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.