Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alliance, Systema, Burial, Detroit....

Bunch of stuff in this week.  First up is the Alliance 12".  I did a post on them a few months ago, it's Osamu from Assault's new band.  Also featuring the singer from Frigora and bassist from Macrofarge and this recording also has the drummer from Assault.  The music continues in the progressive, tasteful metallic hardcore vein that Assault was working in.  Takayama san from Punk and Destroy described it as an Antisect for 2010.  180g vinyl, big 3 panel fold out cover, and it comes with a sticker.  Limited to 700 copies and by this time its probably sold out from the label.  Quite expensive, but its about what you would pay ordering it from overseas.  Next is the vinyl treatment of the most recent Systematic Death LP, great record and despite more than a ten year break, it picks right up where they left off.  Different song order and reworked artwork from the CD.  Also in is the Burial/Antimob 7", from Germany and Greece respectively.  Both bands pay tribute to the modern Japanese hc sound, but Burial are started to break out of the mould and establish their own personality.  I think its their best song so far.  On the Michigan side of things, I have three of the recent State 7"s, some of the last copies of the Heresy 7" (Detroit mid 80s Discharge style), the Pub Life CD from a few years back, and the Final Assault demo.  Final Assault are (to my knowledge) the only band in this area playing pure Discharge/Scandi style hardcore.  Ex Heresy, Social Outcast, and Pub Life.  I saw them a couple months ago with the State and both bands were great.  They're playing tonight (Feb 28) at the Magic Stick with UDI.  I also got a few copies of the Hellmouth LP from the band, they're possibly the hardest working band in the area and it shows.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Burning Spirits, Conflict For Freedom

Just got in a box of good stuff from Mr. Takayama, the man behind Punk and Destroy shop, Freedom Fighter label, and the drummer of Framtid and Nightmare (busy guy!!).  First up is the new Masterpeace 7" that he released.  Charging Japanese hardcore with eclectic breaks.  Also on Freedom Fighter is the Framtid DVD from their European tour.  And while we're on the subject of Framtid, I also got some copies of the Framtid/Seein Red 7".  Seein Red are a long time favorite of mine and its always cool to see such a great pairing on a split.  Finally for the 7"s is the System Fucker 7" on Crust War.  Full noise attack!!  Back to the DVDs, I got limited copies of the Burning Spirits DVDs.  These are incredible productions.  The first one includes Forward, Warhead, Delta Puree, Paintbox, Rapes, the Trash, AI, Crude, Final Bombs, Zone, Piledriver, Sticks In Throat, and Extinct Government.  Most of the bands are multi camera shots and sound board recordings, multiple songs from each band as well.  The second one is a double DVD with Forward,  Colored Rice Men, Slang, Conga Fury, Origin of [M], アグレッシブドックス, Slip Head Butt, Dioxin's, Veihaiz, Blowback, 8000, Gouka, Trust, Crossface, Padlock, クラウン, Extinct Government, the Slowmotions, 原爆オナニーズ, Mustang, ROM, トサカ, Asphalt, オーダー, 狂い咲きサンダーロード, KGS, Framtid, Flock, Naked Yeggs,  Buzzy 大和町 Band, 1-Minutes, Little Mirrors, and  ノープロブレム.  I ahve personally watched these DVDs a bunch of times since they came out, and these are some of the last new copies available "in the wild".  I have very few of them, so if you're interested, don't wait too long.  A word of warning though:  the Burning Spirits DVDs are Japan region encoded, so you will need a region free DVD player (or to tweak your computer or DVD player) to watch them.  I have a $40 Cyberhome DVD player I bought for that very reason.  Do a Google search for your DVD player model and "region free" or "hack" to see if there is a code you can enter to change the region.  I haven't checked any of these other DVDs I carry for it yet, I only realized the Burning Spirits ones were encoded when I tried to watch them on my computer.  Ok, back to the goods...  The most recent Extinct Government full length CD, which has ex and current members of bands such as Rocky and the Sweden, AI, 鉄アレイ, and Akutare.  Check out the video I borrowed from YouTube below, not least for that killer bass tone.  And last but not least, the Conflict For freedom 2009 DVD, which is mercifully less expensive than most other things (postage, paypal fees, and the exchange rate are all still killing me).  Shot at one show, pro multi camera and sound board recording, this one has Kriegshog, the Disclapties, Tom and Boot Boys, Hat Trickers (one of the craziest things I've seen), Order, Reality Crisis, Hazard, Outsider, Life, Framtid, Warhead, and Extinct Government.  Another phenomenal line up for this DVD, that must have been one hell of a show.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lip Cream part 2

The last three Lip Cream DVDs arrived as this week as well as the reissues of all their CDs.  Like the first six DVDs, these are each about 40 minutes long.  The CDs are also on drummer Pill's Oni label.  These were originally released around ten years back with much better mastering than the Selfish label originals (and before the CD volume wars got out of control) and have been generally unavailable for the last couple years.  I'm glad to finally upgrade from my Selfish copies of 9 Shocking Terror and Close To The Edge.

I asked some friends to comment on the specific albums they like best, but in the meantime...

"Thrash Til Death" compiles everything other than the albums, the first two singles and "Hardcore Unlawful Assembly comp tracks (which Pill didn't play on) and the "Virus" comp tracks.  So you have the songs from the "Thrash Til Death", "Punx", "A Farewell To Arms", and "My Meat's Your Poison" comps, as well as the studio side of the s/t cassette (aka "Kill The IBM").  Crucial stuff, and a good range of material from the early rocking punk, anthemic songs like "Kill Ugly Pop" and "Bloody Summer", and the aggressive thrash of their later songs.

"Kill Ugly Pop" was their first full length and probably my favorite.  Opens with the Comes "Shangri-La" and proceeds with the full burn Chuck Berry at double speed leads seamlessly mixed into anthemic hardcore.

"9 Shocking Terror" was an ep (and is a little less expensive than the others) and marked a shift into more aggressive, thrashier hardcore.  "Close To The Edge" continued that sound with 18 songs of relentless all out attack.  This is part of the foundation or blueprint of what has come to be known as traditional Japanese hardcore.  Something that stands out to me was the way these records were all mixed to let the drums remain very dynamic.  Pill continues to take a very artistic approach to his current drumming projects, and it can be seen here as well, with the unusual fills and tom rolls that jump out of the mix like concussion blasts.  It can't be understated how much influence each member of Lip Cream left on the Japanese hardcore scene, as in Naoki's burning rock leads, Minoru's thundering bass, and Jhajha's howl.

My other favorite Lip Cream album, their self titled finale.  The attack of "CTTE" is still there, but this album is somehow even heavier while bringing back some of the catchier, more anthemic feeling.  I'm having trouble expressing how much I like this record.  I passed it up the first time I went to Japan because of the unusual cover, my mistake.

DVD VII "Lip Cream Only.  Plus"
Scene 1 "Lip Cream Only at Shinjuku" (30 min)
Scene 2 ""Other tunes from Lip Cream Only" (18 min)
If I could only have one Lip Cream video, it would be this one.  This is the band at maximum energy and aggression on a small stage (flanked by torches!) with the crowd right on top of them.  Each member has a cool little "off stage" clip, and for one song it cuts back through old footage of total mayhem.  As a bonus there's another 18 minutes of songs from the same show, fully edited from the multiple cameras.  This rules.

DVD VIII "Dog Days Live,  Plus"
Scene 1 "Dog Days Live at Kyoto"  (10 min)
Scene 2 "from Gudon Last 2 Days Live" (8 min)
Scene 3 "December at Citta" (14 min)
Scene 4 "August At Hiroshima" (19 min)
This video compiles their later compilation appearances.  Very cool to get four different shows on one disk.  Each show seems to catch the opening of their set, so you end up with four versions of "Close To The Edge", which they seem to have opened every show with around this time.  I don't know how, that song is a marathon sprint, but I guess its best to come out blazing and get it done before being winded.  Songs from the 4th LP also start showing up in the set list.  The "Dog Days" clip has interesting footage from outside the show, including grinding blocks of ice into chips by hand outside the show.  It must have been truly hot...

DVD IX "DDD 9/24.  Plus"
Scene 1 "Last Live At Kyoto" (39min)
Scene 2 "August At Hiroshima" (5 min)
And the final DVD...  Good quality, multiple cameras...  Aaaaagh I'm going to have to watch this again later!  9 DVDs of Lip Cream, "Close To The Edge" is seared into my brain,,,,

Again, postage and the exchange rate are working against me, but I'm keeping the price as low as I can (and actually my mark up on these is lower than anything else I'm carrying).  DVDs are $30.50 and I'll do a package deal of all 9 DVDs for $250 (which saves $24.50).  I set the CDs to the same price as the Japanese MSRP, so they are $27.50, except for 9 Shocking Terror which is $24.  I also have some stickers of the album covers and fliers for the Lip Cream reunion show in June that I'll include with orders for these.