our firiend,KAORU. no problem upload videos on your blog.really interested in it!
DOM and Watts closed because of troubles with neighbor.they opened new houses called
EARTHDOM,Zone B.the guitar player of Assault started the band named should check it!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Paintbox "Trip, Trance, Traveling" CD

The long awaited third album from Paintbox, and sadly the last to feature Chelsea on guitar. I believe recording started in 2001 and the sessions also yielded the Cry of the Sheeps and ゲンセキ eps. A long saga of closed studios, incarceration, presumably nearly endless overdubs and orchestration, and finally Chelsea's passing in 2007 delayed its release until now. Its hard to believe that it has already been two years since his death. I was fortunate enough to see Paintbox for the first time at Shinjuku DOM in 2004, and they were one of the most technically proficient bands I've ever seen. It was almost weird seeing musicians of such high caliber playing in a basement punk club, but I think that part of what made Paintbox so special was that they didn't "progress" to playing jazz or heavy metal. Instead, they pushed the limits of their hardcore punk sound and explored freely which gave their music a depth few others can touch. At sixteen songs and over an hour, this record is a lot to take in and will definitely be one to go back to repeatedly as time goes by. Despite the length, it's very listenable. I like to think of it in four song blocks, as the upcoming double LP on Prank will probably be divided into. Each block has a previously released song re-recorded and these serve as familiar anchors to keep the listener from getting lost in uncharted territory. Whenever the frantic pace and trumpets and blazing, singing solos almost get to be too much, there is a more mellow song to bring things back down for a few minutes. I remember the final song (出発) being played over the PA at the end of the Chelsea memorial show in February 2008, and it has a feeling of excitement, uncertain future, and departure, a perfectly fitting end. These are first press copies in a nice mini gatefold with a big booklet. If the booklet gets blown up to full size for the LP, its going to be very cool, lots of pictures including many from their US shows.